Washington (CNN) - Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel remained defiant Thursday, vowing to fight charges brought by the House ethics committee and dismissing President Obama's comments about the veteran House member retiring with dignity.
"I don't know why the president of these great United States would say something like that, I guess he believes eighty is old," Rangel told reporters after delivering a speech at Columbia University.
Obama suggested last week that the New York Democrat was at the end of his career.
"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served- his constituents very well. But these allegations are very troubling," Obama said in an interview with CBS News' Harry Smith. "He's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens," Obama added.
Asked if he was considering resigning, something ten of his fellow Democrats have urged him to do, Rangel said that he has a right to be heard.
Washington (CNN) - Republican Scott Brown will not vote for Elena Kagan, the Massachusetts senator announced Thursday, saying she lacks both the judicial and courtroom experience required of a Supreme Court justice.
"I cannot vote to confirm Elena Kagan. The reason is simple. I believe nominees to the Supreme Court should have previously served on the bench," Brown said in a statement. "Lacking that, I look for many years of practical courtroom experience to compensate for the absence of prior judicial experience. In Elena Kagan's case, she is missing both."
Kagan is expected to be confirmed Thursday as the 112th justice to the Supreme Court and could be sworn in to her judicial post by week's end.
Kagan has spent a substantial portion of her career in academia, a place that Brown views as lacking the real world gravitas of the nation's courtrooms.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who often finds himself out of step with the most conservative elements of his party, was censured by yet another GOP county party committee Monday night.
In recent months, Graham has been censured by GOP party committees in Lexington and Charleston counties. On Monday, the Greenville GOP Executive Committee passed a censure resolution by a vote of 61-2.
"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Greenville County Republican Party hereby issues this formal rebuke of Senator Graham for his cooperation and support of President Obama and the Democratic Party's liberal agenda for the United States," the resolution reads.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Michele Bachmann is opening up her own national political action committee.
Paperwork for the new PAC, called MICHELEPAC, was filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. The committee will allow the Minnesota Republican to raise funds for distribution to candidates nationwide.
MICHELEPAC, which stands for Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere, has yet to report raising any money.
National PACs are not uncommon among House members and MICHELEPAC will be an asset for Bachmann, who is among the most effective fundraisers in the House. According to FEC statements, Bachmann has brought in $4.56 million this election cycle.
A website for the PAC, listed on FEC forms, is not yet active.
Washington (CNN) – The Commonwealth of Virginia will be allowed to continue its constitutional challenge to the health care bill signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, a federal trial court ruled Monday.
Judge Henry Hudson ruled in a 32-page opinion that the legal challenge mounted by Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli should be allowed to continue. The state argues that part of the health care bill – Section 1501, which requires individuals to obtain a minimum level of health insurance – is unconstitutional.
"While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate - and tax - a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," Hudson wrote in his opinion. "Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue."
Cuccinelli voiced his approval of the judge's ruling in a statement issued after the court ruled.
"We are pleased that Judge Hudson agreed that Virginia has the standing to move forward with our suit and that our complaint alleged a valid claim." Cuccinelli said.
Washington (CNN) – With eight days to go before a Connecticut primary in which voters will select nominees to compete for the seat of veteran Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, one contender for the GOP nomination is up with a new ad, and has scored another newspaper endorsement.
Rob Simmons, who at one point suspended his campaign, is up with a new 30-second spot that touts his military service. Titled "Lest We Forget" the ad features images of Simmons in a military uniform. Before running for public office, Simmons served as an Army officer and more recently worked at the CIA.
"Lest we forget, service is what we ask of our leaders," the ad's narrator says. "And service is the yardstick by which we measure them."
The status of the Simmons' campaign had been a mystery since May, when he suspended his campaign and released most of his staff after finishing second at the Connecticut GOP convention. But Simmons did remain on the primary ballot.
Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, himself weighing a presidential run in 2012, said Thursday that he expects Sarah Palin to be among the Republican contenders seeking the GOP nomination.
Asked to size up the prospective field during an interview with conservative magazine Newsmax, Gingrich rattled off a list of Republicans he expects to run.
"Well there are going to be lots of Republican running: Gov. Romney clearly, Gov. Palin, Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Mitch Daniels, Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Tim Pawlenty. I think John Thune, the senator from South Dakota is going to get in. Ron Paul is probably going to run again. So I think it will be a lively campaign, there will be a lot of good candidates," Gingrich said.
Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Jim DeMint announced his endorsement of Washington Senate candidate Dino Rossi on Thursday.
The move is the latest in a series of endorsements made by the South Carolina senator, many of which have pitted him against either the GOP establishment or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"Dino Rossi is a principled conservative who will help us take our country back. He will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are bankrupting our country," DeMint said in a statement. "Dino understands the stimulus bill was a failure, he will fight to repeal the health care takeover, and he will help us pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.
Rossi and two other Republicans, Clint Didier and Paul Akers are in the battle to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
Washington (CNN) - Not only is Rob Simmons' campaign for Senate back from the dead, but the Republican has picked up the endorsement of Connecticut's largest newspaper.
The Simmons campaign has experienced a rebirth the past two weeks. Last week, Simmons announced he would run a television commercial – billed as a public service announcement – asking Connecticut voters to look at the issues when making their decision in the state's August 10 primary. In the ad Simmons reminds voters that he's still on the ballot.
On Tuesday, Simmons attended a debate in which he declared: "I am running for the United States Senate because I love my country and I don't like where it's going."
(CNN) – The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday that it has transferred a total of $2.5 million to three state party arms as well as its House and Senate affiliates.
The DNC transferred $833,333 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $833,333 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $100,000 to the Maryland Democratic Party, $400,000 to the Florida Democratic Party and $333,333 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, a DNC official told CNN.
Earlier this month, the DNC transferred its first $2 million as part of the national party committee's $50 million Vote 2010 plan.