Coates, 40, is senior pastor of the 8,000-member Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, and he has been an advocate of several progressive causes, including expanded access to health care, voting rights and immigration reform. The Washington Post has more here.
Hawaii Becomes 15th State to Legalize Gay Marriage - President Obama on Tuesday night commended the state legislature in Hawaii for approving a bill legalizing gay marriage.
“I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder,” Obama said in a statement. “And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be now given the security and respect they deserve.”
The bill legalizing gay marriage passed the Hawaii state Senate in a 19-4 vote Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill on Wednesday. TheHill.com has more here.
Palestinian Peace Negotiating Team Resigns - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday his peace negotiators had resigned over the lack of progress in U.S.-brokered statehood talks clouded by Israeli settlement building.
The development would mark a new low point for the talks with Israel that resumed in July and which officials from both sides have said have made little headway.
In an interview with Egyptian CBC television, Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue even if the Palestinian delegation stuck to its decision.
"Either we can convince it to return, and we're trying with them, or we form a new delegation," he said. Reuters.com has more here.
White House Issues Statement of Concern on Israel Settlements - The White House on Tuesday issued a sharp public rebuke of the latest Israeli settlement plans and accused Israel of endangering peace talks with the Palestinians, a second-term priority for President Obama.
In an emailed statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the Obama administration was “deeply troubled” by reports that Israel has issued tenders for 20,000 settlements in the disputed West Bank. She said the administration was seeking “further explanation” from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
“Our position on settlements is quite clear: We have always considered the settlements to be illegitimate,” Meehan said. “We have called on both sides to take steps to create a positive atmosphere for the negotiations. We do not consider settlement planning, even in its early stages, to be a step that creates a positive environment for the negotiations.” You can read more here.
Feinstein Backs bill to allow Americans to keep health plans - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced Tuesday that she will support legislation aimed at repairing the now-broken promise that the president -- and many senators -- made to Americans when the Affordable Care Act was passed: That if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it.
Feinstein will co-sponsor legislation that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., announced last week. The bill would extend the so-called "grandfather" clause and require insurance companies to keep offering insurance plans they sold before the health care exchanges opened on Oct. 1.
Support from Feinstein, who represents a solidly blue state, illustrates that a growing number of Democrats are worried about what effect the health care law's turbulent rollout could have on the party. Earlier Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton said President Barack Obama should consider changes to the law to allow Americans who are losing their insurance plans to keep them if they desire to. NBC News has more here.