(CBS News) With the deadline officially passed for Republican Todd Akin to drop his Missouri Senate bid, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is out with a new ad targeting the candidate for his controversial comments about "legitimate rape" and other hot-button topics, asking voters what they think he might say "next"?
The 30-second-spot, entitled "Calendar," flips through some of the more contentious comments that Akin has uttered in recent memory - including statements about Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage, student loans, as well as his now-notorious "legitimate rape" comment.
"What will he say next?" the narrator asks.Continue »
Updated: 11:24 a.m. ET
(CBS News) Elizabeth Warren is directly combating allegations that she improperly identified as Native American to further her career, releasing a new 30-second-spot in which she addresses the issue head on.
"Let me be clear. I never asked for, never got any benefit because of my heritage. The people who hired me have all said they didn't even know about it," the Massachusetts Senate candidate says in the spot. "Scott Brown can continue attacking my family, but I'm going to keep fighting for yours."
The ad is a direct response to an ad released Monday by her rival, incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, which rehashed the allegations about Warren's heritage. Warren has said she is Native American, and listed herself as such in some professional forms in the past, but has not offered up documentation proving that she is an official member of the Native American community. Brown has hammered Warren over the allegations for months, and during a debate last week called on her to produce evidence that she did not benefit professionally from her claims to Native American lineage.Continue »
(CBS News) With several recent polls showing Democrat Elizabeth Warren with small leads in her Massachusetts Senate bid, Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown is out with a new attack ad targeting Warren's character, marking a new negative turn in the closely-watched race.
The ad, entitled "Who Knows?", rehashes claims that Warren improperly identified as Native American in order to further her career. Using a montage of television news clips explaining the controversy - in which it was revealed that Warren in the past listed herself as Native American on some professional forms without documentation proving her heritage - the Brown campaign targets Warren's personal credibility. Featuring a clip from a previous interview, the spot features Warren responding to a question about whether or not there was anything else about her "that's going to come out about you that we don't already know?" "You know, I don't think so, but who knows?" she says, laughing.Continue »
(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 »
(CBS News) Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest honor on democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, in recognition of her efforts to free the people of Burma.
House Speaker John Boehner said the Congressional Gold Medal is a symbol not only of what Suu Kyi has already accomplished but also "of our highest hopes and for the hard work that lies ahead. Because freedom isn't easy to find. It takes a long, winding road."
Suu Kyi was freed from 15 years of house arrest in 2010, when Burma's repressive military regime began moving toward democracy. She is now a member of the Burmese parliament. President George W. Bush in 2008 signed legislation to grant her the medal, but she could not receive it in person until now.
"This is a moment for which I have been waiting for many years," Suu Kyi said.Continue »
Democrats have a particularly robust roster of candidates to defend this cycle: Of the 33 seats up for grabs in 2012, 23 are held by Democrats. Republicans, meanwhile, need to flip just four seats - three if Mitt Romney wins and his vice president can serve as a tiebreaker - in order to gain the advantage.
Thanks to several unexpected and potentially game-changing developments, however, control of the Senate is still very much in play.
"Until the end of February I gave Republicans a 65-70 percent chance of taking the majority because it was all a numbers game," said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate and governor races for the The Cook Political Report. Now, Duffy gives the Republicans a 45 percent chance of taking the chamber.
"There's still a path to the majority for Republicans," she said. "But it's a lot harder."
One of the most-watched races of the cycle is taking place in Massachusetts - where first-time candidate Elizabeth Warren is taking on Republican incumbent Scott Brown, who was elected with Tea Party support following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who held the seat for almost 50 years. Warren, a consumer advocate tapped by President Obama to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was seen as a promising leader whose voice could easily find a place in the solidly liberal Massachusetts. But Warren consistently struggled to secure a definitive advantage over Brown in the polls, and she faced setbacks over a controversy about whether or not she improperly identified herself as Native American to further her career.
Two new surveys, however, show Warren opening up an apparent lead against the Republican incumbent - suggesting that the significant Democratic investments into her candidacy may finally be paying dividends.
A new poll out Tuesday by the Suffolk University Political Research Center shows Warren leading Brown 48 percent to 44 percent, while a survey released Monday by Western New England University's Polling Institute (WNEU) shows Warren leading by 6 points, at 50 percent to Brown's 44 percent. A previous WNEU poll from June showed Warren with a slimmer 2-point edge over Brown.
(CBS News) The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bipartisan spending agreement that will prevent a government shutdown, voting 329-91 on a measure to keep the government funded through March. Still, the representatives punted on the most difficult questions facing Washington until after the elections.
The six-month spending measure, an all-inclusive funding bill that covers domestic and foreign spending obligations, will last through March and fund the government at the rate of $1.047 trillion for the year. It will now move to the Senate, where it is expected to pass next week.
Congress, however, avoided the complicated debate of the pending "fiscal cliff" - $600 billion of automatic budget cuts and tax increases - as they are itching to get out of Washington to campaign for reelection.Continue »
(CBS News) OAK CREEK, Wis. - Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is about to run his first political ads of the season, not for the Republican ticket that he shares with Mitt Romney, but for his concurrent reelection bid to the House.
