(CBS News) If members of Congress hadn't "skipped town" last week, President Obama said in a particularly pointed weekly address, U.S. veterans would be enjoying a strengthened job corps, farmers would have the means to respond to natural disasters like the recent Midwest drought, homeowners would be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages, and 98 percent of Americans would have peace of mind that their taxes won't be raised on Jan. 1.
"Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now. If that frustrates you, it should - because their work isn't finished," the president said. "Apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours."
For nearly three minutes, the president reprimanded members of the House - Republicans, specifically - for leaving a mountain of unfinished business on their desks when they adjourned Friday after only eight days in session. He cited bills which, if passed, would provide emergency response aid to farmers, help veterans find jobs after returning from service, and allow homeowners to refinance "at historically low rates."Continue »
The survey, conducted from Sept. 6-9, shows that faith in the media is down in recent years, with 40 percent of Americans saying they have a great deal of or some faith in the media to comprehensively and fairly report the news, and 60 percent expressing the opposite perspective.
According to Gallup, the public has become increasingly negative about the media in election years over time.
So even while they're paying more attention to political news this year than they otherwise might, Americans are less likely percent to be paying very close attention to that news than in previous election years. Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they are very closely following political news, down 4 points from September 2008.Continue »
Greeted by a wildly enthusiastic standing ovation, Santorum - considered the "social issues" candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential primary and, until his departure from the race in April, the last serious threat to Mitt Romney for the party's nomination - said that in spite of Romney's proclaimed tunnel-focus on the economy, "there's a lot more at stake than just economics."
Piggy-backing off his former stump speech (during which he often cited a restoration of the traditional family unit as the way to a stronger economy), Santorum tried to make the case Saturday that the church and family are the only dependable backbones of the conservative movement. "We will never have the media on our side - ever, in this country," he said. "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side."
Santorum, who once called Romney the "worst Republican in the country to go up against Barack Obama" because of Romney's health care record as governor of Massachusetts, said he worries Americans, deterred by "such an acrimonious election," won't vote in November. Arguing that President Obama "doesn't believe in families and churches and communities," he called on "fellow believers of America's creed" to get out the vote for Romney.Continue »
(CBS News) As the United States mourns the deaths of four Americans killed in Libya this week, President Obama said that the United States "must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice."
In his weekly address Mr. Obama saluted the four killed Tuesday as representing "the very best of our country." The president individually acknowledged each of the four American diplomats, who were honored at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews on Friday, following what Mr. Obama called an "outrageous attack" on a U.S. consulate in Libya earlier this week.
Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs, "died as they lived their lives - defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear," Mr. Obama said. Sean Smith, who formerly served in the Air Force, went on to work for the State Department, "always answering his country's call." And Ambassador Chris Stevens, the president continued, "died a hero in two countries": the United States and Libya, "a country that he helped to save, where he ultimately laid down his life."
"This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries," Mr. Obama said. "I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom, and we reject the denigration of any religion - including Islam. Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates."Continue »
Jumping out of his limousine in an unannounced stop after an official appearance at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, where one of the three hijacked planes crashed on September 11, 2001, Biden told the department's Deputy Chief Brad Shober that he and the other firefighters could count on an invitation to the White House for a beer, according to the pool report.
"He's going to call you, no bull**t," he said. Upon noticing the reporters behind him, the vice president self-edited: "This is no malarkey. You come to the White House. I'll buy you a beer."
Last year, at a memorial marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Biden gave Shober a vice presidential challenge coin and told him that, if he still had it on him when they met again, "drinks are on me." On Tuesday, Biden pledged to make good on his promise no matter the result of the November election.Continue »
Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff from 2009-2010, is locked in a bitter struggle with Chicago's powerful union over negotiations surrounding a new contract, and Tuesday marks the second day of strikes by approximately 26,000 teachers.
According to the Associated Press, about 11,000 students attended 144 schools kept open by the district, and approximately 7,000 more participated in activities at places like churches and libraries.
At a fundraiser in Portland, Oregon Monday night, Ryan called the strike "unnecessary and wrong" and said that he would "stand" with the outspoken Democratic mayor.Continue »
(CBS News) In his weekly radio and Internet address kicking off Labor Day weekend, President Obama reflected on the importance of supporting members of the U.S. military, both during active service and afterward, and pledged "to do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them succeed."
The Republican National Committee (RNC), meanwhile, released its own weekly address, discussing Hurricane Isaac and the economy.
The president, who visited troops in Fort Bliss, Texas on Friday, marked the second anniversary of the end of the Iraq War, celebrating "how far we've come" while acknowledging the nation's continued presence in Afghanistan.
"Some of the soldiers I met at Fort Bliss had just come home from the battlefield, and others are getting ready to ship out," he said in his radio address. "As long as we have a single American in harm's way, we will continue to do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them succeed. That means giving them a clear mission and the equipment they need on the front lines."Continue »
(CBS News) It's been more than a week since Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial remarks over rape and abortion were thrust into the national spotlight, but the controversy isn't fading away just yet.
Another Republican Senate candidate on Monday walked into similarly controversial remarks, seemingly comparing an unwanted pregnancy resulting from premarital sex to one conceived through rape. Meanwhile, an anti-abortion rights group announced Tuesday a six-figure television ad campaign, starting in Akin's state, to highlight President Obama's record on the issue of abortion.
Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Tom Smith, who opposes abortion rights even in cases of rape or incest, on Monday was asked what he would say if his daughter or granddaughter became pregnant as a result of rape.Continue »
(CBS News) On a proclaimed mission to dispel "accusations and misinformation flying around" in a fight that's rapidly accelerated since Rep. Paul Ryan's appointment to the GOP presidential ticket, President Obama in his weekly address vowed to protect the Medicare benefits his Affordable Care Act promises seniors.
Trumpeting news this week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that under his health care law, 5.4 million seniors on Medicare have saved more than $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, the president laid out other successes of his program, including 18 million seniors who have taken advantage of preventive care benefits like cancer screenings.
"That's progress - it means that seniors everywhere are getting the care they need for less," he said.
"This news is also a reminder of what's really at stake when we talk about the future of Medicare," Mr. Obama continued. "It's not about overheated rhetoric at election time; it's about a promise this country made to our seniors that says if you put in a lifetime of hard work, you shouldn't lose your home or your life savings just because you get sick."Continue »
(CBS News) MANCHESTER, N.H. - Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's strong views on abortion took a back seat to his new boss's view in a Romney-Ryan campaign response to a Missouri Senate candidate's controversial remarks about rape and abortion.
The statement on behalf of Ryan and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said the pair would "not oppose abortion in instances of rape."
Rep. Todd Akin suggested to St. Louis station KTVI on Sunday that if a "legitimate rape" occurs, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Even if a pregnancy did result, Akin said, "The punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child." He later said he has empathy for rape victims and acknowledged that rapes can cause pregnancy.
"Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," the campaign said in a brief statement released on Sunday evening by Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.Continue »
(CBS News) In the back-to-school spirit, President Obama in his weekly address urged House Republicans to sign onto his jobs bill, which he argued would help state and local governments keep education a priority "even in tough fiscal times."
Drawing from a visit to Cascade High School earlier this week during a campaign swing through Iowa, the president lamented that "this year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school" because of budget cuts. "At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America," he said, "these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year."
Mr. Obama blamed the GOP-controlled House for blocking passage of the jobs bill he sent to Capitol Hill last September, which he said "included support for states to prevent further layoffs and to rehire teachers who'd lost their jobs." Their alternative plan, he continued, "would make the situation even worse" by further gutting education programs like Head Start - "all to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires."Continue »
(CBS News) WASHINGTON - The White House affirmed on Wednesday that President Obama opposes the Boy Scouts' policy barring gay scouts and scoutmasters. But he has no intention of stepping down as the organization's honorary president, a White House spokesman tells CBS News.
