WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate will not vote on health care reform legislation before the August congressional recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
President Obama has been pushing for both the House and Senate to pass health care legislation before going on their August break - a goal that has appeared increasingly unlikely due to fierce Republican opposition and cost concerns cited by fiscally conservative Democrats.
Reid's announcement did not change Obama's timetable, according to a senior administration official. The president still wants the House and Senate to vote before the August recess.
Ealier Thursday, key House Democrats sought to convince a wavering public that prompt change is necessary.
Representatives of the Congressional Black Caucus, voicing the concerns of Obama's liberal political base, predicted that inaction this year would have dire ramifications.
If the federal government fails to act now, "we do so at the peril of the American people," warned Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Steve Thomma, a reporter for McClatchy, got called out in jest by President Obama at Wednesday's press conference for asking a question when in fact the president had called on a different reporter.
Late into his prime time press conference, Obama called on the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Steve Koff to ask a question, but Thomma instead rose to the microphone.
Seemingly unaware of the mix up, Obama answered Thomma's question on health care reform, and dropped references to his impending trip to Cleveland Thursday.
But the president, upon finishing his answer, was quickly made aware the wrong reporter asked the question.
"Oh," Obama said as the press corps erupted in laughter. "I said Steve Koff but he (Steve Thomma) just stood up, huh?"
"That's not fair. Shame on you," Obama, appearing amused, added.
Koff was then allowed to ask a question.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The National Rifle Association reinforced its opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, warning senators Thursday their votes will be considered in the NRA's future candidate evaluations.
The NRA announced last week that it viewed Sotomayor as having a "hostile view" of gun rights under the Constitution.
Since the NRA's announcement last week, five Republicans have already pledged their votes for Sotomayor, including conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and key member of the Judiciary Committee.
The nominee herself was on Capitol Hill, meeting with conservative senators. Seven Republicans have already announced they would vote against her, but that is not expected to slow what is predicted to be easy confirmation to the nation's highest court.
Schwarzenegger announced a major plan Monday to eliminate California's $26 billion deficit, with state agencies looking at billions of dollars in cuts as part of the plan.
On Tuesday, the Hollywood actor turned governor posted a video, in which he handles a 2-foot-long knife before thanking Californians for providing him with creative ideas for slashing the budget.
By Wednesday, critics had emerged, some wondering how Schwarzenegger could post a lighthearted video about a proposed budget plan that could slash services for needy people.
The governor addressed the critics at a news conference, saying that though the budget process was tough he had not lost his sense of humor.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Key House Democrats continued to pound home the president's call for health care reform Thursday, hoping to convince a wavering public that change is necessary and to generate sorely needed momentum before the August congressional recess.
Representatives of the Congressional Black Caucus, voicing the concerns of President Barack Obama's liberal political base, predicted that inaction this year would have dire ramifications.
If we "fail to act now, we do so at the peril of the American people," warned Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, at a Capitol Hill news conference.
"The American taxpayer will continue to suffer from the economic consequences of absorbing health care costs that are spiraling out of control. We must act because the quality of life of millions of Americans and the health of our economy really hang in the balance."
Several Black Caucus representatives have insisted the health reform plan as currently drafted is affordable, drawing a sharp contrast with more fiscally conservative Democrats who have voiced cost concerns.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama heads home tonight to raise some big bucks for his party.
The two Chicago events, a dinner and a reception, could bring in some $2-3 million for the Democratic National Committee.
A party source says Gen44, a new effort by the DNC to engage professionals who became active in politics during the 2008 presidential campaign, will be formally launched at the reception.
Among those expected in attendance tonight are Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Jay Cutler.
Last Thursday, the president attended two small fundraisers for the DNC in New Jersey and New York. He also headlined a fundraiser and a rally for fellow Democrat Jon Corzine, who's up for re-election this year as New Jersey governor.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama's much-heralded speech last month in Egypt did little to change America's image in the Muslim world, a survey released Thursday shows.
Muslim people were not so easily moved by Obama's speech June 4, according to interviews conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project.
"This analysis suggests that the speech had little measurable impact on views of the U.S. or Obama himself," the Pew researchers said.
"However," they cautioned, "the pre-post comparisons were rudimentary ones that could only have detected a major swing in public opinion."
But with Obama's presidency, America's image has improved drastically in most parts of the world, the poll found.
(CNN) - Last August, then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain introduced to the nation his surprise pick for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
At the time, little was known about the fresh-faced, first-term governor, but within days, Palin's face was on newspapers, magazines and tabloids.
Since then, Palin has become a polarizing figure in the Republican Party. Her passionate supporters are countered with equally fervent critics.
And even though it's been nearly a year since she ventured onto the national stage and more than eight months since the Republican ticket lost the election, as Palin prepares to leave office, the public's interest in her has yet to wane. Palin explains why she's stepping down
"She's kind of a shooting star that caught fire and kept burning," said Lorenzo Benet, an assistant editor for People magazine and author of "Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin."
"When she walks into a room, she definitely commands attention and she gets more than most. She's definitely a star," said Benet, who was the only national journalist to have spent much time with Palin in the weeks before she was announced as McCain's running mate.
Palin, a mother of five, "caught the imagination" of the public because there is no one else like her, Benet said. "Particularly for conservative America, there hasn't been a rallying figure of this type," he noted.
(CNN) - Health Care for America Now and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, who favor President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's health care system, are switching their focus from potential congressional swing votes to staunch opponents, announcing a half-million dollar ad buy Thursday that targets some key GOP critics of the legislation.
"Republicans intent on killing reform for political gain need to be held accountable for their actions," said Richard Kirsch, Health Care for America Now's national campaign director.
The spots - updated versions of the group's election-year "Fighter" ad featuring a cancer survivor - will run for the next five days in areas represented by Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander and seven Republican congressmen, including David Camp of Michigan, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dave Reichert of Washington, Mark Souder of Indiana, Pat Tiberi of Ohio, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, and John Shadegg of Arizona, who introduced a GOP health insurance reform bill last week that HCAN says would make it easier for companies to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Last week, HCAN and AFSCME made another six-figure buy aimed at half a dozen Democratic members of Congress and two senators whose support for the final version of the health care reform bill is in question.