American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
January 26th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

The rush and the risk of big-wave surfing

Video of surfers riding a twenty-five foot wave at the surfing spot Maverick's near Half Moon Bay, California has many people awestruck. One surfer, Jacob Trette, was struck by the massive wave at Maverick's Saturday and nearly drowned. He was brought to the hospital and placed in an induced coma. Trette has since regained consciousness and is currently listed in 'fair condition'.

Expert big-wave surfer Grant Washburn helps organize the annual Jay at the Maverick's surfing competition and is familiar with the area's waves. He talks to American Morning's Kiran Chetry and T.J. Holmes about the risk and the rush of big-wave surfing.

Filed under: Sports
January 26th, 2011
10:08 AM ET

Rep. Steny Hoyer: President Obama's plan to veto earmarks 'unfortunate'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - While the president's State of the Union address was filled with applause lines that brought many fellow Democrats to their feet, one part in particular rankled some key members of his party: "If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it."

The line brought applause from some lawmakers, including his former competitor for the White House, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

But House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told CNN's American Morning, Wednesday, the threat was "unfortunate."

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to appropriate funds, said Hoyer, D-Maryland. "I frankly wasn't very taken with the president's thought. Clearly, if there is an additional spending initiative by the Congress that is not appropriate, the president ought to veto it. On the other other hand, if it is an appropriate expenditure - in a community, in a state, in the nation - then I think the president ought to sign that. I thought simply a blanket statement that because Congress adds an item of spending to the appropriation bills that he would, therefore, veto it, I think that was unfortunate and a proposition with which I do not agree."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, made similar remarks Tuesday when word surfaced that the president would call for an earmark ban. "I think this is an issue that any president would like to have, that takes power away from the legislative branch of government," Reid told reporters. "I think it's the wrong thing to do. I don't think it's helpful. It's a lot of pretty talk, but it only gives the president more power. He's got enough power already."

Filed under: Politics • President Barack Obama
January 26th, 2011
09:48 AM ET

Rep. Cantor: President put forth ideas 'Republicans can work with him on'

"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president."

-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

President Obama proposed a five year spending freeze on domestic spending in his State of the Union speech last night. It represents nearly a half trillion deficit reduction which the president admitted will be "painful" but many Republicans are saying the reform is too little too late. Representative Paul Ryan, delivering the GOP response to the State of the Union, said that the "president and the Democratic leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power." But with the situation growing more dire, the parties will be expected to figure out a solution.

Representative Eric Cantor, R, Virgina, is the majority leader of the Republicans in the House and tells T.J. Holmes that he thinks he and the president have similar goals, "I think that like the president, I'm a results-driven kind of guy. I want to see something done" and that debt reduction may not be the only thing they agree on.

Filed under: Debt • GOP • President Barack Obama
January 26th, 2011
08:28 AM ET

Rep. Van Hollen: 'We have to act now' for fiscal stability

"We will move forward together, or not at all -– for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election -– after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but the light to the world."

-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

President Barack Obama's message last night was simple, "We need to win the future." Delivering his State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the country to encourage innovation, refocus on education, rebuild infrastructure and reduce the amount of national debt. Focusing on the debt the president proposed to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years" to "reduce the deficit by more that $400 billion over the next decade."

The promises will mean a busy year in for Representative Chris Van Hollen who is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee and will have to work with Republicans to reduce our debt. Van Hollen tells American Morning's Kiran Chetry, "coming together doesn't mean we agree on everything. But it does mean that we all have to give a little as we try and tackle these common challenges.

Filed under: Debt • Politics • President Barack Obama