Washington (CNN) - When President Obama unveiled his revamped national security team in the East Room, he quickly joked about how badly Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been itching to finally get serious about retirement.
"When I took office, Bob Gates had already served under seven presidents, and he carried a clock that counted down the days, hours, and minutes until he could return to Washington state with his wife, Becky," Obama said. He added that he felt lucky to get Gates to keep pushing the exit date back to deal with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as some major budget decisions confronting the nation.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama on Thursday appeared to rule out acting on his own to implement some provisions of an immigration reform bill that failed to win congressional approval last year.
A White House statement issued after Obama met with "influential Hispanics" from across the country said the president noted that Congress must pass legislation to "fix what's broken about our immigration system, and that he cannot unilaterally change the law."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
For the latest political news: http://www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Obama to visit Alabama as South reels in tornado aftermath; 300 killed
President Barack Obama plans to visit Alabama on Friday, the hardest-hit of six states ravaged by a series of storms and tornadoes that killed 300 people and left entire neighborhoods in ruins.
CNN: Senate Republicans to force vote on Obama's budget
A day after Senate Democrats announced they would force a vote on an House-passed Republican budget for next year that makes dramatic changes to Medicare – in order to test if Senate Republicans really support it – Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said he would force a vote on President Obama's competing budget proposal to see if Democrats actually back the president's plan. Republicans Thursday said they think an embarrassingly high number of Democrats won't.