Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama has a chance to make good on the campaign pledge he made during the CNN/YouTube debate back in 2008: to sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This week Ahmadinejad offered to meet "face-to-face" in a debate before the media "to put the world's issues on the table to find out whose solution is better."
The regime in Tehran has repeatedly rebuffed U.S. attempts at engagement, thwarting the international community as it continues to pursue its nuclear program, which it claims is for peaceful purposes. The United States and its allies maintain Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.
The White House dismissed Ahmadinejad's offer as a theatrics, saying Iran isn't serious about discussing its nuclear ambitions. But senior administration officials say there are serious discussions taking place between the European Union foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, and Iranian nuclear negotiators about resuming talks.
Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
Illinois 11th – Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D) is seeking a 2nd term
Primary: February 2, 2010
Location: Chicago suburbs/Central Illinois
Days until Election Day: 89
Election Day will mark the end of a nine-month general election campaign between Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson and her Republican opponent, Adam Kinzinger. Illinois held its primary in February, the earliest of any state in the country, giving these two nominees plenty of time to get to know one another. The race appears to be getting increasingly competitive as the lengthy contest enters its final three months.
Elena Kagan is expected to be confirmed as the 112th justice to the Supreme Court Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Elena Kagan is expected to be confirmed as the 112th justice to the Supreme Court Thursday and could be sworn into her judicial post by week's end.
On Wednesday, the influential Mexican American Legal Defense Fund decided not to endorse the 50-year-old solicitor general and to remain "neutral."
"This rare decision comes because Kagan's record as an attorney is too ambiguous for MALDEF to make an informed determination about her current knowledge and potential understanding of Latino legal concerns," the group's president, Thomas Saenz, wrote in a commentary written for the online news Website the Huffington Post.
The group, founded in 1968, is a national non-profit civil rights organization focusing on Latino issues.
Five Republicans have so far signaled their intention to vote for Kagan, meaning conservatives don't have the strength in numbers to delay the proceedings with a filibuster.
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - President Obama will display his administration's high hopes for the U.S. auto industry when he visits a Ford plant in Chicago on Thursday.
Ford is the only major U.S. automaker that didn't take a government bailout. Later this year, its Chicago assembly plant will begin production of a new, fuel efficient 2011 Ford Explorer.
The company recently announced that the Chicago plant is adding 1,200 new jobs. The positions were made possible by the new Department of Energy loans aimed at helping companies retool their plants to make more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Obama administration said Wednesday it believes the recovery of the U.S. auto industry can be sustained and has the potential to grow.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: Judge overturns California's ban on same-sex marriage
A federal judge in California on Wednesday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution - handing supporters of gay rights a major victory in a case that both sides say is sure to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The 136-page opinion, issued by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, is an initial step in what will likely be a lengthy fight over California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. At stake in the trial was whether California's ban on same-sex marriage violates gay couples' rights to equal protection and due process, as protected by the U.S. Constitution.