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Wednesday
Oct262011

'Joe the Plumber' Throws Wrench into Congressional Ring

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The man who came to be known as "Joe the Plumber" during the 2008 national election wants to be known as "Joe the Congressman."

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher officially announced Tuesday that he's running for the Republican nomination for Congress from Ohio's 9th District.

Wurzelbacher believes that voters will identify with him because he's not a politician by nature.  He complained that today's elected officials "keep on playing politics with our lives.  I’m tired of it.  That’s what it comes down to: I’m sick and tired of it."

If he gets the nod, Wurzelbacher would probably face either Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur or Dennis Kucinich, whose districts will be merged into one after 2012 because of a loss of population.

Wurzelbacher became famous as "Joe the Plumber" when he confronted President Obama while he was a candidate for the White House three years ago.

Obama's opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, quickly used Wurzelbacher as a symbol of how small businessmen would suffer under an Obama administration.

While that ploy didn't work out for McCain, it did for Wurzelbacher, who became a commentator, author and motivational speaker.  As it turned out, "Joe the Plumber" was a bit of a misnomer since it later came out that Wurzelbacher didn't hold a plumber's license.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May312011

Weiner Hires Lawyer After Twitter ‘Prank’

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., has hired a lawyer after a lewd photo of an unidentified man was posted to his Twitter account and sent to a 21-year-old female college student from Seattle the politican was following on the microblogging service.

A spokesman for Weiner said the congressman is exploring "civil or criminal actions" in response to the incident, which he called a "prank." It's unclear whether the office has also requested an independent investigation.

The Twitter post, which appeared Friday night and was quickly deleted, was first reported on by conservative website Biggovernment.com. 

"I was hacked. It happens to people," Weiner told CNN Monday night. "This is a prank, not a terribly creative one, and it's a distraction."

Gennette Cordova, the alleged target of Weiner's tweet, said in a statement Sunday to the New York Daily News that even though she was a "fan" of Weiner, she has never met the congressman. For his part, Weiner has yet to explain why he was following the young woman who had been following him on Twitter.

Weiner, 46, is married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Internet security experts said the controversial post could have easily been done by someone with access to the congressman’s accounts.  But they also say it's plausible that an unauthorized person infiltrated the system.

"Those things get hacked the simplest ways," Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute for Computer Security Training, said of Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

"It's either shoulder surfing, where someone stands behind you when you sign in, or they just guess," he said. "They figure out what your user name is, which is usually your name, and then they just try your wife's name, your kid's name, your wife's birthday for the password or just keep trying until they find one."

What happened in Weiner's case remains to be seen. Twitter users have pointed out since the story broke how easy it is to accidentally send public a so-called DM, or a private, user-to-user direct message.

If a hacker was responsible for the post, it wouldn't be the first time. A 25-year-old Frenchman hacked into President Obama's Twitter account last year and was later arrested. And hackers broke into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal email account in 2008, exposing cell phone numbers and other private information.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr152011

Rep. Joe Crowley Gives 'Speechless' Speech on House Floor

Crowley [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- If you ever wished everyone in Congress would just shut up, Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, is the Congressman for you.

On Thursday, Crowley gave an entire floor speech without speaking at all.

Standing in front of an easel, he ripped of sheets of paper, each of which bore a few words of his angry speech, which took the GOP to task over what he claims are misplaced priorities.

Here’s a taste: “Last Fall, the American people / gave us our marching orders / Jobs Jobs Jobs / 100 Days of GOP Rule = / 0 Jobs Bills / So, If Not Jobs… / What Has the GOP Been Up To? / GOP’s #1 Priority: / Cut More than 700,000 American Jobs / GOP’s Priority #2…/ Take Away healthcare for the people… / but keep it for themselves / Surely, a jobs bill must be priority #3… /”

The non-speech goes on for about a minute, until Crowley’s final two placards:

“I’m Surprised Stunned Shocked / Speechless."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr042011

Former Congressman John Adler Dies at 51

U.S. House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- Former Rep. John Adler, D-New Jersey, died Monday at the age of 51 after contracting a staph infection in the tissue around his heart last month which resulted in endocarditis and led to emergency surgery.

