Washington (CNN) - Despite receiving $28,200 in campaign donations from BP over the last 10 years, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, avoided saying Tuesday whether she will return contributions from the energy giant in the wake of the company's devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Landrieu was asked in an interview on CNN's "John King, USA" if she should return the money given her oversight role on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee.
"I'm not trying to be [a] watchdog for BP," Landrieu said. "I am trying to be a good senator for this country and for Louisiana, and to bring a balance to our energy policy, which is protecting our coast, fighting for energy security and a clean environment."
Over the past decade, Landrieu has received nearly $753,000 from the oil and gas industry, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-partisan website that follows the “influence of money on U.S. politics.”
The Democrat dismissed claims that the energy industry is poorly regulated.
"I don't believe that's a fair criticism," she told King. "I think that this industry has very tight regulations and good regulations."
Washington (CNN) – A JPMorgan Chase spokesperson is apologizing Tuesday after a top executive at the firm authored a note implying that senators displayed a "low level of economic literacy" at last week's Goldman Sachs hearings.
"The hearings exposed an unnerving ignorance of fundamental principles of market economics by folks who have a hand in remapping rules of finance that will be with us for a while," JPMorgan Chase Managing Director and Senior Economist James E. Glassman wrote Monday in a memo obtained first by the Huffington Post.
JPMorgan Chase spokesperson Jennifer Zuccarelli, in a statement to CNN, distanced the company from Glassman's May 3 analysis.
"The report is from a single economist and does not reflect the views of our firm," she said. "We disagree with his characterizations, and we're sorry."
Glassman took aim at the senators following the much publicized testimony given by former and current Goldman Sachs officials during the committee hearing looking into the company's investment practices.
"The financial reform debate is in the final innings with much at stake," he wrote, later adding that the "legislation in its present form seems likely to do little to fix the flaws" and that "it's time for the grownups to step in."
Washington (CNN) - Anger over Arizona's controversial immigration law is entering a new arena. The sports arena, to be precise.
The Phoenix Suns will wear special basketball jerseys in Game Two of their Western Conference Playoff Series on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. The jerseys will be emblazoned with the words, "Los Suns."
Team officials decided to express their frustration with the new law in conjunction with Wednesday's celebration of Mexican heritage on the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
"Our players and organization felt that wearing our "Los Suns" jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation," Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver wrote in a statement.
Washington (CNN) - With senior officials saying he's edging closer to announcing his pick for the Supreme Court, President Obama interviewed federal judge Diane Wood at the White House on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the process.
Vice President Biden also conducted a separate one-on-one interview with Wood on Tuesday, according to the sources familiar with the process. A source close to Wood told CNN she had abruptly canceled her Tuesday afternoon class at the University of Chicago.
In addition to her judgeship, the 59-year-old Wood teaches a Civil Procedure class part-time. She was a finalist for the high court vacancy last year and had also met with Obama personally for the job that ultimately went to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
This time around, Obama has now held four one-on-one meetings with potential nominees to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, and the sources said there could be other meetings.
The President previously held separate meetings with Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sidney Thomas from Montana, and Federal Appellate Judge Merrick Garland.
Washington (CNN) - Actress Demi Moore visited the White House on Tuesday to bring attention to the issue of domestic sex trafficking of children.
After earlier meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Moore went across town to discuss the topic with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The actress was accompanied to her various stops by three young women who were once sex slaves.
Moore and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, recently formed a non-profit group called "DNA" - The Demi and Ashton Foundation - with the goal of eliminating sexual enslavement.
According to the group's website, as many as 300,000 children have been sold into sexual slavery in the United States. The global market generates $32 billion in profits yearly, the foundation says.
Washington (CNN) - Marco Rubio said Tuesday he would welcome Republican leaders to Florida to campaign on his behalf, but emphasized that he is not embracing the ways of Washington even though he is now the GOP establishment's favorite son.
"I'm more than excited to have people buy into our agenda. You know we don't buy into theirs, and I'm here today to get some help from some folks who want to be helpful to our campaign," Rubio said shortly after landing in the nation's capital, where he will spend the day holding meetings and attending several finance events.
"But ultimately, although Washington and some in Washington may embrace me, I don't embrace Washington," he said. "And I certainly think that one of the reasons I'm running for U.S. Senate is - and I ran when I was 30 points down - and all of the interest groups and all of the leadership here lined up behind Charlie Crist - is that I believe what's coming out of the city is broken."
(CNN) – Illinois Republican Rep. Mark Kirk is out with a new television ad that both accuses his opponent of distracting voters and refers to embattled energy company BP.
Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasurer, will face off in November's midterm election in an effort to win the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
The 30-second spot says Giannoulias is trying to distract attention from the recent failure of the bank founded Giannoulias' family which was seized by the FDIC late last month.
Then the ad turns positive and focuses on Kirk's record. "Because of Kirk's record on stem cells and stopping British Petroleum's pollution of Lake Michigan, he's called 'independent' and 'effective,' the ad says.
Asked for a response to the new Kirk ad, the Giannoulias campaign said Kirk was not in touch with voters' concerns.
"Only someone as out of touch as Congressman Mark Kirk would say talking about jobs and the economy during a campaign is a distraction," Giannoulias campaign spokesman Matt McGrath told CNN.
(CNN) - Jeff Greene, the billionaire real estate investor running for Senate in Florida, is rebuffing his Democratic primary opponent's charges that he made his fortune on the backs of the Sunshine State's suffering homeowners.
Greene, who joined the Senate race last Friday, has promised to spend whatever it takes to win the seat. He made hundreds of millions of dollars by speculating against the real estate market before it collapsed.
His primary opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek, has dismissed Greene's candidacy as a novelty act and accused him of profiting off the many foreclosures dragging down Florida's housing market.
In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Greene said Meek is trying to "distort the truth."
Washington (CNN) - As a young working mother in the the early 1980s, Diane Wood, like many of her generation, struggled to balance work and family.
The future judge and Supreme Court contender had just accepted a job teaching law in Chicago, Illinois, while pregnant with her second child.
Soon after David was born, the professor went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to the hospital with post-pregnancy complications. Despite her serious condition, she recovered quickly, but really had no choice. Friends say that with two young kids and a new job, no maternity leave was offered, and her male colleagues at work were mostly clueless over how to deal with her.
"People had no idea what to do with the fact that I had these two tiny children," she told an interviewer last year. Overcoming institutional and social challenges to become a nationally recognized legal heavyweight and high court contender, colleagues say, is a testament to Wood's intellectual and personal fortitude.
Washington (CNN) - The White House announced Tuesday that 15 U.S. communities will receive grant money to launch new health information technology programs.
Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named the "Beacon Communities" that will receive more than $220 million in economic stimulus funds for technology to help coordinate medical care involving doctors, hospitals, community health centers and patients.
The programs are also expected to create dozens of jobs in each of the 15 communities - jobs that will pay an average of $70,000 a year, Biden said.
He called the program a "win-win-win" because it helps improve health and safety while increasing efficiency and creating jobs.
The Beacon Community funds help build a technological infrastructure to allow doctors, hospitals, businesses and families to more easily and securely transfer and share information, all on the internet, Biden said.
According to the White House website, the 15 communites receiving Beacon designation and funding are: