WASHINGTON (CNN) – Socks, who reigned as first cat in former President Clinton’s White House, was put to sleep on Friday morning.
After suffering from mouth cancer, Socks was euthanized at Three Notch Veterinary Clinic in Hollywood, Maryland. Betty Currie, Clinton’s former personal secretary, had been taking care of the cat since her boss left the White House.
Socks was born in 1989 and would have turned 20 this spring.
(CNN) - Don't count Robert Gibbs among those who are fans of cable news.
The White House press secretary took the opportunity to blast the medium at Friday's press conference when asked about CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's recent tirade against the president's mortgage plan.
"I…think that it's tremendously important that for people who rant on cable television to be responsible and understand what it is they're talking about," Gibbs said. "I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn't know what he's talking about."
Gibbs also went on to criticize cable news coverage of the presidential campaign.
"If I hadn't worked on the campaign but simply watch the cable news scorekeeping of the campaign, we lost virtually every day of the race," he said. "If I would have just watched cable TV, I long would have crawled into a hole and given up this whole prospect of changing the country."
A top aide to Burris has resigned. (GETTY IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As pressure continued to mount Friday for Sen. Roland Burris to resign his seat, the Illinois Democrat’s top aide stepped down and returned to his position with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Darrel Thompson made no mention as to why he was returning to Reid’s office other than to say he was “temporarily detailed” to Burris, and added “I wish Senator Burris and his family the best.”
Burris has come under fire from Democrats, Republicans and even the editorial pages of some newspapers for his conflicting accounts about his contact with associates and the brother of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Earlier in the day, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called on Burris to resign and be replaced through a special election.
A Democratic leadership aide, who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the matter, said that Thompson was left with no choice but to resign.
"In light of the conflicting statements he felt it was something he could no longer help out with," said the source.
Rodell Mollineau, a Reid spokesman, said that “Senator Reid appreciates the work that Darrel did for Senator Burris and is glad to have him back.”
Thompson, one of Reid’s top aides, went to work for Burris when the Illinois Democrat was sworn-in earlier this year to fill the remaining two years of President Barack Obama’s Senate term.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic Rep. James Clyburn on Friday defended his remark that opponents of the stimulus bill are insulting African-Americans.
The House Majority Whip argued that many of the federal funds are specifically targeted towards low-income minority communities. He also accused GOP governors who have resisted the stimulus of hypocrisy.
“Let’s take, for instance, Louisiana,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “Gov. [Bobby] Jindal has been in my office a number of times. He has called me a number of times asking for billions of dollars in assistance to stand communities back up as a result of hurricane Katrina and Rita.”
“Yet he says there is something wrong with this money for the stimulus that comes from the same pot, that he sees nothing wrong when he’s trying to stand back up after Katrina,” he said.
Asked about opposition from South Carolina’s governor Mark Sanford, Clyburn said that in his home state, a chunk of the stimulus funds would be directed to the poorest counties along the I-95 corridor, a poverty-stricken region of the state most famous for its dilapidated schools.
He said it would be an affront to black South Carolinians in those counties if Sanford turns down the money.
“That’s why I called this an insult,” Clyburn said. “That’s why I said it's slap in the face. Because a majority of the people in these counties are African-Americans.”
Clyburn did not say that Republicans who oppose the funds are racists.
“I have never used that word in my life and I won’t use it now,” he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A conservative organization launched a national television ad Friday criticizing the $787 billion stimulus bill, and called into question one of President Obama’s main campaign promises to bring change to Washington.
The American Issues Project uses points of historical reference to show how $787 billion could stretch over time from the birth of Jesus to the current day.
“Suppose you spent one million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born and kept spending through today,” an announcer says as images of the three wise men, the Roman Coliseum, the Mona Lisa and other historic landmarks flash across the screen. A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.”
The ad also criticizes millions of dollars in earmarks in the legislation, saying that money was allocated for golf carts, fish hatcheries and remodeled federal offices. The ad also shows a video snippet of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, on the Senate floor saying the American people don’t care about “little tiny, yes, porky amendments.”
It closes by asking, “Is this change you can believe in?”
The organization said it will spend nearly $1 million on the ad that is scheduled to run on CNN, CNN Headline News, FOX News CNBC and FOX Business Network.
(CNN) – Michelle Obama continued her listening tour Friday, stopping at the Department of Transportation "simply to say thank you" to government employees and to push the president's $787 billion dollar stimulus plan. The DOT visit is the first lady's fifth and latest stop in her series of visits to government agencies.
The first lady, touting the stimulus bill as, “the largest investment in our nations' infrastructure since the interstate highways were created,” claimed the plan would “repair and re-build highways, expand access to public transportation which we all need, invest in high-speed railways which we all need, and improve our nations' airports.”
Mrs. Obama also told employees that not a day goes by that the work of the DOT "doesn't touch the lives of every single person in America."
"We rely on the airlines, the trains, the buses that are under your supervision to reach loved ones and to conduct business in distant places all over this country because of your work," the first lady said. "We can buy the products that make life comfortable and conduct the commerce that's the engine of our economy."
“Just know that we value you, America values you, and together we can get this country moving again," Obama said in closing. "We're going to need one another."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Edward Kennedy’s wife asked supporters Friday to contribute to his political action committee – a donation she claims would help the Massachusetts Democrat in his quest to establish health care for “all Americans.”
Universal health care is a signature issue for Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer and on Monday will turn 77.
“He believes that every American has the right to decent, quality, affordable health care, and fighting for that right is the cause of his life,” Victoria Reggie Kennedy writes in the e-mail sent by her husband’s Committee for a Democratic Majority.
She does not mention the senator’s struggle with cancer, but notes that “Messages of support from friends like you - combined with the spirit of hope and possibility in Washington - energize and inspire him.”
Victoria Reggie Kennedy also asks supporters to sign and write a note to the senator on an electronic birthday card.
Some new numbers on the President and how he's doing his job show a bit of a decline, but remain high. CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and CNN's John Lisk go over the latest poll numbers, and what they mean.
Listen to the latest Political Notebook
Read about the poll numbers here
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to try to pass laws with bipartisan support rather than just with the backing of Democrats in Congress. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that Democrats aren't so enthusiastic about bipartisanship.
Fifty-five percent of respondents questioned in the poll would rather see the president try to pass laws with bipartisan compromise. But that number drops 15 points, to 40 percent, among Democrats in the survey. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats would rather see Obama try to pass laws without Republican support.
Full poll results [PDF]
Obama signed the stimulus package into law on Tuesday. The $787 billion bundle is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and cutting taxes. The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.
"Bipartisanship is always more popular with the party out of power than with the party that is in control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
(CNN) - A funny thing happened as the White House tried a relatively low-key approach to announcing that it was adding 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. The military didn’t seem to be on board with the message.
The announcement by the Obama administration contrasted with how the Bush administration announced both its increase of troops in Iraq, the “surge,” and even a later addition of troops to Afghanistan last year. Both of those announcements were made in a speech from then-president George Bush.
But the new administration was stuck – it knew it needed to get troops to Afghanistan to satisfy the immediate need to stabilize things, but it also knew it was not ready to announce what its strategy for Afghanistan was. You see, the administration has a review underway for a new, comprehensive strategy that looks at both the military and diplomatic needs for the war.
So the Obama White House chose instead to make the announcement at the end of a day dominated by coverage of President Barack Obama's signing of the multi-billion dollar stimulus package. The announcement came out late afternoon via Pentagon leaks and then a four-paragraph e-mail(subject line: “Statement by the President on Afghanistan”), and outlined a 50% increase in troops to Afghanistan.
Full story at AC360 Blog