Adler won office in 2008, but served only one term after narrowly losing his re-election campaign to former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., 50 percent to 47 percent.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who served as House Speaker during Adler’s two-year tenure in the House of Representatives, praised Adler in a statement Monday evening for a career in public service and for “giving back to his community, working to improve the lives of his neighbors, and building a better future for his children and for generations to come.”

“A son of small business owners and an attorney, Congressman Adler always put the people of New Jersey first.  On the Cherry Hill Township Council, he led the charge for ethics reform; in the State Senate, he fought for clean air, smoke-free communities, and the rights of all New Jersey voters.  He continued that work in Congress, voting to protect consumers and strengthen small businesses; and, in his first act as a Congressman, he authored a bill to strengthen the economic security of America’s seniors and veterans,” Pelosi, D-Calif., stated. “To the end, Congressman Adler remained a passionate, committed, principled advocate for his constituents, his state, and his country.  I express my deepest condolences to his wife, Shelley, and their four sons, and I hope it is a comfort to them that so many share in their grief at this difficult time.”

In a statement Monday evening, Runyan expressed his condolences over his former opponent’s death.

“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of former Congressman John Adler, especially his wife Shelley and their four boys.   May John rest in peace, and may those he left behind be comforted in the knowledge that his lifetime of public service to our community has left a lasting legacy for which they can be most proud,” Runyan said. “I valued and respected his leadership and his commitment to the people of New Jersey’s Third District and indeed the entire state.”

Adler is survived by his wife, Shelley, and four sons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Mar072011

Democratic Florida Congressman Denies Sexual Harassment Charges

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Democratic congressman is denying accusations that he repeatedly sexually harassed an employee over the course of two years, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “lie. He vowed he will be vindicated and will win a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Rep. Alcee Hastings issued a statement declaring his innocence Monday afternoon after Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates government corruption, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer, a female employee who says she was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Hastings, a 10-term Democrat from Florida, said in a statement Monday afternoon.  “In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’”

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, according to Judicial Watch, when Hastings was chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.  The commission is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as is its former staff director, Fred Turner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Feb222011

Rep. David Wu Tells ABC News: I Sent Emails, Sought Treatment

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In his first network interview since reports that his staff pushed him to get psychiatric help just before the November election, Oregon Congressman David Wu admitted he sent “unprofessional” emails to his staff, including a photo of himself in a tiger costume.

“Last October was not a good month, it was very stressful. I did some things, I said some things which I sincerely regret now. And as a result of those things I saw fit to consult professional help, I got the help I needed then. I am continuing to consult medical help as I need it and I’m in a good place now,” Wu told ABC News.

Wu said he’s being treated now with medication and counseling after the “intervention” staged by his staffers. The Oregonian has reported that some of the staff had tried to find out if there was a psychiatric hospital ward that would admit Congressman Wu.

“I don’t know what they were seeking,” Wu said. “We had several meetings, we had a lot of meetings in a campaign and…campaigns are very, very stressful.”

“I saw appropriate medical help at the time and I am continuing to do that,” he said.

Wu, a father of two, admitted to sending odd emails to staffers in the middle of the night, including a photo of himself dressed up like a tiger, despite warnings that a Halloween costume could do damage to his campaign.

“It was unprofessional, inappropriate," Wu said.

At least six staffers have left Wu’s office. But despite his string of odd behavior the congressman said he is fit to serve and hopes that going public will help others seek the help they need.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb112011

Woman Who Received Flirty E-Mails From Congressman Speaks Out

Photo Courtesy - Chris Lee [dot] House [dot] gov(NEW YORK) -- The "other" woman in the supposedly online affair that brought down the political career of New York Republican Congressman Chris Lee says he had it coming.

Continuing to keep her identity a secret, the 34-year-old woman told the blog TheLoop21 Thursday that Lee was likely a serial cheater who "probably met more women online."

She said she felt no pity for Lee, who resigned abruptly Wednesday after the Gawker website revealed the former lawmaker sent flirty e-mails as well as a bare-chested photograph of himself to the woman he met on Craigslist.

The woman wrote Thursday, "Cheaters eventually get caught.  He didn't have to resign.  He made that choice himself...The lesson is, if you're going to do dirt, do it anonymously.  People cheat everyday, but only dumb people get caught."

