Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell is resigning as the Obama administration's Mideast envoy, a senior U.S. official told CNN Friday.
Mitchell, a former U.S. senator from Maine and prominent American diplomat, has served as President Barack Obama's point man in the region as the administration has tried to keep Arab-Israeli peace talks on track.
His resignation comes at a pivotal moment in the Arab world. Obama is scheduled to deliver an address next week on the "Arab Spring" - the uprisings that have shaken long-standing autocratic regimes across North Africa and the broader Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Obama and deliver an address to Congress next week.
Mitchell was among the president's first appointments. He was named Mideast envoy on January 22, 2009, two days after Obama took office.
Among other things, Mitchell also played a key role in Clinton-era negotiations regarding the status of Northern Ireland that resulted in the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
Mitchell has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including Israeli-Palestinian agreement on a two-state solution and normalization of relations between Israel and both Syria and Lebanon.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is back on the mend after three stays in various hospitals for an infection that led to a fever.
"I want my friends to know I've left Walter Reed Army Medical Center," Dole said in a prepared statement on Thursday. "I appreciate the great care I've received from the outstanding men and women at Walter Reed.Â I feel a whole lot better after being treated for a minor infection."
Dole,Â who was the GOP nominee for president in 1996 and served 27 years
as a senator from Kansas, was admitted to Walter Reed for an elevated
temperature last week. He was released later in the week only to head back to George Washington University hospital for a check-up on Friday, and then was admitted to Walter Reed later that night.
The 87-year-old Dole vows to get back to work at Alston & Bird, an Atlanta-based law firm that has a large lobbying office in Washington.
"I'm excited to get back to work tomorrow and to be joining my new colleague at Alston & Bird, Earl Pomeroy, he said. "It's going to be a different Congress and different players on each side of the aisle."
President Obama wants to move quickly on naming the next full-time White House chief of staff, according to two senior Democratic sources close to the process.
The presidentÂ has narrowed the list down to a two-man race between current interim boss Pete Rouse and former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley, said the sources, who noted a slew of staff moves could be announced as early as Friday.FULL STORY
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is pouring cold water on the red-hot speculation - fueled by journalist Bob Woodward in a CNN interview - that President Barack Obama may create a so-called "dream ticket" of Obama-Clinton in his 2012 re-election battle.
"No one in the White House is discussing this as a possibility," Gibbs told CNN Wednesday morning.
The speculation that Obama may dump Vice President Joe Biden as his running mate and shift him over to the secretary of state job - moving current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the VP slot - was sparked by Woodward in an interview Tuesday night with CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will step down Friday to run for mayor of Chicago, two sources told CNN Thursday.
The move was expected, after Chicago Mayor Richard Daley recently decided not to run for re-election.
Candidates for the Chicago mayoral race must gather 12,500 signatures by November 22.
As the recession continues to play a monumental role in the mid-term election battle, CNN has learned that President Barack Obama quietly met with billionaire Warren Buffett for an hour-long meeting at the White House Wednesday, according to senior officials familiar with the chat.
The 11:15 a.m. meeting was not listed on Obama's public schedule, the officials said, but the White House released a photograph of the encounter after it had ended.
In addition to the economic crisis, the two men discussed energy reform and other issues, according to the officials.
White House aide Kal Penn, the once and future actor, was robbed at gunpoint in Washington early Tuesday morning, according to two officials familiar with the matter.
Penn had his wallet and cell phone stolen, but officials stressed that he was not seriously injured in the incident that was initially reported by TMZ.com.
"He's fine," said one of the officials, who added that Penn reported for work at the White House. He works in the Office of Public Liaison and focuses on President Obama's outreach to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.
President Barack Obama plans to hit the road this week to start aggressively selling the benefits of the health care overhaul and give nervous Democratic lawmakers some political cover across the country, according to three Democratic officials familiar with the plans.