May 15th, 2009
07:10 PM ET
14 years ago

A Kennedy weighs in on Virginia governors race

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Kennedy is backing Moran."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A member of the Kennedy clan is making an endorsement in the Virginia governor's race.

Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the son of Sen. Ted Kennedy, announced on Friday that he's backing Democrat Brian Moran.

"Last November, families in Virginia and across the nation helped usher in a new generation of leadership," Kennedy said in a statement. "However, the need for this new generation of leaders is not confined to Washington and the White House."

It's another example - after Ted and Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 - of the Kennedy family keeping its political distance from Bill and Hillary Clinton. Moran's rival for the Democratic nomination, after all, is longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe. The former president has been campaigning for McAuliffe throughout the commonwealth this week.

With low turnout expected in the June 9 primary, each campaign hopes that these brand name endorsements will help them win the support of the Democratic loyalists likely to go to the polls on election day.

Moran and McAuliffe are competing against Democrat Creigh Deeds for their party's nomination. The winner of that primary will face Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election.

The endorsement is not the only Kennedy boost Moran is getting: Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy, is hosting a fundraiser for Moran on May 27 at her home, Hickory Hill in McLean.

Filed under: Ted Kennedy
May 15th, 2009
06:42 PM ET
14 years ago

Rand Paul to run for Senate

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Dr. Rand Paul, the son of former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, announced Thursday night that he is forming an exploratory committee to to challenge Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning in a Republican primary.

Paul made the announcement Thursday night on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.

Paul had said previously that he would not throw his hat in the ring if Bunning decided to run for reelection. Bunning - seen as one of the weakest Republicans in the 2010 race - has said that he will run again, but Paul said he doesn't necessarily trust that the two-term Kentucky senator will follow through.

"I think the problem is that every time a reporter asks Jim Bunning, are you running, their follow up question is, Jim, are you really running," Paul said. He said Bunning has done some "unusual things" and said, "What I hate to see is a politician who might go all the way up to the deadline and pull their papers out an hour before and then you have one candidate and there's no real primary."

Since his announcement, Paul said he has raised over $12,000, according to his campaign Web site. Paul's conservative views are very similar to those of his father, who garnered a major grassroots following during his run for president last year.

Filed under: Jim Bunning
May 15th, 2009
05:54 PM ET
14 years ago

Gingrich rips into Pelosi

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gingrich said Pelosi is a 'trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes.' "](CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is engaging in a "despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort" to withhold what she knew about the CIA's aggressive interrogation techniques, Newt Gingrich said Friday, in what amounts to the harshest criticism yet leveled at the California Democrat.

In an interview with ABC Radio, the former House Speaker said Pelosi flat-out "lied to the House" when she earlier claimed the CIA had never briefed her about the Bush administration's use of aggressive interrogation techniques including waterboarding.

"I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters," Gingrich said.

Pelosi has been under fire from critics who say that she was fully briefed on the techniques in 2002 and 2003.  On Thursday, the California Democrat accused CIA officials of misleading her, reiterating an earlier claim that she was briefed on such techniques only once - in September 2002 - and that she was told at the time that the techniques were not being used.

Pelosi also said the briefing she received from the CIA was incomplete and inaccurate, and she called on the CIA to release a full transcript of the briefing. She also accused Republicans of jumping on reports of the briefings to cause a distraction.

"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior," Gingrich also said in the blistering interview.

Earlier: Source: Aide told Pelosi waterboarding had been used

"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses," he continued. "The fact is, she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth."

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Newt Gingrich
May 15th, 2009
05:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Pelosi responds to Panetta comments

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded Friday to CIA Director Leon Panetta's public disagreement with her charge that she was misled by the agency on the use of waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques.

"We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people," she said in a statement issued by her office. "My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe.

"What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."

Filed under: Leon Panetta • Nancy Pelosi
May 15th, 2009
05:11 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama announces six US attorney nominations

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The first six Obama administration nominees for U.S. Attorney posts were announced Friday to replace top federal prosecutors named by President Bush.

The nominations were disclosed on a day the controversy over the 2006 U.S. attorney firings re-surfaced. Only hours after Bush White House political advisor Karl Rove was questioned by a federal prosecutor about his knowledge of politically-influenced firings, the White House issued its first list of attorneys to replace Bush appointees.

Heading the list is Pareet Bharara, who served as chief counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer during the time the New York senator led the Democratic battle against the Bush administration for employing political considerations in hiring and firing at the Justice Department.

