May 6th, 2009
04:04 PM ET
12 years ago

White House plans to release plane flyover report, photo

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Pentagon officials say more than $300,000 was spent on a New York flyover by a 747 plane used as Air Force One"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House indicated Wednesday that a report and a photo from the controversial low-altitude New York flyover by a 747 plane used as Air Force One could be released soon.

Earlier, White House officials had said that there were no plans to release photos to the public.

But the tone seemed to change on Wednesday.

"The report, I believe, will be concluded at some point this week. We'll release its findings and release a photo," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during his daily press briefing.

The review, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, will focus on "why that decision was made and to ensure that it never happens again," Gibbs said.

The flyover, officials said, was a training mission - it was also a government-sanctioned photo shoot.

Military officials also estimate that the mission and the photo shoot, aimed updating file photos of Air Force One - cost around $328,835 in taxpayer money

Full Story

Filed under: Obama administration
May 6th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Report critical of FBI's handling of names for terrorist watch list

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The FBI has failed to place the names of dozens of suspected terrorists on the government's watch list, an omission that could have "significant consequences to public safety," the Justice Department's watchdog says.

In a report released Wednesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine sharply criticizes the FBI for failing to add 35 terrorism subjects to the consolidated watch list, and for being slow to add many others.

He says he found at least 12 people - ones either not put on the list or added after an excessive delay - who may have been moving about the United States during the time they were not listed.

The report also says the FBI failed to remove several people from the list after they had been cleared.

The consolidated list is used to screen individuals seeking to enter the United States and those who are stopped by local police agencies. It was created in 2003 to bring order to the flurry of separate agency watch lists that quickly developed following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


Filed under: FBI • Terrorism
May 6th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
May 6th, 2009
02:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Specter: Democratic leader promised me seniority

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic leader in the Senate promised Sen. Arlen Specter he would retain his seniority when he jumped from the Republican to the Democratic party, Specter told CNN Wednesday, but faced "pushback" from other Democratic senators.

On Tuesday the Senate confirmed that Specter had lost his seniority in a resolution that set out committee assignments for the entire Senate. The resolution was approved on a unanimous voice vote.

The full Senate voted Tuesday to strip Specter of his seniority, dropping him to the bottom of the pile on every committee he sits on.

The action came on a resolution - passed on a unanimous voice vote - that set out committee assignments for the entire Senate.

UPDATE: Specter has just released a statement on the matter:

“Senator Reid assured me that I would keep my committee assignments and that I would have the same seniority as if I had been elected as a Democrat in 1980. It was understood that the issue of subcommittee chairmanships would not be decided until after the 2010 election. Some members of the caucus have raised concerns about my seniority, so the caucus will vote on my seniority at the same time subcommittee chairmanships are confirmed after the 2010 election. I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Senator Reid. I am eager to continue my work with my colleagues on the various committees on which I serve and will continue to be a staunch and effective advocate for Pennsylvania’s and the Nation’s priorities.”

Full story

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Democrats • Senate
May 6th, 2009
02:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Kerry: newspapers an 'endangered species'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Kerry is chairing a hearing on the future of journalism on Wednesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Kerry said that newspapers are "becoming an endangered species" as more people turn to the "power, efficiency and technological elegance" of Internet news.

Before a Senate hearing on the struggling newspaper industry on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Democrat warned that television and radio could face the same fate "in a matter of a few years."

"As a means of conveying news in a timely way, paper and ink have become obsolete, eclipsed by the power, efficiency and technological elegance of the Internet," Kerry said in a statement. "But just looking at the erosion of newspapers is not the full picture; it's just one casualty of a completely shifting and churning information landscape."

While lamenting the fall of some of the country's oldest newspapers, Kerry, the chairman of Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, praised the contributions of online journalists and said the process for credentialing reporters to cover Capitol Hill should be modernized to include them.

But he also questioned whether Internet publications will uphold the same journalistic standards as newspapers.

"Will the emerging news media be more fragmented by interests and political partisanship?" Kerry said. "There also is the important question of whether on-line journalism will sustain the values of professional journalism, the way the newspaper industry has."

