March 19th, 2009
02:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Cheney belongs in jail, says Dreyfus

Dreyfus was in Washington to promote preservation of Civil War battlefields.
Dreyfus was in Washington to promote preservation of Civil War battlefields.

(CNN) – He played Dick Cheney in the recent Oliver Stone film 'W,' but Richard Dreyfuss made clear he's no fan of the former vice president.

In Washington Wednesday to promote preservation of the country's civil war battlefields, Dreyfuss quipped to Politico he's not missing former President Bush's No. 2.

"I miss having him in jail, that's where he belongs," the actor said.

Watch: Cheney: I worry very much

Dreyfuss is known for his outspokenness across the political spectrum, calling his former director Oliver Stone a "fascist on the left" last fall.

Cheney himself isn't holding back punches of his own. In an interview on CNN's State of the Union with John King last Sunday, he derided the Obama administration's national security policies and said they have made the country less safe.


Filed under: Dick Cheney
March 19th, 2009
02:17 PM ET
5 years ago

Female leaders, first lady head to DC schools

Michelle Obama spoke to students at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC Thursday.
Michelle Obama spoke to students at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC Thursday.

(CNN) - It's another star-studded event at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Grammy-award winners Alicia Keyes and Sheryl Crow, Olympic gold-medalist gymnast Dominique Dawes, astronaut Mae Jemison and others joined Michelle Obama at the White House Thursday to participate in a series of events honoring National Women's History Month.

"This was one of my dreams…gathering an amazing group of women together and going out and talking to young girls around the country," Mrs. Obama said to the group. "They need to be reminded that we're close, this isn't a distant relationship. There's nothing more powerful than going into their space and having that kind of conversation. That's what today is all about."

Mrs. Obama and her team fanned out to high-schools around the DC area to encourage young women to pursue their dreams and forge a career path. The first lady headed to Washington's Anacostia High School to participate in a roundtable conversation with students.

"Our task is really simple – just to share our stories with them. So many of us will be able to see part of ourselves in these young people," the first lady told the female leaders. "Our job is really to just share our stories to make these kids understand that where we stand today is not an impossibility. Just be open, be honest, be real, be clear, and have fun."

Mrs. Obama will host a reception at the White House this evening, followed by dinner in the East Room.

"Imagine what they're going to feel like at the end of this day," the first lady told the star-powered group.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
March 19th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans back Iraq troop withdrawal plan

Seven out of ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they support the president's announced plan to remove most U.S. troops from Iraq by August of next year.
Seven out of ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they support the president's announced plan to remove most U.S. troops from Iraq by August of next year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the war in Iraq enters its seventh year, a new national poll indicates that most Americans favor President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan which would bring most U.S. troops home by next summer.

Seven out of ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday, the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, say they support the president's announced plan to remove most U.S. troops from Iraq by August of next year but keep a force of 35,000 to 50,000 in the country. Those remaining troops would train and advise Iraqi security forces, hunt terrorists and protect American civilian and military personnel and would depart Iraq in 2011.

"Obama's troop withdrawal plan is one of the few proposals from the new president that wins support from Democrats and Republicans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "58 percent of Republicans approve of Obama's plan, with 84 percent of Democrats feeling the same way."

The poll also indicates that 63 percent of those questioned approve of how the President is handling the war in Iraq.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 12-15, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Iraq • Poll • President Obama
March 19th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Congresswoman takes post in State Department

WASHINGTON (CNN) – California congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is vacating her Bay Area seat to serve under Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

Tauscher, a moderate Democrat and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a message to her consituents that Clinton had asked her to serve as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

She said she accepted the post after 13 years in Congress "after much soul-searching."

"Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, making sure other countries do not obtain them and, one day, I hope, ridding the world of these terrible weapons, has become my passion and, I hope, my life's work," she said in a statement.

If she is confirmed for the post, Tauscher's departure will almost certainly be followed by a crowded Democratic primary in the left-leaning California district.


Filed under: Uncategorized
March 19th, 2009
12:55 PM ET
3 years ago

Burris asks for fund to pay legal fees

Sen. Roland Burris is facing pressure to resign.
Sen. Roland Burris is facing pressure to resign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Embattled Sen. Roland Burris is asking the Senate Select Committee on Ethics for permission to open a fund to help pay for legal expenses incurred in the weeks after his controversial appointment to the Senate, an aide close to the senator confirmed Thursday.

The Illinois senator reportedly owes around $400,000 in legal fees.

According to the filing, the purpose of the fund is "to pay for expenses incurred by the Senator in connection with his appointment to the US Senate on December 30th, 2008. Due to the controversy surrounding his appointment by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senator Burris incurred legal expenses to support his eventual swearing in on January 15th, 2009 in both Illinois and Washington, DC."

"In addition, even after he was seated, Senator Burris has continued to require representation amid accusations of perjury and other alleged improprieties relating back to his appointment to the senate seat."

Burris has faced pressure to resign after new revelations about contact between his camp and the office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - who was impeached over charges he tried to sell the state's open Senate seat - prior to his appointment.


Filed under: Roland Burris
March 19th, 2009
12:54 PM ET
5 years ago

RNC taps McCain and Romney veteran as political director

A top position at the RNC has now been filled.
A top position at the RNC has now been filled.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican National Committee has tapped Gentry Collins, an Iowa native and a veteran of the McCain campaign, to run its political operation.

The well-respected Collins is a former executive director and deputy chairman of the Iowa state party, and a former political director of the Republican Governor's Association.

