The fourth annual 'Longest Yard' flag-football game raised more than $75,000 for the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council, but former Washington Redskins quarterback turned Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, said the high spirited game might help to bridge the differences between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
"It's putting some comraderie back in … the U.S. House," Shuler told CNN. "I know if we can work together on the football field we can certainly work together when it comes to our policies."
Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona as well as Democratic Re. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois joined Shuler on the bipartisan congressional roster. GOP Rep. Bill Shuster coached the squad.
Several former NFL players were on and off the field including, Washington Redskin Ken Harvey, former Philadelphia Eagle John Booty, and former Detroit Lion Ed Lee.
Harvey said it was a unique experience to watch the members of Congress come together as a team.
"One day when we were at practice and I was looking around and these guys that you know are bitter enemies and fighting with each other and they're here joking together laughing and just really coming together for a common cause," Harvey said. "I think that's pretty awesome."
NEW YORK (CNN)– A group of liberal activists is taking up the health care fight in a new ad and "emergency petition" targeting President Barack Obama for "campaign" promises it says he made regarding a public insurance option.
The minute-long commercial features a former Obama campaign volunteer coordinator for Maine, Ben Katz, reminding the president what he campaigned for in the northeastern state.
"You campaigned on a public health insurance option. We worked hard for it. We worked hard for you,” Katz says in the ad released by The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee with the express goal of electing progressive candidates to federal office.
"Polls show the people of Maine overwhelmingly want the public option. President Obama, Olympia Snowe isn’t representing Maine on this issue. We need you to fight. Tell Olympia Snowe to represent her constituents, and that anything less than a public option is not change we can believe in," Katz says.
Accompanying the ad is an "emergency petition" for the public option that the campaign plans to deliver to the White House.
"Every day, insurance companies deny care and let people die. Getting one Republican senator's vote is not worth delaying reform - too many real lives are at stake," the petition reads.
Senate Democratic leaders met Thursday night with White House officials to consider including a government-funded public health insurance option in a health care overhaul bill. The bill also has a provision allowing states to opt out of the public option.
NEW YORK (CNN)– First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance Friday night on Jay Leno's "Ten at Ten" segment and revealed President Obama's most annoying habits.
"He has no annoying habits, right Jay, none. He's perfect," Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. "But you know what, when he beats me in tennis that gets to be pretty annoying, and he beats me quite often."
The segment consists of Leno asking 10 random, often humorous questions to a special guest. Leno also asked the First Lady about Malia and Sasha's Halloween costumes, and tested her to see if she could name all the Brady Bunch children in under 10 seconds– which she did with two seconds to spare.
The late night TV host also asked Mrs. Obama whether the president would prefer world peace or a world series win for the Chicago White Sox.
"That's a tough one," she joked. "If you asked him he'd probably prefer world peace, but wouldn't mind a World Series bit too. But, I think he'd choose world peace."
WASHINGTON (CNN)– The heated race for Governor in New Jersey is about to get a whole lot tougher in the final 10 days, according to the campaigns of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican candidate Chris Christie.
Both campaigns will be doubling down on events to get their message out, but they are also counting on a last-minute boost from top party leaders.
President Barack Obama will head back to New Jersey next Sunday to campaign for Corzine, and former President Bill Clinton will be in the state Tuesday for two events with the governor.
"We have a lot of events and a myriad of guests," Corzine campaign manager Maggie Moran told CNN in a phone interview. Others scheduled to campaign are various Cabinet secretaries, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Moran said the campaign will be focused on targeting specific demographic groups that might not normally vote in a non-presidential election year.
"You will see a series of literally hundreds of events going on in different counties in New Jersey," Moran said.
According to Christie's senior campaign adviser Mike DuHaime, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will join Christie in New Jersey sometime next weekend for multiple campaign stops.
In a phone interview, DuHaime said the campaign is going to focus in the final days on Christie's differences with Corzine.
"I think what you're going to see is continued contrast on the biggest issue that's facing this state and that's the taxes," he said.
NEW YORK (CNN)– The New York Times endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bid for a third term Saturday, praising his ability to handle the most difficult situations.
"Mr. Bloomberg has been a first-rate steady hand during unsteady times," an editorial in The Times said. "He guided the city out of the post-9/11 recession, then tucked away money during the boom years that followed. That foresight has helped New Yorkers weather one of the worst economic downturns in 80 years. Mayor Bloomberg has easily earned another four years."
The editorial commended Bloomberg's Democratic opponent, city Comptroller William Thompson, but said he has spent too much time attacking the New York Mayor, and too little time laying out his proposed policies for the city.
Bloomberg won a campaign last fall to allow for a third mayoral term.
While his favorability in the polls took a minor dip after he persuaded New York's city council to overturn the term limits, the latest poll conducted by Marist College show Bloomberg, an independent, with a 16-point lead over Thompson, 52-32 percent. Twelve percent of likely voters said they supported other candidates or remained undecided.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On Tuesday, partisan politics will be put aside for a few hours when members of Congress team up with former NFL players for the 4th annual 'Longest Yard' Congressional football game.
