(CNN) – Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth is putting to rest any notion that he is a "birther," a believer in the unsubstantiated theory that President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen and, therefore, not eligible to be president of the United States.
At a press conference Monday, the former congressman was repeatedly asked about recent comments which appeared to suggest he believes Obama was not a citizen.
"I believe that Barack Obama is an American citizen," Hayworth said.
After several questions Hayworth added, "Barack Obama is the president of the United States."
Hayworth is challenging Arizona Sen. John McCain in this year's Republican primary..
Last week in an interview with CNN's Campbell Brown, Hayworth raised the issue of identity theft as one reason some members of the public might be concerned about Obama proving he is a U.S. citizen. Hayworth was responding to Brown's query about comments he'd made in late January where he called on Obama personally to produce a birth certificate instead of relying on the State of Hawaii to do so.
In his Monday news conference, Hayworth, who recently left a stint as a conservative radio talk show host, said his earlier comments about Obama's citizenship had been inspired by his time working in radio.
"I was talking in another context about what I was hearing on the radio," Hayworth said.
Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized Monday with chest pains, according to his office.
Cheney, 69, is resting comfortably at George Washington University Hospital and his doctors are evaluating the situation, his staff said in a statement.
A family source told CNN that Cheney will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation and additional tests.
Cheney has a long history of heart problems. He has suffered four heart attacks dating to 1978, when he was 37. He suffered his second in 1984 and a third in 1988 before undergoing quadruple bypass surgery to unblock his arteries. His fourth heart attack occurred in November 2000, after he was elected vice president. At that time, doctors inserted a stent to open an artery.
Doctors in 2001 implanted a heart monitoring device to keep track of his heart rhythm and slow it down if necessary. In 2008, he underwent a procedure to restore his heart to a normal rhythm after doctors found he was experiencing a recurrence of atrial fibrillation.
Washington (CNN) – Former Sen. Bob Dole is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after knee surgery and a bout with pneumonia, his consulting firm said Monday.
"Thanks to the great doctors and nurses at Walter Reed, I am making great strides, working between sessions and hope to be fully recovered and back at the office in a few weeks," the former senate majority leader said in a statement through Alston & Bird, the Washington firm where he serves as special counsel.
Dole, 86, is a World War II veteran who overcame serious injuries to pursue a lengthy career in politics. He was the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 1996, but lost to Bill Clinton.
He retired from office that year after serving in the Senate for more than 25 years.
Washington (CNN) - The push to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell will have an unlikely leader: Sen. Joe Lieberman.
The famously centrist senator from Connecticut said Monday that he would be a sponsor of legislation to be introduced next week.
"I will be proud to be a sponsor of the important effort to enable patriotic gay Americans to defend our national security and our founding values of freedom and opportunity," Lieberman said in a statement. "I have opposed the current policy of preventing gay Americans from openly serving in the military since its enactment in 1993.
"To exclude one group of Americans from serving in the armed forces is contrary to our fundamental principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and weakens our defenses by denying our military the service of a large group of Americans who can help our cause," he said. "I am grateful for the leadership of President Obama to repeal the policy and the support of Secretary Gates and Chief of Staff Admiral Mullen."
In taking the lead on the legislation, Lieberman is breaking with close friend John McCain, who opposes rolling back the policy.
Lieberman told the New York Daily News on Monday that he sees repealing the policy "as an extension, the next step of the civil rights movement."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The Senate voted Tuesday to begin considering a $15 billion jobs creation bill that would give businesses a tax break for hiring the unemployed.
The 4-prong bill would:
-Exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed;
-Fund highway and transit programs through 2010;
-Extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments
like equipment purchases;
-Expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states
and municipalities fund capital construction projects.
Five Republicans - including newly elected Senator Scott Brown, R-Mass. reached across the aisle to approve the procedural measure, which passed by a 62-30 vote. One Democrat did not support it.
A final vote on the bill should take place in a few days.
Washington (CNN) - Two new conservative groups launched Monday are designed to compete with the Democratic political machine that helped sweep President Obama into office in 2008, organizers say.