After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America last month reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays from participation as members or leaders.
Mr. Obama has yet to personally offer any public comment on the action, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told CBS News that the president "opposes discrimination in all forms," including the Boy Scouts policy that "discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation."
Carney made it clear, however, that Mr. Obama will not resign from the organization as its honorary president, though a gay rights group has urged him to do so.Continue »
"After the law was enacted, every state was required to design a plan to move people into the workforce, along with more funds to help pay for training, childcare and transportation. As a result, millions of people moved from welfare to work," Mr. Clinton said in a written statement sent late Tuesday.
Clinton explained that Romney's criticisms of Mr. Obama, where Romney suggested in a TV ad and on the stump that the president removed the work requirement from the welfare law, were "disappointing."
Romney has honed in on a memo issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will allow states to apply for waivers from certain parts of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The move, sought by several states, is meant to allow states more flexibility in meeting the work requirement. "The Secretary is interested in approaches that seek to improve employment outcomes," the memo says.
"The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment," Mr. Clinton added. The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach."
"The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether," the former president said.
The Obama campaign maintains that the new HHS policy does not remove the work requirement. It called Romney's statements untrue and hypocritical and noted that some Republican-led states had sought the new waiver policy.
For his part, Romney's campaign isn't backing down and released a new web video Wednesday hitting Mr. Obama for not supporting the 1996 welfare bill. It features a quote of then-Illinois state senator Obama saying "I was not a huge fan of the federal plan that was signed in 1996" along with clips of other Democratic senators, including Joe Biden and John Kerry, announcing their support of the bill.
"President Obama was a vocal opponent of the innovative, bipartisan welfare reforms that President Clinton and a Republican Congress passed in 1996," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a written statement. "His administration has now undermined the central premise of those reforms by gutting the welfare-to-work requirement."
CBS News/National Journal reporter Sarah Huisenga contributed to this report.
Governors Scott Walker, R-Wis., and Bobby Jindal, R-La., for example, have made clear their intentions to pursue the latter, refusing to ready their states for the health care law's provisions that will take full effect in 2014. "Every governor's got two critical decisions to make," Jindal, who frequents vice presidential rumors, said Sunday on Meet the Press. "One is do we set up these exchanges; and, secondly, do we expand Medicaid? And no, in Louisiana, we're not doing either one of those things.
"I don't think it makes sense to do those," Jindal continued. "I think it makes more sense to do everything we can to elect [presumptive GOP nominee] Mitt Romney to repeal 'Obamacare.'"
A win by Romney - the former Massachusetts governor who penned what Democrats say was the blueprint of President Obama's individual mandate - could hinge on this election's battleground states. On CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday, Walker - governor of a particularly hot swing state - expressed sentiment similar to Jindal's, promising to "wait" until Republicans have "put in place a new president, a new Senate majority, and then ultimately repeal the law."
But a Jan. 1, 2013 deadline that requires states to have their insurance exchanges certified by the federal government poses threat to governors and state legislatures that wait too long to prepare for enormous spikes in Medicaid enrollment; if the deadline isn't met, the federal government will take control of that state's exchanges.Continue »
(CBS News) One day after national Democrats took a step toward include support for same-sex marriage on their official platform, a new survey from the Pew Forum suggests that most members of the party would support the move.
According to the poll, conducted from June 28-July 9 among 2,973 adults, nearly two in three Democrats - 65 percent - favor same-sex marriage.
It's an issue that many Democratic politicians have only recently embraced. Until this spring, President Obama characterized his views on same-sex marriage as "evolving" but declined to overtly support a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
In May, however, the president finished his evolution: In a hastily-arranged interview just days after Vice President Joe Biden talked openly about his support for same-sex marriage, Mr. Obama expressed his belief that "same sex couples should be able to get married."Continue »
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