Energy giant BP told federal regulators it could handle an oil spill more than 50 times larger than the one now troubling the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Oil company BP told federal regulators it could handle an oil spill more than 50 times larger than the one it is now struggling to contain in the Gulf of Mexico, according to documents and congressional testimony Wednesday.
BP America Chairman Lamar McKay told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that the company's worst-case estimate of a possible spill from the well that was ripped open by an explosion in April was 250,000 barrels a day for 30 days. Meanwhile, an exploration plan BP filed with in 2009 estimated an uncontrolled blowout could release between 162,000 and 300,000 barrels a day.
In that document, filed with the Interior Department's Minerals Managment Service, BP called a spill "unlikely." It stated that if one did happen, however, it "has the capability to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst-case discharge, or a substantial threat of such a discharge, resulting from the activities proposed in our Exploration Plan."
Washington (CNN) - Moments after narrowly losing a key vote on the hotly contested Wall Street reform bill Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a news conference that another senator "broke his word with me."
It was a rare public rebuke of a fellow senator, and while Reid, D-Nevada, and his aides refused to identify the individual or provide specifics about the charge, other Senate aides from both parties said Reid was referring to Scott Brown, the new Republican senator from Massachusetts.
An aide to Brown confirmed that the senator had signaled to Reid he would vote for the motion to end debate on the financial regulations bill, but said it was conditioned on changes that had not been made by the time of the Wednesday's procedural vote.
"Harry Reid does not speak for Scott Brown. Scott Brown speaks for Scott Brown," Brown spokeswomen Gail Gitcho said in response to Reid's accusation."Bipartisanship is a two-way street."
(CNN) – If Rep. Joe Sestak's recent call log is any indication, Pennsylvania's newly minted Democratic Senatorial nominee is moving up in the world.
Before an appearance on CNN Wednesday, cameras in the Russell Senate Office Building caught Sestak accepting a call from former President Bill Clinton.
Earlier Wednesday, Sestak told CNN that he received a call from President Obama congratulating him on his primary victory. Obama "couldn't have been nicer," Sestak said.
Sestak also said that president told him, "I'm there for you and I look forward to working with you and getting you in the United States Senate."
Washington (CNN) – Using social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, has become the norm for political campaigns. Rep. Joe Sestak's campaign for the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nod had a robust Facebook, Twitter and YouTube strategy. And the underdog campaign's online tool kit also used a lesser-known web tool: Ning.
The platform allows any campaign, company, or individual to create a custom-branded social network.
For Sestak's campaign, the Ning social network acted as a virtual campaign office for active supporters and volunteers. The campaign was able to use its Ning presence as a central hub for people to obtain campaign information and find tools to easily mobilize, like the campaign's virtual phone bank program, a document center, register to vote forms and an easy-to-use Letter to the Editor application.
Tom McDonald, Sestak's new media director responsible for digital strategy and implementation, told CNN his online strategy was similar to Republican Scott Brown's, who also used a Ning network during his Senate race in Massachusetts.
The scene is set for the second State Dinner of the Obama presidency. Pictured here is the entertainment tent. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images) .
Washington (CNN) – America's first couple welcomed their Mexican counterparts Wednesday to the second State Dinner of the Obama administration, a night of pomp and ceremony that both leaders hope will demonstrate the important relationship between the North American neighbors.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, dressed in a flowing blue gown, welcomed Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife at the White House steps as a military honor guard saluted and media cameras clicked and whirred.
In an unrehearsed moment, a White House aide slipped while walking out with the Obamas before their guests arrived, and both the president and first lady immediately called out, "Don't take that picture," to the media gallery.
The more than 200 invited guests, including diplomats, White House officials and celebrities including actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Eva
Longoria-Parker, arrived through a separate entrance for the Mexican-themed dinner and musical performances.
"I was sad to see it go," former Sen. Fred Thompson, better known outside political circles as the series' "D.A. Arthur Branch," said in an interview set to air Wednesday on CNN's John King, USA.
Adding that the popular crime series "meant a lot to me personally," Thompson joked with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the television drama took him from the "obscurity of the United States Senate" and elevated him to being New York City's fictional district attorney.
"At least we'll have reruns probably for more than the rest of our lives," the attorney-turned actor-turned lawmaker told King.
The former lawmaker, who returned to politics for a 2008 White House bid, also weighed in on the current political climate and November's midterm elections.
(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden released a statement Wednesday praising Rep. Joe Sestak following his victory in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Biden had backed incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the race.
(Full statement after the jump.)
Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, took a shot at Paul during a press conference in Washington Wednesday.
Kaine said Paul "represents the most extreme elements of the Republican Party - a candidate who has vowed to abolish the Departments of Education and the Federal Reserve; who vows to oppose, oppose, oppose at a time when we need constructive solutions to the challenges we face."
Asked about Kaine's comments in an interview set to air on CNN's John King, USA, Paul told Democrats to "bring it on."
The Kentucky Senate hopeful told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he thought having a budget deficit in excess of $1 trillion was "an extreme idea."
"You know, the debt is spiraling out of control and I'm proposing things like a balanced budget and they think that's an extreme idea? What I tell to the national Democrats is bring it on and please, please, please bring President Obama to Kentucky. We would want him to come and campaign for my opponent [Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway]. In fact, we'll pay for his plane ticket if President Obama will come to Kentucky."
Washington (CNNMoney.com) – After months of negotiation and debate, far-reaching legislation to overhaul the rules of Wall Street failed a key test vote in the Senate on Wednesday, casting a shadow over Democratic efforts to push the effort forward.
The measure aims to stop bailouts, shine a light on complex financial products and strengthen consumer protection.
The vote was 57 to 42. Under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes to move ahead to a final vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had said he wanted a final vote by the end of the week. But now the next steps are unclear.
Washington (CNN) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that he launched his plan to restructure the government's Minerals Management Service, which has come under criticism because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Under a secretarial order signed by Salazar, the agency will be made into three divisions to split what he called the conflicting duties of regulating oil companies and collecting royalties from them.
The three tasks of the Minerals Management Service - energy development, enforcement and revenue collection - "are conflicting missions and must be separated," Salazar said.