- Created on 11 December 2013
(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, part of a Congressional delegation at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, walked out of the service Tuesday while Cuban President Raul Castro delivered his speech.
"Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela," his spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said.
"For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners. He should hold free elections, and once and for all, set the Cuban people free."
ABC News first reported this story.
President Barack Obama, along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attended the event in Johannesburg. Before eulogizing the former South African, Obama shook Castro's hand as he walked onto the stage – a rare gesture between the leaders of two nations that have not shared diplomacy in over a half century.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
- Created on 10 December 2013
Photo by Getty Images
We now know what it reportedly takes to keep a fired Fox News executive from spilling the beans on all the juicy inner workings at the network: about $8 million.
That's the figure that Gawker said Brian Lewis, the ousted former consigliere to Roger Ailes, was paid by Fox News in a recently uncovered settlement.
Gawker, which reported the figure on Monday, described the payment as "hush money." The site's report is just the latest in a long-running story of intrigue inside one of the most secretive and cutthroat companies in the media industry.
For more info, click here.
- Created on 10 December 2013
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
CENTURION, South Africa (AP) -- The comparisons are perhaps inevitable. President Barack Obama and former South African leader Nelson Mandela each served as their nation's first black president, living symbols of struggles to overcome deep-seated racial tensions. Each was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
But as Obama prepares to honor Mandela at a memorial service Tuesday in South Africa, people close to the U.S. president say he is well-aware that his rapid rise through America's political ranks pales in comparison to Mandela's 27 years in prison fighting against a repressive government that brutally enforced laws that enshrined racial discrimination.
Rather than view himself as a counterpart to Mandela, Obama has said he sees himself as one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Mandela's life.
"Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him," Obama said in somber remarks after Mandela died last week at the age of 95.
In the days following Mandela's death, Obama began crafting the 20-minute speech he will deliver during Tuesday's service in Johannesburg, where tens of thousands of South Africans and dozens of foreign dignitaries are expected to pack a sports stadium. Obama is expected to speak of Mandela's influence on South Africa and on his own life, while also reflecting on the complexity of Mandela's rise from anti-apartheid fighter and prisoner to president and global icon.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama - along with former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura - arrived Tuesday morning on Air Force One at a military base near Johannesburg after a 16-hour trip from Washington. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were traveling to South Africa separately. George H.W. Bush, the only other living U.S. president, will not attend because the 89-year-old is no longer able to travel long distances, his spokesman Jim McGrath said.
Also traveling with Obama were national security adviser Susan Rice, Attorney General Eric Holder, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was meeting her husband in South Africa.
For Obama, who was too young to be active in the American civil rights movement, it was Mandela's struggle against apartheid that first drew him into politics. He studied Mandela's speeches and writings while studying at Occidental College from 1979-81 and became active in campus protests against the apartheid government.
"My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid," Obama said last week. "The day that (Mandela) was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears."
By the time Obama became president, Mandela had retired from public life. But they did have one in-person meeting, a hastily arranged 2005 encounter while Mandela was visiting Washington. The South African leader had been encouraged to meet a young black U.S. senator who was a rising star in American politics and invited Obama to visit him at his hotel.
A single photo from the meeting shows the two men smiling and shaking hands, with Obama standing and Mandela sitting, his legs stretched out in front of him. The photo hangs in Obama's personal office at the White House, as well as in Mandela's office in Johannesburg.
Obama and Mandela had sporadic contact after that meeting, including a congratulatory phone call from Mandela after Obama's 2008 election and a condolences call from the U.S. president after the South African's granddaughter was killed in a 2010 car accident.
In 2011, Mrs. Obama and her two daughters held a private meeting with Mandela during a visit to South Africa. But the elderly leader was hospitalized and too sick to meet with Obama when he traveled there earlier this year.
Mandela's ailing health cast a shadow over that trip, heightening the emotion when Obama and his family visited the Robben Island prison where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Obama also met with members of Mandela's family during his July visit and the White House said he hopes to spend time with them again on Tuesday.
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- Created on 09 December 2013
President Barack Obama continues to inform the public about the many benefits of the Affordable Care Act. The latest message of his administration explains that 6 out of 10 uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for coverage may also qualify for financial assistance with Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax breaks by way of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services, which was released Monday morning, outlines that 4.2 million African Americans can qualify for health insurance assistance to help meet their monthly premium rates.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed the report with a brief statement:
Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, 6.8 million uninsured African Americans have new options for Affordable Health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out of pocket costs.
The report also lists the rates of the uninsured state to state and highlights examples of what premiums for individuals in those areas may cost. To add to the national focus, 2 million uninsured African Americans might be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the CHIP program as well.
About 2.2. million eligible uninsured African Americans with household incomes below 100 of the federal poverty level live in states that will not be expanding Medicaid coverage. However, the number of the uninsured eligible for lower health insurance costs would increase from 60 to 95 percent if all states allow Medicaid to be expanded.
The Obama administration has stated it will ramp up efforts to educate and inform the African-American community via town hall discussions, blog posts, meetings with Congress, and even hosting Google Hangouts.
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