WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rush Limbaugh fired back at Colin Powell for his critical comments earlier this week, saying Wednesday that the former secretary of state should join the Democratic Party.
"What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party," Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday.
Limbaugh also took aim at Powell's decision to endorse President Obama over John McCain during the presidential election, repeating his earlier sentiment that Powell's move was "solely based on race."
"He's just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country who had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama," Limbaugh said. "It was purely and solely based on race."
During a speech on Monday, Powell said the "the Republican Party is in deep trouble" and said the GOP would be better off without Limbaugh, according to a report by the National Journal.
"I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without," Powell said.
Earlier: Powell: GOP 'polarization' backfired in election
(CNN) - In his interview with CNN Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid discussed a 2005 encounter with then-Sen. Barack Obama, when the newly-elected senator declared, "I have gift."
Reid writes in a new epilogue to his book, "The Good Fight," that Obama made the comment after Reid praised him for a speech on the war in Iraq.
"He didn't have an ounce of - it was all humility," he told CNN of the Obama comment which has since drawn some controversy. "I mean, he just looked at me so sincerely, just like, "Harry...I was born to be able to do that."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken and his wife dropped by the White House Wednesday to update Vice President Biden on the state of Minnesota's hotly-contested Senate seat.
Franken discussed the Obama administration's agenda and how it would impact the people of Minnesota, according to a statement from Franken's office.
"Minnesotans are eager to see Congress make progress on the administration's agenda – and I'm eager to do my part in that effort," Franken said. "From investments in alternative energy to the expansion of high-speed rail to the Twin Cities, we have a lot to do to help Minnesota's working families, and I was pleased to discuss these important issues with the vice president."
The vice president maintained it's time for the state to have a second senator, insisting that Minnesota's election and recount process was transparent and organized, and applauding the "meticulous" work of Minnesota officials.
"Minnesotans deserve their full representation," Biden said in a statement following the meeting. "Once the Minnesota Supreme Court has issued its final ruling in this case, the president and I look forward to working with Mr. Franken on building an economy for the 21st century.
(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told CNN Wednesday that Sen. Arlen Specter's seniority on committees will be determined in the next Congress, but stopped short of pledging the onetime Republican would regain his choice positions on the panels.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the Senate’s top Democrat suggested he never promised Specter's seniority would carry over when the longtime Pennsylvania Republican decided to join the Democratic Party last week.
"Sen. Specter and his chief of staff always were told that we couldn't interrupt any of the subcommittee chairs or the chairs until the next Congress," Reid said in an interview on The Situation Room. "And his seniority will be determined next Congress."
But Specter told CNN earlier in the day that Reid had in fact promised to honor his seniority when he jumped parties, a pledge that has reportedly riled other Senate Democrats.
"Sen. [Harry] Reid said that I would maintain my committee assignments and that my seniority would be established as if I'd been elected in 1980 as a Democrat," he told CNN's Dana Bash.
In the interview with CNN, Reid said Specter's status on key committees will ultimately be determined by the Democratic Caucus at the start of the next congressional session in 2010.
"All I can say is, every Congress since I've been here, we have a caucus to organize, and we determine seniority," he said. "And that's the way it's always been."
(CNN) - New Hampshire lawmakers on Wednesday passed a same-sex marriage bill, now headed to Gov. John Lynch.
The state House passed the bill in a 178-167 vote. The Senate last week approved the legislation in a 13-11 vote.
The bill passed Wednesday differed from an earlier bill passed in the House by distinguishing between civil and religious marriage. It allows each religion to decide whether to acknowledge same-sex marriage, but extends the option of civil marriage to any two individuals.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States are meeting "as three sovereign nations joined by a common goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al Qaeda and the Taliban.
To do so, Obama said, the three nations have to deny extremists space to operate and bring a better life to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama, in remarks delivered with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the White House, said the security of Afghanistan, of Pakistan and of the United States are linked.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former presidential candidate Robert Dole made headlines as a pitchman for Viagra, and now a decade later a Virginia congressman wants to limit the time when ads for this and similar products can air.
Last month, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran introduced the "Families for ED Advertising Decency Act," which prevents erectile dysfunction and male enhancement ads from appearing on radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
"This [the advertisements] is an intrusion into our daily lives that I believe has become inappropriate." Moran said in an interview with CNN. "There is a saturation of the television airwaves with these E.D. ads, and they have gotten more pervasive, more blunt, and less subtle."
The bill currently has only one co-sponsor, Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, and there are currently no hearings scheduled on the issue. But a Moran spokesman said the congressman is actively seeking more support.
"I don't want to be prudish about it," Moran said. "I understand there is limitless market to deal with male insecurity and its fine for drug companies to make a profit on that. The problem is that they are showing these ads when small children are bound to get curious."
UPDATE: Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, defended their commercials in a statement, saying, "Our goal in advertising our products is to reach the people who would be most likely to benefit from them."
Full statement after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has agreed to put in place financial oversight controls that will give the treasurer more influence over how money is being spent.
Backers of the new provisions said the new controls are not intended to usurp Steele’s power, but to ensure that the membership has a say in how the organization is running. The measures are temporary until the full committee meets in July to debate a permanent financial plan.
For now, the RNC will reinstate previous financial restrictions, including approval of the treasurer for contracts that go beyond Steele’s term, contracts that exceed $100,000, and the green light to do some borrowing, former RNC General Counsel David Norcross said in an interview with CNN. Norcross was involved in pushing for the changes.
Also, Steele has agreed to keep on retainer a former RNC chief counsel and former financial official Jay Banning so they can offer their expertise on how to deal with unexpected situations. The RNC will also move towards creating a new chief financial officer position who would report not only to Steele but also to the committee’s treasurer and the executive committee, several people involved in the situation told CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The search for a new Supreme Court justice is moving ahead quickly at the White House with senior staff ready to begin paring down a list of finalists to less than half a dozen candidates, two sources with knowledge of the selection process tell CNN.
President Obama could begin meeting with some of the potential nominees as early as this weekend, said the sources, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs indicated earlier this week those meetings had not yet begun.
Since the candidates would have already had pre-screening interviews with staff led by the White House Counsel's Office, the Obama meetings would most likely not be a grilling about constitutional philosophy, but rather friendly chats, the sources said.
Unlike many past presidents, Obama is already closely involved in the selection process, given his background as a constitutional law professor, the sources said. Vice President Joe Biden is also playing a key role, given his long service on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold the nomination hearings.
After face-to-face meetings, Obama would offer his initial thoughts and may seek for more information, or possibly ask to speak with more candidates. Sources close to the process, said the president will also likely reach outside his inner circle and members of Congress, to get the views of independent legal types. One such person mentioned is Charles Ogletree, a longtime respected professor at Harvard Law School, and a mentor to Obama.
(CNN) – He has made it clear that he is still against legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that it is time for California to welcome discussions on the issue.
"I think it is time for debate and I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision," the governor said.
Schwarzenegger, who was once shown smoking pot in the film 'Pumping Iron,' also said that it is time to consider all sides of the issue.
"I want to look at all that. It could very well be that everyone is happy with the decision and then we can look at that. If not, then we shouldn't do it. Just because of raising revenues, we have to be careful not to make mistakes at the same time," the governor said.
Some suggest that legalizing Marijuana could help the state's ailing economy.
Thirteen states, including California, have legalized Marijuana for medicinal use but not for personal use.