WASHINGTON (CNN)– Revisiting some of her campaign trail talking points, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin weighed in on the Senate health care vote, criticizing the Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid for a lack of transparency.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for yet another weekend vote (commonplace now for the party of "transparency") because he knows that the American people will be none too happy about the Democrats' proposal the longer they have to look it over," Palin wrote late Friday night in a posting on her Facebook page.
Republicans, who have expressed opposition to the Democrats' bill from the beginning, have threatened to read the full 2,074 page bill during Senate debate, claiming the more Americans hear about what is in the bill, the less they will like it.
Palin went on to talk about features in the bill: government spending, abortion, and help for special needs children.
"While this Saturday night vote might seem like a procedural matter, at the end of the day a vote against Senator Reid's motion is a vote against massive new government spending and a take-over of 1/6th of the U.S. economy; it's a vote against billions in tax increases and penalties; it's a vote against federal funding of abortion; and it's a vote against ignoring responsible tort reform," Palin wrote. "Among the provisions in this bill will be a $2,500 cap on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The IRS allows families with special needs children to use FSAs to cover educational expenses. This new $2,500 cap will hit these families especially hard and cost them hundreds of dollars in new taxes every year."
Palin concluded by encouraging Americans to voice their opposition to their senators before the vote.
"The American people don't support this – we support the commonsense solutions that have been proposed, but totally ignored by (at this point) some out-of-control Washington politicians. Let's put a stop to Obamacare before it goes any further," she wrote.
"This 2,000-page bill will drive up the cost of health care insurance and medical care, not down, increase taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, cut Medicare for senior citizens by hundreds of billions of dollars, grow the federal government by over $2.4 trillion in new spending, push the needy uninsured into a failing Medicaid system, impose a damaging unfunded mandate on our struggling states, leave millions of Americans uninsured, and establish a massive governmental intrusion into management of our health care economy," the Senator from Idaho said. "This is not true health care reform and this is not what the American people want."
Outlining the Republican plan, Crapo emphasized the importance of helping small businesses get affordable health insurance, educating Americans on how to make healthy choices, and allowing people to purchase insurance outside of their own state.
Crapo also encouraged American's to get online and read the bill for themselves.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Vice President Joe Biden will be in Iowa Saturday as a special guest at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner.
Joining Biden will be Gov. Chet Culver, Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, and Reps. Bruce Braley and Leonard Boswell. According to the Iowa Democratic Party, Sen. Tom Harkin is also expected to speak, but may miss the event if he's delayed by the Senate health care vote Saturday.
The annual dinner is one of the biggest Democratic fundraising events of the year, usually kicking off the presidential primary season. In 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama's speech at the dinner has been credited to launching his path to the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and Biden also spoke in 2007. Speakers in past years include former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.
The event is being held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
UPDATE: According to the Iowa Democratic Party, Sen. Tom Harkin will not be able to attend the dinner Saturday night, but has filmed a message to be played at the event.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– The day before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opens the debate on health care reform, a group of liberal activists who once attacked the Nevada Democrat announced they will begin making robocalls encouraging Reid to stand strong in the fight for health care reform and the public option.
In the calls, longtime Nevada nurse Lee Slaugher - the star of an attack ad released late last month which questioned Reid's political strength, tells residents in her state to stand behind their Senator.
"I'm very thankful that Senator Harry Reid has included a public health insurance option in his health care bill. He shocked the political world by being so bold on this issue." Slaughter says in the calls released by The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee with the express goal of electing progressive candidates to federal office.
"If you want to join me in thanking Senator Reid, and letting him know that we'll stand with him as long as he keeps fighting for a public option, please press one on your keypad," Slaughter concludes.
The group says the calls are expected to reach 10,000 Nevada voters beginning Saturday, as Democrats and Republicans take to the Senate floor to vote on beginning debate on health care legislation introduced by Democrats.
The 2,074-page Senate bill seeks to reduce long-term costs of health care for the government, businesses and individuals while reforming how services are delivered to increase efficiency and effectiveness. It includes controversial provisions such as a government-run public health insurance option.
Republicans have vowed to try to block the bill, requiring Reid to round up 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to overcome a GOP filibuster and launch debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain's former presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt is the latest McCain adviser to cry foul over accusations Sarah Palin has penned in her yet to be released memoir "Going Rogue."
Excerpts obtained by The Huffington Post characterize Schmidt in an unfavorable light, particularly in reference to the prank phone call Palin received from someone pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Right away, the phones started ringing," Palin writes. "One of the first calls was Schmidt, and the force of his screaming blew my hair back. 'How can anyone be so stupid?! Why would the president of France call a vice presidential candidate a few days out?!'"
In a telephone conversation with CNN's John King, Schmidt said how he is described and portrayed in the book is "fanciful. [And] total fiction."
In the excerpts, Palin also claims Schmidt tried to put her on a strict eating regimen, and in a conversation with Randy Scheunemann, a McCain foreign policy adviser, he had blamed the campaigns problems on Palin's "postpartum depression."
