WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) - Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia became the newest member of Congress Wednesday, after he was sworn-into replace Rep. Charlie Norwood, who died earlier this year.
Broun, a doctor from Athens, will represent the 10th District and his victory in a special election meant that the seat remains in Republican hands. From the outset of the special election, Broun was a long shot, but he placed second in last month's special election and then narrowly defeated another Republican, Jim Whitehead, in the runoff contest.
Broun's swearing-in means that there are now 433 active members in the House with Democrats holding 231 seats to Republicans 202 seats. There are two vacancies right now: a California seat once held by Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, who died in April; and a Massachusetts seat held by Rep. Martin Meehan, who resigned earlier this month to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Special elections for both those seats will be held later this year.
- Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and Congressional Producer Evan Glass
The Clinton and Obama campaigns are clashing over the meaning of one of Obama’s answers.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The spat between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is really about calling attention to your opponent's weakness.
In politics, just like in prizefighting, you look for your opponent's weakness and pound away at it. In the debate this week, Obama portrayed himself as new and different - the total opposite of George W. Bush. "The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous," Obama said in the CNN/You Tube debate on Monday.
Clinton portrayed herself as experienced and knowledgeable. "You don't promise a meeting until you know the intentions. I don't want to be used for propaganda," she said.
She was going for Obama's weakness - his lack of experience. She kept hammering away at it the next day. "I thought that was very irresponsible and, frankly, naïve to say you would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro or others within the first year," she said.
Obama came back punching at Clinton's weakness. "If there is anything irresponsible and naïve it was to authorize George Bush to send 160,000 young American men and women into Iraq apparently without knowing how they where going to get out," Obama said.
Her weakness? That she's cautious and calculating. And perhaps too willing to compromise with people like President Bush.
Actually, it was not Obama but John Edwards who used the "T word." "Do you believe that compromise - triangulation - will bring about big change? I don't," Edwards said in the debate.
Remember, it's a fight for the world heavyweight championship. So there's bound to be some trash talk. "Senator Obama gave an answer that he is regretting today," Clinton said.
Obama’s response: You want to talk about regrets, lady? Or as the Illinois senator put it, "Do you want to talk about irresponsibilities? Look at the vote to authorize George Bush to send our troops into Iraq without an exit plan."
Here we are, only a couple of rounds into this fight, and there's already blood on the floor.
–CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As part of the historic CNN/YouTube presidential debate Monday, CNN invited the eight Democratic presidential contenders to create a YouTube-style campaign ad.
CNN and YouTube are teaming up again for a Republican presidential debate on September 17th.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama will pick up the endorsement of New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes, three Democratic sources tell CNN.
Hodes is a first term congressman from New Hampshire’s Second District who defeated the GOP incumbent, Rep. Charlie Bass, in a hard fought race last fall, 53 percent to 46 percent.
New Hampshire’s other representative, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, has not endorsed a White House candidate so far.
- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King contributed to this report
Bloomberg’s personal Web site.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Web address www.mike2008.com may redirect readers to Michael Bloomberg’s personal Web site, but it shouldn’t be seen as a sign the New York City mayor is considering a White House bid, a Bloomberg spokesman tells CNN.
The New York Daily News reported the site’s existence Wednesday, but Stu Loser, a spokesman for the mayor, told CNN the domain name was originally purchased in 2005, along with several other domain names - including mike2005.com and mike2007.com.
Loser said Bloomberg’s staff purchased the domain names to prevent cybersquatting, the practice of buying a domain name that includes a trademark belonging to another person or company with the intent to sell at a high profit.
Loser noted the domain name has redirected to Bloomberg’s site for months and contended the Daily News report contains no new information.
Bloomberg, who officially dropped his Republican Party affiliation in June and has long been rumored to be considering an independent White House bid, re-launched his personal Web site in May.
- CNN's Jacki Schechner and Eric Weisbrod
HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) – A woman screaming “you’re not a real conservative, sir” was removed by police from a welcoming reception for likely GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson Wednesday morning. A second protester was also taken from the room.
Houston police officers escorted the woman — as well as a man — from the hangar at Hobby Airport, where Thompson was shaking hands with a crowd of supporters. They were not arrested.