Bharara, if confirmed, would head the crucial U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, which prosecutes high-profile Wall Street crimes and major terrorists. The office, often referred to by Democrats and Republicans alike as the "Sovereign District of New York," has wide prosecutorial discretion and is noted for its legendary independence from the bosses at the Justice Department in Washington.

Other nominees announced Friday were Tristram Coffin for Vermont, John Paul Kacavas for New Hampshire, Paul Fishman for New Jersey, Joyce Vance for the Northern District of Alabama, and Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with additional information.

Filed under: President Obama
May 15th, 2009
05:08 PM ET
14 years ago

Steele: Dr. Phil on Supreme Court

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="RNC Chairman Michael Steele joked Friday that President Obama is ‘looking to put Doctor Phil on the court."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – Picking on President Obama's statement that he's searching for a Supreme Court justice with "empathy" for ordinary Americans' problems. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele joked Friday that the president is "looking to put Doctor Phil on the Court."

Addressing the National Rifle Association, Steele warned that "liberal Democrats could control every lever of every branch of government" if Obama picks a "young, activist, left-wing justice."

"Supreme Court justices hold lifetime appointments," Steele said according to his prepared remarks. "That is why it is imperative that President Obama take his time and search for a nominee with the wisdom and grounding to interpret the laws of our great nation – not one who will have a knee jerk desire to 'empathize' with the concerns of Americans. Sounds like instead of another Judge Roberts, the President is looking to put Doctor Phil on the Court."

Steele also criticized Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for a recent report warning of "right-wing extremism," calling it "silly" and "sad." He said it is "ironic" that some Democrats are trying to restrict gun ownership while considering bringing detainees from Guantanamo Bay to prisons in the United States.

"It is ironic, to say the least, that at the same time Democrats in Congress are threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right to own a firearm and defend their families and homes, they are considering bringing terrorists like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda detainees to our communities once the President follows through on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay," Steele said.

Filed under: Michael Steele
May 15th, 2009
05:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Gore takes aim at Cheney

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gore criticized Cheney today in an interview with CNN."](CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore Friday took his successor Dick Cheney to task for aggressively criticizing President Obama so soon into the new commander-in-chief's presidency.

In an interview with CNN, Gore said he himself had refrained from criticizing President Bush until well into the run up to the Iraq war - more than two years after the Clinton administration came to an end.

"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical, and then of the policy," he said. "You know, you talk about somebody that shouldn't be talking about making the country less safe, invading a country that did not attack us and posed no serious threat to us at all."

During a series of television interviews in recent weeks, Cheney has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for its national security policies.

"He can speak for himself," Gore also said of the former vice president. "And I have a feeling that members of his own party wish that he would not do that. But I'll let that be an argument between him and them."

"He has become, in many ways, the leading spokesman for his party during this period of time. And the message is one that he's deciding to deliver," said Gore.

Filed under: Al Gore • Dick Cheney
May 15th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Mortgage rescue: Still more hurdles

NEW YORK ( – Loan servicers are overwhelmed by the flood of applications. Mortgage investors are angry about a congressional bill prohibiting them from suing servicers that modify loans. Foreclosures are rising as unemployment soars.

Nearly three months after President Obama first announced his $75 billion mortgage rescue effort, his administration is still refining the program in hopes of reaching its goal to save 9 million homeowners from foreclosure.

So far, more than 55,000 borrowers have been put into trial modifications, which become permanent if they keep up with payments for three months. Hundreds of thousands more have applied.

However, the initiative must still get over several hurdles before its chances for success can be determined.

Full story

Filed under: President Obama
May 15th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
14 years ago

Prosecutors question Rove about prosecutor firings

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Prosecutors interviewed Karl Rove today inside his lawyer’s office."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Bush administration official Karl Rove was interviewed Friday at the office of his lawyer about why several U.S. attorneys were fired in 2006.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, issued a statement after the meeting saying, "Mr. Rove was interviewed by prosecutors today and answered all of their questions. He intends to fully cooperate with the investigation."

Rove himself had no comment for reporters outside Luskin's office, saying only, "Have a nice weekend."

No details of the discussions were publicly released Friday, so the scope of the questioning was not fully known.

Read more

Filed under: Karl Rove
May 15th, 2009
03:54 PM ET
14 years ago

White House announces names for U.S. attorneys

(CNN) - The White House announced Friday President Obama plans to nominate Preet Bharara, Tristram Coffin, Jenny Durkan, Paul Fishman, John Paul Kacavas and Joyce Vance for U.S. Attorney posts.

Full White House Statement after the jump


Filed under: President Obama
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