(CNN) – Despite their opposing political views, President Obama says he’s kept in touch with former President Bush since moving into the White House.
Asked by CSPAN if he’s had any conversation with Bush since the inauguration, Obama replied, “I have.”
“I think that although I've only been president four months, I think a general policy of keeping confidence with your predecessors is important,” Obama said in an interview aired Saturday.
Just this week, Obama slammed the Bush administration for taking America “off course” in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack. In a speech on national security Thursday, he said his administration has been forced to deal with “a mess” that was left for them.
Obama told CSPAN that after 9/11, the government “cut too many corners and made some decisions that were contrary to who we are as a people.”
“I think there were adjustments that were made even within the Bush administration to try to deal with some of those mistakes. There are still consequences, though, to some of those earlier poor decisions, and I think Guantanamo was one of them. And it's a messy situation. It's not easy,” he said.
While Bush has largely stayed out of the fray, former Vice President Dick Cheney has been a vocal critic of some of Obama’s policies. Following Obama’s address, Cheney also gave a speech on national security. Cheney stood up for the Bush administration's security record, arguing that Obama has weakened the country's ability to combat al Qaeda and other extremists.
Bush, however, did not watch the dueling speeches. A source close to Bush said the former president was traveling at the time, enroute to New Mexico where he was the keynote speaker at a fund raising dinner for a scholarship program for students at Artesia High School.
(CNN) – Colorado’s top elected Democrats are urging President Obama to look west for his Supreme Court nominee – pushing the Secretary of the Interior, native son Ken Salazar, for the opening.
Gov. Bill Ritter and Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett sent the letter to the White House Thursday asking Salazar be given “serious consideration for this crucial appointment”.
In the letter, they said Salazar “brings the perspective of a Westerner and one of the Hispanic community’s leading voices.” Describing his rise from “humble beginnings in Colorado’s rural San Luis Valley” to state Attorney General and senator, they tout him as a contender “who can add a new perspective to the court.”
Salazar is one of two members of the president’s cabinet who has been mentioned for the court vacancy, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama wants a combination of "intellectual firepower" and a '"common touch" in the next Supreme Court justice, but said he doesn't feel "weighed down" by race or gender in his decision.
With a nomination potentially just days away, Obama was asked in a C-SPAN interview what he would tell his wife, Michelle Obama, his daughters and his mother-in-law if he didn't choose a woman.
"Actually I can't tell you the number of women, including Michelle, who say, 'Choose the person you think is going to be best,'" Obama responded.
He said, "I think in any given pick, my job is to just find somebody who I think is going to make a difference on the courts and look after the interest of the American people. And so, I don't feel weighed down by having to choose a Supreme Court justice based on demographics. I certainly think that ultimately we want a Supreme Court that is reflective of the incredible variety of the American people."
Obama said he thought it was "safe to say" the announcement about the Supreme Court justice, who will replace retiring Justice David Souter, would come soon, although he offered no specific date.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Staff Sgt. Cody Reeves has survived harrowing conditions and stared down enemies on the battlefield during two tours in the military hotspots of Iraq.
Now he is stationed near Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, trained to carry the remains of fellow soldiers who perished in that same conflict.
Before,"it was all about catching the bad guy," Reeves said. "When you come here, it's all about honoring your brothers who are fallen for catching the bad guys, for their service."
Reeves serves in the Army's Old Guard, a tight-knit group of soldiers of similar height and size who physically bear the weight of the Army's fallen veterans. The Old Guard conducts a 15-minute ceremony called a dignified transfer.
A recent decision by Defense Secretary Robert Gates gives families the choice to allow media to film the solemn event. It's the first time in 20 years the ceremony has been open to the press.
Every detail of the transfer is precise. When an American soldier dies overseas, the Old Guard is called into action. They travel from their base to Dover, where they meet the aircraft carrying the soldier's body. The six men receive the flag-draped casket, which can weigh 500 pounds, and carry the soldier's body to a waiting vehicle.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - A search online turns up rooms at Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel for as low as $26 - a sure sign the recession is taking a toll on Las Vegas and rates are being slashed to attract visitors.
Judy Bagley, a casino cashier who traded chips for cash and vice versa, found out about recession's toll another way.
"My supervisor came and said I had to close the booth and she was going to count me out and I was to go and meet with the manager and director," Bagley told CNN. "When I went up there they said my services were no longer needed and my job was being eliminated."
So three months ago, after more than 28 years at Fitzgeralds, she was out of work.
"It felt like I was more or less stabbed in the back after all the years I had been there," Bagley said. "I'd been very loyal to the company and never called in sick and I have very little discipline [issues] and it felt like betrayal."
The sting became a little less personal as she watched more and more friends and colleagues lose their jobs.
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) - The Obama administration has contacted Iran several times for talks, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his government ruled out any discussions before his nation's presidential elections next month, an
Iranian media outlet reported.
Press TV quoted Ahmadinejad told reporters at a press conference Saturday that the United States wanted "to hold negotiations before the election."
"We said we will have no talks before the election," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Iran's presidential election is to be held on June 12.
"They called several times ... and President Barack Obama finally accepted and said: 'OK, let's do it after the election,'"Ahmadinejad is quoted as saying.
The United States and Iran have been at odds over Iran's nuclear activities, Israel, and Iran's support of militant groups.
(CNN) - State of The Union Anchor John King previews what's coming up on Sunday's show.
State of The Union airs 9:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M. ET.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Saturday announced plans to nominate an African-American astronaut to fill NASA's administrator post.
He is Charles Bolden, a retired Marine general who had been selected in 1980 as an astronaut, flying two space shuttle missions as pilot and two missions as commander.
After the Challenger accident in 1986, Gen. Bolden had been named the chief of the safety division at the Johnson Space Center "with responsibilities for overseeing the safety efforts in the return-to-flight efforts," the White House said.
According to the White House, Bolden began his service in U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 and "flew more than 100 sorties in Vietnam from 1972-73."
Bolden is now chief executive officer of JackandPanther LLC, a privately-held military and aerospace consulting firm, the White House said.
Obama also announced plans to nominate Lori Garver, as deputy administrator of NASA. She was lead civil space policy adviser for Obama and helped lead the Agency Review Team for NASA during the presidential transition.
She has served as NASA's associate administrator of the Office of Policy and Plans and primary NASA spokeswoman.
"These talented individuals will help put NASA on course to boldly push the boundaries of science, aeronautics and exploration in the 21st century and ensure the long-term vibrancy of America's space program," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
(CNN) - President Obama on Saturday called on Americans to reflect on the Memorial Day holiday and pay tribute to the service of the troops and their families.
“Our fighting men and women – and the military families who love them – embody what is best in America. And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us,” he said in his weekly address.
The president said the nation has “all too often in recent years” failed up to live up to that responsibility - “a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear – and all who have worn – the proud uniform of our country.”
Obama reiterated his vow to only send servicemen and women to war when absolutely necessary, and to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped.