There's been yet another twist in the saga of the New York governor's race.
Democrat Steven Levy, county executive in New York City suburb Suffolk, said Friday he has switched parties and will run as a Republican.
The single most important thing the people of New York want to hear in the race this year is not 'what party do you belong to.' They want to hear 'what is your plan to rescue our state?' Levy said, according to a statement.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. John Boccieri, D-Ohio, announced Friday he is switching his vote to "yes" on the health care reform bill which is expected to come to a vote Sunday. The Ohio lawmaker previously voted against the House version of the health care reform bill late last year.
Boccieri announced his decision to support the bill at a Capitol Hill news conference surrounded by constituents who have been adversely affected by the current health care system.
"When I think…what could happen to those 39,000 people in my congressional district who don't have health care insurance, or the 9,800 people in my congressional district who are living with pre-existing conditions," Boccieri said, "they are one medical emergency, one bankruptcy, one diagnosis away from complete and utter economic chaos."
The Ohio Democrat has been targeted in television ads by health care proponents pressuring him to switch his vote. He is the first Democrat to represent Ohio's 16th congressional district in close to 60 years.
The president's populist push on his signature issue came two days before a planned climactic vote in Congress. The House of Representatives is set to vote Sunday on a sweeping $875 billion reform plan that cleared the Senate in December, as well as another $65 billion of compromise changes to the measure.
"In just a few days, a century-long struggle with culminate in a historic vote," Obama declared at a campaign-style event at Virginia's George Mason University. "If you believe that it's right, you've got to help us finish this fight. ... The time for reform is right now."
If the Senate bill passes the House, Obama will sign it into law. If the package of changes is passed, it will be taken up by the Senate.
Obama warned that if Congress rejects his plan, "the insurance industry will continue to run amok."
Updated: 5:25 p.m.
(CNN) - With the expected House vote on health care reform days away, the Democratic National Committee is launching a new ad Friday that blasts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for "plotting" to block the sweeping legislation.
The 30-second spot, which is set to air in the Washington, D.C., area, highlights a recent New York Times report that McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has long planned to use his "extensive knowledge of Senate procedure" to slow or even stop passage of the final bill.
"Even before President Obama took office he was plotting his obstruction, and Senate Republicans stood with him, playing politics and protecting their special interest allies. Mitch McConnell and Republican games, that's what's wrong with Washington," the ad states.
McConnell told the Times on Tuesday that it is "critical" Republicans maintain their opposition to the health care bill.
"If the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is OK … it's either bipartisan or it isn't."
The two men were charged with failure to obey a lawful order after they were warned to remove the handcuffs or face arrest, said Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser.
Schlosser would not name the pair because they had not yet been processed, but video showed that one was Lt. Dan Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate who is fluent in Arabic. Choi admitted his sexual orientation publicly for the first time last year on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," prompting the Army to initiate proceedings to discharge him.
Choi chose to appeal his case rather than accept a discharge. The case is still pending.
Washington (CNN) – With Sunday's House vote on healthcare reform moving closer, President Obama travels to Virginia's George Mason University Friday for a final rhetorical push for the critical test of his ability to deliver on a signature promise of his presidency.
White House officials say the speech will frame the vote as a choice between a "victory for the insurers" or "victory for the American people." They say he will take aim at Washington and its "inability to do the right thing so much of the time."
That, the president's aides say, is the same message he will give member of Congress. Mr. Obama is expected to meet with and call members after his morning speech.
The White House, aides say, feels that it had a "really good day" yesterday and has a "good sense of momentum," picking up the AFL-CIO, Change to Win and Federation of American Hospitals endorsements and convincing more members to change their votes from no to yes.
Bring your lunch to work Friday and log onto CNN.com at 12 p.m. ET for a special sneak peek of John King's new political show, "John King, USA."
"John King, USA" officially launches Monday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN, but we are providing a true behind-the-scenes experience where Internet users can see how a show comes together in the final stages. Tomorrow's online preview will include an interview with Texas Rep. Ron Paul to talk health care and the future of the Republican Party, as well as an interview with FCC chair Julius Genachowski.
Also, we want your input and are asking for you to "Make Your Case, America!"
We know that all the problems facing this nation cannot be answered in Washington, so we are hoping you can help deliver the solutions. Each week, the show will ask you to weigh in on the hot debate. Are we better off with privatized health care or a public option? Should marijuana be legalized? Which team is better: Yankees or Red Sox? (We all know John thinks it is the Red Sox, but we want to hear what you have to say).
A couple of tips: keep it simple, keep it short, and remember to give us your best made-for-TV smile. So what are you waiting for?
This week's topic is health care: "Is President Obama doing enough or too much in pushing health care legislation?" Make Your Case!
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Democrats pushing for health care reform are closer to the finish line than ever, but it's not over yet. And the question of cost will remain a central issue in coming days.
On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office weighed in with a key - if still very preliminary - cost estimate.
The latest bill is a mix of provisions from a bill the Senate passed last December and proposals made by President Obama recently.