(CNN) – President Obama penned a birthday letter to retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday.
Born in 1920, Tuesday marked Stevens' 90th birthday, an occasion President Obama celebrated by congratulating Stevens on his "long and esteemed tenure in public service."
"For the last 35 years of your remarkable 90, the Nation has benefited from the rigor, courage, and integrity," Obama wrote in the letter, released by the Supreme Court press office.
Obama, who is reportedly reaching out this week to possible candidates to succeed Stevens, wished the high court judge much happiness moving forward.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama called Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, on Tuesday afternoon to try to get him on board with Democrats hoping to pass immigration reform, Brown's spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told CNN.
Gitcho said Brown told the president he would review the proposal, but made no commitment. White House spokesman Bill Burton confirmed the President called the Senator to discuss the legislation on Tuesday during his return flight from California aboard Air Force One.
Currently, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, is the only GOP Senator on board with moving on immigration reform, but he has told Democrats they will lose his support unless they find another Republican.
Graham and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told the president during a meeting last month that they wanted him to start calling other Republican targets to bring them on board. Brown is one of those potential targets, according to a Democratic source familiar with that conversation.
Reid's rhetoric has been replaced by the "stench of hypocrisy," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
President Obama made ties to Wall Street a political issue late last week when he personally singled out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, for their recent meeting with Wall Street leaders. Cornyn is the chairman of the NRSC, the campaign arm for Senate Republicans.
In his Internet and radio address released Saturday, Obama claimed that McConnell and Cornyn held the meeting in order to talk about how to block progress on financial regulatory reform legislation.
Appearing on CNN Sunday, McConnell denied Obama's accusation, but Democrats have continued to hammer Republicans over their ties to Wall Street and the GOP's objections to the current version of the reform legislation under consideration in the Senate.
Asked about reports that he held a Wall Street fundraising event, Reid defended his legislative efforts to put tighter controls on large financial institutions.
"Well first of all, everything that we have done on this legislation is about as transparent as it can be," Reid said. "I think that it's pretty clear that I'm leading the effort to rein in Wall Street, to make them more accountable and end the 'too big to fail' and while Republicans it seems are leading the efforts to leave things just the way they are. Wall Street is responsible for our economic disaster and we must hold them accountable."
(CNN) - Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, said Tuesday she has no plans to return $4,500 in campaign contributions she has received from embattled Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs' political action committee or the company's employees.
"The point here is, the contribution didn't make any difference because I still produced one of the toughest reform bills that's been presented," Lincoln told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley in an interview on The Situation Room.
Lincoln has introduced legislation that she says would require 100 percent transparency in the derivatives market.
Lincoln faces a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in this year's election. The Halter campaign wasted no time Tuesday responding to Lincoln's decision not to return the contributions.
Washington (CNN) – House Republican leaders sent a letter Monday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady asking that House rules restricting the use of video conferencing be eased.
Currently, House rules prohibit members of Congress from using video-conferencing software applications such as Skype.
The letter, released Tuesday afternoon, was signed by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Eric Cantor of Virginia, Mike Pence of Indiana, Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, and Dan Lungren of California is the result of an effort led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California to find more effective ways of engaging constituents.
"[T]he House remains tied to outdated rules that make video conferencing difficult and expensive. The fact is we don't need to sacrifice cyber security to open new lines of communication, like with Skype and other similar technology," McCarthy said in a statement. "If members of the House are to effectively represent the will of the people, we must keep pace with secure 21st century communications tools."
(CNN) – White House aide Kal Penn, the once and future actor, was robbed at gunpoint in Washington early Tuesday morning, according to two officials familiar with the matter.
Penn had his wallet and cell phone stolen, but officials stressed that he was not seriously injured in the incident that was initially reported by TMZ.com.
"He's fine," said one of the officials, who added that Penn reported for work at the White House. He works in the Office of Public Liaison and focuses on President Obama's outreach to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.
Washington (CNN) - House Republican candidates will be encouraged, but not forced, to sign on to the policy blueprint being crafted by GOP leaders for the midterm elections that's being compared to the 1994 "Contract with America."
That set of promises and principles from 16 years ago is widely seen as one of the reasons Republicans succeeded in knocking entrenched Congressional Democrats out of power.
The new yet-to-be-named blueprint being crafted by the current GOP leadership is expected to be unveiled sometime after Labor Day, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions said Tuesday during a campaign briefing with reporters. Sessions is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the political wing of House Republican leadership.
"It will be a document worth signing, I predict," said Sessions, who later added that GOP leaders would not "force people" to sign it.
Washington (CNN) - It appears March was a very good month for the Democratic National Committee.
The DNC reported Tuesday that it raised $13.5 million last month and nearly $30 million in the first quarter of the year. The DNC said it has $14.7 million cash on hand, with debt of $3.4 million.
A Democratic source told CNN that the committee experienced increased activity in the weeks after congressional passage of the Democrats' health care reform bill, and pointed out that the fundraising totals are the biggest month and quarter for the DNC in non-presidential year since the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law in 2002.
Earlier this month, a Democratic source told CNN the DNC had raised at least $13 million. The DNC's counterpart, the RNC, reported raising $11.4 million last month, while having $11.3 million in the bank and no debt.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
(CNN) - Derek Jeter and the rest of the New York Yankees are coming to the White House next Monday to celebrate last year's World Series victory with President Obama, according to White House aides.
The Yankees are stopping at the White House next week because on Tuesday the team starts a three-game series against the nearby Baltimore Orioles.
Obama recently wore a cap from his beloved Chicago White Sox while throwing out the first pitch at the home opener for the Washington Nationals.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama has been privately reaching out this week to candidates for the pending Supreme Court vacancy, an administration source told CNN Tuesday.
The source - who is involved in the ongoing selection process - characterized the talks as "conversations," not formal in-person interviews that often are the last step before a nominee is chosen and announced.
White House officials have said they expect the president to pick his nominee by early May. Justice John Paul Stevens announced he would retire shortly after the court's current term ends in late June.