Other News

Congressman remembers folk star Mary Travers

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) on Thursday tweeted memories of the late Mary Travers, one part of the folk trio "Peter, Paul and Mary." Travers passed away from leukemia on Wednesday.

The freshman Democrat tweeted:

A loss to the world and her friends,Mary Travers of Peter Paul and Mary. The end of an era, and a life well-lived: http://bit.ly/14dvsk

Travers -- who was one of the most iconic figures in fold music -- was 72-years-old.

Here is live footage of the group's performance of "Blowin' in the Wind"


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Maryland basketball coach to attend Obama rally

University Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams is attending a healthcare rally on Thursday featuring the First Basketball Fan as a headliner.

President Barack Obama is speaking at an event the university's on-campus arena, the Comcast Center, which Williams' Maryland Terrapins call home.

The coach -- who won the 2002 NCAA National Championship -- tweeted:

Getting ready to hear President Obama speak here at the Comcast Center at 11:00

The former Maryland point guard did not say if he will take on the president one-on-one after the speech. Our guess is that it won't happen.


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Cosby agrees with Carter racism claims

Comedian Bill Cosby agrees with former President Jimmy Carter that racism plays a role in much of the opposition to President Barack Obama.

The former star of the self-titled "Cosby Show" took to Twitter and Facebook to share his thoughts on Carter's remarks. Carter said on Tuesday that the "9/12" protests and other "tea party" protests were motivated by racist attitudes among the participants.

Cosby tweeted late Wednesday:

I agree with President Carter that racism is playing a role in recent outbursts against President Obama.

In a statement on Facebook, Cosby wrote:

During President Obama’s speech on the status of health care reform, some members of congress engaged in a public display of disrespect. While one Representative hurled the now infamous “you lie” insult at the President, others made their lack of interest known by exhibiting rude behavior such as deliberately yawning and sending text messages.

Various polls prior to the election indicated that between five and ten percent of Americans would never vote for an African American president. That number, of course, only includes those who actually admitted to their prejudice. How many others harbored such feelings but did not respond honestly when asked the question? And how many people oppose Obama’s plan because the President is African American?

In "Birth of a Nation," D.W. Griffith used white actors in black face to portray black legislators as having low intelligence and acting like fools. Today, we have a band of real life congressional fools seemingly bent on blocking any meaningful reform of the health care system. But if we allow even one American to die simply because he or she cannot afford treatment, we are creating a shameful scenario that could aptly be called “Death of a Nation.”

Cosby has been politically active throughout his career, speaking out on issues of race, socioeconomic status, and education.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

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McCain: Missile shield cancellation a 'victory for Putin'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Thursday that the Obama administration's decision to nix a proposed missile shield in Eastern Europe "a victory for [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin."

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed early on Thursday that the Defense Department would scrap the missile defense system but denied that the cancellation had "anything to do with Russia."

McCain, who is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted:

Missile Defense Shield scrapped by the Admin–reversal of our commitment 2 our allies & a victory for Putin http://mccain.senate.gov/pu...

The missile defense system, which President George W. Bush originally proposed, would have placed radar units in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland in order to protect against a potential Iranian nuclear threat. Then-President Putin said that the program was instead a regional power grab by the U.S.

"This decision calls into question the security and diplomatic commitments the United States has made to Poland and the Czech Republic, and has the potential to undermine perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe," McCain said in a statement.

"Given the serious and growing threats posed by Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, now is the time when we should look to strengthen our defenses, and those of our allies," he added.

While Republicans have roundly criticized the move, the Obama administration has defended it as a tactical move to better fend off Iran. President Obama in brief remarks at White House the White House today said he contacted Russian officials to reiterate that their opposition to the previous system was "unfounded."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

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Linda McMahon joins Twitter

Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO and Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon has joined the Twitterverse and will tweet under the handle @LindaforSenate.

McMahon joins a field of Republican candidates in Connecticut vying for Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) seat in 2010. The wrestling exec has 170 Twitter followers and first posted this morning. It is unclear whether or not McMahon will tweet herself. 

Here is her first tweet:

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be a candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Stay tuned. More to come...

