President Obama and the first family left the White house Friday morning for a weekend vacation in Maine. (PHOTO CREDIT: Emily Schultze/CNN)
Portland, Maine (CNN) - President Barack Obama sought to reassure jittery small-business owners Thursday that they stand to benefit from the recently enacted health care law - an assertion not universally shared by a traditionally Republican-leaning constituency.
The president took his pro-reform message to Maine, a politically friendly state he carried by nearly 20 points in the 2008 general election. While in New England, he also planned to make a quick stop in Massachusetts for a couple of Democratic National Committee fundraisers.
Democrats are celebrating the enactment of the landmark $940 billion measure, but the country as a whole remains sharply divided over its merits. Conservatives insist it will do little to slow spiraling costs and say
businesses will be burdened by a slew of new regulations and taxes.
The president sought to rebut that argument Thursday, in part by highlighting a tax credit designed to help small businesses provide coverage for their employees.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama makes his first trip to Maine in over two years Thursday, to tout the insurance reforms in the new health care law.
The president is expected to speak at the Portland Expo Center Thursday afternoon.
"The president will be in Maine where he'll be talking about some of the benefits that small businesses will get in the short term and the long term as it relates to health care," White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said Wednesday.
(CNN) - Supporters of Maine's same-sex marriage law, which voters narrowly repealed, gathered Wednesday to concede the vote but not the issue.
"It seems in the end that Mainers are not ready to treat these families fairly," Betsy Smith told a crowd of No on 1/Protect Maine Equality supporters in Portland, Maine. Two women amid the crowd clutched each other as one cried.
"Having the protection of the law, as well as the respect and dignity that comes only with marriage, is a journey on which we will continue," Smith said.
With 87 percent of the vote counted early Wednesday, the same-sex marriage law was rejected 53 percent to 47 percent, according to the Bangor Daily News Web site.
On Tuesday night, the campaign manager of Stand for Marriage Maine, Frank Schubert, announced that the referendum to repeal the law had passed.
(CNN) - Voters in Maine will decide next week whether to overturn the legislation signed by Gov. John Baldacci nearly six months ago that allows same-sex couples to wed.
Baldacci, who originally opposed the legislation, said upholding the bill comes down to a fundamental understanding of equal protection and constitutional responsibility.
"Initially, I had the opinion for several years that civil unions were the limitations of what I was willing to support," Baldacci said. "But, the research that I did uncovered that a civil union didn't equal a civil marriage."
(CNN) - Maine lawmakers Wednesday voted to make same-sex marriage legal in the state, the state Office of Legislative Information said. The bill now goes to Gov. John Baldacci for his signature or veto.
Baldacci, a Democrat, has not said whether he will sign it.
"He's going to make a decision when it hits his desk," spokesman Dan Cashman told CNN immediately after the vote. He said the governor is likely to make a statement later in the day.
Three states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa - currently allow same-sex marriages. Vermont has passed a law making gay and lesbian marriages legal. That bill takes effect in September. New Hampshire lawmakers are close to passing a similar bill.
A slim majority of Americans are against legal recognition for same-sexmarriage, CNN polling found last month. Fifty-four percent of adults questioned in an April 23-26 nationwide CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should not be recognized as valid, while 44 percent said they should be considered legal.
The survey's sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.