WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama’s wired White House is now in the seven figures category on Twitter.
“A million followers – nice,” the White House (@whitehouse) wrote in a short blast - known as a “tweet” - that was sent out Sunday afternoon. “What would you like to see more of from this feed? Photos? Quotes? Cowbell? Tell us @whitehouse.”
In crossing the 1 million-follower threshold on Twitter, the Obama administration official account still trails behind Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 elections.
But when you take into account all of the followers on Obama’s Twitter accounts, McCain is looking at the president’s back. Obama’s presidential campaign Twitter account (@BarackObama) has more than 2 million followers.
Asked Sunday on CNN's State of the Union about Baldwin’s recent comments that he might move to Connecticut and mount a challenge to Lieberman because, as Baldwin told Playboy magazine, “I have no use for [Lieberman],” the Independent senator responded, “You know, make my day.”
“I respect Alec Baldwin as an actor and as a comedian,” added Lieberman, “if he wants to run, that’s his right.”
Lieberman has a track record of surviving tough election battles. After his strong support of George W. Bush’s decision to wage war in Iraq made him a target of liberal bloggers and activists, Lieberman lost the Democratic Senate primary in his state in 2006. Undaunted, the longtime senator decided to run as an independent and managed to hold on to seat. He is not up for re-election again until 2012.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pushing a health-care reform package through Congress without significant Republican support would be "a real mistake" for President Barack Obama, Sen. Joseph Lieberman warned Sunday.
Lieberman, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, said trying to "jam through" a package "that the public is either opposed to, or of very, very passionate mixed minds about" would be bad "for the system."
He added, "Frankly, it won't be good for the Obama presidency."
"He has got other fights to fight," the senator from Connecticut told CNN's "State of the Union," citing climate change, financial regulatory reform, and the war in Afghanistan.
The warning from Lieberman - who supported Obama's opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, in last year's presidential election - came as some Democrats signaled increased willingness to consider ways to push through a plan.
"We prefer a bipartisan approach," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told NBC's "Meet the Press." Democrats led by Obama have "bent over backwards" to win support across the aisle, Schumer argued.
But, he said, "We are now looking at the alternatives because it's looking less and less likely that... the Republican leadership in the House and Senate will want to go for a bipartisan bill."
The tactics being considered, Schumer said, "include just getting 60 Democratic votes and maybe an occasional Republican here or there... They include looking at reconciliation, which only needs 51, and they include a combination."
In the spring, Democrats put a health care "reconciliation" into the 2010 budget. Reconciliation, a type of budget maneuver that requires only a simple majority, can pass with only 51 votes, instead of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.
“The president is not doing anything wrong,” Missouri Democrat Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “in fact, he should be praised for being audacious enough to bring this contentious issue to the public. And I think he has done a yeoman’s job in trying to articulate what this health care bill will do,”
That said, Cleaver said he thought Obama had underestimated the partisanship at play in the health care reform debate.
“I think that there is the possibility that the president can work with some Republicans,” Cleaver added, “and I think that he works with the ones who are interested in trying to get something accomplished.”
As for all of the anger, confusion, and anxiety over health care reform on display during many of the congressional town halls held in recent weeks, Cleaver said the public has some valid questions about reform.
“I think we need to make haste – slowly,” he said when asked about Sen. Joe Lieberman’s suggestion that the president put off trying to achieve near-universal coverage for all Americans. “By that I mean, we need to go back, erase some of the vagueness – or fill in the blanks where there is vagueness – and then begin the process of moving so that the American public understands that we’re not going to abandon them because of this outrage that we’ve heard in August. But, we do it slow enough that we can bring them along.”
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain says loose language in Democratic health-care bills fueled claims by his former running mate that the plan could lead to "death panels" for the elderly and handicapped.
"The way that it was written made it a little bit ambiguous," McCain, last year's Republican presidential nominee, told ABC's "This Week" in an interview broadcast Sunday. But he added, "I don't think they were called 'death panels,' don't get me wrong."
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate in last November's election, wrote that the bill could lead to "death panels" that would decide whether people like her parents or her infant son, who has Down Syndrome, were "worthy of health care." Though it has been found false by a number of observers, including CNN, the claim has been widely circulated by critics of the Obama administration's push to expand health care coverage to most Americans.
“I give the president tremendous credit for taking on the health care problem and it really is a problem that we’ve got to deal with – but he took it on at a very difficult time that was not of his making,” Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Great changes in our country often have come in steps,” Lieberman also said, pointing to the incremental gains in the civil rights movement made over many years during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The former Democrat then cataloged a list of incremental changes to the country’s health care system – focusing on reducing costs, changing health care delivery mechanisms, putting an end to denying coverage because of pre-existing illnesses, removing monetary caps on the amount of coverage provided, paying for preventive services that avoid costly chronic illnesses later on – all of which he thinks are ripe for consideration right now in tough economic times.
Lieberman called Obama’s ambitious goal of covering all or nearly all of the millions of uninsured in the country “the tough one.” “That’s where you spend most of the trillion dollars . . . that this health care plan will cost. And I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy is out of recession. There’s no reason we have to do it all now but I do think we have to get started.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, disagreed with Lieberman’s suggestion that the current health care reform push not include an attempt at universal coverage.
“We’ve got to bring down the cost of health care,” Cardin told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “it’s difficult to do that by ignoring those who don’t have health insurance today.
CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked whether Obama has explained to the American people what the U.S. strategy is in the war-torn country. Lugar bluntly replied “No. And I think everyone waits for Gen. [Stanley] McChrystal to give, really, the outline of where we’re headed – how many troops and whatever else is going to be required.”
Citing recent polling suggesting the public is beginning to tire of the war in Afghanistan, Lugar had a bit of advice for Obama.
“The president really has to face the fact that his own leadership here is critical. He really can’t just leave this to the Congress, to Gen. McChrystal and say ‘folks, discuss this’ after the report comes in.”
Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, rejected the notion that Obama has not stated a mission in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The bloody attacks in Iraq last week have raised concerns over a renewal sectarian violence, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday.
Interviewed on CNN's "State of the Union," Adm. Mike Mullen said he is "extremely concerned" about recent bombings. More than 100 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in a series of truck bombings in Baghdad on August 19.
It was was the deadliest day since the United States pulled its combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns nearly two months ago and left security in the hands of the Iraqis. And it raised fears of a renewal of destabilizing Sunni-Shiite violence that raged a few years ago in Iraq.