Fight Breaks Out at Heated Nevada Senate Debate

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- On Thursday evening, a fight broke out at a Senate candidate forum in Las Vegas, Nevada featuring Republican candidate Sharron Angle and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to local reports.  A group of Reid’s supporters were walking out during Angle’s closing statements when the fight occurred. Kelly Tanaka, 27, told the Las Vegas Sun that an unidentified man pushed her and punched her friend in the face as they were leaving. However, no arrests were made.  Both Angle and Reid were subjected to booing and heckling, and even some cheers, as they spoke about health care and the economy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Top Republican Rips Colbert for "Mocking" Congress

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert might have made some people laugh during his appearance before a House Judiciary subcommittee Friday, but the panel’s top ranking Republican was far from amused.  “I think that he mocked the hearing process,” Iowa Rep. Steve King told reporters after the hearing. “I think it was his intent to do that.”

As previously reported, Colbert had taken a serious tone in his prepared remarks submitted to the subcommittee before the hearing, but quickly morphed back into character at the hearing.

“It was clear that his written testimony that was delivered to us last night was not addressed at all,” King said. “He came with other written testimony that was delivered as a comedy routine at least in the first half of his testimony.”

“I don’t think you can take anything he testified seriously,” King added.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama Administration Angers Gay Groups With Defense of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department has asked a federal judge in California not to issue an immediate injunction against the U.S. military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, despite President Obama's opposition to the policy and belief it should be overturned.

In a court filing Thursday night, government lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips to grant them a "reasonable" amount of time to consider an injunction. Phillips ruled Sept. 9 that the ban on openly gay and lesbian men and women serving in the military was unconstitutional and should be ended immediately.

"A court should not compel the executive to implement an immediate cessation of the 17-year policy without regard for any effect such an abrupt change might have on the military's option, particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations around the globe," the Justice Department wrote to Phillips.  Phillips is now deciding whether an injunction should take effect.  The case has put the Obama administration in a political bind; it's caught between a duty to defend established law and a promise to have the law overturned. Obama has said he prefers the policy to be resolved legislatively and after the Defense Department completes its review in December.

"This filing in no way diminishes the president's firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in a statement. "Indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio. 


National Tea Party Convention Canceled Due To Lagging Ticket Sales

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Organizers of the planned Tea Party Nation Convention, which had already been postponed once, announced this week  the gathering was being scrapped altogether.  Slow ticket sales are to blame, according to Judson Phillips, one of the ring leaders of the event.  The cost of the convention, which ran as high as $399, was just too much for many of the movement’s devotees.

“This decision simply came down to a matter of economics,” Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation who is affiliated with the group, told The Daily Caller.  Phillips said the event fell victim to the “Obama economy.”

The convention, which had been modeled after an event earlier this year in Nashville, was scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas. The Tea Party stars who were slated to make appearances included Andrew Brietbart, Lou Dobbs, and Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama Set To Attend East Asia Summit In 2011

Photo Courtesy -- The White House.(NEW YORK) -- Sitting down for the second time with all the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the first meeting on U.S. soil, President Obama said on Friday that the United States has an “enormous stake” in the people and the future of Asia. 
“The region is home to some of our largest trading partners, and buys many of our exports, supporting millions of American jobs,” President Obama said at a luncheon at the Waldorf hotel in New York, “we need partnerships with Asian nations to meet the challenges of our growing economy, preventing proliferation and addressing climate change.”

President Obama has tried to make clear the US intends to play a leadership role in Asia.  The ten countries of ASEAN – all represented at the luncheon Friday are Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, and Thailand.
The president announced he has accepted ASEAN’s invitation to join the East Asia Summit in Jakarta next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


Obama Praises Killing of Leader of FARC in Colombia

Photo Courtesy - The White House(NEW YORK) -- Prior to holding a formal bilateral meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, President Obama spoke on Thursday's raid on the FARC camp, which led to the killing of the rebel group's number two leader, Jorce Briceno.

“Yesterday was a big day for the people of Colombia and those who are seeking peace in the region,” the president said in New York City Friday, “because of outstanding work by Colombian security forces they were able to embark on a mission that resulted in a death of the leader of FARC.”

President Obama went on to say that Colombians have been plagued by “this terrorist insurgency for a very long time,” but because of this success, the country now has a “chance to see continued stability in Colombia and in the region.”

Santos express that his country is now entering a “new era,” and that they can finally turn to focusing on a “more progressive agenda,” including social development and environmental issues.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Sends Prez Small Biz Bill

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images.(WASHINGTON) -- After passing a bill on the House floor Thursday afternoon, and with her personal signature of approval, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi enrolled the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, sending the legislation down Pennsylvania Avenue for President Barack Obama’s signature next Monday.

