(CNN) - Conservative host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday he isn't sorry to see Arlen Specter leave the GOP - and that many Republicans wish the Pennsylvania senator would take a few others with him when he goes.
"A lot of people say, 'Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you're gonna..." he told listeners, dissolving in laughter.
".....It's ultimately good. You're weeding out people who aren't really Republicans," he said.
Limbaugh did concede the downside of Specter's defection. "It makes the Senate essentially as big a slam dunk for Obama and the Democrats as the House of Representatives already is," he said.
Earlier this month, Specter said Limbaugh did have a tendency to make "provocative" statements, but told radio host Howard Stern he didn't have a problem with the conservative talker. "Do I like Limbaugh?... yeah, I like him," he said then.
UPDATE: Late Tuesday afternoon, Meghan McCain fired back on Twitter. "RED TIL I'M DEAD BABY!!! I love the republican party enough to give it constructive criticism, I love my party and sure as hell not leavin!"
(CNN) - A conservative group is out with a million-dollar ad buy attacking President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's health care system.
The Conservative Patients' Rights Action Fund, one of the earliest opponents of the president's plan, will begin airing the first of the new 60-second spots Tuesday on national cable. The ad features British and Canadian doctors relating horror stories of government-run health care wait lists and restrictions, and accuses Congress of adopting elements of those systems.
“Patients are languishing and suffering on wait lists, our own Supreme Court of Canada has stated that patients are actually dying as they wait for care in Canada,” Canadian privatization proponent Dr. Brian Day says in the spot.
"Tell Congress you won't trade your doctor for a national board of bureaucrats," says the narrator. "Let's put patients first."
The group - one of the earliest opponents to organize against Obama's health care plans - has launched several ads this year attacking the proposal. Last month, they released an spot that linked the administration's request for a set-aside in the federal budget to help fund health care reform with the controversial loophole that allowed executives of bailed-out companies to keep their bonuses.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's decision to release four Bush-era memos regarding the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" was heavily criticized Sunday as a couple of prominent senators told CNN's John King that the decision was a potentially dangerous mistake.
"I think it was a mistake to release the techniques that we're talking about and inform our enemy as to what may come their way," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said on "State of the Union."
Graham, who opposed the use of techniques that many consider to be torture, added that he still believed "there's a way to get good information in an aggressive manner to protect this nation without having to go into the Inquisition era."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CNN Sunday that President Obama still wants to work with Republicans in a bipartisan way on major policy initiatives like health care reform.
"He has reached out more aggressively I think to the Republican Party than I could ever imagine a president could possibly do," she told John King on State of the Union. "So I think the burden is on him to reach out his hand, and that's what he's done, and that's what he's going to continue to do throughout this administration."
After failing to secure Republican support for most of his economic plan, the president called on the Senate last week to use a parliamentary procedure that would allow legislation - including massive efforts like a health care overhaul - to pass without any GOP votes.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s nothing new in the interrogation memos whose release has stirred controversy, senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett told CNN Sunday.
The CIA memos described waterboarding and other tough interrogation methods on alleged al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.
Jarrett said the United States is “a nation of laws,” and the administration had a legal requirement to release the documents.
"The techniques that were being used by the prior administration were well known," she told John King on State of the Union. "When the president came in office, he said we're not going to use those techniques anymore. That's not who we are as a country."
“There’s nothing in these documents that Americans hadn't seen all over the news,” she said, adding that Obama said it was time to release them and “move forward.”
But the president is leaving any prosecution decisions up to the attorney general, she added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett told CNN Sunday the president takes the swine influenza outbreak "very seriously," as the White House announced an afternoon briefing to provide an update on efforts to keep the disease from spreading to the United States.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and acting CDC director Dr. Richard Besser will speak at 12:30. The State Department is also involved in tracking efforts.
This week, isolated cases of the illness were reported in at least three states. The swine flu has stricken more than a thousand and been blamed for more than 80 deaths in Mexico over the past few weeks.
