[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/26/us.troops.poll/art.soldiers.afghanistan.gi.jpg caption="The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier then planned."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier than planned, the commander's spokeswoman said.
Gen. Raymond Odierno is the first senior U.S. military or civilian official to address the "Reese memo" since it went public last month, according to his spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle.
The memo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops should be accelerated because Iraqi forces will not get any better and are good enough to protect the government against attacks.
Aberle confirmed comments Odierno made in an interview with The Associated Press in Iraq on Tuesday.
"Our goal here given to us by the president is a secure, stable, sovereign, self-reliant Iraq. We're not there yet," Odierno told the AP.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/04/art.douglass.wh.jpg caption="Douglass heads communication efforts for the White House health care reform push."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - New president, old headline: the White House fired back at the Drudge Report Tuesday, part of a fresh "viral" pushback over what it called a "campaign of misstatements and outright falsehoods" on health care.
In a three-minute video posted on YouTube and on the White House blog, Obama aides pointed to a 2007 video on blogger Andrew Breitbart's site that Matt Drudge linked to under a headline that told readers it showed President Obama explaining "How His Health Care Plan Will 'Eliminate' Private Insurance."
"I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out," Obama says in the bite.
In the White House video posted overnight, Linda Douglass - the former ABC News reporter who now heads communications efforts for the White House's health care push - tells viewers that "one of [her] jobs is to keep track of all the disinformation that's out there about health insurance reform.
"And there are a lot of very deceiving headlines out there right now, such as this one - take a look at this one," she says, pointing to the Drudge headline.
(Updated after the jump Tuesday afternoon with Drudge response)
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Mortgage servicers have put nearly 9% of delinquent borrowers into trial modifications under the Obama foreclosure prevention plan, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.
That translates into 235,247 loans that were at least 60 days delinquent at the 38 loan servicing firms participating in the program. Institutions have extended modification offers to 406,542 troubled borrowers, or 15% of those behind in payments.
Under fire for the program's rocky start, the Obama administration says it is on pace to help up to four million homeowners over the next three years. The initiative was announced in February and the first institutions to join began accepting applications in April.
Tuesday's report come a week after the administration called servicers to Washington, D.C., to discuss ramping up the program's implementation afterhearing a flood of complaints from borrowers. Officials want to see 500,000 loan modifications under way by Nov. 1.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/03/obama.bush.taxes/art.obamawisconsin.gi.jpg caption="President Obama has said he will not raise taxes on those making $250,000 or less."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - "Read my lips: No new taxes."
That famous phrase from George H.W. Bush came as he accepted his party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Committee convention in 1988.
At the time, it was exactly the red meat Republicans were looking for. But campaigning and governing are two very different things.
Bush was elected as the nation was slipping into a recession. When confronted with a growing national deficit, he had to find a source of revenue.
That revenue came in the way of raising taxes, a move that especially rankled members of the GOP and became an issue for Democrats to run on in 1992. Democrat Bill Clinton was swept into the White House.
Pushing forward to 2009, another president may have trekked onto the same territory.
On Monday, the White House sought to shoot down concerns that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy after its two top money men floated the idea that tax increases to fund the nation's economic recovery could extend beyond the wealthiest Americans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The full Senate is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday on the nomination of federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
At least five Republican senators have announced their intention to support Sotomayor, making confirmation by the Democratic-controlled Senate a virtual certainty.
A final confirmation vote is expected by Thursday.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/04/art.corzinead.cnn.jpg caption="The new Corzine spot features Obama."](CNN) - A hot summer in New Jersey appears to be getting even hotter for Gov. Jon Corzine, as a new poll suggests that Republican challenger Chris Christie has increased his edge over the incumbent Democrat in state's gubernatorial battle.
Fifty percent of likely New Jersey voters questioned in a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey survey released Tuesday back the former federal prosecutor in this year's election, with 36 percent supporting the first-term governor and 4 percent indicating they'll vote for independent candidate Christopher Daggett. Eight percent of likely voters are undecided. Christie's 14 point lead among likely voters is up from an 8 point lead in a Monmouth University poll conducted a month ago.
But among registered voters, including both those likely and unlikely to cast ballots in the gubernatorial contest, the survey indicates Christie holds a 4 point lead over Corzine, 43 percent to 39 percent, with 10 percent undecided. That's down from a 6 point lead a month ago.
The new poll was conducted after both President Barack Obama teamed up at a campaign rally with Corzine and the arrests by federal prosecutors of dozens of public officials and political operatives in New Jersey.
(CNN) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton landed in North Korea early Tuesday on a mission to negotiate the release of two American journalists imprisoned there since March, according to the country's state news agency and a CNN source.
The North Korean news agency KCNA did not disclose the purpose of the visit in its three-line dispatch. But a source with detailed knowledge of the former president's movements told CNN late Monday that Clinton was going to seek the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, both reporters for California-based Current TV - media venture launched by Clinton's former vice president, Al Gore.
Meeting Clinton were the vice president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, Yang Hyong Sop, and Kim Kye Gwan, the vice foreign minister, KCNA reported, adding that "a little girl presented a bouquet to Bill Clinton."
The women were arrested while reporting on the border between North Korea and China and sentenced in June to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/03/art.billclinton0803.gi.jpg caption="Former President Bill Clinton blasted Republicans Monday in a fundraising e-mail."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's apparently deja vu all over again for former President Bill Clinton.
In a fundraising e-mail on behalf of congressional Democrats, Clinton is blasting Republicans for opposing President Obama's health care push, and reminding people of his administration's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to reform the industry 16 years ago.
"It seems like the 1993 health care debate all over again," Clinton writes in the e-mail, noting that Americans "urgently" needed health care reform as much then as they do now.
"But, just as I did in 1993, President Obama has run into a buzz saw of special interest opposition to his top domestic policy priority - health care reform," he says in the message. "He is facing off against some of the most powerful special interests in Washington who've launched a furious campaign to preserve the status quo."
"...Simply put, they're at it again."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: N. Korea confirms Bill Clinton arrival
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton landed in North Korea early Tuesday on a mission to negotiate the release of two American journalists imprisoned there since March, according to the country's state news agency and a CNN source.
CNN: White House steadfast on pledge of no middle-class tax increase
The White House shot down concerns Monday that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy.
CNNMoney: Obama's tax promise: Too tall an order
The middle class may have to pay more in taxes. That was the media's takeaway from comments made Sunday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
CNN: Palin gives 'stirring' gun rights speech at NRA dinner, says group
She’s gone Twitter-silent since leaving office last week – but former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has spoken out publicly for the first time since her resignation, according to the nation’s largest gun rights group.
CNN: Clinton's trip to Africa her biggest yet
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is embarking on her biggest international trip yet: Africa. Seven countries in 11 days. Issues as diverse as economic entrepreneurship and gender-based violence.
CNNMoney: Cash for Clunkers bill in Senate's hands
The popular Cash for Clunkers program faces extinction unless the Senate passes a bill approving additional funding.