Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates speak at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – David Plouffe, the architect of President Obama's 2008 campaign and now an outside adviser to the White House, appears in an Organizing for America video touting the organization's effectiveness in 2009 while acknowledging setbacks.
Accompanying the Web video, released Tuesday, is a two-page survey summary entitled "Your Thoughts on 2010."
In what amounts to a year end summary and look ahead to 2010, Plouffe says, "Clearly we also learned from the survey that we can serve you better. You would like more communication and we have to foster that."
According to the released document, health care reform is still a high priority for Organizing for America members, a subject Plouffe addressed in the video saying, "We are still on the doorstep of passing health care reform, something that has been tried for one hundred years."
Following Obama's win in 2008, Plouffe did not immediately join the White House, but was brought back into the fold following Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown's victory in a Massachusetts special election.
A woman searches the remains of an apartment building Wednesday where dozens of bodies are reportedly still buried. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - The Clinton School of Public Service is calling on Americans to wear the colors of the Haitian flag – red and blue – next Friday to show support for the country devastated by the recent earthquake.
The school, named after former President Bill Clinton and located at the University of Arkansas, is marking the one month anniversary of when the earthquake hit the island. Clinton is the United Nation's special envoy for Haiti.
"If there was ever a call to public service, it is now," Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford said in a statement. "The people of Haiti will need assistance for the long term, and we are proud of everyone affiliated with the Clinton School who has come to the aid of Haiti."
Clinton School student, Ivanley Noisette, is from Haiti and some members of his family are still missing in the devastated nation.
"Haitians are still suffering and working to rebuild their country and put their lives back together," Noisette said. "We ask everyone to remember their suffering and honor the people of Haiti by wearing red and blue on February 12."
President Obama answered questions from Senate Democrats Wednesday. (Getty Images.)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama tore into the Republican opposition on Capitol Hill Wednesday, blaming the GOP for what he called politically motivated opposition on virtually every issue.
Democrats have been willing to incorporate Republican ideas on health care and other issues, he said, but Republicans have not been willing to do the same.
Addressing a gathering of Senate Democrats, Obama promised to "call (Republicans) out when (Democrats) extend a hand and get a fist in return."
Several Democrats facing tough election fights this November were given time to ask the president questions on high-profile issues such as trade and deficit reduction. Much of the president's time, however, was used to lash out at GOP tactics.
Senate Republicans, he said, have tried to employ the filibuster more over the past year than in all of the 1950s and 1960s combined. The GOP's strategy has been "20 years of obstruction packed into one," he said.
"If you want to govern, you can't just say no," he argued. "It can't be about just scoring points." The filibuster, he added, only works as intended if there is a "genuine spirit of compromise."
Updated: 1:07 p.m.
(CNN) - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will meet with representatives from various advocacy organizations representing people with disabilities Wednesday morning in the wake of criticism over his use of the word "retarded" to put down Democrats in opposition to President Obama's health care plan.
The comment came in a closed-door meeting in August but was reported by the Wall Street Journal last week. Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver immediately penned a letter to Emanuel asking that he take a pledge not to use the "R-word."
Emanuel's choice of words also gained greater visibility when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the mother of a special-needs child, lashed at Emanuel on her Facebook page Monday and called for President Obama to fire his top aide.
Emanuel, known for his coarse language, apologized for the comment, according to a White House official. He will also meet with Shriver and four other disability advocates at the White House on Wednesday.
"The meeting will be a face-to-face discussion with Rahm Emanuel about the suffering and pain of people with intellectual disabilities that is perpetuated by the use of the terms 'retard' and 'retarded' as well as the damage that can be done by the casual use of the R-word – even if it is not directed toward people with intellectual disabilities," the Special Olympics said in a statement.
This isn't the first time the Obama White House has issued an apology to the Special Olympics. President Obama personally apologized last March after he joked to comedian Jay Leno that his lack of bowling skills was "like the Special Olympics or something."
Washington (CNN) - A bipartisan group of bloggers, commentators, political strategists and internet advocates Wednesday launched an on-line campaign to urge President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders to hold regular televised conversations like the one Friday between Obama and the House GOP caucus.
Friday's event was "one of the best national political debates in many years. Citizens who watched the event were impressed, by many accounts. Journalists and commentators immediately responded by continuing the conversation of the ideas put forward by the president and his opponents – even the cable news cycle was disrupted for a day," says the on-line campaign, called Demand Question Time, on their website http://www.demandquestiontime.com.
"America could use more of this – an unfettered and public airing of political differences by our elected representatives. So we call on President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader John Boehner to hold these sessions regularly – and allow them to be broadcast and webcast live and without commercial interruption, sponsorship or intermediaries. We also urge the President and the Republican Senate caucus to follow suit. And we ask the President and the House and Senate caucuses of his own party to consider mounting similar direct question-and-answer sessions. We will ask future Presidents and Congresses to do the same."
(CNN) - Most New Yorkers don't think state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's possible challenge of Gov. David Paterson would be racially divisive, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday morning indicates that 8 in ten voters, including three-quarters of black voters, say a Democratic primary challenge by Cuomo, who is white, of Paterson, who is black, would not be racially divisive.
According to the poll, 78 percent of New Yorkers are not impatient with Cuomo's delay of any announcement on his possible plans to challenge Paterson, with the high level of patience consistent among all political and racial groups and in every region of the state.
"Unlike the media, New Yorkers aren't impatient for Attorney General Cuomo to admit he's running for Governor," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
(CNN) - The Democratic state treasurer and a five-term Republican congressman will face off in November to fill the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Obama.
Front-runner Alexi Giannoulias faced criticism after his family's bank came under federal scrutiny. But he beat fellow Democrat David Hoffman, a former Chicago official in charge of trying to root out corruption, by a small margin.
Giannoulias, the son of Greek immigrants, was able to raise money and come out on top in a crowded Democratic field.
"The voters of Illinois are sending a message, and I hear them them loud and clear. In the midst of this dreadful economic crisis, they want a senator who will fight to limit the power of Washington special interests," Giannoulias said Tuesday night at his victory rally.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, is expected to announce Wednesday that he will challenge Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, in November, a Republican source told CNN.
Coats held the Senate seat that Bayh now occupies from 1989 to 1999.
It is a big recruiting success for Senate Republicans, who hope that voter frustration with President Barack Obama's handling of health care and the economy will translate into electoral wins in the mid-term elections.
Republican Scott Brown's surprising victory in last month's Massachusetts special election has given the GOP hope of evening the odds in the Senate. Democrats control the chamber, 60-40, with the support of two independents. When Brown is sworn in next week, Democrats will hold the chamber by one less vote, effectively ending their supermajority in the chamber.
Coats was appointed to the Senate seat after Sen. Dan Quayle was elected vice president in 1988. Coats went on to win a special election to serve the rest of Quayle's unexpired term, as well as his own full six-year term. Coats chose to retire instead of run for re-election. Bayh won the seat in November 1998 and is seeking a third term.
The GOP source spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The former senator was ambassador to Germany from August 2001 to February 2005 in President George W. Bush's administration.
Before joining the Senate, Coats served in the House from 1981 to 1988. He is currently a senior policy adviser at King & Spalding.
"Howey Politics Indiana" first reported Coats' candidacy late Tuesday.