[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/19/art.mwilliams0619.gi.jpg caption="The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express."]
(CNN) - The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday.
Appearing on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Webb said that Williams and the Tea Party Express - which has held a series of events across the country to generate support for the movement - no longer were part of the National Tea Party Federation.
"We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote," Webb said of the blog post by Williams that satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.
Webb called the blog post "clearly offensive."
(CNN) - As few as "a couple of thousand" U.S. troops may leave Afghanistan in the first phase of withdrawing forces from there beginning a year from now, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
"It could be as few as a couple of thousand troops; it could be more," Biden told ABC's "This Week."
Asked about a book that quotes him as saying the troop withdrawal would start with "a whole lot of people" leaving Afghanistan, Biden confirmed the comment but said he was responding to an assertion that there might be no withdrawal at all at that time.
Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the Senate sought Sunday to stay out of the weeklong war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement.
At its annual convention last week, the longstanding civil rights organization passed a resolution that called on the conservative grassroots movement to repudiate racism within its ranks. The resolution set off a national firestorm that came to a head Friday when Mark Williams, a spokesman for a national Tea Party group, decided to remove a satirical letter he had posted on his blog site earlier in the week in response to the resolution.
Asked about the controversy on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the prickly issue.
“Oh my goodness, . . . I’m not interested in getting into that debate,” McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “What we’re interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here.”
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called Sunday for Americans to perform community service in honor of Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday.
"On behalf of the United States, I wish Nelson Mandela a very happy 92nd birthday," Obama said in White House statement, referring to the former South African president who spent 27 years in prison before leading his country from white-minority rule to all-race democratic elections.
"We are grateful to continue to be blessed with his extraordinary vision, leadership, and spirit. And we strive to build upon his example of tolerance, compassion and reconciliation.," Obama said of Mandela, who is known around the world by his clan name, "Madiba."
Obama noted that Sunday was the first annual Nelson Mandela International Day, as proclaimed by the United Nations.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/18/art.hrcshake0718.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan early Sunday for a visit aimed at improving relations between the two nations."]
(CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan early Sunday for a visit aimed at improving relations between the two nations.
Her visit through Asia will include an international conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, and stops in South Korea and Vietnam. Clinton is expected to emphasize the need for better Pakistan-Afghanistan relations to help battle insurgents in tribal regions along their borders.
During the Pakistan leg of her trip, she will meet with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.
Clinton, who landed in Islamabad, will highlight the need for a closer relationship with Pakistan.