Washington (CNN) - Conservatives for Patient Rights is targeting 14 senators in their latest anti-public option ad, which hits airwaves Monday.
The group, which has spent millions on ads opposing President Obama's health care reform push, says is spending $250,000 on an ad airing on CNN and Fox News pushing centrist Democrats and a Republican to oppose a public option in the health care bill.
"The future of every Americans medical care rests with these 14 senators," says the narrator in the 30-second spot, as the 14 senators' photos and names scroll across the screen. Lawmakers targeted include Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Thomas Carper, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Jon Tester, Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Washington (CNN) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed Wednesday that government funded programs will continue to cover routine mammograms, despite a federal advisory board's recommendations that women in their 40s should not regularly get tested for breast cancer.
"They are making recommendations, not coverage decisions, not payment decisions and the government payers have decided we will continue to cover both Medicare and Medicaid patients who have mammograms routinely," Sebelius told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We will continue to recommend it, and the health plans have indicated that they will do the same, if the health care provider recommends a mammogram for a patient, they intend to cover that payment."
Earlier in the day, Sebelius addressed the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms, saying they "caused a great deal of confusion and worry." She emphasized again on CNN that they "don't make coverage decisions" and advised women to go to their doctors to decide when and how often to get mammograms.
"What we know is that mammograms definitely save lives," Sebelius said. She added, "We want women to have a doctor, take the information, but then have that conversation about your own health history, what the risks are of having a mammogram versus the benefits and make a determination based on an informed decision."
(CNN) - The Senate's second-ranking Democrat told CNN Tuesday that he hopes to have a version of the health care bill done and available to the public by Thanksgiving.
Sen. Dick Durbin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that debate in the Senate on the health care bill could start this week and that he hopes that it will be "posted for the world to see over the Thanksgiving recess." He said he thinks he does have all 60 votes needed to move the bill to the Senate floor.
"I believe if we have full attendance, that we will have the 60 votes to begin the debate in terms of moving the bill forward," Durbin said. "That's when the delicate negotiations begin. And wouldn't it be great to have a senator from the other side of the aisle to join us in that effort?"
Durbin said that the bill "has to be done in the Senate this year" and that he hopes it will go to a final vote before President Obama's State of the Union address at the beginning of next year, but that he "wouldn't predict that."
(CNN) - Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized an influential health panel's new guidelines recommending that women get mammograms less frequently, calling some of the findings "disturbing" and "patronizing."
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an independent group of health care experts, issued new guidelines on Tuesday recommending that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms, and refrain from doing regular self exams. Part of the reason, one panel member told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, is to prevent women from worrying too much about having cancer.
"The harms of screening is what we call the false positives," Lucy Marion, the dean of the school of nursing at the Medical College of Georgia said. "In other words, women will have unnecessary worry about cancer. They may have unnecessary biopsy. In some cases they may have more radiation than healthy for them, though in most cases, that's a minor problem. But there are those harms, and we weigh those harms with the benefits of the few women that would benefit from that."
Wasserman Schultz, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41 and said she found it though a self-exam, introduced a bill in March to teach even younger women about early detection. She said on Tuesday that women need to get more information to make educated decisions about their health care.
Washington(CNN) - A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee criticized a Republican congressman Tuesday for suggesting that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daughter will be kidnapped by terrorists, calling it evidence that the GOP has been taken over by "Right Wing extremists."
"In case there's any doubt of the Republican Party being taken over by the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and other Right Wing extremists, last night Republican Rep. John Shadegg actually suggested that Mayor Bloomberg's daughter will be kidnapped by a terrorist," DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said in a statement.
"This is what happens when you have a Republican Party undeterred by their embarrassing loss in the NY-23 Special Election and desperate to win over the Right Wing fringe," he added.
On the House floor on Monday night, Shadegg criticized Bloomberg for supporting the Obama administration's decision to have the suspected 9/11 terrorists face a trial in New York City. Bloomberg said last week that it's "fitting" to have them tried close to the World Trade Center site and that the city has "hosted terrorism trials before," but Shadegg warned of other repercussions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Days after telling his former staffers to avoid responding to charges in Sarah Palin's new book, Sen. John McCain has spoken up to deny that his campaign made her pay for her own vice presidential vetting.
