Washington (CNN) - After a week mostly focused on Iraq and Mideast diplomacy, it's back to the economy for President Barack Obama, who will deliver remarks Friday on the August unemployment numbers.
Then, Obama is scheduled to give two big speeches next week to try and frame his administration's response to the recession, less than two months ahead of a midterm election where Democratic majorities in the House and Senate are on the ropes.
Senior aides confirm the president recently asked his economic team to come up with various proposals he could roll out to show that amid high anxiety across the nation, he's still working hard to jump-start the economy, including more federal spending on infrastructure projects and tax cuts popular with the business community such as a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit.
Obama himself hinted at the options on the table on Monday in the Rose Garden, when he accused Republicans of blocking a separate $55 billion legislation package that would cut small business taxes. Senate Democrats hope to pass the package later this month and get it to the president's desk before the election.
Washington (CNN) - A defiant Sheriff Joe Arpaio accused the Obama Justice Department of trying to "sandbag" him by filing suit against his office Thursday. On another issue rippling through Arizona politics, the lawman said he has never heard of a beheading in Arizona tied to illegal immigration.
The Justice Department said it had no choice but to file suit because it said Arpaio's office was refusing to surrender requested documents and grant its investigators access to Maricopa County Sheriff's Office personnel.
"Just recently our lawyers, in Washington, have met with them," Arpaio said in an interview with me for "John King, USA" to air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. "They have thousands and thousands of our documents. And we thought we had this thing resolved but now they sandbag us and they sue me. Why are they doing that when we are cooperating? It took them a year-and-a-half and why now?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell in a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Secretary’s Office on Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: State Department Official Photograph)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's Middle East peace initiative this week has led to promises of a second round of negotiations on September 14-15, but CNN has learned that Israeli and Palestinian officials are also privately discussing the possibility of a third round of talks as early as later this month.
Two senior officials close to the talks said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are already discussing a possible third round of talks because both sides are concerned about the impact of Israel's 10-month moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank that expires on September 26th.
The goal is to pick up some momentum coming out of the September 14-15 talks, which Obama's Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell announced Thursday in Washington after the first direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in nearly two years.
Washington (CNN) –President Obama will have a news conference next Friday September 10, his first full-scale question-and-answer session at the White House in nearly four months according to his aides.
The news conference will come at an action-packed time for the President, just days after he helped launch direct Middle East peace talks and gave a prime-time Oval Office address on the end of combat operations in Iraq, as well as falling less than two months before a critical midterm election where Democrats' majorities in the House and Senate are on the ropes largely because of the nation's economic uncertainty.
Obama's last news conference at the White House was on May 27 in the East Room, and was devoted largely to the Gulf oil spill that was consuming his presidency at the time.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama and Vice President Biden are both returning to Ohio next week, the fourth White House visit to the politically crucial state in less than a month.
The White House said Thursday that President Obama will make remarks on the economy in Cleveland next Wednesday. Two days earlier, Vice President Biden will be in Toledo for Labor Day events.
Obama will bring the economic message to a state with an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in July.
The trip will mark the president's 10th trip to Ohio since taking office. He joked during a June visit to Columbus that "(Gov. Ted) Strickland said I've been in Ohio so much he might start charging me for it."
But Strickland is a key reason Ohio is getting so much attention from the White House in the weeks ahead of the midterm election. The Democratic governor is in a close re-election battle with former Rep. John Kasich, the Republican nominee, and both Obama and Biden helped raise money for Strickland last month.
(CNN) - We've still got two months left until the 2010 midterm elections, but we now have our first television commercial of the 2012 presidential campaign. And the ad advocates for a person who says she has no intention of running for the White House.
"She has more experience working in and with the White House than most living presidents. She is one of the most admired women in our nation's history. Let's make sure the president we should have elected in 2008 will be on the ballot in 2012. Hillary 2012: Hillary Clinton for President. Start now. Where there's a Hill there's a way," says an ad that began running on television in New Orleans Wednesday.
The commercial was paid for by a Chicago dentist named William DeJean.
When asked why he put the ad up, DeJean told CNN Thursday that "I'm a dentist and I don't think this country is headed in the right direction."
Regarding Clinton, DeJean says "I think she is the most qualified."
Washington (CNN) - With his victory this week over Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's GOP U.S. Senate primary, attorney Joe Miller joins the growing ranks of Sarah Palin-endorsed candidates who have found success at the ballot box.
Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, has been active in the 2009-2010 election season, doling out 43 endorsements to conservative candidates in both state and federal elections. Of the 29 candidates who received a nod from Palin prior to their primary, 14 went on to win the nomination, 10 lost, and another five are still pounding the pavement with primary elections in the near future. Six endorsements were made after the candidates had already won their primary, and another seven went to candidates that did not compete in a primary.
Those still waiting to see the effect of their primary endorsement from are Maryland gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy, New Hampshire Senate hopeful Kelly Ayotte, and congressional candidates John Gomez (NY-02), Michael Grimm (NY-13), and Sean Duffy (WI-07).
Read the breakdown of Palin's endorsements, after the jump:
(Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET)
(CNN) - A judge on Thursday denied a request for President Barack Obama to testify at a court martial for a U.S. Army flight surgeon who refused to deploy to Afghanistan until he saw proof that Obama was born in the United States.
The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, said any evidence or witnesses related to Obama's citizenship is irrelevant to the charges against Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who has 17 years of service in the U.S. military.
After failing to deploy with his unit in April, Lakin was charged with missing a movement, disobeying a lawful order and dereliction of duty.
Washington (CNN) - The makeover of the Oval Office has been widely panned in press reports and on the blogosphere for being too casual and for its bland color palette but White House press secretary Robert Gibbs doesn't expect President Obama to weigh in anytime soon.
Related:The Oval Office gets a makeover
"I have not heard him give a review on the reviews," Gibbs said, when asked what the president thought about his new office at Thursday's press briefing.
A design team swooped in and in less than 10 days – while the president and First Family were away on Martha's Vineyard – transformed the president's office from a traditional and somewhat formal setting to a more modern family-style room.
There's a new signature oval rug, leather desk chair, two overstuffed light brown couches, a walnut and mica coffee table with modern lines, two blue ceramic lamps and blue accent pillows on the couch, reupholstered furniture, and handmade striped wallpaper.
(CNN) - Call it the food fight that won't end.
The Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's sixth congressional district is headed to the state fair Thursday. No surprise there: people from across the state make an annual trek to the state fair, which runs through Labor Day.
But State Senator Tarryl Clark's visit comes just days after the Bachmann campaign went up with a television commercial which 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. And both candidates are using a back-and-forth over the ad for their own campaign fundraising.
"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."