WASHINGTON (CNN)– Speaking out for the first time, Gov. Paterson's wife says it is "very unfair," that her husband be asked not to run for re-election.
"I have never heard of a president asking a sitting governor not to run for re-election," Michelle Paterson told NBC New York Wednesday. "I thought it was very unusual and very unfair."
Asked if she thought his blindness is a contributing factor to his low poll numbers, the first lady said "most definitely."
"People have to see who (the governor) is," said Mrs. Paterson. "...The whole time I dated David I forgot that he had a sight disability. He has a way of maneuvering and getting around [so] that you forget."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A leading liberal Democrat in the House blasted the embattled community organizing group ACORN Wednesday and said he is urging the White House to withhold any federal funding for the group.
"I am very disappointed in the actions that were taken by members of ACORN," Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Wednesday, "and I do not believe that ACORN's response has been adequate for an organization that has received public funding."
Frank also said in the statement that he is urging the Obama administration to withhold any additional funding for ACORN "at least until there is very firm evidence that the abuses of which ACORN members have been guilty have not only ceased, but that procedures are in place to prevent them from happening again."
In a written statement issued Wednesday, ACORN took issue with Frank's criticism.
"While we greatly respect Rep. Barney Frank and have enjoyed the work we have shared over the years," the statement said, "ACORN disagrees with his position on the recent Congressional action to single out our organization and bar us from competing for federal grants."
Asked about Frank's comments during a conference call with reporters, the CEO of ACORN said Wednesday that the organization is moving quickly to address the conduct of some of its employees displayed in videos produced by conservative activists and recently released on the Internet. The videos show some ACORN workers advising the activists, who were posing as a pimp and a prostitute, how to set up a prostitution business involving underage, foreign girls.
"There is no bigger critic of ACORN than its members and its board," the group's CEO Bertha Lewis said, "We were just as shocked and horrified as the American public was [to see the videos]."
"I will not tolerate such behavior," Lewis added.
Lewis's comments were part of an increasing crisis management effort on the part of ACORN. The group recently announced that it has retained Scott Harshbarger, the former Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Harshbarger's law firm to conduct an independent inquiry into ACORN's delivery of social services as well as a general review of ACORN's management.
"We are going to conduct a no-holds-barred review," Harshbarger told reporters Wednesday.
Harshbarger also said ACORN's leadership has requested that that report and findings be made public "at the appropriate time."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - ACORN filed suit Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland, against two filmmakers who secretly recorded videos embarrassing to the agency, claiming the pair violated state law by recording their conversations without permission of the employees involved.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing the further distribution of the videos.
The recordings represented "clear violations of Maryland law that were intended to inflict maximum damage to the reputation of ACORN," the community organizer's attorney, Arthur Schwartz, said. " ... Unfortunately, they succeeded."
Defendants James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute seeking advice on setting up a brothel with underage girls from El Salvador, recorded the videos in Baltimore and three other cities.
Breitbart.com, registered to Washington Times conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, is a co-defendant in the lawsuit. Contacted by CNN, Breitbart had no comment on the suit. O'Keefe and Giles did not respond to requests for comment.
The tapes show ACORN employees suggesting or condoning a series of illicit actions. The two Baltimore employees - Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson, who were fired - are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
"Although we do not condone what our former employees did, no matter how entrapped they were, we are also committed to our 500,000 members that we will hold the defendants civilly and criminally responsible for their violations of Maryland laws and for the damages inflicted upon ACORN's reputation," said
Bertha Lewis, the organization's chief organizer.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Reporters traveling with the President of the United States may be surrounded by some of the tightest security on the planet, but White House reporting can still be downright hazardous sometimes, sort of.
Case in point: as the White House travel pool raced around New York City on Wednesday following President Obama during his visit to the United Nations, Reuters photographer Kevin LaMarque suffered a minor injury when a tent fell and left a gash in his forehead.
The photographer received immediate medical attention from U.S. Secret Service agents, and was later examined by White House doctors. Invisible stitches were applied, as was a SpongeBob SquarePants band-aid.
(CNN) - Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to approve a measure that would give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a new election can be held - but it's still too soon for the bill's backers to claim victory.
The measure, which Wednesday afternoon passed the Massachusetts House and Senate, would not go into effect for 90 days - a period that ends just a month before the scheduled special election for a permanent successor to complete the remainder of Kennedy's Senate term - unless two-thirds of the state House voted to bypass the delay and enact the measure immediately.
Democrats have fallen just short of that mark, with a final state House vote of 95-59.
Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away. An immediate appointment would give Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the U.S. Senate as the chamber weighs President Obama's health care proposal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former speechwriter Matt Latimer said on CNN on Wednesday that he has "no regrets" about writing a tell-all memoir about his time spent in George W. Bush's White House.
