[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.grayson.file.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Alan Grayson will return to the United States Friday."]Washington (CNN) – Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, narrowly escaped harm earlier this week after being caught up in a military coup in the African country of Niger.
Grayson's press secretary, Todd Jurkowski, confirmed to CNN that Grayson was close to the action. "He heard the gunshots. They were literally in the building next door."
The outspoken congressman was in Niger as part of a congressional delegation focused on science, technology and humanitarian relief, according to Jurkowski. When the situation began to unravel, Grayson was taken to the residence of the United States Ambassador to Niger, where he was placed under armed protection.
On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State P.J. Crowley told reporters the U.S. Embassy was monitoring the situation and confirmed Grayson was safe at the embassy. Later that night, a Niger military official announced the country's constitution has been suspended.
Washington (CNN) – “End the Fed. End the Fed. End the Fed.”
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, hadn’t even started speaking Friday evening before a fired-up crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference exalted the former presidential candidate by chanting the title of his book blasting the Federal Reserve.
“It sounds to me like the revolution is alive and well,” Paul shouted back.
Though he was inside the Beltway, the libertarian Paul was among friendlies. The 11-term Congressman, who made a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, has been railing against the actions of the central bank for years, even calling for a return to the gold standard.
After the financial crisis and economic meltdown of the past two years, Paul believes the world is catching up to him.
“Debt is the monster,” Paul said, condemning federal borrowing to support government spending. “Debt is what will eat us up, and that’s why our economy is on the brink.”
His book, which was published last year, has sold about 100,000 copies. The CPAC faithful on Friday night greeted Paul with a second chorus of “end the Fed” during the speech.
Paul didn’t just stick to commentary on the money supply. His central theme of limited government also touched on foreign policy and national politics.
More than once he reminded the group that George W. Bush – before he launched American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, two wars that continue – won election in 2000 after campaigning for a scaled-back view of U.S. involvement in other nation’s affairs.
“The bottom line for all conservatives … will be how are we going to pay for it,” Paul said.
(CNN) - The actress who lent her voice to a character with Down syndrome on a recent episode of Fox's "Family Guy" is defending the portrayal against attacks from Sarah Palin.
Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who herself has Down syndrome, said the scene was merely meant to be sarcastic.
"I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor," she said in an e-mail to the New York Times. "I thought the line 'I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska' was very funny. I think the word is 'sarcasm.' In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life."
In Sunday's episode, a teenaged female character with Down syndrome told another character that "my mom is the former governor of Alaska." A song and dance routine by another character also used language that ridiculed people with disabilities.
Palin, whose 22-month-old son, Trig, has the genetic disorder, said on her Facebook page Monday that she was too angry to offer a coherent response so she had her daughter, Bristol, release a full statement on the family's behalf.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.haig.file.gi.jpg caption="Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig has been admitted to a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland."]Washington (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig has been admitted to a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, a hospital spokesman said.
Haig, 85, is at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said the spokesman, Gary Stephenson.
He was admitted on January 28 and is in critical condition, Stephenson said.
Haig was a top official in the administrations of three presidents - Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
He served as Nixon's deputy assistant for national security affairs beginning in 1970, then in January 1973 became vice chief of staff of the Army.
"His departure from the Nixon administration proved to be short lived," the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Web site says in a biographical note on Haig. "Four months later, on May 4, 1973, he returned to the White House as chief of staff at the request of the president to fill the vacuum created by H.R. Haldeman's resignation on April 30."
Washington (CNN) –- The Republican National Committee raised $10.5 million in the month of January, the national party committee announced Friday.
The RNC also said it has $9.4 million in cash-on-hand and no debt.
The RNC raised $6.6 million in December 2009, CNN previously reported.
“The Republican National Committee ended January with a solid increase in our fundraising from just one month ago,” RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in Friday’s statement announcing the RNC’s latest fundraising total.
“Thanks to our many contributors, the RNC is on solid financial footing as we continue to build on the many tremendous Republican victories of the past year,” Steele also said.
Washington (CNN) - A long-awaited Justice Department internal investigation of Bush-era lawyers who authored so-called "torture" memos clears them of allegations of professional misconduct and recommends no legal consequences for their actions.
The report by the Justice Department ethics unit concludes the high-ranking lawyers who developed controversial legal opinions on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques may have exercised poor judgment but not professional misconduct.
The detailed examination of the legal guidance authored by Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee found they did not constitute a professional breach that could have led to potential disbarment.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.price0219.gi.jpg caption=" Rep. Tom Price, who is the leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, rallied the CPAC crowd by ticking off a number of Democratic initiatives that he has voted no on."]
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Tom Price on Friday welcomed the "Party of No" critique that has been leveled at his party by national Democrats, but added he thought the label is "a little silly."
"This charge of saying no doesn't really bother me at all," Price told conservative activists gathered in Washington for the Conservative Political Action Conference. "In fact, I actually vote no a lot," the Georgia Republican said to applause and cheers.
Price, who is the leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, rallied the CPAC crowd by ticking off a number of Democratic initiatives that he has voted no on.
"When Democrats borrow a trillion dollars for a pork filled stimulus, we stand up and shout 'No!'" Price said. "When they want to raise our taxes, increase our debt, take over our health care, what do we shout?" The crowd didn't hesitate: "No!"
Price, an adamant critic of the expansion of the federal government and of the Obama administration, echoed a sentiment oft-uttered at Tea Party rallies around the country: "We must take our country back."
"Take it back from a vile liberal agenda that is threatening everything we hold dear as Americans," Price said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.forcloseure.file.gi.jpg caption="President Obama announced Friday a $1.5 billion program to help borrowers in the five states hit hardest by the housing crisis."]New York (CNNMoney.com) - Under pressure to do more for troubled homeowners, President Obama announced Friday a $1.5 billion program to help borrowers in the five states hit hardest by the housing crisis.
The initiative calls for pumping money into state housing agencies in California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Michigan to fund programs to prevent foreclosure for people who are unemployed or who owe more than their homes are worth.
Also, the agencies can assist homeowners having trouble securing loan modifications because of second liens, as well as promote affordable housing opportunities.
Obama unveiled the initiative, which will be funded with money from the TARP bank bailout, at events in Nevada, which has the highest number of underwater homeowners at 65% and the nation's second-highest unemployment rate at 13%.
Washington (CNN) - Two conservative candidates for statewide office in California came to the nation's capital on Friday to take aim at their state, which they said is suffocating in taxes and regulation, and to hold themselves out as its saviors.
“We are the laboratory of every horrific government lab experiment in America,” Chuck DeVore thundered before a stirred-up audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day event showcasing hard-right ideas and players.
DeVore, a member of the California Assembly, is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
He conjured Ronald Reagan, who he said was an example of the good that California has produced. DeVore also cited what he termed as the bad – Democratic lawmakers Barbara Boxer, who he wants to unseat, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker.