(CNN) - President Obama said in an interview aired Sunday that the hardest decision he's made since taking office was to send more troops to Afghanistan.
Also in the interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," Obama defended his decision to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he countered criticism from former vice president Dick Cheney.
"I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney - not surprisingly," Obama said. "I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can't reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don't torture, with our national security interests. I think he's drawing the wrong lesson from history."
Obama was responding to comments Cheney made to CNN's "State of the Union" on March 15, when he said the president is making the nation less safe by closing the Guantanamo prison and ending interrogation practices that Bush administration critics consider torture for terror suspects.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - The Obama administration on Monday will formally unveil a program to help banks clean up their books by subsidizing private investors' purchase of troubled assets.
The effort marks the next big step in Washington's six-month-old bank rescue, which has so far mostly entailed making capital investments and backstopping bank debt.
Administration officials, in a briefing with reporters late Sunday night, said they plan to commit $75 billion to $100 billion to start wiping out bad assets and would evaluate how programs are working before deciding how to commit more money.
The goal is to buy up at least $500 billion of bad assets - loans, such as those for subprime mortgages, that are now in danger of default.
Investors have been waiting expectantly for details since last month when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced the framework of a plan to address two of the biggest problems in the banking sector: the toxic assets keeping banks from lending and the shortage of capital at major institutions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Large holes in the Obama administration were filled Friday as Attorney General Eric Holder personally swore in his new deputy attorney general and associate attorney general, who had been confirmed by the Senate one day earlier.
The powerful second- and third-ranking Justice Department posts had been temporarily filled by career officials while Republican senators slowed the confirmation of David Ogden and Thomas Perrelli over questions about pornography and the right to die.
"You don't know how good this feels. I now have a right arm and a left arm," Holder told a crowd gathered for the swearing-in ceremony in Holder's office.
The swearing-in represented a reunion of Clinton administration lawyers. All three men had been top subordinates of then-Attorney General Janet Reno who had an often strained relationship with the White House over Justice Department-backed investigations of the president and Hillary Clinton and other administration officials.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that most Americans think President Barack Obama will give a good speech in his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, but expectations are not as high as they were for his inaugural address.
Twenty-eight percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday morning say they think the president's prime-time address will be excellent. That's down from the 44 percent last month who thought the inauguration address by Obama would be excellent.
Another 44 percent feel the speech will be good and 19 percent say it will be okay. Eight percent suggest the speech will be poor or terrible, up from three percent who thought the same way about the president's inauguration address.
"The expectation among Democrats is as high as it was for the inaugural address," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the number of Republicans who expect a good speech from Obama has dropped 24 points. That may be because an inauguration is usually seen as a bipartisan event, while the out-party often views a speech to Congress as a partisan exercise."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that nearly three out of four Americans are scared about the way things are going in the country today.
Seventy-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say they're very or somewhat scared about the way things are going in the United States. That's six points higher than in an October poll.
Nearly eight in 10 say things are going badly in the country, with just 21 percent suggesting that things are going well. The survey also says that three out of four Americans are angry about the way things are going in the country. But three out of four questioned say that things are going well for them personally.
The poll was released a day before President Barack Obama gives a prime-time address before a joint session of Congress.
"Americans always believe things are better in their own lives than in the rest of the country," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But they are realists as well - they recognize that bad times somewhere else in the U.S. may eventually come to affect them. That's why so many say they are angry and scared, even though they're content with their own personal circumstances."
"There is a tiny sliver of good news - the number of Americans who think things are going very badly has dropped from 40 percent in December to 32 percent now," Holland added. "But since most of those people switched from the very bad category to the pretty bad category, it's wrong to say that the public
is more optimistic - call them a little less pessimistic at best."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
NEW YORK (CNN) - A day after publishing a cartoon that drew fire from critics who said it evoked historically racist images, the New York Post apologized in a statement on its Web site - even as it defended its action and blasted some detractors.
Many of those critical of the cartoon said it appeared to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee in a commentary on his recently approved economic stimulus package.
"Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy," the paper said about the drawing, which shows two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot.
The drawing is a reference to the mauling of a woman by a pet chimpanzee, which was then killed by police. In the cartoon, one of the officers tells the other, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
The Post said the cartoon was meant to mock what it called an "ineptly written" stimulus bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the eve of President Barack Obama's first trip outside of the United States, a new national poll suggests that Americans think that world leaders have far more respect for him than they did for former President George W. Bush. But the Gallup survey, released Wednesday, indicates little improvement from last year in the number of respondents who are satisfied with America's standing in the world.
President Obama travels to Canada Thursday, where he’ll discuss trade issues and world affairs with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Sixty-seven percent of those questioned in the poll released on the eve of that trip say they think world leaders respect the new president. That compares with just 24 percent who said the same thing about President Bush a year ago.
The results come from Gallup's world affairs survey, which has been conducted each February since 2001.
The poll suggests American believe the president will have to work hard to improve America's international standing. Forty-five percent of those questioned think the U.S. rates favorably in the eyes of the world. That's roughly the same as the 43 percent who felt that way last year, under President Bush. And just 32 percent said they are satisfied with the standing of the United States in the world - barely higher than the 3 in 10 who felt the same way a year ago.
"Americans have a realistic view of what it will take to improve the view of the United States abroad," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "People in other countries didn't like George W. Bush, but they also didn't like his policies. Electing a different president may be step one, but step two won't occur until the new president changes U.S. policy, and that hasn't happened yet."
The Gallup poll was conducted February 9-12, with 1,022 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As auto giants General Motors and Chrysler face Tuesday's deadline to submit plans to show the government how they can repay billions in federal loans, the White House is creating a Presidential Task Force on Autos to oversee the restructuring of the auto industry, a senior administration official said.
The task force will include members from the Departments of Treasury, Labor, Transportation, Commerce, and Energy, the National Economic Council (NEC), the White House Office of Energy and Environment, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Environmental Protection Agency, the official said.
It will be overseen by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and NEC Director Larry Summers.
Geithner will oversee the loan agreements with the automakers.
Teams at the Treasury Department and the National Economic Council are working with the automakers and stakeholders to prepare for their Tuesday submissions, the official said.
(CNN) - They're the unlikeliest of drinking buddies: President Obama and one of his fiercest critics - Fox News host Sean Hannity.
But the two may just be getting closer to sharing a bottle or two– so long as Hannity is willing to foot the bill - according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
"Get him a six pack of Budweiser and we'll meet Hannity anywhere he wants to go," said a laughing Gibbs, who also added the meeting should take place in public otherwise "nobody would believe it actually happened."
The comments come one day after the president was asked at a town hall in Indiana whether he would take up Hannity's open invitation to meet for a beer.
“I didn't know he had invited me for a beer, but I will take that under advisement…I'm always good for a beer." Obama said.
Hours later on his radio program, Hannity said he's pleased with the president's gesture.
"It seems like he's opened the door that he wants to meet with me," he told his listeners. "Now if he does, I would go on your behalf.”
(CNN) -The street artist who created the ubiquitous red, white and blue Obama "Hope" posters was arrested Friday in Boston on outstanding graffiti charges, police said.
Shepard Fairey, 38, was arrested en route to an opening party for his first solo art exhibition on two outstanding warrants for property damage by graffiti, Boston police said.
Officer James Kenneally said the instances of graffiti involved images of the late wrestler Andre the Giant - Fairey's tag.
The Friday arrest represents Fairey's second legal tangle this week.
Earlier, the Associated Press accused him of copyright infringement, saying the iconic "Hope" portrait of the president is based on an April 2006 photograph of Obama taken by AP's Mannie Garcia.