Wednesday, April 18, 2007
CNN Political Ticker AM
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day on the CNN Political Ticker. All politics, all the time. Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau.
Making news today...
Most Americans (72%) say they are closely following the ongoing dispute between President Bush and the Democrats in Congress over proposed timetables for withdrawal -- and a likely Bush veto of the Iraq appropriations bill if it includes such a proposal. Six in ten think that they would wind up siding with the Democrats in this dispute; 37% say they are more likely to take the President's side.
Overall, 32% support the war, while 66% oppose it.
Also on the Political Radar:
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
VICTIMS LEAVE BEHIND "A GRIEVING NATION," SAYS BUSH: Representing America's anguish, President Bush told Virginia Tech students and teachers at a somber convocation Tuesday that the nation was praying for them and "there's a power in these prayers." "It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering," Bush said at a memorial service on the campus where 33 people, including the suspected gunman, died in shootings the day before. "Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate," the president said. "They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone - and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation." Before flying to the tragedy-stricken university in southwestern Virginia, Bush ordered flags flown at half staff and issued a written proclamation in honor of those killed and wounded. AP via Yahoo! News: Bush offers condolences at Virginia Tech
VA GOV CALLS FOR REVIEW OF TECH INCIDENT RESPONSE: Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) ordered an independent review yesterday of Virginia Tech's handling of Monday's massacre after 24 hours of criticism that the university waited too long to inform students and faculty of a potential danger. Kaine's announcement came in response to a request from the school's president and board of visitors that the governor take the lead in finding a group of credible, experienced outside examiners. He said the investigation will cover actions taken Monday and questions about whether university officials were warned earlier that the shooter, Cho Seung Hui, was troubled. Washington Post: Kaine Orders Independent Investigation
"WASHINGTON LARGELY PROCEEDED AS USUAL": Following the worst shooting in American history, Congress flinched -- but only a bit. There were moments of silence and short floor speeches expressing sympathy for the Virginia Tech victims. Flags dipped to half-staff, and some members canceled press conferences. When asked, congressional aides described the mood on Capitol Hill as "somber." But just a quarter-inch below the surface Tuesday, the familiar rhythm of attack and counterattack, speechmaking and lawmaking, political posturing and partisan bickering continued as if a college campus fewer than 300 miles away hadn't been capsized by a lone gunman. Despite predictions by some aides that lawmakers would show restraint, Washington largely proceeded as usual. The Politico: Congress Barely Flinches
PELOSI DELAYS NAMING MEMBERS TO FINISH WAR SPENDING BILL: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday delayed appointing lawmakers to finish a war-funding bill, putting off the emergency legislation for the second day since returning from the House's two-week spring break. Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, did not name conferees Monday because severe storms slowed some East Coast lawmakers' returns to Washington and because some lawmakers attended Virginia Tech services for the shooting victims, her office said. "We need the conferees in order to make progress on the bill," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will join Mrs. Pelosi and other congressional leaders at a White House meeting with President Bush today. Washington Times: Pelosi stalls on war bill conferees
PELOSI DECLINES, THEN ACCEPTS OFFER OF PETRAEUS BRIEFING: The top military commander in Iraq will make a rare visit to Capitol Hill next week but House Democratic leaders - unlike their Senate counterparts - initially declined the Defense Department's offer of a Members-only closed-door briefing with Army Gen. David Petraeus, according to Congressional and administration sources. A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at first acknowledged Tuesday that the Pentagon's request to have Petraeus give a House briefing had been denied due to "scheduling conflicts" next week. Later on Tuesday, Pelosi's office contacted Roll Call stating that the Speaker was now working to set up a session. "We intend to schedule a meeting for Members of the House to hear from Gen. Petraeus on April 26th," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. Roll Call: Petraeus Visit Sparks Debate
HOUSE PANEL CONSIDERS IMMUNITY FOR GOODLING: The confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys escalated again yesterday as Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said they are weighing an offer of immunity to a potential key witness in the investigation. At the same time, the Republican National Committee yesterday turned down congressional demands that it hand over e-mails related to the firings, angering Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). Frustrated by Monica M. Goodling's refusal to testify, committee Democrats said they may grant limited-use immunity to the former counsel to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. Washington Post: Immunity for Ex-Gonzales Aide Weighed
