Washington (CNN) - Gen. David Petraeus told CNN on Thursday that he supports President Barack Obama's July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a key point of contention between the president and many of his Republican critics in Congress.
Petraeus - tapped to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan - also expressed his respect and appreciation for McChrystal's work and said the circumstances surrounding the change in command are "sad."
McChrystal was relieved of duty on Wednesday after he and his staff made comments in a Rolling Stone magazine article that appear to mock top Obama administration officials.
Petraeus's remarks to CNN's Dana Bash and Ted Barrett were his first public comments since being chosen as the new U.S. military chief for the Afghan conflict. The Senate Armed Services Committee is set to begin confirmation hearings for Petraeus next Tuesday morning.
"I support the president's policy, and I will also provide the best professional military advice as we conduct assessments," Petraeus said.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's handpicked candidate in the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky was trounced by Rand Paul.
But that was last month.
Thursday Kentucky's senior senator hosts a fundraising reception and dinner in the nation's capitol for Paul.
Co-hosting the functions is Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. According to an invitation obtained by CNN, 10 GOP senators and 9 Republican House members are part of the welcome committee for the events. The invitation suggests donations for a reception at the NRSC headquarters as $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for political action committees. Donations for a dinner at Bistro Bis, a restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol building, range from $4,000-$5,000 for PAC's.
Washington (CNN) - Late Wednesday night the Democratic National Committee launched the first mobile application from a political party designed specifically for the iPad. The new app's release also coincides with Thursday's release of the new iPhone 4.
Related: iPhone 4 hits stores Thursday
Features on the free app, which can also be downloaded for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, include a new platform "AirMail" which allows the DNC to send messages to users to take action. Users can also access an events tool, watch videos, see pictures, read Democratic discussion talking points and receive news alerts. Users will also be able to call their member of Congress from the application, donate to the Democratic Party and post content to Twitter and Facebook.
"We think it is a really comprehensive way communicate with our network of grassroots activists," DNC spokesperson Brandi Hoffine told CNN. "This is just the beginning of our mobile technology effort and we're excited to show off other features this year."
While the DNC is the first political party to launch an iPad friendly app, the White House was ready with its iPad app the day the new Apple device launched.
The DNC, hoping to capitalize on buzz as the new iPhone hits shelves, also launched a similar app for Organizing for America, the grassroots organization of Obama supporters brought together during the 2008 White House race.
(CNN) - Oregon authorities said Wednesday that a woman accused former Vice President Al Gore of "unwanted sexual contact" in connection with a 2006 encounter, but no charges resulted because detectives could not substantiate her claim.
In a statement released to the media, the Portland Police Department said the allegation involved an encounter between Gore and a licensed massage therapist at a hotel on October 24, 2006.
"The detectives concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the allegations," Portland police spokeswoman Mary Wheat told CNN.
The department explained its timing in releasing a statement Wednesday by saying that while the department does not usually release information on alleged sex crimes, "A national tabloid magazine has published a story discussing allegations made by a Portland woman against former Vice President Al Gore."
The department statement said police were contacted by a lawyer for the woman in 2006 and, "After repeated attempts by Portland Police Detectives to interview the woman involved, the Police Bureau was told by her attorney in January 2007, that they were pursuing civil litigation and declined the assistance of the Portland Police Bureau's Detective Division."
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) - Aside from his extraordinarily bad judgment, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also had something else working against him: bad timing. Really bad timing.
President Obama, you may recall, has lately had some troubles with public perception of the way he has been handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His leadership has been questioned. In fact, Americans have downgraded his ability to handle a crisis by 11 points in the past year, according to CNN polls. They don't think he's a very tough guy.
That is, unless they caught his announcement of General Stanley McChrystal's "resignation." It wasn't a towel-snapping I've-had-enough-of-this-kind -of-insubordination statement. Rather, it was a reasoned, calculated explanation of why the commander-in-chief could not countenance McChrystal and his cronies bad-mouthing the president and his entire national security team.
