January 19, 2010

Health reform teeters as GOP seeks Massachusetts miracle

Posted: 09:34 AM ET

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama appeared to be on the brink of achieving the Democratic dream of comprehensive health care reform.

Today that dream is at risk of being derailed in the most Democratic of states: Massachusetts.

Democrats are increasingly nervous over the once inconceivable prospect that they will lose Tuesday's special election to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died last August. Losing the seat would strip Democrats of their 60-seat Senate majority and give Republicans enough votes to block the reform bill - along with other key parts of the president's agenda.

Kennedy - an advocate for health care reform throughout his career - held his seat for more than 46 years.

The latest poll, however, shows Republican state Sen. Scott Brown leading Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley. An American Research Group survey taken Friday through Sunday had Brown ahead of Coakley by seven points, 52 to 45 percent. The survey's sampling error was four percentage points.

No poll released in the past few days has shown Coakley ahead.

(Read More)

**NOTE: We will have a special LIVE midnight edition TONIGHT to discuss the MA Senate race – let us know what you think about the results!

Filed under: Congress • Politics

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January 11, 2010

Democrats back Reid after 'Negro' remark

Posted: 02:39 PM ET

Note: Larry King Live will have the latest reaction to Sen. Harry Reid's remarks and the political fallout. That's tonight at 9ET/6PT!

Washington (CNN) - The Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that it had accepted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's apology for a newly published remark he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and dismissed calls for the Nevada Democrat to step down.

Earlier in the day, the chairman of the Republican Party and a leading GOP senator had called on Reid to give up his post.

"Over the years, I have had an opportunity to work with Majority Leader Reid," Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the caucus, said in a statement.

"Senator Reid's record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities."

Lee added that she looked forward to Reid serving as majority leader.

"There are too many issues like the economy, job creation and energy for these regrettable comments to distract us from the work that must be done on behalf of the American people," she said.

Colleagues on the other side of the aisle were not as forgiving.

The remarks were "embarrassing and racially insensitive," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of the GOP's Senate campaign arm, said in a statement to CNN.

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said, "Racism and racist conversations have no place today in America."

Steele was also on the defensive for a remark he made last week that members of both parties have called a racial slur.

Reid's office made clear he has no plans to step down.

"Senator Reid will stay in his position as majority leader and will run for re-election," his spokesman said.

"As the leader in the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act and legislation banning hate crimes, Senator Reid has a long record of addressing issues that are important to the African-American community. His Republican critics who are looking to politicize the issue can't say the same."

Reid is already embroiled in a tough re-election campaign in his home state to stay in the Senate. Only one-third of Nevada voters have a favorable opinion of him, while 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the four-term senator, according to a survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for the Last Vegas Review-Journal released over the weekend.

The poll was conducted January 5-7, before news of Reid's comments.

The controversy surrounds remarks published in the book "Game Change," which goes on sale Monday.

It quotes Reid as saying privately in 2008 that Obama could succeed as a black candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."


Filed under: Congress • Obama • Politics

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October 8, 2009

LKL Exclusive TONIGHT: The Democratic Women of the Senate

Posted: 11:15 AM ET

dw040726139.JPGTune in tonight for a truly historic Larry King Live - all 13 Democratic women of the Senate join Larry to discuss their fight to improve health care for women.

Each of the Senators spoke passionately on the Senate floor this morning to bring attention to health care issues facing women. For instance, insurance companies in most states charge women more than men for the same coverage. Also, in eight states and the District of Columbia, insurance companies deny coverage to victims of domestic violence. Very few insurance companies even cover maternity care. The Senators will discuss these problems and more tonight only on Larry King Live!

Filed under: Congress • Health • Larry King Live

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September 16, 2009

Carter: Racism Played Role in Wilson's 'You Lie' Outburst

Posted: 11:36 AM ET

art_carter_nbc(CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that racial politics played a role in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress last week and in some of the opposition the president has faced since taking office.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told "NBC Nightly News." "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."

"That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people - not just in the South but around the country - that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply," Carter said.

Michael Steele, who is the first African-American to chair the Republican National Committee, denied Wednesday that race is fueling protests.

"President Carter is flat-out wrong," Steele said in a statement. "This isn't about race. It is about policy."


Filed under: Congress • Obama • Pres. Jimmy Carter

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September 15, 2009

High-Profile Outbursts: Have We Hit a New Low?

Posted: 12:31 PM ET

Editor's Note: For more on Kanye's outburst and his apologies to Taylor swift, watch Larry King Live tonight at 9pm/6pmET!

By Wil Haygood and Chris Richards via Washington Post

They are dazzling - if uncouth - moments of live theater. A hyped-up individual at a major public event suddenly seizes center stage in the most unbecoming fashion. And just like that, with necks yanking and eyes widening, the crowd has witnessed an unnerving public outburst. art_kanye_gi

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) calls the president a liar to his face. Serena Williams threatens to stuff a tennis ball down a line judge's throat. Kanye West stomps all over Taylor Swift's moment in the MTV Video Music Awards limelight.

