WASHINGTON (CNN) - Long before Sen. Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, the Massachusetts Democrat had already begun planning aspects of his funeral in anticipation of his eventual death.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, told CNN Friday that Kennedy had informed fellow members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in 2007 that he had been working on his memorial plans as well as reflecting on his legacy, including the core issue he had championed during his time in the Senate: health care.
"Well, I will tell you about two and a half years ago, when Congressman Meehan decided that he was going to become the chancellor of UMass, we had a little delegation dinner at Legal Sea foods and Senator Kennedy was there and he was in good form, and at that time he laid out for us what the service and ceremony was going to be like," Neal said in an interview Friday with Ed Henry and Mark Preston on CNN Radio's "44 with Ed Henry." "And I thought it was remarkable that the story held. None of us ever (thought) we should trespass on what he was saying that evening. And he talked about his legacy and what he had done, and he certainly raised the health care issue."
Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Massachusetts, announced in the spring of 2007 that he was resigning from office to become the next head of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Meehan's final day in Congress was July 1 of that year.
(CNN) – Andy Card confirmed in a telephone interview with CNN late Friday he has decided not to run for the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, and is encouraging state Sen. Scott Brown to run instead.
"I had done my due diligence and decided it was probably not in my best interest to run," said Card, former chief of staff in the Bush White House. "I'm disappointed but not unhappy."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Edward Markey announced late Friday afternoon that he would not run for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts, opting instead to remain in the House.
"I have had the honor to serve the people of the Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 33 years, and am now the eighth most senior Democrat," Markey said in a prepared statement. "I believe that my leadership positions and seniority in the House allow me to accomplish more for my Congressional District and for Massachusetts. I have therefore decided not to become a candidate for the Senate."
Former Democratic Reps. Joseph Kennedy and Martin Meehan recently announced they would not seek the seat held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy's uncle.
Two of Markey's fellow Democrats in the Massachusetts congressional delegation, Reps. Michael Capuano and Steven Lynch, have both taken preliminary steps to run for the seat.
Attorney Gen. Martha Coakley is the only Democrat to declare her candidacy for the seat that Edward Kennedy occupied for 47 years.
Full statement after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee unanimously approved a resolution Friday honoring the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.
The resolution highlighted Kennedy's accomplishments over a nearly 50-year legislative career.
"Senator Kennedy leaves a legacy of dedication to improving the plight of ordinary Americans, the determination to empower the powerless and to end the scourge of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or economic background," a section of the resolution reads.
Related: Kennedy takes with him a time and an era
Kennedy, who died August 25, 2009, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2008.
Read full resolution here.
(CNN) – Superstar rapper Jay-Z recalls that in the closing days of the presidential race, Barack Obama asked the rapper for help on the campaign trail and told him: "We need to end this game Jordan-style."
"He was calling me saying it was the fourth quarter and how we need to end this game Jordan-style," Jay-Z told New York radio station Hot 97 on Tuesday. "He was joking. He has a good sense of humor."
Jay-Z held several concerts for Obama during the presidential race to help the campaign register voters, and during inauguration week in January, he treated Obama campaign staffers to a private performance at the D.C. Armory in Washington.
Asked if their friendly relationship has cooled since Obama entered the White House, Jay-Z said, "Everything's cool."
During the sit-down, the radio hosts argued that the criticism over the president's nationally broadcast address to school students on Tuesday was racist - but the hip-hop artist had a slightly different take.
"I don't think it's straight racism, but they're talking to a racist audience, which is dangerous," he said of the President's critics. "But they're doing it for ratings. It's sensationalism, right? They're doing it for this type of attention."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Bob McDonnell, flip-flopper?
That's the latest charge to emerge from the Creigh Deeds campaign, which has been flogging the Republican gubernatorial candidate for nearly two weeks over his past positions on working women and homosexuality.
At issue Friday were McDonnell's remarks in an interview with Washington-area radio station WTOP, in which he explained why he voted against a 2001 resolution honoring equal pay for women when he was in the Virginia House of Delegates. Deeds, now the Democratic candidate for governor, supported the resolution.
"It was a ceremonial resolution," McDonnell explained to interviewer Mark Plotkin. McDonnell then stressed that he would support equal pay if elected governor of Virginia.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Online fundraising site ActBlue announced Friday that since Republican congressman Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's address, his Democratic opponent Rob Miller has raised over $787,951 (and rising) on the site. The first donation came in at 9:15 p.m. ET on September 9.
ActBlue Deputy Communications Director Adrian Arroyo told CNN that the donations have come in from over 21,622 people since Wednesday night's speech, a major jump from the 5,000 who had contributed as of yesterday. Arroyo admits that since the fundraising push is viral, "there is no one place to locate what is going on. You have DailyKos, Twitter and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee circling these issues. There is no one prime mover." The mean contribution size is $36.
Two links leading back to ActBlue's donation pages have been clicked on over 9,500 times, said the group. Two days after the speech, Joe Wilson is still the top trending topic on Twitter - and ActBlue has benefited greatly, with more than 1,000 tweets about their fundraising efforts for the congressman's opponent.
(CNN) - First Lady Michelle Obama will head to Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to promote her hometown of Chicago as the host of the 2016 Olympic Games, the White House announced Friday.
The choice has been narrowed down to four cities: Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Mrs. Obama will attend the International Olympic Committee Session at the Bella Center – Copenhagen Congress Center on October 2, where the winner will be selected and announced.
President Obama can't make the cross-Atlantic trip due to his busy schedule relating to his efforts at health care reform, the White House said, so Mrs. Obama and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett will go instead. The First Lady grew up on the South Side of Chicago.
"One of the great honors I have as First Lady is to represent America around the world and it is with great pride that I will go to Copenhagen to make the case for the United States to host the 2016 Olympics," Mrs. Obama said in a statement. "There is no doubt in my mind that Chicago would offer the world a fantastic setting for these historic games and I hope that the Olympic torch will have the chance to burn brightly in my hometown."
The first couple will also host an event at the White House on September 16 to support Chicago's bid to host the Olympic Games, according to the White House. Olympic athletes will visit local schools in the morning and head to the White House in the afternoon.
WASHINGTON (CNN)–The Republican Party of Minnesota released a new TV ad Friday criticizing President Obama's "risky" health care plan ahead of his rally in Minneapolis Saturday.
The $25,000 buy revisits a speech candidate Obama gave in February of 2008 vowing to bring about change.
The 30-second spot then claims Obama is now "pushing a risky health care plan that would: Cut Medicare; Raise taxes; Ration care; And explode the deficit."
"Mr. President: Let's slow down and do health care reform the right way," the ad concludes.
"Slow Down," will air on national cable in Minnesota until Sunday.
The President will hold his rally on health insurance reform at 1230 CT/130p E.T.