New York (CNNMoney.com) - Misguided. Unworkable. Hypocritical.
Wall Street was unimpressed by President Obama's argument for financial reform on Thursday. The reaction of nearly a dozen financial industry workers ranged from skepticism to animosity.
"It doesn't seem necessary for him to come down here," said Frank Clemente, a stock broker. "It's all political, not any real reform."
Clemente was particularly annoyed that Obama criticized the financial industry after having accepted political contributions from Goldman Sachs during his presidential campaign.
"He took their money before, so it's kind of hypocritical to attack them now," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden heads to Pennsylvania Friday to lend a hand to two fellow Democrats.
Friday morning Biden headlines a fundraiser in Pittsburgh for Mark Critz, the Democratic candidate in the May 18 special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Jack Murtha, a Democratic source tells CNN.
Critz, a longtime aide to the late congressman, is facing off against Republican Tim Burns. The race has heated up in recent weeks, with both campaigns as well as national party committees going up with television ads.
The district, which stretches from Cambria County in west-central Pennsylvania down to the southwestern corner of the state, is considered socially conservative. In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry won the district by 2 points. Sen. John McCain narrowly edged out Barack Obama in the district in 2008, even though Obama carried the state by 10 percent.
Following the fundraiser, the vice president heads east, where he'll be the main attraction at a rally for Sen. Arlen Specter. The event, Friday afternoon at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, brings Biden close to his native Scranton for the first time since becoming vice president.
Washington (CNN) - The ever-evolving list of about 10 top contenders for the Supreme Court includes a diverse group of judges and politicians, administration officials tell CNN.
Those in the informal group of candidates have had their personal and professional records scrutinized by White House officials in recent weeks, and within days the names could be narrowed to a group of about three to five finalists, the government sources say.
These sources say three people long mentioned as favorites continue to receive the most attention inside the Oval Office - Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appeals judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland.
President Barack Obama continues his public and private outreach to Senate lawmakers, who will ultimately vote on the nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The president has said he hopes to make his choice in the next month.
One name that has moved onto the "short list" of leading candidates is Judge Ann Claire Williams of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She works on the same bench as Wood, and was seriously considered last year for the high court vacancy that went to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was then a judge in the 2nd Circuit. Administration officials have been interested in her role as a judicial pioneer, and her former career as a schoolteacher.
Officials privately stress the current "short" list could expand slightly, depending on the president's own criteria, as he begins to focus more attention on the vacancy. He already has spoken informally with some
candidates, officials have said, but has not had any in-person, sit-down interviews, which often is the last step before a decision is made.
Here is the latest list of top contenders:
(CNN) - If there's one thing that Vice President Joe Biden can't be accused of, it's holding back on what he really feels - or his personal life.
And he didn't disappoint on Thursday when he sat down with the ladies of ABC's "The View."
In an emotional moment, the former Democratic senator from Delaware opened up about a personal affliction that he has worked through: stuttering.
"When you stutter, it's the most debilitating thing," he said. "It's hard to ask 'will you go to the pr-pr-pr-pr-prom.' They look at and go 'this guy must be an idiot.'"
Washington (CNN) - The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to scrap its $1600 cost-of-living pay raise for 2011. Lawmakers automatically receive the pay hike unless they vote each year to stop it.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who has adamantly protested the the annual pay raise since his election in 1992. Legislators did not take a pay raise in 2010 either - a suspension of the pay raise was included in the omnibus appropriations bill.
"Not many Americans have the power to give themselves a raise whenever they want, no matter how they are performing," Feingold said in a press release. "Yet Congress has set up a system whereby every year members automatically get a pay increase without having to lift a finger. I refuse to be a part of that system, and I will continue to work to permanently end it."
"But in the meantime, Congress should at least give up its raise for next year. With so many Americans looking for jobs, and trying to figure out how to pay their bills, now is no time to give ourselves a taxpayer-funded pay raise."
Read the one-page bill here [pdf]
In keeping with a campaign promise from his first run for senator in 1992, Feingold has never taken an annual pay raise. According to his office, "Feingold returns pay above the level he received after he was last elected and returns it to the U.S. Treasury."
The legislation now must pass the House of Represenatives.
Washington (CNN) - The White House announced Thursday that veteran Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter will lead communications and outreach strategy efforts for the implementation of the new health care reform law.
Cutter will oversee what is expected to be a significant campaign to build public support for the law, which Republicans have vowed to repeal if voters put them back into power in the 2010 midterm elections.
"Stephanie is one of the most respected professionals in public affairs and has an innate understanding of the nexus between policy and communications," President Obama said in a statement. "She's also a veteran of the White House, and I'm thrilled to have her on board in this new role."
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will fight to preserve the law establishing an annual National Day of Prayer, the Justice Department confirmed Thursday.
The law was declared unconstitutional last week by a federal judge.
The Justice Department's official filing of a "notice to appeal" Thursday came as no surprise, after White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said following the ruling that President Barack Obama intends to recognize this year's National Day of Prayer, which is May 6.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin ruled on April 15 that the 1952 law creating the National Day of Prayer violates the ban on government-backed religion.
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich filed a motion Thursday seeking to subpoena President Barack Obama to testify in the corruption case against the former Illinois governor.
The 10-page motion contends Obama must have information in the case because the charges against Blagojevich involve alleged deal-making to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama when he became president.
"The defense understands that the President of the United States of America is not a routine witness and would not request his appearance if it did not think he was critical to the liberty of Rod Blagojevich," the motion says.
According to the motion, Obama's public assertion that he had no involvement in talks about filling his Senate seat contradicts information from another witness in the case.
In addition, the motion says Tony Rezko, a political fundraiser convicted of fraud charges who has links to Obama, also is a government witness in the case and Obama can offer testimony about him.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama called on the financial industry Thursday to support his efforts to enact new regulatory reforms or risk repeating the "failure of responsibility" that nearly brought down the nation's economy.
"I believe in the power of the free market," Obama said in a speech at Cooper Union, not far from the New York Stock Exchange. "But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it."
The highly anticipated speech cames as Obama and Democrats in Congress are pushing to get a reform package approved this year, with talk that there may be support from at least some Republicans. The House passed a regulatory reform bill in December, and the Senate version is currently being debated.
The reforms the administration has proposed represent a "significant improvement on the flawed rules we have in place today," Obama said. But that push get those reforms enacted has had to contend with "the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape them to their special interests."
(CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney became the latest prominent Republican to line up behind Marco Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida, issuing a strongly-wording statement Thursday casting Rubio's GOP primary rival, Gov. Charlie Crist, as an unprincipled opportunist who can't be "trusted" to stand up to President Obama.
"Washington is broken and Congress is already overflowing with politicians who need pollsters to tell them what to think," Cheney said of Crist. "It certainly doesn't need another one. Now more than ever America needs leaders with the strength of conviction."
Cheney called Rubio "a strong conservative leader." He urged Crist to either remain in the Republican primary, which he would almost certainly lose, or drop out of the race completely.
"The only winners from an independent bid by Crist would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid," Cheney said of the president and Senate Democratic Leader from Nevada.