No tackling is allowed in this friendly game of flag football being played for charity, and the only prize on the line is bragging rights.
Several former NFL players will be on hand as coaches and players including former NFL players Ken Harvey, John Booty, and Ed Lee.
Democratic Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr of Illinois and Heath Shuler - a former NFL quarterback - will take to the gridiron, along with Republican Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona, among others on the bipartisan congressional roster.
All proceeds for the event, which is taking place at the Washington D.C. Armory, go to the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council.
"President Obama has promised open deliberations in front of C-SPAN cameras for all Americans to learn how reform will impact them. However, a 1,500 page bill, full of carve-outs and backroom deals, is currently being brokered behind closed doors," Johanns said.
"We're about to significantly alter one-sixth of our economy-now is not the time to shut Americans out," He added.
Senate Democratic leaders met Thursday night with White House officials to consider including a government-funded public health insurance option, along with a provision allowing states to opt out of it, in a health care overhaul bill.
Two senior Democratic Senate sources told CNN Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leaning toward a public option with the state opt-out provision in the Senate health care bill that will reach the full chamber in coming weeks.
Johanns also questioned the need for the health care legislation if costs remain so high that the majority of Americans can't afford it.
"True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care," Johanns said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama will head back to New Jersey next weekend to campaign for Gov. Jon Corzine, who is in jeopardy of losing his re-election bid, CNN has learned.
"The Corzine campaign is excited to announce the president will be back in New Jersey on Sunday, November 1st making two stops in the state," Corzine campaign manager Maggie Moran told CNN Friday in a telephone interview.
Recent polling shows Corzine locked in a tight battle with Republican nominee Chris Christie. Obama’s appearance comes two days before New Jersey voters head to the polls in one of two high-profile gubernatorial contests in 2009. Obama has also visited Virginia on behalf of Democrat Creigh Deeds, who is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in the race for governor.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A coalition of retired generals and liberal activists joined forces Tuesday launching a $100,000 ad campaign - and multi-million dollar national grassroots effort - aimed at pressuring members of Congress to support President Obama's endeavor to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The 30-second spot, called "Close Gitmo Now," hit the airwaves Tuesday on network and cable television nationwide. It accuses Congress of being complacent in continuing policies from the Bush-Cheney administration.
"We want torture ended and we want to build the political base of support for those members of Congress who are willing to stand up," John Soltz, who heads the liberal veterans group VoteVets.org, told reporters on a conference-call Tuesday.
The "Campaign to Close Guantanamo," spearheaded by former Maine Rep. Tom Andrews, said they plan to move forward by targeting specific congressional districts in an attempt to restrain American's apprehension and possible fear of closing the prison. They did not say which districts they may focus on.
Update 7:43 p.m.: The Board of Directors of Keep America Safe, a conservative group focused on foreign policy issues, has responded in a statement to the new ad. "Guantanamo Bay is a secure, safe, humane facility where terrorists can be held, and when appropriate, tried. Americans expect their President to defend them from terrorists, not usher terrorists into the homeland," the group's directors said in a statement e-mailed to CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Reverend Al Sharpton and his lawyers say they are preparing to file a defamation lawsuit against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for an op-ed published Saturday, which Sharpton alleges "erroneously" characterizes his (Sharpton's) role in a string of violent incidents in New York in the early 90's.
In the op-ed published in Saturday's Wall Street Journal Limbaugh writes Sharpton "played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews ‘diamond merchants’) and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot."
The Crown Heights riot began after a Hasidic Rabbi accidently struck and killed an African American boy with his car. The boy died from the injuries–sparking four nights of riots. The Rabbi was not charged, but Sharpton played a large role in rallying on behalf of the young boy’s family and the African American community.
According to a statement put out by Sharpton’s media consultant, a study New York Governor Mario Cuomo commissioned showed Sharpton was not involved in the Crown Heights incident until after the rioting concluded.
"Mr. Limbaugh's blatant and defamatory statements regarding the Crown Heights Riots falsely give the impression that Rev. Sharpton was present during the violence that occurred when in reality he had been called in by the family after the violence," Sharpton’s statement says.
"In terms of Freddie's Fashion Mart, Rev. Al Sharpton, along with local elected officials supported the protests. However, a lone gunman who disagreed with the nonviolent nature of the protests entered the store and killed seven people and himself… For Mr. Limbaugh to imply that Rev. Sharpton has anything to do with someone that killed people and himself is blatantly wrong," the statement continues.
Limbaugh’s attempt to invest in the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise was overshadowed by a controversy over his “racial views,” which Limbaugh says were false. In the op-ed, he also lashes out at several media outlets, including CNN and “the sports writer community,” for what he calls "contempt in the news business."