(CNN) – Pennsylvania and the nation said good-bye Tuesday to John P. Murtha, politician, warrior, father, friend, gentleman.
Speakers at the funeral for the Democratic congressman recalled a man skilled in the ways of Washington but, more importantly, a public servant who never forgot why he was elected 17 times to represent the people of Pennsylvania's 12th district.
"Jack Murtha never lost sight of God's purpose in the law," said the Rev. William George, president of the Georgetown Preparatory School in Washington. "Law-making should be sacred work and Jack knew that."
Murtha, 77, died February 8 of complications from gall bladder surgery.
A former Marine colonel and twice-wounded Vietnam War veteran, Murtha earned a reputation as one of Congress's loudest anti-war voices. He initially supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but he stunned much of Washington when he called for a swift U.S. pullout in November 2005.
"U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can," Murtha said. "It's time for a change in direction."
(CNN) - The frontrunners for the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut are pouncing on the Democratic frontrunner, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, for hedging on whether he plans to invite President Obama to campaign with him.
Blumenthal, who jumped into the race after Sen. Chris Dodd announced he will not seek another term, was asked about a possible Obama appearance after speaking Monday to the Yale College Democrats in New Haven.
Chatting with reporters, Blumenthal called Obama "someone who I deeply respect and admire," but said he has differences with the president, according to the Associated Press. Blumenthal said he has not decided whether to ask the president to campaign for him.
"I haven't presumed to ask," he said, according to the AP. "I don't know whether he would and I don't know whether we would ask. At this point it is an open question."
(CNN) - Luckily Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has friends in high places.
Clinton's plane broke down in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where the nation's top diplomat held a town-hall meeting at a local college.
Fortunately, Gen. David Petraeus was nearby, having met with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh Monday.
Petraeus and his entourage agreed to pick Clinton up on their way home, but there is a small hitch. Because Clinton is a higher-ranking government official than Petraeus, the plane technically becomes hers when she steps foot on board.
Sarah Palin may be talking; but it sounds like she doesn't want the media to hear her.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Palin is banning all video and sound recordings at two high-profile, big-ticket speeches in Florida in the next month.
Sponsors of these speeches say the rules for the events are set by Palin's agents. Members of the media can buy a ticket like anyone else – for a couple hundred bucks, that is. But no pictures, audio or video recording allowed. Also, Palin has banned media in most cases at her book signings – except for brief photo-ops.
You'd think someone considering a run for the White House in 2012 would want as much media coverage as possible. Which is what happens whenever the former VP candidate opens her mouth. The media just eat it up.
But that may be part of the problem too: Take Palin's widely covered Tea Party speech for example, where media coverage was allowed: While the base loves what she's selling, Palin has come under lots of criticism for the crib notes she had scribbled on her hand.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
Washington (CNN) – It looks like Democrats have avoided a big headache in Indiana.
Tamyra d'Ippolito, the Bloomington restaurant owner who claimed to be nearing the required amount of signatures to make her the de facto Democratic nominee for Senate in Indiana, appears to have fallen short in her bid to get on the primary ballot.
To get on the ballot, a candidate must have submitted at least 4,500 signatures by noon Tuesday, with at least 500 coming from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts.
But Terry Burns, a Democratic official with the Marion County Board of Voters, said d'Ippolito only submitted three signatures Tuesday to the county clerk's office (The entire seventh district is in Marion County). Burns noted that one of her signatures came from the state's 5th district.
"She fell 498 signatures short in the seventh district," Burns told CNN.
D'Ippolito, who has never run for office before, had been organizing a long-shot challenge to Sen. Evan Bayh before he announced his retirement Monday. Had she submitted the necessary paperwork by Tuesday's deadline, she would have been the only Democrat in the state to do so, making her the party's nominee for Senate. That prospect became something of a nightmare scenario over the last 24 hours for Democrats in Washington and Indiana, who are looking to recruit a top-tier candidate to run in Bayh's place.
(CNN) – Even former presidential candidates are subject to the occasional annoyances of air travel.
A passenger seated in front of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's wife became "physically violent" when the former Republican presidential candidate asked the passenger to move his seat in a more upright position.
The incident occurred Monday when the Romneys were headed from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles on an Air Canada flight, according to spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.
In a statement to CNN, Fehrnstrom said "Romney did not retaliate, but instead allowed the airline crew to respond to the incident."
Following the uproar, the plane returned to the gate where the passenger was removed by airport police. Romney was not injured.
TOPICS: 2010 election, incumbents, Congress, Obama
Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is the latest target of national Democrats in their ongoing crusade against Republicans they accuse of stimulus hypocrisy.
McDonnell's office announced Monday that Virginia will receive a combined $24 million in federal funds over the next four years to develop health care information technology and implement electronic medical records. The funds come straight from a nearly $1 billion pot of health care money made available to states by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
McDonnell, a up-and-coming Republican who was sworn into office last month, thanked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approving the money and said the cash is "critical" in helping Virginia upgrade its health care infrastructure.
"The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible," McDonnell said in a statement.
(CNN) - Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, was hospitalized Monday after taking a fall, his spokesman said.
The 86-year-old Lautenberg, who is in his fifth term in the Senate, was taken to the hospital as a "precautionary measure," spokesman Caley Gray said.
"The senator is in great spirits and joking with the doctors," Gray said.
He will remain at the hospital overnight for observation, Gray said.
UPDATE: Communications Director Caley Gray says Lautenberg was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer Tuesday morning and "underwent a successful endoscopy procedure to treat it."
"After becoming lightheaded and taking a fall as a result of the condition, the Senator sought medical attention last night. The Senator is expected to make a full recovery and will be back to work soon," said Gray.
–CNN's Deborah Doft and Evan Glass contributed to this report.
(CNN) - On Monday, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, announced that he will not seek re-election this year. With Democrats defending five open seats and Republicans with six open seats in the Senate, the CNN Fact Check Desk wondered how this election measures up to the past.
Fact Check: How many open-seat races have there been in the Senate in the recent past?
(Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump)