June 25th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: $22 mln spent on health care TV ads

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supporters of President Obama's approach to health care reform are pouring millions of dollars into television commercials this year to help promote it, outspending opponents on the air by a margin of greater than 2-to-1.

Pro-Obama interest groups have spent $8.2 million on TV, while groups that oppose his proposal have countered with $3.2 million in commercials to help shape the extremely contentious debate over how best to reform the nation's health care system.

In all, more than $22 million has been spent on television commercials on the health care issue so far this year, according to an analysis conducted by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on political television advertising.

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Filed under: Health care • President Obama
June 25th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
5 years ago

A South Carolina first lady, scrutinized

Jenny Sanford, here with her husband, was a Wall Street executive before she married Mark Sanford.
Jenny Sanford, here with her husband, was a Wall Street executive before she married Mark Sanford.

(CNN) – Sharp-witted. Direct. In control. Loyal.

That's how friends describe Jenny Sanford, the wife of Gov. Mark Sanford, who confessed to the nation in a rambling news conference that he was having an affair with a woman in Argentina.

Jenny Sanford, unlike so many wives of cheating politicians, was not there facing the cameras, standing beside her husband.

A reporter asked the governor if he and his wife of 20 years were separated.

"I'm here, and she's there," he replied.

As romantic e-mails between her husband and his mistress were published by a local newspaper Thursday, the state's first lady, a former Wall Street executive, stayed far away from reporters. She was at the family's home on Sullivan Island in South Carolina with her four sons and a few friends.

"Don't you know that is what Jenny Sanford is about? That is what is authentic about Jenny Sanford. She is not going to humiliate herself by standing next to a story," said Cyndi Mosteller, a friend of the Sanfords since 1992 and the former first vice chairwoman of the South Carolina GOP.

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Filed under: Mark Sanford
June 25th, 2009
03:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Holder pushes hate crimes law; GOP unpersuaded

Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday.
Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday, arguing that the federal government needs to take a stronger stand against criminal activity fueled by bias and bigotry.

He also sought to assure opponents that such a bill would not allow Christian clergy to be prosecuted for outspoken opposition to homosexuality.

Holder made his remarks during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is currently considering the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The bill would allow the Justice Department to provide assistance to state and local authorities in the prosecution of hate crimes, while also expanding federal protection against hate crimes to cover disability, gender, and sexual orientation.

"Hate crimes victimize not only individuals but entire communities," Holder said.

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Filed under: Eric Holder
June 25th, 2009
03:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Top South Carolina Republican calls for Sanford to resign

 South Carolina Republican National Committee member Glenn McCall has called for Governor Mark Sanford’s resignation.
South Carolina Republican National Committee member Glenn McCall has called for Governor Mark Sanford’s resignation.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – A top South Carolina Republican is calling on Mark Sanford to resign following his admission of an extramarital affair, making him the first GOP official in the state to say openly the governor should step aside.

South Carolina Republican National Committee member Glenn McCall cited Sanford's past criticism of Bill Clinton, and accused the governor of hypocrisy.

"He was saying our elected leaders needs to stand firm on principles and values and one of those is strong family values," McCall told CNN in a phone interview. "What he said is hypocritical if he doesn't step down, because he was right with what he said about Clinton and others. When you are elected leader we hold you to higher standards. "

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Filed under: Mark Sanford
June 25th, 2009
03:28 PM ET
5 years ago

U.S., Venezuela reinstate top diplomats

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States and Venezuela will reinstate each others' ambassadors in the coming days, nine months after a diplomatic spat resulted in their expulsions, the State Department said Thursday.

An exchange of diplomatic notes paved the way for U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy to return to Venezuela, and for Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera to retake his post in Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

"With (Duddy's) return, full diplomatic representation will resume," Kelly said. "This will help advance and enhance our outreach to the Venezuelan people."

The diplomatic dispute actually began in Bolivia last year, when President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador there to protest what he called American interference in his country, a claim that the State Department has denied.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expelled Duddy in September in solidarity with Bolivia, and the United States responded in kind the following day, expelling Alvarez.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
June 25th, 2009
02:33 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama makes 11th hour push for energy bill

President Obama expects a climate change bill to face an extremely close vote in the House of Representatives.
President Obama expects a climate change bill to face an extremely close vote in the House of Representatives.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama acknowledged Thursday that a climate change bill strongly backed by the White House will face an extremely close vote in the House of Representatives as early as the end of the week.

