October 17th, 2009
03:37 PM ET
13 years ago

Sharpton threatens suit against Limbaugh

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/13/art.limbaugh.gi.jpg caption="Reverend Al Sharpton is threatening a defamation lawsuit against Rush Limbaugh."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Reverend Al Sharpton and his lawyers say they are preparing to file a defamation lawsuit against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for an op-ed published Saturday, which Sharpton alleges "erroneously" characterizes his (Sharpton's) role in a string of violent incidents in New York in the early 90's.

In the op-ed published in Saturday's Wall Street Journal Limbaugh writes Sharpton "played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews ‘diamond merchants’) and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot."

The Crown Heights riot began after a Hasidic Rabbi accidently struck and killed an African American boy with his car. The boy died from the injuries–sparking four nights of riots. The Rabbi was not charged, but Sharpton played a large role in rallying on behalf of the young boy’s family and the African American community.

According to a statement put out by Sharpton’s media consultant, a study New York Governor Mario Cuomo commissioned showed Sharpton was not involved in the Crown Heights incident until after the rioting concluded.

"Mr. Limbaugh's blatant and defamatory statements regarding the Crown Heights Riots falsely give the impression that Rev. Sharpton was present during the violence that occurred when in reality he had been called in by the family after the violence," Sharpton’s statement says.

"In terms of Freddie's Fashion Mart, Rev. Al Sharpton, along with local elected officials supported the protests. However, a lone gunman who disagreed with the nonviolent nature of the protests entered the store and killed seven people and himself… For Mr. Limbaugh to imply that Rev. Sharpton has anything to do with someone that killed people and himself is blatantly wrong," the statement continues.

Limbaugh’s attempt to invest in the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise was overshadowed by a controversy over his “racial views,” which Limbaugh says were false. In the op-ed, he also lashes out at several media outlets, including CNN and “the sports writer community,” for what he calls "contempt in the news business."


Filed under: Al Sharpton • Popular Posts • Rush Limbaugh
October 17th, 2009
03:09 PM ET
13 years ago

Kerry: Obama would be 'irresponsible' to send more troops to Afghanistan now

WASHINGTON (CNN)– Sen. John Kerry cautioned President Obama Saturday against raising troop levels in Afghanistan, saying it would be "entirely irresponsible" to do so while the Afghan government remains in turmoil following national elections.

"It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country, when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working in, with," Kerry told CNN's John King in an interview set to air Sunday at 9 a.m. on State of The Union.

Speaking from Afghanistan, Kerry, who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should listen to the advice of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in that country.

"When our own, you know, commanding general tells us that a critical component of achieving our mission here is, in fact, good governance, and we're living with a government that we know has to change and provide it, how could the president responsibly say, oh, they asked for more, sure, here they are?," Kerry said.

President Obama and his advisers have held five meetings in recent weeks to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they continue to weigh a call from Gen. McChrystal for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

However, complaints of voter irregularities have dogged the Afghanistan election and the United States' mission there. At a press conference earlier this month, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Kai Eide said the vote was marred by "widespread fraud."

The Independent Election Commission is expected to soon finish an audit and recount of suspicious ballots. The independent commission is a "constitutional body" that conducts "free and fair elections" in an "impartial way" according to its Web site.

Election tallies have yet to be certified because of the allegations. Last month, final uncertified results showed Karzai with 54 percent of the vote.

Be sure to watch the full interview Sunday at 9.am. on State of The Union with John King

October 17th, 2009
02:45 PM ET
13 years ago

VA Gubernatorial Candidate Stumps in Key Area

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/25/art.bocreigh0825.gi.jpg caption="The president last campaigned for Deeds in August."]
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA (CNN) - Fresh off the announcement that President Barack Obama will stump for him later this month, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds stumped on Saturday throughout the key battleground area of Northern Virginia, in the Washington suburbs.

The suburbs around Washington are considered crucial to the outcome of the contest for governor, and a recent Washington Post poll showed Deeds trailing his Republican opponent Bob McDonnell in this area. Several statewide polls have also shown Deeds behind McDonnell in the race.

"Let me dispel any rumor of my demise," Deeds told an enthusiastic crowd of Hispanic and organized labor supporters at a Spanish restaurant.

Deeds on Saturday was stumping in areas populated by several key ethnic groups, accompanied by incumbent Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who cannot run for re-election.

After weeks of guessing of whether and when the President would make a return visit to campaign for the Democratic nominee, Deeds' campaign was thrilled when it could announce on Friday a return visit for Oct. 27. The President had attended a fundraiser and rally in August. Obama was the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential election since 1964.

"We registered...almost 600,000 new voters last year. We had 74% turnout, turnout for Barack Obama. I think it is a win-win," Deeds told CNN. Deeds has previously blamed the national economic picture for some of his campaign's problems and said he supports most of the president's policies.


Filed under: Creigh Deeds
October 17th, 2009
01:34 PM ET
October 17th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
13 years ago

PEOPLE:Levi Johnston's Playgirl prep: gym and moose meat

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/art.levi.gi.jpg caption="Johnston's latest gig is with Playgirl magazine."]
How does Levi Johnston keep to the high-protein diet he needs to prepare for a Playgirl photo shoot?

With a rifle.

"Moose meat is very good for you, high in protein and very lean," his trainer, Marvin Jones, tells PEOPLE. "He's an avid hunter, so he has his own."

The 19-year-old father of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's grandchild has adopted a 3,500-calorie low-carb diet as part of a grueling regimen to ready him for next month's photo shoot.

Full story at People Magazine

Filed under: Levi Johnston
October 17th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Connecticut for Lieberman? Not. So. Fast.

[cnn-photo-caption image= [cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/01/art.obamadodd.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Chris Dodd is facing a tough re-election bid in Connecticut."]
(CNN) – Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary in 2006 but won the November election anyway by forming a third party and siphoning votes from Republicans who didn’t want progressive Democratic candidate Ned Lamont to take his seat in Washington.

But once Lieberman had secured his re-election, he abandoned the Connecticut for Lieberman party – and now that party may be used to target the state’s other senator, Democrat Chris Dodd, who is already facing stiff competition from the Republicans for his 2010 re-election bid.

At issue is a battle over the leadership of the party and its 105 members between an anti-Lieberman (and Dodd) engineering professor and the pro-Lieberman founders of the party who say they have not abandoned it.

“There has been an unbroken chain in the control of the party by the people who are in support of Senator Lieberman,” said Stuart R. Korchin, chairman of Connecticut for Lieberman and the first person to register the party in 2006.

But Lieberman and his supporters failed to file what’s called “party rules” with the Connecticut secretary of state’s office, department spokesman Av Harris said, leaving the door open for someone else to do so. Fairfield University professor John Orman, who opposed Lieberman, was the first to file party rules, and soon after Lieberman’s suppporters followed suit.


Filed under: Chris Dodd • Joe Lieberman
October 17th, 2009
10:52 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama names replacement for official who OK'd New York flyover

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WASHINGTON (CNN)– After nearly six months, President Obama named a replacement Friday for Louis Caldera, the director of the White House Military Office who was responsible for the controversial low-altitude flyover over New York by a 747 plane used as Air Force One.

The April 27 photo-shoot left New York City in a panic, sending people into the streets–reminding them of the tragic 9/11 attacks on the city. Building evacuations also took place across the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey. The public was never informed of the flyover, even though some city officials and the police had been notified. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was furious that he hadn’t been told about the flyover.

Military officials estimated the mission and the photo shoot - aimed at updating file photos of Air Force One - cost $328,835 in taxpayer money.

President Obama said he was "furious" about the incident and accepted Caldera's resignation May 8.

In an email sent out by the White House Friday, President Obama named George D. Mulligan as the new head of the military office.

"George brings decades of experience and has served with integrity and a deep commitment to his country – not just in his role at the White House Military Office, but throughout his distinguished career," President Obama said in a statement. "I am very grateful that George has agreed to lead the Office and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the coming months and years."

Mulligan, a Navy Veteran, has served since 1994 in various capacities in the White House Military Office, including Deputy Director.

Filed under: President Obama
October 17th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Political stars descend on Virginia campaigns

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/16/art.mccain1016.gi.jpg
caption="Sen. John McCain is holding a rally with Bob McDonnell on Saturday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As one of only two statewide campaigns in the 2009 election cycle, the Virginia governor's race has seen a parade of national political stars make the trip to the Old Dominion.

Late Friday, Creigh Deeds' campaign announced that President Obama would join the Democratic candidate on the trail at the end of the month. Obama's 2008 presidential rival will get there first: On Saturday, Sen. John McCain will make his second trip to Virginia on behalf of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. McCain, a decorated Navy hero, will help McDonnell make a closing pitch to veterans at a rally in Hampton Roads, a region of the state with a heavy military population.

McCain isn't the only high-profile Republican who has stumped for the former Virginia Attorney General: Two other former presidential candidates - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - have twice visited the state twice to campaign. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani also raised money for McDonnell.

Along with Romney and Huckabee, McDonnell has welcomed a number of top Republicans who may run for president in 2012. That list includes Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele campaigned with McDonnell in May.

Creigh Deeds, who spent the first half of the year in a three-way fight for the Democratic nomination, hasn't had an army of national figures campaign with him. But several prominent Democrats have chipped in to help.


October 17th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
October 17th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
13 years ago

President Obama cites progress in health care debate

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In his weekly radio and internet address, President Barack Obama continued the new Democratic assault on the insurance industry over what he called "bogus" charges - but sounded a note of cautious optimism over the progress of health care legislation currently being considered by Congress

"Now, I welcome a good debate. I welcome the chance to defend our proposals and to test our ideas in the fires of this democracy," Obama said. "But what I will not abide are those who would bend the truth – or break it – to score political points and stop our progress as a country. And what we all must oppose are the same old cynical Washington games that have been played for decades even as our problems have grown and our challenges have mounted."

The release of an insurance industry report that predicted President Obama's health care proposal would not stop costs and premiums from surging was met by a fierce pushback from Democrats this week. The Democratic National Committee made the industry the latest target of its "Call 'em Out" campaign targeting critics of the president's plan to overhaul the nation's health care system.

The president commended legislators Saturday for progress on health care legislation, which cleared the Senate Finance Committee this week, but said a tough fight still lay ahead.

"There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out in the coming weeks," Obama said. "And there are still those who would try to kill reform at any cost. The history is clear: for decades rising health care costs have unleashed havoc on families, businesses, and the economy. And for decades, whenever we have tried to reform the system, the insurance companies have done everything in their considerable power to stop us. "

Health care negotiations are expected to resume in Congress Monday afternoon.

Read the full transcript after the jump.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
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