Special to CNN
If last year President Obama had trouble pleasing anyone - he frustrated Democrats and Independents by seeming to come down repeatedly on the side of big business over ordinary Americans, whether the issue was health care or lending, and he frustrated Republicans by, well, being a Democrat - he finally got to please everyone in his State of the Union address Wednesday night.
He was amiable, funny, and feisty - the Barack Obama we all want to know and love.
For Democrats, the president put the Republicans on the spot a few times with some populist proposals (e.g., stricter regulations on Wall Street) that Republicans could respond to either by applauding, or by sitting on their hands while average Americans watched in consternation.
He told the story of how Bill Clinton had left the country with an enormous surplus that the Republicans had spun into a trillion-dollar deficit, with two unfunded wars, two unfunded rounds of tax cuts, and a big Medicare expansion to be paid for by the Medicare class of 2070.
By Roland S. Martin | BIO
CNN Political Analyst
With Tea Party activists brewing their own strain of conservativism, Republicans are waging a fierce battle amongst themselves over what it means to be a member of the Grand Old Party.
We saw this play itself out in November in New York's 23rd congressional district when the Republican candidate chosen by party leaders was forced out of the race after a conservative candidate who didn't know a darn thing about the issues in the district captured the fancy of the Tea Party renegades, and almost won the seat.
Now we see the same thing playing out in Florida, where the state's once-popular Republican governor, Charlie Crist, is in a dogfight with his far more conservative challenger for the U.S. Senate nomination, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Even the Republican National Committee is fending off a concerted effort to keep the party's money from candidates that don't pass a "purity" test.
AC360° Associate Producer
Anderson and our team on the ground in Haiti have seen and reported on so much over the past few weeks, ever since the earthquake rattled the already impoverished nation. Amid all of the devastation and destruction, they’ve met some resilient and inspiring Haitians. Tonight we’re honoring those people; the Heroes of Haiti. Don’t miss this special hour about courage, sacrifice and extraordinary personal commitment to help the people in Haiti.
Gary Tuchman talks to Jean Robert Cadet about his Restavek Organization, which helps keep Haitian children out of slavery and trafficking. Ever since the earthquake struck, he’s spent his time working to protect orphans. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at two Haitian doctors. They’re surgeons and they’re also twins. They’re working hard to treat people in their community – going from patient to patient and caring for people around the clock. Anderson reports on the search and rescue teams that have been working tirelessly to search, save and recover the victims of the quake. These are only a few of the Heroes we will profile tonight. It's a special you won’t want to miss – 11 p.m. ET.
We also continue our coverage of the stimulus project this week. The stimulus bill is unpopular, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, but most of its basic provisions are favored by large majorities. Eight in ten favor government spending on roads and bridges and aid to unemployed workers is even more popular. So where’s the rub? Why is the it so unpopular if so many parts of the plan are generally favorable? People seem to be worried about wasteful spending.
For more than a week, Sende Sencil had gone without bathing, until two young American doctors at the hospital where she was being treated took the 9-year-old girl for a short walk outside to a shower to wash off the filth and grime.
Beaming, and in clean clothes for the first time since the earthquake, Sende, who was thought to be an orphan, returned to the hospital's tents with the doctors.
As they walked, a man approached them on the street and reached out to grab Sende.
"I'm looking for her. She's my family," the doctors remember the man saying in broken English. "I'm taking her home."
Suzanne Malveaux | BIO
CNN White House Correspondent
The White House is considering moving the site of the 9-11 trial from Manhattan to elsewhere, if the Justice Department sees fit, senior administration officials confirm.
According to one senior administration official, "conversations have occurred within the administration to discuss contingency options should the possibility of a trial in Lower Manhattan be foreclosed upon by Congress or locally."
The turnabout comes after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other politicians expressed great concern over the costs and disruption of holding the September 11th trial in Lower Manhattan.
White House officials say the President still agrees with Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian criminal court, not a military tribunal.
Reporter's Note: President Obama is storming around trying to capitalize on any boost from his State of the Union. And I’m just sitting here, thinking about a conflict far, far away and an idea that this worth writing about in my daily letter to the president.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
Here is one of Tom’s big rules of life: The only thing worse than bribing someone, is bribing him insufficiently. In this country, we generally see bribery as de facto “bad;” unless we’re talking about really wealthy people giving money to really powerful people, in which case we call it “participation in the political process.” But in seamier corners of the world, under-the-table payments are just a fact of life. Like gravity. Or hip problems in old age.
It is a way that people make a living, and a way that things get done. It works like this: “We, the government of Chaosylvania, can’t really afford a police force. We don’t pay our officers enough. But we still need them. So we look the other way as those officers solicit donations for things like, oh say, not getting a speeding ticket while your car was parked.” It is an imperfect system, rife with unfairness, and sometimes it’s all they have.