Washington (CNN) – Support for President Barack Obama's planned removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the August could drop significantly if Iraq cannot solve its current problems in time, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday indicates that 64 percent of Americans favor the president's plan to keep just 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the summer, with 35 percent opposed.
But public approval of the plan falls to 51 percent if Iraq does not have a stable government by August and there is widespread violence at that time, with opposition rising to 48 percent.
"Support drops more than 20 points among Americans with a college education and among suburbanites," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But among people who never attended college, opinion barely changes. The same is true for people who live in rural areas."
TOPICS: Iraq, Afghanistan
(CNN) – President Obama marked Memorial Day weekend with a quiet start Saturday, largely staying inside his Chicago home except for a basketball game in the morning.
The president played basketball for nearly two hours Saturday morning with personal assistant Reggie Love and several other unidentified men, according to a White House pool report. The game took place at University of Chicago’s Lab School, where his daughters used to attend school.
Meanwhile, after the president returned to home - located in Chicago’s upscale Hyde Park area - first lady Michelle Obama was spotted doing some yard work.
While the Obama’s may go out to dinner Saturday, they will not attend the Stanley Cup finals opening game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.
(CNN) – Conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck apologized Friday after appearing to mock President Barack Obama’s 11-year-old daughter on his radio program earlier in the day.
In a statement posted on his website Friday afternoon, Beck said he broke his own rule about “leaving kids out of political debates.”
“In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates,” said Beck in the statement. “The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize–and as a dad I should have known better.”
Beck’s apology came hours after the radio host and his sidekicks imitated a pretend conversation between the president and Malia, in which Beck has his version of 11-year-old ask a series of questions that included “Daddy…why do you hate black people so much?”
Beck’s routine was prompted by a remark Obama made in his press conference Thursday, in which he said Malia had asked him earlier in the morning of the BP oil spill, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"
"Is that's their - that's the level of their education, that they're coming to - they're coming to daddy and saying 'Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?' Plug the hole!" said Beck of Malia's comments.
The White House has not responded to Beck’s comments.
(CNN) - Protesters from several states swarmed the streets of Phoenix on Saturday to rally against Arizona's controversial immigration law.
Sarahi Uribe, one of the organizers for the National Day of Action, estimated 50,000 people were expected to turn out for a five-mile march to the state Capitol.
The new immigration law allows police officers to check the residency status of anyone who is being investigated for a crime or possible legal infraction if there is reasonable suspicion the person is an illegal resident. Critics, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, have said the law will promote racial profiling.
Supporters of the bill say its aim is only to enforce federal law. However, critics and supporters of the law seem to agree on one point: that the federal government has not done enough to curb illegal immigration.
(CNN) – An acting director was settling into the top job Saturday at the troubled Minerals Management Service, which is involved in federal oversight of offshore oil drilling.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Bob Abbey would become acting director even as he retains his role as director of the federal Bureau of Land Management.
The previous director, Elizabeth Birnbaum, resigned Thursday, Salazar said. Two sources told CNN that she was fired.
"Bob Abbey's recent leadership on onshore energy reforms is exactly the kind of experience we need as we continue to reform and begin to restructure" the service, Salazar said in a statement. "I appreciate Bob's willingness to help tackle this crisis in the Gulf."
(CNN) - A Gulf Coast official is pleading with President Barack Obama to scrap the moratorium on new oil drilling and exploration as the investigation of the massive oil spill continues, saying the economic impact to her Louisiana parish would be too much to bear.
Charlotte Randolph, president of LaFourche Parish, said she spoke to Obama in person during his visit to the oil-stricken region Friday.
"I expressed to the president that we are dying because of the oil spill, but if he allows this suspension to happen it will kill us," she told reporters Saturday, noting that her parish has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
"First I'm hearing from fisherman who are dying because of the oil spill," she said. "Now I'm hearing from the oil and gas industry and all of those associated services that they will be put out of business."
(CNN) - An independent contractor supplying workers to clean up an oil spill on the Gulf Coast denied Saturday that his company sent more workers to Grand Isle, Louisiana on Friday just because President Barack Obama was going to visit that site.
Donald Nulty of Environmental Safety and Health - hired by BP to supply clean-up workers - denied a Gulf Coast official's claim that it sent the workers to Grand Isle in a "dog and pony show" to coincide with the president's visit.
"Absolutely, without a doubt, no. I had no idea about the president," Nalty told CNN. "Whether it's the president or whatever dignitary is coming into the area, it makes no difference to us. We're there to clean up Grand Isle."
Councilman Chris Roberts of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana accused BP on Friday of shipping workers to Grand Isle for Obama's visit and sending them away after the president left.
(CNN) – James Carville doesn’t know all the facts, the White House says.
Amid repeated criticism from the Democratic strategist and CNN contributor over the president’s response to the BP oil spill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday Carville doesn’t “understand all of what we’re doing.”
“Truthfully, I think the president answered this yesterday. I think people - I don’t think James understands all of what we’re doing. I don’t think James understood the facts,” said Gibbs on board Air Force One when asked what the president thinks that some supporters like Carville have been critical of the administration’s response to the crisis. In a press conference Thursday, Obama insisted he and his administration understood the magnitude of the crisis from day one.
Carville, a Louisiana native, has repeatedly said the president is not being tough enough on BP for its bungled response to the massive leak in the Gulf Coast.
"BP is not the equal of the United States government," Carville told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King earlier this week. "And this president needs to tell BP: I'm your daddy, I'm in charge. You're going to do what we say."