(CNN) – The Republican Party nominee in this week’s special congressional election in New York endorsed her Democratic opponent Sunday, one day after releasing supporters from their commitment to support her, the Watertown Daily Times reported on its Web site.
New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava said she was backing Democrat Bill Owens over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election for ex-GOP Rep. John McHugh’s seat in this northern New York congressional district. McHugh resigned to become Secretary of the Army.
“Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions,” she said in the statement posted on the Web site. “This is not a decision that I have made lightly.”
“In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.”
“I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.”
CNN has contacted Scozzafava, but has not yet heard back.
The state of the economy and of our politics dominated the Sunday conversation. To sum up the administration’s message in a sentence: We have hit the bottom, but it is choppy.
There was also a Republican promise to have a detailed health care proposal – complete with a scoring from the Congressional Budget Office – by the end of this week.
And a lot of talk about whether the conservative-Republican divide in a special New York congressional election is a healthy struggle, or a sign of festering internal tensions that will carry over and hurt the GOP’s chances in next year’s midterm elections.
A lot to digest, so let’s get right to the best Sound of Sunday:
Washington (CNN) – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour had blunt words on CNN’s State of the Union about the conservative uprising that toppled a moderate Republican candidate in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
“They should’ve had a primary,” the former Republican National Committee chairman said of the ill-fated decision by local party leaders in upstate New York to anoint Dede Scozzafava as the establishment choice in Tuesday’s special election.
Many conservatives disagreed that Scozzafava was the right fit for the conservative district and conservative Republican Doug Hoffman decided to mount a challenge to her as the candidate of New York’s Conservative Party.
With polls showing her lagging behind Hoffman and her Democratic opponent and without sufficient fundraising to defend against attacks coming from both ends of the political spectrum, Scozzafava made the surprise announcement Saturday that she was dropping out of the special election in the longtime Republican district.
Barbour described Scozzafava as having been “endorsed by six or seven people” in the local party leadership. And the Mississippi governor faulted the New York Republican Party chairman at the time for “letting a handful of people pick somebody who is not just a liberal Republican - she’s more liberal than many of the Democrats.
“But that’s not the issue,” Barbour continued, “The issue is that people didn’t get a choice and so they didn’t feel beholden to [Scozzafava].“They should’ve had a primary. They should have let Republicans choose who they wanted to have as their nominee instead of it being inside baseball, smoke-filled room – the kind of stuff that we’ve all tried to get rid of.”
(CNN) - Rush Limbaugh brought his popular vitriol to national television Sunday, calling President Barack Obama unqualified and questioning if Obama and other Democrats care about the nation's well-being.
In a rare television interview, on the "FOX News Sunday" program, the conservative talk radio superstar declared himself worried about America's future under Obama and said he wondered if the president and the Democratic Party wanted to hurt - rather than help - the country.
"We've never seen this kind of radical leadership at such a high level of power in the in the country," Limbaugh said. "I believe that the economy is under siege, is being destroyed. Anybody with any economic literacy would not do one thing this administration's done to try to revitalize the private sector. They're destroying it.
"… And I have to think that it may be on purpose, because this is just outrageous, what is happening - a denial of liberty, an attack on freedom."
In other comments, Limbaugh called Obama "immature," "a child," "narcissistic" and "over his head." He called Obama's pre-dawn trip to Dover Air Force Base last week to view the dignified transfer of war dead from Afghanistan a "photo op."
Asked to respond, Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, called Limbaugh an entertainer.
“We’re in the middle, I think, of a political rebellion going on in America,” House Majority Leader John Boehner said on CNN’s State of the Union, ”And this rebellion is by people who really have not been actively involved in the political process and they don’t really care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. They want to see people who are going to stand up and protect the future for our kids and grandkids.”
Boehner also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that Republicans will have “a difficult road to walk to work with relatively new entrants into the political system to show them, that by and large, we are the party that represents their interests.”
But Boehner also tried to downplay the significance of Saturday’s surprise announcement by moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava who decided to bow out of a hotly contested three-way race in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
“This is a pretty unusual situation,” Boehner said of the decision by conservative Republican Doug Hoffman to run against Scozzafava on the Conservative Party ticket in Tuesday’s special election. “Clearly,” Boehner observed, [Scozzafava] would be on the left side of our party.”
Notwithstanding that GOP civil war that brewed in New York’s 23rd district until Scozzafava’s announcement Saturday, the leading House Republican said his party still casts a big, welcome tent to all those who would call themselves Republican.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday that America would be better off with no health care bill instead of one that includes a government-run public health insurance option.
Speaking on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Lieberman said he would use whatever power he has to prevent passage of a health care bill with a public option.
However, the independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus reaffirmed he will support starting Senate debate on a bill that includes a public option. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, says he will bring such a measure to the floor coming weeks.
Lieberman said that, if the bill still contains a public option when it comes time to close the debate, he would filibuster to prevent a final vote.
The Senate's Republican minority has promised a filibuster, and Lieberman would give the GOP enough votes to succeed in blocking the bill.
Washington (CNN) – One day after the end of the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, news from the once under-reported region continued to appear on the front pages of American newspapers and as lead stories on television, as the opposition candidate to the current Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced today he will not participate in a run-off presidential election. With stories this week ranging from whether President Obama will send 40,000 additional forces to Afghanistan, to reports that the C.I.A. is paying off Karzai's brother, the question begs: after eight years of this war, where has all the media coverage been?
Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz asked this question to a panel of top reporters who answered unanimously the media coverage has been in Iraq, not Afghanistan.
Washington (CNN) - Economic growth and job creation remain the government's top priorities, despite a federal deficit that is "too high," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Geithner called the latest report of economic growth in the third quarter "good news," but in the interview taped Saturday with the NBC program "Meet the Press," he stopped short of declaring the recession over.
The Obama administration's two "central imperatives" were restoring sustainable economic growth and creating jobs, Geithner said. Lowering the deficit could then occur as the economy recovers fully, he said.
The deficit will "have to come down; it's too high," Geithner said.
Asked how to lower the deficit, Geithner acknowledged that the government faces "hard choices" but wasn't ready to decide on raising taxes. He reaffirmed President Barack Obama's campaign pledge against increasing the tax burden on those making less than $250,000 a year.
"We're going to have to bring our resources and our expenditures more in balance," he said, adding that economic growth is a pre-condition for job creation and eventual budget balancing. "Right now we're focused on getting growth back on track."