(CNN) - The battle for New York's 20th Congressional district heads to court today.
With all the ballots counted, Democrat Scott Murphy has a 273-vote lead over Republican Jim Tedisco, out of nearly 180,000 votes cast in the March 30 special election, according to unofficial results from the New York State Board of Elections.
But more than 1,300 ballots have been laid aside based on objections from one side or the other, and attorneys from both camps will argue in court today over the status of those votes.
The Missouri-born Murphy, 39, is a millionaire venture capitalist. Tedisco, 58, is a longtime New York state lawmaker and ranking Republican in the State Assembly.
They're running to replace Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat by New York Gov. David Paterson.
Regardless of who wins the special election, the Democrats will continue to hold a large majority in the House of Representatives. But what normally would have been a local contest with little national interest partially evolved into an early referendum on President Barack Obama, his polices to jump-start the economy, and the reputations of the Democratic and Republican parties, as both national parties and their congressional committees poured money and resources into the race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama returns to Washington on Sunday night with his eye back on his domestic agenda and a plan to save government money.
On Monday, Obama will gather his full Cabinet together for the first timeas president and challenge it to cut a total of $100 million in the next 90 days, two senior administration officials said.
The officials spoke anonymously because the announcement had yet to come from the president, who returned Sunday from the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
The agencies would have to report how they saved on expenses after 90 days, the officials said.
A senior administration official described the edict as part of Obama's "commitment to go line by line through the budget to cut spending" and "reform the government." FULL POST
(CNN) – Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was "irresponsible" for President Obama to have been seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday.
"This is a person who is one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world," Ensign told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "He is a brutal dictator and human rights violations are very, very prevalent in Venezuela. And you have to be careful."
"When you're talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you're seen joking around with," he also said.
Chavez - whose anti-U.S. rhetoric has included calling former President George W. Bush the devil - announced Saturday he is considering naming an ambassador to the United States, signaling a potential shift in the tense relations between the two nations.
Speaking to reporters Sunday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Obama brushed aside criticism of the appearance, saying, "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."
"Even with the imaginative crowd, I think that you would be hard pressed to paint a scenario where US interests would be damaged as a consequence of us having a more constructive relationship with Venezuela," he said.
Also appearing on CNN, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, downplayed the moment between Obama and the Venezuelan leader, saying, "all the president did was shake his hand like George Bush [did]."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Obama to gather Cabinet, seeking $100 million in cuts
President Obama returned to Washington on Sunday night with his eye back on his domestic agenda and a plan to save government money.
CNN: Senator says Obama's appearance with Chavez 'irresponsible'
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was "irresponsible" for President Obama to have been seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday.
CNN: Napolitano defends 'right wing extremism' report, regrets offense
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano continued to defend her agency's recent report warning of right-wing extremist groups, saying the U.S. has active intelligence suggesting such groups are actively targeting disgruntled veterans.
CNN: Obama 'gravely concerned' about U.S. journalist in Iranian prison
President Obama called Sunday for the release of a U.S. journalist convicted of espionage in Iran.
CNN: Ex-CIA chief: Obama risks national security
A former head of the CIA slammed President Obama on Sunday for releasing four Bush-era memos, saying the new president has compromised national security.
NYT: U.S. May Convert Banks’ Bailouts to Equity Share
President Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, according to administration officials.
Washington Post: A Bigger, Bolder Role Is Imagined For the IMF
Inside a cavernous assembly hall in downtown Washington, dignitaries gather twice a year for routine meetings of the International Monetary Fund. Before long, though, the room could take center stage in the IMF's transformation into a veritable United Nations for the global economy.