WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele suggested Friday that Republicans hold off on "slammin' and rammin'" Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and instead recognize the "historic aspect" of her nomination.
While guest hosting the Bill Bennett radio show on Friday morning, Steele said he was "excited" to see a Hispanic woman in this position.
"The trap here for the GOP I think is enormous," Steele said. "And I know that a lot of folks want to do the knee jerk you know let's start slammin' and rammin', but I think we really need to take a step back from this and deal with two things, one, the historic aspect of it, acknowledge it, but then move on to the substance of the conversation about what this woman believes."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Critics of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor often cite a comment the federal judge made in 2005 that the U.S. Court of Appeals, where she has served since 1998, "is where policy is made."
Sotomayor made the statement at the Duke University School of Law during a panel discussion with other federal judges on judicial clerkships. The purpose of the event was to encourage the law students in attendance to pursue judicial clerkships during their legal careers. According to the panel moderator, the judges would be asked to describe "what it is their clerks do, what the relationship between the judge and the clerk is like, … different kinds of clerkships, maybe at the trial court level and at the court of appeals level, how those differ and maybe a little bit about the selection process."
The "policy is made" comment came near the end of the 51-minute discussion, when a student asked the panel to describe the differences between district court clerkships and those at the appeals court level, also known as the circuit court level.
A small portion of the student's question was inaudible, and those sections are marked in brackets. Also serving on the panel with Sotomayor were Judges Carlos Lucero and Robert Henry, both from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A video of the full panel discussion, held February 25, 2005, can be seen on the Duke University School of Law Web site.
(The full text and time codes of the exchange are provided after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Indiana, confirmed Friday that federal law enforcement officials had issued subpoenas for materials from his congressional and campaign offices in their investigation of a defense lobbying firm that had employed his former chief of staff.
The PMA Group was raided by the FBI earlier this year. Former Visclosky chief of staff Rich Kaelin had lobbied for the firm.
"Federal law enforcement officials have issued grand jury subpoenas to my Congressional office, campaign committees, and certain employees to request documents relating to PMA," Visclosky said in a statement. "It is my intention to fully cooperate with the investigation consistent with my constitutional obligations to Congress and my duties and responsibilities to my constituents.
"I will continue to work hard to represent the people of Indiana's First Congressional District as I have done since being elected to Congress. I am confident that at the end of this process, no one will conclude that I have done anything wrong or harmed my constituents in any way," he said. Citing respect for the investigative process, the congressman said he would not be commenting further on the situation.
Visclosky has returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the firm and its employees, who were among his biggest financial supporters.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Even as the White House pushes back at Republican attacks over a controversial comment by President Obama's Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor, both the president and his top spokesman said Friday her wording wasn't the best.
"I would hope that 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 said at a university event in 2001. The remark has sparked accusations of racism from prominent conservatives like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who heads a non-profit that sent out an e-mail calling for Sotomayor to withdraw from consideration for the high court, and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who compared the judge Friday to former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.
In an interview with NBC Friday, President Obama said Sotomayor's point could have been more clearly made. "I'm sure she would have restated it" if she had known how it would be interpreted, he said.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed Limbaugh's attempt to draw parallels between Sotomayor and Duke, but called her choice of words a "poor" one.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As education stimulus funds continue flowing, reaching 22 of the 50 states so far, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Friday described the situation as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools.
"You have leadership from the top, you have congressional support, you have great ideas and, lastly, and not insignificantly, we have some real resources," Duncan said at a news conference.
But the flow hasn't been fast enough for some local school districts that need to know soon what kind of cuts they will need to make in the next school year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that most Americans are receptive to having more government influence over their health care in return for lower costs and more coverage.
Sixty-three percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they would favor an increase in the federal government's influence over their own health-care plans in an attempt to lower costs and provide coverage to more Americans; 36 percent were opposed.
The poll also suggests that slightly more than six out of 10 think the government should guarantee health care for all Americans, with 38 percent opposed.
But Americans appear to be split over raising taxes to increase coverage. Forty-seven percent of those questioned support raising taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans. An equal amount back the idea of keeping taxes at current levels but not providing health insurance for all Americans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims - that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked - are wrong.
Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association's annual dinner on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques - now deemed torture by the Obama administration - "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims."
The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released "say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."
"I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction," he added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former DNC chairman Howard Dean is coming out with a new book that makes the case for Democrats' ambitious plans to reform the country's health care system.
"America has had 'socialized' medicine since 1964,'" Dean writes in the book, according to a release issued Friday. "'It's called Medicare; it covers every American over 65, and they are very happy with the program. The rest of America deserves a similar option.'"
The 2004 presidential candidate's book will be electronically published first, released as an e-book on June 5 and then as a paperback on July 1. The book will also be made available through an Apple iPhone application.
Dean, the former governor of Vermont, was a practicing physician before entering politics.
While Former Vice President Dick Cheney hasn’t been able to keep his mouth shut since leaving office, the former president has been largely silent. Until last night that is.
Speaking in Michigan, George W. Bush repeated Cheney’s claim that the enhanced interrogation program — what some people call “torture” — was legal and helped get valuable information that prevented more terror attacks… and saved lives.
The former president told the crowd of 2,500 people that after 9-11, he vowed to take quote “whatever steps were necessary to protect you.” Bush said after the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he wanted to determine what means were legal to get information from the terror suspect.