Washington (CNN) - Staffers to a top House GOP member sought to clarify an earlier claim of political violence against him Friday after police determined that a bullet shot at his local campaign office was the result of random gunfire.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters Thursday that a bullet had been shot through the window of his Richmond office - supposedly part of an escalating cycle of violence and threats in the wake of Sunday's sharply polarized health care reform vote.
Richmond police later determined, however, that Cantor had not been targeted by political opponents. Instead, they concluded, the incident was a consequence of "random gunfire."
"Given a recent spike in threats against Representative Cantor, he, his family and his security were concerned the bullet found in his campaign office was related to a number of violent e-mails and phone messages, many of them anti-Semitic and some of them threatening gun violence," Cantor spokesman John Murray said.
The congressman "was very happy to find out that police attributed this particular incident to random gunfire," Murray said. Now "we need to move on."
Cantor said Thursday that he had been "directly threatened." Hours later, however, the Richmond Police Department provided a statement noting that a preliminary investigation concluded "that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpanebut did not penetrate the window blinds."
Washington (CNN) - The public is split right down the middle on whether President Barack Obama should be re-elected and a majority of Americans predict he will be a one-term president, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that if the 2012 presidential election were held today, 47 percent of registered voters would back Obama, with an equal amount supporting an unnamed Republican challenger. Fifty-four percent of people questioned say Obama will lose if he runs for re-election in 2012, with 44 percent saying the president would win a second term.
"That may sound like a bad position to start from, but note that Bill Clinton was down 15 points to an unnamed Republican in March of 1994, and wound up winning the election two years later," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The poll indicates that the gender and generation gaps that we saw in the 2008 election have not disappeared.
Washington (CNN) - After more than a year of wrangling with the White House, the Senate, and her own House Democratic colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally got to sign final health care reform legislation on her 70th birthday and send it to the president to sign into law. But as much as Pelosi called signing the bill "a birthday privilege," she's still still waiting for the present she really wants - a pool table.
The Speaker told reporters after the bill signing that her husband wasn't sold on the idea of the pool table, so she enlisted her grandchildren to lobby him. "They are going to work on pop, which is my husband."
Pelosi was still hopeful she'd get her birthday wish, and is headed home California to celebrate with her family.
To mark the occasion, Pelosi's House colleagues sang "happy birthday" and presented her with a chocolate cake, her favorite. House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin, D-Michigan, joked afterwards that passing health care reform "was not a piece of cake."
Washington (CNN) - If Karl Rove would have had his way – Dick Cheney would not have become vice president.
Rove explained how he laid out the arguments to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush against choosing Cheney as a running mate, when asked in a CNN interview Thursday. Rove recounts the story in his new book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight."
"He was set on Cheney for vice president, and I thought it was a bad idea," Rove told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
Washington (CNN) - It hasn't even been a week since President Barack Obama signed sweeping health care legislation, but several companies already have warned shareholders they expect to take a hit.
Manufacturer John Deere announced Thursday that it expected the company's expenses to be about $150 million higher than last year. That came a day after Caterpillar predicted a new cost of $100 million, and two days after AK Steel predicted a charge of $31 million.
"Having an additional cost like this is not great timing," said Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan.
As a deep recession spread last year, revenue for the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment declined 37 percent over the previous year, and 19,000 workers were laid off worldwide. But in the last three months, the company has recalled 750 or so employees, and projected higher sales in 2010.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Under fire to do more to stop the foreclosure crisis, the Obama administration announced new steps on Friday to help the unemployed and those who are "underwater" with a bigger mortgage than their home is worth.
For eligible unemployed borrowers, the effort would require loan servicers to reduce monthly mortgage payments to 31% or less of income - and even suspend them entirely, an administration official said. The forbearance assistance would last up to six months, after which the borrower would be evaluated for a loan modification.
An administration official declined to comment whether interest or fees would be charged during the forbearance period.
Washington (CNN) - The United States and Russia have reached "the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades," President Barack Obama said Friday.
The agreement cuts by about one-third "the nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia will deploy," the president said.
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will last 10 years, and builds on the previous agreement that expired in December.
"It significantly reduces missiles and launchers," Obama told reporters at the White House. "It puts in place a strong and effective verification regime. And it maintains the flexibility that we need to protect and advance our national security, and to guarantee our unwavering commitment to the security of our allies."
Democrats have finally passed the top issue on their legislative agenda - health care - but with Republicans already pushing for a repeal, it's time to sell it.
The Democratic National Committee will run ads condemning ten Republicans who voted against the health care bill and touting the merits of twenty-five Democrats who supported it, the organization announced Friday
The radio ad campaign, called "Hands off our Health Care" targets several Republicans who support the bill's repeal, including Louisiana Rep. Joseph Cao - the lone Republican who supported an earlier version of the health care bill.