Washington (CNN) – Wait a minute: Don't ask me, ask Tiger!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, invoked the embattled golfer's name Thursday afternoon in an effort to sidestep questions when a group of reporters approached ready to pepper him about the latest developments regarding Afghanistan and health care reform.
"Get the answers from Tiger Woods," Reid, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, said even before reporters could ask him a question.
When an aide warned Reid that his quip would "end up on the CNN Web site," the smiling majority leader repeated his previous directive.
"Ask Tiger, not me," Reid said as he walked away from the closed-door briefing he had just received on Afghanistan.
(CNN) – A political organization that opposes illegal immigration announced Thursday that it will no longer support commentator and former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.
After being a vocal critic of proposals for federal amnesty for illegal immigrants, Dobbs appeared to soften his stance late last month in an interview with Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network.
Dobbs told Telemundo he is one of the Latino community's "greatest friends."
"What isn't working is a penalty to those who are in this country illegally for whom we can both be building a bridge to the future in which there is legalization and at the same time constructing an environment in which everyone is clear and unequivocal about the need for border security and a regulated flow of immigration," Dobbs also said in the interview.
At the time, Dobbs maintained that his position on immigration has not changed despite what appears to be a more moderate stance.
But the political action committee that has supported Dobbs disagreed, announcing on its Web site Thursday that it now opposes him.
"Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is withdrawing support for Lou Dobbs after years, including the suspension of websites calling on Dobbs to run for President due to the perceived change in Mr. Dobbs's stances on immigration issues," the organization wrote.
Washington (CNN) - The White House is being accused stonewalling as Congress investigates the party-crasher security breach at President Obama's first state dinner last week.
At issue: Whether the White House is protecting Social Secretary Desiree Rogers from testifying about how Tareq and Michaele Salahi were able to crash the first White House state dinner. The couple did not have an invite but were allowed in.
Rogers' office planned the dinner.
Members of Congress put pressure on Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan Friday for the grate crashing fiasco. Sullivan said his agency will take the heat for the incident.
"This is our fault and our fault alone," he said. "There's no other people to blame here. ... Look at me and blame me," he told the House Homeland Security Committee.
Lawmakers praised his candor, but bluntly declared that Rogers should be facing tough questions too.
(CNN) – A special House panel considering an impeachment measure against South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford decided Thursday that their review will not include most of the state ethics charges filed against the governor last month.
South Carolina state lawmakers voted to throw out 28 of the 37 civil charges filed by the state Ethics Commission, most of which involved Sanford's purchase of business class tickets with taxpayer money and his use of campaign funds.
State House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, who is overseeing the special impeachment panel, said the ethics charges do not rise "to the level of serious misconduct or a serious offense" that would merit removing Sanford from office.
Harrison's subcommittee is still evaluating Sanford's use of state-owned aircraft along with the original impeachment resolution, which focuses on whether Sanford broke the law by secretly leaving the state in June to visit his mistress.
One of Sanford's attorneys, Ross Garber, applauded the decision.
Washington (CNN) - Just about every blockbuster movie is followed by a sequel, or two. The tea party cross country caravan, it appears, is no different.
A Tea Party Express official tells CNN that they're planning a third national tour in late March and early April that will culminate in the nation's capitol on April 15, tax deadline day.
Levi Russell, a spokesman for the group, which is organized by the conservative political action committee Our Country Deserves Better, says the slogan for the tour is "just vote them out."
Russell says that with the crucial 2010 midterm elections just months away, the tour will spotlight members of Congress who they consider the worst offenders when it comes to fiscal policy. While both Republicans and Democratic lawmakers will be targeted, Russell acknowledges that more Democrats than Republicans will be on their scopes.
Russell tells CNN that tour is expected to kick off on March 27 in Searchlight, Nevada, which is the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He adds that the three Republican candidates running to challenge Reid in next year's election are planning to attend the rally.
(CNN) – Connecticut Republican Tom Foley announced Thursday that he is dropping bid for the GOP's 2010 Senate nomination in his state. Instead, Foley also announced, he has decided to run governor of Connecticut.
In explaining the switch, the business executive and former ambassador to Ireland said in a statement on his campaign Web site that advisers had initially suggested he run for governor.
"At the time, though, Governor Rell, whom I respect very much, was preparing to run for re-election," Foley said.
But things changed when Gov. Jodi Rell, Connecticut's Republican executive, announced that she would not seek re-election next year.
