(CNN) - Ted Kennedy's widow Thursday formally endorsed Democratic nominee Martha Coakley's bid to fill the final three years of the term of the late senator from Massachusetts.
"Time and again Martha Coakley has answered the call for public service," said Vicki Kennedy.
"My husband fought for health care reform for more than 40 years. He called it the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right and not a privledge," added Kennedy. "Martha Coakley shares those beliefs and she'll go to Washington to fight for us."
Former Rep. Joseph Kennedy, the late senator's nephew, and Sen. Paul Kirk, a long time adviser and friend to Ted Kennedy who is serving as his interim replacement, were among others who attended the campaign event in Medford, Massachusetts.
Vicki Kennedy avoided endorsing any candidate during the Democratic primary campaign, but she supported Coakley, who is the state's attorney general, after she won the December 8 election against three opponents.
Washington (CNN) - An influential conservative women's organization is planning a press tour in three Rust Belt states next week in an effort to urge a dozen-plus House Democrats to continue supporting the prohibition of federal funds for abortion in the health care reform legislation.
The Susan B. Anthony List will announce Thursday afternoon its plan to hold the events at the district offices of 13 House Democrats in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, CNN has learned. All of the Democrats voted in favor of an amendment authored by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, that forbids the use federal funds for abortion in the House version of the health care bill. The amendment was approved by the House, but a similar measure failed in the Senate.
"On behalf of millions of pro-life Americans, we urge pro-life Democrats in the House to stand firm, to respect the consciences of taxpayers and oppose health care reform legislation that funds abortion on-demand," former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colorado, will say in a statement that accompanies details of the tour. Musgrave serves as the director of the SBA List's Votes Have Consequences Project.
The events will be held at the offices of Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri of Ohio, Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Rep. Zack Space of Ohio, Rep Charlie Wilson of Ohio, Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana and Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana.
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.
(CNN) - Echoing other high profile conservatives in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day terrorism attack, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN Wednesday President Obama waited far too long to react to the botched bombing and needs to make a "major correction" in the way he is dealing with terrorism.
Speaking on CNN's Larry King Live, Giuliani said the time it took the president to react to the attempted attack may "convince our enemies we are not ready."
President Obama first addressed the issue from his vacation spot in Hawaii three days after the attempted attack, calling for a complete review of the incident and the country's airline security policies. He then gave a public assessment of those reviews in a statement Tuesday, saying they had uncovered that "U.S. intelligence had uncovered numerous "red flags" prior to the attack."
"All this is ten days too late," Giuliani said. "This something you react to immediately. Not after your vacation. The president of the United States, when there is a potential massive attack on the country, should have been on top of it immediately."
Giuliani, who late last month announced he would not run for either governor or senator in New York this year, also faulted the administration for not classifying the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as an enemy combatant.
(CNN) - A push to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey faces a crucial test Thursday, as the State Senate is scheduled to vote on the issue.
The bill passed through the State Senate's Judiciary Committee last month by just one vote. Same-sex marriage supporters are expected to have an uphill fight to secure the 21 votes needed to advance the bill. If the legislation passes the scheduled 2 p.m. ET vote, the drive would head to the State Assembly, which has yet to vote on the issue.
Throngs of supporters and opponents of the issue are expected to congregate at the statehouse in Trenton.
Supporters of legal same-sex marriages are running against the clock. Republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie, who takes office on January 19, says he would veto the bill.
The man Christie beat in November's election, out-going Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, says he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office.
New Jersey currently offers civil unions for same sex couples.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa are currently the only states that legally allow same-sex marriages. Last year, lawmakers in Maine approved legalized gay marriages. But in November voters in Maine passed a referendum to overturn the new law.
Last month the District of Columbia legalized same sex marriages, but the measure is now under a 30 day review period by Congress, which by law has the right to review and overturn laws created by Washington DC's city council.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Alison Harding
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Democrats struggle to hold critical 60-seat Senate majority
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.
Wall Street Journal: Dodd's Retirement Muddles Financial Overhaul
The planned retirement of Sen. Chris Dodd complicates the overhaul of financial regulation that is one of the Obama administration's top priorities, congressional aides say. … If Mr. Dodd wants to pass the bill by November to bolster his legislative legacy, Capitol Hill aides said, he and the White House will likely have to water down their proposals and broker a deal with Republicans, who oppose the legislation and have little incentive to give Democrats a victory.
CNN: Initial report on failed plane attack coming out Thursday
The initial report ordered by President Obama on the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack will be released Thursday, Obama's spokesman said Wednesday.
CNN: Military revising security procedures after attack on CIA
In the wake of the suicide bombing at Forward Operating Base Chapman, new security guidance has gone out to U.S. bases across Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said.
Christian Science Monitor: Hillary Clinton: Yemen needs more than air strikes and diplomacy
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that troubled countries like Yemen illustrate the need for development aid – as well as diplomacy and air strikes – to fulfill US security interests.
Washington Post: Republicans put new hold on TSA nominee Erroll Southers
The nomination of a former FBI agent to lead the Transportation Security Administration hit a new obstacle Wednesday as several Republican senators expressed "serious reservations" about the nominee and pressed the White House for details of incidents in which he improperly accessed a confidential federal database years ago.
CNN: Sources: Obama, Dems to sidestep GOP on health care
President 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.