(CNN) – Here's a line that would certainly grab your attention if it were called out on the intercom as you're enjoying a lovely Gulf shrimp sandwich for lunch: "Barack, pickup!"
President Obama was already mingling with the patrons of the legendary Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans when his lunch order was called. Some locals received a hug from the president–even though he cut to the front of line.
"We're just glad to see you," one woman told him, "Thanks for coming down."
Obama ran into trouble, though, when he attempted to pay for the first family's lunch. Failing to produce enough money for the food, he called over a White House staffer who produced a $20 bill for the cash-strapped commander-in-chief.
Six more photos of President Obama at Parkway Bakery and Tavern, after the jump:
President Obama praised the resilience of New Orleans residents on Sunday, exactly five years after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – Calling the federal response to Hurricane Katrina "a shameful breakdown in government," President Barack Obama said Sunday as rebuilding continues, officials are looking ahead to avoid a repeat when future disasters strike.
Speaking at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, Obama said construction of a fortified levee system to protect the city is underway and will be finished by next year, "We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season," he said.
"There is no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed," the president said, speaking to a crowd that included current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation.
"We all remember it keenly - water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; and bodies lying in the streets of a great American city," Obama said. "It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe; a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone."
Jerusalem (CNN) - Israeli and Palestinian leaders were looking forward to direct talks this week in Washington with both hope and apprehension. The two sides have agreed to hold direct peace talks beginning Thursday, the first such talks since 2008.
"I am convinced that if the Palestinian leadership approaches these talks with the same degree of seriousness as [us], we will be able to advance toward a stable agreement that will ensure peace and security for both peoples and will contribute to the security and stability of the region," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Netanyahu leaves for Washington on Tuesday, he said, with the goal to "seriously and responsibly" advance a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The talks will be held without prior conditions, he said.
(CNN) – Saying, "we should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season," President Barack Obama said Sunday the construction of a fortified levee system to protect the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, is underway, and will be finished by next year.
(CNN) – Alaska's political leadership has spent decades touting its ability to bring federal dollars back from Washington. But the man who may have unseated incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in last week's primary says forget the cash - he'd rather have real estate.
U.S. government is "going bankrupt," and needs to transfer its responsibilities and power "back to the states and the people," Fairbanks attorney and GOP activist Joe Miller told CBS' "Face the Nation." He said Alaska would take less money from Washington in exchange for land from the federal government, which owns about two-thirds of the state.
"It's our position that as the money is restricted, the lands are transferred. So that's the plan that we want to implement," he said. Alaska would then use its "extraordinary" resource base to create jobs, he said.
Remote, thinly populated Alaska received $1.84 in federal money for every $1 paid in taxes in 2005, the third-highest ratio among U.S. states, according to the Washington-based, non-partisan Tax Foundation.
(CNN) – Two of the three candidates running for U.S. Senate in Florida said Sunday that they support the revival of an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, but the Obama administration’s housing chief said “it’s too early to say” whether it will be offered again.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan left the door open to extending the tax credit but said that the White House will be "focused like a laser" on stabilizing the housing market.
“All I can tell you is that we are watching [the housing market] very carefully,” Donovan said. “[…] we're going to do everything we can to make sure that this market stabilizes and recovers."
Republican-turned-independent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said reviving the tax credit “would be a great lift” that “would stimulate the economy, it would increase home sales in Florida.”
Watch this portion of Ed Henry's interview with Crist, after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - Conservative commentator Glenn Beck says his weekend revival-style rally at the Lincoln Memorial was meant to reclaim the U.S. civil rights movement "from politics," arguing that the movement was about "people of faith."
Beck told Fox News, the network that carries his weekday television program, that the essence of the movement was about "people of faith who believe you have an equal right to justice."
"If it's not the essence, then we've been sold a pack of lies. The essence is that everyone deserves a shot - the content of character not the color of skin," he told "Fox News Sunday."
A view of the ‘Restoring Honor’ crowd. (PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Hernandez-Arthur /CNN)
Washington (CNN) – If you’ve ever tried to guess how many jelly beans are inside a huge jar, you have some idea what it’s like to estimate crowds at massive Washington D.C. rallies.
But the stakes in Washington are far higher, with the estimates politically charged and highly controversial. U.S. Park Police, burned by previous controversies, no longer makes them. So there are no official estimates of crowd size at events on the National Mall.
And Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally with Fox News and radio show host Glenn Beck was no different. There was wide disagreement of just how big the crowd near the Lincoln Memorial was, followed by claims that some estimates low-balled the size.
CBS News took a scientific approach, commissioning a crowd estimate by the company AirPhotosLive.com. The network reported that AirPhotosLive estimated the crowd at 87,000 people. But they noted that with a margin of error of 9,000, “between 78,000 and 96,000 attended the rally.”
(CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was elected to office as a Republican, but without his former party's backing in the Sunshine State's Senate race, it's clear he is trying to position himself directly in between his Democratic and Republican rivals on the political spectrum.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Crist straddled the line between the two parties on health care, same-sex marriage and Sarah Palin.
The governor also declined to say which party he would caucus with should he win election, repeating his oft-used maxim that he would "caucus with the people of Florida."
Crist would be ineligible to receive committee assignments and have far less power in the Senate if he chose not to caucus with one of the two major political parties. His decision of which party to side with could ultimately decide the balance of power in the Senate, which in turn would dictate the chamber's legislative agenda. When asked if Florida voters have a right to know which side he'd choose, Crist dodged the question.
"I think they know the way I'm going to go, I'm going to go the way that is best for them," Crist said. "[...] I don't have to say I'm going to caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans."
Watch key parts of Crist's extensive interview with Ed Henry, after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan revealed to CNN Friday that the Obama administration plans in coming weeks to launch two initiatives to deal with the crumbling housing market, and he left the door open to also reviving the expired $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers that had been propping up the industry.
"We're going to be rolling out an FHA refinancing effort to help borrowers who are under water in their homes get above water," Donovan said in an exclusive interview taped for CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" on Sunday. "And second, we're launching an emergency homeowners' loan program for unemployed borrowers to be able to stay in their homes."
The swift action being pushed by President Obama's housing chief come in response to awful news in the housing industry this week, starting with Tuesday's revelation that existing home sales hit their lowest level in over a decade, declining by over 27 percent during the month.
Watch key parts of Donovan's interview with Ed Henry, after the jump: