WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, introduced legislation this week requiring candidates to produce a birth certificate to be eligible to run in future presidential elections, triggering a sharp reaction from Democrats who accused him of "questioning President Obama's citizenship."
Posey submitted a bill with no fanfare Thursday that instructs the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to be amended to add the birth certificate requirement. The Constitution requires that a president or a vice president be "a natural born citizen."
Read: Posey's bill
During the presidential campaign, some people - mostly Republicans - questioned whether Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was a U.S. citizen. Obama's mother was a U.S. citizen, while his father was from Kenya.
Obama produced a certified copy of his birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health, but critics argued that it was a fake or had been altered. The Supreme Court has turned down several requests that it hear challenges to the president's citizenship.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain will meet early next week with Chris Hill, President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to Iraq who McCain has questioned because he has no prior experience in the country, a spokeswoman told CNN.
McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told CNN that McCain, an Arizona Republican and 2008 presidential nominee, plans to use the meeting to assess whether he thinks Hill can do the job. Buchanan said Hill requested the meeting.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, released a statement Thursday night saying "the next ambassador should have experience in the Middle East and in working closely with the U.S. military in counterinsurgency or counterterrorism operations. Mr. Hill has neither."
Hill has had a long career in the foreign service. He most recently served as U.S. ambassador to South Korea, leading the U.S. delegation to the so-called six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
He also has served as ambassador to Poland and special envoy to Kosovo among other posts in Europe.
"I have every confidence that Ambassador Hill is the right person to represent the United States in Baghdad," said Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, which will consider Hill's nomination. "By nominating Ambassador Hill to serve in Baghdad, President Obama has chosen one of our very best to help bring lasting peace to Iraq.
"I look forward to his confirmation hearings, and am confident that those of my colleagues who may not yet be familiar with his service to the nation will be as impressed by his skill and dedication as I have been."
State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said Friday the administration stands behind Hill.
"I know that Ambassador Hill looks forward to confirmation hearings in which he can address the senators' concerns and go into more detail about his record," Duguid said. "He is ready for those hearings."
(CNN) - Jim Cramer's now-infamous appearance on The Daily Show Thursday night even won the attention of President Obama, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
At the White House Daily Briefing Friday, Gibbs said he and Obama had discussed the CNBC host's grilling from comedian Jon Stewart, though he wasn't sure if the president had actually seen it.
But for his part, Gibbs said he "enjoyed it thoroughly."
"I thought [Stewart] asked a lot of tough questions, and I am not surprised that the video of Mr. Cramer's appearance doesn't appear on CNBC's web site today," Gibbs joked.
It's not the first time the White House Press Secretary has mixed it up with a CNBC host. Late last month he called out reporter Rick Santelli over his 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 then. "I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn't know what he's talking about."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told the Louisiana Republican Party Friday that he will not seek the GOP Senate nomination in 2010.
“This is not the right time,” Perkins said in a letter to Roger Villere, the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party.
There had been speculation that Perkins would challenge incumbent Republican Sen. David Vitter, who has been tarnished by his alleged involvement with a prostitute.
But Perkins informed Villere that he supported Vitter’s bid for re-election in 2010. Vitter “is a strong advocate for conservative principles in the U.S. Senate,” Perkins wrote.
Updated: 5:35 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Pete Olson was “rushed” from Capitol Hill to the hospital Thursday, and doctors “equipped” him with a “dual chamber pacemaker,” the Texas Republican wrote in an e-mail to political supporters.
“While working out in the House gym, I got quite dizzy and fainted,” Olson said in the note sent Friday by his campaign committee. “After being rushed to George Washington University Hospital, it was determined that I had a condition called bradycardia, which is medical talk for a slow heart beat. Whatever they call it, it wasn't good and I don't recommend it.”
Olson added, “The docs have now equipped me with a dual chamber pacemaker to ensure my ticker doesn't pull such a stunt again. I feel fine and was ready to get back to work yesterday afternoon, but cooler heads have instructed I rest a little more.”
A cardiologist at George Washington University Hospital said that the “procedure went smoothly with no complications.”
“This is a common, often asymptomatic, condition and we expect the Congressman to resume his active lifestyle,” said Allen Solomon, cardiologist at the George Washington University Hospital and professor of Medicine.
The congressman is expected to return to work next week, the hospital said in the statement.
As the recession drags on, there’s a real possibility that the sagging economy could spell trouble for incumbent politicians.
Take New Jersey, for example: A Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters shows Democratic Governor Jon Corzine — who is up for re-election in November — trailing his likely Republican challenger Chris Christie by nine points in a hypothetical match up. That’s up from a six-point margin last month; and Corzine is behind despite the fact that 61 percent of those surveyed say they don’t even know enough about Christie.
Half of all voters disapprove of the job Corzine is doing; and 53 percent say he doesn’t deserve to be re-elected. In this climate, it probably doesn’t help Corzine that he has a Wall Street background.
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(CNN) - In a budget proposal released Friday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated he is only rejecting $98 million of the federal stimulus funds due his state.
That figure is far less than the $700 million South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has indicated he may reject if the federal government does not allow Sanford to use that money to pay down his state's debt.
Jindal, an early GOP critic of the stimulus bill, is specifically rejecting funds aimed at expanding unemployment benefits on the belief his state would have to pick up the tab on the provision in two years.
In the budget proposal released Friday, Jindal emphasized the money he is accepting is temporary and a means to ultimately cutting spending.
"It is very important to understand…that federal stimulus funds are temporary funds. As such, they cannot be thought of as a permanent part of our state’s budget," he said Friday, adding, "Federal stimulus funds give us time to reform how the state runs so we can cut spending, ensure we are spending efficiently, and live within our means."
Jindal's announcement also comes a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would reject the $555 million in federal funds direct to his state to expand unemployment benefits.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a dramatic break with the Bush administration, the Justice Department on Friday announced it is doing away with the designation of "enemy combatant," which allowed the United States to hold suspected terrorists at length without criminal charges.
In a court filing in Washington, the Justice Department said it is developing a new standard for the government's authority to hold detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrats are not letting up in what has been a constant stream criticism in recent weeks of Republicans as obstructionist at a time of national economic crisis.
The Democratic National Committee rolled out a new Web site Friday that features the party’s “Party of No” clock. The clock spotlights the amount of time that has passed since the release of President Obama’s 2010 budget blueprint – all time the DNC argues that Republicans have spent offering only criticism of rather than alternatives to the White House’s budgetary plan.
“Instead of petty politics and empty obstructionism, Republicans in Congress should either support the President’s budget or present their own plan to create jobs, fix our schools, reform our health care system, and make America energy independent,” DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in the statement.
In the nearly eight weeks since Obama’s inauguration, as the new administration and congressional Democrats have pushed through a $787 billion stimulus package and a $410 spending bill to fund the federal government’s operations, Republican congressional leaders have stressed fiscal restraint and accused Democrats of spending money the government does not have and should not be borrowing.
Republican congressional leaders stressed the same themes Friday responding to the DNC's "Party of No" clock.
"If Democrats want to highlight the plan Republicans designed and gave to the President that said no to government waste, no to tax increases, no to saddling every child in America with $70,000 of debt, and yes to creating small business jobs, we applaud them for getting our message out," Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said in a statement emailed to CNN.
“If I had to defend the President’s budget, which is being eviscerated by both parties because it spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much, I’d probably waste time on fictitious claims like this too,” Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader John Boehner told CNN.
Updated 3:45 p.m. with response from Rep. Boehner
(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Latin America later this month, according to White House statement released Friday.
Biden will head south of the border March 27-30, arriving in Chile and Costa Rica to meet with Latin American leaders to discuss the Summit of the Americas - a meeting between heads of state and government taking place April in Trinidad and Tobago.
The vice president will also attend the Progressive Governance conference in Chile, along with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, and the Prime Ministers of Norway and the United Kingdom.