President Barack Obama’s prime-time speech about his impending strategy for the war in Afghanistan drew more total viewers Tuesday night than recent high profile speeches about health care, according to Nielsen Media Research. All told, 40.8 million people on ten TV networks watched the president’s speech, up 27 percent from his health care address in September, and 65 percent from his health care press conference last July. The president’s biggest ratings, however, remain his February speech to a joint session of Congress about health care reform, which pulled in 52.4 million viewers.
Tag: Politics (101-110 of 139)
ABC confirms that Charlie Gibson will be stepping down from his post at World News Dec. 18. Executive producer Jon Banner wrote the following on his “World Newser” blog: “We’ve known this day was coming. Charlie first told us of his desire to retire in early September. As he said then, it’s the right time for him and his amazing family.” Banner also wrote that Gibson’s final week on air will focus on some of the anchor’s best work over the past three decades. In a low-key switch-over, Diane Sawyer will begin anchoring the program Dec. 21.
According to her record label (via the Washington Post) Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning actress and onetime American Idol finalist, will perform at the White House state dinner tonight.
The new mom, who hails from the Obamas’ longtime homebase of Chicago, previously performed for the First Family at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where she sang the national anthem.
Outgoing CNN television news host and commentator Lou Dobbs said on Thursday that, among other career possibilities, he is considering possible runs for the White House or U.S. Senate, according to Reuters. “Right now I feel exhilaration at the wide range of choices before me as to what I do next,” Dobbs said. The 64-year-old veteran CNN anchor announced last Wednesday he was leaving CNN after spending the better part of 30 years at the 24-hour cable news network. He still hosts a daily radio show.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Mark Ndesandjo, half-brother of president Barack Obama, revealed that his father, the late Barack Obama Sr., was physically abusive. Ndesandjo, who leads an intensely private life as a business consultant in China, admitted that his recent semi-autobiographical novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen, is based on his own abusive relationship with his father — a subject president Obama touched on in his 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. “My father beat my mother and my father beat me, and you don’t do that,” Ndesandjo told the AP. “It’s something which I think affected me for a long time, and it’s something that I’ve just recently come to terms with.”
Entertainers including Edward Norton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker, Alfre Woodard, and Yo-Yo Ma have been named to President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Variety reports. The committee has 25 members in total.
According to People, former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin has lashed out against claims made by Levi Johnston, the 19-year-old father of her grandson. Johnston, who recently signed on for a nude pictorial in Playgirl, told CBS’ The Early Show that Palin used to call her son, Trig, “retarded.” (Trig has Down Syndrome). He also claimed to have more dirt on the former Alaska governor, saying “You know, I mean, if I really wanted to hurt her, I could very easily. But there’s – I’m not gonna do it.” In a statement, Palin refuted Johnston’s allegations, saying, “Trig is our ‘blessed little angel’ who knows it and is lovingly called that every day of his life.” She also warned the public against trusting Johnston, citing his upcoming Playgirl spread. “Those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention.”
According to The Associated Press, Sean Penn met yesterday with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who told reporters that the actor might shoot a movie in the country. The project in question appears to be an adaptation of The Lost Steps, a 1953 novel by Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier about an American anthropologist who travels to the jungle near Venezuela’s Orinoco river. Penn’s rep could not be reached for comment.
Pearl Jam and REM have joined The National Campaign to Close Guantanamo, a coalition of musicians supporting Barack Obama’s efforts to close the controversial prison. The bands join Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, Roseanne Cash, Billy Bragg, Bonnie Raitt, and Rage Against The Machine in the coalition.
Several artists are particularly upset about their music being used to interrogate prisoners. The BBC reports that a document published in November 2008 by the Senate Armed Services Committee made several references to the technique. The news service also reports that the National Security Archive states that tracks by AC/DC, Britney Spears, the Bee Gees, and Marilyn Manson have been played into detainees’ cells at Guantanamo, as well as the Meow mix cat food jingle, the Barney theme song, and Sesame Street songs. The CIA told the BBC that music was played “at levels far below a live rock band,” and that it was used only for security, rather than “punitive purposes.”
REM said in a statement: “We have spent the past 30 years supporting causes related to peace and justice. To now learn that some of our friends’ music may have been used as part of the torture tactics without their consent or knowledge, is horrific. It’s anti-American, period.”
- Oklahoma fund-raiser on NBC May 29
- Fox reality boss Mike Darnell steps down
- Stone Temple Pilots suit vs. Scott Weiland
- Tom Cruise exits 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'
- 'Arrested Development': Ask the 'kids'
- 'American Idol' mulling alums as judges?
- Mariah Carey swears, dress slips on 'GMA'
- Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Trek' shower?!