The woman questioned Thompson as he talked to reporters. She asked him why he was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and noted that the organization supported the North American Union with Canada and Mexico.
After the woman interrupted Thompson by questioning his conservative credentials, the likely candidate said, “Don’t fuss at me. You asked me a question. Let me answer it.” He told the woman, “I try to learn as much as I can from all viewpoints.”
Later, she shouted at Thompson as the news conference ended. Police officers took her outside a fenced area near the hangar, and stood with her until the former Tennessee senator departed.
Editor’s Note: In the comments section below (#4), the woman has identified herself as a member of the group “Houston 9/11 Truth.” In a video of the incident linked on her blog, she is also heard charging the attack in New York on 9/11 was a “inside job.”
- CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk
Thompson said Wednesday his campaign is on track.
“These are the kinds of things you do as you go along,” Thompson told reporters at Hobby Airport in Houston. “You make adjustments as you go along. We’re on track in that regard.”
Veteran GOP campaign adviser Tom Collamore resigned from his position at Friends of Fred Thompson on Tuesday. Thompson’s campaign announced that Spencer Abraham, former U.S. Energy Secretary and Michigan GOP senator, would come aboard as a top adviser, along with veteran Florida GOP strategist Randy Enright.
Thompson, clutching a state-appropriate cowboy hat as he addressed a group of supporters in the Lone Star State, said a decision to run would be made and announced “in the not-so-distant future.”
“It’s a matter of raising some money, and it’s a matter of getting your organization and your people together,” he said.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Smoking was once a staple of movies, adding a glamorous and alluring element to classic films. But a major production company announced Wednesday that it will never show smoking again in future films.
Robert Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, said that films produced by Disney, Miramax and Touchstone will no longer show smoking of any kind. He took a step further and announced that there will be anti-smoking PSA labels on any DVDs that already have smoking in them.
"We expect that depictions of cigarette smoking in future Disney branded films will be non-existent," Iger said in a letter to Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee.
Markey held hearings last month on images that children see on television and in movies that could have a potentially negative impact.
“We know that the presence of smoking in a movie significantly influences a child’s decision to start. This is troubling given the fact that a vast majority of smokers begin smoking before their 18th birthday,” Markey said in a statement. “I am pleased that Disney is embracing a policy that is consistent with the long term public health of the nation and my wish upon a star is that other studios and theater owners follow suit.”
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
The House Judiciary Committee is recommending contempt charges for White House aides Harriet Miers, above, and Josh Bolten.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted to recommend that Congress issue contempt citations to a former and a current White House official for failing to comply with subpoenas issued in the investigation into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.
The panel voted 22 to 17 on a resolution to cite former Counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. Their decision now goes to the House floor for a vote.
A Democratic leadership aide told CNN the full House is unlikely to take up the issue before its August recess.
"This is not a step that as chairman I take easily or lightly, but it is one I believe necessary - not only to allow us to gain an accurate picture but to protect our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government," said committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., at the start of the meeting.
Miers was President Bush's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, before she removed herself from consideration in October 2005.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The question at Monday night's Democratic debate was straight forward: Should the next president of the United States sit down,without preconditions, with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea during his or her first year in office, in an effort to bridge the sharp divisions between those countries and the United States?
Sen. Barack Obama said yes. Hillary Clinton said no. And those responses set off a tempest Tuesday between their two campaigns that later escalated into some pointed comments from the candidates themselves in interviews with an Iowa newspaper.
"I thought it was irresponsible and, frankly, naive to say that he would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro within the first year," Clinton told the Quad City Times, referring to the Venezuelan and Cuba leaders. "I think Senator Obama gave an answer that I believe he's regretting today."
But if Obama had regrets, they weren't evident in an interview he later gave the same newspaper, in which he called the episode "a nice fabricated controversy" and used some of his strongest language to date in criticizing Clinton's vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.
"I do think it speaks to a larger point, which is if you want to talk about irresponsibility and naivete, look at her vote to authorize George Bush to send our troops into Iraq without an exit strategy and then asking the Pentagon what the plan is five years later," said Obama.