He managed Mitt Romney's ultimately unsuccessful Iowa caucus operation in 2007 and 2008, and later moved on to become John McCain's Midwest regional campaign manager, overseeing the battleground states of Missouri and Iowa.

"I am thrilled to announce the addition of Gentry to the RNC team," party chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "He brings with him a proven record of success at building broad bases of grassroots and volunteer coalitions. Our primary task at the RNC is to grow our party and elect more Republicans and this appointment allows us to take another step towards those goals."


Filed under: RNC
March 19th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP senator backs Coach K on Obama's basketball picks

President Obama did not pick Duke to advance to the Final 4.
President Obama did not pick Duke to advance to the Final 4.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has become a Republican talking point.

After it was revealed that President Obama left Duke out of the Final Four in his NCAA brackets, Krzyzewski remarked Wednesday that the president should focus more on the economy than on his basketball picks.

Related: Coach K disses Obama's basketball picks

That quip caught the attention of a Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, who summoned up Coach K's comments at a GOP press conference on Thursday.

"The AIG bonuses make the president subject to the charge that he's living above the store but he's not minding it," Alexander told reporters. "He's even found time to fill out his NCAA basketball brackets, which is a healthy thing to do in my opinion."

Alexander continued: "But he picked North Carolina and he caused the Duke coach, our Olympic coach, Coach K, to say, respectfully, you might be spending less time on the brackets, Mr. President, and more time on the economy. I think that's what we'd like to see, with respect."

Alexander's home state of Tennessee is well-represented in the tournament, with four teams having earned bids. And Obama is predicting that one of those squads - Memphis - will return to the Final 4 this year.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn took a much harsher tone Thursday in a floor speech, saying that Obama might want to spend less time making basketball predictions and more time filling the many job openings still at the Treasury Department. Having more hands on deck, he said, might have led to better oversight of the AIG situation.

"I appreciate that President Obama has completed his 'March Madness' Tournament Bracket," Cornyn said. "Yet the organizational chart of his administration still has far too many open slots."


Filed under: John Cornyn • Lamar Alexander • President Obama
March 19th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans say health care too expensive

A new national poll indicates that most Americans like their current health care coverage, but are not happy with the overall cost of health care coverage in the country.
A new national poll indicates that most Americans like their current health care coverage, but are not happy with the overall cost of health care coverage in the country.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that most Americans like their current health care coverage, but are not happy with the overall cost of health care coverage in the country.

More than eight in ten Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they're satisfied with the quality of health care they receive. And nearly three out of four polled say they happy with their overall health care coverage. But satisfaction drops to 52 percent when it comes to the amount people pay for their health care and more than three out of four are dissatisfied with the total cost of health care in this country.

"When Americans say they support health care reform, that doesn't mean they want to lose their own coverage or give up their own doctor," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That's something that the Clinton White House didn't realize in 1993."

Half of all Americans say they are very confident that no one in their household will lose health insurance. But only 29 percent say they are very confident that they could meet their bills if someone in the household had a major medical emergency.

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care • Poll
March 19th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama hits the gym before Schwarzenegger event

President Obama is known as an avid exerciser who religiously works out 45 minutes a day and regularly plays basketball.
President Obama is known as an avid exerciser who religiously works out 45 minutes a day and regularly plays basketball.

LOS ANGELES, CA (CNN) – Hitting the gym while on the road as a White House producer isn't the most fun thing for me to do, but with the time change east coast-west coast I was awake before my alarm and thought I'd get a workout in.

Bleary-eyed trying to work up a sweat, I turned and saw a very big secret service agent standing in the corner. That's when I suddenly realized that President Obama himself had quietly come into the gym and has started his workout on the treadmill right in front of me.

Wearing his trademark workout outfit-a black cap, black track pants, and a gray t-shirt, he warmed up with a walk while reading the newspaper and listening to his iPod. He soon started running in earnest, ditching the paper, along with the black baseball cap he sported when he arrived.

Fearing the shame of quitting my routine early while in front of the President of the United States of America, I huffed and puffed through my cardio work out while he ran on the treadmill. I also struggled to do a couple of extra sets with weights just in case "anyone" was watching.

FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama
March 19th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Preston on Politics: GOP embraces new media

Patrick Ruffini, left, and David All are on the cutting edge of an evolving medium to connect with supporters.
Patrick Ruffini, left, and David All are on the cutting edge of an evolving medium to connect with supporters.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Republicans wrangle over the ideological direction of the party, a new generation of conservatives is reaching out to GOP activists and honing the use of a 21st century megaphone to promote Republican policy goals through new media networking tools.

Watch: Can the GOP catch up on tech?

Republicans received a wake-up call in 2008 after President Obama raised a historic sum of campaign cash and organized supporters like never before by mastering the power of the Internet.

Within days of losing the White House and additional seats in the House and Senate, prominent blogger and new media consultant Patrick Ruffini unveiled a Web site dedicated to helping restore the GOP to power.

The No. 1 priority listed on http://www.rebuildtheparty.com: "Winning the technology war with the Democrats."

Related: Liberal blogging in the era of Obama

"We kind of took a step back and said, 'Look, we're going to have a long debate over a number of years over where this party should go, where we should stand ideologically,' " Ruffini said. "But here's some basic steps that we can take now to re-engage our grassroots base and to rebuild our party infrastructure and to recruit new leaders so that when we have that ... unifying purpose ... we will be ready to go."

Ruffini and fellow blogger/new media consultant David All are on the cutting edge of a constantly evolving medium that includes long-form analysis through blogging to fast-paced snippets known as "tweets."

Full story


Filed under: GOP • Preston on Politics
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