The president was forceful, and clear: It "erodes the civilian control of the military," he said. It files in the face of the "strict code of conduct" for the military," he told us. And, by the way, debate is fine, but this president "won't tolerate division."
Or immaturity. Or anything that is not worthy of the risks the troops take each day.
Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but he was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because they are internal administration discussions.
President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.
It's still unclear whether Obama had made up his mind before sitting down with McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the (Rolling Stone) article," said a senior administration official.
McChrystal "tried to explain the situation," the official said.
Washington (CNN) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet U.S. President Barack Obama for talks at the White House on Thursday after taking a technology tour of California a day earlier.
After the leaders have lunch, Obama will attend a U.S.-Russia business summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday, Medvedev visited Cisco Systems for the company's announcement of a $1 billion investment in Russian projects. He sent his first Twitter message after the meeting.
"Greetings to everyone, I'm at Twitter and this is my first message," the Russian leader tweeted from Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Medvedev also posted a photograph of the "view outside my hotel window" in San Francisco and another of himself greeting Twitter employees from the new @KremlinRussia account.
(CNN) - A document released by the U.S. Coast Guard this week shows a lack of cooperation from BP in providing accurate flow-rate estimates of the oil company's massive underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.
The document is a sole-source contract seeking to secure the services of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, described by the Coast Guard as "well known" in the oil spill field and a company that "routinely operates at depths required" at the BP site.
Woods Hole submitted proposed technology to BP in May designed to provide an accurate flow-rate estimate from the ruptured undersea well after the oil company provided its own numbers inconsistent with those of scientific experts, the document shows.
The institution's technological capabilities at the site include sonar, optical, Doppler and mass spectrometer varieties of sensors, according to the Coast Guard.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN Poll: Uptick in economic optimism
Most Americans believe that the country is still in a recession, but one in five now say that the recession is over – the highest number since October, 2008, and double the number who felt that way last May, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Wednesday indicates that 78 percent of the public says the economy is still in a recession, with 21 percent saying the recession is over, more than double the number of Americans who believed the recession was over in May of last year.
Washington Post: Lawmakers across country taking immigration policy into own hands
Five states - South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Michigan - are looking at Arizona-style legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NDN, a Washington think tank and advocacy group, said lawmakers in 17 other states had expressed support for similar measures. Since it was adopted in April, the Arizona legislation, which gives law enforcement officers the power to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally, has triggered bitter debate and been challenged in court by advocacy groups.
CNN: SC Democratic candidate Alvin Greene vows to stay in the race
Seated in the living room of the modest home Alvin Greene shares with his father, the surprise winner of this month's Democratic Senatorial nomination is still trying to deal with the notoriety and series of questions that victory has brought. On questions of how he could afford the $10,000 filing fee necessary to enter the primary race, he again insisted it was his own personal money savings he had accumulated during his time in the military. Greene, who was discharged last August, is not currently working and is drawing a monthly unemployment check. Some state Democrats have speculated he was a plant by someone hoping to disrupt the race and want the origins of the filing fee funds to be investigated.
New York Times: Cuomo Accepts Millions From Interests He Assails
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, declaring his candidacy for governor of New York, could not have been clearer. “The influence of lobbyists and their special interests must be drastically reduced with new contribution limits,” Mr. Cuomo said last month. “We will be taking on very powerful special interests which have much to lose. We must change systems and cultures long in the making.” But as he delivered his announcement, Mr. Cuomo was sitting on millions in campaign cash from the very special interests whose influence he said he wanted to limit.
CNN: In David vs. Goliath fight, candidate aims to beat Alaska GOP senator
Many voters may never have seen or heard of him, but Joe Miller is determined to make Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska the next victim of an angry, anti-incumbent movement. And helping him is the Tea Party Express. Miller, an attorney in Fairbanks, is little-known in Alaska. He has been endorsed by the Tea Party Express as a true "constitutional conservative" and by former Gov. Sarah Palin. Murkowski holds a GOP leadership post in the Senate but is also under fire for being a moderate.