[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.moore.file.gi.jpg caption="Director Michael Moore has written an open letter to President Obama."]Washington (CNN) – President Obama, get in line and give me 100 jumping jacks. And as for you Congress, drop to the floor and pound out 50 pushups.
Michael Moore is pledging to whip Obama and Democrats in Congress into shape – liberal shape – if he is named the next White House chief of staff. And Moore vows to sleep in the White House basement and work for $1 per year if the president hires him.
"Now, don't get too giddy with excitement over my offer, because you and I are going to be up at 5 in the morning, 7 days a week and I am going to get you pumped up for battle every single day," Moore writes in a letter posted on his Web site that he said was sent to Obama. "Each morning you and I will do 100 jumping jacks and you will repeat after me: "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ELECTED ME, NOT THE REPUBLICANS, TO RUN THE COUNTRY! I AM IN CHARGE! I WILL ORDER ALL OBSTRUCTIONISTS OUTTA MY WAY! IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T LIKE WHAT I'M DOING THEY CAN THROW MY ASS OUT IN 2012. IN THE MEANTIME, I CALL THE SHOTS ON THEIR BEHALF! NOW, CONGRESS, DROP AND GIVE ME 50!!"
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.alfranken.0308.gi.jpg caption ="Sen. Al Franken will appear in an upcoming comic book."]Washington (CNN) - It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Senator Al Franken.
While Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, might be able to brag about being featured in "Cosmopolitan" magazine, it is his Minnesota colleague who is getting his own comic book.
Franken, the comedian-turned- liberal radio host-turned U.S. senator, will be featured in an upcoming 22-page color spread as part of the "Political Power" series published by Bluewater Productions.
"We want to tell stories about people who are not the Barack Obama's of the world and Sen. Franken isn't someone people would expect us to cover," publisher Darren Davis said in an interview with CNN. Davis said the May issue of the series will "show his early life as a comedian to modern day. "I don't think anyone knows Sen. Franken co-wrote the movie "When a Man Loves a Woman," said Davis, referring to the 1994 dramatic film starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan.
As for Franken, a spokesman said the Democratic senator is "looking forward to reading the comic."
The current issue features George W.Bush.
Monday night, AC360 talks to a former health insurance executive, Wendell Potter and the current executive vice President of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Mike Tuffin, for their perspectives on health care reform.
Send 360 a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!
Learn more here on AC360's blog
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/08/art.jcornyn.gi.jpg caption ="John Cornyn said Monday that health care will be the ‘number one issue that the election is won or lost on in November.’"]Washington (CNN) - The Democratic push for health care reform this year will translate into significant GOP gains at the ballot box regardless of whether or not a bill actually passes, according to the Republican senator overseeing his party's efforts to retake the chamber in November.
"Democrats think by passing the bill they'll be able to get it behind them and change the subject to something else like jobs," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn at a news briefing Monday. "But this will do the opposite. This will make sure that health care is the number one issue that the election is won or lost on in November."
Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm.
"There's two reasons why the voters don't like the bill," he said. "One is that they're not convinced that it will do as the president said, bring down the costs. Number two, the way the Senate bill was constructed, behind close doors with no transparency and with all of these sweetheart deals, has rendered it fairly toxic."
Cornyn cited the Democratic handling of the health care issue as a top reason why Republicans are running strong races for eight seats currently held by Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/03/art.massa0303.gi.jpg caption ="Rep. Eric Massa says his opposition to health care legislation contributed to an ethics probe into his conduct."]
(CNN) - House Democratic leaders on Monday refuted embattled Rep. Eric Massa's allegation that they want to get rid of him because of his opposition to health care legislation.
"That's completely false. There is zero merit to that accusation," said Katie Grant, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.
An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also denied Massa's claim.
Massa, D-New York, announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election because of health concerns and denied reports that he had harassed one of his Capitol Hill staff members. Two days later, he said he would resign effective Monday.
The first-term congressman said he learned of an ethics investigation into his conduct after deciding to retire.
Programming Note: Rep. Eric Massa speaks out on Larry King Live, Tuesday 9 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.wheastereggs.wh.jpg caption ="The White House on Monday announced the design for this year’s souvenir Easter eggs."]Washington (CNN) - This year's souvenir White House Easter eggs will have an environmentally-friendly design, the White House announced Monday.
