[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/08/alan.grayson/art.grayson.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, attracted attention for a tirade in the House against the GOP's health care plan."]
NEW YORK (CNN)– Controversial freshman Rep. Alan Grayson, who has become famous for attacking the Republicans' health care plan, went on the attack again Friday night, calling former Vice President Dick Cheney a vampire for his recent criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan.
"I have trouble listening to what [Cheney] says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he's talking," the Florida Democrat said on MSNBC's Hardball Friday night. "But my response is this: he's just angry because the president doesn't shoot old men in the face. But by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?"
In a hard-hitting, wide-ranging speech last Wednesday, Cheney targeted the administration's decision-making process on how to proceed in Afghanistan, saying Obama has failed to give troops on the ground a clear mission or defined goals and appeared "afraid to make a decision."
"The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," Cheney said at the Center for Security Policy. "Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries."
In responding to Cheney's attack, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Thursday got in a jab of his own.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/16/art.obamadnc.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is targeted in a new ad on health care."]
NEW YORK (CNN)– A group of liberal activists is taking up the health care fight in a new ad and "emergency petition" targeting President Barack Obama for "campaign" promises it says he made regarding a public insurance option.
The minute-long commercial features a former Obama campaign volunteer coordinator for Maine, Ben Katz, reminding the president what he campaigned for in the northeastern state.
"You campaigned on a public health insurance option. We worked hard for it. We worked hard for you,” Katz says in the ad released by The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee with the express goal of electing progressive candidates to federal office.
"Polls show the people of Maine overwhelmingly want the public option. President Obama, Olympia Snowe isn’t representing Maine on this issue. We need you to fight. Tell Olympia Snowe to represent her constituents, and that anything less than a public option is not change we can believe in," Katz says.
Accompanying the ad is an "emergency petition" for the public option that the campaign plans to deliver to the White House.
"Every day, insurance companies deny care and let people die. Getting one Republican senator's vote is not worth delaying reform - too many real lives are at stake," the petition reads.
Senate Democratic leaders met Thursday night with White House officials to consider including a government-funded public health insurance option in a health care overhaul bill. The bill also has a provision allowing states to opt out of the public option.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/11/art.mobama0911.gi.jpg caption="First Lady Michelle Obama revealed President Obama's 'annoying' habits Friday night."]
NEW YORK (CNN)– First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance Friday night on Jay Leno's "Ten at Ten" segment and revealed President Obama's most annoying habits.
"He has no annoying habits, right Jay, none. He's perfect," Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. "But you know what, when he beats me in tennis that gets to be pretty annoying, and he beats me quite often."
The segment consists of Leno asking 10 random, often humorous questions to a special guest. Leno also asked the First Lady about Malia and Sasha's Halloween costumes, and tested her to see if she could name all the Brady Bunch children in under 10 seconds– which she did with two seconds to spare.
The late night TV host also asked Mrs. Obama whether the president would prefer world peace or a world series win for the Chicago White Sox.
"That's a tough one," she joked. "If you asked him he'd probably prefer world peace, but wouldn't mind a World Series bit too. But, I think he'd choose world peace."
NEW YORK (CNN)– President Barack Obama continued to make his pitch to New Jersey voters Saturday, in a new bilingual television commercial put out by the Jon Corzine campaign that encourages residents to keep the momentum going from the presidential elections and re-elect the governor on November 3.
"Jon Corzine is the kind of governor that New Jersey families need in these tough times," Obama says with Spanish subtitles featured below.
Resembling one of his own election campaign ads, Obama speaks about the need to work together with Corzine on the issues most detrimental to New Jersey and the country.
"Together we are working to reform health insurance, get our economy back on track and make our schools work for everyone."
"Last November with your help we began to move this country in the right direction. Now is your chance to keep it going. I need you, everyone of you, to vote on November 3rd," he says in the 30-second spot called “En tus manos,” which translates to “in your hands.”
President Obama will make his third trip to the state on behalf of Corzine next Sunday, two days before voters head to the polls.
The ad will air on broadcast television in the New Jersey/New York and Philadelphia regions.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.njrace.gi.jpg caption="Polls show Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican candidate Chris Christie in a dead heat."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– The heated race for Governor in New Jersey is about to get a whole lot tougher in the final 10 days, according to the campaigns of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican candidate Chris Christie.
