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  Feds Indict Sen. Stevens On Corruption ChargesJuly 29, 2008 17:05 Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator, was indicted Tuesday in the widening corruption scandal in Alaska, putting one of the Republicans' historically safest Senate seats in jeopardy in November.
The U.S. Justice Department said the seven-count felony case against the 84-year-old Stevens related to improper disclosure of gifts and services valued at more than $250,000 from oil-services company VECO.
Stevens was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for nearly seven years. He stepped down Tuesday as ranking Republican on the Commerce Committee, as required by Senate rules..
Even before Tuesday's indictment, Stevens was locked in his toughest re-election battle ever as the federal VECO corruption probe closed in on him. Federal investigators raided his home nearly a year ago.
Recent polls have Stephens trailing his likely Democratic opponent, Mark Begich. Stevens faces token opposition in the Republican primary on Aug. 26.
Matthew Friedrich, an acting assistant U.S. attorney general, said that the government is charging Stevens with making false statements between 1999 and 2006.
The Justice Department alleged that Stevens accepted gifts from VECO in the form of material and labor to renovate his private residence in Alaska, among other things.
"These items were not disclosed" on Stevens' Senate financial-disclosure forms, according to Friedrich.
  Nuts: Mccain Credits Bush For Drop In Oil PriceJuly 23, 2008 12:59 GOP presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday said the recent drop in the price of oil was due to President Bush's lifting of a presidential ban on offshore drilling.

"The price of oil dropped $10 a barrel," said McCain, who argued that lifting the ban has affected world markets. Bush recently lifted the executive order banning offshore drilling that his father put in place in 1990.

  Voters To Decide On Naming Sewage Plant For BushJuly 17, 2008 21:45 A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.

Local Republicans say the plan stinks and they will oppose it.
  Pelosi: Bush 'A Total Failure'July 17, 2008 21:42 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Bush "a total failure" on Thursday, among the California Democrat's harshest assessments to date of the president.

"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.

The comments came two days after the president sharply criticized Congress over what he described as relative inaction over the course of the legislative term. At the White House on Wednesday, Bush noted that there were only 26 legislative days left in the fiscal year and said Congress would need to pass a spending bill every other day to "get their fundamental job done."

"This is not a record to be proud of, and I think the American people deserve better," Bush said. Watch Pelosi respond to criticism of Congress from the president »

In the interview, Pelosi said the president was in no position to criticize Congress and brushed aside the criticisms as "something to talk about because he has no ideas."

"For him to be challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again -- at the end of the day, Congress will have passed its responsibility to pass legislation," she said.

But Pelosi's comments come as a new Gallup poll registers the lowest level of congressional approval among Americans in the polling organization's 30-year history of conducting that survey.

That poll showed that its approval rating had reached an anemic 14 percent, while more than 70 percent of those polled said they disapproved of the job Congress is doing.

The House speaker said she doesn't consider those numbers a negative referendum on the Democrats in charge, saying she thinks they stem largely from Congress' failure to end the war in Iraq.

  Rove Ignores Subpoena, Refuses To Testify On HillJuly 10, 2008 15:29 Former White House adviser Karl Rove defied a congressional subpoena and refused to testify Thursday about allegations of political pressure at the Justice Department, including whether he influenced the prosecution of a former Democratic governor of Alabama.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, chairman of a House subcommittee, ruled with backing from fellow Democrats on the panel that Rove was breaking the law by refusing to cooperate — perhaps the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress.

The White House has cited executive privilege as a reason he and others who serve or served in the administration should not testify, arguing that internal administration communications are confidential and that Congress cannot compel officials to testify. Rove says he is bound to follow the White House's guidance, although he has offered to answer questions specifically on the Siegelman case — but only with no transcript taken and not under oath.

Lawmakers subpoenaed Rove in May in an effort to force him to talk about whether he played a role in prosecutors' decisions to pursue cases against Democrats, such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, or in firing federal prosecutors considered disloyal to the Bush administration.

Rove had been scheduled to appear at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday morning. A placard with his name sat in front of an empty chair at the witness table, with a handful of protesters behind it calling for Rove to be arrested.

A decision on whether to pursue contempt charges now goes to the full Judiciary Committee and ultimately to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.