The United States plans to sell nearly $1 billion worth of warplanes, armored vehicles and surveillance aerostats to Iraq. The deal includes 24 AT-6C Texan II light-attack aircraft, a turboprop plane manufactured by Beechcraft that has .50 caliber machine guns, advanced avionics and can carry precision-guided bombs, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed Congress on Tuesday of the planned sale, which will go ahead unless lawmakers block the deal. \"The proposed sale of these aircraft, equipment and support will enhance the ability of the Iraqi forces to sustain themselves in their efforts to bring stability to Iraq and to prevent overflow of unrest into neighboring countries,\" the agency said in a notice.
President Barack Obama is dispatching his deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, to help oversee a review of the Department of Veterans Affairs as anger grows over evidence that veterans died while waiting for care. Obama, through his spokesman, has voiced his confidence in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki repeatedly, but the retired four star general has faced calls for his resignation following reports that up to 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments or specialist care at a VA hospital in Phoenix. \"While we get to the bottom of what happened in Phoenix, it's clear the VA needs to do more to ensure quality care for our veterans,\" Obama said Wednesday in a statement. \"I'm grateful that Rob, one of my most trusted advisers, has agreed to work with Secretary Shinseki to help the team at this important moment.\" The move demonstrated White House concern that the issue is taking on growing political weight.
President Barack Obama has a modest, tongue-in-cheek suggestion for people in New York City who support his agenda: move to North Dakota. The idea drew laughs in what was otherwise a somber speech at a $32,400-per-ticket fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the posh Upper East Side apartment of investment banker Blair Effron, co-founder of Centerview Partners. In the second of two fundraisers on Wednesday, Obama bemoaned how Democrats face some \"structural disadvantages\" in elections - winning with large margins in places like Brooklyn but losing to Republicans in red states. Obama described buying cheesecake at Junior's Restaurant in Brooklyn in October while campaigning with Bill de Blasio two days before the mayoral election.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she was "personally skeptical" that Iran would agree to a comprehensive deal to remove its nuclear weapon capabilities but said the Obama administration faced a promising opportunity that required it to "give diplomacy space to work."