WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Jay Rockefeller told CNN on Tuesday that he's "disappointed" that President Obama wasn't more forceful in pushing the Senate to include a public option in its health care bill.
"A little bit, a little bit I'm disappointed," the West Virginia Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I know he's strongly for it, and I know his tactic has been to let the Congress do his work and then he'll come in when the crunch really counts. What I'm saying is that the crunch is really beginning to count now, and I think he's - I know he's for it, and said so publicly, and campaigned on it, so I think it's important that he come in at this point strongly."
The Senate Finance Committee rejected amendments on Monday, proposed by Rockefeller and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, that called for a new government-run health insurance option.
But Rockefeller stopped short of saying that he wouldn't support a bill that failed to include the provision, and pointed out that proposals passed by the House and other Senate committees include a public insurance option.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – RickPerry.org, the official re-election Web site of Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry was hacked Tuesday during a live Web broadcast, his campaign claimed. The site went down for approximately 10 minutes at 11:20 a.m. central time.
"Today's 'Talkin' Texas' webcast by Gov. Perry was deliberately interrupted by a denial-of-service attack, preventing countless users from logging in to view the Governor's remarks," Rick Perry Spokesman Mark Miner said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. "This planned and coordinated attack was political sabotage, and we are working to identify those responsible for this illegal activity."
Pressed on whether or not he thought the campaign of Perry's Republican primary opponent Kay Bailey Hutchison was behind the "sabotage," Miner responded: "I hope not. I hope they would not be that stupid."
The Hutchison campaign denied being behind the attack and aides said that they are "skeptical" Perry's site was even hacked.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Sen. Rick Santorum will make a foray into 2012 campaign territory Thursday, when the Pennsylvania Republican heads to Iowa to deliver a sharp critique of President Obama's first nine months in office.
Santorum acknowledged interest in a possible presidential run in a Tuesday conference call with reporters, but he emphasized that his visit to the Midwest political proving ground of Iowa does not mean he is a certain candidate for the Republican nomination. Instead, Santorum said that he is using this opportunity to raise his national profile, and noted he will speak out on issues that he thinks the GOP has failed to effectively address, such as health care.
The former senator credited talk radio with helping the conservative movement regain its momentum, but added that at times it has been "pretty shrill." Santorum said it is now time for Republican leaders to start promoting solutions and policies to counter Obama's legislative agenda. And the former senator said he plans to step up and begin talking about his vision for the future.
While Santorum lost his re-election in 2006, he is still well regarded in Republican circles, particularly among social conservatives.
The Supreme Court, including its newest member Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, sat for a group photo Tuesday. The high court's new term begins next week. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden and Delaware's attorney general, has returned from a year-long deployment to Iraq, according to the Delaware National Guard.
Biden's National Guard unit, the 261st Signal Brigade, returned to the United States last Friday and is currently demobilizing at Fort Dix in New Jersey, Delaware National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri told CNN.
Vice President Joe Biden is set to address his son's unit at a return ceremony in Dover, Delaware on Wednesday, September 30, said Gratteri.
Ted Kaufman, a former chief of staff to Joe Biden when the vice president was a member of the Senate, was appointed by Delaware's governor to fill
Biden's old Senate seat. Many political observers called the decision to appoint Kaufman an effort to hold the seat for Beau Biden to pursue in a 2010 special election after completing his deployment overseas.
Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, long considered a likely Republican candidate for the vice president's old seat, has not officially announced his intention to enter the race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected an amendment to include a government-run public health insurance option in the only compromise health care bill so far.
The amendment by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia fell by a 15-8 vote, with committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and four other Democrats joining all 10 Republicans in opposing the measure.
The other Democrats voting against the public option amendment were Sens. Blanch Lincoln of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Tom Carper of Delaware.
It was one of two amendments for a public option proposed by Democrats, and the committee immediately began debate on the second amendment proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York.
Baucus explained he liked much about the idea of a public option, but he knew a health care bill containing the provision would fail to win enough support in the full Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster.
"I fear if this provision is in the bill, it will hold back meaningful reform this year," Baucus said.
UPDATE: The Schumer amendment on the public option also failed. It drew the support of 10 Democrats, including Carper and Nelson. Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln joined the GOP vote against it.
(CNN) – A former GOP official in California is dropping his endorsement of State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and will instead support his rival, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary.
Bob Naylor, a former Minority Leader in the California State Assembly and a onetime chairman of the California Republican Party, said Tuesday that Whitman has a better chance of appealing to moderates and Democrats in the 2010 general election - if she can survive the Republican primary gauntlet.
"The party has to be able to attract more independents and minorities and women than we did in the last two election cycles," said Naylor, an attorney who served as state party chairman from 1987 to 1989. "I have to come to believe that she can attract more votes and independents and Democrats than Mr. Poizner. I think her story is more compelling than his."
Naylor told CNN he wrote Poizner a letter informing him of his decision three weeks ago, but never heard back.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Senate Democratic leader acknowledged Tuesday his party failed to move quickly enough to counter Republican critics over the summer, but predicted that GOP gains based on town hall pushback to President Obama's health care plan would cost Republicans at the polls next November.
"To be honest, we needed to be more aggressive in August," New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told reporters. "We saw Republicans led by extremists in their party mobilize and make a lot of noise. There's no question some momentum was lost during that period of time.
"But the Republican strategy is for the president and the Congress is to be defeated in policy... It may seem like a strategy, but it is a strategy that's going to backfire on them" in the long term, he predicted.
Menendez is responsible for the Senate Democratic campaign operation and his job has been complicated by primary battles in Colorado, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Joe Biden's headed back to Iowa.
Wait - this isn't a flashback to 2007, when then-Sen. Biden was making his own bid for the White House. The vice president will be the special guest at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner. The event, which is scheduled to take place November 21 in Des Moines, was announced by the Iowa Democratic Party and confirmed by the vice president's office Tuesday.
Next month, Biden will also lend a helping hand to Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democratic senior senator from Pennsylvania, who faces a primary challenge next year from Rep. Joe Sestak.
The vice president's office confirms to CNN that Biden will appear with Specter at two events, a Bucks County Democratic Dinner on October 2 and a Allegheny County Democratic Dinner on October 19.
UPDATE: The Vice President's office confirms that Biden will attend an event for Rep. Paul Hodes - the New Hampshire congressman now running for the Senate - October 5 in New York City.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With just over a month to go until election day in Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is deploying the state's most popular elected politician in a big way.
The Deeds campaign debuted a new television ad featuring Sen. Mark Warner - also the state's governor from 2002 to 2006 - vouching for the Democratic nominee and talking about the economy. The ad is airing throughout the commonwealth, according to a campaign aide, but is not yet running in the pricey Washington, D.C. media market.
"The choice in this election for Governor is really pretty simple," Warner says, speaking directly into the camera. "Do we move Virginia forward by continuing the pro-business economic policies that I helped put in place? Or do we go backwards with the failed economic approach that ruined our economy?"
Recent polls suggest that nearly two-thirds of Virginia voters have a favorable opinion of Warner, and he enjoyed sky-high approval ratings by the time he left the governor's office in January 2006 - thanks largely to his success at creating jobs and his efforts to fix the state's budget. Warner ushered through a bipartisan budget package in 2004 that included a tax increase. an effort that rescued the budget and maintained the state's precious AAA-bond rating.