(CNN) - North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx criticized President Obama after his address to House Republicans but had no qualms about walking away with a souvenir.
"Pres gave us another lecture. Our guys asked great questions. Need independent fact checker for his comments. Got autograph," the Republican congresswoman tweeted Friday afternoon at the House Republican retreat.
A follow up tweet she sent shortly after read, "Am concerned that Pres thinks health care bill is centrist. He did not accept the scalpel and it is a great tool."
Her remarks followed a rare question-and-answer session with the president and the GOP caucus.
About 300 lawmakers, family members and aides attended the meeting, which was broadcast live. The event was for the most part civil, with a few moments of heated discussion.
Obama accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate. Republicans, in turn, complained that the White House and congressional Democrats had ignored their ideas, locked them out of the policy-making process, and unfairly labeled them as obstructionists.
"Both sides can take some blame for a sour climate on Capitol Hill," Obama sai, adding that Democrats and Republicans "need to be careful" in choosing their rhetoric. "A tone of civility instead of slash and burn would be helpful."
(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is apologizing for telling Esquire Magazine he's "blacker than Barack Obama."
"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid," he told reporters outside his home Monday.
"I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I'm not blacker than President Obama," said Blagojevich, who was impeached last year after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama,” and tells Esquire magazine that the “strength of the truth in America” will one day vindicate him.
The governor, who was impeached after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, says most of the people in politics are “full of s*** and phonies, but I was real.”
Blagojevich tells the magazine that Obama was “catapulted in on hope can change, what we hope the guy is...
“What the f***? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up," he says.
(Updated after the jump with Blagojevich apology)
(CNN) - As President Obama struggles to regain control of the health care debate, he's finding himself caught in a game of tug of war with members of his own party.
The conservative Blue Dog Democrats don't want a bill with a government-sponsored, public health plan, and liberal Democrats have said they won't pass legislation without one.
Despite strong majorities in both chambers of Congress, Democrats have been unable to reach an agreement on the legislation. And the administration has acknowledged that it will be difficult to pass a bill with bipartisan support.
"The White House needs to take more of a role in trying to broker a deal between the Blue Dogs and party liberals - in bringing them together and trying to figure some compromise," said Stu Rothenberg, a political analyst and editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.
"It's like a coach who took a ball, threw it in the middle of the court and said, 'OK, go get it.' And everybody runs there, and they have a huge scrum, and there's not a lot of progress," Rothenberg added.
"I think he needs to be more hands-on. ... Why not start with areas of consensus among all Democrats and then try to move out from there?"
(CNN) - Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter’s 15-minute address at CPAC played more like a stand-up comedy act than a political speech.
Coulter delivered line after line of jabs at President Obama, the Democratic Party and the media – each met with roaring laughter from the crowd.
The commentator – who is no stranger to controversy – first went after MSNBC, calling the hosts the “alternative prom crowd.”
Pointing to recent comparisons of Obama to Jesus and Abraham Lincoln, Coulter said the media has turned from being the people’s watchdog to the “government guard dog.”
“Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see Lincoln text messaging with Scarlet Johansson … and I forget, how many times did Lincoln vote present?” she said, to much applause.
(CNN) - President Obama and long-time friend Marty Nesbitt shot hoops Saturday at a basketball court inside the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Press aide Ben Finkenbinder, who left the game drenched in sweat, teamed up with Obama on the court. Another Obama staffer and Reggie Love, an Obama aide and former basketball player at Duke University, were also seen leaving the game.
Obama wore workout clothes and a White Sox hat to the game.
Finkenbinder declined to provide many details on the match up, and he didn’t say who won.
No word on whether Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, was around for the game
(CNN) - North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said Washington is in a “state of denial,” in Saturday’s weekly Republican radio address.
“It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you’re reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed … We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them,” he said.
Pointing to the “spending priorities of the Democrats in Washington” and President Obama’s proposed budget, Burr warned that “for the first time, we could see the American Dream vanish.”
Burr said Republicans and Democrats agree on where they want to go, but they disagree on how to get there.
The North Carolina senator called on Americans to rally together “to find solutions with unity of purpose.”
“It’s time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary? Or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them good luck?” he said.
Full text of address after the jump
(CNN) - President Obama said the budget he presented to Congress this week represents “the change the American people voted for in November.”
In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama described promises he made during the campaign – such as bringing down the cost of health care – and sought to explain how his budget would make those promises reality.
The president said his budget will cut taxes for most Americans, invest in clean energy and education, and halve the deficit by the end of his first term.
“I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington,” the president said.
Full text of the address after the jump
(CNN) - In a video message e-mailed Saturday, President Obama calls on those who voted for him in the presidential election to throw their support behind his economic stimulus plan.
“If you haven’t been affected by this crisis, you’ve likely comforted somebody who has,” Obama says before making his case for the stimulus package making its way through Senate.
Obama says his package will create or save more than 3 million jobs, “many in your own communities,” and insists his plan is one that “America so desperately needs.”
“I know some critics are worried about the scale of this plan but if we fail to pass it promptly, our economy will fall $1 trillion short of what it’s capable of producing this year. In order to make up that difference, economists agree we must act boldly.”
Obama vows to “enlist all of you” to oversee the plan.
“As soon as this plan is signed into law, recovery.gov goes live, and you’ll be able to see precisely where your tax dollars are going, because this is your democracy, and as I said throughout the campaign, change never begins from the top down. It begins from the bottom up,” he says.
The president’s personal message comes as polls show that the public’s support for the stimulus has slipped.
(CNN) - Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Sunday expressed confidence that the economic stimulus plan could help her state recover from the financial crisis, but she said Michigan needs the funds now.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Granholm cited a report by Mark Zandi, the cofounder of Moody's Economy.com, which said the stimulus plan would create more than 150,000 jobs for her state.
"Believe me, we are all about jobs. Those 140,000 jobs that were lost this past week, we see the impact of this every day, and I'm speaking not just for Michigan, but for governors across the country," the Democratic governor said. "We need help. We need it now. And it's not about budgets, it's about creating jobs in our states."
Asked her opinion on the more than $800 billion stimulus bill moving through Congress, Granholm said, "If things are in there that are not related to job creation, it should perhaps be in other bills. But this bill should be related to job creation and helping people get through this economic crisis."
She said her idea of a "good balance" is "a third toward making sure people are not being hurt, a third toward investing in job creation and a third towards tax cuts."