Norm Coleman, former Republican senator from Minnesota, announced the start of the American Action Network and its sister organization, the American Action Forum, at the National Press Club in Washington.
Modeled after the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank and messaging organization, the groups will focus on promoting a center-right agenda.
"While we may disagree with the Center for American Progress's policies, we respect how they advocate for those policies. They are relentless, they are creative, and they are influential," said Rob Collins, former chief of staff to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. "I decided to join the American Action Network because I believe we can compete with them on the playing field and beat them with our ideas."
Coleman and Collins were joined onstage by businessman and top GOP donor Fred Malek and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who served as John McCain's economic adviser during the 2008 presidential race.
Holtz-Eakin, who will be president of the American Action Forum, said the presidential campaign opened his eyes to new challenges. "I came to understand that liberals had done a much better job at communicating in that political environment, and through modern technologies, to communicate broadly with all the demography in the United States."
(CNN) – Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative Focus on the Family organization, endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for re-election Monday.
"Over the years, Gov. Perry has established a record that is consistently pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-religious liberty," Dobson said in a written statement. "No other candidate in this race measures up to the high standards established by Gov. Perry on these critical issues of our day."
Perry is locked in a primary race against Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison was recently endorsed by former President George H.W. Bush.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican who recently won the Massachusetts seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, is wasting no time showing his independence.
Brown will vote to support cloture on a $15 billion jobs bill put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid soon after a bipartisan agreement on a much larger $85 billion jobs package was announced by the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside, and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," Brown said in a statement. "This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts were deeper and broader, but I am voting for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work."
Brown's recent win in Massachusetts was powered in part by grassroots support from conservatives after Brown pledged to be the 41st vote against Democrats' health care reform bill which Senate Republicans needed to sustain a filibuster.
But on the day he was sworn in, Brown made it clear that he also intended to be an independent lawmaker who might sometimes part ways with his own party.
"If I see a bill that's good for my state first, I don't care where it comes from," Brown said. "If it's good for Massachusetts, I'll consider it."
Washington (CNN) - Here's one indicator of Marco Rubio's star power: the Florida Republican Senate candidate has not even won his election, but he's already heading to a key state in the presidential nominating process.
Rubio will join Sen. Jim DeMint, one of his political patrons, for a three-city tour of South Carolina on March 15 to "promote common sense ideas and new conservative leadership," a GOP source in the state told CNN Monday.
DeMint aides will also launch a new Web site - DeMintRubio.com - to promote the tour starting Tuesday. DeMint broke with his GOP colleagues in the Senate last summer to endorse Rubio in his GOP primary battle against Gov. Charlie Crist. The conservative senator also introduced Rubio before the rising star's speech last Thursday to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The trip is being promoted through "Friends of DeMint and Rubio," a joint fundraising committee established on behalf of DeMint's 2010 re-election bid and Rubio's campaign.
The two Republicans will visit Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, a swing that will give Rubio a chance to meet activists and key political players in the state, which has voted for the eventual Republican presidential nominee in every primary contest going back to 1980.
UPDATE: The Crist campaign was quick to pounce on the news of Rubio's out-of-state foray.
"It is remarkable that the New York Times cover boy is already testing out a key Presidential primary state instead of focusing on the voters he’s asking to elect him," said Crist spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg in a statement e-mailed to reporters. (Rubio was featured on the cover of the New York Times magazine earlier this year.)
"It’s disappointing that Speaker Rubio’s new found fame would lead him to so quickly forget Floridians. Slowly but surely, we are seeing more of who the real Marco Rubio is – someone who routinely puts politics and political aspirations (and in this case South Carolina) above the people."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama unveiled a $950 billion proposal for reforming health care Monday, and promised that the plan is fully paid for and would even reduce the deficit over 10 years by $100 billion.
The new plan is a compromise of the House and Senate bills passed last year.
The White House cost estimates were based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates of Congress' bills. The CBO, however, will not be doing a separate analysis of the president's proposal, at least not unless it is formally introduced as a bill at some point.
The president's proposal aims, among other things, to subsidize health insurance coverage for a majority of the roughly 45 million uninsured Americans and to guarantee insurance coverage for anyone regardless of health status.