Washington (CNN) - GOP leaders and thousands of Tea Party movement protesters gathered on Capitol Hill Thursday to call House Democrats' health care reform bill a full-blown government takeover of the nation' health care system.
"My colleagues and I last week were wracking our brains trying to figure out what could we do, because quite simply Republicans don't have the votes to kill this bill," Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told the crowd. "Every lever of power is controlled by one party now in DC. We tried to figure out what we could do. We knew that we were limited. But what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people, and that's why you are here today with your voice of persuasion.
"....Let me assure you your efforts to stop this bill are being heard loud and clear. And I will guarantee you that we are committed to making sure that not one Republican will vote for this bill."
Actor John Ratzenberger, known partly for his role as Cliff Clavin in the 1980s sitcom "Cheers," slammed the Democratic bill as a form of socialism.
"These are Woodstock Democrats," he said at the rally. "We have to remember where their philosophy comes from. It doesn't come from America. It comes from overseas. It comes from socialism. And socialism is a philosophy of failure."
Police later arrested 12 protesters outside Pelosi's office for unlawful entry or disorderly conduct, according to Capitol Hill police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.
(CNN) - Before making judgments about the shootings at Fort Hood, a thorough investigation needs to take place, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Thursday.
"It is imperative that we take the time to gather all the facts, as it would be irresponsible to be the source of rumors or inaccurate information regarding such a horrific event," Cornyn said in a statement.
"Once we have ascertained all the facts, working with our military leaders and law enforcement officials on the ground, we can determine what exactly happened at Fort Hood today and how to prevent something like this from ever happening again," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Both chambers of Congress observed moments of silence Thursday for victims of the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and their families.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, notified the chamber of the "extraordinarily sad and wrenching news" of the violence.
"We do not know the nature of this attack, but it is a serious attack on our war fighters," said Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, who represents the district that includes Fort Hood. Carter noted that many troops at the fort had been deployed overseas four times.
The Senate also held a moment of silence after comments by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
Related: Fort Hood, a home to thousands
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Thursday called the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings "tragic" and "a horrific outburst of violence."
He expressed his condolences for the shooting victims.
"These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis," he said.
"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."
Government authorities are working to ensure that Fort Hood is secure, he said. The president asked for all Americans to keep the soldiers from the base "in their prayers."
There is no greater honor or responsibility as president than making sure U.S. soldiers are properly cared for, he added.
"We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident," he pledged.
Twelve people died in the shooting - including a gunman - and about 30 were wounded, a Fort Hood spokesman told CNN.
Updated: 5:36 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that more than seven out in 10 Republicans say they would seriously consider voting for Mike Huckabee for president in the next race for the White House, giving the former Arkansas governor more potential support than Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, or any other Republican tested.
But the USA Today/Gallup survey released Wednesday morning also suggests that none of those potential Republican hopefuls could win the votes of a majority of all Americans if they won the GOP nomination in 2012.
The poll finds that 71 percent of Republicans questioned say they would seriously consider voting for Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and 2008 GOP presidential candidate.
Sixty-five percent say they would seriously consider voting for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who also ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. An equal amount indicate they'd seriously consider voting for Palin, the former Alaska governor who served as John McCain's running mate last year. Six in 10 saying they would take a serious look at voting for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but far fewer respondents say they would support the much less recognized Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (32 percent) or Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (26 percent).
(CNN) - Those living in the country's biggest cities who hope to catch a glimpse of Sarah Palin while she is on her much-anticipated book tour may be disappointed: the former Alaska governor will instead hit a string of mid-size cities, many of which voted for her and John McCain last November.
According to Harper Collins, the publisher of Palin's forthcoming memoir "Going Rogue," Palin will bypass several of the major cities that are often the pillars of any big book tour, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.
Palin's schedule instead takes the former Republican vice presidential candidate to smaller - and in many cases more conservative - cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, Washington, Pennsylvania, Roanoke, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida.
