San Francisco, California (CNN) - A man accused of threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wept Thursday as he talked to his attorney before a federal court hearing.
Gregory L. Giusti, 48, was arrested Wednesday in San Francisco, California, where Pelosi's home district is located, according to FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler.
No further details were immediately available about the case. The FBI said more would be revealed at the court hearing.
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.
(CNN) – Republican Carly Fiorina launched her first television advertisement Thursday in her bid to unseat California Sen. Barbara Boxer.
In the 30 second spot, Fiorina touts her rise from receptionist to CEO at Hewlett-Packard, a Fortune 20 company.
"Let's stop sending Washington more of our money," Fiorina says. "And, let's make sure they spend our money wisely and well."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is responsible for getting Democrats elected to the Senate, released a statement in response to the ad that read: "If Carly Fiorina wants to talk about her tenure at Hewlett-Packard, we are more than happy to have that conversation, beginning with her elimination of 30,000 jobs and ending with a $42 million golden parachute.”
The ad, featuring gentle music and soft lighting, is a shift from a series of bizarre Web videos featuring farm animals that her campaign released earlier this year.
Fiorina was endorsed by Condoleezza Rice last month.
(CNN) – "We still have to communicate" the need for health care reform and what it is already starting to do.
That's the thinking of Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the White House Office on Health Reform, sometimes called the "Health Reform Czar."
President Obama has embarked on a series of town hall-style rallies, including last week in Charlotte, N.C and Maine, to promote the laws that he signed last month, implementing major changes in health care policy.
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(CNN) – Republicans have the advantage in this year's battle for Pennsylvania governor and for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey of Pennsylvania voters released Thursday indicates that the leading GOP candidate, Attorney General Tom Corbett, remains ahead of each of the three top Democratic contenders by double digits in hypothetical general election matchups. The incumbent governor, Democrat Ed Rendell, is term limited and prevented from running for re-election this year.
According to the poll, in the Senate campaign Republican challenger Pat Toomey leads Sen. Arlen Specter 46 percent to 41 percent, with 12 percent undecided. The advantage for Toomey is just inside the poll's sampling error. Toomey trailed Specter in a Quinnipiac poll released a month ago. The two men have exchanged small leads since last autumn.
Toomey is a former congressman and former head of the Club for Growth, a limited-government and anti-tax organization. Specter, a five-term senator, switched parties from Republican to Democrat last spring. At the time of the party flip, he cited the difficulty in winning the Republican primary against Toomey as a factor.
"A Toomey-Specter race could continue swinging back and forth until November because most voters won't begin to focus on it until after Labor Day," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
New Orleans (CNN) - Nearly 4,000 GOP insiders are descending on New Orleans Thursday for the start of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, thought by many to be the unofficial kick-off to the 2012 presidential cycle.
Along with speeches from party leaders, the SRLC agenda includes strategy sessions, local food tastings and even a GOP-themed film festival - not to mention several days behind-the-scenes networking and a sampling of the city's abundant food and drink. The conference is taking place just steps from Bourbon Street.
The Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association, eager to fill their coffers in a midterm election year, are also holding fundraisers to piggyback off the gathering, which takes places every four years.
But the main draw, especially for the 130 credentialed media organizations in attendance, will be the parade of potential presidential contenders.
Louisiana Republican Party chairman Roger Villere, one of the event's organizers, described the conference as "the jump start for the 2012 presidential cycle."
Among the possible White House candidates: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
(CNN) – The Tea Party activists characterize their movement as grassroots, energetic and growing in size, but organized or unified? Those are not words used very often to discuss a movement divided among national and local chapters across the country.
But Thursday a broad coalition of national and regional Tea Party groups are announcing the formation of the National Tea Party Federation (NTPF). According to a statement from the Tea Party Express, one of the groups participating, the federation is being "established to create a unified message and media response amongst key leadership and their affiliates."
Tea Party leaders say the federation will also serve as a clearinghouse and will be used to promote the movement's objectives, which they say are "fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.
The creation of the federation is being announced at a Tea Party Express rally Thursday morning in St. Paul, Minnesota. The rally is part of the Tea Party Express's third national bus tour, which is scheduled to end on April 15. The Tax Day event is expected to draw various tea party and conservative groups to the nation's capital, and to other rallies expected to be held across the country.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
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.
(CNN) – The Tea Party Express is predicting large crowds for its five events Thursday and Friday aimed at unseating Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan. The five events are being held in the Democratic congressman's large and rural district, which includes the entire upper peninsula of Michigan.
The rallies come as sources tell CNN that the top two House Democrats called Stupak to urge him to stay in Congress. A Stupak spokeswoman didn't confirm nor deny rumors that Stupak is considering retiring from Congress.
"Every two years, Congressman Stupak discusses with his family and his constituents whether to seek reelection. He believes that is what the people of the First District of Michigan deserve," said Stupak spokeswoman Michelle Begnoche.
Begnoche does tell CNN that Stupak's campaign plans are underway, and has already gathered the 1,000 signatures needed to formally file for re-election by Michigan's deadline, May 11th.
Three Democratic sources tell CNN that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have both called Stupak to urge him to stay in Congress.
(CNN) - Former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who resigned his post in 2008 after it was revealed he visited a high-priced prostitute, says he hopes his career in politics is not over.
"I love politics," Spitzer said in an interview with Fortune. "The substance, the debate about the issues."
Spitzer, who has quietly made efforts to repair his image in the two years since his resignation, reportedly considered challenging New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary later this year. Gillibrand was appointed to her seat after Sen. Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State.
But Spitzer, who enjoyed considerably higher approval ratings as governor than his successor - current Gov. David Paterson - says a 2010 run is probably not in the cards.
"As for a race in 2010? It is just hard to see," he said. "I've never said I would never consider running for office again."