[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/25/art.lamaralexander.youtoube.jpg caption="Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said Saturday that the U.S. should embrace nuclear technology."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, made a strong push Saturday for investment in a power source commonly used in France: nuclear energy.
“Now the debate in Congress is shifting to the size of your electric and gasoline bills and to climate change," the Tennessee Republican said in the weekly GOP address Saturday. "So guess who has one of the lowest electric rates in Western Europe and the second lowest carbon emissions in the entire European Union. It’s France."
Nuclear plants provide 80 percent of France's electricity, according to Alexander, who added that the country even sells "electricity to Germany, whose politicians built windmills and solar panels and promised not to build nuclear plants."
“So you’d think that if Democrats want to talk about energy and climate change and clean air, they’d put American-made nuclear power front and center. ... We say find more American energy and use less ... and one place to start is with 100 more nuclear plants," he said.
(CNN) - In response to the growing number of swine flu cases in Mexico and the United States, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday that the administration is taking the situation "seriously and monitoring for any developments."
A White House official says Obama has had no flu-like symptoms since his trip to Mexico in mid-April, and says there are no concerns about the president’s health.
On Saturday, the World Health Organization called "a public health emergency of international concern."
The most recent reports Saturday afternoon were of two confirmed cases of the virus in Kansas. Those joined eight confirmed cases in Texas and California and an apparent outbreak at a private school in New York City, where officials say eight children likely have the virus.
The WHO's Gregory Hartl said the strain of the virus seen in Mexico - which may have killed as many as 68 people there, according to that nation's health agency - is worrisome because it has mutated from older strains.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/24/king.sotu.100.days/art.obamaking.cnn.jpg caption="CNN's John King talks with President Obama in Peoria, Illinois."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - As introductions go, it has been a fast-paced, fascinating first 100 days: an ambitious domestic agenda aimed at reinvigorating the economy and the government's reach into its workings, and several provocative steps on the world stage that, like at home, signal a clear break from the previous administration.
It is the second 100 days that will give a much more comprehensive test of President Obama's approach, his resilience - and his effectiveness.
Still, the White House cites significant accomplishments, including:
• Passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
• Signing into law an expanded children's health care program that it says provides benefits to 4 million additional working families.
Protesters clash with police officers at a rally around the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Photo credit: CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Protesters clashed with police Saturday during a rally aimed at disrupting the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings.
Protesters assembled at various rallying points throughout Washington before converging in Franklin Square, a few blocks from the White House. A group of more than 100 protestors then marched to the IMF building chanting, "Down with the IMF, down with the World Bank, down with capitalism."
The marchers circled the IMF and World Bank buildings before attempting to turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue, which had been barricaded by police.
A shoving match ensued between protesters and police. One police officer fell to the ground shortly before pepper spray was released into the crowd. According to Cmdr. James Crane of the city's police department, one officer was injured in the scuffle, which occurred after protesters failed to follow police direction and move onto the sidewalk.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday deplored the recent string of bombings in Iraq, but said the "terrible and tragic events" haven't stopped the nation from implementing security strides.
Speaking to reporters during her one-day trip to Baghdad, Clinton told reporters at a press conference that the bombings that left nearly 160 people dead and scores wounded since Thursday "are regrettable and horrible in terms of loss of life."
But Clinton said that she and Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, share the same perspective about the recent high-profile bombings in Diyala province and Baghdad.
"They do not reflect any diversion from the security progress that has been made," she said. "The reaction from the Iraqi people and the Iraqi leaders was firm and united in rejecting that violence and refusing to allow it to set Iraqi against Iraqi, which is obviously one of its intended goals."
Clinton said she was briefed by Odierno, and they talked about the high-profile attacks in the last few days, which stoked fears of a return to
Shiite-Sunni sectarian violence.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama, in his weekly address Saturday, said the country cannot "settle for a future of rising deficits and debts that our children cannot pay."
"One of the pillars of that foundation must be fiscal discipline. We came into office facing a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion for this year alone, and the cost of confronting our economic crisis is high," he said. "All across America, families are tightening their belts and making hard choices. Now, Washington must show that same sense of responsibility."
Obama said his administration has identified two trillion dollars in deficit-reductions over the next decade, "while taking on the special interest spending that doesn't advance the peoples' interests."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/24/schneider.polls/art.obamatroops.gi.jpg caption="A new CNN poll of polls shows 64 percent job approval for President Obama.."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - How does President Obama compare with his predecessors after nearly 100 days in office?
On his job rating, Obama comes out just a little better. But he really stands out on personal qualities.
CNN's recent poll of polls, taken April 14-21, shows an average of 64 percent job approval for Obama.
According to Gallup polling examining past presidents' job approval, that's similar to where the last six elected presidents stood after 100 days.
Only Ronald Reagan got a slightly higher rating (67 percent). Bill Clinton and the first President Bush were both below 60.
The average for the six recent presidents after 100 days: 61 percent approval. All were in the same general range - between 55 and 67 percent.
They were all elected after the late 1960s, when the great division in American politics emerged. Conservative versus liberal. Red versus blue. Each has taken office with a hard core of supporters and opponents.