Washington (CNN) – Speaking at the Pentagon today, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters President Obama has "approved the use of armed predators" in Libya. Gates asserted that the use of armed predators will provide NATO with "some precision capability" enabling allied forces to concentrate on Ghadafi strongholds that have started migrating into urban areas.
Drones, commonly known as unmanned aircraft, were deployed during the early days of the campaign for surveillance purposes without the authorization to fire.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright added that allies are seeing a much more "dispersed fight" since operations began in mid-February. "We're trying to struggle with the intermixing of the lines so to speak, so it's very difficult to pick friend from foe," said Cartwright, adding that predator drones may be able to help allied forces distinguish between Gadhafi and rebel forces.
Asked whether the increased capability was a form of mission creep, Gates reinforced that the President has been clear about the United States' role in Libya from day one, "the primary strike role has been turned over to our allies and our friends and if we can make a modest contribution with these armed predators, we'll do it."
As a Republican holdover, Secretary Gates is set to leave his post by the end of 2011. When asked by one reporter whether he's concerned that Libya could still be a potential stalemate by the time he leaves, he smiled and said, "well, the worry will be my successor's."
Tonight CNN’s John King will moderate the Florida Governor’s debate between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink.
The debate, which is co-sponsored by CNN, the St. Petersburg Times and the University of South Florida will air live at 7 p.m. ET during a special edition of John King, USA.
In one of the most highly-anticipated midterm elections, the race for Florida governor is surely one to keep your eyes on election night. Florida’s 11.9% unemployment rate is the 4th highest of all the states. (The national average is 9.6%.) Since 2007, Florida has gone from 10th to 2nd in the nation in foreclosures.
A Democrat has not won the Florida governor’s race since 1994. In the most recent CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, Scott holds a 49% to 46% lead over his Democratic opponent among likely voters but that’s within the poll’s sampling error.
Have a question you want John King to ask the candidates? Submit your questions now!
CNN's John King will be cooking for a cause this evening in his old neighborhood of Dorchester, Massachusetts. The Codman Square Health Center will host its 13th “Men of Boston Cook for Women's Health” event sponsored by Partners Healthcare. King, alongside Chef Chris Douglass, will be serving up food from one of his favorite local restaurants, Ashmont Grill. It sits just a short walk from where King grew up.
"I always love to come home to Boston," says King, "but today is an extra special trip and treat. As someone who loves to cook, it's hard to pass up a chance to be a 'Celebrity Chef' at an event featuring some of the best restaurants in Boston."
Other celebrity chefs will include Mayor Thomas Menino, Senator Scott Brown, Congressman Michael E. Capuano, and former Governor Michael Dukakis.
Proceeds from the event will go to Codman Square Health Center, which routinely provides health care for women who can't afford medical coverage. Money raised tonight goes towards fighting breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. "The center is about a mile from my childhood home and I remember going to a dental clinic there years ago,” admits King. He adds, “The event organizers don't know that but it's one of the reasons I was honored to be asked."
Tune in tonight to John King, USA at 7p ET. King will join the show live to talk about what he's cooking in the kitchen.