McMahon officially declared her candidacy today and stepped down as the head of WWE. The Hill reported that McMahon would run on Monday. She will face primary front-runner and former Rep. Rob Simmons, former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, state Sen. Steve Caligiuiri. Investment banker Peter Schiff has also raised over $1 million for his exploratory committee.

The wife of WWE chairman Vince McMahon will likely self-fund for the most part and accept small contributions from donors.

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DNC calls Fox News an RNC arm

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) hit at Fox News' objectivity on Wednesday after the network excluded part of a Republican congressman's interview in which he admitted the GOP did not oppose President George W. Bush's policy "czars."

Fox News conducted an interview with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), in which he criticized President Barack Obama's policy "czars" but said Republicans did not scrutinize Bush's "czars."

When the network aired the segment later, they cut out the latter part of his statement.

The DNC tweeted:

Hey @RNC @FoxNews (but we repeat ourselves)! George W. Bush employed czars galore: http://bit.ly/BushCzars #GOPAmnesia

In the linked blog post, the DNC includes video footage of both parts of the interview.

Issa and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) sent a letter earlier today to White House counsel Greg Craig requesting information about President Barack Obama's policy "czars."

Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) also sent a similar letter to the president himself, asking for legal advisors to detail the "czars'" constitutionality.

The DNC has spent the day accusing Republicans and Fox News of hypocrisy for targeting Obama's appointed advisors.

"Glenn Beck, Fox News and the Republicans doing their bidding are trying their darndest to manufacture controversy over the existence of czars in the Obama Administration. Not only is it incredibly hypocritical - no one's buying it," said the post.

The release claims that 47 czars worked under President Bush and provides a list of the officials.

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TOP TWEETS

Obama will bring civility to Washington - Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)
Bachmann off target on CRA - Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
Baucus bill will pass cost to consumers - Health Care Caucus (House GOP)
Leading the debate - Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
Asking Salazar tough energy questions - Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.)
Fight against 'Senate Obamacare' - Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Champion of healthcare - Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.)
FBI should investigate ACORN - Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
LaHood says 'Clunkers' worked - Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.)
Republicans will oppose anything - Arjun Jaikumar (DSCC)

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Reid tweet: Must 'scale back' Medicaid spending in Baucus bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that state Medicaid spending must reduced under Sen. Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) healthcare reform bill released today.

Reid took to Twitter to announce his opposition to the provision just after the Senate Finance Committee chairman concluded a press conference regarding the legislation.

Baucus' bill broadens eligibility for Medicaid, the government's existing healthcare program for low income citizens, but states would likely shoulder a greater portion of the cost in providing expanded coverage.

Reid tweeted:

Finance’s bill is a good starting pt but has 2 be good for NV before taking 2 the floor. We have 2 scale back state Medicaid spending rqmt

Markup of the Finance Committee's bill is scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

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DeLay challenges martial arts fighter on 'Dancing with Stars'

As House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) seldom backed down from a challenge. He seems to be showing that same attitude with his appearance on "Dancing with the Stars."

DeLay, who is nicknamed "The Hammer," took to Twitter on Wednesday to "dis" mixed martial arts fighter Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, who will compete against DeLay on the ABC reality show:

Hey Twinkle Toes @ChuckLiddell how's the dancing coming along? Cant wait for the Hammer and the Iceman to hit the stage.

This season of "Dancing with the Stars" premiers September 21.

For DeLay's sake, we hope things stay civil:



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McCain attending Afghanistan briefing with W.H. officials

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the Senate Armed Services Committee's top Republican, will meet today with senior administration officials on the topic of Afghanistan.

Yesterday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told a group of senators that the Pentagon will likely need to send more troops to the war-torn country in order to defeat insurgents there.

The Obama administration is waiting for a report from the senior U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, before deciding to send more troops.

McCain tweeted:

Headed to a briefing with Senior Administration officials on Afghanistan.

The Armed Services Committee is becoming divided on the issue of additional troops.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and McCain are senior committee members who favor sending more troops. Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has indicated he would oppose an additional deployment.

Levin would like to send more trainers to help develop the Afghan armed services.

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