[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/01/art.johnson.gi.file.jpg caption="Rep. Hank Johnson was joking when he suggested that the island of Guam might capsize, his office said Thursday."]Washington (CNN) - Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, is clarifying comments he made during a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing in which he suggested that the island of Guam, a U.S. territory, might "tip over and capsize."
While hearing testimony from Navy Admiral Robert F. Willard on March 25, Johnson expressed fear that the Pacific island of Guam might capsize if additional U.S. troops are deployed to a military base on the small island as planned.
"My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," Johnson said.
Admiral Willard replied that the military did not expect the island to tip over.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/01/art.lamayorjk0401.cnn.jpg caption="LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told CNN that the city is being 'very aggressive about reaching out' to historically under-counted groups."]
Washington (CNN) – With a national response rate thus far that is just above 50 percent, there are still challenges to the decennial national head count, the director of the Census Bureau and the mayor of the country’s second largest city told CNN.
Both men spoke Thursday with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“This is a big operation,” Census Director Robert Groves said in an interview on CNN’s John King, USA. The agency head added that for every percentage point increase in the national response rate, the federal government saves $85 million. “So that is our total focus now,” Groves said of the bureau’s efforts to increase the rate at which census forms are returned so that it does not have to employ workers to pay physical visits to non-responsive households.
Because the national head count is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, the results of the census also have political implications (in addition to being used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars annually in federal program money).
But Groves told King his agency does not get into politics. “The purposes of the census, the product of the census is indeed used for political purposes,” he said, “but my side of it, the counting, has to be completely nonpartisan.”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also spoke with King about his efforts to get census forms returned by the residents of his city.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/01/art.aprilfools.cnn.jpg caption="Republicans are praising President Obama on April Fools Day."](CNN) - National Republicans praised President Obama Thursday and declared that he has "kept all his promises" and is "truly the greatest president ever."
No, this is not an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” It's an April Fools Day joke from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
In a new Web video, the GOP organization tasked with regaining control of the Senate this November, cheers Obama for solving global warming "by replacing cars with low-emission unicorns” and achieving an unemployment rate of "negative 39 percent," among other “accomplishments.”
If it wasn’t already clear, the committee quickly said it's only joking:
"Get real,” an announcer abruptly said. “ObamaCare is just the latest in a long list of broken promises by the liberals in Washington. No transparency. A government takeover of health care. And even more jobs threatened by billions in mandatory new health care costs. Promise after promise…broken. Don't be fooled by Obama and the Democrats in Congress."
(CNN) - Jerald terHorst, who resigned as President Gerald Ford's press secretary just 30 days after taking the job because of the pardon Ford granted former President Richard Nixon, has died of congestive heart failure, his son said Thursday.
TerHorst died Wednesday at a retirement community in Asheville, North Carolina, said his son, Peter terHorst.
In 1974, terHorst became press secretary after Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal and Ford succeeded him as president on August 9, 1974.
On September 8, Ford granted Nixon an unconditional pardon, and terHorst tendered his resignation the same day.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/01/art.taylor.gi..jpg caption ="Rep. McHenry is urging conservatives to fill out their census forms."]Washington (CNN) - Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina, has a message for fellow conservatives on National Census Day: "I'm worried about this year's census."
In a post Thursday on the conservative Web site RedState, McHenry expressed concerns about "blatant misinformation" about the census "coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives." Some on the right have claimed that the census is unconstitutional, he wrote. Others fear that its results will be politicized by the Obama administration.
"They are trying to do the right thing," McHenry wrote, "but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms."
(CNN) - President Barack Obama made a previously unannounced visit Thursday to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, which is dealing with widespread flooding in the region.
Obama made the stop after a speech on health care reform in Portland, Maine, and before two fundraising appearances in Boston.
At the emergency agency's facility, Obama met with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat and political ally, as well as local officials and workers combating flooding from recent storms. He spoke with workers coordinating the response to the flooding, saying at one point: "Sounds like at least with some sunshine and sandbags, we can hope for the best."
TOPICS: Economic conditions, which party would do better job on economy, health care, terrorism, foreign affairs, Afghanistan, education, environment, taxes, budget deficit, unemployment, Medicare
In a dig at Washington punditry and its mindset of instant analysis, Obama joked during a speech Thursday on health care about what would happen if those same opinion makers tried farming.
The day after planting a seed, Obama said, the pundits would look at the ground and see no change.
"Nothing's happened," the president exclaimed in mock horror to pantomime the pundits' reaction. "There's no crop! We're gonna starve!"
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/01/art.homes.sale.gi.file.jpg caption="When Americans are asked which party would do a better job with the economy, poll results show Republicans now hold an advantage over Democrats."]Washington (CNN) - Democrats have lost their large advantage over Republicans when Americans are asked which party would do a better job with the economy, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 48 percent of Americans say Republicans in Congress would do a better job dealing with the economy, with 45 percent saying that congressional Democrats would better handle the issue. That's a switch from last August, when Democrats held a 52 percent to 39 percent advantage on the economy.
According to the poll, Democrats have some ground on health care, but not as much as on the economy. In August, 51 percent thought that Democrats would do a better job with health care reform than the GOP. That's now down to 48 percent, but it's still slightly higher than the 46 percent who say Republicans would do a better job on the issue.
"Democratic losses on the economy are roughly twice as big as their losses on health care," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That's evidence that the economy - not health care - is the chief reason for the Republicans' current advantage over the Democrats in the midterm congressional races."