ACCIDENTAL GUN SHOT WOUNDS TWO SECRET SERVICE OFFICERS: Two uniformed Secret Service officers were treated at a hospital yesterday with gunshot wounds after one of their pistols accidentally fired, a spokesman said. The incident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. in a guard shack at the southwest entrance to the White House complex while President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were at a memorial service in Blacksburg, Va., for victims of the Virginia Tech shooting spree. "There was an accidental discharge of a service-issued weapon," said Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford. The 9-mm. bullet went through the outside leg of one officer, struck a concrete floor, then shattered into pieces, and shrapnel hit the other officer in the face, Blackford said. The Secret Service would not release the names of the officers but said both were taken to nearby George Washington University Hospital. Both were treated for superficial wounds in the emergency room and were released. New York Daily News: Drama at the White House
WHCA GOES WITH SAFE PICK FOR DINNER ROUTINE: After more than 40 years in show business, Rich Little is still a working comedian, doing his well-practiced impersonations from Las Vegas to Granite Falls, Minn. He is even available for corporate retreats and weddings. But this weekend, Mr. Little will return to the national stage, where he once held a regular place, when he appears at the Hilton Washington as headliner at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. It is the capital's premier social event for the president, Congressional leaders and the reporters who cover them - some of whom were too young to know Mr. Little's work, others who were surprised to learn he was still alive (actually, he is only 68). New York Times: No Offense Intended With This Year's Choice of Entertainer, but Still an Outcry
CORZINE'S CAR DRIVING 91 MPH BEFORE ACCIDENT: In the seconds before Gov. Jon S. Corzine was critically injured in an accident last Thursday, the Chevrolet Suburban he was riding in was traveling 91 miles per hour, 26 m.p.h. over the posted speed limit, according to a crash data recorder retrieved from the vehicle. The superintendent of the state police, Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, said Tuesday that the trooper driving the vehicle, Robert J. Rasinski, had told investigators that he did not know how fast he was traveling as he led Mr. Corzine's two-car caravan, emergency lights flashing, from an Atlantic City speech to a meeting at the governor's mansion in Princeton. But the recorder clocked the speed at 91 m.p.h. five seconds before the Suburban collided with a white pickup truck, and at 30 m.p.h. when it slammed into a guardrail along the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway, the police said. New York Times: Corzine's Speed Put at 91 M.P.H. Near Crash Site
CANDIDATES CAREFUL IN GUN COMMENTS: Democratic White House hopefuls yesterday struggled with whether they should embrace increased gun control measures following Monday's horrific massacre at Virginia Tech. Campaigns offered nuanced responses to questions on the issue, indicating an effort to assuage their base without offending Red State America. "In much of America, gun ownership is part of a way of life," a spokesman for former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said in a statement. "John Edwards believes that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership and that we must keep guns out of criminals' hands." The Hill: Dem hopefuls mostly mum on gun
NO SECOND TIER IN GOP '08 FIELD... JUST 1ST AND 3RD: Republicans' presidential field may be wide, but this weekend's fundraising numbers show it is not deep. Other than Mitt Romney, Rudolph W. Giuliani and John McCain, no Republican raised $2 million or had $1 million cash on hand as of March 31, making it nearly impossible for them to challenge the top three candidates. "At this point, there is no second tier in the Republican Party," said one longtime campaign observer who spoke on the condition he not be named in order to give a straightforward assessment. "It's really more of a first tier and a third tier." Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, led the pack of challengers with $1.9 million raised, but he reported already spending $1.1 million of that. Coming in next was Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, with $1.3 million raised, who beat the three former governors who had been expected to fill out the second tier: James S. Gilmore III of Virginia, Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, all of whom raised less than $600,000. Washington Times: Second-tier GOP hopefuls lack cash
SHARPTON DRAWS TOP DEM CONTENDERS TO NAN CONVENTION: Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, whose profile soared in his recent push for dismissal of radio personality Don Imus, is attracting all the major Democratic presidential candidates for his annual convention this week. John Edwards was scheduled to address the National Action Network convention on Wednesday, the first of the White House hopefuls. The other candidates, as well as Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, will address the group the remainder of the week. Top candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled to appear Friday and Saturday. The Network is a New York-based political, social and activist organization and Sharpton is its president. AP via Yahoo! News: Sharpton attracts Dems to his convention
