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Friday
Sep242010

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.

Copyright ABC News Radio.

Friday
Sep242010

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.

Thursday
Sep232010

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

Thursday
Sep232010

Palin: Would 'Offer Myself' if 'Nobody Else Stepped Up'

Image Courtesy - ABC News RadioIn an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin offered some of her most direct comments yet about what it would take for her to launch a presidential bid.

"A reason to run is if nobody else were to step up with the solutions that are needed to get the economy back on the right track and to be so committed to our national security that they are going to do all that they can, including fighting those on the extreme left who seem to want to dismantle some of our national security tools that we have in place,” Palin told Fox's Greta Van Susteren. “If nobody else wanted to step up, Greta, I would offer myself up in the name of service to the public."

Last week Palin traveled to Iowa, a key early primary state, to speak at a major Republican political gathering.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

Democrats Say Vote On Tax Cuts Likely Delayed Until Lame-Duck

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats acknowledged Thursday that they will almost definitely delay a debate and vote on extending the Bush tax cuts until the lame-duck session after the November elections.  “The reality is nothing’s going to happen before the elections,” the Senate’s number-two Democrat Dick Durbin said after a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon.  While Durbin said Majority Leader Harry Reid “will make the final decision,” the Illinois lawmaker admitted that “the likelihood of our passing anything by way of tax extensions is very very slim.”  Durbin also emphasized the difficulty of finding a "bipartisan answer to the challenges we face.” As Democrats themselves acknowledged Thursday, they are a party divided.  "Opinions were all over the place,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., of the caucus meeting. Bayh, who is retiring this fall, has broken with his party to support an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  The tax cuts will expire on January 1st unless Congress acts.

Copyright 2010 -- ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

(HOLD FOR PIC)Congressman Says Colbert is 'Fake Newscaster' for 'Fake Hearing'

(WASHINGTON) -- As comedian and satirist Stephen Colbert heads to Capitol Hill Friday, some Republican lawmakers are asking whether his appearance will be anything more than a political stunt.  Colbert is 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.

“He’s the best fake newscaster in the country, and it’s fitting for this fake hearing to have Colbert,” said Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz. “He’s a nice guy and a darn good leg wrestler…But he’s not an expert on farm workers.”

Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the subcommittee chairwoman, invited Colbert to appear after she joined him at a farm in upstate New York in August, when he spent a day picking vegetables alongside other migrant workers as part of the United Farm Workers' Take Our Jobs campaign.

Chaffetz, who has appeared on Colbert's Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report”, said he'll give him the benefit of the doubt and ask him serious questions about his farm experience, but said he does not believe the testimony will be substantive.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Senate Still Stuck in Food Safety Stalemate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For 15 months now, a bill to boost the nation’s food safety has been languishing in the U.S. Senate.  The bill would help prevent massive outbreaks of tainted food by giving the Food & Drug Administration the authority to order mandatory recalls and require more frequent inspections of high-risk food processing plants.  But some, like Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, continue to block its passage.

At a hearing on the egg recall on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged lawmakers to advance the bill with a defined amendment process, saying, “There’s no excuse to wait any longer.  Let’s move this common-sense bill and pass it.”  To do so, Reid needed every lawmaker to agree to his request, including Coburn. But to no one’s surprise, Coburn objected.

“We now have a bill that’s going to cost the American public $1.5 billion over the next five years and it doesn’t fix the real problem – and the real problem is the lack of focus of the agencies to do their job,” Coburn said.

Coburn told Reid he would only agree to move forward with the bill if the $1.5 billion cost was eliminated by offsets written into the bill itself, rather than subjected to specific votes during the amendment process. Coburn also wanted to remove an amendment that would ban the chemical bisphenol A from children’s food and drink containers. Reid said he’d think about it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

GOP Unveils "Pledge To America" Thursday; Dems Say 'More Of The Same'

Image Courtesy: ABC News.(NEW YORK) -- Republicans have unveiled their “Pledge To America,” which they say will be their agenda for governing if they re-take the House of Representatives in November. Democrats are already trying to paint it as a laundry list of George W. Bush-era ideas, not to mention a retread of the party’s 1994 Contract with America.  Among the key points the GOP is pushing in the 21-page document that they will introduce Thursday at a hardware store in Sterling, Va.:  permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts; canceling all unspent stimulus spending; repealing the Obama health care bill and replacing it with Republican proposals; blocking Obama's plan to move detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.  A top House Republican told ABC News the pledge is "an important milestone showing the American people we have learned our lesson and we are ready to govern."  President Obama weighed in on the GOP’s pledge at a Democratic fundraiser Wednesday night by saying, “Make no mistake: the Republicans running for Congress, they want the next two years to look like the eight years before I took office."  Look for similar reaction from Democratic National Committee vice chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other members of Congress who are holding a press conference in front of DNC headquarters Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.  

Thursday
Sep232010

Republican Ad Invoking JFK Draws Kennedy Ire

Image Courtesy: ABC News.(WEST HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A new ad by a Republican Senate candidate featuring images of President John F. Kennedy arguing for lower taxes has drawn the ire of the Kennedy clan. Edward Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, posted an angry letter to Linda McMahon, the former WWE CEO and Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut. He calls McMahon's ad “dishonest” and says that using the former president’s image gives McMahon’s tax position a “false legitimacy.” The ad shows clips from President Kennedy in 1962 arguing for income tax reductions as an economic stimulus. McMahon is a supporter of extending the Bush-era tax cuts, set to expire in 2011. Kennedy argues the ad doesn’t mention that marginal income rates in 1962 were 90 percent for amounts over $400,000 -- a rate that stands at 35 percent today. The President Kennedy tax cut footage is becoming a go-to for Republicans. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts had a similar ad when he won the special election to fill out Sen. Edward Kennedy’s term. In that ad, Kennedy morphed into Brown.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

Sr. Admin. Official: Emanuel Might Exit Before Mid-terms

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- “It would not surprise me,” a senior administration official tells ABC News, if White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel left the White House before the mid-term elections to run for mayor of Chicago. That official and others say the timing of the mayor’s race makes it problematic for Emanuel to wait until November. If he did wait, “he’d have a short runway,” the official said. “He’d have less than three weeks to get all the signatures he needs, and to put together a campaign.” Candidates need 12,500 signatures by Nov. 22 to qualify for a Feb. 22 Democratic primary. “Once he’s made up his mind and he says ‘I’m running,’ he can’t come back and be chief of staff,” the official said. Possible replacements include senior adviser Pete Rouse, Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Vice President Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain and White House counsel Bob Bauer.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.







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