CAIRO, Egypt (TIME) - President Barack Obama got off to a good start last week where the Middle East is concerned, using his first full day on the the job to phone four key regional leaders to discuss peacemaking plans, then following that up on Thursday by announcing the appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell — widely respected for his work in brokering peace in Northern Ireland and previous mediation efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — as the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East.
Yet, as someone who has reported on the countless peace conferences, U.S. peace plans and peace missions by secretaries of state and special envoys since President Ronald Reagan was in office — and also documented the rage and exasperation at America that the issue has caused throughout the Arab world — I have some advice for President Obama: Achieving peace will take more than simply reinvigorating diplomacy, and relinquishing the Bush Administration's preference for the use of force to address the region's problems. To succeed, Obama needs a new Middle East policy, one that genuinely addresses the needs, interests and aspirations of the region itself.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - After a call for "bold and swift" action on the economy in his first moments as president on Tuesday, President Barack Obama got right to work, maneuvering to reach a bipartisan agreement on his sweeping economic recovery plan.
On Friday, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Democratic and Republican congressional leadership to discuss his stimulus proposal, trying to sell both sides on a plan that includes both tax cuts and massive spending efforts.
The president offered more detail on his plan to restore economic growth. He said he'd take a three-pronged approach to recovery: stabilize the financial system, fix market regulation and pass the stimulus plan.
Obama and McCain appeared on the same stage Monday night. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama paid tribute Monday night to the man he defeated.
"There are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain," Obama said at a dinner honoring the former Republican presidential candidate. "It is what he has strived for and achieved throughout his life. It is built into the very content of his character."
Read Obama's full prepared remarks after the jump
UPDATE: McCain's full remarks also after the jump
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Their faces and darker skins make them look different. They are routinely called "slave" by the majority, whatever their profession. But Iraq's black population hopes that Barack Obama's rise to the White House will mark a turning point for minorities not just in the United States, but also in their country.
Jalal Thiyab Thijeel, general secretary of the "Movement of Free Iraqis," followed every detail of Obama's election campaign. "Inspiring," he calls it. Inspiring politically, and personally. Like Obama, Thijeel has family roots in Africa.
"We told our people, Inshalla, God willing, Obama is going to win, and if he wins, it will be a victory for all black people in the world," he recalls. "We're going to make him a model to follow. Even our old women were praying for him to win."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama spent his last full day as president-elect visiting wounded soldiers and exhorting Americans to spend more time in the service of others.
With only hours to go before assuming the nation's highest office, he began Monday morning with a surprise visit to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He met with 14 patients injured in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
Obama then visited a National Day of Service project, stopping by the Sasha Bruce House, an emergency shelter for homeless teenagers in the District of Columbia area.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural address is one of the most anticipated speeches in decades, with many expecting his words to be chiseled into marble some day.
Related: Obama to issue a call to action
Obama has said he has been studying previous inaugural addresses - including President Abraham Lincoln's and the speeches President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave as he took office amid the Great Depression.
Given the nation's current economic crisis, Errol Lewis, a columnist for the New York Daily News, was looking for Obama to echo Roosevelt's famous 1933 inauguration address when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
(CNN) - When Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, the wish list that has been building abroad may have grown longer than he or anyone else can deliver.
There are the apparently eternal conflicts of the Middle East and Kashmir, between India and Pakistan, that have already reared their ugly heads almost as a warning even before Obama took office. Between them, they engulf most of the grievances and violence that shape the Islamic world and its relations with the United States.
Intense U.S. involvement will be needed to help resolve both of the conflicts. This will require imagination, creative out-of-the-box diplomacy, and the courage to see it through both from the United States and leaders on the ground. Going back even to the status-quo ante will no longer be sufficient.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Defense Secretary Roberts Gates will be playing a critical but low profile during Tuesday’s inauguration.
Gates has been named to act as the “designated successor” during inaugural events, according to a statement from White House Press Secretary Dana Perino Monday.
In the role, Gates will be responsible for keeping the federal government running in the event of any kind of catastrophic event that disrupts the transfer of power between President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama, who agreed with Bush’s selection of Gates for the special task.
Gates will spend the inauguration at a military installation outside Washington, according to a senior Pentagon official. There are a number of places set up around the country for remote command of the military and the rest of the federal government in the event of a catastrophe.
In the absence of any unforeseen event, Gates will be undesignated after Obama’s swearing in.
A Pentagon official knowledgeable about the designation of Gates would not say whether the Defense Secretary has already left the Washington area.
Gates is the only cabinet-level official who will serve in both administrations.
–CNN's Ed Henry, Suzanne Malveaux, and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team will be wasting no time getting to work Tuesday, according to two sources close to the Obama transition team.
Twenty senior staff on Obama’s team have already had their paperwork cleared to enter the White House Tuesday, as soon as Obama is sworn in as the country’s 44th president. Vans will take them from the Capitol to the White House as soon as the swearing in is completed.
Some senior staff will stay behind to attend the traditional lunch with the new president, but even those staffers will get to work quickly. They’ll be arriving at the White House even as the inaugural parade snakes through Washington.
Related: Obama plans ambitious first week