Washington (CNN) – An African-American Virginia lawmaker said Wednesday that he is not yet ready to accept an apology from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, suggesting McDonnell’s misstep regarding Virginia’s confederate history is part of a pattern which calls the governor’s sincerity into question.
The Republican governor apologized earlier Wednesday after coming under criticism for issuing a proclamation that declared April to be Confederate History Month in the state but which made no mention of slavery.
“The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed,” McDonnell said in a statement. The governor also announced that his proclamation would be amended to mention slavery and call it “an evil and inhumane practice.”
But Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III said the mea culpa was not enough.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a leading figure in Democratic efforts to win congressional approval of a new health care bill. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - (CNN) - A 48-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the FBI announced.
The arrest occurred in San Francisco, California, where Pelosi's home district is located, according to FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler. He identified the suspect as Gregory L. Giusti, but no further details were immediately available.
FBI spokeswoman Patti Hansen said charges against the suspect would be revealed at a court hearing Thursday. She declined to provide any further details of the case.
Pelosi is the top Democrat in the U.S. House and was a leading figure in efforts to win congressional approval of sweeping health care legislation.
A statement from Pelosi's office said the arrest occurred "after an investigation into threats against" the speaker. It thanked law enforcement officials and said Pelosi would have no further comment at this time.
Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that his recent proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month "contained a major omission."
"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell said in a written statement. "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of 'profound regret' for the Commonwealth's history of slavery, which was the right thing to do.
McDonnell also noted that while Virginia had been the Capitol of the Confederacy, it was also the first state in the nation to elect an African-American governor. "America's history has been written in Virginia," McDonnell said. "We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility."
In his statement, McDonnell also announced that additional language regarding slavery will be added to the proclamation.
(CNN) - Five more states - Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona - on Wednesday joined 13 others in a lawsuit against the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system signed into law last month by President Barack Obama, the Texas attorney general announced.
The lawsuit initially filed by Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota and Washington argues that the legislation's requirement that individuals buy health insurance violates the Constitution.
It calls the health care bill an "unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states" and asks a judge to block its enforcement.
"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit states.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last month that the Obama administration expected to win any legal challenge to the health care bill.
Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) - Republican hot button Sarah Palin took the stage Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling on conservatives to "get our country back on the right track."
"It's not going to be easy. This is a challenge," she told the crowd. "The first task is to restore balance and common sense, and the first test will be at the ballot box in November."
The former Alaska governor and current conservative superstar headlined the event hosted by the Republican Party of Minnesota. Her last appearance in Minnesota was for her book tour in December.
Palin also offered a direct thank you to members of the Tea Party movement.
"I thank you for being part of this beautiful grassroots movement that's really sweeping across our country and it is full of common-sense conservatives who are ready to take our country back."
Washington (CNN) - The Afghan and U.S. governments played down their political differences Wednesday, rejecting reports of a major dispute between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai.
Supportive statements by the U.S. State Department and Karzai's spokesman followed a week of increasing tension between the governments. On Tuesday, the White House indicated it could call off a scheduled May 12 visit by Karzai to Washington.
The tone was different Wednesday, with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley calling Karzai an ally in a shared struggle.
"We're committed to this partnership," Crowley said, adding: "We share President Karzai's desire to lead Afghanistan to greater sovereignty, and we support the goals he has laid out from his inauguration speech until today."
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder signed a treaty with Algeria on Wednesday that he hopes will help combat terrorism in an area crucial in the battle against violent extremists.
During a visit to Algiers, Holder signed the pact with Algerian Minister of Justice Tayeb Belaiz.
The United States has released 19 Guantanamo Bay detainees to Algeria over a span of several years. Some of the former detainees, including three this year, have been acquitted of terror-related crimes by Algerian courts.
"Algeria is an important partner in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime," Holder said. "This treaty will help us ensure that terrorists and other criminals are not able to avoid justice by simply hiding
evidence beyond our borders," Holder said.
(CNN) - For the first time in eight years, Virginia's Republican governor has issued a proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month in the state, drawing criticism from Democrats and a civil rights group.
"It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present," Gov. Robert McDonnell's seven-paragraph proclamation reads in part.
He quietly made the declaration after two previous Democratic administrations refused to do so.
"This defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians," the governor's proclamation reads.
It does not mention slavery.
"I wish he would have followed the examples of Gov. [Mark] Warner and Gov. [Tim] Kaine, but obviously he has declined to do so," state Sen. Don McEachin, a Democrat, told CNN affiliate WWBT. "I also find it interesting that while he issues his proclamation, there's no mention of slavery."
Three Republican state party chairmen Wednesday dismissed criticism of RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) -– A trio of Republican state party chairmen Wednesday dismissed criticism of Michael Steele and sought to highlight the Republican National Committee chairman’s political spadework ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.
A handful of embarrassing incidents at the RNC and a major staff shake-up have given critics an opening to question Steele’s leadership and exposed a schism in the GOP about whether he should remain at the helm of the committee heading into November.
“We are on the offensive,” California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring declared in a telephone interview with CNN. “That is what is lost on the discussion here. The victories in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts helped to create this environment of where we are right now, and the RNC was absolutely critical to making that happen.”
Over the past year, Republicans won the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia as well as picking up the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat. Political analysts expect the GOP to win additional seats in the House and Senate in November.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Alan Greenspan acknowledged Wednesday that mistakes were made during his long tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he argued that the low interest rate policy he championed at the central bank didn't inflate the housing bubble.
In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Greenspan said the recent financial meltdown was possibly "the most severe in history." He admitted that regulators failed to grasp the severity of the crisis, but he maintained that his policies and predictions were correct most of the time.
"When you've been in government for 21 years, as I have been, the issue of retrospect and what you should have done is a really futile activity," Greenspan said. "I was right 70% of the time. But I was wrong 30% of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years," he added.