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February 17th, 2010
02:31 PM ET

Stimulus created jobs, controversy, backlash

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/17/economic.stimulus.2010/t1larg.construction.gi.jpg caption="Road construction workers collect cones on a project funded by federal stimulus funds in Littleton, Colorado."]

Ed Hornick
CNN

As members of the Obama administration on Wednesday tout stimulus successes across the country, they won't be highlighting its other effects - the death of bipartisanship and the rise of the Tea Party movement.

The $862 billion economic stimulus package "was never intended to save every job," Obama said on Wednesday at the White House marking the anniversary of his signing the bill. "Businesses are the true engine of growth (and) always will be. But during a recession ... what government can do is provide a temporary boost."

The program, he said, has "run cleanly, smoothly and transparently."

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Filed under: Economy • Stimulus
February 17th, 2010
12:24 PM ET

Video: Another side of adoption

Anderson Cooper | BIO
AC360° Anchor


Filed under: Anderson Cooper
February 17th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

CNN Fact Check: Stimulus 'hypocrisy' in Virginia? Not really.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/27/sotu.gop.response/story.mcdonnell.pool.jpg caption="Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell touted $24 million in Recovery Act grants for getting health records computerized." width=300 height=169]

Matt Smith
CNN

Democrats have made political hay in recent days by singling out Republicans who have criticized the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill while touting its benefits to constituents back home. The latest target is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who this week touted $24 million in Recovery Act grants for getting health records computerized.

"The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible," McDonnell said in a statement issued by his office. "I thank U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for approving Virginia's application for cooperative funding and also for advancing such a critical issue."

Ahead of Wednesday's anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the $862 billion measure, the Democratic Party highlighted McDonnell's praise for the grants and accused him of "gross hypocrisy."

Fact Check: Was Virginia's governor against the stimulus before he was for it?
- McDonnell did criticize the stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, while running for governor in 2009. But McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told CNN that the grants Virginia accepted Monday were applied for by the previous governor. That would be Tim Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic Party.

- Martin said Kaine requested the health care grants in late 2009, before leaving office. McDonnell took office in January.

- Martin told CNN that McDonnell has not rejected any stimulus money yet but he is reviewing what the state is scheduled to receive. While he criticized the Recovery Act, he told The Washington Post in February 2009 that he would accept stimulus money because it originated with taxpayers.

- Over the past week, Democrats have criticized a raft of GOP officeholders who took credit for stimulus-funded projects in their districts after opposing the bill. Among the more prominent Republicans targeted have been Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson - who became famous by shouting "You lie!" at Obama during a September speech to Congress.

- Obama entered the fray two weeks ago, telling an audience in New Hampshire that "some of the very same folks in Congress who opposed the Recovery Act, and claim that it hasn't worked, have been all too happy to claim credit for Recovery Act projects in their districts and the jobs those projects have produced."

Bottom Line: There may be many Republicans who can be criticized for taking money from a Recovery Act they voted against, but McDonnell - who wasn't in Congress to vote and has said he was willing to take the cash - isn't one of them.

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: 360° Radar
February 17th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Stimulus: One Year Later

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/08/biden.health.care/art.vp.biden.cnn.jpg caption="Vice President Joe Biden will release his annual stimulus progress report on Wednesday."]

Tami Luhby
CNN Money

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the stimulus bill, and from here on out the pace of spending should pick up, according to administration officials.

The federal government expects to distribute $32 billion in Recovery Act funds per month, up from an average $27 billion a month over the past year, according to Vice President Joe Biden, who will release his annual stimulus progress report on Wednesday.

"...the year ahead will see a capitalizing on an inventory of work that is awarded and "ready to go"," according to the report.

The report comes on the one-year anniversary of the largest economic stimulus program in the nation's history. The controversial $787 billion program has elicited both praise and scorn from many sectors of the country.

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Filed under: Economy • Joe Biden • Stimulus
February 17th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Corporate giants have too much power

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/TECH/12/03/kindle.electronic.reader/art.kindle2.gi.jpg caption="Dispute over e-book prices between Amazon and the publisher are a power play, says Barry C. Lynn."]

Barry C. Lynn
Special to CNN

Late in January, the book publisher Macmillan told Amazon it wanted to raise the prices of its books sold through the online retailer. Amazon made clear it wanted to continue to set prices for Macmillan's books, as it does for most books it sells.

