(CNN) - An Iowa billboard that featured side-by-side images of President Obama, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is now the subject of a fundraising push by the Democratic National Committee.
"I think comparing a president of the United States to totalitarian dictators responsible for mass murder is appalling," DNC Executive Director Jen O'Malley Dillon wrote in an email to committee supporters Wednesday evening. "I think calling Barack Obama a socialist is nonsensical. But I don't think any of this is surprising."
Located in Mason City, Iowa, the controversial billboard went up last week, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported, and was ordered and paid for by the North Iowa Tea Party. The paper also reported Wednesday that the billboard had been papered over.
Washington (CNN) - White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Wednesday sought to deflect suggestions that former President Bill Clinton is a friendlier bridge to the business community than President Barack Obama.
"No, no," Gibbs replied, when asked at his daily briefing whether Clinton's "more moderate economic policies" were a selling point with business executives who were also attending meetings Wednesday at the White House.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hosted an hour-long meeting Wednesday afternoon at the White House with Clinton and business leaders, according to a White House official.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's dismissal of the top commander in Afghanistan was "extremely unfortunate" but "necessary," according to Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Holbrooke told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a "very distinguished and fine officer."
He noted some of the barbs in the Rolling Stone magazine article that led to McChrystal's downfall were aimed at him, but Holbrooke said the story "made no difference to me" personally and didn't change his positive opinion of McChrystal.
"A clear pattern of behavior has emerged over the last 16 months," Tea Party activists Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin write in an op-ed published Wednesday on the Politico website. "According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a 'racist.'"
Before pointing to charges of racism leveled against former President Bill Clinton during his wife's pitched primary battle against then-Sen. Barack Obama, Meckler and Martin state "The left has a long history of using the race card. It has been pulled on people across the political spectrum."
"This card is generally played when all else has failed," they write. "It was inevitable that it would eventually be used aggressively against the tea party movement."
Meckler and Martin point out that national Democrats have referred to their increasingly influential movement as a bunch of disgruntled voters, nothing more than "'astroturf,'" "a flash in the pan that would disappear overnight," and "an 'angry mob.'"
But, the two write, the real motivation for the recent attacks on the Tea Party movement is political survival during an election year.
"The Obama White House and liberal interest groups are hitting the panic button as they read weekly polls showing diminishing support for their radical big government issue agenda, and a weariness for the politics of division."
Washington (CNN) - Cost savings could be coming this fall to a doctor's office near you. First lady Michelle Obama announced Wednesday a plan for free preventative health care services, a part of the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect in September.
One of the services provided under the new guidelines, obesity screenings, directly impacts the first lady's signature issue, the Let's Move campaign to prevent childhood obesity. She said her interest in the subject started years ago when she as a mother was "having a regular, normal life."
"I wasn't cooking enough. We were eating out a little bit too much, having our way with snacks and desserts - it was shameless," Obama said.
She thanks her children's pediatrician for recommending a body mass index screening at an annual well-child visit.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, announced Wednesday he will not support Elena Kagan's nomination for the Supreme Court.
"Solicitor General Kagan's testimony before the Judiciary Committee did not assure me that she agrees with the traditional understanding of the proper role of a judge," Cornyn said in a statement. "Judges should strictly interpret the written Constitution, which means both enforcing written limitations on the scope of government power, such as the Second Amendment and the Commerce Clause, as well as not inventing new rights or imposing their own policy views on the American people."
Cornyn is the second Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Kagan's nomination. He joins Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch who announced his opposition earlier this month.
Cornyn said Kagan's explanations of her judicial philosophy were "vague and open to multiple interpretations" and that she was "unable to articulate limits on the federal Commerce Clause power."
Washington (CNN) - The organizational leader of the Republican Party is outright dismissing claims from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the Tea Party movement is rife with racism.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also said, in a statement, "Enough with the name-calling."
Steele is responding to the NAACP's resolution, passed on Tuesday, that condemns the Tea Party movement for what the NAACP believes is rampant racism from many activists. As head of the RNC, Steele - the organization's first African-American chairman – is essentially pitting the Republican Party against the nation's oldest civil rights group on this specific issue.
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain is widely ahead of his two primary challengers, according to a new poll.
A Behavior Research Center survey released Thursday indicates that 64 percent of likely Arizona Republican primary voters support McCain, with19 percent backing former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, five percent supporting Jim Deakin, a Tea Party activist, and 12 percent undecided. The primary is scheduled for August 24.
McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, is bidding for a fifth term in the Senate.