Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s top budget official acknowledged Wednesday fathering a child out of wedlock, less than two weeks after announcing his engagement to another woman.
Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag and the mother of the child, Claire Milonas, released a statement announcing the birth of their daughter soon after the New York Post reported the news on its Web site.
“We were in a committed relationship until the spring of 2009,” Orszag and Milonas said in a joint statement. “In November, Claire gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Although we are no longer together, we are both thrilled she is happy and healthy, and we would hope that everyone will respect her privacy.”
Orszag recently announced his engagement to ABC News Correspondent Bianna Golodryga.
Washington (CNN) - A senior Democratic source involved in Chris Dodd's campaign tells CNN that Democratic party officials had become convinced that Dodd's Connecticut re-election race was "virtually unwinnable for us."
Still, while this source and others admit there have been quiet conversations among party officials for some time about Dodd stepping aside, they say it does not appear that party leaders specifically asked him to do so.
"People have too much respect for Chris Dodd to try to get him out of this race," said the source involved with his campaign. "He had to come to it on his own."
Another source close to Dodd tells CNN he had been well aware of his uphill battle for months. This source concedes that the political reality was a big part the reason he decided not to seek re-election, but insists "this isn't a decision forced upon him or by anyone. He was looking at his career, looking at his record of accomplishments over the past 35 years, asking what else is there."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama met Wednesday with House Democratic leaders who face the likelihood of having a final health care bill look much more like the Senate's version than their measure.
The meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the three House committees that approved health care legislation was part of efforts by Obama and top Democrats to merge the separate House and Senate bills into a final version capable of winning approval in both chambers.
After the 90-minute meeting, Pelosi said progress had been made on coming up with a merged bill, but more work remained.
"We will bring the bill to the floor when we are ready, and hopefully that will be very soon," Pelosi said. Asked about issues on which the House and Senate bills agree and differ, Pelosi responded that the final bill would make health insurance more affordable and hold the insurance industry more accountable.
"We really have to be able to sell it, not just to our Democratic caucus but to the American people," added Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, who also was in the meeting with Obama.
Senior Democratic sources say Democrats are prepared to short-circuit the traditional legislative process of a formal conference committee comprising House and Senate members to exclude their Republican counterparts during final congressional health care deliberations.
(CNN) - Saying the decision was "in the best interest of my family," Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter officially announced Wednesday that he will not seek a second term in 2010.
"Over the last years and particularly in this last year, I have attemped to balance many roles in my life," he said. "It is my family that has sacrificed the most."
Ritter, a Democrat who comfortably won a first term in 2006 over Republican Bob Beauprez, was facing a tough re-election battle against former Republican Rep. Scott McInnis. But at an emotional press conference in Denver, Ritter stressed that his decision was "intensely personal" and unrelated to his political fortunes. He said his re-election bid was going well, and argued that the race was "absolutely winnable."
"I don't live and die by polls at all," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Ellen Malcolm, the founder of liberal advocacy group EMILY's List, is stepping down as the group's president, the group announced Wednesday.
Malcolm will remain as Chairwoman of EMILY's List's Board of Directors, the group also said in a statement announcing the leadership change.
Stephanie Schriock, the Chief of Staff for Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, will take over as the group's president on February 1.
President Obama met Tuesday with his national security team in the White House Situation Room. (PHOTO CREDIT: White House)
Washington (CNN) - The initial report ordered by President Barack Obama on the failed Christmas Day terror attack will be released Thursday, Obama's spokesman said.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that the unclassified version of the report by John Brennan, the assistant to the president on homeland security and counterterrorism, would be made public and that Obama also would make a statement.
The president ordered a review of security screening and other issues that allowed a Nigerian man to allegedly board a U.S.-bound flight with explosives. The bomb failed to detonate as the flight approached Detroit, Michigan, on December 25.
"The president will make a statement about this tomorrow. That review will be released," Gibbs said.
Also Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted the suspect - 23-year-old Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab - on six counts including attempting to blow up an airplane and attempting to murder the other 289 people aboard.
(CNN) - Liz Cheney is echoing her father's recent criticism of President Obama's response to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, saying Wednesday the president has not taken sufficient national security steps in the wake of the botched plane bombing.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the founder of the nonprofit group Keep America Safe, released a statement calling on President Obama to reverse his decision to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, and to overrule the Justice Department's decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a civilian court in New York City.
Cheney also called on President Obama to classify the attempted Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as an enemy combatant to be tried before a military tribunal.
(CNN) - Sen. Chris Dodd's announcement that he is retiring follows an illustrious career, but one that has recently been overshadowed by controversies, political woes and personal tragedies.
"I love my job as your senator. I always have, still do. However, this past year has raised some challenges that insisted I take stock of my life," the Democratic senator said in front of his Connecticut home Wednesday.
During this session of Congress, Dodd was at the center of what he called the "two most important issues of our time": health care and financial reform.
Washington (CNN) - 2010 has opened on an unsettling note for Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Connecticut's Chris Dodd and North Dakota's Byron Dorgan - two longtime power players in the chamber - have announced their intention to step down at the end of the year. If history is any guide, the party now faces an uphill struggle to maintain its 60-seat supermajority.
Failure to do so could have serious ramifications for President Obama as he tries to look past the health care debate and tackle global warming, ballooning budget deficits and a range of other politically contentious issues.
The fight over health care reform has clearly demonstrated that 60 votes is now the minimum threshold for passing major legislation through the Senate. Anything less leaves the majority party at the mercy of a minority increasingly willing to employ the filibuster to grind the legislative gears of the Senate to a halt.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced Wednesday a $250 million public-private initiative designed to improve national math and science education.
Specifically, the money will be used to promote five new partnerships intended to help train over 10,000 new math and science teachers over the next five years. It will also be used to support the professional development of more than 100,000 current math, science, technology and engineering teachers, according to the White House.
The new funding builds on Obama's math and science "Educate to Innovate Campaign," which was announced last November. Several large companies, including Intel, Xerox, Kodak and Time Warner Cable have already pledged $260 million to the effort.