March 20th, 2009
12:57 PM ET
13 years ago

Biden meeting with Gorbachev

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev will meet with Vice President Joe Biden Friday at the White House."](CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden will meet with former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev Friday at the White House.

In a visit last week to London's Evening Standard, Gorbachev praised President Barack Obama, but issued strong criticism of the United States' foreign policy.

"One day it [the U.S.] will have to stop giving orders and stop trying to tell the whole world how it should act," said President Gorbachev. "And its military must try to act within this new order, so that when all the countries of the United Nation propose solutions together, their decisions will be brought to life."

The meeting between the vice president and former Soviet leader comes as Russia approaches of the 20th anniversary the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Gorbachev spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington Thursday, participating in a discussion about the legal development of the Russian constitution.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Russia
March 20th, 2009
12:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Biden pup to obedience school

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Biden family got a German Shepherd, like the one pictured above, in December."]
(CNN) - With an innocent face and America's vice president as his master, it's hard to believe even Joe Biden's puppy isn't exempt from the occasional in-house accident.

That's why next month the VP's German Shepherd named Champ will head to obedience school for some housebreaking training.

Champ will attend sessions with trainer Mark Tobin not only to make sure he's fully house trained, but to help him adapt to the Bidens' hectic and mobile lifestyle.

"Champ's a laid-back, very fun, energetic puppy," Tobin told The Washington Post. "He's great with kids, very, very, good-natured." Tobin trains dogs to fit into their future life - in this case, he took the puppy to several locations. "We wanted him to get used to a lot of environmental changes."

Tobin is a Biden family friend and runs a dog obedience school and New Castle County's K-9 Unit in Delaware.

The three-month-old dog has traveled back and forth with the Bidens from their new residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington to their home in Delaware. Named by Biden's grandkids and a present from Jill Biden, Champ joined the Second family in December shortly after the election.

Filed under: Joe Biden
March 20th, 2009
12:02 PM ET
13 years ago

Americans OK losing some control of education for more money

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" A new poll suggests Americans would take more federal money for education, even if it meant handing over control."]WASHINGTON (CNN) -  A new national poll indicates that most Americans would be willing to give up some control of their public schools to the federal government in return for more money from Washington for those schools.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they would like to see more federal money spent on the public schools in their communities, even if it meant increased influence by the federal government over the education policies those schools follow, with 43 percent opposed.

"There are big differences between Republicans and Democrats, but the most interesting gap is between mothers and fathers of children under 18," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seventy-two percent of mothers favor more government influence over local schools in exchange for more money. Only about half of all fathers feel the same way. People with no children under 18 are split on the concept, with 53 percent  favoring that idea and 46 percent opposing."

The poll also suggests that Americans don't favor longer school days, but they do think the school year should be longer. Fifty-seven percent support increasing the number of days that students spend in school each year, but 55 percent oppose increasing the number of hours that students spend in school each day.


Filed under: Education • Polls • Uncategorized
March 20th, 2009
10:48 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama apologizes for Special Olympics comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama chats it up with Jay Leno on 'The Tonight Show' on Thursday."]

(CNN) – President Obama apologized Thursday night for an offhanded remark during his appearance on The Tonight Show that appeared disparaging toward Special Olympic athletes.

White House officials confirm the president called Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver before the show aired to personally apologize for the remark. One official said Obama expressed his disappointment over the comment and his intention not to humiliate the disabled.

iReport: What do you think about the president's comments?

The comment came midway through Obama's appearance on the late night comedy show, when host Jay Leno quipped about the president's lack of bowling skills: “I imagine the bowling alley [in the White House] has just been just burned and closed down," Leno said.

“No, no. I have been practicing,” Obama said. “I bowled a 129. It's like — it was like Special Olympics, or something."

Watch: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux looks at Obama's Tonight Show appearance

The Special Olympics, founded in 1968, is a nonprofit organization serving people with mental and physical disabilities. The Special Olympics holds its “Special Olympics World Games” every other year.


Filed under: President Obama
March 20th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
13 years ago

Thompson talks up importance of NY 20 race

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and presidential candidate, asks supporters in his e-mail to donate to Jim Tedisco and solicits contributions to his PAC."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Presidential candidate Fred Thompson told supporters Friday that a Republican victory in an upcoming congressional election in New York is the spark conservatives need to help stage a strong defense to oppose Democratic policy goals.

“If Jim Tedisco wins this seat, it will be a very public repudiation,” of the Democratic Party, Thompson said in an e-mail to supporters of his political action committee. “A Tedisco victory will start the process of building an effective opposition to the Obama-Pelosi agenda, and send a clear message: conservatives aren’t going to let the extremist left in Washington strip us of our rights and freedoms.”

Tedisco is the Republican candidate in the March 31 special election to fill the remaining 20 months of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s term. Gillibrand, a Democrat, was appointed to the Senate earlier this year when Sen. Hillary Clinton was confirmed to be Secretary of State.  Scott Murphy is the Democratic candidate in this election.

Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and presidential candidate, asks supporters in his e-mail to donate to Tedisco and solicits contributions to his PAC. He is best known, perhaps, for his work as an actor in movies and on the television show Law and Order.

Filed under: Fred Thompson
March 20th, 2009
10:14 AM ET
13 years ago

RNC criticizes Dodd for AIG bonuses

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Dodd is the target of a new RNC video."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican National Committee will slam embattled Sen. Christopher Dodd Friday in a new video that highlights the Connecticut Democrat’s admission he inserted language into the federal stimulus bill that honors bonuses to companies receiving federal financial assistance.

Dodd, chairman of the Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee, denied to CNN on Tuesday that he had anything to do with adding the language, but in a follow-up interview on CNN the next day he acknowledged responsibility for it.

In the Wednesday interview, Dodd said that officials in President Obama’s administration pushed for the language, because they were afraid that the government would face numerous lawsuits without it.

News that AIG executives were paid bonuses from the $173 billion provided by the federal government in bailout funds has caused national outrage and forced the House to pass legislation taxing individuals on any bonuses they receive from companies getting $5 billion or more in money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Bonuses for people with incomes over $250,000 would be taxed at a 90 percent rate. The bill is currently being debated in the Senate.

The video, which will be emailed to supporters and placed on the RNC Web site, relies heavily on CNN footage of the AIG story.

Filed under: Chris Dodd
March 20th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Frank wants AIG bonus list

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Frank is seeking the names of those AIG employees who received bonuses."](CNN) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo may have the names of those AIG employees who received bonuses, but House Financial Services chairman Barney Frank does not, according to his spokesman.

"We are consulting with law enforcement after the concerns that [AIG CEO] Mr. Liddy raised in the hearings. We will decided what we do after that consultation," said Steve Adamske, Frank's spokesman.

Frank has been demanding the names of AIG executives who received bonuses, and threatened a subpoena to get them. Cuomo has cited security concerns as a reason not to release the names.

Edward Liddy also testified before Frank's committee on Wednesday that he did not want the names released to the public, for fear of their safety.

Frank said he couldn't promise that he wouldn't release the names, and said he would consult law enforcement officials about security concerns.

Filed under: Barney Frank
March 20th, 2009
05:36 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama offers Iran 'the promise of a new beginning'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama taped a video message to Iran."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama reached out to Iran on Friday - the start of the Iranian New Year - in a video message offering "the promise of a new beginning" that is "grounded in mutual respect."

The message is a dramatic shift in tone from that of the Bush administration, which included Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, in an "axis of evil." It also echoes Obama's inaugural speech, in which he said to the Muslim world, "we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

In Friday's video, Obama said: "The United States wants the Islamic
Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right, but it comes with real responsibilities. And that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."

There was no immediate response from Tehran to Obama's message, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that his country would welcome talks with the United States "in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect."

The United States, several European nations and Israel suspect that
Tehran has been trying to acquire the capacity to build nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.


Filed under: President Obama
March 20th, 2009
05:35 AM ET
13 years ago

Mitt Romney: Obama 'is learning on the fly'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Mitt Romney said President Obama's 'Tonight Show' appearance wasn't the right timing."]
(CNN)– Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but John McCain snagged the nomination.

This businessman and politician is keeping a critical eye on how things are shaping up in the presidency he wanted, and he shared his views on Thursday night's "Larry King Live." He gave a sharp critique of President Obama's performance and shared his thoughts on Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and stem-cell research.

The following transcript is edited for brevity and clarity:

Larry King: Some are seeing a problem with the president doing the "Tonight Show," the first sitting president ever to do a late-evening [talk] show. Do you have a problem with it?

Mitt Romney: Well, this probably isn't the right time for it. I line up with Warren Buffett on this. I prefer to see the president focusing all of his time and energy on the economy.

Full Story

Filed under: Mitt Romney • President Obama
March 20th, 2009
05:34 AM ET
13 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday, March 20, 2009


For the latest political news:

CNN: Obama offers Iran 'the promise of a new beginning'

President Barack Obama reached out to Iran on Friday — the start of the Iranian New Year — in a video message offering "the promise of a new beginning" that is "grounded in mutual respect."

CNN: Obama appears on 'Tonight Show'

President Obama mixed jokes with serious discussion Thursday during an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

CNN: 'Era of open government' behind information policy reversal

To expand openness and transparency, the Obama administration has rescinded a Bush administration standard on withholding government documents, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

CNN: Mitt Romney: Obama 'is learning on the fly'

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but John McCain snagged the nomination.

NYT: Many in Government Knew Weeks Ago About A.I.G. Bonuses

The question was direct and prescient. Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York, asked the Treasury secretary in an open hearing what could be done to stop American International Group from paying $165 million in bonuses to hundreds of employees in the very unit that had nearly destroyed the company.


Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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