May 18th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
6 years ago

Byrd hospitalized for infection

West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd was hospitalized last week.
West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd was hospitalized last week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd was hospitalized late last week for a temperature spike caused by an infection, according to a statement released by Byrd's office Monday.

Byrd, a 91-year-old Democrat, entered the hospital last Friday afternoon as precautionary measure. He is "being treated with antibiotics, responding well, and is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days," according to the statement.

Byrd was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958.


Filed under: Robert Byrd
May 18th, 2009
04:31 PM ET
6 years ago

Hispanic groups quietly press for Supreme Court pick

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Hispanic groups are courting President Obama to name the first Hispanic judge to the Supreme Court.
Hispanic groups are courting President Obama to name the first Hispanic judge to the Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to its membership, the history of the Supreme Court's 220 years falls short of many historic firsts: All but two of the 110 justices over the centuries have been men; all but two have been white.

Now, many in the Hispanic community say it is long past due one of their own should sit on the most prestigious bench. They may soon get the chance.

President Barack Obama is just days, perhaps, from naming his choice to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Justice David Souter, and sources close to the selection process say he is seriously considering several Hispanic candidates.

"Latinos are running out of patience" said Ruben Navarrette, a syndicated columnist and CNN.com contributor. " For 20 years I've been hearing the drumbeat from Latinos ... waiting for a Latino on the Supreme Court."

The Hispanic vote was key to Obama's November victory, and now that part of his diverse coalition sees a golden opportunity.

"We're getting calls and e-mails from people all over the country," said Estuardo Rodriguez, co-founder of Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary Coalition. "That sentiment goes all the way from the extreme that it has to be - has to be - a Latino or Latina justice, to those that say yes, we want a Latino or Latina justice, but if it doesn't happen, perhaps next time. So it runs the gamut.

"But I think for the most part it is people on that other extreme who are really excited and really do feel that this is the time to do it."

FULL POST


Filed under: Supreme Court
May 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Cafferty: Complete investigation of Bush admin and Iraq war inevitable?

 Join the conversation on Jack's blog.
Join the conversation on Jack's blog.

It's been almost four months since former President Bush left office, and many would like to leave his administration in the past. But that may not be possible since there's a constant dripping of information about what really went on during those eight years.

The latest comes by way of GQ Magazine, which has released a series of cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon brass during the early days of the Iraq war.

They featured "triumphant, color images" like soldiers praying or in action or a tank at sunset along with Biblical passages. For example: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Besides the obvious question of appropriateness, what if these covers had leaked out at the time? The Muslim world could have interpreted the war as a religiously-driven battle against Islam. You think they were upset about Abu Ghraib?

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here


Filed under: Cafferty File
May 18th, 2009
03:02 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama, Netanyahu discuss U.S.-Israeli disagreements

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday held their first face-to-face meeting since each took power, confronting a range of potentially divisive issues.

At a pivotal moment in the Middle East peace process, the two leaders met at the White House to discuss, among other things, the endorsement of a two-state Palestinian solution and relations with Syria and Iran.

The issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions has becoming an increasingly urgent issue in recent months. Netanyahu wants a time limit for negotiations relating to such ambitions, with the threat of military action if no resolution is reached. Obama is seen as unlikely to provide a timetable.

Both Israel and the United States believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program; Tehran denies the accusation. Israeli leaders have pointed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls for the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and argue that quick action is needed.

Speaking at an Oval Office news conference, Obama again refused to commit to an "artificial deadline" for Iranian negotiations. But he also warned that he would not allow talks to be used as an excuse for delay while Iran develops a nuclear arsenal.

"I firmly believe it is in Iran's interest not to develop nuclear weapons, because it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and be profoundly destabilizing in all sorts of ways," Obama said.

FULL POST


Filed under: Benjamin Netanyahu • Israel • Middle East • President Obama
May 18th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN awarded Peabody for 2008 campaign coverage

CNN Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman, anchor Wolf Blitzer, Political Director Sam Feist and Vice-President of Special Events Jane Maxwell receive CNN's Peabody Award for 2008 campaign coverage.
CNN Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman, anchor Wolf Blitzer, Political Director Sam Feist and Vice-President of Special Events Jane Maxwell receive CNN's Peabody Award for 2008 campaign coverage.

(CNN) - CNN received a Peabody Award Monday for the network's "distinguished achievement and meritorious public service" in its coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer accepted the award in New York on behalf of the network's political team.

The award – which recognizes achievements in radio, television, and cable – was presented to CNN for its "unparalleled coverage of a historic presidential election process," according to the Peabody Board.

The board specifically hailed CNN's "state-of-the-art technology and…small army of reporters, producers and analysts."

Earlier this year, CNNPolitics.com was recognized as the best television-affiliated Web reporting of the year by the National Headliner Awards.


Filed under: CNN
May 18th, 2009
01:24 PM ET
6 years ago

National Democrats eye four picks for NC Senate seat

Republican senator Richard Burr is a top Democratic target in 2010.
Republican senator Richard Burr is a top Democratic target in 2010.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – When North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ruled out a run for the Senate last week, national Democrats lost their top choice to take on Republican incumbent Richard Burr in 2010.

But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee still sees Burr as vulnerable, and several state Democrats have emerged as potential challengers in the wake of Cooper's decision. The Raleigh News and Observer even suggested Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, might jump into the ring.