Pelosi, D-California, praised the president for his leadership in helping to pass the measure, which approves $30 billion in small businesses loans and offers more than $12 billion in tax incentives to help small businesses grow and add jobs. Supporters of the bill hope that the $30 billion will leverage into $300 billion in lending to small businesses.

“I am very pleased to sign this legislation,” Pelosi said as she prepared to sign the bill at a brief ceremony at the Capitol. “When I do, we will send it to President Obama, with our appreciation for his extraordinary leadership to help small businesses grow. This is about opportunity, it’s about job creation, it’s about growth of our economy. I am honored to sign this legislation.”

House and Senate Republicans had denounced the lending fund as a “mini-TARP,” with lawmakers attempting to capitalize in the upcoming congressional midterm elections on public resentment over the unpopular $700 billion bailout financial system in 2008.

The speaker said the bill will create 500,000 new jobs without adding to the deficit and recognized American small business entrepreneurs for fueling the path to economic recovery.

President Obama issued a statement Thursday afternoon announcing that he intends to sign the bill next Monday, and he thanked Congress for finally passing the legislation.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


President Obama 'Deeply Offended' by Ahmadinejad Comments On 9/11

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(NEW YORK) -- A White House source tells ABC News that President Obama found Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments about the 9/11 attacks Thursday at the UN General Assembly "deeply offensive and inappropriate, and especially inappropriate to have been made so close" to the site where the World Trade Center once stood.

President Obama  had underlined in his speech to the UN that he wants to end the conflict with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program through peaceful means.

“The United States and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with Iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it,” Obama said.

But just a few hours later, speaking from the same podium, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed to slam that door shut.

"The majority of the American people, as well as other nations and politicians, believe...some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime," Ahmadinejad said of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, prompting the U.S. delegation to the U.N. and others to walk out on the speech.

The new U.S. sanctions against Iran are scheduled to go into effect by Sept. 29.  On Friday, President Obama will give an interview to BBC Persia to speak directly to the Iranian people.  An official anticipates that the president will address the remarks at that time.

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No Joke: Colbert Asked to Leave Congressional Hearing

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.

UPDATE:  Stephen Colbert Takes On Congress, Sarcastically Argues For Farm Workers

(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert launched a comedy sneak attack on Congress Friday.

He submitted serious testimony for a hearing on the issue of farm workers and immigration, but when it was his turn to speak, the talk show host slipped into character as a satiricial conservative to make his points in support of more favored status for migrant farm laborers.

"This is America," he told the panel. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican," he said. "We do not want immigrants doing this labor."

He tried to enter images from his colonoscopy into the Congressional Record during a riff on how Americans should eat less ruffage. Then Colbert recalled his day spent picking vegetables at an upstate New York farm earlier this summer.

On the bill dealing with immigrant workers, Colbert quipped, "Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it." He sarcastically expressed confidence that as the bill moves forward, "both sides will work together as you always do."  That was one of the rare jokes that actually drew a good laugh from the packed committee room.

Colbert then concluded his opening statement by saying, "USA, number one."

Rep. John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was not amused. "Mr. Colbert's submitted statement was considerably different from the one that he presented," Conyers said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert’s appearance on Capitol Hill Friday almost ended before it ever began.  As reported Thursday, Colbert was listed as an expert witness for a House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, refugees and border security hearing on immigrant farm workers and the AgJOBS bill.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the subcommittee Friday morning that Colbert should leave the hearing before he’d even started testifying.
 “I’m not asking you not to talk,” Conyers told Colbert. “I’m asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead.”  Conyers’ request drew groans from the massive crowd assembled at the hearing.

 “I think many are eager to hear his comments,” the subcommittee’s chair Zoe Lofgren told Conyers.

 After initially forgetting to turn his microphone on, Colbert responded to Conyers’ request.  “I’m here at the invitation of the chairwoman and if she would like me to remove myself from the hearing I am happy to do so,” he said.

Colbert’s involvement in the issue dates back to July when United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez appeared on his show The Colbert Report. The next month Colbert traveled to pick vegetables at a farm in upstate New York, part of a campaign by the UFW to invite US citizens and legal residents to replace immigrant farm workers -- to date only seven people have done so. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


Senator to Block Obama's Nomination of Jack Lew

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu announced Thursday that she intends to block President Obama’s nomination of Jack Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget until the administration lifts or modifies the moratorium on deep-water oil and gas drilling.

“Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President’s most important economic advisors, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,” the democratic senator wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The fact that the most acute of these economic challenges, the moratorium, results from a direct (and reversible) federal action only serves to harden my stance on Mr. Lew’s nomination.”

“I cannot support further action on Mr. Lew’s nomination to be a key economic advisor to the President until I am convinced that the President and his Administration understand the detrimental impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on the Gulf Coast,” she said.

In May, in the wake of the BP oil spill, the Obama administration instituted a six-month ban on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Landrieu says the ban is causing job losses harmful to the region.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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