Washington (CNN) – Forget Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. If there's one Republican who scares Democrats, it's Karl Rove.
Here's why.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will lay out a "blueprint for an economy that's built to last" in Tuesday's State of the Union address - the third of his presidency.
That blueprint will focus on manufacturing, energy, education and middle-class values, according to a video released on the Obama's campaign website and Democratic sources who have been briefed on the address.FULL STORY
WASHINGTON (CNN) – If you hold a Discover credit card, you're in luck - the company has decided to freeze interest-rate hikes until a new credit card consumer protection bill takes effect in February.
Bank of America was the first company to freeze its rates. Both moves come after outrage over credit card companies jacking up rates, increasing minimum payments and raising penalty fees before the new consumer protection law - which would bar sudden increases - is phased in.
Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colorado, and 17 other lawmakers sent letters to credit card banks asking them voluntarily to freeze their rates while Congress decides whether to move up the phase-in date for the new law to December.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - If you hold a credit card, mortgage or a student loan, Congress is considering a new agency designed to give you a lot more protection. Called the Consumer Financial Products Agency, it would set new rules to simplify contracts, eliminate fine print, and get rid of the tricks and traps that led so many people to unwittingly sign up for mortgages they couldn't afford.
Guess who is fighting it? The financial services industry. According to one of the industry's top lobbyists, stopping the agency is "our number one priority." That's no small thing given the industry that spent $373 million on lobbying last year alone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He insists any changes in the industry would have devastating effects on the economy. He worries the agency "basically has no restrictions on what they can do in the area of consumer protection" and warns this could freeze up the credit market: "If credit goes up and costs more, some people that are eligible for credit today will not be eligible in the future."
"This is the biggest financial fight I have seen in the 20 years I've been in Washington," says Ed Mierzwinksi, with of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), a consumer advocacy organization. Consumer groups are outraged by the industry's opposition. "The people who are gearing up to kill the agency are the companies whose irresponsible practices and abuses led to the collapse of the world economy," says Mierzwinski. PIRG is one of approximately 200 groups which have formed a coalition called Americans for Financial Reform, which will be pushing Congress to approve the new consumer agency.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was the role of a lifetime for comedian-turned-inquisitor Sen. Al Franken this week during Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination hearings.
The Senate's newest star seemed comfortable in front of the cameras, but less at ease with Senate procedure.
In one instance, Franken looked to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, to approve a request.
"I would ask for it to be entered into the record ... can I enter it into the record?" Franken asked. He was given the green light to go ahead.
Franken's national debut is also amusing his old peers on the comedy circuit.
"I just kept expecting 'Live from New York!'" said Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" this week.
(CNN) – An Obama transition official says reports that the president-elect will release a stimulus plan with a trillion-dollar price tag are overblown, and that the actual figure being discussed is far smaller.
Some outside economists have pushed the trillion-dollar figure. One recent report suggested the transition team was working with an $850 billion plan. But this official describes the amount Obama advisors are currently considering as significantly lower than both.
Obama and his economic team met for four hours yesterday. They are still working on the package, which will not be announced before the president-elect returns from Hawaii later this month.
CHICAGO (CNN) - A source who has been briefed on the investigation says Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's chief of staff, has been notified he is not a target of the probe into Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
CHICAGO (CNN) – The day before Vice President-elect Joe Biden turns 66, President-elect Barack Obama presented his running mate with 12 candlelit cupcakes after their weekly lunch on Wednesday. He also gave Biden Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears hats as well as a bucket of Garrett's popcorn as presents.
“You’re 12 years old!” Obama told Biden according to a Democratic source.
“Maybe in dog years!” Biden responded, laughing.
Obama and the staff then sang Biden ‘Happy Birthday.’
Rarely did Biden make a stop on the campaign trail and not mention his age. “I want you to know,” he would tell supporters, “there are only four members of the Senate who are senior to me. But the very important thing to know is there are still 39 older than me.”
(CNN) –- A major obstacle in Hillary Clinton’s path to becoming President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of state may be out of the way, as former President Bill Clinton has made several concessions to help move his wife’s vetting process along.
A source familiar with the discussions between Sen. Clinton and the president-elect confirms to CNN that the former president will release the names of several major donors to the Clinton Foundation as well as submitting future foundation activities and paid speeches to a strict ethics review.
In addition, the former president is offering to step down from his day-to-day responsibilities at the foundation and inform the State Department of his speaking schedule and any new sources of income.
President Clinton’s international and financial dealings with his foundation and presidential library have been a sticking point with an Obama camp worried that Sen. Clinton’s position in the cabinet could create a potential conflict of interest as the country’s top diplomat.
(CNN)—While President-elect Barack Obama met with President Bush Monday, Mrs. Obama met with head White House Usher Adm. Stephen W. Rochon to discuss how she wants things to operate when they move in in January.
Sources say they discussed everything from how to request meals, what they like to eat, and how formal a presence she wants the White House Staff to have.
An aide says the Obamas are pretty informal, but would not divulge specific requests at the time.