Washington (CNN) – White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that Democrats are within striking distance of passing a health care reform bill notwithstanding Democrats’ loss of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.
“We’re still inside the five-yard line,” Gibbs said Sunday on State of the Union when asked to assess Democrats’ progress on health care reform, the domestic agenda item that was President Obama’s top priority last year along with getting the struggling economy back on track.
Gibbs was reacting to an earlier assessment on the same subject provided by another top Obama aide before Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, pulled off an upset win earlier this month in a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.
“We’re way deep in the red zone,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King late last year on State of the Union. “We’re right on the one-yard line,” Axelrod added.
Despite the setback in Massachusetts, Gibbs said Sunday that a bill could still be passed.
CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley is the new anchor of State of the Union, the network announced Sunday. (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) - Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will anchor CNN's Sunday political program, the network announced on State of the Union.
Related video: 'I am excited,' Crowley says
(CNN) – Senator-elect Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, has turned to political veteran Gail Gitcho to oversee his communications operation.
Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley earlier this month for the right to serve the remaining three years of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s, D-Massachusetts, term.
Gitcho, currently press secretary at the Republican National Committee, has ties to the Massachusetts GOP. She worked on former Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. She also worked on Sen. John McCain’s, R-Arizona, 2008 presidential campaign and for Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Florida, on Capitol Hill.
During a surprise outing to a college basketball game Saturday, the president took a couple moments to provide some courtside commentary for live television. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – Move over Dick Vitale, President Obama is sliding into the color commentary seat.
Obama took a turn at the CBS microphone during the Georgetown/Duke college basketball game Saturday that was also attended by Vice President Biden, and several senior White House staffers including Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Dan Pfeiffer, Robert Gibbs and Mona Sutphen.
One fan at the game wondered, "If they're all in here, then who's running the country?"
At first it appeared as though the president was not taking sides, but every so often he could be spotted quietly clapping for Duke. And in-between hoops, Obama and Biden chatted, pointed out players and posed for photos with fans. Biden appeared to do more chatting than the president.
At halftime, Washington Mayor Mayor Adrian M. Fenty stopped by the White House delegation to say hello. Later, former Georgetown coach John Thompson, perhaps the most popular dignitary in the basketball crazy crowd, stopped by for a visit.
Not spotted on this court was Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
(CNN) – The Democratic National Committee has $13.2 million in the bank and carries a debt of $4.7 million heading into the midterm elections, a DNC official tells CNN.
The DNC raised $4.4 million in December, $2.2 million less than the Republican National Committee during that same time period. Democrats hold a $4.8 million cash-on-hand advantage over Republicans, but when the DNC's debt is factored in, both committees head into the 2010 election cycle on just about equal financial footing. The RNC has $8.4 million in the bank.
The DNC official noted that it does not accept donations from lobbyists or political action committees, while the RNC does take those contributions.
With a reference to Massachusetts Democrat Martha Coakley's failed Senate bid, Georgetown fan Berry Kurland took a political shot at Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (known as "Coach K") during Saturday's game in Washington. Georgetown beat Duke 89 to 77 in Saturday's contest which was attended by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and some senior White House aides. (Photo Credit: Sam Feist/CNN)
Related: Obama provides courtside commentary
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration is considering an investigation into the legality and fairness of college football's Bowl Championship Series and "the current lack of a college football national championship playoff."
In a letter to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch says the issue "raises important questions affecting millions of fans, colleges and universities, players and other interested parties."
Hatch complained about the system to the Obama administration in October, and the Justice Department official told Hatch Friday it is reviewing whether to launch an inquiry into the BCS system to see if any U.S. anti-trust laws are being violated. Hatch's office passed along the Welch letter to CNN.
"Importantly, and in addition, the Administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football post-season," said Welch, who noted along with Hatch that President Obama says the sport should have an eight-game playoff.
Washington (CNN) - Former President George H. W. Bush returned to the White House for a rare Saturday morning meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, but administration officials said no specific issue was on the agenda.
The former president was in town for the Alfalfa Club dinner on Saturday night and just wanted to sit down with Obama to talk, officials said. His son Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, accompanied him for the visit.
When asked how the meeting went as they departed the White House, former President Bush called it a "good meeting."
Another son, former President George W. Bush, returned to the White House for the first time since leaving office two weeks ago for a meeting with Obama and former President Bill Clinton on relief efforts for Haiti.
In her roughly five-minute address, Maine Sen. Susan Collins takes issue with how the Obama administration has chosen to treat Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused to trying to blow-up an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
“Less than one hour. That’s right, less than one hour,” Collins says in this week’s Republican address. “In fact, just fifty minutes. That’s the amount of time that the FBI spent questioning AbdulMutallab, the foreign terrorist who tried to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. Then, he was given a Miranda warning and a lawyer, and, not surprisingly, he stopped talking. How did we get to this point? How did the Obama administration decide to treat a foreign terrorist, who had tried to murder hundreds of people, as if he were a common criminal?”
After noting a number of acknowledged failures on the part of the intelligence community relating to AbdulMutallab, Collins turns her attention to what she views as another misstep.
“But, today, I want to discuss another failure – a failure that occurred after AbdulMutallab had already been detained by authorities in Detroit – an error that undoubtedly prevented the collection of valuable intelligence about future terrorist threats to our country,” Collins says.
“Once afforded the protection our Constitution guarantees American citizens, this foreign terrorist ‘lawyered up’ and stopped talking,” says Collins. “When the Obama administration decided to treat AbdulMutallab as an ordinary criminal, it did so without the input of our nation’s top intelligence officials.”