New York (CNNMoney.com) - Republicans say raising taxes on the wealthy would cause small businesses to pull back on hiring. Many leading Democrats say that's nonsense.
The answer isn't black and white, despite politicians' confident assertions to the contrary. It's more like multiple shades of gray.
Here's a breakdown of the debate.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama declared that "the American combat mission in Iraq has ended" in his primetime address Tuesday.
"Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country," he said.
The president addressed the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad. Obama said getting the economy back on track is his "central responsibility as president."
"Today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," the president said.
Washington (CNN) –In his Oval Office address on Iraq Tuesday night, President Obama is planning to ignore Republican suggestions that he acknowledge a personal mistake and give credit to former President George W. Bush for executing the 2007 surge of troops over the objections of Obama and other Democratic senators at the time, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the speech.
The officials added that during the speech marking the end of combat operation in Iraq the President will also address the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad, which Obama alluded to back in May at a commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
"Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power - because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy," Obama said in the May commencement address. "And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country - we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths."
Washington (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush appeared relaxed as he talk about his post-presidency life, according to one participant at Friday's kickoff breakfast for the Bush Cheney Alumni Association at a Washington hotel.
In his speech to several hundred people who served in his administration, he also talked about writing his book, due out later this year, and in the process poked fun at himself.
"This is going to come as quite a shock to people up here that I can write a book, much less read one," Bush joked, the one participant told CNN, confirming a quote first reported by Politico. The participant refused to discuss his comments in any more depth since it was a closed press event, and Mr. Bush asked for his remarks not to be leaked.
Bush's spokesman refused to comment on the event.
The former president previously told the Los Angeles Times his aim for the book was to help "people to understand the environment in which I was making decisions ... I want people to get a sense of how decisions were made, and I want people to see the options that were placed before me."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush "seemed to feel considerable unease" with John McCain as the Republican presidential nominee, according to ex-speechwriter Matt Latimer in his tell-all memoir on his days in the White House.
In Latimer's new book, "Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor," set to hit bookstores on September 22, he reveals Bush's reactions to the economic collapse, the presidential campaign, and other memorable events. GQ published an excerpt from the memoir in its October issue.
Latimer said Bush liked Mitt Romney best and that he was "clearly not impressed with the McCain operation." Latimer said the former president wanted to appear with McCain at a campaign event in Phoenix, but after he was told the then-Republican nominee couldn't get enough people to show up, he called it a "cruel hoax."
"'He couldn't get 500 people? I could get that many people to turn out in Crawford.' He shook his head. 'This is a five-spiral crash, boys.'"
Bush presumed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, according to Latimer, and was extremely critical of Barack Obama. Latimer said Bush was "ticked off" after one of Obama's speeches and he said the future president wasn't "remotely qualified" for the challenges of the job.
(CNN) - For some families, like the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Roosevelts, politics runs in the blood. But as history shows, coming from a powerful political family doesn't mean a free ride to the top.
"It does help, and it hurts. It's a two-edged sword," said Doug Wead, a presidential historian and former adviser to President George H.W. Bush. "It initially helps the candidate with name recognition and more importantly with fundraising ... but many vote against the child as well."
The children of political families inherit a treasure chest of contacts, campaign workers and often endorsements, but the benefits have their limits.
Only two presidential sons have followed their fathers to the White House (John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush), and just one presidential family - the Bushes - has sent sons to the governor's mansion (Jeb Bush in Florida and George Bush in Texas).
"I conclude that a brand name - a famous family name - is typically worth one step up on the political ladder," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow emeritus in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, who has researched and written about political dynasties dating back to colonial times. "They get one step up - and they are on their own."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after former President George W. Bush seemed to criticize the Obama administration for departing from a number of his anti-terrorism policies, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back.
Asked about Bush's remarks during Thursday's press briefing Gibbs had a simple response. "We won," Gibbs told reporters.
In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies during a speech in Pennsylvania Wednesday, Bush appeared to take issue with the new administration's early decision to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of aggressive interrogation techniques.
"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," Bush said, according to a report by the Washington Times. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."
Gibbs said Thursday that the American people had made their own decision about battling terror.
"I think we've had a debate about individual policies. We had that debate in particular – we kept score last November and we won," Gibbs said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An independent commission is needed to determine who authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, a leading advocate of such a panel said Sunday.
"I want to know who was it who made the decisions that we will violate our own laws; we'll violate our own treaties; we will even violate our own Constitution," Sen. Patrick Leahy told CBS' "Face the Nation."
"That we don't know," said Leahy, D-Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We don't know what that chain of command was."
Former President George Bush repeatedly denied that his administration authorized the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. But a set of legal opinions released earlier in this month documented the Bush administration's justification for coercive interrogation techniques including waterboarding, which has been considered torture since the Spanish Inquisition.
A Senate Armed Services Committee report released last week showed that top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding as early as 2002. And in 2003, a meeting that included then-Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed the use of coercive tactics, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The releases have fueled calls for investigations of former administration and led to arguments from Bush's defenders - including Cheney - that the tactics produced information that saved American lives.
Leahy first proposed the idea of a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" in March. He said Sunday that he was not "out for some kind of vengeance," but added, "I'd like to read the page before we turn it."
(CNN) - Former President George W. Bush will make his first domestic post-presidency speech on May 28 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, his spokesman, Rob Saliterman, said Wednesday.
Bush will be speaking to members of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. The event will be closed to the media.
Separately, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also will address the economic club on April 30.
Bush delivered remarks in Calgary, Canada, on Tuesday. His spokesman declined to comment on how much Bush was paid, but said the speech was not a fundraiser for the former president's foundation.