Onlookers are gathering on the National Mall ahead of a musical celebration that will include performances by Beyonce, Sheryl Crow, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen. (Adam Levine/CNN)
(CNN) - Hours after Israel and Hamas both said they would abide by a fragile cease-fire in Gaza, top Obama advisor David Axelrod told CNN’s John King Sunday to expect the president-elect to take diplomatic action worldwide “early and aggressively” after he’s sworn in, using career diplomats and special envoys.
“I think that the events around the world demand that he act quickly, and I think you'll see him act quickly,” he said in an appearance on State of the Union.
Watch John King's interview with David Axelrod
He also said again that Obama will be meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “begin an orderly and responsible withdrawal from Iraq. He will be doing many of the other things that you heard him commit to during the campaign.”
Axelrod and other senior Obama advisors have spent the past few weeks in discussions with congressional leadership on the shape of a stimulus package that currently stands at roughly $850 million.
“Well, first of all, let me say I think it's telling that [Obama’s] first acts happened before he was president,” the senior aide told King Sunday. “He came to town two weeks early to begin working on an economic recovery package, because getting this economy moving again is absolutely paramount. And so he is going to continue to work on that.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Dick Cheney’s place in history still remains to be judged, but the soon-to-be former Vice President made sure to leave a permanent mark at the White House Sunday.
In keeping with a long-standing tradition of the White House press corps, Vice President Cheney signed the wall in the basement that lies beneath the White House briefing room. The basement was once a swimming pool that was built for President Franklin Roosevelt, and years later was covered over to make room for the press.
The tile sides of that pool remain as part of the walls of the basement and has been signed by many members of the press, celebrities who visit the White House, and of course, members of the administration. Famous signatures include Bono, Sugar Ray Leonard, and First Lady Laura Bush.
Vice President Cheney quietly came into the briefing room Sunday morning with two members of his Secret Service detail. He signed his name next to that of his wife Lynn Cheney, who had previously autographed the famous swimming pool walls.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There was a candid moment in President Bush's final news conference that was largely overlooked, but should not be completely ignored because it offers a window on why his domestic legacy is looking pretty thin as he readies a farewell address on Thursday evening.
When asked to reflect on his mistakes, Bush made a rare admission. "I believe that running the Social Security idea right after the '04 elections was a mistake," he said. "I should have - should have argued for immigration reform."
Let's take the Social Security part first, and deal with immigration in a moment.
What the president was really saying is that he - and top aides at the time like Karl Rove - made a major miscalculation immediately after the 2004 re-election, when Bush famously told reporters that he now had a lot of "political capital" to burn and he planned to spend it on a big idea like Social Security reform.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that nearly six in 10 Americans support an increase in spending to pump up the economy, and even higher levels of support for a plan that also involves tax cuts.
Fifty-eight percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday say they favor increased government spending to stimulate the economy, which has been in recession for more than a year.
Four in 10 of those polled oppose increased spending of taxpayer dollars.
Support for the stimulus plan jumps 13 points to 71 percent when tax cuts for individuals and businesses are added to the package, and opposition drops 12 points to 28 percent.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As George W. Bush spends his final days in office, a new national poll suggests that more than two-thirds of Americans see his presidency as a failure.
Sixty-eight percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation say they feel that Bush's eight years in the White House were a failure, with 44 percent saying this was due to his personal shortcomings and 22 percent blaming the failure on circumstances beyond his control.
Less than a third (31 percent) consider Bush's presidency a success.
Half of those polled say that the United States would be better off today had Al Gore been elected president in 2000 rather than Bush, with 27 percent saying the country would be worse off if the then-Vice President Gore had won.