(CNN) - President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were upbeat in discussing the future of Iraq. I hope they are right but like so many U.S. officials and outside experts in both Washington and the region I am deeply worried about the future direction of that embattled country.
Item: The Iraqi government rejected U.S. requests to leave even a modest number of U.S. troops on the ground. That’s because Iran’s allies in the Iraqi government would have none of that.
Madison, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney swatted back at Newt Gingrich Monday in an escalating back-and-forth playing out across the key primary state of New Hampshire.
The former Massachusetts governor told members of the press at Madison Lumber Mill "there's no whining in politics" and seemed to accuse Gingrich of saying "outrageous or incendiary" things in a short-sighted attempt to build support.
New York (CNNMoney) - Democrats and Republicans both support extending the payroll tax cut for workers, and they both agree that the cost of the extension should be offset through changes elsewhere in the budget.
They even agree on a couple of ways to pay for the extension, such as increasing a fee that mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would charge mortgage lenders.
(CNN) - Newt Gingrich stepped up his efforts to appeal to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa Monday by promising in writing to "defend and strengthen the family."
Gingrich, who has been married three times, specifically said he would "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others."
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama met Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki amid the ongoing withdrawal of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq, a process to be completed by the end of this month.
Speaking to reporters after their Oval Office meeting, Obama said Monday that the end of the Iraq war means a new chapter in U.S.-Iraq relations, with a focus now on a "normal relationship between sovereign nations."
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Two new surveys, but the same poll position for the GOP presidential candidates in Iowa, the state which holds the first contest in the primary and caucus calendar.
According to an American Research Group, 22% of likely Republican caucus goers in Iowa say they support former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for their party's presidential nomination, with 17% saying they back former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 17% supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – An early proponent of Jon Huntsman is dropping his support over what he calls mismanagement of the candidate's effort in New Hampshire, and will back Newt Gingrich instead.
Richard Brothers, a former state commissioner of employment security who was listed as an alternate convention delegate for Huntsman, said until recently the candidate's national team did not follow a sound strategy for winning New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.
Washington (CNNMoney) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham defended his vote to block confirmation of a director to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by comparing it to something out of the reign of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Graham accused the bureau of being "something out of a Stalinist era," because it has no board monitoring it and it doesn't have to go through the congressional appropriation process.
Londonderry, New Hampshire (CNN) – Newt Gingrich responded to a call Monday by GOP rival Mitt Romney to return the money he received from mortgage giant Freddie Mac by issuing his own challenge.
"If Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain that I would be glad to then listen to him," Gingrich told reporters after a town hall, referring to the company Romney ran. "And I'll bet you 10 dollars, not 10 thousand that he won't take the offer."
Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Arizona can enforce its controversial immigration reform law, over the objections of the Obama administration. The justices made the announcement in a brief order Monday.
Federal courts had blocked key parts of the state's Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, known as SB 1070. Arizona had argued illegal immigration was creating financial hardships and safety concerns for its residents and that the federal government has long failed to control the problem.