Former U.S. senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who is toying with the idea of running for Senate in New Hampshire two years after losing his seat in Massachusetts, got the two states a little mixed up in a recent interview.
A majority of Americans want to repeal or scale back Obamacare, though still only about one-third want a full repeal, according to a new poll from Gallup.
The poll shows 32 percent want full repeal, while another 20 percent say they would like to shrink the law through either major or minor changes. The 52 percent who want to downsize the law is only slightly higher than the 50 percent who said the same in October -- just as the problems with the HealthCare.gov Web site first came to light.
The number who want full repeal is up three points over that same span but remains on par with where it's been at in most polling.
Acknowledging widespread issues with the process of enrolling for new health-care coverage, House officials reiterated Thursday that lawmakers and their staffs whose current health insurance is set to be terminated at the end of the year will automatically have that coverage extended until the end of January unless they have already enrolled in new coverage.
The reminder from House administrative officials is standard operating procedure for anyone set to lose coverage under the health-care program for federal employees. But the reminder also came as the congressional opening enrollment period is scheduled to end on Monday and amid reports of serious trouble with the Web site of the District's health-care exchange, D.C. Health Link.
Aides to House Republican leaders said Thursday evening that they would not seek to extend the open enrollment period beyond Monday.
President Obama declined Thursday to take sides in the potential battle for his successor as president, instead saying that both Vice President Biden and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton will rank among the greatest to ever hold those jobs.
"I think Joe Biden will go down in history as one of the best vice presidents — ever," Obama told MSNBC's Chris Matthews, according to a transcript. "And he has been with me, at my side, in every tough decision that I've made, from going after Bin Laden to dealing with the health care issues to — you name it, he's been there."
In a brief set of remarks Thursday evening, President Obama praised former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, as a singular figure who pursued a noble set of ideals at great personal cost, and managed to see them become reality.
The president began by recalling how Mandela said at the close of his 1964 trial that he had resisted both white and black domination with equal force: "I've cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
"Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal and he made it real," Obama continued. "He achieved more than could be expected of any man."
Lawmakers of all walks were quick to mourn the death Thursday of Nelson Mandela.
Here's a sampling of their reactions.
Former president George W. Bush: "President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): "Few individuals in human history can truly claim a legacy of peace and perseverance like Mandela can. ... The world's thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa. Let us honor President Mandela's legacy by re-committing ourselves to fight injustice in whatever form it exists, and promote democracy and human rights throughout all corners of the globe."
Aaron Blake and Juliet Eilperin
The White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama lived with his uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while he was a student at Harvard Law School -- despite previously saying there was no record of the two having met.
"The president did stay with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. "After that, they saw each other once every few months, but after law school they fell out of touch. The president has not seen him in 20 years, has not spoken with him in 10. "
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) got a bit animated on the House floor on Wednesday, shouting that Republicans were "tearing apart" the families of illegal immigrants by not allowing a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.
As Polis began talking, there was a disturbance in the gallery -- apparently from pro-immigration reform protesters. Soon, Polis began yelling at the Republican presiding over the House, Rep. Jackie Walorski (Ind.).
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that some Republican members of Congress just aren't very sensitive when it comes to women's issues.
He confirmed that he has personally tried to help his party get better at talking to women.
"I try to get them to be a little more sensitive," he said. "You know, you look around the Congress and there are a lot more females in the Democratic caucus then in the Republican caucus, and some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be."
Asked whether his party is making progress on that front, Boehner said: "I do."
Sarah Palin on Thursday morning offered same rare praise for the mainstream media, saying it did a good job covering now-former MSNBC host Martin Bashir's comments about her.
Bashir resigned Wednesday after widespread criticism of a segment in which he suggested Palin should be subjected to a dehumanizing punishment used on slaves that involves human feces.