Call it the unexpected news-shaking cameo. It is the convergence of entertainment and moxie, shamelessness and passion. Despite the phalanx of publicists hired to advise a celebrity, an entertainer, an athlete - maybe even a politician - about the rules of decorum, they still seem unable to fathom the downside of outrageous public conduct.

For some celebrities and attention-hijackers, all press is good press, all the time. West, as some have noted, has practically turned this media hyper-awareness into an art form, delivering public fits of pique in precise, well-timed bursts. And after Wilson called out the president during a joint session of Congress, he went from a political unknown to a household name.


Filed under: Celebrity News • Congress • Larry King Live

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September 7, 2009

Joe Kennedy NOT running for Uncle's Senate seat

Posted: 03:30 PM ET

In a statement just posted to his company's website (, Former U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy II says he will not be seeking the Senate seat vacated by the death of his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy.

Here's the statement from Joe Kennedy:

"I want to thank the millions of Americans who have expressed their love and admiration for Senator Kennedy over the last few weeks. It was very moving to see so many people come out to pay their respects to a man who fought so hard to make this world a better place, especially for those struggling for life's basic needs – a decent home, a living wage, a safe neighborhood, their daily bread, a good education, and access to health care.

Given all that my uncle accomplished, it was only natural to consider getting back involved in public office, and I appreciate all the calls of support and friendship that have poured in.

My father called politics an honorable profession, and I have profound respect for those who choose to advance the causes of social and economic justice in elective office. After much consideration, I have decided that the best way for me to contribute to those causes is by continuing my work at Citizens Energy Corporation.

Our efforts cover a broad array of the challenges facing this country – to heat the homes of the poor, install energy-savings technologies to cut costs for homeowners and businesses, build wind farms throughout the United States and Canada to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and construct transmission lines to carry new sources of renewable energy.

Over 30 years after starting the company, there is much yet to be accomplished at Citizens Energy, and I continue to be committed to our mission of making life's basic needs more affordable."

Filed under: Congress • Kennedy

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August 26, 2009

The Life of Senator Ted Kennedy

Posted: 03:07 AM ET
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Remembering Sen. Ted Kennedy

Posted: 02:40 AM ET

Statements are already beginning to pour in regarding the death of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy – we'll be paying tribute and want to hear your memories of the Senator.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Maria and I are immensely saddened by the passing of Uncle Teddy. He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice, and a political icon. Most importantly, he was the rock of our family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a man of great faith and character. Teddy inspired our country through his dedication to health care reform, his commitment to social justice, and his devotion to a life of public service. I have personally benefitted and grown from his experience and advice, and I know countless others have as well. Teddy taught us all that public service isn't a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live on.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

“The Kennedy family and the Senate family have together lost our patriarch. My thoughts, and those of the entire United States Senate, are with Vicki, Senator Kennedy’s children, his many nieces and nephews, and his entire family. “It was the thrill of my lifetime to work with Ted Kennedy. He was a friend, the model of public service and an American icon.“As we mourn his loss, we rededicate ourselves to the causes for which he so dutifully dedicated his life. Senator Kennedy’s legacy stands with the greatest, the most devoted, the most patriotic men and women to ever serve in these halls. “Because of Ted Kennedy, more young children could afford to become healthy. More young adults could afford to become students. More of our oldest citizens and our poorest citizens could get the care they need to live longer, fuller lives. More minorities, women and immigrants could realize the rights our founding documents promised them. And more Americans could be proud of their country.“Ted Kennedy’s America was one in which all could pursue justice, enjoy equality and know freedom. Ted Kennedy’s life was driven by his love of a family that loved him, and his belief in a country that believed in him. Ted Kennedy’s dream was the one for which the founding fathers fought and for which his brothers sought to realize.“The liberal lion’s mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die.”

Nancy Reagan:

I was terribly saddened to hear of the death of Ted Kennedy tonight. Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him. My heart goes out to Vicki and the entire Kennedy family.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

“Today, with the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the American people have lost a great patriot, and the Kennedy family has lost a beloved patriarch. Over a lifetime of leadership, Senator Kennedy’s statesmanship and political prowess produced a wealth of accomplishment that has improved opportunity for every American. Senator Kennedy had a grand vision for America, and an unparalleled ability to effect change. Rooted in his deep patriotism, his abiding faith, and his deep concern for the least among us, no one has done more than Senator Kennedy to educate our children, care for our seniors, and ensure equality for all Americans. Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration. Sadly, Senator Kennedy left us exactly one year after he inspired the nation with his speech of optimism, vitality, and courage at the Convention in Denver. On behalf of all Members of Congress, and personally on behalf of my family, today and in the days ahead, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kennedy family, especially with Senator Kennedy’s devoted wife Vicki, and with Kara, Teddy Jr., and our colleague Patrick, who made their father so proud. I hope it is a comfort to them that our nation and the world mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

Filed under: Congress • Ted Kennedy

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Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dead at 77

Posted: 01:39 AM ET

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dead at 77

(CNN) - Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died Wednesday at his home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," a family statement said. "We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice."

Filed under: Congress • Larry King Live • Ted Kennedy

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August 24, 2009

Sen. Lieberman to Alec Baldwin: 'Make My Day'

Posted: 10:04 AM ET
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