[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/23/us.north.korea/art.clinton.afp.gi.jpg caption=" Hillary Clinton says North Korea's refusal to discuss nuclear program could provoke arms race."]BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) - North Korea launched a scathing personal attack on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday after she likened the leadership in Pyongyang to "small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention."
At a meeting of southeast Asian nations in Phuket, Thailand, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman blasted Clinton for what he called a "spate of vulgar remarks unbecoming for her position everywhere she went since she was sworn in," according to the state-run KCNA news agency.
The spokesman called Clinton "by no means intelligent" and a "funny lady."
"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," the statement said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.obama07239.gi.jpg caption="President Obama on Thursday stood by a statement he made Wednesday night that a Massachusetts police officer 'acted stupidly' when arresting a prominent Harvard professor."](CNN) - President Obama is standing by his comment Wednesday night that a Massachusetts police officer 'acted stupidly' when he arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama told ABC News Thursday.
In his prime time press conference Wednesday, Obama said he did not know all the facts of the case but added the Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, should not have arrested Gates once the notable African-American scholar provided identification.
"I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that [Gates case]," Obama said Wednesday. "But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.obama07235.gi.jpg caption="The NRSC will place a national Web ad Thursday questioning President Obama's criticism of Massachusetts police department."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republicans will place a national Web ad Thursday calling into question President Obama's decision to criticize a Massachusetts police department for arresting a Harvard professor at his own home.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm for the Senate GOP, is paying for the ad that asks people whether it is appropriate for Obama to say that the Cambridge Police "acted stupidly" for arresting scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Gates was charged with disorderly conduct after reacting angrily when police arrived at his house after receiving a call that a break-in was taking place. On Tuesday, the charges against Gates were dropped. Obama was asked about the incident during Wednesday's nationally televised news conference, and he acknowledged that he may be "a little biased" because of his friendship with Gates.
"But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 ... that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."
The incident, Obama said, shows "how race remains a factor in this society."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.obamawhitesox0723.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is a long-time White Sox fan."]CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - As commander-in-chief, President Obama gets regular urgent briefings on ongoing situations, from the continuing debate over health care reform to vital intelligence matters. Here on Thursday, he was getting staff updates on another developing story: the perfect game pitched by a hurler for his beloved Chicago White Sox.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that as the president was leaving Shaker Heights High School after a town hall meeting, he was quickly briefed on the fact that pitcher Mark Buehrle was carrying a perfect game into the ninth and final inning of a game back in Obama's hometown of Chicago.
Gibbs said that as the president's motorcade headed to the airport for a flight to Chicago, where he will be attending fundraisers Thursday night before a late return to the White House, he received an e-mail update from an aide that the perfect game had been completed.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.dncad0723.dnc.jpg caption="The DNC will launch a new TV ad Friday taking aim at Republican critics of President Obama's health care reform plan."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is launching a new TV ad Friday that takes aim at GOP critics of President Obama's health care reform plan.
"What's the cost of not reforming health care?" asks the narrator in the 30-second spot. "Premiums rising faster than your paycheck. Insurance companies dictating more and more medical decisions. Denying you coverage while their profits soar."
"Tell Republicans the cost of doing nothing on health care is just too high," continues the narrator, as pictures of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, South Carolina Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh flash on-screen.
It's the second DNC ad in a week to treat DeMint as a major target, based on his comment that the failure of a Democratic health care reform plan would "break" the president.
The ad buy, which will run on cable television nationally and in Washington, DC, will be a minimal buy, running in the tens of thousands of dollars, according to a DNC source.
Full script after the jump
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.obama07238.gi.jpg caption="President Obama said Thursday that he would accept a delay in the passage of health care reform if it meant that a satisfactory bill would be passed."]SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that he is willing to accept a temporary delay in the passage of health care reform legislation if Congress ultimately approves a satisfactory bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated earlier in the day that the full Senate will not vote on health care reform legislation before the August congressional recess.
Obama had been pushing for both the House and Senate to pass health care legislation before going on their summer break - a goal that has appeared increasingly unlikely due to fierce Republican opposition and cost concerns cited by fiscally conservative Democrats.
"My attitude is I want to get it right, but I also want to get it done promptly," Obama told a packed town hall audience in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Obama said he could accept a longer timeline "as long as I see folks working diligently and consistently."
If legislators "are legitimately working out tough problems ... I have no problem," he said. But "I don't want a delay just because of politics ... (or) delay for the sake of delay."
(CNN) - The National Republican Congressional Committee came to the defense of the Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer who arrested black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., attacking President Obama for saying Wednesday night the officer 'acted stupidly.'
In a statement targeting several House Democrats from Massachusetts, NRCC communications director Ken Spain said, "This is certainly a questionable rush to judgment coming from a president who hasn't exactly been quick to call out unconscionable behavior by a merciless foreign dictator or gotten his facts straight before advocating a trillion-dollar mistake to address our ailing economy."
"Is it really presidential for him to cast harsh judgment of a law enforcement official without all the facts?" said Spain.
The statement calls on Massachusetts Democrats to say whether they agree with the president's assessment. The National Republican Senatorial Committee also launched a Web ad Thursday asking whether it was appropriate for Obama to reach a judgment on the matter after he himself admitted he did not know all the facts.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/23/art.obama07237.gi.jpg caption="President Obama again Thursday accused top Republicans of playing politics with health care reform."]SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (CNN) - President Barack Obama took his health care offensive on the road Thursday, ripping top Republicans for playing politics with his top domestic legislative priority.
"We have never been closer to achieving quality, affordable health care for all Americans," Obama said in a packed town hall meeting outside Cleveland, Ohio.
"But at the same time, there are those that would seek to delay and defeat reform. ... We had one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it's better politics to 'go for the kill.'"
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Michael Strautmanis knew the Obamas before they were the Obamas.
While working as a paralegal for a large law firm in Chicago, Illinois, he met the then-Michelle Robinson and her fiancé, Barack Obama.
Strautmanis, 40, looked to the Obamas as both friends and role models. He and his wife got married the same year as the Obamas and followed their path into law.
Since then, Strautmanis has volunteered for Obama's U.S. Senate campaign, worked as a staffer in his Senate office and now serves as White House chief of staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Through his years with Obama, he didn't imagine he'd follow him to the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/22/harvard.gates.interview/art.gates.demotix.jpg caption="Gates was arrested last week at his home in Massachusetts on a charge of disorderly conduct."]
(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that President Obama does not regret saying Cambridge, Massachusetts police "acted stupidly" in arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Asked aboard Air Force One whether the president regrets the choice of words, Gibbs told reporters that Obama, who made the remarks at Wednesday night's White House press conference, "was not calling the [arresting] officer stupid. The situation got out of hand."
Related: NRCC takes on Obama's cop comment
Gates was arrested last Thursday at his Cambridge home for disorderly conduct - what the arresting officer described as "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space." The charge was dropped Tuesday on the recommendation of police, and the city of Cambridge issued a statement calling the incident "regrettable and unfortunate."