He made an urgent plea for congressional approval in what could be an early make-or-break test of his young administration.

"Now is the time for us to lead," Obama said during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden. "We cannot be afraid of the future. We cannot be prisoners to the past."

The president said the bill will spark a "clean energy transformation" of the U.S. economy and "make possible the creation of millions of new jobs."

"Make no mistake," he emphasized. "This is a jobs bill."

The climate-change bill currently being debated by the House would reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a so-called "cap-and-trade" program.

The bill's future also remains unclear in the Senate, where leaders are holding off on advancing their own version of the legislation until it clears the House.


Filed under: Energy • President Obama
June 25th, 2009
02:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele on Sanford: 'Here we go again'

RNC Chairman Michael Steele sounded off Thursday on Mark Sanford’s announcement yesterday that he was having an extramarital affair.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele sounded off Thursday on Mark Sanford’s announcement yesterday that he was having an extramarital affair.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called Gov. Mark Sanford's extramarital affair "one more disappointment in failed leadership," but said it's up the people of South Carolina to decide whether or not the embattled lawmaker should resign.

"My view on it is, here we go again, you have one more disappointment in failed leadership," Steele said in an interview with Detroit radio station WWJ on Thursday.

Steele said elected officials are "held to a different standard" and that they need to "behave themselves." He wouldn't say whether he thinks Sanford should step down, but he said that he believes the decision is ultimately up to the people of South Carolina.

"The Republican Party didn't elect Sanford, the people of South Carolina did, and they'll be the ones to decide whether or not he stays or goes," Steele said. "It's their vote that put him in power, so it will be their call for his resignation that will remove him, or their call to say that he can stay that will keep him there."


Filed under: Mark Sanford • Michael Steele
June 25th, 2009
01:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Holder pushes for expanded hate crimes legislation

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday, arguing that the federal government needs to address a rising tide of criminal activity fueled by bias and bigotry.

Holder made his remarks during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is currently considering the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The bill would allow the Justice Department to provide assistance to state and local authorities in the prosecution of hate crimes, while also expanding federal protection against hate crimes to cover disability, gender, and sexual orientation.

FULL POST


Filed under: Eric Holder
June 25th, 2009
01:20 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford e-mail: I've 'crossed lines I never would have imagined'

(CNN) – As he was being considered for the vice presidency, the South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told his mistress that the only political challenge that remained was "the top spot" – the presidency.

"There are but 50 governors in my country and outside of the top spot, this is as high as you can go in the area I have invested the last 15 years of my life," he wrote in e-mails obtained by The State newspaper. "- my getting here came as no small measure because I had that foundation of love and support so critical to getting up in the morning and feeling you could give and risk because you already had a full tank of love in the emotional bank account."

He also refers to their first meeting "in a wind swept somewhat open air dance spot in Punta del Este."

At the time of the messages between the GOP governor and a Buenos Aires resident named "Maria" - the summer of 2008 - Sanford was viewed as a possible contender to join Republican presidential candidate John McCain on the GOP ticket.

(Update: CNN's sources in Buenos Aires and in South Carolina have since identified the woman,
whose name was also widely reported in Argentine media, as Maria Belen Chapur.)

FULL POST


Filed under: Mark Sanford
June 25th, 2009
12:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Senators to introduce Iran legislation

 John McCain and Joe Lieberman are among the senators introducing legislation on Iran.
John McCain and Joe Lieberman are among the senators introducing legislation on Iran.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Three U.S. senators said Thursday they will introduce legislation funding a package of assistance to help get around the Tehran regime's information block.

"The Iranian government recognizes that Internet is a threat to its stranglehold over society and is trying to impose its repressive controls over it," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said. "The legislation would authorize funds to ensure that Iranians have the hardware, software and other tools to evade the censorship and surveillance of the regime online."

McCain joined fellow Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, at a news conference to announce the legislation, which they said is an effort to support the Iranian people.

CNN Radio: Correspondent Reza Sayah, just back from Iran, has the latest from Tehran

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest the results of the June 12 election results which gave incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office. Protesters, including many supporters of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, have accused the Tehran regime of vote tampering and are calling for a new vote.

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Filed under: Iran
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