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said newspapers will not receive federal bailout money because it is a "bit of a tricky area" and it could cause a conflict of interest to help media companies that cover the president.

The purpose of the hearing Wednesday is to try to figure out an economic model for the new kind of press that the "newspaper barons of this country never envisioned," Kerry said.

Filed under: John Kerry
May 6th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Gingrich picks Obama's winners, losers

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gingrich picked winners and losers of President Obama's policies."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – When it comes to some of President Obama's national security policies, terrorist are the winners, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday.

In a posting on his Web site, the former House speaker who has been highly critical of Obama listed various administration initiatives, like closing Guantanamo Bay, picking a new Supreme Court Justice and the Chrysler bankruptcy, and picked the winners and losers of each.

"The Obama Administration has elevated rewarding some Americans and punishing others to a governing philosophy," Gingrich wrote. "And as he has expanded the size and the scope of government, President Obama has only increased his ability to reach into our businesses, our communities, and even our homes to separate Americans into two groups: Those who will benefit from the new order, and those who will pay the bills."

Gingrich called Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay a "truly mind-boggling idea" and said the winners are the terrorists and the losers are "new neighbors of terrorists and the American tax-payers."

Gingrich was also highly critical of Obama's comment that he would choose a Supreme Court Justice with "empathy," saying that the winners are "anyone the president deems deserving of judicial 'empathy'" and the losers would include "everyone else."

"Feeling the people's pain is the job of the people who make the laws," Gingrich said. "The job of judges is to interpret the laws without regard to the race, color, creed or station of the individuals involved. When we start picking judges based on their 'empathy' for certain groups, the rights of favored groups inevitably collide with the rights of others."

Filed under: Newt Gingrich
May 6th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Cafferty: How can GOP attract more women?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
And now for today's installment of 'The Republican Party is in deep trouble'… Among their many issues - turns out the GOP is really hurting when it comes to women voters.

A new Gallup poll shows that among women, Democrats have a solid double-digit advantage in party identification over Republicans - 41 percent to 27 percent.

Compare that to men, who are pretty evenly divided - 30 percent identify as Democrats and 28 percent as Republicans.

The news is even worse for the GOP when you take into account independent women who lean Democratic… in that case the advantage is 57 percent to 35 percent for the Democrats.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here

Filed under: Cafferty File
May 6th, 2009
01:04 PM ET
13 years ago

Maine governor signs same sex marriage bill

(CNN) - Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill Wednesday making same sex marriage legal in the state, his office announced.

Full story

Filed under: Maine • Same-sex marriage
May 6th, 2009
12:33 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Don't investigate torture techniques


A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation indicates that most Americans don't want to see an investigation of Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that most Americans don't want to see an investigation of Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists, even though most people think such procedures were forms of torture.

Six in ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday believe that some of the procedures, such as water boarding, were a form of torture, with 36 percent disagreeing.

But half the public approves of the Bush administration's decision to use of those techniques during the questioning of suspected terrorists, with 50 percent in approval and 46 percent opposed.

"Roughly one in five Americans believe those techniques were torture but nonetheless approve of the decision to use those procedures against suspected terrorists," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That goes a long way toward explaining why a majority don't want to see former Bush officials investigated."


Filed under: Poll
May 6th, 2009
12:09 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate strips Specter of seniority after party switch

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has lost his seniority on Senate committees after recently switching parties."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arlen Specter was in the driver's seat when the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled the two newest Supreme Court justices back in 2005, but the Pennsylvania senator won't be front and center next time.

Specter jumped from the Republican party to the Democratic party last week, putting the Democrats within reach of a 60-seat "supermajority" that could make it all but impossible for Republicans to block Democratic legislation.

On Tuesday the Senate confirmed that the party switch dropped him to the bottom of the heap in terms of seniority.

That means he will be the very last to speak when the Judiciary Committee questions President Barack Obama's yet-to-be-named nominee to replace Justice
David Souter - after even Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware, who has been a senator for all of four months.

In fact, only two of the 18 other senators on the committee have been in the upper house longer than Specter - and he has been in the Senate longer than seven other committee members put together.

But there is more at stake than Specter's ego or bragging rights.

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Democrats • Popular Posts • Senate
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