News and Notes: The National Scene
Checking in on today's news:
- House to Debate Resolution Against Iraq Surge
- House Democrats decided at their caucus meeting this morning to propose a straightforward resolution supporting the troops in Iraq but opposing Bush's surge stategy and debate it for three days next week. They will allow the Republicans to introduce a single alternative resolution.
- Anna Nicole Smith Dies
- The busty celebrity collapsed and died today. Born Vickie Lynn Hogan in Houst, Texas in 1967, she was a stripper in an obscure club when she catapulted to stardom as Playboy Playmate of the Year and model for Guess jeans. She was also famous for her brief marriage to wealthy octogenarian Howard Marshall and her bizarre reality show in 2002-2004. Most recently she lost a lot of weight and became a spokesperson for TrimSpa weight loss products, and last September her 20-year-old son Daniel died suddenly from medical complications relating to drugs.
- Ohioans Endorse Presidential Contenders
- As reported in the Columbus Dispatch today, Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Painesville) favors Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) is supporting former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) supports Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).
- Edwards Joins 2/21 Forum, Obama Declines
- Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) will participate in the candidates forum in Nevada on February 21, joining Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and six others, but Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) won't join them.
- Edwards Refuses to Fire Bloggers; Accuser Promises Retribution
- Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) refused to bow to pressure from fringe Catholic activist Bill Donohue and blogger Michelle Malkin to fire two bloggers on his staff who had criticized the church using profane langauge in past writing. Edwards said that he was personally offended by what the bloggers had written, but believed in giving them a fair shake. The bloggers issued written statements apologizing for any offense caused. Donohue responded with a scathing press release, promising a campaign of negative publicity over Edwards' decision.
- Clinton and Giuliani Start with Most Cash
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) began the year with $11 million in campaign cash left over from her Senate race, putting her far ahead of her Democratic rivals. On the GOP side, Giuliani started the year with $3 million, far ahead of rival Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who had under $500,000.
- Bush Approval Still Low, Democrats in Congress Rate Higher Than Republicans
- A Harris poll released today has George Bush's approval rating at 32% favorable, 66% unfavorable, virtually unchanged from his 31%/67% tally in November. While all Congressional approval rankings are low, House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) fares considerably better than her GOP counterpart at 38% approval and 45% disapproval. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is at 23%/46%. Democrats in Congress in general are at 41% approval and 52% disapproval, up significantly from 36%/57% in November, and much better than Republicans in Congress who are at 26%/69%.
- House To Vote on Tax Breaks Related To Minimum Wage Hike
- Potentially breaking the logjam over raising the mininum wage, House Democrats plan to vote next week on a package of small-business tax breaks worth about $1 to $1.5 billion. That's far less than the $8.3 billion over ten years that was added to the minimum wage legislation in the Senate, but sets the stage for negotiations that could lead to final Congressional action.