Tea party protesters gathered on Capitol Hill in September 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Some Tea Party activists from across the country are planning a 'national strike' on January 20, the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The idea of holding an economic protest sprung up during the holidays as the result of a conference call held by various Tea Party group leaders, according to Allen Hardage, a conservative grassroots organizer from Georgia.
"Tea Party activists are frustrated that despite a huge turnout over the last year Congress is ignoring them," says Hardage, who is national operations director for the planned strike. "The question is that if the elected officials ignore you, what do you do to exercises your right to self-governance? So we decided to hold a National Day of Strike where we go after the large donors of the people pushing this radical agenda."
Hardage says the idea of the one-day strike is to focus attention on the businesses that support the most liberal members of Congress as well as groups that advocate "big government" policies.
(CNN) - The Lexington County Republican Party in South Carolina voted late Monday to censure Sen. Lindsey Graham for his positions on several controversial issues, including his recent support for a compromise on cap-and-trade legislation.
The Lexington GOP is now the second county party organization in a matter of months to censure Graham after Charleston County leaders approved a similar resolution in November. But unlike Charleston County, Lexington is one of the most conservative counties in South Carolina and is considered a bellwether of Republican sentiment in the state.
The measure passed by a 13-7 vote after more than an hour of debate, according to Lexington County GOP chairman Rich Bolen. Four party members, including Bolen, abstained.
Along with criticizing his cap-and-trade support, Monday's censure resolution also rapped Graham for his vote in favor of the 2008 financial bailout and his outspoken support of immigration reform.
The grassroots activists who generally make up county party organizations have never been enthusiastic about their senior senator, who has frequently crossed party lines to work with Democrats in the Senate.
The language in Monday's censure resolution makes that sentiment clear. The measure criticizes Graham for failing to abide by the principles of the South Carolina GOP platform and accuses him of showing "contempt and belligerence" toward his fellow Republicans.
Read the resolution here.
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday called the situation in Yemen a possible threat to regional and global security.
"We see global implications from the war in Yemen and the ongoing efforts by al Qaeda in Yemen to use it as a base for terrorist attacks far beyond the region," Clinton said after a meeting with the prime minister of Qatar.
Clinton's comments came as the U.S. Embassy in Yemen remained closed a second day due to what Clinton called "ongoing threats by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."
The threats "certainly pre-date this holiday season, and they are aimed at American interests in Yemen," Clinton said, adding a decision on reopening the embassy will be made "when the security conditions permit."
Washington (CNN) – Most of Rep. Parker Griffith's staff resigned Monday morning, nearly two weeks after the former Blue Dog Democrat announced his intention to join the Republican Party.
Eleven staff members tendered their resignation, including Griffith's chief of staff, legislative director and press secretary. Griffith's campaign consulting team announced in December that they were ending their relationship with the first-term congressman.
"Parker Griffith has abandoned the legacy of conservative leadership," Sharon Wheeler, Griffith's chief of staff said in a statement released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"We believe he made a mistake – a well-intentioned but misguided mistake that is not in the interest of the great people of North Alabama who elected him a year ago as a Democrat," Wheeler said in a statement, adding that staffers "cannot, in good conscience, continue working for him."
Griffith was first elected in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote in the conservative 5th district of Alabama. John McCain beat Barack Obama by 23 points in the district that cycle.
Full statement after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives doesn't officially return from its holiday break until next week, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, other top House Democratic leaders and committee chairmen will return to Washington this week to prepare for health care negotiations with the Senate, two Democratic leadership aides tell CNN.
First, Pelosi is scheduled to huddle in her office with other House Democratic leaders Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday, House Democratic leaders plan a conference call with all House Democrats. A similar House Democratic conference call was held December 23, on the eve of the Senate's health care passage, to begin discussing the differences between the two bills. Since then, House Democratic aides have drafted an analysis laying out the differences between the House and Senate bills.
House Democratic leaders are also likely to meet with President Obama as soon as this week, but Democratic leadership aides say a meeting hasn't officially been scheduled yet.
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke once by phone about health care over the holiday break, according to aides to both, but broader talks have yet to begin.
When House and Senate negotiations to meld the health care bills do start, senior Democratic sources say a formal House-Senate conference is unlikely because of the Republicans' ability to slow the process in the Senate.
Washington (CNN) – A conservative group that attacked Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign for his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is launching a new campaign against vulnerable Democratic members of Congress with the goal of linking them to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her "leftist agenda."