The keepsake eggs, that feature the stamped signatures of the president and first lady, will come in four colors – purple, pink, green and yellow.
The eggs are given as a souvenir to all children 12 years and younger who attend the Easter Egg Roll.
In an effort to be eco-friendly, all of the eggs have been crafted from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood in the United States, according to a release from the White House. The packaging is also designed to minimize waste and environmental impact. The packaging will not contain wood fibers from endangered forests and will feature vegetable oil-based inks and a water-based coating, the White House said.
The annual Easter Egg Roll that brings families to the White House for fun and games will take place on April 5 and will focus on promoting health and wellness under the theme, "Ready, Set, Go." The White House said this year's activities are intended to encourage children to lead healthy and active lives – the same themes of the first lady's recently announced campaign against childhood obesity.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.massa.file.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Eric Massa detailed on his weekly radio show the conversations that have led to an ethics investigation."](CNN) - Embattled Rep. Eric Massa said Sunday that the ethics investigation surrounding him stems from a sexually laced conversation he had at a New Year's Eve wedding.
The New York Democrat said in his weekly radio show that he wasn't told about the ethics probe until after he decided to retire and that he first learned the details of the investigation from news reports.
While at a wedding for one of his staff members, Massa said he danced with the bride and bridesmaid as cameras rolled.
"Absolutely nothing occurred," while he was dancing, he said.
Massa said he then sat with some staff members who were all bachelors. In a conversation fueled by alcohol, one staff member "made an intonation to me that maybe I should be chasing after the bridesmaid," Massa said.
Massa said he told the staffer beside him, "Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/13/art.getty.rnc.steele.jpg caption="The RNC is launching a new television ad this week in Republican-leaning markets."]Washington (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele may be coming to a television commercial break near you.
The RNC is launching a new ad – to air on Fox News Channel in Republican-leaning TV markets – warning that President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are "experimenting with America." In the spot, Steele makes a direct appeal for donations, urging viewers to visit a new Web site called OurFreedomMatters.com
"Massive government expansion, government takeovers, redistribution of wealth, and staggering debt to countries like China and the Middle East," Steele narrates in the ad. "It's wrong, we can't afford it. It threatens our freedom."
Steele himself appears on screen for 30 seconds of the one minute-long spot, and uses the word freedom no less than eight times.
"But if people pull together, people can take our government back," Steele says. "Go to OurFreedomMatters.com. Make a donation. Washington is not listening. The President is not listening."
The ad will air this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Cincinnati, Ohio; Greensboro. North Carolina; and West Palm Beach, Florida. An RNC spokesman said Steele will follow up his pitch with fundraising trips to each of those cities.
The RNC's financial operation is currently under fire following the disclosure of an internal fundraising presentation, which claimed the party could cash in on "fear" of the Obama administration.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.bopa0308.gi.jpg caption=" Congress 'owes the American people a final up or down vote on health care. It's time to make a decision,' President Obama said Monday."]
Glenside, Pennsylvania (CNN) - President Barack Obama tore into private health insurers for recent rate hikes Monday, taking a more aggressive rhetorical turn as the administration continued to push for final congressional passage of the president's top domestic priority.
He repeated his assertion that the plan now being considered includes the best Democratic and Republican ideas. The time for debate, he argued, has ended.
The White House has called for sweeping reform legislation to be on the president's desk before the congressional Easter break at the end of the month.
Congress "owes the American people a final up or down vote on health care. It's time to make a decision," he told an enthusiastic crowd at Arcadia University near Philadelphia.
"Stand with me and fight with me. ... Let's seize reform. It's within our grasp."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/08/art.hclinton.03082.gi.jpg caption ="Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marked International Women’s Day with a video message."]Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marked International Women's Day Monday with a video message repeating her words from the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing: "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights."
Recalling one of the key speeches of her long career, Clinton said, in the past 15 years, women have made great progress "but there is a long way to go."
"Women are still the majority of the world's poor, unhealthy, underfed, and uneducated," Clinton said. "They rarely cause violent conflicts but too often bear their consequences. Women are absent from negotiations about peace and security to end those conflicts. Their voices simply are not being heard."
Clinton has incorporated women's rights as a key part of her international agenda.
"We think it's the right thing to do, but we also believe it's the smart thing to do as well," Clinton said in the video message posted on the State Department Web site.