(CBS News) ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT -- Flying across the Atlantic Ocean Monday evening, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta slowly walked into the press compartment of his reconfigured 747 - known as the "doomsday plane" - looking as though he were shouldering the weight of the world.
"War is hell," he grimly intoned. He was flying to meetings in Kyrgyzstan, but his thoughts were elsewhere, absorbed by the latest horror in Afghanistan - the shooting deaths of 16 innocent Afghan civilians, mostly children, allegedly by a rogue U.S. soldier.
Panetta said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the incident - the same words other officials have used. But coming from Panetta, a man who's known for wearing his emotions on the surface, they didn't sound like talking points -- they sounded like the heartfelt words of a man who takes this kind of unspeakable tragedy personally.Continue »
HONOLULU -- Negotiations over whether the U.S. will allow Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to come to the country for medical treatment are continuing. The talks are being run out of the State Department, though President Obama is being briefed while on vacation in Hawaii.
If there is a deal, officials tell CBS News the administration wants Saleh to agree to the following conditions:Continue »
Two Democratic officials familiar with the negotiations over a deal to raise the debt limit said Wednesday that President Obama wants the final deal to be bigger than the $2 trillion deal that has been the focus of negotiations so far.
In fact, they said, Mr. Obama wants the deal to save the government as close to $4 trillion as possible.
Mr. Obama said Tuesday that lawmakers have "a unique opportunity to do something big," and a deal to save the federal government $4 trillion would certainly qualify. The officials said the president believes "these moments come around at most once a decade" and that "you can't run away from an opportunity like this."Continue »
Democrats said Thursday that a framework for a deal on raising the debt limit needs to be in place by around July 22 in order to get the deal done.
The Obama administration has set August 2 as the date at which the debt limit will be crossed if Congress does not act, which they say would cause economic catastrophe. But speaking on background today, Democrats familiar with the budget negotiations said a deal in principle needs to be in place roughly three weeks from today to get a bill passed in time.Continue »
For weeks Republicans have been calling on President Obama to become directly involved in the debt reduction talks. On Thursday, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell scolded the President on the Senate floor, saying, "He's the one in charge, I think most Americans think it's time he started acting like it."
Well, it appears the president did start acting like it -- behind the scenes -- even before McConnell spoke.
Early Wednesday evening Speaker John Boehner met with the President in the Oval Office. The get-together was supposed to be a secret. When it leaked, White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to give any hint of what they talked about, other than to say they were "following up on conversations they had on the golf course" last Saturday.
But sources now tell CBS News what everyone suspected: that the president and Boehner discussed the debt talks on Wednesday. And since that conversation was "following up" on their recent Golf Course summit, it stands to reason that they've now been talking about the debt issue for a week.Continue »
Updated 2:50 p.m. ET
As he pitches his economic plans to voters, President Obama is trying to ignore the disappointing May jobs numbers by focusing on positive long-term trends. His focus is on taking credit for rescuing GM and Chrysler with government bailouts, and for bringing the economy back from the brink of depression.Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and a long-time adviser to the president, also took that "glass half-full" approach today, noting that the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months.
"There are always bumps on the road to recovery," he said in a statement, "but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years."Continue »
DEAUVILLE, FRANCE - Last year's G-8 summit focused on digging out of the deepest global economic downturn since the 1930s. This year with a halting economic recovery underway, the G-8 is working on a hodge-podge of issues - from Libya, to missile defense, to keeping the recovery going.
But President Obama is putting a lot of his focus on an issue that didn't even exist last year -- saving the economies of Egypt and Tunisia before their transitions to democracy unravel.
As at past summits, the other leaders all seem to gravitate toward President Obama. A group of locals behind a fence in this heavily fortified resort city went wild when they saw him walking down the street with Russian President Medvedev and French President Sarkozy. Those two stood to the side while President Obama shook dozens of hands, beaming that big smile, and repeating "bonjour!" and "merci!" He's using that clout as "Most Popular Leader" to lobby other leaders to join him in putting together an aid package for Egypt and Tunisia.Continue »
When White House press secretary Jay Carney came to the briefing room Thursday and read a long list of White House "consultations" with Congress on Libya, he left little doubt that Republican claims that the President had failed to consult with them had hit a nerve.
