Washington(CNN) - A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee criticized a Republican congressman Tuesday for suggesting that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daughter will be kidnapped by terrorists, calling it evidence that the GOP has been taken over by "Right Wing extremists."
"In case there's any doubt of the Republican Party being taken over by the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and other Right Wing extremists, last night Republican Rep. John Shadegg actually suggested that Mayor Bloomberg's daughter will be kidnapped by a terrorist," DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said in a statement.
"This is what happens when you have a Republican Party undeterred by their embarrassing loss in the NY-23 Special Election and desperate to win over the Right Wing fringe," he added.
On the House floor on Monday night, Shadegg criticized Bloomberg for supporting the Obama administration's decision to have the suspected 9/11 terrorists face a trial in New York City. Bloomberg said last week that it's "fitting" to have them tried close to the World Trade Center site and that the city has "hosted terrorism trials before," but Shadegg warned of other repercussions.
JERUSALEM (CNN) - The Obama administration moved quickly Tuesday to criticize Israel's approval of a construction plan for hundreds of houses in a disputed neighborhood on Jerusalem's southern outskirts.
"At a time when we are working to re-launch negotiations, these action make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a written statement.
"The U.S. also objects to other Israeli practices in Jerusalem related to housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes. Our position is clear: the status of Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties," Gibbs said.
"Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations."
The Jewish state's Interior Ministry said Tuesday it had approved the construction of 900 units in Gilo. The approval of construction moves forward the process for the project; it will now be opened to public objections.
Final approval will follow several other stages, and construction is likely several years away.
- CNN's Shira Medding contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) - A top House Democrat told reporters Tuesday that congressional Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote before the Christmas holidays on legislation intended to create more jobs.
"Clearly 10.2 percent unemployment is unacceptable and is causing great pain to literally millions of people around the country." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.
Hoyer said Democratic leaders are still deciding what components to include in the new jobs bill, but pledged they were on track to pass legislation before Congress breaks for the year. Several measures are under discussion, including additional unemployment assistance, extension of temporary health care coverage for those out of work, assistance for cash-strapped states, and tax credits for employers who hire new workers. Hoyer also indicated another federal infusion of money to build roads and bridges - a major component of the stimulus bill enacted in February - is likely to be a major focus.
(CNN) - Ted Kennedy, Jr. said Tuesday he has no plans to endorse a candidate in the field of Democrats vying to replace his father in the U.S. Senate.
"It's hard for me to get excited, honestly, about it, because it's a tough emotional time," Kennedy told the Boston Globe.
A recent poll suggests Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley holds a clear lead in the primary battle with more than all three of her chief competitors combined. Given the state's political demographics, the winner of the Democratic primary is heavily favored to win the general election in January.
"People will make the best decision, I'm confident of that," Kennedy also said. "I know my dad always thought that elections were a great time to size people up. He had to go before the voters nine times, and he had faith in the process, so I'm sure the most qualified person will be elected to this job."
After his father's death in August, there was talk that Kennedy, 48, would pursue a bid to succeed him. While he ultimately ruled out that option, the younger Ted Kennedy told the Globe Tuesday that politics might still be in his future.
"This was not the time, for personal and family reasons," he said. "So close to my father's death, it just didn't feel right to me. But I would be interested down the road, when my kids get older, and I feel like I can bring more to the table through my experiences."
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats are set to hold a vote Tuesday on breaking a GOP filibuster against a district judge first nominated by President Barack Obama for a seat on the federal appeals court eight months ago.
Indiana Judge David Hamilton - Obama's first judicial nominee - was tapped to fill a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March.
His nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, but leading Republicans have since prevented a final vote, arguing that Hamilton is too liberal.
Congressional Democrats have expressed growing unease over what they argue is a slow pace of both judicial nominations and confirmations since Obama took office. Obama's high profile nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was successful, but only six of the president's nominees have been approved so far for the federal bench.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Reporters won't be allowed to cover Sarah Palin's convocation speech at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri on December 2, according to the school.
Elizabeth Andrews, the college's communications director, called the decision "mutual."
"This was per the agreement that the College of the Ozarks had when had when we booked governor Palin for the convocation," she told CNN. "This didn't come from our end or theirs. It was a mutual consent kind of thing."
Andrews said the agreement is not unusual for the school, a Christian college in southern Missouri. She said past events with prominent speakers have also been closed to the press.
"This isn't the first time this has happened," she explained.
Free tickets were distributed when the appearance was first announced in November, but were quickly snatched up. Before the speech, Palin will be signing copies of "Going Rogue" in Springfield, Missouri, about an hour away from the college.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Days after telling his former staffers to avoid responding to charges in Sarah Palin's new book, Sen. John McCain has spoken up to deny that his campaign made her pay for her own vice presidential vetting.
The former Republican presidential candidate told The Hill on Monday night that Palin did receive a legal bill - but it was to deal with allegations that she abused her power as governor to try to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper in Alaska.
"That was over the troopergate," McCain told The Hill.
In her book "Going Rogue: An American Life," Palin said that the McCain campaign stuck her with a bill for $50,000 to cover the costs of her own vetting. McCain's aides have denied this charge, and others made in the book, but the Arizona senator has largely remained silent. On Friday, he asked his former aides to avoid television appearances and refrain from engaging in a back-and-forth with Palin over the claims.
Palin has given him a signed copy of the book. McCain told the Hill that he enjoyed reading it.
"I hope she sells lots of them," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Americans are split over the health care bill which narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, according to a new national poll - and the survey suggests the opposition to the legislation isn't coming only from the right.
But despite the controversy surrounding the health care bill, the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday suggests there has been no change in the Democratic Party's chances of keeping control of Congress in next year's midterm elections, or in President Barack Obama's standing with the public.
The survey suggests that 46 percent of Americans favor the bill, which passed in the House on November 7 by a 220 to 215 margin, with 49 percent of the public opposed to the legislation.
"Roughly one in three Americans opposes the House bill because it is too liberal, but one in 10 oppose the bill because it is not liberal enough," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may indicate that a majority opposes the details in the bill, but also that a majority may approve of the overall approach taken by House Democrats and President Obama."
(CNN) - The divisive special congressional race in New York, during which an intra-party Republican battle appeared to result in a Democratic victory, may not be over after all.
Doug Hoffman - the Conservative Party candidate in the 23rd congressional district's special election - "un-conceded" on the Glenn Beck radio show Monday night, as a standard review of election returns showed Democrat Bill Owen's lead over Hoffman had narrowed from 5,800 votes to just over 3,000 votes.
But a spokesman for Hoffman downplayed the conservative's "un-concession" Tuesday. "All that really matters is the actual count which is ongoing," said
In the interview with Beck, Hoffman acknowledged he would have to win more than 65 percent of the uncounted absentees to make up the difference - a hurdle that is unlikely to be cleared given most of those ballots were cast before the Republican in the race, Dede Scozzafava, withdrew.
The review of roughly 7,400 remaining absentee ballots is slated to begin Tuesday.
Follow Alex Mooney on Twitter: @awmooneycnn
Washington (CNN) - As the Senate debate over health care reform heats up, the Republican Party is launching a new Web site Tuesday to track how vulnerable Democratic incumbents and Democratic challengers are weighing in on the measure.
The new Web site - healhcaretaskforce.org - is powered by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to highlight where Democrats stand on the bill as it evolves in the chamber in the coming weeks. The NRSC says their new site also allows users to share information through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.