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, facing a string of costly ethics complaints, formally unveiled a defense fund Friday to help pay her legal fees - now surging past the half-million dollar mark.
"For Alaskans, the time has come to end the siege on our government by political tricksters. Enough is enough. With the help of reform-minded advocates from across our nation, we will stand up for what is right," said a message on the Web site for the Alaska Fund Trust.
"Your maximum contribution of $150.00 will allow the Governor, her family, and her colleagues to retire their legal debt at no cost to Alaskans and reduce the incentive for mischief by her opponents. Together, we can help Governor Palin and future elected officials turn back the tide of overtly partisan and unnecessarily personal political attacks."
Kristan Cole, a Palin ally from Wasilla, will run the fund, which she described as "one of the most restrictive and transparent legal funds in history." The group said it plans to voluntarily release the names of donors and size of their contributions.
(CNN) - Liz Cheney, former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, defended her father's string of tough comments aimed at President Obama, telling an interviewer that the former VP believes the new president is taking the nation down a "dangerous" path and that he has an "obligation to stand up."
"I think he is concerned that some of the things that we have seen President Obama do, particularly on his overseas trip in terms of not taking the opportunity to stand up and defend America when Daniel Ortega delivers a 50-minute screed against the United States [during the Summit of the Americas]," she told MSNBC in an interview that aired Thursday.
"I think that there's a real concern. I mean, the message that we saw coming out of the last few foreign trips - I mean, forget Republican and Democrat, as an American it concerns me when I have a president that doesn't stand up and say, 'Wait a minute, you know, I'm going to defend the United States of America because we are a beacon of hope for people all around the world,'" she said. FULL POST
(CNN) - John McCain’s general election campaign began as “the strategic equivalent of throwing a football through a tire at 50 yards” – and was doomed weeks before Election Day, his former chief strategist said Thursday.
“We were running a campaign under extra difficult circumstances - the state of the Republican Party, the president’s unpopularity, the economy - a lot of issues that were not John McCain’s fault, but were John McCain’s problem in this race,” Schmidt told an audience at the University of Delaware, according to Politico. “When Lehman Brothers collapsed in the fall I knew pretty much right away that ... from an electoral strategy perspective, the campaign was finished.”
Schmidt and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe - who both attended, but did not graduate from Delaware - shared the stage and looked back at the 2008 campaign.
Schmidt praised Obama's political skills. “This was, in my view, the unfinished Bobby Kennedy campaign - the idealism, the passion, the inspiration he gave to people, it was organic and it was real and it wasn’t manufactured at a tactical level in the campaign,” he said.
(CNN) - Meghan McCain loves Twitter - except for the "creepy people." Like Karl Rove.
In a blog post for the Daily Beast published Monday, McCain says the social networking site has been a "liberating" experience for her - if only her dispatches weren't being read by the former Bush advisor.
"Karl Rove follows me on Twitter. That's creepy," she said. "I joined Twitter a few months ago; so far, it has been a liberating way to transition from political to personal blogging. It's allowed me to share the less serious aspects and humorously uncensored moments of my life. But there's also been a downside: I am now being followed by Karl Rove, and my local sheriff, and God knows how many other political pundits. We need to take Twitter back from the creepy people."
Later, she wrote: "I can't shake the fact that Karl Rove is following me-it can be creepy. So watch out."
The daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain also said she finds Rove's Tweets "boring," and speculated that he had a "ghost Twitterer" or an assistant posting his thoughts.
"On the surface, Karl Rove's Twitter feed intrigues me," she said. Here's a guy who for years has been perceived as some kind of inaccessible man-behind-the-curtain figure. And now he Tweets numerous times a day. I've never met him in person, which only makes our Twitter relationship even weirder. And to be honest, I find Rove's Tweets boring. Sometimes he takes questions; other times he talks about his appearances on cable news and other shows. But he doesn't say anything substantive."
She said that Rove's Tweets "seem to reveal a softer side to him" - but drew her skepticism.
"Call it savvy marketing, but I find it disingenuous," she said. "And it's a bit weird to think his people-not even Rove himself-are following me."