(CNN) - Shirley Sherrod, a former USDA employee who resigned after a controversial video surfaced, told CNN Tuesday that members of the Obama administration "harassed" her and demanded she resign her post immediately.
In an interview with CNN, Sherrod said she repeatedly fielded calls on Monday during a long car ride, during which officials insisted that she pull over to the side of the road and quit her post.
"They asked me to resign, and, in fact, they harassed me as I was driving back to the state office from West Point, Georgia yesterday," Sherrod told CNN. "I had at least three calls telling me the White House wanted me to resign…and the last one asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it."
Update, 4:36 p.m.: A White House official tells CNN's Suzanne Malveaux the White House was not involved in pressuring for a resignation: "The White House did not pressure her or USDA over the resignation. It was the Secretary’s decision, as he has said.”
Washington (CNN) – With less than four months until voters go to the polls in this year's midterm elections, one of two House Republicans charged with developing a positive GOP agenda sounded a warning Tuesday about what he sees as the temptations inherent in the liberal agenda.
Invoking the Old Testament story of Esau and Jacob, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, said the American public should not be taken in at a time of need and vulnerability by what "the political left" is offering.
In the Bible tale, Esau, as the older of Isaac's two sons, was in line to receive an inheritance from his father. But, in a moment of hunger after returning home from a trip, Esau gave up that birthright to his younger brother Jacob in exchange for a pot of stew.
"Today the political left is coaxing the American people and the American people are hungry," Roskam said at the Heritage Foundation's weekly gathering of conservative bloggers. "They're uncertain. They're in ground that they have never been on before. They're seeing an economy that is one of the scariest things that they've seen in a long time. They see the United States and our role in the world being challenged here, there, and elsewhere. And they are uncertain."
Roskam likened the public in the current economic and political environment to Esau in the Old Testament.
"And the political left is saying 'Just give us your birthright. Just trade it in and we'll give you stability.' Well, Heaven help us if we make that deal. Heaven help us if we give a birthright of freedom and opportunity and entrepreneurship and national strength and goodness. If we just squander that – for what? For people – entrusting it to people who can't pass a budget. Are you kidding me? That's a raw deal," the Illinois Republican said, making a reference to the fact that Democrats in Congress have missed the traditional deadline for producing the next federal budget.
Roskam, a House Republican deputy whip, was joined at the Heritage Foundation event by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, the chief deputy whip of the House Republican Conference.
Washington (CNN) - Newly sworn-in Sen. Carte Goodwin, D-West Virginia, cast his first vote on Tuesday to end a Republican filibuster of a bill extending unemployment benefits, but the 36 year-old has another pressing issue.
"First and foremost, I need to find a place to live," Goodwin quipped to CNN.
Turning serious, Goodwin added, "My priority every day will be to get up and work as hard as I can to protect West Virginia families."
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday blasted Scottish authorities' decision to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber last year. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday blasted Scottish authorities' decision to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber last year and agreed on the need to push for a more transparent disclosure of the circumstances surrounding Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's release.
The two leaders also said they addressed a range of issues in talks at the White House, including the war in Afghanistan, sanctions against Iran, the state of the global economy, and the responsibilities of BP - a British company - in the wake of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The meeting was part of Cameron's first U.S. visit as Britain's leader. The two men met with reporters at the White House shortly after huddling behind closed doors.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - More than 2.5 million unemployed Americans are one step closer to having their unemployment benefits restored.
A bill that would push back the deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits until the end of November passed a key procedural hurdle in the Senate Tuesday. The vote was 60-40, the minimum margin needed to end debate on the measure.
The Senate could put its final stamp of approval on the bill as early as Tuesday afternoon, after which it would go back to the House. It is expected to pass both chambers and be sent to President Obama for his signature. Final passage in the Senate requires just 51 votes.
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - After months of professing his innocence in impromptu news conferences, on Twitter and even on Donald Trump's show "Celebrity Apprentice," former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finally get to tell his story to a jury Tuesday.
The two-term Democrat was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Barack Obama before he became president. The federal trial started in June, and Blagojevich is expected to be one of the defense witnesses called to the stand Tuesday.
The ousted governor is accused of "conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits" in exchange for an appointment to Obama's seat, including a possible job in Washington or with a lucrative private foundation. In one conversation recorded by federal agents, he told an aide, "I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden. I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing."
After weeks of haggling - the Senate is one step closer to extending unemployment benefits.
Two Republicans joined Democrats - in breaking the GOP filibuster - against extending the benefits through November. Republican leaders had earlier blocked a vote several times. They argue that any benefits extension should be offset by spending cuts. And they have a point.
This nation is quickly headed down the road to insolvency. We're more than $13 trillion in debt. And because the Democrats didn't bother to offer a way to pay for the benefits extension, another $34 billion will simply be added to the deficit.
President Obama tore into Republicans ahead of the vote... arguing that they were operating on a "misguided notion" that a new bill would discourage people from looking for work. Mr. Obama says the unemployed aren't looking for a handout, that they desperately want to work. The president described the GOP as hypocrites for voting for these benefits under Pres. Bush... but not now.
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Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Wall Street reform isn't quite the law of the land, but already top Democrats are battling over who President Obama should name to run the signature piece of the measure: the consumer protection agency.
For more than a year, the top pick has been assumed to be Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who came up with a lot of the original ideas behind the agency.
"Elizabeth Warren is a great, great champion for consumers, the middle class families across this country. . . And what has been done here in many ways reflects something that she's been advocating for years and years and years," said White House Adviser David Axelrod last Friday, confirming Warren as one of a few candidates for the job.
(CNN) - Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's Senate campaign isn't the only one revved up by Monday's endorsement from Sarah Palin - Democrat Paul Hodes is pretty happy about it too.
"We couldn't be more thrilled that Sarah Palin chose to endorse Kelly Ayotte," Mark Bergman, Hodes's campaign communications director, said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. "[…]The people of New Hampshire have already rejected Sarah Palin once in the general election and we're pretty certain we're going to do it again."
"We call on Kelly Ayotte today to tell us that Sarah Palin will be here in October campaigning for her," Bergman said. "We hope she does. I mean, that would be really helpful for our campaign."
Hodes, a one-term congressman, is running unopposed for the Democratic Senatorial nomination in the Granite State. Ayotte faces two GOP primary opponents.
"Sarah Palin is welcome here anytime to call out Paul Hodes's false attacks," Ayotte's Communications Director Jeff Grappone told CNN.
(CNN) - Congressional Republicans are reporting another big cash-haul for the month of June in what is the latest sign the GOP is benefiting from enthusiasm amongst its supporters as the midterm election season gears up.
The National Republican Congressional Committee says it raised $9 million last month and currently has $17 million cash-on-hand. For the quarter, the NRCC says its raised $21.2 million. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee meanwhile has yet to report its June fundraising haul.
Update, 6:09 p.m.: The DCCC announced for the second quarter it has raised $19.259 million and has $33.783 million cash on hand.
Buoyed by an energetic base and increasing chatter about a possible Republican takeover of the House, the NRCC has neared parity with their Democratic counterparts in fundraising after two cycles of being severely outraised.
But the GOP still remains at a disadvantage when it comes to cash on hand. According to the latest reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of May, Democrats had $28 million in the bank – $11 million more than the GOP says it currently has stowed away.