WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was anything but chilly when the Pittsburgh Penguins visited the White House Thursday to be honored by the nation's chief executive for winning the 2009 Stanley Cup .
The team's captain, twenty-one year old Sidney Crosby, is the youngest captain ever to conquer the coveted hockey prize.
President Obama congratulated the team jokingly pointing out that "Sidney must be pretty fast, cause there are some big hockey players and he's not one of them."
The Penguins brought the cup to the White House and Obama did not leave empty handed either. After posing for photos with the president, the team presented him with with a personalized "Obama 44" Pittsburgh Penguin jersey.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Concern about a terrorist attack in the United States is roughly half of what it was immediately after the September 11 attacks, according to a new national poll.
Thirty-four percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released on the eve of the eighth anniversary of 9/11 say they think an act of terrorism in the U.S. over the next few weeks is likely, with 64 percent indicating such an attack is not likely. The 34 percent figure is down 20 points from three years ago and is nearly half the 66 percent who in late 2001 felt a terrorist attack was likely.
The poll also indicates that only one in 10 say that a terrorist attack is likely in the community where they live. More than six in 10 say they have confidence in the Obama administration's ability to protect the country from terrorism, although only one in four say they have a great deal of confidence.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - At a rare Justice Department event featuring a mix of smiling Democratic and Republican luminaries, Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday praised his GOP predecessor Michael Mukasey for "skill, honor, and great integrity" during his 15-month tenure.
Without mentioning the acrimony and bitter political battles that peaked during during two tumultuous years under then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who preceded Mukasey, Holder credited Mukasey for agreeing to take the job when "the Justice Department was engulfed in turmoil."
"I can say we are continuing the work you started to restore the Justice Department. You leave a mark here of patriotism, integrity and honor," Holder concluded.
Holder hosted the event at the ornate Great Hall to honor Mukasey with the traditional unveiling of the former attorney general's commissioned portrait, which will hang among the 81 past attorneys general outside Holder's office.
(CNN) - Just hours after Gov. Mark Sanford held a news conference Thursday to fight back against Republican legislators seeking his ouster, the South Carolina Republican Party dealt him another blow by formally calling for his resignation.
Two-thirds of the GOP's executive committee voted to call for the governor's resignation at the end of an hour-long conference call organized by state Republican Party Chairwoman Karen Floyd.
Floyd sent a letter to Sanford after the result was announced informing him of the vote.
It is a stinging rebuke for Sanford from the grassroots wing of the party that has long been his base of support. Members of the party's executive committee are volunteers elected by their fellow political activists - the kind of Republicans who make phone calls, stuff envelopes and knock on doors during election years.
While Sanford has sparred publicly over his two terms with state GOP lawmakers, who have also called for his resignation, the state's grassroots activists have been dependably in his corner.
The vote was also a formal change of course for the state party: Floyd convened a similar conference call in July after Sanford revealed his extramarital affair, which resulted in a vote to censure Sanford for "repeated failures to act in accordance" with the party's core principles and beliefs. But at the time, the party did not ask for the governor to step down.
Sanford's spokesman Ben Fox immediately released a statement following the vote insisting "that working South Carolinians are ready to move beyond this political circus and media-driven distraction." He thanked the committee members who voted against the measure.
"We'd also thank those on the committee and others across the state who've cautioned against a rush to political judgment that would ultimately overturn an election before all the facts and indeed the 'rest of the story' is laid out," Fox said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two out of three Americans who watched President Barack Obama's health care reform speech Wednesday night favor his health care plans - a 14-point gain among speech-watchers, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll of people who tuned into Obama's address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress.
Sixty-seven percent of people questioned in the survey say the support Obama's health care reform proposals that the president outlined in his address, with 29 percent opposed. Those figures are almost identical to a poll conducted immediately after Bill Clinton's health care speech before Congress in September, 1993.
