WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week after she stepped down as Alaska’s governor, Sen. John McCain is expressing support for his former White House running mate.
“I respect Sarah Palin,” McCain said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “I appreciate her and her husband enormously. I think she will continue to play a major role in the future of the Republican Party. And I have to respect the decision she made."
“People make decisions, what they think is best for their own future, their state, the country and their family. And I'm not aware of all the influences,” McCain said of Palin’s surprise decision to step down 18 months before her first term as governor was up.
“And Sarah, I think, made, clearly, the best decision,” McCain told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
McCain also told King he continues to “be saddened by the fact that there are still such vicious attacks on her and her family.”
“I've never seen anything quite like it,” added McCain.
“We did get some positive news this week,” Romer said of reports that the gross domestic product contracted just 1.0 percent in the second quarter of this year.
“The slowdown is certainly slowing down,” Romer said, comparing the second quarter GDP figure to the 6.4 percent GDP contraction in the first quarter. “But we still have a ways to go before we hit bottom and certainly it’s gonna be a long, hard slog getting out of this.”
“We, like most private forecasters, think that real GDP growth will probably turn positive before the end of the year,” Romer told CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin, ”but that’s just the first step. You’ve got to start growing again before you start adding jobs. But the other thing is you’ve got to grow quickly to really bring the unemployment rate down.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The only woman in President Obama’s inner circle of economic advisers said Sunday that she has no trouble holding her own with likes of Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
“I’m right up there with the boys,” Christina Romer, the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Watch: Romer on 'the boys'
“The economics team has a lot of strong personalities. I’m actually one of them,” Romer told CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin.
“I do sometimes have to interrupt them,” Romer said of Summers and Geithner, “because they do both like to talk. But, absolutely, I feel my voice is heard.
“The president is great at this,” she added. “He is very careful to make sure that every voice is heard and he made it clear he wants to hear from all of us.”
Romer also said the economics team has “some very frank discussions.”
“But it’s actually great. There’s a big feeling of mutual respect. We argue. We think about things. And then we bring recommendations to the president and I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The “Blue Dogs,” a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats who have worked to limit the price tag of health care reform legislation, are taking a hit from a prominent Republican who is suggesting that the group will ultimately prove ineffectual.
“The Blue Dogs, they always bark and they never bite,” Arizona Sen. John McCain said on an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They almost always – in fact, always, roll over and then play dead.”
McCain’s slam of the Blue Dogs came in the context of being asked whether President Obama has the political power to stymie Republicans in their efforts to shape Democrats’ ambitious plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
“There's no doubt that this is a very effective president of the United States,” McCain said of his former rival. “He's an excellent communicator. He has sizeable majorities in both houses of Congress.
“So I would never count anybody out in health care or anything else when you have these sizeable majorities. I think they will renew the push after the August recess. The question is, are they going to be really bipartisan efforts or just pick off a couple of Republicans?”
In the House, the Blue Dog coalition has worked within the Energy and Commerce Committee to bring down the near trillion-dollar price tag for health care reform over the next 10 years while also protecting the interests of rural hospitals in some of their districts. Efforts to appease the Blue Dogs resulted in delays in getting legislation out of that committee. A vote on a bill came late Friday, just before the House broke for a five-week recess.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. John McCain has some advice for Democrats: have a “true sit-down” with Republicans on health care reform legislation.
“Well, first of all, unfortunately, there was no input by Republicans in the writing of the bill,” McCain said of the version of the legislation that came out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It was all a Democrat proposal. That’s not the way you want to begin if you’re really interested in a true bipartisan result.”
“It's got to be a true sit-down,” McCain added. “OK, what are you going to concede … how we can come together? Not: here's the plan, how can we fix it so it satisfies enough of you to call it ‘bipartisan?’
“That's a huge difference.”
Saying President Obama needs to be more specific about the reform proposals he favors, McCain also faulted how his former rival is handling health care reform.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As negotiations over a health care reform bill drag on in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. John McCain says he is not in favor of the approach most likely to be put forward by a bipartisan group of six senators negotiating on the committee.
“I have not seen one,” McCain says in an interview airing on Sunday’s CNN State of the Union, when asked whether there is a viable public insurance option that could garner his vote.
McCain does not favor a pure public option run by the federal government and the Arizona Republican says he also does not favor insurance co-operatives – an alternative to government-run, single-payer insurance that has been proposed by North Dakota Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad who sits on the Senate Finance Committee.
“The co-ops remind us all of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” McCain says. “And so I have not seen a public option that, in my view, meets the test of what would really not eventually lead to a government takeover.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. economy is no longer on the edge of collapse, but Americans face "tough choices" in the future on reducing the expanded deficit, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday.
Appearing on the ABC program "This Week," Geithner said he expected continued economic improvement for the rest of 2009 and a reversal in job losses the following year.
"What you're going to see first is growth turn positive," Geithner said. "Then you're going to see the pace of job losses slow significantly further," with job creation possible next year.
Economic collapse is "not going to happen," Geithner said.
He warned, though, that emergency steps including the bailout plan last year and the economic stimulus bill this year are expanding the federal budget deficit to unsustainable levels.
"We will not get this economy back on track, recovery won't be strong and sustained" if the deficit isn't reduced in the future, Geithner said.
"We can do this - it just requires the will to act," he said, calling an overhaul of the health-care system one important step by reducing costs for both the government and average Americans.
Geithner refused to rule out future tax increases, saying the government would take whatever steps were necessary to reduce the deficit once recovery is established.