ROMNEY FINDS A GOLD MINE IN LARGELY UNTAPPED UTAH: An array of donors who never had given money in a federal election opened their wallets to Mitt Romney this year, drawn to him through his networks in the business world and the Mormon church. Utah, seldom a go-to state for politicians seeking money, was Romney's second most generous state, reflecting the ties he has built there through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his time as president of the Salt Lake Olympics Organizing Committee. That success helped vault Romney to the top of the money race among Republican presidential candidates with more than $20 million in the first quarter of this year. An analysis of new campaign finance reports by The Associated Press shows that in some Utah ZIP codes, Romney, a Mormon and former governor of Massachusetts, raised nearly 10 times the amounts raised by President Bush in each of the past two presidential elections. AP via Yahoo! News: Mitt Romney helps tap new donors
CLINTON STILL PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SMALL STUFF IN NY: On the same day that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced that he had raised $25 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) made her own $25 million announcement -- a federal grant to restore oyster beds in Long Island Sound. In the 6 1/2 years since she was elected to the Senate, Clinton has paid close attention to the constituent services and pork-barrel politics that earned one of her predecessors, Republican Alfonse M. D'Amato, the nickname "Senator Pothole." Even now, when many fellow candidates have no time for making all their Senate votes, much less announcing federal grants, Clinton seems intent on proving her commitment to her adopted state. Washington Post: For Clinton, Even Presidential Politics Is Local
BILL TO DELIVER SIX COMMENCEMENT SPEECHES, INCLUDING UNH: Former President Bill Clinton, one of the most coveted and elusive commencement speakers at U.S. colleges, spurns dozens of invitations each year. This spring, he's stepping up his schedule as his wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, runs for the office he once held. He will triple his recent annual average and talk to graduates on six campuses, led by Harvard University and the University of New Hampshire, the biggest school in the state that hosts the nation's first presidential primary. "Whenever he's in the news, she's in the news," said Dean Spiliotes, 43, research director at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. "It's a good thing for her." Bloomberg: Clinton Triples College Speaking Schedule as Hillary Campaigns
FRED THOMPSON COMES TO DC: When actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson first said in a television interview March 11 that he was "giving some thought" to running for president, it sounded almost casual. Since then, however, Thompson and his supporters have conducted a methodical pre-campaign campaign, which continues today with a trip to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican House members who are interested in his potential candidacy. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., one of those pushing a Thompson run, arranged for the meeting at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill. He said 60 Republicans expressed interest in meeting Thompson, and he expects at least 40 will attend. The Tennessean: Thompson's pre-decision tour continues
TOUGH WEEK FOR LA MAYOR: Stung by the city's failed Olympics bid and the latest setback to his schools takeover plan, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faces two other uphill battles this week as he unveils a gang-prevention strategy and a lean city budget, both of which are meeting resistance. Villaraigosa will deliver his annual State of the City address tonight, outlining an anti-gang plan that calls for a different approach from that advocated by some civil rights advocates. On Thursday, Villaraigosa will unveil his 2-year-old administration's second budget, a financial blueprint that will call for slashing $100 million from the city's $231-million structural deficit, amid declining revenue and upcoming contract negotiations. Los Angeles Times: It's a good week not to be mayor of L.A.
MEMBER PERFORMS HEIMLICH AT HILL RESTAURANT: At Charlie Palmer Steak on Monday night, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) performed the Heimlich maneuver on a woman who was choking on her steak. the Congressman was enjoying a quiet dinner at the swank Capitol Hill steakhouse when he noticed a commotion at a nearby table. A woman had jumped up from her table, clearly in distress, the Congressman told HOH, while her dining companion was slumped in the booth. The Congressman promptly swung into action. "I asked her if she was choking and she indicated she was," Thompson told HOH. He estimates it took about three or four Heimlich maneuvers to dislodge the misguided food. After catching her breath, Thompson reports, the woman was fine. It turned out that the choking victim was a visitor from New Jersey who was eating dinner with her daughter, a local law student. Roll Call: Cough It Up
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