Still, the DSCC - which is otherwise staying mum on the recruitment process - is taking four Democratic candidates seriously at the moment, according to a committee source.

Their top candidates are, in no particular order: Rep. Heath Shuler, the former NFL quarterback and second term congressman from western North Carolina's 11th district; Rep. Bob Etheridge from the Raleigh-area second district; former state Treasurer Richard Moore, who lost in the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary last year; and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton.

FULL POST


Filed under: DSCC • North Carolina
May 18th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
6 years ago

Liberal groups seek disbarment of Bush lawyers over torture

Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.
Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of progressive groups sought Monday to have 12 Bush administration lawyers disbarred for their roles in crafting the legal rationale for so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that many view as torture.

"It is time to hold these lawyers accountable for violating their legal oath," Kevin Zeese, an attorney for the coalition, said in a written statement.

"Just as the bar would suspend an attorney who advised a police officer to torture and brutalize a detained immigrant or criminal defendant, the bar must suspend these attorneys for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees. The disciplinary boards that hear these complaints must act or they will be seen as complicit in the use of torture."

Zeese called disbarment "an important step toward the ultimate accountability of criminal prosecution."

The group registered formal complaints against David Addington, John Ashcroft, Stephen Bradbury, Jay Bybee, Michael Chertoff, Douglas Feith, Alice Fisher, Timothy Flanigan, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes II, Michael Mukasey, and John Yoo.

Full story

May 18th, 2009
12:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Boehner responds to Obama's 'person of color' joke


WASHINGTON (CNN) – GOP congressional leader John Boehner is brushing off President Obama’s recent joke about Boehner’s famously permanent tan.

At the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner a week ago, the country’s first African-American president said he had “a lot in common” with Boehner who is Caucasian. “He is a person of color,” Obama joked before a massive ballroom of celebrities and Washington journalists. “Although not a color that appears in the natural world,” Obama added, barely able to keep his composure as he delivered the dig.

“As I tell my friends, you only tease the ones you love,” Boehner said responding to Obama Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Yeah, I enjoy being outside,” Boehner added, trying to explain his persistently tanned appearance.

“I’d rather be heckled than ignored,” the Ohio Republican told CNN’s John King.

May 18th, 2009
12:06 PM ET
6 years ago

Dodd gets primary challenger

Senator Chris Dodd faces a primary contest against Connecticut businessman Merrick Alpert.
Senator Chris Dodd faces a primary contest against Connecticut businessman Merrick Alpert.

(CNN) - Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, whose popularity has plummeted in recent months amidst the country's financial crisis, will face a primary challenge in his bid to win a sixth Senate term.

Merrick Alpert, a businessman who served as an Air Force officer in Bosnia, pledged on his Web site Monday to formally file paperwork with the Federal Elections Committee to challenge Dodd for the Democratic Party's nomination.

"You deserve a senator who tells you the truth and focuses on protecting your job and rebuilding Connecticut's economy," Alpert said in a video announcement. "Like many of you, I've lost faith in Senator Dodd. While he served his state well in the past, that's not so lately.

"He doesn't represent Connecticut's values anymore," said Alpert. "He represents the values of Washington, DC."

Alpert appears to have been a former Dodd supporter, donating $4,400 to the Connecticut senator since 2004, according the Federal Election Commission.

Dodd, the current chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has most recentlycome under fire for his role in allowing executives at the embattled insurance firm AIG to be paid lucrative bonuses even after receiving a massive government bailout.

The 2008 presidentiasl candidate has also come under sharp criticism for failing to rein in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae during his tenure as head of the Senate Banking Committee. Dodd also faces a Senate Ethics Committee investigation over favorable mortgage rates he received under the Countrywide VIP program.

Two Republicans are already running to challenge Dodd - Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons and State Sen. Sam Caligiuri.

A Quinnipiac Poll taken last month suggested Dodd has only a 30 percent approval rating among Connecticut voters. The survey also indicated he would lose to both Simmons and Caligiuri in hypothetical head-to-head matchups.


Filed under: Chris Dodd
May 18th, 2009
11:18 AM ET
6 years ago

High court denies review of 'medical marijuana' law

The Supreme Court rejected appeals by two California counties which are refusing to accommodate Preposition 213, which legalized medical marijuana use in the state.
The Supreme Court rejected appeals by two California counties which are refusing to accommodate Preposition 213, which legalized medical marijuana use in the state.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court sidestepped Monday the politically explosive debate over whether federal drug laws trump the use of so-called legalized "medical marijuana."

The decision leaves unclear how local districts must comply if a state law, passed by referendum, allowing the limited use of medical marijuana conflicts with the federal government's tough anti-narcotic stance.

The justices Monday rejected appeals from two California counties, which have balked at accommodating Proposition 213, which legalized cannabis for pain-suffering patients with a prescription.

At issue is whether the federal Controlled Substances Act - which prohibits pot possession for any purpose - supersedes state medical laws, when it comes to enforcement and liability for local districts. A California appeals court found federal oversight was limited since it was designed "to combat recreational drug use, not to regulate a state's medical practices."

If the Supreme Court ever decides to tackle the issue, observers believe the justices will likely insist the Obama administration weigh in with its views of the state-federal tug-of-war.

California is one of 13 states legalizing pot to be grown, distributed, sold and taken for personal "medicinal" use. Users include former television host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis.

FULL POST


Filed under: California • Supreme Court
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