(CNN) – New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, apologized Monday for using the N word in a recent interview while recounting a phone call she had received.
"I apologize for having repeated a word I find disgusting," Maloney said in a statement. "It's no excuse but I was so caught up in relaying the story exactly as it was told to me that, in doing so, I repeated a word that should never be repeated."
Maloney, who is challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination in New York, used the full racial slur in an interview with the Web site City Hall while taking aim at Gillibrand's record.
"I got a call from someone from Puerto Rico, said [Gillibrand] went to Puerto Rico and came out for English-only [education]. And he said, 'It was like saying n-r to a Puerto Rican,'" Maloney said. "I don't know-I don't know if that's true or not. I just called. I'm just throwing that out. All of her-well, what does she stand for?"
Earlier Monday, the Rev. Al Sharpton - a supporter of Gillibrand's bid - sharply criticized Maloney for using the word.
"The quote by Congresswoman Maloney if accurate is alarming and disturbing at best," he said in a statement. "No public official even in quoting someone else should loosely use such an offensive term and should certainly challenge someone using the term to him or her."
The controversy comes the same day Maloney is set to hold a big-ticket fundraiser that includes an appearance from former President Bill Clinton. Clinton has also attended a fundraiser for Gillibrand.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a move already drawing fire from liberal activists, aides to President Barack Obama acknowledged the administration will miss its own Tuesday deadline to submit a repor detailing its policy on detaining terror suspects.
The report is a key part of laying out the White House's plan for shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
In a briefing for reporters, four senior administration officials confirmed the task force dealing with detention policy has been granted a six-month extension to flesh out its plans, while a separate task force dealing with interrogation policy has been given a two-month extension to submit its own report to the president. The reports had been mandated to be completed this week by executive orders the president signed during his first week in office.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - The top cop tracking the $700 billion bailout program said Monday that he's concerned federal officials are ignoring his proposals for preventing tax dollars from being wasted or pilfered.
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a 260-page report detailing a long list of concerns about government efforts to prop up hundreds of banks, Wall Street firms and auto companies.
The report criticizes the Treasury Department the most for its unwillingness to adopt some of his recommendations.
Barofsky cites two examples: He wants Treasury to force bailout recipients to keep track of how exactly they are spending TARP funds. He also wants officials to erect a "firewall" to prevent private investment managers - the kind hired to manage and invest taxpayer dollars - from taking advantage of insider knowledge.
"Although Treasury has taken some steps towards improving transparency in TARP programs, it has repeatedly failed to adopt recommendations that SIGTARP believes are essential to providing basic transparency and fulfill Treasury's stated commitment to implement TARP 'with the highest degree of accountability and transparency possible,' " the report stated.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The latest fundraising numbers show that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee significantly outraised its Republican counterpart in June, though the two committees have raked in close to the same amount over the entire year.
The DSCC reported Monday raising $6.2 million last month compared to the National Republican Senatorial Committee's $3.4 million in the same time period. Since Jan. 1, the DSCC has raised $23.2 million, while the NRSC has taken in $20.1 million.
The DSCC also has a little less than double cash-on-hand as the NRSC, $7.9 million to $4.3 million. However, the DSCC is carrying a debt of $3.7 million, while the NRSC reports holding no debts.
(CNN) - Mark Kirk, the five-term congressman representing the northern Chicago suburbs, announced Monday he will seek the Republican nomination for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat in 2010.
The seat was formally held by Barack Obama, and currently belongs to Sen. Roland Burris who has said he will not seek to defend it.
Kirk, a moderate Republican whose district leans Democrat, said in Monday's announcement speech that he is "not an ideologue or party partisan," according to the Chicago Tribune.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee quickly endorsed Kirk, calling him an "experienced leader."
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick to tie Kirk to former President Bush's economic policies.
“Republicans are asking the people of Illinois to replace the President with the anti-President,” DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz said. “Congressman Kirk supported the Bush economic approach that got us into this mess and is now standing in the way of President Obama’s solutions at every turn.”
On the Democratic side, candidates reportedly eyeing the seat include Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, and Chicago businessman Christopher Kennedy. Kennedy is the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-New York.
Lisa Madigan, the current state attorney general widely believed to be a top candidate for the Democratic nomination, said earlier this month she would not run.
(Updated with DSCC comment)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Newly-minted Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, unveiled his first legislative goal Monday - providing funding to train dogs to work with wounded veterans.
"Service dogs … can be of immense benefit to vets suffering from physical and emotional wounds," Franken wrote in a column published in the Star Tribune. "Yes, they provide companionship. But they can also detect changes in a person's breathing, perspiration or scent to anticipate and ward off an impending panic attack with some well-timed nuzzling. They are trained to let their masters know when it's time to take their medication and to wake them from terrifying nightmares."
Franken, who was recently sworn-in after a nine month battle over the election results, said it costs about $25,000 to train and place a dog and noted his bill would provide hundreds of them to veterans.
The Minnesota Democrat also said there is evidence to show that this kind of program could help reduce the suicide rate among veterans.
"Frankly, I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much," Franken wrote. "But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This is win, win, win, win. I've been a senator for only a few days. But I've learned that it's better to listen than to talk, that you don't have to be a lawyer to be impressed by a tremendous jurist like Judge Sotomayor, and that I enjoy working with my Republican colleagues as much as I do with my fellow Democrats."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirms to CNN that, in attempt to quell a revolt among conservative Democrats, she is considering changing House Democrats' health care bill so that it only taxes families making $1 million or more.
"The Speaker has said several times she would like to squeeze more savings out of the system, and if we can do that we can reduce the number of people affected by the surcharge," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for the Speaker.
To raise revenue to pay for reform, the House Democrats health care bill would impose a surcharge on individuals making $280,000 or more and families making $350,000 or more.
Pelosi is now suggesting starting that surtax at individuals making $500,000 and families making $1 million.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, broke her ankle in three places Sunday night when she fell down some steps as she left her church in Baltimore.
Mikulski is awaiting surgery Monday at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
"I am receiving excellent care for my broken ankle," the four-term senator said in a statement. "This is the kind of care I want for all my constituents."
The Maryland senator is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which voted last week to approve a plan to overhaul the nation's health care system.
Mikulski spokeswoman Rachel MacKnight said the senator is working from her BlackBerry as she awaits treatment and her doctors will advise her on when she can return to the Senate floor.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The charged battle over health care reform intensified Monday as President Barack Obama accused GOP critics with putting politics ahead of policy.
A top Republican, in turn, accused Obama of ramming through an ill-conceived plan that will undermine the country's economic future.
The latest rhetorical volleys were traded as Democrats struggled to regain much-needed political momentum on the high priority issue before the August congressional recess.
The president seized on recent remarks by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, who said in reference to the health care debate that "if we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
"Think about that. This isn't about me. This isn't about politics," Obama said during a visit to Children's National Medical Center in Washington.
"This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses, and breaking America's economy. And we can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time. Not now."