(CNN) – Legendary singer Etta James said she was only trying to be funny when she said Beyonce is “gonna get her ass whupped” and that President Obama has “big ears.”
James, who first made the comments at a concert in Seattle last week, told the Daily News on Friday that she continued the insults because the crowd was laughing. She said that her jokes were “not from a vicious place.”
"I didn't really mean anything," James told the Daily News. "Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude. That's probably what went into it."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two new national polls suggest that support for an $800 billion stimulus plan to pump up the economy has slipped since mid-January, but may have stabilized in the past week.
Fifty-one percent of those questioned in a CBS News poll released Thursday evening approved of the stimulus package. That's down 12 points from a poll taken January 11-15, the last time CBS asked the question. Thirty-nine percent opposed the plan, up 15 points from the previous poll, taken before President Barack Obama was inaugurated and before the House of Representatives passed an $819 billion stimulus package, with no Republican support, on January 28.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll, also released on Thursday, shows virtually identical numbers to the CBS News poll - 52 percent favoring an economic stimulus plan and 38 percent in opposition. Fifty-two percent also favored an economic stimulus plan in a Gallup poll conducted on January 27, a week after the inauguration and the day before the House passed the bill that the Senate is currently considering.
"These two polls, taken together, indicate that support for a hypothetical stimulus package dropped once an actual piece of legislation was introduced and debated in the House," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opinion about the specific bill that is now before the Senate has remained consistent since the details of the House bill were made public. A slight majority favor the current package, with just under four in 10 opposing the bill."
(CNN) - Mitt Romney says it’s “been a good year” since he dropped out of the GOP nomination fight, but, he says, “I wish I would have won the nomination, and won the presidency.”
In an interview with TIME magazine, Romney said the man who won the presidency, Barack Obama, “is off to a rocky start.”
“The theme ‘Yes, we can’ seems to have been replaced with ‘Well, maybe we can't,’” he said. “I believe that with all the challenges America faces, the simple solutions and the hope that were sold by the Obama team are inadequate to the task ahead.”
(CNN) –Christina Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday the latest unemployment report reinforces "the need for bold fiscal action."
"If we fail to act, we are likely to lose millions more jobs and the unemployment rate could reach double digits," she said in an issued statement. "Prompt, well-designed fiscal policy is necessary to stop the decline and heal the economy. The American people are counting on leadership from Washington to help the economy recover and lay the long-term foundation for long-term economic growth."
Full statement after the jump
(CNN) - The entertainment world may be in a swoon over Barack Obama, but one legendary soul singer is fuming at the new president and the pop star who serenaded the first couple on inauguration night.
Etta James, famous for her rendition of the song “At Last,” is apparently miffed that pop star Beyonce was tapped to perform the ballad as the president and first lady slow-danced during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball on January 20.
“You guys know your president, right?” the singer asked an audience in Canada last week, according to audio posted on TMZ.com. “You know the one with big ears? Yeah, wait a minute. He ain’t my president.”
She then went after Beyonce: “That woman singing for him, singing my song? She’s gonna get her ass whipped.”
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off of U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6%, according to the latest government reading on the nation's battered labor market.
The latest job loss is the worst since December 1974, and brings job losses to 1.8 million in just the last three months, or half of the 3.6 million jobs that have been lost since the beginning of 2008.
January's job loss was also worse than the forecast of a loss of 540,000 jobs from economists surveyed by Briefing.com
The rise in the unemployment rate also was worse than the 7.5% rate economists expected. The unemployment rate is now at its highest level since September, 1992.
Watch the President's spirited defense of the Democratic stimulus package being considered by the Senate.
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that "the scale and the scope" of his economic plan is right, turning up the heat on critics he said were hawking "phony arguments" and "false theories of the past" to chip away at the bill's programs.
"Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis," the president said at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg.
"We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said. "We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.
"I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV - if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction."
The Democrats welcomed the president with frequent interruptions for applause as he took on criticisms of the bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Even as the Obama administration struggles to sell a massive economic stimulus plan, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is planning Monday to unveil a separate financial stability plan that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars more to buy up troubled assets from banks and more broadly deal with the credit crunch and foreclosure crisis, according to two senior administration officials.
The officials are billing the move as a major reform of the so-called TARP federal bailout program that was created last fall to try and stabilize the financial system, but has come under withering criticism across the political spectrum.
"It will be an overhaul of the whole program," one senior official vowed about the package being put together Geithner and other top economic advisers to the President.
Officials said the goals of the new plan will include bringing new transparency and accountability standards to the TARP program, keeping people in their existing homes, and increasing lending to consumers and small businesses.
Even as the Obama administration struggles to sell a massive economic stimulus plan, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is planning Monday to unveil a separate financial stability plan that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars more to buy up troubled assets from banks and more broadly deal with the credit crunch and foreclosure crisis, according to two senior administration officials.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman on the Supreme Court, had surgery Thursday for early stage pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court announced.
Kyrgyzstan's decision to close a strategic U.S. military base is "regrettable," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, but it won't affect the U.S. military effort in nearby Afghanistan.
The Senate wrapped up Thursday night after hours of sometimes acrimonious work without voting on a massive economic recovery plan championed by President Barack Obama.
A Senate committee Thursday delayed its confirmation vote for Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis, citing a need to review additional documentation.