Washington (CNN) - CNN has learned that Congressional leaders have agreed on a tentative deal that would extend the Patriot Act for four years.
The deal to extend the expiring law was sealed today by Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to senior Democratic and Republican sources.
The move would largely take the issue off the table for the next election by extending the law well beyond November 2012.
Washington (CNN) - By now, top aides to President Barack Obama like Dan Pfeiffer have learned to just tune out the round-the-clock punditry that tends to build up every speech by this commander-in-chief as the pivotal moment in his presidency.
The phrase "stakes are high" has been used so many times for speeches about anything from health care to the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, to the war in Libya that the White House communications director has voted with his remote control.
Washington (CNN) - Obama administration officials declared Wednesday that there is no fallback plan if Congress fails to lift the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, and they warned that inaction could spark a series of catastrophic events.
"There really is no alternative to raising the debt limit," one senior administration official said at a briefing with reporters. "There is no plan that can preserve our credit worthiness."
Washington (CNN) – Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell is resigning as the Obama administration's Mideast envoy, the White House announced Friday.
Mitchell has served as President Barack Obama's point man in the region as the administration has tried to keep Arab-Israeli peace talks on track.
Washington (CNN) - When President Obama unveiled his revamped national security team in the East Room, he quickly joked about how badly Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been itching to finally get serious about retirement.
"When I took office, Bob Gates had already served under seven presidents, and he carried a clock that counted down the days, hours, and minutes until he could return to Washington state with his wife, Becky," Obama said. He added that he felt lucky to get Gates to keep pushing the exit date back to deal with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as some major budget decisions confronting the nation.
Washington (CNN) – There was a terrible rainstorm here on Tuesday morning, but NBC News anchorman and special correspondent Tom Brokaw said he woke up knowing there was just no way that an event on the National Mall honoring a certain World War II veteran would be cancelled.
"Don't worry about it, God wouldn't dare rain on Bob Dole's parade," Brokaw quipped at the beginning of a ceremony honoring the former Republican Senator and presidential nominee's efforts to create the National World War II Memorial.
(CNN)–Senior White House officials tell CNN the chances of a government shutdown are 50-50.
San Salvador, El Salvador (CNN) - In the end, President Barack Obama apparently decided that photos of himself touring historic remnants of a collapsed society might not be the best image for a commander in chief fending off charges even from Democrats that his Libya policy is in shambles.
The controversy over the decision to use U.S. military force has gotten so intense that at a news conference here Tuesday, Obama calmly pushed back at his critics by declaring the effort to stem the humanitarian crisis in Libya has paid important dividends by avoiding a massacre of civilians.
Santiago, Chile (CNN) - President Barack Obama repeated Monday that Moammar Gadhafi "needs to go," but he acknowledged the Libyan dictator may remain in power for some time because the allied military mission in North Africa has a more narrow mandate of just protecting innocent civilians.
"Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Gadhafi's people," Obama said at a news conference here.
RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) - As the massive bombardment of Libya continued for a second day over 5,000 miles away from here, President Barack Obama delivered a speech that did not mention any specifics about the U.S. role in the military action despite Republican demands for him to better define the mission.
"We’ve seen the people of Libya take a courageous stand against a regime determined to brutalize its own citizens," Obama said in a 25-minute address that only briefly mentioned Libya.