Jack Kemp, a 1960s American football hero who later became a US congressman and vice-presidential nominee, was remembered on Sunday as a man whose passion for politics permanently influenced his party and nation.
"Jack Kemp's commitment to public service and his passion for politics influenced not only the direction of his party, but his country," President Barack Obama said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Sen. Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrats was in some respects a special case -- naked political opportunism, or so his former GOP colleagues sniffed -- but in other respects it is an early warning that the Republican Party nationally is in danger of being marginalized.
It is becoming smaller, more conservative and more and more of a Southern regional party. This is not a good place to be in a nation with an electorate that is generally moderate and where elections are fought and won in the political middle.
Is the GOP's 'big tent' shrinking? Sen. Arlen Specter's departure from the Republican Party gives the Democrats one more vote in the Senate and makes opposition from the GOP that much more difficult.
But Specter's move also raises questions about whether the Republicans are purging their way to oblivion.
The upper house in New Hampshire's assembly voted on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would make the northeastern state the fifth in the country to allow same-sex marriage, the governor said.
The bill still has to win clearance from the lower house and get the signature of Governor John Lynch.
Lynch, a Democrat, has previously opposed full, same-sex marriage, but he has not indicated whether or not he will veto the bill.
The state already recognizes same-sex civil unions.
The only gay couple who were legally wed in Iowa are looking forward to getting some company. Iowa county clerks were to begin processing same-sex marriage applications Monday, following the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling on April 3 that legalized same sex-marriage. Iowa typically requires a three-day waiting period for marriages, but judges can waive that and allow immediate weddings.
Republican hopes of an early electoral resurgence against President Barack Obama took a blow Friday when the party's candidate in a tight New York congressional race conceded defeat.
Jim Tedisco, a veteran state-level politician, abandoned his challenge against Democratic opponent Scott Murphy, who is now set to fill the empty congressional seat in Washington.
"Tedisco ran a tough but an ultimately unsuccessful race," Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.
Republicans on Wednesday said a Homeland Security Department intelligence assessment unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists. House Republican leader John Boehner described the report as offensive and called on the agency to apologize to veterans.
The agency's intelligence assessment, sent to law enforcement officials last week, warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members.
Republicans have lost their grip on Congress and the White House, but they claim to have American anger over taxes and the economy on their side as tens of thousands turned out for anti-tax "tea parties" around the country.
Wednesday's rallies used the dreaded April 15 — the U.S. deadline to file income taxes — as a hook to vent about government spending and corporate bailouts in an homage to the Boston Tea Party.
Just as he did in early January, Democrat Al Franken stood outside his Minneapolis house Monday night and pronounced himself ready to fill Minnesota's empty Senate seat. He may have to repeat the exercise one or two more times before his exhausting election battle is really over.
A unanimous three-judge panel ruled in Franken's favor, but former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman swiftly announced he would take his fight to the state Supreme Court. That appeal — and other legal maneuvers — could mean weeks more delay in seating Minnesota's second senator.
There are some today who suggest that Christian conservatism as a political force is over.
Those who make this claim point to the fact that liberal Democrats now control the White House and both houses of congress, that the number of Americans self identifying as Democrats compared to Republicans has increased, that the direction of public opinion, particularly among young people, on social issues is liberal, and that the Republican Party itself has been divided over the conservative agenda.