WASHINGTON (CNN) - Minority groups joined forces Monday to form a coalition aimed at mobilizing African-American and Latino communities in the national debate over health care.
The NAACP Voter Fund, the National Council of La Raza, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Campaign for Community Change will kick off an advertising campaign this week. The ads are aimed at pushing minorities to join the debate, specificially by reaching out to fiscally conservative "blue dog" Democrats and urging them to support President Barack Obama's health care plan.
Television, print and radio ads are set to begin on Thursday in Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas and North Carolina, in markets within those states with large minority populations. The ads, revealed Monday at Washington's National Press Club, will appear in both English and Spanish.
"Voices of extremists are loud and clear. Voices of insurance companies are loud and clear. We're here to make sure people of color are heard loud and clear," said Deepak Bhargava, director of the Campaign for Community Change.
WASHINGTON (CNN ) - President Obama will speak at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner in Washington this weekend, the White House said Monday.
The president, who has faced complaints from liberals over his administration's failure thus far to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military, will be the second president to address the nation's largest gay rights group - Bill Clinton was the first, in 1997. Obama's comments will come the day before a major rally in Washington by critics of that policy.
Also appearing at the dinner: Lady Gaga, the cast of Glee, and Broadway star Gavin Creel.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Few Virginians would describe Creigh Deeds as a great speaker. The Democratic candidate for governor frequently fumbles his words in press conferences and on debate stages. The Washington Post has described him as "stammering."
Now a top surrogate for Republican candidate Bob McDonnell is drawing some unwanted attention for outright mocking the Democrat's halting manner of speech.
Sheila Johnson, the co-founder of BET and one of the McDonnell campaign's most high-profile African-American backers, made fun of Deeds during a campaign event in Hampton Roads two weeks ago. The video of Johnson's remark was captured by the Democratic blog NotLarrySabato and posted online Monday.
"We need people who can communicate," Johnson said at the event, as McDonnell stood by in the audience. "And Bob McDonnell can communicate."
Johnson then said other politicians she talks to can't communicate, "especially his op-op-op-op-opponent."
(CNN) - Deliberations over what to do in Afghanistan are taking place behind closed doors, but the divisions among some of President Obama's trusted advisers are starting to emerge.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has made no secret about his belief that the U.S. needs to send more troops now - or it will risk failure, making an unusual appearance last week in front of a global strategic think tank to present his case.
"We need to reverse the current trends, and time does matter. Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely," McChrystal said last week in a speech in London, England.
McChrystal argued the same point in an interview that aired last week on CBS' "60 Minutes."
Obama has said he needs time to meet with his advisers and evaluate the best way forward before making a decision about resources. As discussions continue this week - including two meetings with his national security team -
some are suggesting that it would be best if talks about strategy be kept behind closed doors.
Obama also plans to host a bipartisan, bicameral meeting Tuesday with congressional leaders about the war, two sources said.
(CNN) -New York Gov. David Paterson is calling on potential challengers to lay their cards on the table.
"I keep hearing about all these people who are running for office," said Paterson during an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Monday morning. "If you had any courage, if you wanted to become a leader in a crisis, get up and say what you'd do now."
When Paterson was asked if he had anyone in mind, such as New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the governor said said he wasn't talking about anybody in particular.
"When all these phantom people who say they're running for governor get into this race, they are going to have to same questions I've been answering for 18 months," added Paterson. "If they wanted to show that they were different and exciting and would make Albany a different place, why don't they answer those questions now."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama kicked off a crucial week in the health care reform debate Monday by castigating political opponents for spreading distortions about his plan.
The president made his remarks during a White House appearance with doctors from all 50 states. His latest public appeal came shortly before a key
congressional committee is expected to vote on its version of health care reform legislation and set the stage for heated debates in the full House and
"At this point we've heard all the arguments on both sides of the aisle," Obama said. He ripped opponents for pushing "crazy claims about death panels"
and "misleading warnings" about an impending government takeover of the health care system.
Doctors wouldn't support a reform agenda if they believed it would lead to government interference in the doctor-patient relationship, Obama argued.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Fox News anchor and conservative commentator Glenn Beck was taking incoming fire Sunday from both ends of the political spectrum, but especially from Democratic strategist James Carville.
"I think he's nuts, OK?," the outspoken Democrat said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union,"
"Just out-and-out nuts. And I also think that he's a blatant hypocrite," Carville said. "Here's somebody that sits on his show ... weeping about how much he loves America and ... and then he's absolutely giddy when his country doesn't get the Olympics. And this is - I'll tell you another thing about Glenn Beck. He wouldn't know the difference between a football, a bat and a hockey court. This guy is not - he's just all - he's just all weeping."
Carville was reacting to earlier comments Sunday on Fox News, where Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina made it clear that he was not a fan of Beck.
"[H]e doesn't represent the Republican Party," Graham said of Beck, "When a person says he represents conservatism and that the country is better off with Barack Obama than John McCain, that sort of ends the debate for me as to how much more I'm going to listen."
"So he has a right to say what he wants to say. In my view, it's not - it's not the kind of political analysis that I buy into," Graham said.
Republican strategist Mary Matalin disagreed with Graham and with Carville, who is her husband.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two officials say President Obama is hosting a bipartisan, bicameral meeting with congressional leaders on the war in Afghanistan Tuesday afternoon, marking his first major bipartisan conclave on the issue in some time. Committee chairs and ranking members of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees will be on hand, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Carl Levin and Republican Sens. Richard Lugar and John McCain, among others.
(CNN) - The competitive gubernatorial race in Virginia is set to be showered with $1 million cash at the behest of Democratic National Committee Chairman and current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, CNN has confirmed.
The DNC, which for months has heavily focused on this off year gubernatorial race as well as that in New Jersey, has already pumped $5 million into the contest that appears to be getting tighter as Election Day looms.
A Democratic loss in either the Virginia race or that in New Jersey, where Republican challenger Chris Christie appears to have a slight edge over incumbent Jon Corzine, is likely to be seen as a referendum on President Barack Obama's polices a year after he was elected. A victory in either state could also give the GOP instant momentum heading into the 2010 midterm election season.
Republicans have equally showered the Commonwealth with campaign cash over the last several months, sending nearly $7 million to GOP candidate Bob McDonnell's bid in part to fend off attacks over his 20 year-old masters thesis that partially criticized working women.
McDonnell was also the beneficiary of a $350,000 cash haul last Monday thanks to a pair of fundraisers headlined by GOP stars Newt Gingrich and Bobby Jindal.
The DNC is also set to dispatch staffers across the state to beef-up grass roots and turn out efforts the party utilized so effectively in the state on Election Day last year. Turnout is expected to be considerably less than last year, when Obama was on the ballot, a fact that could favor McDonnell's effort.
A recent Washington Post poll suggests McDonnell maintains a 4 point edge of Deeds, 51 to 57 percent. That poll was conducted September 15-17 and carries a sampling error of plus or mine 3 three percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Joe Biden's heading north Monday to show off some money and to rake in some bucks for fellow Democrats.
The vice president travels to Connecticut, where he'll team up with Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Jim Himes in Fairfield, to tout how "Recovery Act investments are creating jobs and rebuilding Connecticut's infrastructure," according to a White House press release.
The vice president is expected to praise Dodd and Himes for bringing stimulus money to their state, including millions of dollars for road improvements to the Merritt Parkway.
Dodd is facing a tough bid for re-election next year. Recent polls of Connecticut voters suggest that the five term senator's approval rating is on the rise, but still in negative territory. President Barack Obama headlines a fundraiser for Dodd in Connecticut on October 23.