(CNN) - President Barack Obama used the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to renew his pitch for alternative energy Wednesday, arguing that the unfolding environmental disaster "gives you a sense of where we're going" without comprehensive reform.
The federal government is "going to bring every resource necessary to put a stop" to the spill, the president said during a visit to a solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. "We will not rest until this well is shut, the environment is repaired, and the cleanup is complete."
But, he added, "a lot of damage has been done already. The spill in the Gulf, which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity" of seeking alternative fuel sources.
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A failure to enact comprehensive energy reform, he argued, would pose a threat to national security and the economy, as well as the environment.
Washington (CNN) - Add Vice President Joe Biden to the list of people speaking out about the controversy surrounding Democratic Senate nominee and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's misstating of his military record during the Vietnam War.
"I was not in Vietnam. I don't want to make a Blumenthal mistake here. Our attorney general from Connecticut, God love him," said Biden, according to a pool report of a Tuesday night at an event at the vice president's residence for wounded troops.
"I have a bad habit of saying exactly what I think," added Biden, apparently acknowledging the tendency for his off the cuff comments to land him in trouble.
Early last week the New York Times reported that Blumenthal distorted his military service record. The article alleged that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.
Washington (CNN) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan says President Obama "absolutely supports" a congressional proposal for $23 billion in emergency education spending in order to stave off teacher layoffs and cancellation of summer classes.
Duncan told CNN Wednesday that the emergency spending request is needed to head off "an education catastrophe, " in which as many as 300-thousand teachers across the country could be laid off.
Duncan also said that without the extra spending, some school districts will be forced to eliminate summer school and after-school programs.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-California, are behind the bid in the Senate and House to approve the extra spending.
Duncan has asked Congress to add the money to an emergency spending measure, being considered this week, that would fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(CNN) – Two-time Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi officially jumped into the Senate race in Washington state Wednesday, following months of cajoling from national Republicans who view the area businessman as the strongest candidate to defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Patty Murray.
"Over the past several months, as I watched Congress pile more and more debt on top of our children and grandchildren, as I watched them ram through a partisan, ill-conceived health care bill, as I watched them pass new job-killing taxes and regulations, I knew I had to do something about it," Rossi says in a web video. "That's why I've made the decision to run for the United States Senate."
Rossi, currently a commercial real estate investor, is arguably the best known Republican in Washington state, thanks to his two bids for governor. In an election that went into overtime, Rossi lost to Democrat Christine Gregoire by just a handful of votes six years ago. He was again defeated in a 2008 rematch by a wider margin.
Polls of Washington state voters conducted this year suggest that Rossi could be competitive with the three-term Murray - the so-called Senate "soccer mom" whose approval rating is hovering around 50 percent back home. But Murray is sitting on a formidable $6 million campaign war chest, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of March, and handily won her reelection bids in 1998 and 2004.
Rossi, a former state senator, appears to be kicking of his campaign in the Democratic-leaning state with a message of inclusion, touting his record of working to balance the budget with both Republicans and Democrats.
Editor's note: Gloria Borger is a senior political analyst for CNN, appearing regularly on CNN's "The Situation Room," "AC360°" and "State of the Union," as well as participating in special event coverage.
Washington (CNN) – There was a theory, back in the day, that if the president could only pass health care reform, the glow of that victory would spur him on to better things: more wins, more credibility for the governing Democrats, more reasons to keep Democrats in power.
So much for that.
Right now, there's a hole in the Gulf. We watch it every day as it dumps who-knows-how-many-thousands of barrels of oil into the pristine water, endangering everything around it. Maybe the anti-government crowd thinks it's fine to wait for BP to fix it; most folks just want it fixed, period.
Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, according to a White House official.
Washington (CNN) - On Thursday, President Barack Obama will announce "strengthened inspections" and an effort to "tighten safety regulations" for offshore drilling, according to an administration official.
Obama also is expected to discuss other recommendations from the 30-day review that he ordered shortly after oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig collapsed April 22, the official said.
Despite criticism that the White House should take over the operation from BP, administration officials insist the oil giant is best equipped to plug the leak.
Responding to comments from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, that if BP fails in its current effort to stop the gusher, the president "better go in and completely take over," perhaps with the "military in charge," a senior administration official asked, "What precisely the military would do?"
An aide said they'll be watching as BP tries the "top kill" effort to stop the flow of oil, but he refused to predict if it will be successful. "We're planning for every scenario," the official said.
Washington (CNN) - When House Republican leaders unveiled their new interactive website, geared towards collecting ideas to shape the GOP Congressional agenda, reporters quickly raised questions about why the site was paid for with tax payer funds when it seemed to be more geared towards upcoming elections.
AmericaSpeakingOut.com is an innovative website sponsored by the House Republican Leadership. People can submit ideas, comment on other people's ideas and vote ideas up and down. It is also highly integrated into the social networks Facebook and Twitter and will soon be available on mobile devices and apps. A point system also adds a sense of competition, awarding badges and encouraging participation.
House GOP Leader John Boehner opened the press conference on Tuesday seemingly with the tone of a campaign. "All across America, Americans are speaking out, but unfortunately they don't see Washington Democrats listening," Boehner said. "The purpose of this project is to give the American people a megaphone to speak out by using the best technology available."
While all ideas are allowed to be posted, the GOP said the conversation is occurring in the context of Republican principles. "What we are asking the American people to do is to participate with us as to how do we apply those principles to tomorrow and the day after," Boehner explained.
(CNN) – The blogger claiming to have had an affair with South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley has posted a series of text messages between himself and Haley's campaign manager that appear to show the two men colluding about how to handle the forthcoming scandal.
The messages, covering a nine-day period earlier this month before conservative blogger Will Folks went public with his accusation against the Republican hopeful, were posted Wednesday morning on his website, FITSNews.com.
"I'm telling you man, we keep this under wraps and nh is going to win," reads one text message from Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson to Folks on May 15.
Pearson and Folks swap worried messages about different reporters chasing the story, and one exchange suggests there may be a newsworthy photograph of Haley and Folks.
Pearson confirmed to CNN the authenticity of the text messages.
(CNN) - A Republican congressional candidate in Idaho who was recruited by national Republicans and endorsed by Sarah Palin was defeated Tuesday in a primary election.
Idaho state Representative Raul Labrador topped Vaughn Ward in the battle for the GOP nomination for Idaho's 1st Congressional District.
Ward, an Iraq war veteran who served as a campaign state coordinator for Sen. John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, was picked as a candidate for the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Gun's" program. He greatly outraised Labrador in the race for campaign cash, and Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee who was born in Idaho, joined Ward at a rally last week.
But Ward apparently damaged his bid in recent weeks, allegedly plagiarizing from a speech President Barack Obama made at the 2004 Democratic convention. He also mistakenly alluded that Puerto Rico was a country during a recent debate.