August 30th, 2010
11:29 AM ET

Obama on his citizenship: 'The facts are the facts, right?'

Steve Brusk
CNN Political Coverage Manager

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/30/art.obama.0829s.gi.jpg caption="President Obama said Sunday that there is a ‘network of misinformation’ spreading false rumors about his citizenship and faith." width=300 height=169]

(CNN) – President Obama dismissed on Sunday the results of recent polls that show a significant portion of the population have doubts about his citizenship and believe he is a Muslim.

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams on Sunday, Obama said "the facts are the facts, right?" But said "there is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly."

"I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead," the president added.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker

Filed under: President Barack Obama • Steve Brusk
May 26th, 2009
08:20 PM ET

Saved by stimulus, now facing layoff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/26/art.obama.columbus.police.jpg caption="President Obama at the graduation of police recruits in Columbus, Ohio."]
Steve Brusk
CNN National Desk Editor

It was a success story the White House was eager to highlight: earlier this year, President Obama attended the graduation of 25 police recruits in Columbus, Ohio, touting it as a victory for the federal stimulus package.

Without the money, the officers never would have hit the streets. They were to be laid off before their first day of patrol, victims of city budget cuts, until the stimulus money saved the class.

But the White House said the $1.2 million grant only guaranteed their jobs until the end of the year. And facing a growing deficit and a fight to pass an income tax hike, Columbus Police Tuesday announced massive budget cuts that could mean hundreds of layoffs.

Among those who could lose their jobs if voters reject the increase: the 25 new officers who shook the president's hand.


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama • Steve Brusk
March 21st, 2009
01:23 PM ET

Words matter

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Steve Brusk
CNN Senior National Editor

That was the comment from the head of the Special Olympics, reacting after President Obama apologized for an ill-fated joke on late-night television. It was the most high-profile moment in a week where politicians had plenty of trouble with microphones.

Some of the moments were trivial, others were at the heart of the nation’s weightiest issues. More than once, the two collided.

It started silly. Vice President Biden learned a lesson many before him have learned…private conversations aren’t private if a mic is nearby.

There was no luck of the Irish at a White House St. Patrick’s Day ceremony when a teleprompter problem had Irish Prime Minister Cowen re-reading part of President Obama’s speech.


March 4th, 2009
10:08 PM ET

Do you know me?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/04/geithnernamecard.jpg
]Steve Brusk
CNN Sr. National Editor

Maybe Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has a future in American Express commercials.

Something like, “Do you know me? I am one of the most powerful men in America, in charge of federal bailouts and bank rescue plans. But even at the White House where my boss works, they don’t know my name….”

President Obama Wednesday night hosted a dinner for Congressional committee chairs in the East Room at the White House. The tablecloth-covered tables have elegantly-written nametags next to the gold-rimmed plates for the guests. One of the bigger names is the Treasury boss, who still found his seat even though his tag is misspelled “Geitner”.

Mr. Obama made brief remarks to the gathering before they ate, telling the guests, “We're not always going to agree on everything, but given how hard so many you are working, on both sides of the aisle, day in day out, we thought it was important for us to be able to step back for a moment, remind ourselves that we have things in common. Family, friends, laughter. And hopefully we will have a chance to appreciate each other a little bit, take a time out before we dive back into the game.”

Among those seated at the President’s table: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic House Whip Jim Clyburn and Republican House Whip Eric Cantor.

Advice for the next dinner, Mr. Secretary? Don’t leave home without it.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Steve Brusk
March 3rd, 2009
03:28 PM ET

Church deacon, soccer coach, father - bank robbery suspect

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Editor’s Note: Tune in tonight for a full report by David Mattingly on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Steve Brusk

Bruce Windsor is known as many things: church deacon, soccer coach, father. But facing potential financial problems, he’s now known as something else: alleged bank robber.

Police say the 43-year-old owner of a real estate company walked into the Carolina First Bank in Greenville, South Carolina late Thursday with a mask and a handgun. In court documents filed Friday, police said he forced two bank employees into an office at gunpoint and demanded money. Police arrived minutes later with the suspect still inside, touching off a tense 90-minute standoff before he released the hostages and surrendered.

His actions were “out of character” for a man who has never been in trouble with the law before, according to family and friends. His tearful sister, defending him as he stood before a judge, said “he must have just snapped under the pressure”

In his initial appearance for a bond hearing, rather than the dress shirt he would wear to work, Windsor was in an orange jail jumpsuit, shackled and with his hands cuffed. In a quiet voice, he answered “yes, sir” as the judge explained the charges to him: two counts of kidnapping, one count of robbery, and two counts of pointing firearms at a person, charges that could carry more than 30 years in prison if convicted.