The former Republican presidential candidate told The Hill on Monday night that Palin did receive a legal bill - but it was to deal with allegations that she abused her power as governor to try to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper in Alaska.
"That was over the troopergate," McCain told The Hill.
In her book "Going Rogue: An American Life," Palin said that the McCain campaign stuck her with a bill for $50,000 to cover the costs of her own vetting. McCain's aides have denied this charge, and others made in the book, but the Arizona senator has largely remained silent. On Friday, he asked his former aides to avoid television appearances and refrain from engaging in a back-and-forth with Palin over the claims.
Palin has given him a signed copy of the book. McCain told the Hill that he enjoyed reading it.
"I hope she sells lots of them," he said.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin and her almost-son-in-law Levi Johnston have been in a war of words for months, but the former Alaska governor told Oprah Winfrey in just-released clips of the highly-anticipated interview that he is still "part of the family."
While not directly saying whether or not Johnston is invited to Thanksgiving dinner, Palin said her family still has affection for Johnston.
"It's lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing," Palin told Winfrey. "Because of course you want - he is a part of the family and you want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wing. And he needs that, too."
Discussing her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," on Winfrey's famous couch, Palin said she and her family want to make peace with Johnston and move past the dramatics that have unfolded in the media over the last year. Johnston was once engaged to Palin's daughter, Bristol, and is the father of Palin's grandson, Tripp.
"I think he needs to know that he is loved and he has the most beautiful child, and this can all work out for good," Palin said. "It really can. We don't have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time. We're not really into the drama. We don't really like that. We're more productive."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Best-selling author Jon Krakauer sharply criticized Gen. Stanley McChrystal for his handling of former NFL player-turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death, in an interview with CNN scheduled to air Saturday.
Tillman was killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan. Krakauer, author of "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman," said that despite seeing reports describing the real cause of Tillman's death, McChrystal signed paperwork to award him a Silver Star, which is not normally given to victims of friendly fire.
"I think he has a serious blemish on his record," Krakauer said.
When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer if he thought McChrystal should be in charge of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, Krakauer answered, "No."
(CNN) - Democrat Bill Owens may have won last night's special election in New York's 23rd congressional district - but Sarah Palin said Wednesday that race "is not over."
Writing on Facebook early Wednesday morning, the former Alaska governor praised Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and "all the other under-dog candidates who have the courage to put themselves out there and run against the odds."
"The race for New York's 23rd District is not over, just postponed until 2010," Palin wrote. "The issues of this election have always centered on the economy – on the need for fiscal restraint, smaller government, and policies that encourage jobs. In 2010, these issues will be even more crucial to the electorate."
Owens – the first Democrat to win this district since the 19th century – is up for re-election in 2010.
Palin, along with prominent conservatives Tim Pawlenty, Fred Thompson and Dick Armey, backed Hoffman last month over then-Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out the weekend before Election Day. The race garnered national attention over the Republican Party split between the Scozzafava and the more conservative Hoffman.
(CNN) - Top White House aide David Axelrod brushed off Democratic electoral losses in Virginia and New Jersey Wednesday, calling the congressional race in New York's 23rd district the "only national race of consequence."
Axelrod told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey were "impacted by state issues" and that they were not national races. He said the results of those races should not intimidate moderate Democrats, who he said should focus instead on the election in upstate New York, where a Democrat won the seat for the first time in over 100 years.
"That's the race that most members of Congress are going to look at with interest, and that's the race they should," Axelrod said. "Because the message was, if you embrace the president's agenda… then you will do well and you'll energize voters and you'll get the kind of turnout you need to win your race."
Many Republicans have called the race in NY-23 a unique situation - since the local GOP appointed the nominee instead of conducting a primary, which they say Hoffman would have won - Axelrod called the chaotic contest evidence of an intra-party split.
"What you saw there was I think the future, or the near-term future of the Republican Party, civil war in which the right wing ran the moderates out of the party," Axelrod said. "And they ran right to the Democratic candidate. And I think that has some harbingers for what's to come."
Tune into The Situation Room beginning at 4 pm ET for the rest of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Axelrod.