January 12th, 2010
09:28 AM ET
5 years ago

Ensign: Lay off Reid

Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.
Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

Washington (CNN) – Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid for describing President Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

"I think we need to get away from this politics of gotcha," Ensign told KKOH radio in Reno on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

"I don't think there's a person walking, certainly not a politician out there, that hasn't made comments they regret," he said in the interview. "When you make those comments, as long as you take responsibility for your comments and apologize for them, I think people should accept that."

Ensign suggested that Republicans are being hypocritical for calling on Reid to resign his post as Senate Majority Leader.

"Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott, and we shouldn't do the same thing to Sen. Reid," Ensign said.

Lott lost his post as Senate majority leader in 2002 after saying that the nation would have been better off if one-time segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had been elected president.


Filed under: John Ensign
January 12th, 2010
09:26 AM ET
5 years ago

McCain talks Reid, Palin

McCain is not calling on Reid to step down.
McCain is not calling on Reid to step down.

(CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain said Tuesday he's not calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign his post in the wake of the Nevada Democrat's controversial comments about then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama, but said there is a "stunning double standard" between how Democrats are treating Reid versus then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott seven years ago.

"That's up to the voters of Nevada. I didn't know those kind of words were still in American lexicon," McCain said on NBC's The Today Show when asked if Reid should step aside.

"But I must comment on the stunning double standard as far as the treatment of Sen. Lott who also made unfortunate and inopportune remarks and the treatment of Harry Reid by the liberal left."

Lott lost his post as Senate majority leader in 2002 after saying that the nation would have been better off if one-time segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had been elected president.

Asked directly if he thought Reid might have racial insensitivity or worse, Mcain said, "No, he is not."

The controversy is centered on remarks published in the book "Game Change," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann that cites Reid as saying privately in 2008 that Obama could succeed as a black presidential candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Reid apologized to Obama after excerpts from the book were released and Obama said he considered the issue closed. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and two top Senate Republicans have called on Reid to step down from his leadership post.

In the interview with NBC, McCain also refused to discuss revelations in "Game Change" that then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was barely vetted before the Arizona Republican asked her to be on his presidential ticket.

"I'm proud of Sarah Palin, I'm proud of the campaign we waged, she energized our party, she will be a major factor in politics in the future...I'm not going to spend time looking back at what happened over a year ago, when we've got two wars to fight, 10 percent unemployment in my state, and things to do," McCain said.


Filed under: Harry Reid • John McCain
January 12th, 2010
05:45 AM ET
5 years ago

Gingrich to attend SRLC

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is slated to speak at a high-profile Republican conference with 2012 implications.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is slated to speak at a high-profile Republican conference with 2012 implications.

Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is slated to speak at a high-profile Republican conference with 2012 implications, organizers announced Monday.

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference announced Monday morning that Gingrich will address the event, which takes place April 8-11 in New Orleans. The conference is a major gathering of Republican candidates, donors and activists from 14 Southern states.

The SRLC announced last week that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, another possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, would speak at the event. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also considered a potential White House hopeful, will also speak at SRLC, a source close to Pawlenty confirms to CNN. A senior adviser to Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who may make another run in 2012, tells CNN that the former Massachusetts governor will not attend the conference.

Political watchers will be paying close attention to the SRLC conference, and not just because several potential presidential candidates are expected to attend. The SRLC - "the most prominent Republican event outside of a Republican National Convention," the organization boasts - also conducts a presidential straw poll.

FULL POST


Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Sarah Palin
January 12th, 2010
05:43 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: January 12, 2010

ALT TEXT

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNNMoney: Obama may use bank tax to recoup bailout
The White House is considering a tax on financial institutions to ensure that taxpayers who bailed out banks get paid back, a senior administration official said Monday. The law that created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program empowered the president to ask Congress to recoup money if bailouts were not paid back in full.

Washington Post: Federal Reserve earned $45 billion in 2009
Wall Street firms aren't the only banks that had a banner year. The Federal Reserve made record profits in 2009, as its unconventional efforts to prop up the economy created a windfall for the government.

New York Times: Clinton, Starting Trip, Acknowledges Possible Tensions With China
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, embarking on her first diplomatic trip of 2010, will try to ease tensions with Japan, America’s most important Asian ally, over a stalled agreement to relocate a Marine base on the island of Okinawa.

CNN: US launches new push for Mideast peace talks
The Obama administration is making a renewed push for Mideast peace, stepping up pressure on Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks focusing on borders of a future Palestinian state and the status of Jerusalem

Wall Street Journal: New Breast Screening Limits Face Reversal
Annual mammograms, seemingly on their way out under new federal guidelines last year, may be coming back. The final health-care bill is likely to require coverage for more mammograms than the new guidelines recommend after women's groups, doctors and imaging-equipment makers stepped up pressure on lawmakers - one of many threads of the bill negotiated behind the scenes.

Washington Post: Sen. Reid and son Rory each considered a burden for the other's campaign in Nevada
It will be Reid and Reid atop the November ballot in this state, the father running for his sixth term, the son making his first bid at statewide office. So far, this double bill is not going so great. Each candidate is dragging down the other, to look at the polls and listen to the Silver State's political oddsmakers. And neither is mentioning the other's campaign.

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Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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