By Ed Henry, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Obama is seriously considering an executive order to create a bipartisan commission that could weigh sweeping tax increases and spending cuts to try to slash the soaring federal deficit, CNN has learned.
Documents obtained by CNN show that top advisers to the president have been privately weighing various versions of a commission, and opinions differ about how to structure it. Officials say that some inside the administration are pushing for a narrow mandate because it's too complicated to tackle reform of the tax system and possible spending cuts to various popular programs such as Social Security and Medicare all at once.
"Each major category of fiscal policy - Social Security, Medicare, discretionary spending, revenues - raises a complex and idiosyncratic array of policy problems and prescriptions," according to the documents detailing some of the administration's deliberations. "Achieving consensus on any one of these issues - much less all of them simultaneously - may be more than the political system can reasonably accommodate."
But officials told CNN that other advisers to the president are pushing for the commission to have a broad mandate to put all of these big issues "on the table" at the same time.
Our Ali Velshi is on the road again. He's taking the CNN Express bus down south this week, having a conversation with real Americans about how they're getting by in this rough economy.
Today, he's talking with college students and recent college grads, all trying to find jobs. Ali joined us on Wednesday's American Morning from Columbia, South Carolina with day three of his series "Recovery Road."
For the more than 180,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a package from home is the next best thing to being there, especially this time of year.
In a CNN exclusive, our Barbara Starr takes us inside a massive post office in Afghanistan, where soldiers are working around the clock to deliver cards, letters, and presents to America's homesick troops.
By Miriam Falco, CNN Medical News Managing Editor
(CNN) - One of the five manufacturers supplying H1N1 vaccine to the United States is recalling hundreds of thousands of flu shots because they aren't as potent as they should be.
The French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur is voluntarily recalling about 800,000 doses of vaccine meant for children between the ages of 6 months and 35 months.
The company and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that the recall was not prompted by safety concerns, and that even though the vaccine isn't quite as potent as it's supposed to be, children who received it don't have to be immunized again against H1N1.
The CDC emphasized that there is no danger for any child who received this type of vaccine.
When asked what parents should do, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said, "absolutely nothing." He said if children receive this vaccine, they will be fine. Full story »
Even for Las Vegas, this is one very big gamble. The $8.5 billion City Center opens its doors to the world today.
It features a resort and casino, hotels, restaurants, condos and sensational shopping. The complex is said to be the most expensive privately funded project in U.S. history. Our Dan Simon reports in this CNN exclusive.
Editor's Note: This week, American Morning is examining the causes of youth-on-youth violence across the country. Yesterday, in part two of the series, "Walk in My Shoes," we talked with a group of teenagers about why they fight. Tomorrow, we examine the teenage brain to look for an explanation for some of their behavior.
By T.J. Holmes, CNN
It's not yet 7 a.m. and 17-year-old Eric Nimely is already facing his first test of the day – getting safely to school on Chicago's South Side.
Millions of American parents don't think twice about getting their kids to and from school each day, with expectations of a safe carpool, bus ride or short walk.
But for more than 400,000 public school students in Chicago a trip to and from school could become a matter of life and death. We took that trip with two students, and talked with them about how they deal with the constant threat of violence and the effect it has on their lives.
“Everybody gets on the bus and sometimes coming home they’re fighting, you know stuff like that on the bus,” says Eric, who switched his route to school for a safer trip.
To walk in Eric's shoes, is to get a glimpse into a world where getting to school is all about survival.
“If you don't have any friends … I'm not saying you’re going to get picked on, but it's like a group of guys standing on the corner and you're walking. If nobody knows who you are, I mean like they're going to try and say something to you,” Eric says.
Like 95% of the city's public school students, Eric is responsible for getting to school on his own. He says he tries to travel with friends, to avoid trouble.
“We definitely want to try to protect them from violence,” says Charles Anderson, assistant principal at Eric's Team Englewood High School. Anderson says it's not uncommon for kids to get jumped, robbed or worse in the tough neighborhoods of Chicago, where during the last school year, 49 public school students were killed.