December 22nd, 2009
01:00 PM ET
9 months ago

Two Republicans take back Crist endorsement

Two Florida Republicans dropped their endorsement of Crist.
Two Florida Republicans dropped their endorsement of Crist.

Washington (CNN) - Two prominent Florida Republicans have pulled their support for Gov. Charlie Crist's bid for the Senate.

Brothers and Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Ballart, who officially backed Crist in July, are no longer on the Senate hopeful's official list of endorsements. Lincoln Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald that they made the decision weeks ago.

"We take our endorsements seriously, but the governor knows why we withdrew, and he left us with no alternative," Lincoln Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald on Tuesday.

This is the latest setback for Crist, who has been hammered by conservatives in recent months. Crist once held a comfortable lead in polls over opponent Marco Rubio - but going into 2010, he faces bruising battle for his party's nod.


Filed under: Charlie Crist
December 21st, 2009
12:40 PM ET
9 months ago

DOT puts three-hour limit on tarmac delays

The DOT has put a three-hour limit on tarmac delays.
The DOT has put a three-hour limit on tarmac delays.

Washington (CNN) - Taking action against air travel nightmares, the Department of Transportation ordered airlines on Monday to allow passengers stranded on airport tarmacs to deplane after three hours.

After a series of horror stories, including one in which passengers were stranded overnight on a plane in Rochester, Minnesota last summer, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that in the future, passengers will be allowed to disembark after three hours.

"Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly," LaHood said in a statement.

This rule will apply to domestic flights, with exceptions only for safety or security issues, or if air traffic control advises the pilot that returning to the terminal would disrupt operations. U.S. airlines operating international flights will have to specify their time limits for deplaning passengers in advance.

FULL POST

December 17th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
9 months ago

Nelson: Health care bill 'isn't sufficient'

Sen. Nelson said he will not vote for the health care bill in its current form.
Sen. Nelson said he will not vote for the health care bill in its current form.

Washington (CNN) – Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson told a Nebraska radio station Thursday that he will not vote for the Senate health care bill as it stands because of concerns over insurance coverage for abortions and other unresolved issues.

Nelson, who could be the crucial 60th vote the Democrats need to overcome a Republican filibuster, said the bill "as it is now, without further modifications, it isn't sufficient" and that he will not vote for it.

"If it is not at the point that I think it needs to be with the improvements that I'm pushing, and they've made a lot of them, then I will not vote on cloture on the motion to end debate," Nelson told KLIN on Thursday.

Nelson received a compromise proposal on abortion language Wednesday from another anti-abortion Democrat, Sen. Bob Casey. The Nebraska senator said there the proposal represented "lot of improvement on the legislation, (but) the basic question on the funding of abortion has not been fully answered yet."

When asked if the bill would get through the Senate by Christmas, the senator - who also said he had continuing tax and cost questions about the bill - asked if the radio host was "talking about this Christmas or next" and said he was "more concerned about getting it right."


Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care
December 17th, 2009
12:17 PM ET
9 months ago

Inhofe: Copenhagen conference 'has failed'

Inhofe: Copenhagen conference 'has failed'.
Inhofe: Copenhagen conference 'has failed'.

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. James Inhofe, a well-known skeptic of global warming, said Thursday in Copenhagen that "there will be no agreement" at the conference and said, "It has failed."

The Oklahoma senator is the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee and said a cap-and-trade bill has no chance of passing the Senate.

"My stated reason for attending Copenhagen was to make certain the 191 countries attending COP-15 would not be deceived into thinking the US would pass cap-and-trade legislation," Inhofe said, according to prepared remarks. "That won't happen. And for the sake of the American people, and the economic well-being of America, that's a good thing."

President Obama pledged $1 billion on Wednesday to help protect rainforests around the world. Inhofe said it's "too much" and that "taxpayers won't be pleased" with how their money is being spent.


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 8th, 2009
06:35 PM ET
9 months ago

Adviser: O.K. for Obama, Conyers to 'blow off a little steam'

Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett downplayed a report Tuesday that recounted a testy telephone call between the president and fellow Democrat Rep. John Conyers.
Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett downplayed a report Tuesday that recounted a testy telephone call between the president and fellow Democrat Rep. John Conyers.

Washington (CNN) - A senior White House official downplayed a report Tuesday that recounted a testy telephone call between President Obama and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers.

In an interview with CNN, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said that Obama and Conyers have "the kind of relationship where they can call each other anytime" and "blow off a little steam."

Jarrett was responding to a question about a story published by The Hill that said Obama recently called Conyers to express frustration about the chairman's criticism of him.

