[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/06/art.limbaugh1.gi.jpg caption="Limbaugh took aim at Powell's comments about the GOP."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rush Limbaugh fired back at Colin Powell for his critical comments earlier this week, saying Wednesday that the former secretary of state should join the Democratic Party.
"What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party," Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday.
Limbaugh also took aim at Powell's decision to endorse President Obama over John McCain during the presidential election, repeating his earlier sentiment that Powell's move was "solely based on race."
"He's just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country who had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama," Limbaugh said. "It was purely and solely based on race."
During a speech on Monday, Powell said the "the Republican Party is in deep trouble" and said the GOP would be better off without Limbaugh, according to a report by the National Journal.
"I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without," Powell said.
(CNN) - The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is among 121 federal programs the White House is proposing to eliminate or reduce, according to an Obama administration official. The foundation provides scholarships and fellowships in life sciences for individuals raging from middle school students to scientists and researchers.
Reached by telephone, Thursday morning, at the agency's Auburn, New York-based office, the executive director of the small federal agency, Judith Shellenberger was stunned to learn her agency's future is in peril.
"I didn't know," Shellenberger said. "We do good work," she added and "we just made several awards."
An Obama administration official who asks not to be named says the foundation is "obviously inefficient" because it pays out in fellowships and awards only 20 percent of it's annual one million dollar budget.
Congress must go along with any cuts the president proposes.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/07/t1home.obama.thu.afp.gi.jpg caption=" The president is set to deliver remarks about his budget on Thursday morning."]
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The White House on Thursday will detail a proposal to save $17 billion next year by eliminating or reducing 121 federal programs, according to a senior administration official.
Roughly $11.5 billion of the savings would come from the discretionary side of the fiscal 2010 budget - that is, for programs whose funding is not automatic. And roughly half of the savings would come from non-defense programs, the official said Wednesday.
"In many cases we have multiple programs that do the same things," the official said in a briefing call with reporters. "Duplication can be the enemy of efficiency."
In other cases, the results of the targeted programs didn't justify the expense, the official said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/06/liberal.republicans/art.specter.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Arlen Specter's breed of fiscally conservative, socially progressive lawmakers is on decline in Northeast."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Question: How many years since the Civil War have both U.S. senators from Pennsylvania been Democrats?
Answer: two. The state sent Democrats Francis Myers and Joseph Guffey to the Senate between 1945 and 1947.
If you knew that, you understand just how far the Republican Party has fallen in its ancestral homeland of the Northeast, a decline that was underscored by Sen. Arlen Specter's recent decision to leave the party.
Specter's decision to join Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey on the Democratic side of the aisle raises a host of questions about a party that, after years in power, suddenly finds itself hemorrhaging voters and ceding vast swaths of electoral terrain.
First and foremost, who killed the Rockefeller Republicans? What happened to Specter's breed of fiscally conservative, socially progressive, temperamentally moderate Northeastern officeholders? And if they can be resurrected, should they?
Liberal to moderate Northeastern Republicans once were as much a part of the political landscape as today's liberals from Massachusetts. Now, they live mostly in the history books. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine may be the last ones standing in today's Senate.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Obama: Afghanistan, Pakistan, U.S. working to defeat extremists
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States are meeting "as three sovereign nations joined by a common goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al Qaeda and the Taliban.
CNN: White House plans to release plane flyover report, photo
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.
CNN: Obama tones down National Day of Prayer observance
For the past eight years, the White House recognized the National Day of Prayer with a service in the East Room, but this year, President Obama decided against holding a public ceremony.
CNN: Limbaugh to Powell: 'Become a Democrat'
Rush Limbaugh fired back at Colin Powell for his critical comments earlier this week, saying Wednesday that the former secretary of state should join the Democratic Party.
CNN: Reid discusses Obama's 'I have a gift' quote
In his interview with CNN Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid discussed a 2005 encounter with then-Sen. Barack Obama, when the newly-elected senator declared, "I have gift."
Washington Post: U.S. Halts Pilot Program in New York to Detect Biological Attacks
The Department of Homeland Security is dismantling a next-generation biological attack warning system in New York City subways because of technical problems, U.S. officials said.
NYT: F.B.I. To Pay for Anthrax Inquiry Review
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has agreed to pay $879,550 to the National Academy of Sciences for a 15-month review of its scientific work on the anthrax investigation, academy officials said, but the review will not assess the bureau’s detective work or its conclusion that an Army microbiologist, Bruce E. Ivins, sent the deadly letters in 2001. The academy panel will review genetic fingerprinting that led agents to Dr. Ivins’s Maryland laboratory, as well as clues to how and where the anthrax was grown and dried. Some colleagues of Dr. Ivins, who killed himself in July, have expressed doubt that he mailed the anthrax.