To make sure the publisher understood it was serious, Amazon cut the links that enable people to buy Macmillan's books via Amazon's Web site. For more than a week, you could still see Macmillan books on Amazon; you just couldn't order one.

Even though the two companies have since struck a truce, the showdown should deeply concern anyone who cares not merely about the health of this vital industry, but about concentration of political power in America.

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February 17th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Obama to create fiscal commission Thursday

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/16/obama.fiscal.panel/story.obamapress.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will create a bipartisan commission to examine ways to rein in the federal debt, an official says." width=300 height=169]

Ed Henry | BIO
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

President Obama will sign an executive order Thursday setting up a bipartisan fiscal commission to weigh proposals aimed at reining in the soaring federal debt, according to a White House official.

The official, who requested anonymity because the president had not yet made the announcement, said the co-chairs of the commission will be Democrat Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton; and Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming.

It will be officially titled the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

In his weekly radio and Internet address this past Saturday, Obama touted the commission as the best way to attain "long-term deficit reduction" at a time when Congress seems paralyzed to come together on the mix of spending cuts and tax increases that will likely be needed to balance the nation's budget.

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February 17th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

College students heading for Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/02/16/haiti.spring.break/story.haiti.kids.ab.jpg caption="Maison Fortune residents crowd around Penn State student Darina Weitzmann on an earlier visit." width=300 height=169]

Jim Kavanagh
CNN

Alain Bonny knows his mother survived the earthquake in Haiti, but he doesn't know where she is staying right now.

Nevertheless, the American college student is going to resist searching for her when he leads a group of students into Haiti in May.

"I'm dying to go to Port-au-Prince right now," said Bonny, 22, a Pennsylvania State University senior in chemistry who lost three cousins in the January 12 earthquake.

He was told that his mother and other family members moved "to the countryside," but he doesn't know whether she's in a house or under a tarp.

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February 17th, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Why Taliban capture could be huge

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/17/afghanistan_taliban.jpg caption="Capture of Taliban commander could disrupt the group's operations, says Brian Fishman."]

Brian Fishman
Special to CNN

The capture of the Afghan Taliban's operational commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the Pakistani city of Karachi is a signature success for the United States' effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it does not indicate that the insurgent movement will collapse.

In the short run, local Taliban commanders will be able to maintain the movement's operational effectiveness against U.S. and NATO troops. Over the long term, however, increased collaboration between American and Pakistani intelligence agencies could prove debilitating for the movement.

U.S. and Pakistani officials likely hope the collaboration will force the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table.

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February 17th, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz: An uneasy truce?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/26/poll.health.care/smlvid.capitolnight.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

This week we’re looking at Republicans under fire from their fellow Republicans – for not being conservative enough. Members of the so-called Tea Party make up the driving force behind this backlash. Meanwhile anti-incumbent fever appears to be at a record high. New CNN polling shows just one-third of people surveyed say most members of Congress deserve another term.

An uneasy truce may have been reached between the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party after Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele spent nearly four hours yesterday trying to calm the fears of Tea Party leaders who worry that the GOP is out to co-opt their grassroots energy ahead of the 2010 midterm elections. Still, many longtime GOP lawmakers are facing challenges from the right. Do you think the Tea Party will have an influence in the mid-term elections?

In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist is facing a tough battle in the GOP primary with conservative Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate seat. Rubio has closed a 30-point gap to challenge the governor for the seat and the two are now in a statistical dead heat in primary polling. So how did he do it? Did support from conservative darlings help his race? And what kind of financial backing is he getting from fellow tea-partiers? Randi Kaye reports on the challenge Rubio poses for Crist and how this race may reflect a larger national trend.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
February 17th, 2010
10:32 AM ET

Obama can model Ike in fighting off GOP hawks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/05/t1.art.obama.jpg caption="Republicans have accelerated their attacks on President Obama's performance on national security." width=300 height=169]

Julian Zelizer
Special to CNN

Republicans have accelerated their attacks on President Obama's performance on national security. A few weeks ago, House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner accused the White House of having a "pre-September 11" mentality.

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan responded by writing an op-ed in USA Today, urging Republicans to stop scoring political points through national security. Brennan warned the attacks were in fact making the nation less secure.

Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for Obama to remove Brennan from his position, saying Brennan's comments had "destroyed my confidence in him."

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