The congressman from Wisconsin's 1st congressional district plans to air ads in the Milwaukee and Madison television markets beginning on Wednesday, the same day he will be in the state campaigning, an aide said. Since he joined the GOP ticket as nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in mid-August, Ryan has chosen to legally remain on the ballot in the congressional race, which is allowed under Wisconsin law. If he and Romney are elected, his seat will be filled in a special election. If they lose the White House race, Ryan could still be elected for an eighth term in the House.Continue »
(CBS News) Freshman Rep. Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, lost a Republican primary fight against Rep. Dan Schweikert Tuesday night.
Following redistricting, the two Republican congressmen were compelled to run against each other in Arizona's redrawn sixth district. Schweikert is expected to win the general election in the very conservative district.
Tuesday night, Quayle campaign volunteer Paul Gorman said the congressman may have lost in part because of his participation in a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that's raised eyebrows, the Arizona Republic reports. Quayle was one of the Republican congressmen who, after a night of drinking, took a dip in the Sea of Galilee last year during an informational trip to Israel.
Quayle had the support of prominent GOP figures like Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. Over the summer, he revived his 2010 campaign ad rhetoric, calling President Obama the "worst president in history."Continue »
(CBS News) Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel says that Vice President Joe Biden's recent remarks that Republicans are "going to put y'all back in chains" were clearly referencing slavery -- and clearly a mistake.
Biden's Aug. 14 remarks to a crowd in Danville, Virginia drew sharp rebukes from Republicans and some Democrats who said he crossed the line.
Romney has vowed "to let the big banks write their own rules -- unchain Wall Street," Biden said in Danville. "They're going to put y'all back in chains."
The Obama campaign dismissed the "faux outrage" and said Biden was simply adopting the metaphor that Republicans first used by saying they wanted to "unshackle" businesses from regulations.
Rangel, however, said in a radio interview with Roberto Perez that the rhetoric was a mistake.Continue »
Updated 7:57 PM ET
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - U.S. Capitol Police are investigating a reported threat against Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri congressman who has been criticized for comments he made recently about rape.
Lt. Kimberly Schneider of the U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement: "The U.S. Capitol Police are currently working with the FBI on a reported threat against Congressman Akin. This is an active, open investigation. Of course, we don't discuss the security of Members of Congress--this includes our security operations & procedures."Continue »
Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET
(CBS News) Republican Rep. Todd Akin has been strongly rebuked by members of his own party for his controversial remarks on rape and abortion, but that didn't stop Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa from defending Akin on Monday.
According to a report by Sioux City, Iowa CBS affiliate KMEG, King said he hasn't heard of instances in which young victims of statutory rape or incest become pregnant.
"Well I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way, and I'd be open to discussion about that subject matter," King said.
King released a statement Tuesday suggesting his comments were taken out of context.
"I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous, shameful, disgusting and nothing but an attempt to falsely define who I am," he said. "I have never heard of and categorically reject the so-called medical theory that launched this controversy."
In its report, KMEG noted that King -- like Akin -- supports the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which would ban federal funding of abortion except in certain instances, such as in the case of rape. Republicans initially limited the funding to cases of "forcible rape," which is the term the FBI uses to distinguish between statutory rape and other kinds of rape.Continue »
Updated at 3:30 p.m ET
(CBS News) Republican Rep. Todd Akin on Monday apologized for the controversial remarks he made over the weekend about abortion and rape, but he said he has no plans to drop out of the Missouri Senate race despite building pressure from within the GOP.
"What I said was ill-conceived, and it was wrong," Akin said on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio show Monday. "I really just want to apologize to those that I've hurt."
Akin's apology came as President Obama suggested the Republican's remarks illustrated the broad differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues like health care and reproductive rights.
"Rape is rape," Mr. Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing Monday. "And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."
Mr. Obama added that Akin's remarks underscore "why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."Continue »
Updated at 12:01 p.m. ET with clarification on the FBI investigation.
(CBS News) Shortly after the contentious debt ceiling debate last year, nearly one in five congressmen took off for week-long informational trips during their summer recess, most of which were paid for by a pro-Israel lobbying group. The relief from escaping the toxic air of Washington, D.C., last summer may have been overwhelming for some of the lawmakers.
Politico reported that a late-night dip in the Sea of Galilee near the Israeli city of Tiberias by several GOP freshmen lawmakers and top leadership staff during that trip led to an FBI probe after reports of drinking and even a bit of nudity surfaced. Federal officials told CBS News that there is an FBI investigation into public corruption, but the skinny-dipping incident cited in the report is ancillary to the larger probe. Those officials also said that Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., - who was named in the Politico report - is not the subject of the federal investigation.
Yoder took off his clothes for the swim, Politico reports, and some of the other lawmakers partially disrobed, even though families - including one congressman's daughter - were also apparently swimming at the same time. Sources told Politico more than 20 people in total took part in the late-night swim.Continue »
(CBS News) Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's new running mate, amended two years' worth of congressional financial disclosure reports in June to include an income-producing trust worth between $1 million and $5 million, USA Today reports.
The trust, which Ryan's wife Janna Ryan inherited in 2010 after her mother's death, was previously left off Ryan's financial disclosure reports. In documents filed with the Clerk of the House, Ryan said they were left off his 2010 and 2011 reports as an "inadvertent omission," according to USA Today. He reported that the trust produced at least $15,000 in income in 2010 and between $100,001 and $1 million in 2011.
Members of Congress every year are required to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges, so it's impossible to determine their exact net worth. USA Today notes that members of Congress often amend their financial disclosure reports as Ryan has and that there's nothing to suggest Ryan's omission wasn't inadvertent.Continue »
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