WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Joe Wilson's Democratic challenger Rob Miller has collected more than $1 million online since Wilson shouted "You lie!" at President Obama, but next week Miller will be raising money the old-fashioned way.
The South Carolina Democrat, who has yet to make a public appearance since Wilson's outburst, will head to Washington for a pair of fundraisers on Capitol Hill.
A group of ex-staffers for former South Carolina Sen. Fritz Hollings and Rep. Jim Clyburn will host an event for Miller at a Capitol Hill restaurant on Wednesday, with a minimum suggested donation of $250, according to an invitation provided to CNN.
Later in the evening, Miller will head over to a Pennsylvania Avenue bar for a low-dollar meet-and-greet with "young professionals." The entry fee for that gathering is $20.10.
Wilson, meanwhile, continues to soak up online donations - the Republican has raised nearly $1.8 million since last Wednesday, including several thousand dollars since he was formally punished by the House on Tuesday for his outburst.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – With health care on the minds of Americans across the nation, Michelle Obama is continuing her efforts to make healthy food choices a priority amongst Americans.
The First Lady celebrated with a crowd of several hundred people who braved the rain for the opening of the Freshfarm Farmers' Market Thursday in Washington, D.C., a market that supports locally grown produce and encourages people to eat healthier.
"All right, I have to say, I have never seen so many people so excited about fruits and vegetables," Obama told the locals. "This is a very, very good thing."
The First Lady was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty.
"As we look at tackling some of the biggest health problems that our nation faces, like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and related issues like access to primary care and preventative health services, I've realized that little things like a garden can actually play a role in all of these larger discussions," she said.
After her speech, the First Lady took some time to make a few purchases of her own, including cherry tomatoes, black kale, mixed hot peppers, cheese and chocolate milk.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The intrigue surrounding Gen. Stanley McChrystal's plans for Afghanistan is making him a popular man on Capitol Hill. But for now, Congress is going to have to wait to talk to the top commander in Afghanistan.
McChrystal's plans for turning the tide in Afghanistan have been turned in to his bosses at the Pentagon and to President Barack Obama, but little has been shared yet with those on the Hill. So they want to talk to the man...now.
"What I support right now is getting Gen. McChrystal here to help us all understand what the situation on the ground is and what the strategy for success in Afghanistan is," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The head of the House Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to the Defense secretary requesting McChrystal come talk.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Republicans raised more money last month than their Democratic counterparts and the GOP has more cash-on-hand 14 months before the midterm elections.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised nearly $3.1 million in August compared to the $2.2 million the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) collected during that same time period, the two political operations reported on Thursday. The NRSC said it has $5.1 million in the bank, while the DSCC noted it has about $6.7 million. But Democrats also reported carrying a $2.9 million debt, while the GOP stated it had no financial liabilities.
In 2010, Democrats and Republicans each have 18 Senate seats up for re-election. The GOP must defend six open seats – four that are expected to be competitive: Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio. Democrats have to defend two open seats and as of now one of those contests, Illinois, is considered competitive.
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(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appears to rank only behind President Obama as a top target of health care reform opponents, grew visibly emotional Thursday when asked to compare the current political climate to that of years past.
"We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill press conference as she appeared to get emotional. "I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this myself in the late 70s in San Francisco.
"This kind of rhetoric was very frightening and it gave - it created a climate in which violence took place and so I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, understanding the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume," she added.
The California Democrat's image was a popular one among "Tea Party" protesters on Capitol Hill last weekend, used on signs with derogatory messages like "Congress, look what happens from too much pork."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley - one of the Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee's "Gang of Six" - told reporters Thursday it's been six weeks since he's spoken to President Obama or anyone on the White House staff.
"I'll tell ya, there's some things that the president has said since then, that I took very personally," Grassley said.
The Iowa senator said he took offense to comments made by the president last month in response to a controversy of a provision regarding end-of-life counseling in one of the health care reform bills in the House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Thursday approved an amendment that calls for halting government funding to the community organizing group ACORN.
The measure, added to a larger bill on reforming student loans that won House approval, follows a provision passed earlier in the week by the Senate that would halt Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.
Both measures would have to have their differences reconciled in Congress to take effect. In addition, ACORN's chief executive officer says the group gets most of its money from members and other supporters, and its operations would continue even if it is cut off from government grants.
However, approval of the House and Senate measures demonstrated the political fallout against ACORN following recent reports of videos that appeared to show the agency's employees condoning illegal actions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator Max Baucus stood alone on Wednesday when he introduced his summary for a health care reform bill. But one day later, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is getting some support from the center.
Four centrist senators Thursday issued a statement praising the Montana senator's efforts to produce a reform bill that may be able to attrack bipartisan support, even though the lawmakers say they have disagreements with aspects of his proposals.
But the senators, Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Democrats Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, vowed to "put aside partisan views" and work to pass a health care bill.
"We commend Chairman Baucus for his efforts to forge a health care reform proposal that has the potential to gain broad bipartisan support. We are encouraged by his commitment to work with both Democrats and Republicans in the Finance Committee, and believe there is a responsibility for both sides of the aisle to work together to develop a bill that will earn strong support from the full Senate," said the senators in a joint statement Thursday.
–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this story
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum - two of the Republicans thinking about challenging President Obama in 2012 - are savaging the administration's plans to scrap a planned missile defense shield in Europe.
The Bush administration had wanted to install the shield in eastern Europe to protect against the threat of long-range missiles from Iran, but the Obama administration said Thursday it will instead pursue a scaled-back program that would focus on short-range missiles. The U.S. reversal is likely to please Russia, which had fiercely opposed the Bush-era plans that would have placed missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, called the move a slap in the face to eastern Europeans "who have stood so valiantly with America and who took political heat for backing the missile-defense system" and accused the president of caving to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Romney, who is scheduled to deliver a high-profile foreign policy speech in Washington next week, said it's risky to tinker to with defense plans when American intelligence regarding Iran's missile capability is murky.
"President Obama has made a dangerous and alarming decision to shelve our missile-defense system in Europe," Romney said in a statement. "His decision is wrong in every way, despite his rationale."
Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, said the president is spurning European allies in order to "appease" Russia - "a potential foe."
"The Poles and the Czechs have a legitimate fear of a re-emergence of the Russian threat to their security and are desperately seeking closer ties to the West," Santorum said in a statement to CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would overhaul the student loan system by ending a government-subsidized program for private lenders to provide college loans.
The House voted 253-171 for the bill that, if also passed by the Senate and signed into law, would effectively end the role of private lenders in making student loans. Instead, the government would become the sole direct lender for student loans.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill would save more than $80 billion over 10 years by halting the subsidies to private
The House bill includes increased spending for Pell Grants for low- and middle-income students, as well as more money for community colleges, early-learning programs, school renovations, and colleges and universities that historically serve minorities.