"Schmidt started in again, telling Randy what an awful pick I was - the "postpartum" problems, the wardrobe "scandal," "legal exposure" for Todd on Troopergate, whatever he meant by that," Palin writes according to the published excerpts.
In October, during The Atlantic magazine's First Draft of History Conference, Schmidt predicted to CNN's John King that he would be portrayed as "anti-rogue in the running of the campaign."
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a scathing criticism of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy Friday night, accusing the president of delivering rhetoric and not action in the war-torn country.
Quoting from a speech Obama delivered in March, Romney agreed with the president "that 'we are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies."' Romney continued on seconding the president: "I believe 'that to succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government.'"
But Romney went on to criticize Obama for not holding enough meetings with top generals, and inadequately preparing for the elections in Afghanistan.
"The President has held his job for 10 months but does not yet have a strategy," Romney said during his speech before the Young America's Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. "What has he been doing that is more important than protecting the lives of the troops of which he is Commander-in-Chief? He has been campaigning- rallying at phony town meetings and making over 30 campaign stops for fellow Democrats. This President's inattention and dereliction remind me of those Northwest Airlines pilots who were so distracted from their jobs that they lost their way. But in this case, the consequences are far more severe."
Romney has been a constant critic of the Obama administration. In March, Romney accused the president of neglecting the country's needs, while posing for magazine covers, and making appearances on late night television during an interview with CNN's Larry King.
"This is a president who is learning on the fly," Romney said. "He's never turned anything around before. He hasn't had the experience of leading a nation or a business or a state in trouble. And the first rule I can tell him is focus, focus, focus. "
Since February, Romney has attended nine events for senatorial candidates, appeared at more than a dozen rallies or fundraisers for those running for governor this year or next, and spoken at almost two dozen meetings of Republican Party groups or conservative organizations. And he has finished a new book.
"I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should," Obama said in his weekly radio and Web address. "But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high."
Obama has already ordered leaders of the military and intelligence community to complete a full review of the incident, and offer recommendations on ways military security might be improved.
"If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability," Obama said Saturday. "Beyond that – and most importantly – we must quickly and thoroughly evaluate and address any flaws in the system, so that we can prevent a similar breach from happening again."
Next Thursday, the Senate's Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing to assess the events leading up to Major Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting rampage that killed 13 people.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Candidates and outside groups in New Jersey's highly contested gubernatorial race have spent nearly $37 million dollars on advertising since May.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign tops the charts spending nearly $19 million dollars on 10,161 advertisements compared to the nearly $9 million spent by Republican challenger Chris Christie. Independent candidate Chris Daggett has spent $257,447 on advertisements in the state according to analysis by TNSMI-CMAG, CNN's consultant on political advertising.
Corzine, who is estimated to be spending nearly $2 million a week on advertising has been increasingly negative in his ads, a move seen by many as a means to close the gap in the polls.
Evan Tracey, of TNSMI-CMAG, said according to his analysis, Corzine is well on track to spend more than $20 million by Tuesday when voters head to the polls.
The Republican Governors Association is lending a helping hand to Christie, spending just over $5 million on 6,032 advertisements. The Mid Atlantic Leadership Fund, a Washington based firm which usually backs Democratic candidates, has spent nearly $2 million on behalf of Corzine's campaign for re-election.
Late October polls show Corzine and Christie polling neck-and-neck, while Independent candidate Chris Daggett continues to make gains, primarily peeling support away from the Republican challenger.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– In New York's 23rd congressional district, Democratic candidate Bill Owens is capitalizing on Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava's last-minute decision to drop out of the special election as a final opportunity to tie Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to former President Bush.
In a statement released by his campaign, Owens praised Scozzafava for her dedication as a public servant, but said his focus in the final days remains on showing voters the contrast between himself and Hoffman.
"Voters have a clear choice on Tuesday: they can elect to go back to the George Bush economic agenda, or they can vote to move forward," Owens said. "Doug Hoffman and the Club for Growth's extremist agenda won't do a thing to get our economy moving again. "...I will fight to turn the page on that agenda. I will work to create jobs Upstate to get our economy back on track because that is the type of leadership we need right now in Congress."
Vice President Joe Biden is heading back to New York's 23rd congressional district Monday to campaign for Owens the day before the special election.
Biden, who also campaigned with Owens in September, will appear in Watertown. Earlier this month, President Obama made an appearance at a fundraiser for Owens in New York City.
– CNN's Shirley Zilberstein and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele quickly endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd congressional district Saturday, after Republican Dede Scozzafava's late decision to drop out of the special election.
Steele, who formally endorsed Scozzafava earlier this week, commended her decision to bow out of the race.
"This selfless act of releasing her supporters provides voters with the opportunity to unite around a candidate who shares Republican principles and will serve the interests of his constituents in Congress by standing in opposition to the liberal policies of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi," Steele said in a statement released by the Republican National Committee.
"Effective immediately, the RNC will endorse and support the conservative candidate in the race, Doug Hoffman. Doug's campaign will receive the financial backing of the RNC, and get-out-the-vote efforts to defeat Bill Owens on Tuesday," he said.