The proof-of-consultation tour continued today with a Presidential briefing for 21 Democrats and Republicans from both Houses. Some were present in the Situation Room, but with Congress in recess this week, others called in from locations around the country -- and around the globe.
The White House says the President and his national security team gave an update on "accomplishments to date" including efforts toward transitioning to NATO control. The President then "answered multiple questions from the members of Congress."Continue »
Here's the question: how many miles do you need to be from the Fukushima reactors to be safe? Here's the answer: Apparently it depends on whether you're American or Japanese. Yes, an absurd answer -- but that's the state of play in Japan right now.
How did we arrive at this strange situation?
Before today both Japan and the U.S. government agreed that people within 20 miles of the damaged reactors should evacuate. Today, America's Nuclear Regulatory Commission changed that to 50 miles. Japan for the present is sticking with 20 miles.Continue »
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney brought a special guest to the briefing room today - Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko.
He was asked repeatedly about the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants, but his answers did little to satisfy reporters looking for information that might assure readers and viewers that American nuclear plants are built to withstand a crisis of this magnitude.
Asked whether the Japan incident had led to safety concerns at U.S. nuclear facilities, Jaczko gave an equally general reply: the NRC is "always focused on the safety and security of nuclear power plants in this country. That will always be something that we do. Whenever there's any new information, we always take that information into consideration and -- and make changes, if necessary. But right now, we continue to believe that nuclear power plants in this country operate safely and securely."Continue »
President Obama said he'd take a scalpel to the budget instead of a machete. So far, though, he appears to be wielding a butter knife - trimming little more than soft edges.
The White House insists they're meeting the Republicans half way on budget cuts, but the numbers simply don't add up.
Here's the White House's fuzzy math:Continue »
The question buzzing among White House reporters was whether, after more than two weeks of refusing to clearly call on Mubarak to resign, it was time for Obama to change course.
The White House told us the president would be releasing a written statement, and those of us in network news nervously awaited as the clock ticked closer to 6:30 p.m. ET. At 6:15 I was told it was "doubtful" we would get it before showtime. Unfortunately, "doubtful" at the White House is code for "not a snowball's chance in hell."Continue »
He was lambasted by liberals for responding too slowly to the gulf oil spill last summer, and by Republicans for his slow and initially low-key response to the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
But this time it's like a different White House.
They'll resist this interpretation, arguing that they're very different situations, but the president and his advisers appear to have learned from those earlier incidents. What they learned is how important it is for the president to be out in front quickly, to take control, to be the nation's unquestioned leader, the man people look to for guidance and yes, even comfort, when tragedy strikes.Continue »
Now, in a turn of events that has the left wing aghast, one of those fat cats will soon be setting policy at the White House. Daley, after all, spent 7 years at JP Morgan where he's believed to have earned at least $5 million a year, possibly much more. He's one of them, liberals cry, not one of us.
And it's not just Daley. Gene Sperling gets the nod today to replace Larry Summers as the top economic brain in the West Wing. For economic progressives it's like pouring salt in the wounds they're still nursing from the president's lame duck tax deal, in which the moderate deal-making Sperling played a key role.Continue »
During his first stop in Mumbai he announced more than 20 trade deals between India and American corporations worth about $10 billion, "supporting" (something less than "creating") more than 50,000 jobs in the U.S.
Of course these deals were in the works for a long time, but the President eagerly took credit. Most of the news coverage was positive.
But there's a danger in front-loading the good news on an international trip. There's also a danger (as the White House certainly should have known) in building up expectations and then not meeting them.
That's exactly what happened in South Korea. To hear administration officials talk about it, the Free Trade Agreement with Korea was all but in the bag. So when it somehow slipped away, some reporters quickly declared it a "failure."
That was compounded by the fact that the administration was unable to convince other nations to agree to tough language on China's manipulation of its currency.Continue »
- no previous page