Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Wednesday he has "no regrets" about his comments last week supporting the rights of Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from the site of the September 11 terror attacks in New York.
"The answer is no regrets," Obama said when asked about bringing up the issue last Friday at a White House dinner commemorating the start of Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
At the dinner, Obama said those wanting to build the Islamic center and mosque have the constitutional right to religious freedom. On Saturday, he clarified that he was talking only about the right to build the center and not the "wisdom" of doing so close to "ground zero," where more than 2,700 people died when planes hijacked by terrorists slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The remarks sparked a national debate on the emotional issue, with many Republicans condemning the president as insensitive to families of victims and out of touch with the views of most Americans.
President Obama told some residents of Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday that social security would not be privatized while he is in the White House. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Columbus, Ohio (CNN) – President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday that the Social Security system won't be privatized while he is in the White House.
In a town-hall style meeting with a few dozen residents of Columbus, Ohio, Obama said "modest" changes can keep the government pension system solvent for decades.
Republicans have called for transforming the government program to a private savings account as a way to help keep it going as America's aging population stresses its financial health.
"It will not be privatized as long as I'm president," Obama said to applause, noting that the economic recession and Wall Street collapse would have devastated the savings of retirees under a privatized Social Security system.
(CNN) – It hasn't been the greatest of months for Sarah Palin when it comes to her political star power.
The two candidates Palin backed in Tuesday's primaries lost their bids, making the former Alaska governor 0-for-5 when it comes to endorsements this month.
In Washington State, Palin had backed Tea Party activist Clint Didier in his bid for the Senate over businessman Dino Rossi, the favorite of national Republicans.
In making her endorsement of Didier last May, Palin said the Tea Party favorite had "inspired" her, and hailed him as a "patriot running for U.S. Senate to serve his state & our country for all the right reasons!"
This building in New York used to house a Burlington Coat Factory and is slated to house Cordoba House, a planned Islamic community center and mosque. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
(CNN) – New York voters oppose by a nearly 2-to-1 margin plans to build an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, according to a new Siena Research Institute poll released Wednesday.
The same voters, however, overwhelmingly say the center's developers have a constitutional right to build it.
When asked if they "support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House," New Yorkers said they oppose the facility, which is expected to cost $100 million, by a 63-27 percent margin. At the same time, by a 64-to-28 percent margin, New Yorkers say Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the constitutional right to build it.
(CNN) – Voters in Washington state and Wyoming picked their candidates for the general election, setting the stage for some potential nail biters in November.
In Washington, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican candidate Dino Rossi emerged from a crowded primary field.
Murray, the incumbent, received 46 percent of the vote and Rossi got just under 34 percent, according to the Washington secretary of state. Under the state's system, the two candidates who receive the most votes regardless of party affiliation move on to the general election. Washington is primarily a mail-in ballot state, and voting was under way for two weeks.
In many ways, Murray and Rossi had already begun their general election campaigns before the primary, focusing their attacks on each other. Polls show a close race in the fall.
(CNN) – The two political veterans in Florida's closely-watched primaries have each regained the lead in their respective races, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum has retaken the lead from former insurance industry executive Rick Scott in the battle for the GOP nomination for governor. McCollum holds a 44 to 35 percent lead over Scott, who held an 11-point lead in the same poll just three weeks ago.
Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek has also regained the lead in the Democratic primary over rival Jeff Greene in the Sunshine State's Senate race, holding a 35-28 percent lead. Greene held a 10-point lead in the most recent Quinnipiac poll.
Each race remains extremely fluid however: Almost 20 percent of Republican voters are still undecided and 32 percent of the respondents who named a candidate said they could change their mind.
(CNNMoney.com) - If you're a wealthy American, you've probably heard that your tax bill will be higher next year if President Obama has his way. But how much more are you really going to pay?
With Obama's tax plan in place, the cuts introduced during the Bush administration would lapse for the top two income brackets, resulting in a tax increase for the nation's richest taxpayers.
That means people making more than $195,550 in taxable income ($200,000 in adjusted gross income) and joint filers with taxable income over $237,300 ($250,000 in adjusted gross income) would be pushed up from the current 33% and 35% tax brackets into 36% and 39.6% brackets next year.
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:
California 3rd - Rep. Dan Lungren (R) is seeking a fourth term
Primary: June 8, 2010
Location: Sacramento suburbs
Days until Election Day: 76
If there's something everyone can agree on in California's third district, it's that Washington is the problem.
Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - The White House takes its economics roadshow Wednesday to Ohio after a West Coast stop a day earlier.
President Obama will huddle around the kitchen table of Rhonda and Joe Weithman in Columbus to talk about the economy and health care before hosting a similar discussion with families from the area in the backyard.
The White House will tout how funds from the president's Recovery Act have helped keep a small architectural firm co-owned by Joe Weithman in business by funding local infrastructure projects that required its services. The administration also says monies from the act helped subsidize COBRA health insurance benefits for Rhonda Weithman after she lost her job.
The trip to the Buckeye State is Obama's ninth since taking office. Ohio will likely be a key state in upcoming elections.
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