(CNN) - Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio never charged a back wax to his Republican Party of Florida credit card, his campaign spokesman told CNN Tuesday, rebutting Gov. Charlie Crist's curious allegation about his Republican primary rival's grooming habits.
So what exactly did Rubio put on his tab during his $134 visit to an upscale Miami salon when he was Florida House speaker?
Rubio's spokesman Alex Burgos has the details:
"Marco paid $20 for a haircut with a razor on the neck, and he bought some items that went into a silent auction, including gift certificates," he said.
Burgos said the salon in question, Churchill's Barber Shop, sells "travel kits and other gift sets that people usually buy around the holidays as gifts."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that before the House acts on final health care legislation, leaders are waiting for costs assessments from the Congressional Budget Office, and information from the Senate parliamentarian.
Specifically, House leaders want to know "what the Senate will be able to do" in a controversial reconciliation bill meant to correct changes in the underlying health care bill.
Pelosi's comments came after an hour-and-a-half meeting in the Capitol with House and Senate Democratic leaders, and the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that, in part, dealt with allaying distrust some House Democrats have of Senate Democrats and their ability to pass the reconciliation bill.
Asked if House leaders want a letter or some other concrete assurance about what the Senate can pass in a reconciliation bill, Pelosi, D-California, said no.
"We are way far down the road. It's not a question of confidence. It's a question now of making sure those numbers are what we represent them to be and we have to have that validation from the CBO," she said. FULL POST
Washington (CNN) - Activists ratcheted up the pressure for health care reform Tuesday, picketing in front of a hotel where a group of insurance industry leaders were meeting.
More than 1,000 protesters, including representatives of organized labor, marched through downtown Washington before stopping in front of the Ritz Carlton, site of the annual conference of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an insurance industry lobbying group.
"We're fired up (and) can't take no more," the marchers chanted as they unfurled an oversized roll of yellow police tape emblazoned with the words "corporate crime scene."
They were led by, among others, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a prominent backer of reform legislation.
Washington (CNN) – Modern education policy makes for strange bedfellows.
Current Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former Education Secretary William Bennett, agreed Tuesday that No Child Left Behind, a trademark initiative of former President George W. Bush, has caused some states to lower educational standards.
"We have dummied-downed standards," Duncan said on CNN's Situation Room. "It's our fault as adults. We've lowered the bar. We've had low expectations – not because it's the right thing educationally, not because it's the right thing for our economy. We did it because of political pressure."
Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer what he meant by "political pressure," Duncan blamed the previous administration's signature educational policy which created a regime of standardized testing as one of the major indicators of a school's success in educating kids.
"What we've seen under No Child Left Behind is – we saw many states actually reducing standards to respond to that political pressure. That's bad for children, bad for education. Wolf, we've been lying to children in our country."
Watch the interview after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - Barely a month in office, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, is putting some muscle behind his independent image by twice voting against his own party and questioning the use of the filibuster.
Brown took to the Senate floor Tuesday to announce he would vote for cloture, or to end a Republican filibuster, on a bill extending unemployment benefits and tax credits. This, despite the fact he opposes the bill and technically the filibuster helped his cause.
"I have very serious concerns about the overall cost of the bill," Brown told the chamber, "but my vote for cloture signals that I believe we need to keep the process moving." He also said, "there has been a week of debate and allowing this bill to receive an up-and-down vote, would be a step, I feel, in the right direction."
(CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has been taking heat for charging a $130 barber shop visit to his Republican Party of Florida credit card when he was the state House Speaker.
Now his GOP primary opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, is insinuating that Rubio was paying for something other than a haircut. A back wax, to be precise.
During an interview Monday evening on Fox News, Crist attacked Rubio for "trying to pawn himself off as a fiscal conservative."
"And yet just in recent weeks, two weeks ago it has come out in news accounts he had a Republican Party of Florida credit card that he charged $130 haircut, or maybe it was a back wax," he said. "We are not sure what all he got at that place."
Host Greta Van Sustern interrupted. "Wait a second, stop. A back wax? Wait a second."
"I don't know what it was, you know," Crist continued.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama heads to Missouri Wednesday, as part of his bid to win passage of his health care reform proposals. The president will also headline a fundraiser for fellow Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. But Robin Carnahan, the Democratic candidate running this year for the Missouri's open U.S. Senate seat, will be missing from the picture.
The Carnahan campaign says their candidate will not able to team up with Obama while he's in her home state because she'll be in Washington, attending to official state business as part of her job as Missouri's secretary of state. The campaign says Carnahan's agenda includes meeting with financial regulators and policymakers to demand tough federal action to regulate Wall Street and protect consumers.
Carnahan's campaign says her event in Washington was scheduled before the White House announced that the president will be in Missouri Wednesday.
Carnahan will most likely face off this November against Republican Rep. Roy Blunt, the former House minority whip. The Senate battle, between two leading political families in Missouri, is for an open seat, as incumbent Republican Kit Bond is not running for re-election.
Updated 7:30 p.m.: Discussing Carnahan's trip to Washington, Blunt campaign spokesman Rich Chrismer says "Robin Carnahan can't hide from her rubber-stamp support of Barack Obama."
Jerusalem (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States condemns Israel's decision to build 1,600 housing units in a Jerusalem neighborhood, calling it "a step that undermines the trust we need right now."
"I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem," Biden said in a statement issued just hours after he met with Israeli leaders in the region.
"The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel."
The construction, announced earlier Tuesday, will be in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, located in disputed territory in East Jerusalem. The Israeli Interior Ministry denies the territory is in East Jerusalem.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs echoed Biden's condemnation at a briefing in Washington.
Washington (CNN) – When it comes to raising money, Scooby Doo is on the minds of Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid criticized the Republican National Committee Tuesday for likening him to the cartoon dog, although the Nevada Democrat acknowledged having a soft spot for the dimwitted, four legged detective, in a new email fundraising pitch.
"It's been a long time since I watched cartoons with my kids, but I recall Scooby Doo as a pretty good character," Reid wrote in the note sent to supporters. "He solved mysteries and caught the bad guys, pretty impressive - especially for a dog. But you know, it's true what they say: politics is a very rough business."
Reid is referring to a recent RNC fundraising presentation that compared Reid to Scooby Doo as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cartoon villain Cruella De Vil and President Obama to Batman's nemesis, the Joker. The presentation came under fire from Democrats and Republicans for being in poor taste and RNC Chairman Michael Steele was forced to distance himself from it.
"I'm making light of this RNC presentation, but it's really not funny," Reid wrote in the email. "Using fear to motivate supporters is cowardly politics. Moreover, it's an admission that Republicans have no platform to run on other than saying 'NO' to just about everything, and obstructing change that Nevadans, and Americans, deserve."
Reid, who public polling shows is fighting for his political life, asks for a "small online contribution" and emphasized that the GOP sees him as a top target to try and defeat in November. He includes the RNC's side-by-side cartoon depictions of himself and Scooby Doo in the fundraising email.
TOPICS: Sleep, night shift work