A page from an RNC PowerPoint presentation that surfaced last week contained cartoonish images depicting President Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as Scooby Doo.. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Top Republicans had harsh words Sunday for a leaked Republican National Committee document containing images skewering President Barack Obama and other top Democrats.
"There is no excuse for that type of stuff," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told NBC's "Meet the Press." He added that he is "ashamed" of it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on ABC's "This Week," was asked whether such messaging is helpful. "I can't imagine why anybody would have thought that was helpful," he responded.
The PowerPoint presentation described high-level Republican donors as "ego-driven" and claimed they could be enticed with "tchochkes." The document included a slide - titled "The Evil Empire" - with cartoonish images depicting Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo.
Since the presentation was leaked to Politico, Republicans have been working to distance themselves from it.
(CNN) - In the Obama administration's push to finally get its health care proposals through Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hit the Sunday talk shows to hammer home the costs of failure.
"I think we know what doing nothing looks like, and it looks pretty scary. Fifteen thousand people a day lose their insurance, and some of those folks are being actually priced out of the marketplace," Sebelius told NBC's "Meet the Press."
Fact Check: Are 15,000 people a day losing health insurance?
(Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump)
A Troika of Maybes on Sunday. Three congressional Democrats who voted no on the original House health care bill got some rare Sunday air time to fence sit on how they will vote when the House takes up the Senate bill, which so far as anyone can figure is the next step in this year-long saga.
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), who supported the strict “Stupak Amendment” to prevent federal funding of abortion says he thinks the issue will be “decisive” to whether reform passes or doesn’t.
Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) is awaiting the dotted “i’s” and crossed “t’s,” quaintly declaring that he is “one of the guys who believes I should read the bill first before making up my mind.”
And the last of the troika, retiring Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), said it’s not the bill he would write, but it’s better than the “status quo.” But if, he comes to the conclusion he can’t support the Senate bill, would he vote no even if it meant health care would go down? In Baird’s word, “yes.”
All of which is to say, the three undecideds wrapped up their Sunday stints as they began, undecided. Although Altmire sounded more “no” than his two colleagues.
It’s enough to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heartburn, but not Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen (the guy who’s in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House this fall). Van Hollen says he thinks the House will pass the Senate health care bill, ”but do we have a lock? No.”
(CNN) – The political chattering class in Washington need wait no longer for the answer to one of the past year’s burning questions: Why did former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, decide to take a turn on “Dancing with the Stars”?
“I just thought it would be the greatest thing, the best fun. And it was the best fun I've ever had,” DeLay said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was just amazing. I mean, it was a lot of work, and my feet killed me the whole time… and I broke both feet. But I just had the best time.”
The Texas Republican was a member of the popular show’s cast last season but had to drop out of the demanding dance competition early after suffering stress fractures in both of his feet.
Related video: DeLay out on 'Dancing'
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Washington (CNN) - Despite a call from the White House for health care legislation to pass this month, key Democrats on Sunday avoided any promises about how soon the next steps may come.
"I believe it will pass. Do we have a mortal lock? No," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN's "State of the Union."
Questions remain about specifics of the final legislation, and until then "it's going to be hard to get people to commit" to a vote in the House, he added.
The president's own secretary of Health and Human Services skirted repeated questions about the timeline set by the White House.
"I think the president has called for an up or down vote. I'm confident that we'll have that up or down vote," Kathleen Sebelius told NBC's "Meet the Press." Pressed about whether the president would come back to the legislation if it does not pass this month, she responded, "I think it's realistic because the American people are desperate for something to help them."
She added, "the time clock is not about... a Congressional tick-tock - what Americans want is something to be done."
(CNN) – Barbara Walters takes her final bow tonight hosting ABC's Oscar's Special, a program she anchored for 29 years. Howard Kurtz sat down with Walters for a wide-ranging interview which aired this morning on CNN's Reliable Sources.
Kurtz asked Walters why she decided to pull the plug on this long-standing tradition.
"I'm sick of it," Walters said. "I've been thinking about this for a few years now. And I feel it's time. And sometimes you can't explain that. I will still do interviews. It's still like having a wonderful dessert for me."
Sunday night's Oscar special features interviews with best actress and best supporting actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Mo'Nique, as well as a look back at previous interviews with icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and oddball moments such as the lap dance Walters received courtesy of Hugh Jackman. Walters said she will continue to do her annual "10 Most Fascinating People" special.
Kurtz asked Walters about her high-profile political interviews in the past year with Fox News' Glenn Beck and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
"Glenn Beck is a very intelligent man. This may disturb a lot of people. I'm not so sure I'm supposed to know that he is, but he is," Walters said.
In her interview with Palin, Walters asked the former Alaska Governor whether or not she knew her daughter Bristol was sexually active, and Palin candidly answered that she and her husband "were devastated.”
"To talk to her about her daughter's sexual activity didn't insult her intelligence. And so that's why she answered," Walters said.
So how has Walters been able to get honest answers to tough questions all these years?
(CNN) – The man nicknamed “The Hammer” for his ability to impose party discipline faulted the two leading congressional Democrats for what he calls their “take or leave it” approach to passing legislation.
“I think what they're doing wrong is because of arrogance,” former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They have huge majorities . . . and you would think you could pass anything and pass it quickly with those kinds of majorities.
Related video: DeLay weighs in on top Dems
“Why is it? Why can't they? It's because they're going back in rooms and then telling the members, take it or leave it. You can't do that. It's obvious.”
(CNN) – A former House Republican leader thinks that the Tea Party movement, a conservative grassroots movement that has at times clashed with the Republican Party, presents an opportunity which the GOP would be wise to seize in this midterm election year.
“I’m rooting for the Tea Party activists,” Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “mainly because - we saw it in the Texas primaries. I watched it very closely. The Tea Party activists ran a lot of people against Republican incumbents. . . . the Tea Party activists don't like what's going on, but they don't like the Republicans either.
“And it was a real message to the Republicans that they better welcome these people in, because now they voted in the Texas primary – they are Republicans.”
Asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley whether the Tea Partiers could be a danger to the GOP, DeLay said that, instead of fearing the Tea Partiers, his party should embrace the grassroots movement.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the Republicans – if they’ll take it. They now have these people in their party. They ought to be reaching out to them and accommodating them and working with them.”
Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN
Washington (CNN) – Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch told CNN Sunday that if Democrats use the parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation to pass health care reform, “they’re going to have to live with it the rest of their lives.”
“The American people aren’t going to put up with it,” Hatch added.
The Utah Republican has long been an opponent to Democratic health care proposals. In December, Hatch called Senate health care legislation “one lousy bill” that “could wreck our country.”
Hatch also accused House Democratic leaders of taking reconciliation too far.
“There’s no question that they are basically abusing the reconciliation rules,” he said. “What they want to do is, if they can, pass the Senate bill over there [in the House], and since that would have huge reconciliation problems, they want to pass a minor reconciliation bill and then say that that had nothing to do with pushing through a bill that the American people don't want.”