Washington (CNN) – He wants to leave next year. That much he has said. But the former spy chief and current Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been coy about the when.
But Thursday, a few clues to and lines to read between.
New York (CNN) – The Obama administration is changing the way it delivers development aid, elevating the issue to a centerpiece of its national security and economic strategy and targeting nations where resources can be most effective, a senior administration official told CNN.
The policy will be unveiled by President Barack Obama on Wednesday at a meeting on the Millennium Development goals, an ambitious agenda world leaders set 10 years ago to tackle global poverty.
The official did not wish to be identified because the president had not given the speech yet. The days of "just throwing assistance at problems" are gone, the official said. The new policy will treat development as strategic issue, focusing on countries demonstrating good governance and strong economic policy that have the potential to become the strongest partners for the United States.
(CNN) - In what is becoming a regular occurrence at the White House, a senior adviser will answer questions submitted via YouTube after the president's Oval Office address Tuesday night.
Deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes will answer questions submitted by the public on YouTube. Users of the site have voted on their favorites and Rhodes will answer the questions that received the most votes.
"The Open for Questions live chats are an increasingly popular and effective way for the Administration to create a online dialogue between senior officials and Americans across the country about issues they care about, such as the end of combat operations in Iraq," White House director of new media Macon Phillips told CNN.
This is not the first time the White House has used YouTube to solicit and then answer questions on major topics. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs participated in one after Gulf oil spill, and former White House communications director Anita Dunn answered questions after Obama's speech to the Join Session of Congress regarding health care. The president himself has even participated in one of the sessions.
(CNN) - The Obama administration stepped up its defense of the controversial $862 billion economic stimulus plan Tuesday, releasing an analysis which concludes that the measure is helping to spark major technological advances in energy production, among other things.
According to the analysis, the package's $100 billion "innovation" investment has helped put the United States on track to cut the cost of solar power by 50 percent in the next five years.
The report also predicts that the cost of electric vehicle batteries will drop 70 percent by 2015. The country's total capacity to generate renewable energy, it says, will double by 2012.
Additionally, the analysis says that medical investments funded by the Recovery Act will lower the cost of a personal human genome map to under $1,000 over the next five years - a development that could have significant ramifications for health care.
(CNN) - Administration officials are still reviewing a federal judge's decision to grant a preliminary injunction stopping federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said Tuesday.
They are "exploring all possibilities" to allow such research to continue, Burton told reporters at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama is on vacation.
Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth could even cut off stem cell research that was allowed under former President George W. Bush, Burton said. Obama believes embryonic stem cell research conducted under "stringent ethical guidelines" is critical, the spokesman added.
Washington (CNN) - A group of conservative activists slammed the Obama administration Monday for allegedly planning to use its administrative authority to undercut immigration restrictions in the wake of congressional inaction on a comprehensive reform bill.
In a letter sent to the White House, leaders of 17 conservative grass-roots organizations cited reports that the administration is considering using its executive power "to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens."
"We strongly urge that you refrain pursuing that tactic," they wrote. "We believe that such an abuse of power would further polarize the immigration issue, which already is so controversial that reasonable discussion is confounded."
Only Congress, they argued, "possesses plenary power over making our immigration policy. The administrative branch has limited discretion for dealing with aliens and quite limited policymaking authority."
Only 36,695 troubled homeowners received long-term mortgage modifications in July under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The president's signature foreclosure rescue plan is losing its punch, according to a federal report released Friday.
Only 36,695 troubled homeowners received long-term mortgage modifications in July under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP. This brings the total to 434,717 borrowers who have successfully made it out of the trial phase.
A month ago, 51,205 delinquent borrowers were given long-term assistance.
The number of people falling out of the program, however, is on the rise. Some 12,912 homeowners had their permanent modifications canceled in July, 272 of whom paid off their loans.
(CNN) - A majority of Americans favor President Obama's proposal on tax cuts, but his health care bill remains unpopular, a new CNN/Opinion Research Survey suggests.
On taxes, three in ten believe that the Bush-era tax cuts should be continued for all Americans, according to the new poll released Friday. Just over 50 percent say those tax cuts should be continued only for families who make less than $250,000 a year, as Obama has proposed. Nearly 1 in 5 meanwhile say the tax cuts should expire for all Americans.
Not surprisingly, Republicans tend to favor tax cuts for all, while Democrats prefer Obama's proposal. Half of all Republicans surveyed want tax cuts on all income brackets to be extended while only 13 percent of Democrats feel that way. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Democrats are in favor of rolling back tax cuts for wealthier Americans while only 40 percent of Republicans are.
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is preparing to announce new rules allowing some travel to Cuba, along with an expanded ability for Americans to send economic assistance, a senior U.S.official and congressional sources told CNN Wednesday.
According to two congressional aides briefed informally on the plans, the administration is expected to announce "soon" that it will essentially reinstate measures that were in place under the Clinton administration.
Both aides stressed the administration is still working through the details and legal language.
New York (CNNMoney.com) – Worried about your taxes going up next year? They might for some high earners. But some not-quite-rich taxpayers could end up with a surprise tax cut.
If the Bush tax cuts expire for the nation's top earners, people making a pinch less than the wealthiest Americans, who don't quite qualify for the new top two tax brackets, could find themselves in an even lower bracket next year.
"We should end up with a sweet spot in the middle of the higher income brackets," said Robert Kerr, senior director of government relations at the National Association of Enrolled Agents. "This is an unintended benefit of the new plan that many people don't realize."