May 18th, 2011
04:48 PM ET

Obama's do-over on the Middle East

By CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott:

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In many ways, the promises President Obama made in his 2009 speech to the Arab and Muslim world were doomed from the start. Obama might have sounded like an idealist, but he was thinking like a realist.

The White House billed the Cairo speech as "A New Beginning," and the president made tantalizing promises not only to show progress in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on encouraging democratic reform, and engaging authoritarian leaders hostile to the United States.

And even with Obama's recently announced sanctions against Syria and Iran, it still may be too little to late.

From the start it was always unlikely America was going to secure deals with countries like Iran and Syria by promising to help overthrow their leaders.

For the full story, click here.


Topics: Middle East • President Obama • The News
Obama: Fight on terror goes on
May 18th, 2011
04:25 PM ET

Obama: Fight on terror goes on

NEW LONDON, Connecticut (CNN) - President Barack Obama reiterated his administration's warning Wednesday that Osama bin Laden's death does not mean an end to the U.S. war against al Qaeda and other extremist organizations, telling a group of graduating U.S. Coast Guard cadets that "the hard work of protecting our country ... goes on."

The "terrorist leader who attacked America on 9/11 will never threaten America again," Obama said. "We will never waver in the defense of this country we love."

The president made his remarks during the 130th commencement for the Coast Guard Academy. Obama's speech was his third to a service academy graduating class since becoming commander in chief.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined the president for the occasion.

"Our American journey has always been propelled by a spirit and strength that sets us apart," Obama said. "When tough times inevitably come ... we remember our moral compass (and recall) that we're all in this together."

He said, "Here in America anything is possible. We each do our part, knowing that we have navigated rough seas before and will do so again."

May 18th, 2011
04:11 PM ET

No Plan B on debt ceiling

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Obama administration officials declared Wednesday that there is no fallback plan if Congress fails to lift the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit by Aug. 2, and they warned that inaction could spark a series of catastrophic events.

            "There really is no alternative to raising the debt limit," one senior administration official said at a briefing with reporters. "There is no plan that can preserve our credit worthiness."

            A second senior administration official also pushed back on the claim by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that the administration is using "scare tactics" on the issue and asserted that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would be “disruptive” but not "catastrophic" to the economy. FULL POST


Topics: Economy • The News • White House
Wednesday Poll
May 18th, 2011
12:29 PM ET

Wednesday Poll


Topics: Gas prices • Poll • The News
Air Force One's forecast: missed approach
President Obama boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning.
May 18th, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Air Force One's forecast: missed approach

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Even the commander-in-chief takes a back seat to bad weather.  Wednesday, just as Air Force One was approaching Hartford’s Bradley International Airport to land, the pilot executed a missed approach and circled around.

Federal Aviation Authority spokeswoman Laura Brown tells CNN, "The plane had not yet reached the runway and the weather was 'bad' so the pilot circled around and lined up for another landing."

President Obama is scheduled to speak this morning at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's graduation ceremony in New London.  It was cloudy and rainy in Hartford this morning and the president's speech at the Coast Guard Academy which was originally planned outside was moved to an indoor location.

Air Force One circled around the airport, located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at approximately 9:50 a.m. At the time, the weather there was 55 degrees, extremely overcast and northwest winds at 11mph.

White House spokesperson Nick Shapiro confirmed the incident and said that due to the weather the pilot decided to circle around before landing the plane but added, “[T]his is a standard and safe procedure.”

The president's plane did eventually land at the airport just a few minutes later, at 10:05 a.m., without incident.  It's not known if Obama knew about the missed landing.  Reporters traveling on Air Force One were unaware of the first attempted landing.


Topics: AF1
POTUS schedule for Wednesday, May 18
President Obama boarding Marine One Wednesday morning.
May 18th, 2011
08:54 AM ET

POTUS schedule for Wednesday, May 18

(CNN) - President Obama travels to New London, Connecticut Wednesday morning where he will deliver a commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  From there the president flies to Boston where he will attend two separate DNC fundraising events in the evening.  He will return to Washington later in the evening.

Schedule provided by the White House after the jump. FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule