[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.getty.obama.green.tie.jpg caption="President Barack Obama defended his treasury secretary Wednesday, saying that no one in the Obama administration had been Responsible for supervising ailing insurance giant AIG."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama defended his treasury secretary Wednesday, saying that no one in the Obama administration had been Responsible for supervising ailing insurance giant AIG.
Tim Geithner "is making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand," the president said.
"There has never been a secretary of the treasury, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, right after the Revolutionary War, who has had to deal with the multiplicity of issues that Secretary Geithner's having to deal with," he said.
The president spoke to reporters just outside the White House as he prepared to depart on a trip to California.
The White House posted Obama's bracket online Wednesday. (WhiteHouse.gov)
(CNN) - President Obama's NCAA Men's basketball Final Four picks, unveiled Wednesday, reveals the nation's first hoops fan picked Big East powerhouses Louisville and Pittsburgh, along with Memphis and the University of North Carolina.
In all, the president is taking few risks when it comes to his Final Four teams: Louisville, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina are all No. 1 seeds, while Memphis is seeded No. 2.
But the picks are sure to anger the state of Connecticut, whose Huskies are the only No. 1 seed Obama doesn't have going to the final four.
The president is also not picking an upset many observers have predicted - he has No. 12 Arizona falling to No. 5 Utah in the first round.
But the decision has nothing to do with the fact Obama battled a senator from Arizona for the presidency last year, he assured ESPN.
"It has nothing to do with McCain - I think Arizona is a great state: I love playing golf there. But hey just squeaked in based on reputation," Obama said.
UPDATE: ESPN has released Obama's full bracket
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter met Wednesday with National Security Adviser Jim Jones, White House officials said.
Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said the private briefing was planned in advance. "This is a general briefing as he has had with past administrations," she said in an e-mail.
During the meeting, President Barack Obama "dropped by" to greet Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.tedisco.cnn.jpg caption="Jim Tedisco's a Republican on the ballot, but not on the airwaves."]
(CNN) - He's a Republican on the ballot, but not on the airwaves: GOP state assemblymen Jim Tedisco, running for the open seat in New York's 20th congressional district, is quoting President Obama in his latest ad.
"Like the president said, in these difficult times, we're not Republicans or Democrats, we're Americans," he says in the 30-second spot. "And that's the team I'm on."
Tedisco's former double-digit lead over Murphy has shrunk to 4 points in the most recent Siena poll, released last week.
Yesterday, the Republican National Committee sent another $100,000 to the state party as the race enters the home stretch. The special election is set for March 31.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/18/aig.bonuses.congress/art.frank.gi.jpg caption=" Rep. Barney Frank said bonuses should not go to people who are "incompetent.""]
(CNN) - As outrage over American International Group bonuses spreads and finger-pointing continues, lawmakers are trying to convince the public that it isn't their fault.
Senators and representatives are vowing to get the bonus money back, but questions have risen why didn't Congress act to prevent the bonuses in the first place?
"Well, the only lever we have in this is the fact that these corporations have come to the Congress of the United States and want a taxpayers' bailout," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday on CNN's "American Morning."
"If it weren't for that, we would not have any leverage on how any individual corporation is being run, and we don't pretend to have any leverage on any corporation today in the United States that's not seeking federal help," said Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.getty.obama.3.3.jpg caption="Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air?"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air? A new national survey indicates that for a majority, the answer is yes.
Fifty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say that since he's taken over in the White House, President Obama has tried to handle more issues than he should have. Forty-three percent say he hasn't bitten off more than he can chew.
"In his first weeks in office, Barack Obama did not focus exclusively on the economy but instead announced new policies and proposals on everything from education to health care to Afghanistan and Iraq," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "He gets high marks on most of those issues, but it seems that many Americans are worried that he might lose his focus on economic recovery."
President Obama Tuesday dismissed criticism he's trying to do too much. "What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore," he said.
(CNN) - As Congress grills AIG's chief executive Wednesday, here's a look at the top ten political recipients of AIG donations for the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The top ten recipients of AIG donations for the 2008 election cycle:
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut: $103,100
President Barack Obama: $101,332
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona: $59,499
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: $35,965
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana: $24,750
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney: $20,850
Vice President Joe Biden: $19,975
Rep. John Larson, D-Connecticut: $19,750
Sen. John Sununu, R-New Hampshire: $18,500
FormerpPresidential candidate Rudy Giuliani: $13,200
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.getty.plouffe.obama.vid.jpg caption="President Obama is asking supporters to canvass for the budget in an online video."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Congress considers his budget proposal, President Obama is back in campaign mode Wednesday, heading West to plug the plan on the road, and online with a video pitch to supporters.
"I'm asking you to head outside this Saturday to knock on some doors, talk to some neighbors, and let them know how important this budget is to our future," he says in a four-minute video appeal included in a message sent from former campaign manager David Plouffe, who now heads the Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America effort, to the group's massive e-mail list.
OFA is directing supporters to canvass this weekend - in their neighborhoods, by e-mail and on Facebook - in support of the president's budget plan. And they've been asked to lobby lawmakers, using an online tool that will help them contact members of Congress.
The group boasts an e-mail list of millions, though turnout for its first post-election organizing event - a weekend of house parties to help volunteers push for the president's stimulus plan - drew far fewer than any pre-Election Day effort.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Prices paid by consumers rose as a faster pace in February, as higher gas prices in the month fed into the highest inflation reading since July.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.getty.obama.cowen.jpg caption="President Obama said he could be related to the Irish Prime Minister."]
(CNN) – Everybody’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but President Obama said Tuesday he could lay legitimate claim to that status — and might even have a long-lost link to that nation’s current leader.
It isn’t blarney: An ancestor of the president hailed from the Emerald Isle. While meeting with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen at the White House on Tuesday, Obama took the chance to recognize his Irish roots, speculating on whether the two men might be distant kin.
“So before I turn it over to Taoiseach” - the Irish leader’s official title - “it turns out we have something in common,” Obama said. “He hails from county Offaly ,and it was brought to my attention on the campaign that my great-great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side came to America from a small village in this county as well. We are still speculating on whether we are related.”
Cowen laughed and said after checking into the matter, he found that the two are not related.
“I just wanted to say that I have checked and unfortunately there are no Kearneys on the electoral register anymore in my electoral district,” Cowen said. “But if there were, I can assure you, I’d have them on my campaign team.”
On the campaign trail last year, Obama — perhaps looking for a little luck of the Irish in the midst of the epic Democratic primary battle - noted on St. Patrick’s Day that his great-great-great-grandfather Falmouth Kearney hailed from Ireland.
“My family's story is familiar to Irish Americans: a distant homeland, a journey across an ocean in search of opportunity, a determination to grab hold of hope. Another reason why the story might be familiar is that it turns out I have Irish heritage,” Obama said a year ago in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I actually have a great-grandfather who came from Ireland and settled nearby in Ohio.”