Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - Florida has been dubbed "ground zero" of the Republican presidential contest, so it should come as no surprise that candidates would throw tough punches in the last debate before the state's voters go to the polls.
Here are some of the most buzz-worthy moments from the Jacksonville showdown.
(CNN) – The Senate on Thursday passed its version of the health care bill, inching the country closer to the biggest expansion of medical coverage since Medicare was enacted more than four decades ago.
Senate Democrats declared victory after the 60-39 party line vote, but one of the most complicated tasks is still ahead.
A conference committee must reconcile the differences - notably a public option, how to pay for the plan that emerges and coverage for abortion - and merge them into one.
(CNN) - The day after President Obama's inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described herself as "on a high."
"I am very excited about the prospect of serving as the Speaker of the House with President Barack Obama because of the power of his ideas, the strategic thinking that he brings to it and the leadership that he provides to speak to the American people," the California Democrat said.
Obama laid out his agenda for the country and his plan to bring about the change he promised during the campaign. Still glowing from the elections, Pelosi said, "my attitude is to take his lead."
In the 10 months since then, Pelosi has successfully done what she's needed to do to push Obama's agenda through the House - so much so, that some have asserted she's more effective than the president.
(CNN) - President Obama urged Congress to quickly pass a credit card reform bill so that he can sign it into law by Memorial Day.
“It is past time for rules that are fair and transparent,” the president said in his weekly radio address.
“Instead of an ‘anything goes’ approach, we need strong and reliable protections for consumers. Instead of fine print that hides the truth, we need credit card forms and statements that have plain language in plain sight, and we need to give people the tools they need to find a credit card that meets their needs. And instead of abuse that goes unpunished, we need to strengthen monitoring, enforcement, and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans,” he said.
While Americans have a responsibility to live within their means, they also have “a right to not get ripped off” by rate hikes, penalties and hidden fees, Obama said.
“You shouldn’t have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application,” he said.
The House has already passed a bill targeting credit card rate hikes and fees, and the Senate is expected to vote on its version of the measure in the coming week.
Obama said there are some signs that the economy is recovering, but “we are still in the midst of a deep recession that was years in the making, and it will take time to fully turn this economy around.”
“We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can’t tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over,” he said.
Full transcript after the jump
(CNN) - Meghan McCain, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said the GOP is going to have to become more inclusive if it wants to rebuild.
“I just wish that moderates like myself - more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans - weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’” the 24-year-old told CNN affiliate KTAR radio in a joint interview with her father.
“We need to be an inclusive party. We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” she said on the "Mac & Gaydos" show.
“And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad - I just think it’s that the Democrats package their message better, and I think if we could be able to communicate with my generation, the Republican Party can really rebuild itself,” she added.
Asked about the coverage she’s been getting for the GOP, McCain said she feels like she’s “speaking out for a lot of young people that don’t feel spoken for.”
(CNN) – The White House Press Office accidentally e-mailed a draft version of President Obama’s Thursday schedule on Wednesday night that included the back-and-forth between White House staffers.
The e-mail – sent on a daily basis to inform the media of the next day’s events – at first appeared like any other press schedule. But at the bottom of the e-mail, there was a series of exchanges from the press team, as well as a draft of the schedule.
The first section of the schedule noted that Obama planned to hold talks in the morning with homeowners who have re-financed their homes and benefited from lower mortgage payments.
One staffer recommended changes to that line to “put more emphasis on the real people aspect of this.” The draft version said Obama will hold talks “with his economic team” and also attending the meeting “will be a handful of households.” The final version took the emphasis off the economic team and said "Attending the meeting will be a handful of homeowners. .. as well as members of President Obama's economic team."
The draft schedule also showed the president hosting Seder to celebrate Passover. The dinner was marked “closed press,” meaning no reporters allowed.
One staffer asked, “Can we remove the dinner at the end of the day?”
“We put it on yesterday’s deal – so folks already know that it’s happening. They’ll wonder why it’s not listed if we don’t include it on there,” another staffer replied.
The staffer who asked to remove the dinner from the schedule replied, “Apparently Jewish here and in neighboring states are now calling wondering why they have not been invited.”
The dinner was not listed on the final schedule.
(CNN) - President Obama says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s job is safe, according to excerpts of Mr. Obama’s interview this week with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
If the embattled Secretary were to submit his resignation, Obama said he’d tell him, “Sorry, Buddy, you’ve still got the job,” according to the excerpts.
Obama told CBS that neither he nor Geithner has discussed a possible resignation from the Treasury Department.
Geithner has faced increasing criticism since it was revealed that ailing insurance giant AIG doled out massive bonuses to executives after accepting more than $170 billion from the federal government.
In response to the criticism, Geithner told CNN’s Ali Velshi, Geithner defended his actions, but said he should have known about the scale of the problems sooner.
The president told CBS that criticism is natural, especially given the scope of the financial crisis his administration is facing.
Obama also shot back at former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of some of his administration’s policies.