May 31st, 2009
02:17 PM ET
14 years ago

McConnell: Better things to do than play 'speech police'

(CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday he disagrees with conservative commentators who have labeled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, but said he has better things to do than be "the speech police."

"Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda, and better things to do than be the speech police over people who have their views about a very important appointment," McConnell told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "So I'm not going to get into policing everybody's speech."

The comments come two days after Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, publicly repudiated recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling Obama's choice for the high court a "racist."

"I think it's terrible," Cornyn told NPR Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”


Filed under: Extra • Mitch McConnell • State of the Union
May 31st, 2009
02:00 PM ET
May 31st, 2009
12:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama to discuss GM bankruptcy filing

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama is set to announce the bankruptcy of GM."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will hold an 11:30 a.m. Monday event discussing the bankruptcy filing of General Motors, according to two officials close to the talks.

The officials said that GM is expected to officially file the paperwork on the bankruptcy earlier in the day. Obama will then explain the rationale for the filing and his hopes that this is the best route for a turnaround.

The president made a similar announcement after Chrysler, another of the Big Three automakers, filed for bankruptcy protection on April 30.

But the officials cautioned that the situation remains "very fluid," so it's still possible that GM will technically file the paperwork after Obama speaks.

The expected bankruptcy filing comes despite an agreement reached last Thursday with the Treasury Department and a committee of major bondholders.

The beleaguered Detroit-based automaker has been struggling to survive under the weight of the recession and high fuel prices, which have drastically reduced sales.

GM's stock price plunged below $1 a share Friday, reaching its lowest level since the Great Depression, as investors anticipated the bankruptcy filing.

The company's stock peaked on April 28, 2000, when it closed at $93.63.

Filed under: President Obama
May 31st, 2009
12:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Sunday Roundup: GOP lawmakers say filibuster unlikely

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="On the Sunday shows this morning, GOP lawmakers said a filibuster against Sotomayor isn't likely."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leading Senate Republicans indicated Sunday that a filibuster of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is unlikely, though they also promised not to shy away from what they characterized as a troubling judicial record.

Reflecting the delicate political balancing act of opposing the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee, they also pushed back against those conservative commentators who were quick to paint Sotomayor as a racist.

"I don't think that the need for filibuster will be there unless we have not had a chance to look at the record fully," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, told CNN's John King on "State of The Union."

"I have voted (against filibustering) sometimes even when I voted against the nominee if I felt that I knew enough about the nominee. I think it will be determined in that way."


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
May 31st, 2009
12:00 PM ET
May 31st, 2009
11:33 AM ET
14 years ago

Disecting Sotomayor coverage

(CNN) – The Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor by President Obama last week sent the right wing media into a frenzy over a speech Sotomayor gave in 2001 where she said "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

Sotomayor was called a racist by Fox News' Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson, as well as by conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, while being hailed by President Obama and the liberal media as "inspiring."

Howard Kurtz sorted through the punditry Sunday morning on Reliable Sources with Bloomberg News Chief Political Columnist Margaret Carlson, and WOIA radio show host Blanquita Cullum.

Margaret Carlson contended that the cable pundits were the center of attention because they helped to create the controversy regarding Sotomayor.

"It's hard to cover silence. In the first couple of days, the elected leaders didn't know what to do. They couldn't find anything. Their comments were very restrained. And so, where do you go? You go to the noise. You don't cover the dog that doesn't get run over."

Cullum explained why the conservative pundits have been more vocal this week than their liberal counterparts.

"When you're in the majority, you vote. When you're in the minority, you talk."

Related Video:

Filed under: State of the Union
May 31st, 2009
10:09 AM ET
14 years ago

Treasury chief to meet with Chinese leaders

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will push for better relations with China."](CNN) - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is set to meet with several high-ranking members of the Chinese leadership this week, marking the Obama administration's first major overture to the powerhouse nation.

Geithner left Saturday for meetings in Beijing, where he'll discuss ways to strengthen relations between China and the United States, according to the Treasury Department.

China is one of America's most important trading partners, and its economy is tightly intertwined with efforts to reverse the global downturn.

But the relationship is also often a source of tension. Chinese exports to the United States have dominated trade between the two nations since the 1980s. The U.S. trade deficit with China rose again in March to $15.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported.

Full story

Filed under: Timothy Geithner
May 31st, 2009
09:49 AM ET
14 years ago

Hutchison: Filibuster against Sotomayor not likely

(CNN) - Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison suggested Sunday she doubts Republicans will press for a filibuster to prevent Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from receiving a confirmation vote.

"I don't think that the need for filibuster will be there unless we have not had a chance to look at the record fully," Hutchison told CNN's John King on State of The Union. I have voted for [cloture] sometimes even when I voted against the nominee if I felt that I knew enough about the nominee. I think it will be determined in that way."

Hutchison, who has established an exploratory committee to run for governor of Texas, also said members of her party need to adopt a "solid respectful tone" while examining Sotomayor's record.

"I definitely think we need to have the respectful tone and we need to look at the record. We need to be just very - we need to have the responsibilities that have been put on us by the constitution taken very seriously," Hutchison said. "And I think that having a solid respectful tone, arguing the facts, not trying to label someone, I think is important. And I think going forward that's what you'll see from the senators who are involved in this process."

Filed under: State of the Union
May 31st, 2009
09:15 AM ET
14 years ago

King: Same-sex marriage debate heats up in New York

Editor's note: On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country.

NEW YORK (CNN) - As she lobbies members of the New York Senate these days, the politician in Christine Quinn can understand what the gay rights activist in her sometimes cannot.

"The fear of the unknown," is how she describes it. "This is a vote they've never cast before. And they don't know how people are going to react. You are in a position where people's reaction to you is the key to your success. And the unknown creates fear and fear often creates paralysis."

Quinn is the openly gay speaker of the New York City Council, and a proponent of legalizing same sex marriage in New York state.

Full Story

May 30th, 2009
06:00 PM ET
14 years ago

A date night for soccer dad-in-chief

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama may hold the title of commander-in-chief, but on Saturday he donned another cap: Soccer dad.

The president, dressed in jeans and a navy polo shirt, and first lady Michelle Obama ventured from the White House to watch daughter Malia's soccer team - the Tsunamis - take to the field, according to pool reports. For the record: Malia's team won.

The first couple, known for having weekend date nights, later made a visit Saturday night to New York City for what the White House is calling a personal visit. The New York Times reports that the Obamas are seeing the Broadway show, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”

According to a White House spokesperson, Obama said he was taking his wife to the Big Apple "because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished."

Instead of taking the larger Air Force One plane for their trip north, the Obamas took a smaller plane, a G-3, which became Air Force One once he boarded.

The press traveled in a separate aircraft, a G-5, and a G-3 carried White House support staff, according to the pool report.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest cites “efficiency” - as in fuel efficiency - as the reason the big plane is staying in the hanger and the smaller planes are being utilized, the pool report said.

But not everyone is excited about the NYC trip.


Filed under: Michelle Obama • President Obama
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