Palin will kick off the tour in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 18, one day after her book is released. The choice of Michigan to begin her cross-country blitz may be no accident: Palin publicly disagreed with the McCain campaign's decision to pull its resources out of that key battleground state a month before the election - one of the initial moves that led anonymous McCain operatives to declare Palin was "going rogue."
The first week of the tour will take Palin thorough Indiana (Fort Wayne and Noblesville), Ohio (Cincinnati and Columbus) New York (Rochester), Virginia (Roanoke), North Carolina (Fayetteville), Alabama (Birmingham), and Florida (Jacksonville, The Villages, and Orlando).
A spokeswoman for Harper Collins tells CNN more cities could be added to that list.
Follow Alex Mooney on Twitter @awmooneycnn
Washington (CNN) - As the White House braces for new numbers coming out Friday that could show unemployment has reached double digits, senior administration officials tell CNN the president is planning to quickly sign legislationjust passed by Congress that will offer up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment insurance.
The legislation that will be signed Friday morning also aims to stabilize the housing market with a one-time extension of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The bill also provides an additional tax cut for businesses still struggling in the uncertain economy.
The bill signing will come just three days after an off-year election in which voters in several key races said the sluggish economy was a major factor in their votes.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Unemployed Americans are set to get up to 20 additional weeks of jobless benefits, while new homebuyers are poised to see the $8,000 tax credit extended into mid-next year.
The House approved the measures by a 403-12 vote Thursday afternoon, a day after the Senate passed the legislation. The bill now moves to the White House for the president's signature.
The closely watched legislation would extend jobless benefits in all states by 14 weeks. Those that live in states with unemployment greater than 8.5% would receive an additional six weeks. The proposal would be funded by extending a longstanding federal unemployment tax on employers through June 30, 2011.
The measure would apply to those whose benefits run out by Dec. 31, which is nearly two million people, according to Senate estimates. Those whose checks have already stopped would be able to reapply for another round.
Washington (CNN) - Disagreement among Democrats over immigration language in the health care bill is complicating efforts by House Democratic leaders to round up votes needed to pass a bill by this weekend.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are pushing back against the addition of a provision to the bill that would bar illegal immigrants from buying health insurance using their own funds. This measure is already included in the Senate Finance Committee's version of the bill and is backed by the White House.
The House Democrats' bill already includes requirements for immigrants to verify their citizenship before getting federal subsidies to buy health insurance. But some conservative Democrats have indicated they support the Senate language.
Rep Charles Gonzalez, a leading Member of Hispanic Caucus, said he and other Latino members will make their case to President Obama in a meeting at the White House this afternoon. "We are going to ask him to revisit the manner in which they are approaching it and what's going on in the Senate."
"I understand the politics of it, but it is it very bad policy and I'd love for once the policy to trump the politics," Gonzalez told reporters.
Gonzalez said he and other members of Congresswant to keep the current version of the House bill - but if it's changed to add this stronger language, they could try to block it. "Members of the Hispanic Caucus alone, we believe we have enough members that would be willing to express their disapproval through a vote that could be the difference," said Gonzalez.
Washington (CNN) – The FRC Action PAC, the Family Research Council's political action committee, announced Thursday that it's endorsing former Florida state legislator Marco Rubio's 2010 Senate bid.
"Marco Rubio has been a true friend of the family and the culture of life as a state legislator in Florida," Tony Perkins, FRC Action president, said in a statement announcing the endorsement. "Rep. Rubio's many years of advocacy on behalf of pro-family causes will serve him well in the Senate. FRC Action PAC believes that Marco Rubio will be a true advocate for the issues that best uphold and strengthen families. We are proud to support his candidacy."
Rubio is set to face off against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida's GOP Senate primary. After conservative pressure forced moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race in New York's 23rd congressional district, many of the same activists - who have made similar complaints about Crist's candidacy - pledged to repeat the performance.