Related: Health care summit ends without apparent movement forward
(CNN) - Republican Rep. John Linder of Georgia won't seek re-election in November's midterm election, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman said.
Linder made the announcement Saturday during a speech at the Gwinnett County Republican headquarters in his home state, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"It has been an honor to serve alongside John and his presence in the House will surely be missed," NRCC Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said in a statement.
Sessions added, "Above all, his service to the citizens of the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia was unmatched, and I am confident that voters in this ruby-red district will elect another capable Republican to continue supporting the conservative principles that John so passionately promoted."
A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Linder's decision to retire is another blow to House Republicans' aspirations in this midterm election year.
Washington (CNN) - The White House announced a new social secretary Saturday, a day after confirming that Desiree Rogers planned to step down from the position.
Julianna Smoot, who is chief of staff for the office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, will replace Rogers.
"Julianna shares our commitment to creating an inclusive, dynamic and culturally vibrant White House, and Michelle and I are pleased to have her join our team," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Rogers' office came under scrutiny in recent months after a couple who lacked an invitation were allowed into Obama's first state dinner.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Rogers said she was leaving voluntarily and that her decision was unrelated to the fallout over the security breach.
"It has nothing to do with that," she said. "It's Secret Service's job to handle security. Not the Social Secretary's office."
The president and first lady acknowledged Rogers' exit in a statement Friday that did not mention last November's party-crashing incident.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama promised Saturday to assist Chile in the aftermath of a massive 8.8 earthquake, and vowed to prepare U.S. shores for a potential tsunami.
Related video: 'U.S. stands ready to assist'
"We can't control nature, but we can and must be prepared for disaster when it strikes," he said in a brief statement at the White House, speaking of a potential tsunami looming over parts of the Pacific, including Hawaii.
He urged citizens in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa to listen carefully to local officials, and told citizens along the U.S. West Coast to be prepared as well, as "there may be dangerous waves and currents throughout the day."
Speaking of Chile, where the earthquake killed 147 people, Obama said the United States stands ready to assist in rescue and recovery efforts, should the country ask for American help.
Thousands marched on Washington during a large Tea Party movement rally last September. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Tea Party activists across the country are expected Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of their movement.
Tea Party organizers say hundreds of events, ranging from protests, rallies, candidate forums, grassroots training seminars, and even movie screenings of a Tea Party documentary, are expected to be held nationwide.
Tea Party activists trace the birth of their movement to a couple of anti-stimulus protests across the country in mid-February of last year. Those small demonstrations were followed days later by business news correspondent Rick Santelli’s televised rant on February 19, 2009 about the federal government’s Wall Street bailout. Santelli's outburst inspired anti-big government activists to hold Tea Party protests across the country 8 days later.
"On February 27, 2009 a national movement for limited government was born. What started as a few thousand people taking to the streets to protest bailouts and wasteful spending grew to become a massive social movement," says Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a non-profit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.
"This weekend we want to reinvigorate the movement with hundreds of events around the country, many of them hosted by brand new community organizations. We expect all of this energy to form a tidal wave of electoral power in the November 2010 elections," adds Steinhauser (no relation to this reporter).
(Full transcript of Coburn's remarks after the jump)
(Full transcript of Obama's weekly address after the jump)
Washington (CNN) - U.S. military personnel are officially allowed to tweet.
That's the upshot of the Pentagon's long-awaited policy on rank and file personnel using online social media, unveiled Friday. The new rules authorize access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media Web sites from nonclassified government computers - as long as such activity doesn't compromise operational security or involve prohibited activities or Web sites.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate adjourned Friday without approving extensions of cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed after a lone senator blocked swift passage due to his insistence that Congress first pay for the $10 billion package.
Retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, led a spirited Senate debate with Democrats over the issue - at one time cursing at another senator on the floor. Bunning said he doesn't oppose extending the programs - he just doesn't want to add to the deficit.
According to two Democratic aides on the Senate floor Thursday night, Bunning muttered "tough s-" as Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, criticized Bunning's stance on the package.
An aide to Merkley said the senator didn't hear the remark. A spokesman for Bunning said he was aware of the reports about the senator's language but didn't have a comment.
More on CNNMoney.com: Jobless benefits start ending Sunday
After more than 35 years, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, (pictured far left) and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, (pictured far right) are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - While many in Washington believe that bipartisanship is long gone, two seasoned senators say it's not - at least not yet.
The relationship between Sen. Richard Lugar, a conservative Republican from Indiana, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, a liberal Democrat from Vermont, was born in obscurity - two very junior senators at the far reaches of a committee room table.
Leahy recalled a story from a time when their voices were virtually muted in a committee meeting.
"Neither one of us could hear what they [committee leaders] were muttering. And I said, 'Well, wait a minute, could I ask what was in that amendment?' You could see the two look down like 'Who the heck are these two guys at the end?' [He] takes his gavel and said, 'We're adjourned.' "
After more than 35 years, Leahy and Lugar are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.