"Many of the same people who a year ago said the Governorship is where I could best serve Connecticut, have called to re-iterate that to me," Foley said on his Web site Thursday.
After also receiving many e-mails and speaking with "more than one hundred people – including many who are currently serving in [Connecticut] state government," Foley said he decided to switch races.
Foley added that he will be "assembling a policy team . . . to evaluate options and make recommendations for solving the problems we face."
The Connecticut Democratic Party immediately took aim at Foley after his announcement.
"Over the next few months, assuming Tom Foley doesn't drop out of this race, too, we look forward to hearing what he believes he has to offer the people of this state on any number of issues they find themselves facing," Colleen Flanagan, the state party's Communications Director, said in a statement.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Bob Corker said Thursday that his daughter is fine but "really sore" after being pulled from her car and thrown to the ground in a carjacking in the nation's capital Wednesday night.
The Tennessee Republican said his 22-year-old daughter, Julia, stopped the family's 2005 Chevy Tahoe not far from their apartment - just nine blocks from the U.S. Capitol building - to help someone she thought needed directions.
"A gentleman appeared, opened the door, grabbed her by the neck," the senator said. "She kicked to try to get away ... and he threw her on the pavement and drove away."
Corker credited the vehicle's OnStar system with helping to locate it, and the suspects were taken into custody a short time later in a parking lot in Seat Pleasant, Maryland.
"It's pretty incredible how quickly they were able to apprehend" the suspects, the senator said. The two people in the car were taken into custody by police in Seat Pleasant after OnStar determined their exact location and showed that the vehicle was not moving, Corker explained.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, scrapped plans late Thursday to turn the Senate's attention to an amendment that would ban federal funds from being used for abortions after the author told Reid he was not yet finished crafting it.
The decision to delay action on the controversial amendment from Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, came after Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is co-sponsoring the amendment, complained that Reid was rushing debate on it.
"He (Nelson) is being pushed very hard by his side to bring it up before it's ready to be brought up," Hatch said. "To do really good legislation around here, you need to make sure people who agree with you are on board and the outside groups feel good about it. There's a lot of work I need to do and he needs to do."
Nelson said he did not feel rushed by Reid and blamed the delay on the complexities of writing the highly technical abortion language.
A Reid aide said the majority leader has not decided which amendments will be debated next on the Senate floor in place of the Nelson amendment.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, said Reid told him his amendment to permit the re-importation of prescription drugs, as a way to drive down the cost of medicines, could be considered as early as Friday or sometime this weekend.
Reid said Thursday he is planning to hold floor votes over the weekend.
Washington (CNN) – The John McCain of 2009 is singing a different tune than the John McCain of 2008.
On Thursday, the Arizona senator hammered the AARP on the Senate floor and on his Twitter account for supporting a proposal by Senate Democrats to cut millions from Medicare to help pay for health care legislation.
"I call on seniors to cut up their AARP cards and send them back to them!" McCain tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Endorsing Democrats in the health care fight seems to have changed McCain's thinking on the AARP, the nation's most influential senior lobby. During his 2008 presidential bid, the Republican nominee praised the group's leadership in some key policy battles.
"I say God bless AARP for everything they are doing, not only for the present generations of Americans, but for future generations," McCain told an AARP audience in September of last year. "That's your duty, that's your strength, and that's why I love to see you at every town hall meeting. And that's why I always try to let you talk."
McCain thanked the group for working with him on what he called "the big fights," citing tobacco legislation and campaign finance reform. "This organization has been an incredibly valuable contributor to the important discourses I just mentioned, and it's been there for decades, for decades," he said at the time.
Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for McCain, said his objection to AARP is based on what the group is doing now, not what they did in the past.
Washington (CNN) - House Democrats said Thursday they're planning to use money intended to bail out banks, Wall Street and other financial institutions to pay for their jobs bill, a package they aim to vote on by the end of the
"I think the TARP funds are appropriately used to create jobs to reduce the deficit," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at her weekly news conference, referring to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
It's unclear if the proposal would tap unused TARP funds or money repaid to the Treasury by banks who got bailout money. Democratic sources say leaders are discussing those details with the Obama administration.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have been looking at a series of proposals to address the record unemployment numbers in recent weeks and are now focusing on an initial package that Congress could vote on before leaving for the holiday break.
But the speaker stressed that "this is not the be-all" and said Congress will work on a broader economic proposal early next year.