President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain declared Friday that the revelation of a previously secret Iranian nuclear facility puts heavy new pressure on Tehran to quickly disclose all its nuclear efforts — including any moves toward weapons development — "or be held accountable."
A defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retorted that his nation was keeping nothing from international inspectors and needn't "inform Mr. Obama's administration of every facility that we have."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Iran has until December to comply or face new sanctions. Before that, on Oct. 1, the Iranians are to meet with the U.S. and five other major powers to discuss a range of issues including Iran's nuclear program.
President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain will accuse Iran on Friday of building a secret facility to produce nuclear fuel, The New York Times reported.
Senior administration officials told the Times that the three leaders would make the announcement in Pittsburgh before the opening of the G-20 economic summit. Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will demand Tehran open the covert facility up to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran has kept the facility, 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from international weapons inspectors for years, but the U.S. has long known of its existence, the Times said.
Obama decided to go public with the revelation after Iran learned that Western intelligence agencies were aware of the project.
Officials told the Times that the plant could be in operation by next year.
President Barack Obama's nomination of a trucking industry lobbyist to head the agency that regulates the industry drew fire Wednesday from senators and safety advocates.
Anne Ferro, the president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association for the past six years, was named to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a troubled agency that has been widely criticized for allowing safety recommendations to languish for years without action.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., told Ferro at a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, that the motor carrier administration is "an agency in dire need of reform."
"Given your ties, Ms. Ferro, to the trucking industry ... I am concerned about your ability to take the bold action we need to keep Americans safe," Lautenberg said.
President Barack Obama exhorted world leaders on Wednesday to step up and do their part in tackling global challenges in promoting security and prosperity rather than waiting for America to do it alone.
"The people of the world want change," Obama said in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly. "They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history."
In an era where fast-moving technology binds people across borders and old divides, Obama called for "a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
Obama said he will never apologize for defending U.S. interests. But he sought to dispel what he said has become "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" that has swept the globe.
Enough already, Mr. President!
Barack Obama's incessant pleas in behalf of health care reform have reached a decibel level seldom before achieved by anyone in his job. The appeals became a crescendo over the weekend with taped appearances on the three leading nationally televised Sunday morning public affairs programs and another with comedy host David Letterman on his late night show.
And to think it wasn't too long ago that presidents worried that too much television exposure might detract from the majesty of the office by making them all too familiar, warts and all, to the general public. When I was a kid, the president was sort of like the Wizard of Oz, this omnipotent, mysterious figure with a disembodied voice who guided us through our travails. Few of us ever thought we would meet him.
Memo to President Barack Obama: It's a tax. Obama insisted this weekend on national television that requiring people to carry health insurance — and fining them if they don't — isn't the same thing as a tax increase. But the language of Democratic bills to revamp the nation's health care system doesn't quibble. Both the House bill and the Senate Finance Committee proposal clearly state that the fines would be a tax.
And the reason the fines are in the legislation is to enforce the coverage requirement.
"If you put something in the Internal Revenue Code, and you tell the IRS to collect it, I think that's a tax," said Clint Stretch, head of the tax policy group for Deloitte, a major accounting firm. "If you don't pay, the person who's going to come and get it is going to be from the IRS."
The Obama administration warned insurance companies Monday they face possible legal action for allegedly trying to scare seniors with misleading information about the potential for lost benefits under health care legislation in Congress.
"As we continue our research into this issue, we are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your Web sites," said a notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Teresa DeCaro, an agency official, sent the notice to all companies that sell private Medicare coverage and stand-alone drug plans to seniors. The warning came as President Barack Obama's health care legislation is moving toward key tests in a Senate committee over the next several days, and with public polls showing widespread skepticism among seniors.
President Barack Obama on Monday poked fun at claims that racism was behind fierce opposition to his ambitious political agenda, joking that "I was actually black before the election."
It was the latest attempt by Obama to tone down the debate, after former US president Jimmy Carter commented that much of the conservative fury directed at Obama's health care plans was motivated by racism.
Obama said on the "The Late Show" with David Letterman on CBS that the fact he was elected as America's first African-American president at all was a more accurate indicator of wider race relations in the country.
"I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election."
With the military and Republicans publicly pressuring him to send more troops to Afghanistan soon and his own administration now deeply divided about how to proceed there, the eight-year war against al Qaida and the Taliban has become an increasingly urgent policy and political dilemma for President Barack Obama.
He can escalate an unpopular and open-ended war and risk a backlash from his liberal base or refuse his commanders and risk being blamed for a military loss that could tar him and his party as weak on national security.
National Democratic Party leaders have asked Gov. David Paterson to consider withdrawing from the 2010 governor's race, according to two senior New York Democratic advisers.
Both advisers, who are close to the governor, spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for Paterson. The sources said it was unclear what Paterson would do in response.
The New York Times, which originally reported the request on its Web site, said that it was President Barack Obama who asked Paterson to withdraw.
Party leaders in Washington have become concerned about Paterson's political weakness, believing the governor's office is too important to risk losing, one of the state Democratic advisers told the AP on Saturday.