(CNN) - Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said Wednesday in a detailed defense and explanation of the U.S. response to the escalating crisis in Ukraine.
And new sanctions could be imposed as early as Friday, with key Putin allies, institutions and top oligarchs among the targets, other senior administration officials said.
Updated 7:27 a.m. ET, 4/17/2014
Wakefield, Virginia (CNN) – Mark Warner was weaving his way through the crowd on a chilly Wednesday afternoon at the Shad Planking, the annual Virginia fish fry that brings beer-sipping politicos together in the tall pines of southeastern Virginia, when a burly man sporting an NRA sticker approached.
“Senator, did you read the Affordable Care Act before you voted for it?” he asked.
Warner, his brow furrowed earnestly, was prepared.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 16, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA SLAMS HOUSE GOP ON IMMIGRATION … Marking the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s passage of a comprehensive immigration reform plan, President Obama released a statement Wednesday ripping House Republicans for "repeatedly failing to take action” on the issue. The president said the House GOP seems to prefer “the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform.”
AS DIAZ-BALART URGES GOP NOT TO CEDE THE ISSUE: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, warned fellow Hill Republicans on Wednesday that if they do not take action on immigration reform, Obama will take the matter into his own hands.
“I’m convinced that if we don’t get it done by the August break, the president, who is feeling a lot of pressure from having not done anything on immigration reform, will feel that he has to act through executive action,” Diaz-Balart told the Washington Post. “If he does that, the window for Republicans and Democrats to negotiate on this issue is closed until the next president.
(CNN) - What do the three most recent public opinion polls of Iowa's 2016 Republican presidential caucus have in common?
All three surveys indicate there's no frontrunner in the very early hunt for the GOP presidential nomination in the state that votes first in the race for the White House. And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee narrowly tops the list of potential candidates in each poll.
(CNN) - As Michael Bloomberg pledged to put $50 million behind his new gun control efforts, the billionaire and former three-term New York City mayor also made something else very clear: He's not interested in running for the White House.
"No is the answer. Plain and simple," Bloomberg said Wednesday morning on NBC's "Today," after he was asked if he has plans to launch a 2016 presidential campaign.
(CNN) - The vice president has joined the world of filter-obsessed smartphone photographers on the popular photo-sharing site Instagram.
Joe Biden's Instagram account posted its first picture on Wednesday - displaying the vice president's signature eyewear in the foreground and a studious Biden reading what may be an important White House memo, blurred in the background.
Washington (CNN) - They've become some of the most important players in campaign politics over the past four years, and brand new fundraising figures indicate that the influence of outside groups is not diminishing.
In fact, the numbers suggest that these organizations, which are free of many of the fundraising rules that keep checks on candidates and party committees, will have a major impact on the 2014 Senate, House and gubernatorial elections, which are shaping up to be the most expensive midterms ever.
(CNN) - Chris Christie says that limiting campaign donations is "ridiculous," and is calling for a 48-hour reporting period for disclosing contributions.
New Jersey's Republican governor said at a town hall in Somerset Tuesday that rules limiting the amount someone can give to a campaign doesn't "stop money from getting into politics anyway."
Oakdale, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Hoping to help close the gap between workers' skills and the needs of businesses, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he's putting hundreds of millions toward job training programs that produce highly skilled workers.
“When it comes to training our workers, not all of today's good jobs require a four-year college degree, but I promise there's not a job out there that's going to pay a lot if you don't have some sort of specialized training,” Obama said. “So our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race and you see what happens when we put effort into making sure workers have new skills, the education that's required for this 21st century economy.”