As it happened, Lee used his actual name and an e-mail address that was traced back to his Facebook account.

Ironically, the woman claims the ad she posted on Craigslist looking for men wasn't done in seriousness, adding, "I wanted them to prove to me that they were not trolls...I thought it would be fun to see what type of men would send me their photos."

Among the 30 responses she said she received was one from Lee, purporting to be a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist.  Lee is actually 46, married and has a child.

Meanwhile, the woman's advice to Lee spouse is simply "get tested."

In Washington, House Speaker John Boehner has denied that he told Lee to resign his post although there are reports the Ohio lawmaker advised the congressman to scale back on his partying-ways last year.

Lee's replacement will be found through a special election that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will call for later this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Congressman Chris Lee Resigns After Shirtless Photo Posted on Internet

Photo Courtesy - Chris Lee dot House gov(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., resigned from Congress after a report emerged that he had sent flirtatious emails, including one with a bare-chested photo of himself, to a woman he met on Craigslist. Lee is married and has a child.

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness," Lee said in a statement Wednesday night.

"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."

On Wednesday, gossip website Gawker posted a story that included the emails allegedly exchanged between Lee and the unnamed woman. According to the story, a single 34-year old woman from Maryland posted an ad on Craigslist's "Women for Men" section on Jan. 14. Soon afterwards a man named Christopher Lee replied, identifying himself as a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist.

In the ensuing exchange, Lee purportedly sent the woman an email including a photo of him with his shirt off, flexing his arms and chest. The woman later broke off her correspondence with Lee when she did an online search for him and determined that he had lied about his age and his job, the Gawker story reported.

Lee is a Republican congressman representing the 26th district of New York. He and his wife Michele have a young son named Johnathan, according to a biography on his website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan202011

No Apology Here: Congressman Cohen Defends Nazi Comment

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., says he has no intention of apologizing for comparing Republican rhetoric with Nazi propaganda.

“I didn’t say anything that deserves an apology or requires an apology,” Cohen told ABC News.  “I would never refer to Republican colleagues in an untoward way, I was talking about political propaganda.”

Cohen’s comments on the House floor – where he said Republican arguments on health care were “a big lie just like Goebbels” and “like blood libel” that led to the holocaust -- were condemned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“No matter how strong one’s objections to any policy or to the tactics of political opponents, invoking the Holocaust and the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish people is offensive and has no place in a civil political discourse,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement issued in response to Cohen’s statement.

“I respect Mr. Foxman greatly, we have a little difference on how we see this,” Cohen said.  “I wasn’t talking about the political philosophy or even the actions that resulted in the actions of the Holocaust, I was talking about the political propaganda, which is somewhat separate, but I understand Mr. Foxman’s sensitivities and I’m sorry that he and other people of the Jewish faith could have been offended.”

Does that mean Cohen is sorry for what he said?  Not quite.

“I’m sorry that people were offended,” Cohen said.  “I’m not sorry for what I said.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan082011

Eric Cantor: GOP Will Be Seen As Party of 'Cut-And-Grow'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Congressional Republicans, now in control of the House, say they plan to cut government spending and create jobs.

“Each day,” said new House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in the weekly GOP address, “we will come to work asking: One, ‘Are our actions focused on job creation and the economy?’  Two, ‘Are our actions focused on cutting spending?’  Three, ‘Are our actions focused on shrinking government while protecting and expanding liberty?’”

The Virginia congressman said that the Republican Party has been afforded a “golden opportunity to listen, lead, and deliver results” and will soon be seen as the “cut-and-grow” majority.

“We are going to cut spending and cut job-killing government regulations while growing the economy and private-sector jobs,” Cantor said.

He spent much of the address criticizing President Obama’s health care reform law and once again expressed GOP support for repealing the act.

“Republicans care about health care,” Cantor said. “We simply disagree that excessive government regulation and sweeping mandates on individuals and businesses are the right way to go about it.”

“After the House passes repeal of ObamaCare, we’ll begin a two-step process of conducting continued oversight of the continued harm that it is doing to our economy and our health care system, as well as beginning work on a new vision to improve our healthcare system without bankrupting our country.”

President Obama has threatened to veto House Republicans’ attempt to repeal the health care law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio