Washington (CNN) –In his Oval Office address on Iraq Tuesday night, President Obama is planning to ignore Republican suggestions that he acknowledge a personal mistake and give credit to former President George W. Bush for executing the 2007 surge of troops over the objections of Obama and other Democratic senators at the time, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the speech.
The officials added that during the speech marking the end of combat operation in Iraq the President will also address the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad, which Obama alluded to back in May at a commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
"Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power - because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy," Obama said in the May commencement address. "And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country - we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths."
(CNN) - Talk about playing to the audience.
A new television commercial in Minnesota from Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann's campaign targets her Democratic challenger for voting to raise taxes on corn dogs, deep fried bacon and beer, popular cuisine at just about any state fair in the Midwest. The ad's release comes as many in the state are paying a visit to the annual Minnesota State Fair, which this year kicked off on August 26 and runs through Labor Day (September 6).
"It's state fair time and you don't want to hear about politics," says a character in the ad named Jim the Election Guy. "But while you're at the fair, you should know that Tarryl Clark here voted to raise taxes on your corn dog, and your deep fried bacon, and your beer. So if you see Tarryl Clark, while you're at the fair, just ask her: What's up with voting to tax my beer?"
Clark is the Minnesota state senator who won the Democratic nomination in the state's sixth congressional district. Her campaign fired back at Bachmann.
(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is taking aim at the new health care law.
The possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination issued an executive order Tuesday that directs Minnesota state agencies and departments not seek federal grants under the health care measure, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama this spring.
Pawlenty told reporters earlier Tuesday that the new law, which was a top priority for the White House and congressional Democrats, is a "misguided piece of legislation," and added that "anything that I can do to slow down, limit or negate Obamacare, I'm going to try to do it within reason."
(CNN) - The Justice Department has filed its appeal of a federal court ruling that blocked federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, warning that the decision could shut down life-saving research and stall medical breakthroughs.
Washington (CNN) - Just hours before the official end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Defense Secretary Robert Gates grew emotional when discussing the toll it has taken on American men and women in uniform.
"Today, at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 4,427 American service members have died in Iraq, 3,502 of them killed in action; 34,265 have been wounded or injured," Gates said, appearing to choke up before an audience at the American Legion convention in Milwaukee Tuesday. "We must never forget."
Gates also warned that while the U.S. military can point to many accomplishments there, all is not "well in Iraq."
"The most recent elections have yet to result in a coalition government. Sectarian tensions remain a fact of life. Al Qaeda in Iraq is beaten, but not gone," he said. "This is not a time for premature victory parades or self-congratulation."
(CNN) – Dick Armey, the former Republican majority leader and lobbyist who has resurrected himself as a leader of the Tea Party movement, won't be running for president in 2012.
The reason? Goats.
Asked about running for president in 2012 during an interview with the Texas Tribune that was published Tuesday, Armey said he wouldn't be throwing his hat in the ring.
"Oh, no, no, no, no. I've got 34 goats that depend on me daily. I couldn't be away that long," the FreedomWorks chairman said.
But Armey did say that a Republican – someone very different than Obama – will be the next president.
Washington (CNN) - A senior administration official said the war in Afghanistan will be a "key part" of the president's prime time address Tuesday night although the official would not characterize what percentage of the speech would be focused on that war. The official said it's important to give Afghanistan weight because of the administration's strategy to "take the fight directly to al Qaeda."
(CNN) - Mitt Romney's lending of a helping hand to Republicans in Oregon brings to nearly 40 the number of states where the possible 2012 GOP presidential hopeful has assisted candidates.
The former Massachusetts governor's political action committee, Free and Strong America PAC, Tuesday announced the endorsement of four GOP candidates in Oregon, including former pro-basketball player Chris Dudley, who is the party's nominee for governor. The PAC also announced that it's contributing $17,500 to the candidates' campaigns.
"Oregon – and our nation – needs leaders who will say no to the culture of higher taxes, higher spending, and higher debt, and that is why I am proud to stand with these candidates today," said Romney, in a statement released by his PAC.
Washington (CNN) - In twin speeches laced with heavy doses of "I-told-you-so," Republican leaders in the House and Senate tried to convince voters Tuesday that America's success in Iraq is not because of President Barack Obama, but in spite of him.
"Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, in prepared remarks for the American Legion convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"One lawmaker rejected the idea that the surge would reduce violence in Iraq, saying - and again I'm quoting - 'in fact, I think it will do the reverse.'"
The lawmaker Boehner is referring to is then-Sen. Barack Obama. Boehner aides said he was reluctant to criticize the commander-in-chief by name in front of a roomful of veterans, but insisted it would be clear who he was talking about.