"[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn't anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues," the Michigan Democrat told The Hill. "And he said, 'Well, let's talk about it.'"

Conyers office would not comment on the exchange when contacted by CNN.
FULL POST


Filed under: John Conyers • President Obama • Valerie Jarrett
December 7th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
9 months ago

AFL-CIO expands health care reform effort

Washington (CNN) – The AFL-CIO is urging Congress to pass health care reform with a public option that doesn't tax workers' benefits, in a new television ad out this week.

The commercial features a montage of different workers pleading for health care reform, but emphasizing that they think it's "just wrong" to tax workers' benefits. In the ad, the workers claim if their health care is taxed, companies will cut benefits and they will have to pay more in the end.

The commercial first ran in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, but the union said it is spending an additional $1.5 million to expand its distribution to Virginia, Indiana and Delaware. It will run for two weeks.


Filed under: AFL-CIO • Health care
December 2nd, 2009
07:57 PM ET
9 months ago

White House will adjust security procedures

Washington (CNN) – The White House is adjusting its security protocol to prevent uninvited guests from crashing future events, a top administration official announced Wednesday.

Related: Lawmakers want answers on 'party-crashing' drama

Going forward, White House staff will be stationed at security checkpoints alongside U.S. Secret Service agents, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina said in a memo posted on the White House Web site.

"Guests will be checked off of the list by White House staff and the Secret Service will continue to ensure that all guests have been properly cleared before entering the White House," Messina wrote in the memo. "Guests whose names are not on the guest list will be assisted by White House staff present at the check point for appropriate resolution."

"As always, the Secret Service will provide security and remain ultimately responsible for controlling access to the White House complex," Messina added.

Related: Social secretary won't testify before Congress, WH says


Filed under: White House
December 2nd, 2009
06:40 PM ET
9 months ago

Rumsfeld says Obama made 'bald misstatement'

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he never received a request for more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he never received a request for more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Washington (CNN) – Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized President Obama's assertion Tuesday that the Bush administration ignored requests for more troops to battle the Taliban, declaring the president's remark made during his address on Afghanistan a "bald misstatement."

Rumsfeld said Wednesday that during his time as Bush's Secretary of Defense, he was "not aware of a single request of that nature."

"The President's assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld said in a statement. "In the interest of better understanding the President's announcement last night, I suggest that the Congress review the President's assertion in the forthcoming debate and determine exactly what requests were made, who made them, and where and why in the chain of command they were denied."

But Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since October of 2007, said Wednesday that the former top commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, had requested more troops during the previous administration, but they were sent to Iraq instead.

FULL POST

December 1st, 2009
07:23 AM ET
9 months ago

Congress calls for party crashers to testify

Congress calls for party crashers to testify.
Congress calls for party crashers to testify.

Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee called Monday for the couple who crashed President Obama's state dinner last week and the head of Secret Service to testify at a Thursday hearing on the security breakdown at the White House event.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, announced that he wants to hear Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, explain how the couple was able to get inside the White House and shake hands with President Obama without being on the guest list.

"This is a time for answers, recognition of security deficiencies past and present, and remedies to ensure the strength of the Secret Service and the safety of those under its protection," Thompson said in a statement. "This is not the time for political games or scapegoating to distract our attention from the careful oversight we must apply to the Secret Service and its mission. My confidence in the management of the Secret Service hangs in the balance." He called the incident a "slap in the face" to other Secret Service employees.

Internal investigations have indicated that the Secret Service didn't follow protocol at at least one security checkpoint.

UPDATE: The House Homeland Security Committee has also invited White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers to be a witness at their Thursday hearing at the request of committee Republicans. Rogers has yet to respond to the invitation.


Filed under: Congress • Homeland Security • White House
November 30th, 2009
08:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Congress calls for party crashers to testify

Congress calls for party crashers to testify.
Congress calls for party crashers to testify.

Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee called Monday for the couple who crashed President Obama's state dinner last week and the head of Secret Service to testify at a Thursday hearing on the security breakdown at the White House event.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, announced that he wants to hear Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, explain how the couple was able to get inside the White House and shake hands with President Obama without being on the guest list.

"This is a time for answers, recognition of security deficiencies past and present, and remedies to ensure the strength of the Secret Service and the safety of those under its protection," Thompson said in a statement. "This is not the time for political games or scapegoating to distract our attention from the careful oversight we must apply to the Secret Service and its mission. My confidence in the management of the Secret Service hangs in the balance." He called the incident a "slap in the face" to other Secret Service employees.

Internal investigations have indicated that the Secret Service didn't follow protocol at at least one security checkpoint.


Filed under: Congress • Extra • Homeland Security • Popular Posts • White House
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