Washington (CNN) - If the new requirement that no-fly lists be checked by airlines every two hours had been in place, Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad would have been stopped before boarding a plane, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.
Pressed by lawmakers at a Senate hearing, Holder said the requirement for airlines to check no-fly lists every two hours instead of 24 hours likely could have prompted authorities at the airport to apprehend Shahzad sooner.
Shahzad was arrested late Monday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after boarding a flight bound for Dubai, United Arab Emirates. His final destination was Pakistan.
The Emirates plane had pulled away from the gate but was ordered back by customs officials. Shahzad was taken into custody.
Holder reiterated his statement to reporters Tuesday that he personally was "never worried" Shahzad would manage to escape, but acknowledged not everything went right.
Washington (CNN) - The 59th annual National Day of Prayer was held Thursday against a backdrop of controversy and growing doubts about the future of the event, which a federal judge recently declared unconstitutional.
President Truman signed a bill establishing an official National Day of Prayer in 1952, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin ruled April 15 that the law violates the ban on government-backed religion.
The Justice Department is appealing the case on behalf of the White House. An injunction against the National Day of Prayer will not take effect until all government appeals have been exhausted.
Several events to mark the day were scheduled Thursday across Washington, including services at the Pentagon, the Cannon House Office Building and on the steps of the Capitol.
Updated: 2:14 p.m.
President Obama has met in recent days with four leading candidates for the Supreme Court. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - CNN has reported President Barack Obama has personally met with four leading candidates for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. The president is expected to announce his nominee in coming days.
Here are summaries of the four people believed to be finalists for the seat held by retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, and a list of arguments for and against their nominations:
Washington (CNNMoney.com) – As the Senate continues to debate the Wall Street reform over these next few weeks, there is one issue that threatens to derail final passage: Consumer protection.
Democrats and Republicans have been arguing about consumer protection for months without making any compromise. And it's the one area that, so far, neither side has shown any willingness to bend on.
While political divisions have taken a back seat in many parts of the Wall Street reform bill, they've been front and center on the issue of creating a new agency to monitor consumer protection.
Washington (CNN) - Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a battle-tested campaigner hailing from a critical bellwether state, is warning congressional Democrats that they risk blowback in November if they attempt to pass immigration reform and climate change legislation ahead of the midterm vote.
"I think we need to proceed with some awareness of the potential political consequences of the actions that are undertaken here in Washington," Strickland said Thursday in a sit-down with CNN reporters and producers.
The governor, facing a difficult re-election campaign against Republican John Kasich, is in the nation's capital for a series of meetings and fundraisers. Strickland served six terms in the House, representing coal-rich portions of eastern Ohio, before winning the governorship in 2006.
Though he expressed general support for climate legislation and said "it will eventually happen," he questioned whether the Obama administration should make it a priority this year.
"When I say the climate change issue could be a problem, it's the timing and it's the specific nature of the legislation," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Joe Sestak unveiled what may be his final salvo against Sen. Arlen Specter, tying him to former President George W. Bush and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin Thursday in a new television ad meant to appeal to Democratic primary voters.
The commercial comes less than two weeks before Pennsylvania Democrats choose their nominee for the Senate. Recent polls show that Sestak, who has been trailing in the polls, is now within striking distance of Specter, a Republican who switched his party affiliation to Democrat last year.
In the 30-second spot, Bush is seen calling Specter an "ally" and says that "he is the right man for the United States Senate." Specter's own words are used against him twice, with footage of him saying "my change in party will enable me to be re-elected," touting his 2009 party switch.
The ad also hits Specter over an issue that looms large for voters in the upcoming 2010 midterm elections: high unemployment numbers. "Arlen Specter switched parties to save one job: his, not yours," an announcer is heard saying at the close of the ad.
London, England (CNN) - As Britons head to the polls Thursday in what is clearly a historic election, comparisons to the 2008 U.S. presidential race are everywhere: from intense voter interest, to candidate debates and references to telegenic politicians.
But no comparison may be more unexpected than that made on the front page of The Sun, a Fleet Street newspaper, which borrowed the iconic Barack Obama "Hope" campaign poster to endorse Conservative David Cameron. Cameron's image graces the newspaper with the message, "Our Only Hope" and underscores the strange bedfellow relationship that has developed between Cameron and President Obama.
(View the full image of The Sun's front page after the jump)
Cameron and Obama are hardly ideological soul mates, as Obama's Democratic Party is by and large liberal, while Cameron's Tory party is conservative. But the two men have more in common than you might think. Cameron is relying on strategic advice from two well-known American political consultants, Anita Dunn and Bill Knapp. Dunn and Knapp were key advisors to Obama during his successful presidential bid and Dunn went on to work as the White House communications director for a period of time before returning to the private sector.
And British commentators have repeatedly compared Cameron's campaign style to that of Obama. On the final day of campaigning, Cameron dragged the media to a fish and chips restaurant in Scotland where he promptly purchased 26 meals for his campaign staff and the media. Virtually every commentator called the move distinctly Obama-like.
Washington (CNN) - Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are working to resurrect long-planned climate change legislation that got knocked off track last month after Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham abandoned plans to participate.
Two Senate sources familiar with the plans confirm that Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Lieberman, I-Connecticut, will likely hold a press conference next week to announce their bill. But Kerry told CNN Thursday that the details of when to unveil it are still being worked out.
One of the sources said that Kerry continued to hold meetings with colleagues, business and environmental leaders and others even after original plans for a bipartisan bill with Graham crumbled.
"We have a bill and we want people to see it," said the source.
Looming large over this legislation is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The broad measure is expected to include proposals to expand both on- and offshore oil drilling.
Sources familiar with the senators' plans say Kerry and Lieberman intend to keep those proposals in their bill, but they understand safety regulations and standards will and should be scrutinized and added to their legislation in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has vowed to filibuster any legislation that includes an expansion of offshore drilling.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday the central bank is working to increase oversight of financial institutions, even as Congress debates a package of Wall Street reforms.
In a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Bernanke said he "supports" ongoing efforts in Congress to reform financial regulation. But he added that the Fed is already taking steps to tighten up oversight of the banking system.
"While these legislative steps are necessary, we are not waiting to implement improvements that can be accomplished within our existing authority," he said.
"Now we are working with banks to ensure they improve their risk-measurement and risk management as well as strengthen their liquidity and capital levels while also providing the credit that households and businesses need," the Fed chairman added.
Bernanke said any reform package should give regulators the power to break up financial institutions that could threaten the economy if they fail.
(CNN) - The Salt Lake Tribune, the city's largest newspaper, is urging Utah Republican delegates to send Sen. Bob Bennett "back to Washington."
The three-term senator is fighting for his political life as he battles for re-election this year. His predicament: because the Utah GOP uses a convention to help determine its nominee, Bennett might not even make it to a June primary. To advance to that primary, Bennett needs to win at least 40 percent of the vote of the 3,500 delegates attending the Utah GOP convention this Saturday. A primary will be avoided if any candidate secures 60 percent of the delegates' vote.
Two polls released earlier this week indicate that 50 percent of Utah voters see Sen. Bob Bennett in a favorable light, and that nearly four in ten likely Republican primary voters say they back Bennnet. But the senator doesn't fare as well in two other recent surveys of Republican convention delegates.