Washington (CNN) - Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama, delivering the weekly Republican address Saturday, said Democrats "must be stopped" before they "try and jam through a massive government takeover of health care."
Griffith, who spent many years practicing medicine before being elected to Congress, started the 111th Congress as a Democrat but announced in December that he was switching parties and would run for re-election as a Republican.
Griffith addressed the switch in the address. "You see, two Januarys ago, I was sworn into office as an independent, conservative Democrat. But like so many Americans, I became increasingly concerned that the policies being pushed by Democrats in Washington were dangerous for our country and out of step with our values."
The address also includes a warning about the route that Republicans anticipate Democrats will take to ensure passage of health care reform.
"To get a final bill through without public or bipartisan support, Democrats would have to use a toxic, controversial legislative scheme known as 'reconciliation.' Reconciliation would allow Democrats to make a few last-minute backroom deals and rely on only Democratic votes."
Washington (CNN) - Megastars Beyonce and Jay-Z, accompanied by a small group of friends, visited the White House on Wednesday for a special tour that included the White House Situation Room, White House aides confirmed.
A photo, apparently taken of the group in the Situation Room, was released on the Web site Rap Radar. The photo shows Jay-Z sitting at the head of the table, the seat normally occupied by the president. He is surrounded by his wife, Beyonce, and others in his entourage.
White House tours for the public normally do not include a stop inside the Situation Room. When occupied by the president and his national security team, the room is typically used to mobilize the administration during a crisis situation and communicate to officials around the world. But one White House aide said special visitors occasionally get access to the Situation Room.
"It's not like there's classified information laying around," the aide said. "It's really just a conference room."
Last December, the White House posted a virtual tour of the Situation Room, touting it as "an exclusive look inside one of the most secure spaces in the country."
White House aides confirmed that Jay-Z and Beyonce stopped by before Jay-Z's concert Wednesday night at Washington's Verizon Center.
Washington (CNN) - When Rep. Parker Griffith was campaigning as a Democrat in Alabama's 5th district, Republicans released a political ad attacking his record as a physician.
"What kind of man is Parker Griffith?" the advertisement's narrator asked. "An independent medical review tells you all you need to know. Numerous internal complaints were lodged about the care Griffith was providing. Griffith was warehousing cancer patients, under dosing them so he could make more profits through protracted treatments. His approach caused unwarranted pain and suffering. But it meant more money for him."
But that was 2008 – more than a year before Griffith switched parties to become a Republican. This week, the Alabama congressman was chosen to issue the Republican response to the weekly White House address, where he criticized Preident Obama's approach to health care reform.
Democratic strategists have been eager to point to the ad, which is still accessible online.
According to the Huntsville Times, when the ad was initially released, then candidate Griffth's lawyers issued a statement saying the ad was, "false and misleading, and knowingly misstates the source of quotations." Local media reports said the allegations may have stemmed from a business dispute with a local hospital.
Washington (CNN) - Politics and the struggling American economy intersected last week in Illinois, when a Senate hopeful revealed that his family's small bank would probably fail.
Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias' family-run business, Broadway Bank, was founded by his father more than 30 years ago, but has fallen on hard times.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Giannoulias revealed the magnitude of the problem.
"It's quite likely that the bank will fail," said Giannoulias. "I hope I'm wrong. I hope they can raise the capital to keep the bank going, and they're fighting hard to do so, but it's tough out there for a lot of banks."
On Wednesday, Giannoulias canvassed local media outlets in Illinois, attempting to disassociate himself from the bank's financial troubles.
CNN - Karl Rove, often described as President George W. Bush's brain, defended the former president in a new book against claims that he lied to the American public in order to invade Iraq in 2003.
"[D]id Bush lie us into war? Absolutely not," Rove wrote in his 516-page book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight."
The book highlights Rove's life and career and his time working for Bush.
Rove, a long-time political adviser who joined Bush in the White House after the 2000 campaign, said the U.S. wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq if the administration knew that weapons of mass destruction wouldn't be found.
"Would the Iraq War have occurred without WMD? I doubt it," he wrote. "Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the threat of WMD. The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam, bring about regime change, and deal with Iraq's horrendous human rights violations."
Washington (CNN) - In the weekly White House address released Saturday, President Obama singled out insurance companies for rising health care costs and said, "The proposal we've put forward would end the worst practices of the insurance industry."
The President said the enactment of health care reform is "very close," adding that action is necessary to prevent insurance companies from raising premiums.
"I just met with some of them on Thursday and they couldn't give me a straight answer as to why they keep arbitrarily and massively raising premiums – by as much as 60% in states like Illinois. If we do not act, they will continue to do this," Obama said.