A detective told the judge Windsor said he had been experiencing financial problems. But police spokesman Corporal Jason Rampey told CNN they could not yet say for certain if money problems were the motive for the alleged robbery.

Attorney Sidney Mitchell told the judge he was “a model citizen, up until yesterday, and we’ve obviously got a lot of talking to do with him”. Mitchell said he had been married for 16 years, and had four children. His oldest child is 11.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Steve Brusk
February 16th, 2009
12:32 PM ET

The test of time

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/16/art.bush1.gi.jpg caption="Historians have ranked Bush the seventh worst president."]

Steve Brusk
Senior National Editor

Perhaps former President George W. Bush can take solace from the example of Ulysses S. Grant.

The first historical ranking of Presidents has been released since Mr. Bush left office last month, and his initial score is not a kind one. The C-SPAN Historians Presidential Survey puts Bush in the bottom tier of Chief Executives, at #36, slightly ahead of Millard Fillmore.

But Bush has made it clear he wasn’t worried about the first judgments on his presidency. At his final White House news conference, he said “there is no such thing as short-term history.”


February 9th, 2009
05:34 PM ET

Warmer weather, colder numbers

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Steve Brusk
Senior National Editor

When Air Force One touches down in Fort Myers, Florida Tuesday morning, the weather will be different from that of northern Indiana. Little else will be.

President Obama won’t see anyone in earmuffs at the airport, or remnants of dirty snow along the motorcade route to the town hall meeting. But like their rust belt colleagues in Elkhart, people in Lee County are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn.

Fort Myers restaurant manager Debbie Kendall sees it every day. “People are very nervous,” she said of her customers, “maybe even scared. Everything is so up in the air.”


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama • Steve Brusk • Unemployment
January 23rd, 2009
08:55 PM ET

Back to traffic jams

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Steve Brusk and Emily Robards
CNN National Desk

One of the perks of life in the White House: with rare exceptions, you never sit in a traffic jam.

That’s not the case if you live in Dallas.

Former First Lady Laura Bush got a taste of her new life in the Metroplex Thursday, as her SUV ended up stuck in traffic on a freeway entrance ramp. Her much shorter motorcade sat patiently, with television news helicopters overhead, waiting to merge onto Interstate 35 as she returned to the ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Mrs. Bush visited a friend, and then stopped by the Bushs' future home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas. She was seen checking out the large backyard, waving to cameras circling overhead. A smiling Mrs. Bush also waved at bystanders gathered on the street as she departed.

October 15th, 2008
08:11 AM ET

McCain just can't get away from Bush

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Steve Brusk
CNN Senior National Editor

Probably not the product placement John McCain was looking for.

McCain is in New York, preparing for Wednesday’s final presidential debate. His Manhattan hotel happens to be next to the Ziegfeld Theatre, the site of Tuesday night’s premiere of Oliver Stone’s new biopic about President Bush, called “W."

McCain has tried to distance himself at times from the President on the campaign . But he left the hotel to attend a fundraiser just as the red carpet arrivals for the premiere were getting underway. People were already lined up next to signs like, “W: A Life Understood” for the inaugural showing, just as the candidate walked out of the hotel.

McCain's motorcade then passed directly in front of the main entrance to the theater, just ten feet from the red carpet itself. But he didn’t have any close calls with the celebrities.

CNN producer Peter Hamby, staying in the McCain hotel, saw Stone arrive outside his hotel room window. If McCain had any reaction, reporters weren’t able to see it.

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics • Steve Brusk
October 6th, 2008
08:27 PM ET

Judgment, character and experience

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/06/art.florida.palin.waves.jpg]Steve Brusk
Political Desk Senior Editor

Two moments from the John McCain rally in Albuquerque, and the Sarah Palin rally in Estero, FL that demonstrate some of the emotions on the trail this week.

In Albuquerque, CNN's Tasha Diakides notes that as McCain said, “All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America? In short: Who is the real Barack Obama”, someone in the crowd yelled “Terrorist.”

In Estero, a local sheriff was addressing the crowd before Sarah Palin entered the room. Sheriff Mike Scott of Lee County, FL said, “On November 4th, let’s leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.” As the crowd cheered, he gave a forceful salute.

Moments earlier, Lee said, “We have an opportunity to put a tag team in the White House whose loyalty, allegiance and honor in this country, and record of service, have never been questioned.”

In March, McCain rebuked a conservative radio talk show host in Cincinnati when Bill Cunningham repeatedly referred to Barack Hussein Obama while warming up the crowd at a McCain rally, before McCain was on stage.

And from Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt:


Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin • Steve Brusk