The audience for the speech appears to be more Democratic than the U.S. population as a whole. Because of this, the results may favor Obama simply because more Democrats than Republicans tune into the speech. The poll surveyed the opinions of people who watched Wednesday night's speech, and does not reflect the views of all Americans.
(Full results after the jump)
After a lawyer who joined Sanford at the governor's Thursday press conference in Columbia gave a four-minute legal briefing about the ethics investigation process and the powers of the South Carolina General Assembly, Sanford took aim at his political foes in the state legislature.
"We have a real problem if members of the General Assembly are going and trying to influence and truncate an ethics committee process so that they can get the intended result that they want and then use that for impeachment," he said. Sanford did not mention that several of his allies in the legislature signed onto a Wednesday letter asking him to resign.
Sanford told reporters that apparent efforts by some South Carolina lawmakers to obtain and use a preliminary report by a state ethics panel as the basis for impeachment would create a "kangaroo court."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Joe Wilson's outburst has resulted in a cash windfall for his 2010 Democratic challenger Rob Miller.
According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Miller raised $100,000 overnight from 3,000 individual donors after Wilson shouted "You lie!" at President Obama during his address to Congress on Wednesday night.
Miller released a statement last night accusing Wilson of "engaging in childish name-calling and disrespecting out Commander-in-Chief." Wilson's shout prompted Democrats on the Web to direct donors to Miller's Web site and to the Democratic fundraising site ActBlue.
Miller gave Wilson the toughest re-election challenge of his career last year in one of the country's most conservative congressional districts. Miller lost by eight points, and decided to challenge Wilson again next year.
Wilson apologized to the president after the speech, calling his comments "inappropriate and regrettable."
UPDATE: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported Thursday morning that Miller's post-speech total had risen to $200,000.
UPDATE 2:45 pm: The DCCC reported Thursday afternoon that Miller's new post-speech total had risen to $400,000, via 11,000 individual contributions.
UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.: The DCCC reported Thursday evening that Miller post-speech total had risen to more than $500,000, via 14,000 individual contributions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate on Thursday signaled their willingness to drop a government run public health insurance option from a final health-care bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in comments at separate news conferences, said they would support any provision that increases competition and accessibility for health insurance –whether or not it is the public option favored by most Democrats.
They spoke the day after President Barack Obama called the public option a preferred but non-essential element of overhauling the nation's ailing health-care system. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the president's speech the night before to a joint session of Congress "reiterated the public option is not the be-all, end-all in health-care reform."
Pelosi, who said as recently as Tuesday that a public option was essential for passing a health-care bill in the House, on Thursday used language on the issue similar to Obama's speech.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Shouting from the audience. Holding up signs blasting the health care reform bill before Congress. Frequent hissing and booing.
hough it sounds like behavior at one of the health care town hall meetings last month, it was how some Republicans reacted to President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.
But Norm Ornstein, a longtime observer of Congress and an expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the tone and behavior from members of Congress are not necessarily new.
"A lot of what went on [Wednesday] night has become fairly typical of what we've seen in the State of the Union messages over the last 10 or 12 years, where it's one side jumping up wildly and the other side sitting on their hands in stony silence."
The most memorable moment came from Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, who shouted "You lie" after the president said that a Democratic-sponsored health care bill would not cover illegal immigrants.
Ornstein said that in addition to being beyond the bounds of what is typical, Wilson's comment is "just sort of stunning in the level of disrespect for not just the president but the presidency."
During several moments in Obama's speech, members of the GOP hissed and yelled at the president as he laid out his plan for reform. One Republican wore a sign around his neck saying, "What bill?"
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, was seen several times typing on his phone during the speech.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama's political team has raised more than a million dollars in the hours since his congressional address, the Democratic National Committee reported Thursday.
Since the president's Wednesday night speech, more than 381,000 people have signed Organizing for America's online letter in support of his health care plan. The DNC also said that $1,087,000 has been donated in that time, even though OFA has yet to send out a dedicated fundraising e-mail.