[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.lowden.gi.jpg caption="Republican Sue Lowden is the target of a new website paid for by the DSCC."]Washington (CNN) - Nevada Senate candidate Sue Lowden has been blasted by critics and become the butt of a joke by late-night host Jay Leno.
Now Democrats in Washington are mocking her recent proposal - that patients should "barter" with doctors to lower their health care costs - with a new website.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched the site, "Chickens for Checkups," on Wednesday. It slams the Republican's unconventional idea, made recently on the show "Nevada Newsmakers."
"Before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say, 'I'll paint your house,'" Lowden said on the broadcast.
Washington-(CNN) Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, has cancelled a New York fundraiser that had been works for Monday with Goldman Sachs executives, and is now vowing not to take any more campaign cash from the embattled Wall Street giant.
“In light of the S.E.C. lawsuit against Goldman Sachs, Senator Lincoln will schedule no future campaign-related events with the firm and will accept no further contributions from the firm's Political Action Committee or its employees,” said Katie Laning Niebaum, a spokeswoman for Lincoln’s Senate re-election campaign.
However, Lincoln still has no plans to give back campaign money she has already raised from Goldman Sachs. FULL POST
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.sessions0421.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Sessions shared his views on what makes for a good Supreme Court justice Wednesday on CNN."]
Washington (CNN) – The Ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that racial or ethnic background can be a “positive factor” for the next Supreme Court nominee but it should not be a “primary” consideration.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, met earlier in the day with President Obama and other Senate leaders at the White House to discuss replacing retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
Sessions told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that, during the meeting, Obama offered next to no hints about which individuals he was considering for his second high court pick since taking office.
But Sessions said the Senate has an important responsibility to act on the public’s behalf once Obama makes his decision.
“The president gets to appoint [the nominee]. We have to objectively evaluate [the choice],” Sessions said on CNN’s John King, USA. “It’s the only opportunity the American people have to have any real play in the process – when the elected representatives review the president’s choice. It’s a serious responsibility.”
Reacting to the fact that the Supreme Court has no one of Asian descent, the Republican senator said, “I don’t think the ethnicity or background of an individual should be the primary thing when they’re selected to the court.”
Sessions said a suitable candidate should have “good judgment” and “real experience in the legal world.”
“They don’t have to be a judge but I don’t think we want a politician,” the Alabama senator also said.
Asked whether he would consider diversity – a candidate’s race, religion, gender or sexual orientation – in determining whether someone is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, Sessions said diversity “can be a factor, a positive factor.”
The senator told King that he did not object to a president trying to have diversity on the high court. But, he added, he did not think increasing the Supreme Court’s ethnic diversity meant a nominee was not accountable for his or her judicial philosophy, skill or background.
“And I don’t think that’s what any of the nominees would want. I think they would feel that they should be judged by the same rigorous standard anybody else would be judged by.”
Sessions, a lawyer, also weighed in on a controversial bill making its way through the Arizona legislature.
Washington (CNN) - Republicans have questioned in recent days whether the White House and the Democratic National Committee coordinated with the Securities and Exchange Commission to get political mileage out of the SEC's fraud charges against Goldman Sachs.
President Obama, the DNC and even the SEC have adamantly denied the accusation of political collusion. And now Google is, too.
The GOP case is based partly on the fact that the DNC used Google Adwords to bid on the search terms "Goldman Sachs" and "SEC" soon after the charges were filed on Friday - meaning that whenever a person searched Google for those terms, they also viewed targeted ads for a DNC website about "Wall Street greed."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, the ranking member of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to the chairman of the SEC on Tuesday pointing out the timing of the ad buy, which he said "neatly coincided" with the Goldman charges.
Google is now saying that's not the case.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.getty.steele.rnc.logo.jpg caption="RNC Chair Michael Steele said Tuesday that Tea Party activists make up 'a third or more' of the voting age population."]Washington (CNN) - In a speech to college students on Tuesday in Chicago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that Tea Party activists make up "a third or more" of the voting age population.
"I have advised our state chairs: Don't turn your nose up, or turn away those who are active in the Tea Party movement. Embrace them. Welcome them. Talk to them," Steele told a group of DePaul University students, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Those activists have now become a very large part of our voting bloc," he continued. "They represent a third or more of the voting age population, so they're going to have a profound impact on elections and in some cases in the primaries this November and this spring. Both parties had better pay attention."
Recent polling, however, suggests that the Tea Party movement is not as large as Steele claims.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama appears to have learned one lesson from the bruising fight over health care reform.
Some Democrats criticized Obama for failing to assume a leading role in shaping the health care legislation, which they said extended the congressional wrangling needed to get the bill passed.
Now pushing the second major reform initiative of his presidency - this time to strengthen regulations on the financial industry - Obama is taking a more visible leadership role. In recent days, the president has pushed hard for the measure by backing specific provisions and criticizing the Senate's top Republican for what Obama called spreading misinformation.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/09/art.palin.nrlc.jpg caption="Sarah Palin discussed the possibility of a presidential run in an interview with a Canadian television show."](CNN) - Sarah Palin continues to leave the door to a White House run wide open.
In an interview with "100 Huntley Street," a daily Christian talk show based in Ontario, the former Alaska governor said she "doesn't know politically what is next for me."
But Palin said she will "pursue" a presidential bid in 2012 if she decides it's the best way to help everyday people with their challenges.
The former vice presidential candidate has generally avoided talking specifically about her 2012 plans, but her comments in Canada are her most forthcoming since she told Fox News in February that it would be "absurd" not to consider a presidential bid.
Palin said she and her family have had an "exciting and full ride" since the 2008 presidential campaign ended. Her travels around the country over the last year and a half, she explained, have given her a glimpse of some of the struggles that regular Americans face every day.
"If I can help provide some encouragement, some inspiration, some hope for them to get through their battles and make good decisions and get through a challenge, because that's what we've been able to do, then I am going to stay focused on that," she said in the interview, set to air next week. "Whether that's on a local level in my own little town of Wasilla, or in the Oval Office, if it's right, then we will pursue that."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.boseated0421.gi.jpg caption="President Obama said Wednesday that the SEC is an independent agency and that his administration was not consulted about the SEC's decision to file civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs."]
Washington (CNN) – President Obama denied Wednesday that the White House had any role in the recently announced decision to file civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, the gilded Wall Street investment banking firm.
In an interview with CNBC, Obama said he spoke about the need for financial regulatory reform during his presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 and that the White House has been working on financial regulatory reform legislation for more than a year. "And so, we're not Johnny-come-latelies to this thing," Obama said on CNBC.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced last Friday that it is pursuing civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, a powerful investment bank with a long history of ties to the government. The announcement by the Wall Street watchdog came just a day before Obama personally led the charge of Democrats' full frontal assault on Republicans for their objections to some aspects of the current reform bill.
Related: Top Democrat held Wall Street fundraiser
Notwithstanding the coincidental timing, Obama said the SEC made the decision on its own.
"The SEC is an entirely independent agency that we have no day-to-day control over and they never discussed with us anything with respect to the charge that would be brought. The notion that somehow there would be any attempt to interfere in any independent agency is completely false," the president said.
Obama also described the White House's lack of involvement as "categorical," saying, "We found out about it on CNBC," he said.
(Updated after the jump with a statement from the SEC)
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.massa0303.gi.jpg caption="The House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation of former Rep. Eric Massa on Monday."](CNN) - The House ethics committee launched a formal investigation Wednesday into sexual harassment allegations involving former Democratic Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, elevating the preliminary investigation the committee began in March.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was interviewed on Wednesday by the committee, according to his spokeswoman, Katie Grant, who told CNN that Hoyer's testimony was voluntary.
Brendan Daly, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told CNN Pelosi aides also have met with the ethics committee and Pelosi is volunteering to appear before the panel. "The speaker has made herself available to meet with the ethics committee at their earliest convenience. Members of our staff have met with and fully cooperated with the ethics committee," Daly said.
The committee announced it established a subcommittee "to conduct a full and complete inquiry into whether the conduct of any member, officer, or employee of the House violated any law, rule, regulation or other standard of conduct applicable to the performance of their duties with respect to the allegations of misconduct involving former Rep. Massa."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.wh2.0325.gi.jpg caption ="White House aides are scoffing at a move in the Arizona legislature to force President Obama to show his birth certificate to get on the state's ballot in 2012 for his likely re-election battle."](CNN) - White House aides are scoffing at a move in the Arizona legislature to force President Obama to show his birth certificate to get on the state's ballot in 2012 for his likely re-election battle.
"This is a question that has been answered exhaustively," White House spokesman Bill Burton told CNN. "I can't imagine Arizona voters think their tax dollars are well served by a legislature that is less focused on their lives than in fringe right-wing radio conspiracy theories."
The Arizona House voted Monday by a 31-22 margin to require all presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States in order to meet the constitutional requirement. The measure still has to be considered by the Arizona state Senate before it can become law.
When the issue first popped up during the 2008 presidential election, the Obama campaign released the then-senator's birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii. In December 2008, after Obama was elected, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man claiming Obama was ineligible to serve as president.