The National Republican Trust PAC announced Monday the creation of "The Pelosi Index," an online database that rates members of Congress according to how often they side with Pelosi on votes on touchstone issues, such as the stimulus package and health care reform.
Democrats who have lined up with House leadership more than 75 percent of the time - closer to the "Tyranny" end of the group's scale, as opposed to the "Liberty" end - are labeled "The Worst of the Worst."
Scott Wheeler, the executive director of the PAC, told CNN the new effort will be accompanied over the next 90 days by a $3 million television and radio ad blitz against several Democrats seeking re-election in 2010, with a specific focus on members who hail from districts won by John McCain in 2008.
Wheeler would not list every Democrat in the PAC's crosshairs, but he did name four who will be targeted by ads in the coming months: Florida Rep. Ron Klein, Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry.
"There are others that I think that can be put in a position to have to explain and defend voting for an agenda that is completely inconsistent with the values of their district," Wheeler said of other Democrats on the PAC's hit list.
He said the PAC group was still evaluating whether Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith - who switched parties to become a Republican in December - will be targeted or treated "as Republican who might start voting more conservatively."
(CNN) – Former Rep. Richard Pombo, R-California, will announce Tuesday that he is running again for the House, two GOP sources confirm to CNN.
Pombo was elected in 1992, but lost his seat in 2006 to Democrat Jerry McNerney. But Pombo is not looking for a rematch against McNerney - instead, he's running to succeed retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich, who represents a neighboring congressional district.
Radanovich, who was elected in 1994 and ran unopposed in 2008, has endorsed state Sen. Jeff Denham to replace him. Former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson has also announced his plans to run for the GOP nomination.
(CNN) – The Democratic and Republican Governor's Associations both said Monday that they had broken their own one-year fundraising records, though the GOP is headed into the New Year with the clear financial advantage.
The DGA raised just over $23.1 million in 2009, the organization announced, and currently holds $17.5 million cash-on-hand. The group says its cash-on-hand figure is nearly 12 times as much as it had during the same period in 2010.
Republicans, meanwhile, raised $30 million in 2009, and begin 2010 with $25 million cash-on-hand. That record-breaking figure comes on the heels of gubernatorial victories for the GOP in Virginia and New Jersey.
The RGA is in a significantly healthier position than it was at this point in 2006, when the organization only had $4 million cash on hand.
Story updated at 4:10 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Salahis weren't the only unauthorized guests at President Barack Obama's first White House state dinner.
The Secret Service announced Monday that a third person who wasn't on the official guest list made it into the dinner by entering with the delegation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A Secret Service statement said the unidentified person traveled from a local hotel with the Indian delegation, which was under the responsibility of the State Department.
A senior State Department official identified the individual as an American man, but declined to provide further information. The official said the man showed up at the hotel where the State Department was helping transport - at the request of the Indian Embassy - a group of Indian businessmen to the dinner.
"This individual went through all required security measures along with the rest of the official delegation at the hotel, and boarded a bus/van with the delegation guests en route to the White House," the Secret Service statement said.
The State Department official said it is unusual for the department to escort a group of private foreign nationals around Washington, but said the embassy made a special request to facilitate their travel because the group "was very important" to the Indian delegation.
"At present, there is nothing to indicate that this individual went through the receiving line or had contact with the President or first lady," the statement continued.
The identity of the person was not disclosed. The Secret Service statement said the person's name had not been entered into the WAVES computer system for White House visitors, while the rest of the names in the Indian delegation were in the system.
"Procedural changes have already been implemented to address foreign delegations under the responsibility of Department of State who are entering facilities secured by the Secret Service," the statement said.
A northern Virginia couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, made internationalheadlines by crashing the Nov. 24 event and having their photo taken with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other dignitaries.
– CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.
Updated: 10:06 p.m.
(CNN) – Former Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling endorsed Republican Scott Brown for Massachusetts senator Monday, saying the GOP candidate can put a "screeching halt to the Democratic party's fast tracking this country into an abyss."
Schilling, who briefly flirted with the idea of running for Senate himself last fall, is a longtime Republican who campaigned for John McCain's presidential bid in 2008.
In a Monday post on his blog, Schilling also said the election of Brown could "provide this state with the once in a lifetime chance to change this country forever."
"He's for SMALLER government, stopping the concentration of power in one political party, a strong military and vigorous homeland defense as well as, and probably most appropriate and meaningful right now, giving all Americans Health Care BUT NOT by creating a new Government insurance Program," wrote Schilling.
Despite encouragement from state and national Republicans, Schilling ruled out a bid last September, telling HBO, "Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense."
Full Schilling post after the jump: