Washington (CNN) - President Obama must angle his address to the nation on the Gulf oil disaster as more of a "warlike update" than the kind of addresses given by past presidents on national tragedies, a top presidential historian said.
"This is going to be a different kind of president address ... like we're in the middle of the war and he's giving an update on the war on the Gulf," said Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. "It's a battlefield report - particularly trying to show that progress is being made, although it's not fast enough for him."
Brinkley, who has lived and taught in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been a vocal critic of BP's cleanup efforts. He also has taken aim at Obama's response - noting that he should have given the speech weeks ago.
"Whenever America experiences a cardiac arrest like 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, you have a window of about one week where you want to create a field of optimism and a principle of response that it's clear, decisive and urgent."
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Washington (CNN) - Health threats from the Gulf oil disaster could last for years, and officials lack knowledge on how long chemicals in the spilled oil and dispersants will remain toxic, health experts told a Senate committee Tuesday.
At the same hearing, a Food and Drug Administration official said seafood from the Gulf of Mexico available to consumers in stores and restaurants now is safe.
"We are confident that Gulf of Mexico seafood that is in the market today is safe to eat," said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner of the FDA.
The hearing by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee looked at steps taken so far to monitor and deal with health issues, and what the longer-term threats and effects may be.
Updated: 4:48 p.m.
Washington (CNN) - As President Obama prepared for a primetime address on the oil spill and Democrats presided over a hearing on Capitol Hill with oil company CEOs, Congressional Republicans accused the President and his allies in Congress Tuesday of "exploiting" the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to push for their comprehensive energy legislation. GOP leaders argue the Democrats' proposals would have a devastating impact on the struggling U.S. economy.
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence told reporters, "The American people expect that this Administration will not use this opportunity to advance their liberal agenda."
Pence added, "We won't cap that well with cap and trade," referring to Democratic legislation to reduce and limit carbon emissions.
Echoing the same message from the Senate floor, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said, "While American livelihoods are in immediate danger and we watch oil gush into our waters and wash up on our beaches, now is not the time to push ideology, but to fix the problem."
(CNN) - The Attorney General of South Carolina has no plans to investigate Alvin Greene's shocking win in last Tuesday's Democratic Senate primary.
"No one has provided this office with any credible allegation or information suggesting criminal wrongdoing," said Mark Plowden, a spokesman for Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican.
The Attorney General's office was responding Tuesday to a request from the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which asked McMaster to investigate rumors that someone induced Greene to run for Senate.
(CNN) – Meg Whitman is infusing her California gubernatorial bid with another $20 million of her own cash, the Republican's campaign confirmed Tuesday.
The latest contribution means Whitman has spent more than $90 million of her personal funds running for governor of California with much of the general campaign remaining.
The former eBay CEO, whose net worth has been estimated at well over $1 billion, is still $12 million short of the record amount New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent to eek out a third mayoral term last year.
Whitman has said she is willing to spend upwards of $150 million of her own cash on the campaign.
Pensacola, Florida (CNN) - Road-testing the themes of his first-ever Oval Office address for a fired-up crowd of military personnel here in this beach town, President Obama declared the federal government will "fight back with everything we've got" to deal with the Gulf oil spill.
"Yes, this is an unprecedented environmental disaster," Obama said at the Pensacola Naval Air Technical Training Center. "It's the worst in our nation's history, but we're going to continue to meet it with an unprecedented federal response and recovery effort, the largest in our nation's history. This is an assault on our nation's shore, and we're going to fight back with everything we've got, and that includes mobilizing the resources of the greatest military in the world."
With Obama advisers privately telling CNN the President will unveil a specific battle plan on the way forward in his speech Tuesday night, Obama told the military personnel - some of whom have been helping contain the spill - that he's deployed over 5,000 vessels and more than 27,000 personnel to deal with the crisis and will spare no expense in the days ahead.
Pensacola, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. military is on track to complete its roughly seven-year combat mission in Iraq - part of a redeployment of forces in response to changing needs at home and abroad.
He also praised members of the armed services for their role in fighting the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and promised an "unprecedented response" to what has now become a top-tier political crisis.
The president made his remarks during an appearance at the Naval Air Station here, at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the reeling Gulf region.
The armed forces are poised to end their "combat mission in Iraq this summer - on schedule," Obama declared. "You've earned your place among the greatest of generations."
(CNN) - Bravo has released the list of "Real Housewives" for the Washington, D.C. installment of the franchise, and surprise, surprise: Michaele Salahi is indeed one of them.
Michaele crashed a White House state dinner with her husband Tareq last November, and the couple's media rep confirmed in March that they had landed roles on the Bravo reality show.
Bravo declined to comment at the time, but on Tuesday, the network sent out a statement revealing the new cast, and it turns out that Salahi will be among the five "real housewives."All of the women are supposed to have connections to “D.C. power players” as well as having “their pulse on the most important cultural events, political galas, gallery openings, and fundraisers in Washington society," according to Bravo's statement.
In the statement, Michaele is described as a “northern Virginia native and model” who founded America’s Polo Cup with her husband, who serves as the U.S. team captain. The Polo Cup is how Michaele is said to have met a variety of international political leaders.
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Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will campaign with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid early next month in Nevada, two Democratic sources confirm to CNN.
Polls suggest that the four-term Nevada Democrat faces a tough road to re-election this year. He's being challeneged by Republican Sharron Angle. The former state lawmaker, once considered a long shot for the Nevada GOP Senate nomination, easily defeated 12 other candidates in last week's primary thanks in part to help from the Tea Party Express (a national Tea Party organization) and the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group.
The trip will be the second time this year that the president has traveled to Nevada to team up with Reid. Obama and Reid joined forces at three events in Las Vegas in February, including a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
In May of last year, the president headlined a fundraiser for Reid that was held at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas.
Washington (CNN) - The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.
Sen. Carl Levin, the committee's chairman, said Gen. David Petraeus "appears to be doing very well" after the incident, but withheld a decision on whether the hearing would go on.
"He's eating," Levin said. "He probably didn't have enough water to drink coming in here this morning."
Petraeus is the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the conduct of the U.S. wars in the Middle East and central Asia.