Both campaigns will be doubling down on events to get their message out, but they are also counting on a last-minute boost from top party leaders.
President Barack Obama will head back to New Jersey next Sunday to campaign for Corzine, and former President Bill Clinton will be in the state Tuesday for two events with the governor.
"We have a lot of events and a myriad of guests," Corzine campaign manager Maggie Moran told CNN in a phone interview. Others scheduled to campaign are various Cabinet secretaries, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Moran said the campaign will be focused on targeting specific demographic groups that might not normally vote in a non-presidential election year.
"You will see a series of literally hundreds of events going on in different counties in New Jersey," Moran said.
According to Christie's senior campaign adviser Mike DuHaime, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will join Christie in New Jersey sometime next weekend for multiple campaign stops.
In a phone interview, DuHaime said the campaign is going to focus in the final days on Christie's differences with Corzine.
"I think what you're going to see is continued contrast on the biggest issue that's facing this state and that's the taxes," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama declared a national emergency Saturday to deal with the "rapid increase in illness" from the H1N1 influenza virus.
The move allows the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements" in order to help health care facilities enact emergency plans to deal with the "pandemic."
Those requirements are contained in the Medicare, Medicaid, and state Children's Health Insurance programs, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule.
"The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities," Obama said in a statement.
"Thus, in recognition of the continuing progression of the pandemic, and in further preparation as a nation, we are taking additional steps to facilitate our response."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/22/art.bloomberg.gi.jpg caption="The New York Times endored New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election campaign Saturday."]
NEW YORK (CNN)– The New York Times endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bid for a third term Saturday, praising his ability to handle the most difficult situations.
"Mr. Bloomberg has been a first-rate steady hand during unsteady times," an editorial in The Times said. "He guided the city out of the post-9/11 recession, then tucked away money during the boom years that followed. That foresight has helped New Yorkers weather one of the worst economic downturns in 80 years. Mayor Bloomberg has easily earned another four years."
The editorial commended Bloomberg's Democratic opponent, city Comptroller William Thompson, but said he has spent too much time attacking the New York Mayor, and too little time laying out his proposed policies for the city.
Bloomberg won a campaign last fall to allow for a third mayoral term.
While his favorability in the polls took a minor dip after he persuaded New York's city council to overturn the term limits, the latest poll conducted by Marist College show Bloomberg, an independent, with a 16-point lead over Thompson, 52-32 percent. Twelve percent of likely voters said they supported other candidates or remained undecided.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/23/art.football.gi.jpg caption="Members of Congress are teaming up with former NFL players for a charity football game on Tuesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On Tuesday, partisan politics will be put aside for a few hours when members of Congress team up with former NFL players for the 4th annual 'Longest Yard' Congressional football game.
No tackling is allowed in this friendly game of flag football being played for charity, and the only prize on the line is bragging rights.
Several former NFL players will be on hand as coaches and players including former NFL players Ken Harvey, John Booty, and Ed Lee.
Democratic Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr of Illinois and Heath Shuler - a former NFL quarterback - will take to the gridiron, along with Republican Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona, among others on the bipartisan congressional roster.
All proceeds for the event, which is taking place at the Washington D.C. Armory, go to the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council.
"President Obama has promised open deliberations in front of C-SPAN cameras for all Americans to learn how reform will impact them. However, a 1,500 page bill, full of carve-outs and backroom deals, is currently being brokered behind closed doors," Johanns said.
"We're about to significantly alter one-sixth of our economy-now is not the time to shut Americans out," He added.
Senate Democratic leaders met Thursday night with White House officials to consider including a government-funded public health insurance option, along with a provision allowing states to opt out of it, in a health care overhaul bill.
Two senior Democratic Senate sources told CNN Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leaning toward a public option with the state opt-out provision in the Senate health care bill that will reach the full chamber in coming weeks.
Johanns also questioned the need for the health care legislation if costs remain so high that the majority of Americans can't afford it.
"True health care reform should decrease what you're paying, and make it easier for you to receive care," Johanns said.