Latimer, whose new book, "Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor," just hit bookstores this week, has been under fire from many members of the previous administration for alleging that Bush had never heard of Sarah Palin and that he had called her "not even remotely prepared" for the national stage.
"I think the president made a smart political assessment, which is this is something that Gov. Palin and her family weren't prepared for, the spotlight is going to be thrust on them," Latimer told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I don't know if it was a concern or criticism of the McCain campaign for the way they brought her out, but it was a warning and the president said let's wait a few weeks and see if the bloom's off that rose, meaning it's too soon to tell how Gov. Palin would come across to the American people."
Latimer said his goal was to be a "tape recorder" to show what Bush and other members of his administration were really like. He noted that Bush used "salty language" and recalled a discussion about Hillary Clinton.
(CNN) - Pitching legend Curt Schilling has decided not to run for the Massachusetts Senate seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
The former Boston Red Sox ace, an outspoken conservative who campaigned for former Republican presidential candidate John McCain last year, told HBO Tuesday he has ruled out mounting a GOP bid for the coveted seat
"Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense," Schilling said on HBO's "Joe Buck Live."
Earlier this month Schilling told a Boston radio station he was considering running for the seat, though added the chances were slim. Schilling also said then he had been approached by party leaders - including McCain - who advised he should consider mounting a campaign.
But questions arose whether Schilling, a registered independent, would have been allowed to run on the GOP ticket. A recent poll of Massachusetts voters also suggested the former Red Sox star might not fair well in a state-wide political race, garnering less than a 30 percent approval rating.
Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has announced he will run for the seat on the Republican side while state attorney Gen. Martha Coakley, Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, and Rep. Mike Capuano are battling for the Democratic nomination. Primaries are set to be held on December 8 while the general election will take place on January 19.
(CNN) – One of South Carolina's Republican candidates for governor is open to talking with the NAACP about ending its boycott of the state for flying the Confederate flag in front of the Statehouse.
But the candidate - congressman Gresham Barrett - doesn't want the flag removed.
During a debate Tuesday between the five GOP candidates for governor, Barrett answered "yes" when asked if he would consider sitting down with the NAACP to revisit the flag issue and come to some sort of resolution about the boycott, which began in 1999. Barrett was the only candidate asked if he would meet with the group.
But later in the debate, the entire GOP field was asked if the flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds. All of them, including Barrett, said no.
"I think we have dealt with that issue, and I'm not willing to take a look at it right now," Barrett said.
Barrett spokesman B.J. Boling confirmed that his candidate is willing to meet with state NAACP representatives about ending their boycott. But he stressed that Barrett opposes removing the flag from the Statehouse grounds.
"The congressman feels like this issue has been dealt with in a bipartisan fashion, but he remains open to talking to various groups about the issues that are of concern to them," Boling said. "Saying he's willing to talk to somebody but also saying he thinks the issue has been addressed, I don't see how that's contradictory."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In the first monthly briefing in the run-up to the start of the 2010 Census, the director of the Census Bureau was frank Wednesday about the constant political pressures his agency is under but the Census Director Robert Groves insisted that the upcoming national count will be conducted in a nonpartisan way.
"There are tugs on us daily to get into the political fray," Groves said in a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday. "It's my firm belief that the basis of credibility of the Census rests on the belief of the American public that we are nonpartisan and we're apolitical and we're a professional statistical bureau. And I need to fight that battle daily."
Groves called use of census data in reapportionment, the process of determining how many seats there will be in the House of Representatives, an "inherently, explicitly political" use of his agency's information that "is proper, that's constitutional, the founders thought about it. It's a great idea."
"What we have to do," Groves added, "is to acknowledge that the product of what we do has political uses but the process can never be politicized."
Concerns voiced mostly by conservatives and congressional Republicans about the Census Bureau's relationship with embattled community organizing group ACORN recently led the agency to put an end to the group's involvement in outreach for the upcoming national count.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– With 42 days before New Jersey residents head to the polls, Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign released a new ad Wednesday blasting Republican opponent Chris Christie for throwing "his weight around" as U.S. attorney to gain special treatment in the state.
"If you drove the wrong way down a one-way street, causing an accident and putting the victim in a trauma center...would you get away without a ticket?" the announcer says in the 30-second spot. "Chris Christie did....
"If you didn't pay your taxes, ignored ethics laws - would you get away with it?" the ad continues. "Chris Christie. One set of rules for himself. Another for everyone else."
The ad, titled "If", is the latest attempt by the Corzine campaign to accuse Christie of using his position to gain special treatment. It debuts the same day the Democrat's campaign unveiled billboards statewide looking to capitalize on President Obama's popularity there.