WASHINGTON (CNN) – It's apparently deja vu all over again for former President Bill Clinton.
In a fundraising e-mail on behalf of congressional Democrats, Clinton is blasting Republicans for opposing President Obama's health care push, and reminding people of his administration's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to reform the industry 16 years ago.
"It seems like the 1993 health care debate all over again," Clinton writes in the e-mail, noting that Americans "urgently" needed health care reform as much then as they do now.
"But, just as I did in 1993, President Obama has run into a buzz saw of special interest opposition to his top domestic policy priority - health care reform," he says in the message. "He is facing off against some of the most powerful special interests in Washington who've launched a furious campaign to preserve the status quo."
"...Simply put, they're at it again."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After days of indecision, Sen. John McCain announced Monday he will oppose the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
The Arizona Republican said Sotomayor tried "to walk back from her long public record of judicial activism during her confirmation hearing."
The senator's views will not slow the momentum for what is expected to be easy confirmation later this week for the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge. Legal sources say a White House swearing-in ceremony for the nominee could happen as early as Friday, depending on when the Senate casts a final vote before its August recess.
McCain is the latest Republican from a border state with large Hispanic populations to oppose Sotomayor, who would be the first Latina justice. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, as well as McCain's fellow Arizonan Jon Kyl have all previously announced they would vote against the nominee.
Full McCain statement after the jump:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Two liberal groups that have been accusing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson of undermining health care reform are stepping up their efforts to paint the conservative Democrat as an obstructionist.
Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee - a political action committee that supports "bold progressive" candidates - said Monday that they're tripling the amount of anti-Nelson television ads running in Nebraska and doubling the number of ads running in Washington.
The minute-long TV ad, funded by online donations, features a Nebraska resident accusing Nelson of "leading the charge to delay health care reform this summer." The ad will now run 600 times in Nebraska and 100 times in the nation's capital.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The White House shot down concerns Monday that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy.
"The president was clear during the campaign about his commitment on not raising taxes on middle-class families," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday afternoon. "I don't think any economist would believe that, in the environment that we're in, that raising taxes on middle-class families would make any sense."
The concern came after the Obama administration's two top money men floated the idea that tax increases to fund the nation's economic recovery could extend beyond the wealthiest Americans.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday they could no longer guarantee the middle class will be spared a tax increase.
"We have to do what's necessary," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week." "The critical thing is people understand that when we have recovery established - led by the private sector - and we have to bring these deficits down very dramatically ... we have to bring them down to a level where the amount we're borrowing from the world is stable and at a reasonable level."
The Obama administration is not ruling out tax increases on the middle class. And this could be a very big deal.
During the campaign - candidate Obama repeatedly promised the middle class wouldn't see their taxes increase "one single dime." In fact, he said he would cut taxes for "95-percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class."
Fast forward a year… After bank bailouts, auto bailouts and the economic stimulus package — the president is trying to figure out a way to pay for all this plus health care reform while also reducing deficits. There aren't many choices: Either raise taxes or cut spending. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today insisted the president wouldn't break his campaign promise.
But Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions over the weekend about raising taxes on the middle class. Geithner said they’re not ready to rule out a tax increase to lower the deficit, while Summers pointed out that health care overhaul needs money from somewhere, saying "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what."
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that President Obama would hold a lunch with Senate Democrats at the White House Tuesday.
(CNN) - She’s gone Twitter-silent since leaving office last week – but former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has spoken out publicly for the first time since her resignation, according to the nation’s largest gun rights group.
Palin addressed a National Rifle Association dinner in Anchorage Saturday, the group reported on its blog. The NRA did not reveal the content of her remarks, but described them as “a stirring speech on 2nd Amendment rights.” Reporters were not invited to observe the event.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate was also given lifetime memberships in several local gun clubs, and the NRA’s Gold Medal Award of Merit for the Promotion of Gun Collecting.
Palin has not yet given a media interview since leaving officen and has yet to re-launch her Twitter feed after leaving her goubernatorial account behind. Last week, her spokeswoman said that she had never committed to, and would not be attending, a GOP event at the Reagan library at which organizers had expected her to appear.
FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) – President Barack Obama joined hundreds of young veterans marking the implementation of a new "G.I. Bill" on Monday, calling the expanded benefits package part of a "moral obligation to those who sacrificed greatly on our behalf."
The updated version of the famous World War II legislation significantly expand education benefits for men and women who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
It provides as much as a full scholarship at in-state public universities for eligible veterans, service members, reservists, and National Guard members.
The first tuition checks authorized by the measure were mailed on August 1.
The new G.I. legislation, which was signed into law last year, was opposed by many Republicans worried it will deplete retention rates among those currently serving in the military at a time when recruitment efforts are struggling.
Obama, who backed the new benefits package as a senator, celebrated its implementation with a group of student veterans at George Mason University in northern Virginia.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Joe Sestak is expected to officially declare his candidacy for the Democratic Senate nomination Tuesday, setting up a primary season showdown with incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, a source close to Sestak confirmed to CNN Monday.
Sestak's campaign said in a Twitter message Monday morning that the Philadelphia-area congressman will be making a "major announcement" Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. The announcement, which will take place at a VFW hall in his district, will be webcast live on his campaign site.
A Quinnipiac poll late last month indicated that Specter, who's received the public backing of President Obama and party leaders since his defection from the Republican Party this spring, had a 55 percent to 23 percent advantage in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup – though his 20-point edge over prospective GOP challenger Pat Toomey had vanished.