(CNN) – Sen. John McCain's daughter called into question the political stature of the Tea Party movement Monday and sharply criticized a former congressman for his controversial comments at a recent major gathering of these conservative activists.
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, slammed President Obama on the first night of the Tea Party convention last week in Nashville. Tancredo, known for his outspoken views on illegal immigration and his disdain for Sen. McCain, charged during his speech that "People who could not even spell the word 'vote', or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama."
Tancredo also expressed relief that Sen. McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, lost his White House bid. "Thank God John McCain lost the election," Tancredo said.
On Monday, Meghan McCain fired back.
Washington (CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha died Monday as a result of recent gallbladder surgery complications which arose from doctors accidentally nicking Murtha's intestines, a source close to the late congressman has told CNN. The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," the source said.
–CNN's Sabriya Rice contributed to this report
Washington (CNN) – Marco Rubio, a one-time long shot candidate in Florida's Republican senatorial primary, is getting a big boost from a GOP House leader.
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence is endorsing Rubio, the Florida Republican's campaign announced Monday.
"I am proud to endorse Marco Rubio for the United States Senate," the Indiana Republican said in a statement released by the Rubio campaign. "Marco Rubio's faith in free markets, limited government and traditional moral values make him the right choice for Republicans in this race."
Rubio is set to face off against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once considered the favorite in this GOP primary. Rubio's candidacy, in part, has been fueled by conservatives including those who align themselves with the Tea Party movement.
Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, one of several Republicans thought to be considering a White House bid in 2012, is making another trip to a key early voting state.
Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will visit South Carolina on March 15 to keynote the Spartanburg County GOP's annual President's Day dinner. Spartanburg County GOP Chairwoman LaDonna Ryggs told CNN that the event – which she described as "a very large fundraiser" – was re-scheduled from its original date in February.
Barbour has already made trips in recent months to the presidential proving grounds of Iowa and New Hampshire, but at the time he said those trips were part of his duties as RGA chairman. South Carolina will elect a new governor in November.
One of Barbour's political confidantes said it's understandable the governor's political travels will raise suspicions about a possible 2012 bid, but said Barbour is genuinely focused of winning governor's races this fall.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's bipartisan meeting on health care reform planned for February 25 will be broadcast live, a senior administration official said Monday.
Coverage details were not complete, but the official said the White House expected "the whole thing to be live."
The half-day meeting is an attempt by the Obama administration to rescue health care legislation, a top domestic priority for the president. Televising it also would help fulfill a campaign promise by Obama that health care negotiations would be broadcast live.
On Tuesday, Obama will meet with Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate for bipartisan talks that the president promised in his State of the Union address last month. Tuesday's meeting now will help prepare for the February 25 health care talks.
Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. John Murtha died Monday at age 77. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a longtime fixture on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending, died Monday following complications from gallbladder surgery, according to a statement from his office.
He was 77.
The veteran Democratic congressman recently underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder.
Murtha was hospitalized in December and had to postpone a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the administration's strategy in Afghanistan.
The congressman returned to work after a few days in the hospital and helped oversee final passage of the 2010 defense appropriations bill.
Murtha represented Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district in the House since 1974, making him the chamber's eighth most senior member. According to his biography on the House Web site, Murtha was the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress.
Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, announced Sunday he will serve as chairman for Alexi Giannoulias' Senate campaign.
Durbin praised Giannoulias, who won last week's Democratic primary, for his efforts to "bring good, new jobs to Illinois."
Giannoulias, who is running for President Obama's old Senate seat, will face five-term Republican Rep. Mark Kirk in November.
A press release issued by the Giannoulias campaign said that Durbin will "do whatever he can to defeat Congressman Mark Kirk in November."
The seat is currently occupied by Sen. Roland Burris, D-Illinois, who decided to not seek his own six-year Senate term. Burris was appointed to the seat by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, before he was removed from office.
Washington (CNN) - Though he was a Republican for 44 years before switching parties last April, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter scored a big political win over the weekend by securing the backing of the state Democratic Party.
At a meeting of the state party executive committee in Lancaster on Saturday, Specter won an impressive 77 percent of the committee vote.
The endorsement is a symbolic victory for Specter in his Democratic primary battle against Rep. Joe Sestak – the former Navy admiral running to Specter's left – and will help protect Specter from critics who have questioned his commitment to the party.
Specter and Sestak will face off in a May 18 primary; the winner will likely face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election.
(CNN) - When President Obama presented his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, he demanded that lawmakers forgo "the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off."
But as budget hearings get under way, it appears that the definition of "grandstanding" is subject to interpretation.
Last week, for example, Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, lambasted the administration for its proposal to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund a new program for small businesses.
When Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, was defending the proposal, Gregg cut him off, saying, "No, no, no! You can't make that type of statement with any legitimacy."
Gregg then read a portion of the TARP law to Orszag, "because you don't appear to understand the law."
Lawmakers defend such outbursts as genuine concern over policy, but critics say some hearings are all about show.
(CNN) - As the National Tea Party Convention concluded this weekend, it's clear that the Tea Partiers are propelled by two competing claims - a principled commitment to fiscal conservatism and a serious case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
The first group remains true to the roots of the movement as it emerged almost one year ago amid bailout backlash. They feel like modern Paul Reveres, warning their fellow citizens about the unsustainable nature of our government's deficit spending and unprecedented debt.
They still have an important civic role to play in our national debate.
The second group reflects the overheated, hyperpartisanship that emerged over the August town halls and the 9/12 march on Washington.