- - Sunday, January 30, 2011

HOUSE

Boehner not apologetic for crying, smoking

Asking House Speaker John A. Boehner why he cries so much is one thing. If you want to turn his tears to mild annoyance, bring up his smoking.

The Ohio Republican tells “Fox News Sunday” that he wears his emotions on his sleeve, and that’s why he tears up so easily. He also says he’s not going to apologize for getting emotional about things he thinks are important.

Besides being quick to tear up, Mr. Boehner is also known around Washington as a heavy smoker. When asked why he doesn’t quit, the top House Republican responded sharply that, yes, it’s a bad habit, but that he chooses to smoke.

As far as being asked again and again about his smoking, Mr. Boehner says with a smile, “Leave me alone.”

HEALTH CARE

Obama won’t refight health care, Daley says

White House Chief of Staff William Daley on Sunday said President Obama is willing to accept tweaks to the health care law, but warned his boss would not refight the political battle over health care.

“The president has said he’s open to changes on this. He’s not open to refighting the entire fight,” the former banking executive told CBS’ “Face the Nation” program.

Mr. Daley, who served as commerce secretary under President Clinton, took the helm as Mr. Obama’s top aide earlier this month. He replaced Rahm Emanuel, another Clinton White House veteran who left the West Wing to pursue a bid for mayor of Chicago. With Mr. Daley regarded as a moderate, his appointment was viewed by some as evidence that Mr. Obama plans to tack to the center in the wake of November’s electoral “shellacking.”

The move was also met with praise by the business community, which has heavily criticized many of Mr. Obama’s marquee policies, beginning with his health care overhaul. In the interview, Mr. Daley sought to walk back his own criticism of the law, saying his beef was more with the “politics of the moment” than the substance of the bill itself. I thought it was a very difficult climate to try to accomplish what they tried to,” Mr. Daley told CBS. “And I think the results, because of the misinterpretation of health care by many people, had a negative impact on Democrats.”

Asked how Mr. Obama plans to fund his push for infrastructure upgrades as laid out in his State of the Union address last week, Mr. Daley promised more details in the president’s forthcoming budget, but said there has been “lots of interest” from the private sector, including foreign companies, in helping fund some of the projects.

WHITE HOUSE

Daley asks GOP to detail its cuts

President Obama’s new chief of staff is responding to a proposal from congressional Republicans to cut $55 billion from the federal budget with a question: “Where’s the beef?”

William Daley tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the public and the president want to see where those cuts will come.

Mr. Daley says Mr. Obama’s upcoming budget will propose significant cuts. He says Mr. Obama’s plan to freeze domestic spending over the next five years would lead to a substantial reduction in spending.

Mr. Daley says he doesn’t think taxes should go up, given the economy’s current state. Still, he says that not raising revenue through taxes will put a tremendous constraint on the budget.

MASSACHUSETTS

Obama to honor victims of ‘61 disaster

BOSTON | President Obama will soon recognize the sacrifice of 28 men killed five decades ago when a Cold War radar station collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s office says his staff expects in the next week to deliver a letter from Mr. Obama to a victim’s son, honoring all the victims and their families.

The hurricane-weakened Texas Tower No. 4 went down in a wild winter storm on Jan. 15, 1961.

The tower was one of three built off the northeastern U.S. for the Air Force to give earlier warning of a Soviet air attack.

But Texas Tower No. 4 was weakened when it was belted by Hurricane Donna in September 1960. Fourteen civilians and 14 airmen were on board trying to fix and maintain it when it collapsed.

NEVADA

Political comedian, impersonator dies

LAS VEGAS | Comic David Frye, whose impressions of Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, and other prominent political figures vaulted him to popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, has died in Las Vegas, his family confirmed Saturday. He was 77.

Mr. Frye died at his home Monday of cardiopulmonary arrest, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said.

Mr. Frye’s sister, Ruth Welch of Boynton Beach, Fla., said he was a born comic genius who wrote his own material and began by imitating neighbors in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they grew up.

“He had an eye for people’s movements and an ear for their voices,” Mrs. Welch told the Associated Press on Saturday. “He could really get down people’s mannerisms and intonations.”

Among other venues, Mr. Frye performed at colleges and nightclubs across the country as well as on television programs, such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

He reached the height of his popularity doing exaggerated impressions of Nixon, with his shoulders hunched and face bowed down. He also devoted several albums to Nixon before Nixon resigned as president in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal.

Born David Shapiro in 1934 in Brooklyn, Mr. Frye also imitated such political and entertainment figures as Hubert Humphrey, George Wallace, William F. Buckley, Walter Cronkite, Kirk Douglas and Howard Cosell.

Mrs. Welch said Mr. Frye was a “wonderful” brother, who moved to Las Vegas about eight years ago from Beverly Hills, Calif.

“He was a generous person and a very good brother in time of need,” she said. “He was very much loved by the whole family, and he’ll be terribly missed.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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