(CNN) – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is the first Democrat to express displeasure with President Obama's recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to head the agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid.
"I'm troubled that, rather than going through the standard nomination process, Dr. Berwick was recess appointed. Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee – and answered," the Montana senator said in a statement.
Baucus went on to state that he looked forward to working with the agency on health care reform's implementation "despite the recess appointment."
Listen: CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins takes a look at the decision.
– CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.
(CNN) – The punches keep coming in the political fistfight over a website claiming to spotlight "the real Sharron Angle."
Nevada Democrats have re-posted www.therealsharronangle.com.
This after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's campaign dropped the site briefly following a "cease and desist" letter from Sharron Angle's campaign.
Angle, Nevada's Republican Senate nominee, is challenging Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, in this November's midterm elections.
(CNN) –The Pentagon on Wednesday began sending out to troops a survey of more than 100 questions seeking their views on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.
An administration official confirmed to CNN that the survey is being sent to 200,000 active duty troops and 200,000 reserve troops. The official declined to be identified because the survey has not officially been made public.
The survey, which service members can expect to receive via e-mail, asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military.
(CNN) – Republican J.D. Hayworth is striking back at Sen. John McCain's recent negative TV ads, launching an ad of his own Wednesday declaring that the longtime Arizona senator "should be ashamed" of his actions.
"John McCain is hiding his record behind false attacks on my husband," says Hayworth's wife Mary in the new ad. "John McCain has sold out the people of Arizona on immigration, bailouts, and tax increases.
"Now John McCain has embraced character assassination to keep his job," she also says. "John McCain should be ashamed. J.D.'s not perfect, but he is a principled conservative."
The new ad – the first Hayworth has run – is the latest sign of the increasingly bitter primary fight for the Republican Senate nomination in Arizona.
Washington (CNN) - Tipper Gore doesn't believe the allegations that a Portland masseuse made about her husband, former Vice President Al Gore, and according to a Wednesday article in People Magazine, the allegations played "no role whatsoever in the decision" of the couple to separate.
People Magazine interviewed a "close friend of the Gores'" for an article posted online regarding the couple's recent split and subsequent allegations against the former vice president.
The Portland Police Department re-opened an investigation on June 30 into massage therapist Molly Hagerty's allegation that Gore demanded sexual favors during a 2006 massage.
The magazine quotes a friend of the Gores who says that Tipper "feels strongly that people know she doesn't believe anything this woman is saying. She remains committed to Al and his reputation."
Full People article
(CNN) – West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin says he'll push to hold a special election this November to fill the remaining two years of the term of late Sen. Robert Byrd.
Manchin, a popular two-term Democratic governor, also told reporters that he "would highly consider" seeking the seat himself - a statement that is not surprising given Manchin was already thought to be interested in running for the Senate in 2012, when the election is currently scheduled.
Manchin made his announcement during a news conference Wednesday with reporters at the state capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, one day after Byrd was buried. The 92 year old Democratic lawmaker, who died last week, was the longest serving senator in U.S. history.
(CNN) – Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is the target of a new Republican Governors Association ad highlighting the number of jobs that have been lost in the Buckeye State since the Democrat took office in 2007.
The 30-second spot called "Gone" features three office-employees discussing recent Ohio job cuts at large corporations such as NCR, Fischbein and Novelis.
"We lost 400,000 jobs under Strickland," one of the employees says.
"Gotta be a world record," another responds.
Washington (CNN) – Some national Republicans Wednesday morning are touting a new Gallup poll that indicates a further erosion of independent support for President Barack Obama.
According to the Gallup survey, 38 percent of independent voters approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, down 18 points from last July. Gallup notes that this is the first time the president's approval rating among independents has dropped below 40 percent.
The survey also notes that among Democrats, Obama's approval rating stands at 81 percent, while only 12 percent of Republicans give the president a thumbs up.