Bloomberg campaigns for center
NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to work for candidates of all political stripes who are opposed by the Tea Party movement.
Bloomberg went to Rhode Island Thursday to support former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, The New York Times reported. Chafee, who left the Republican Party after losing his seat to a Democrat, is running for governor as an independent.
Next month Bloomberg's schedule includes a trip to California to back Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor. The mayor is also throwing a fundraiser at his New York home for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat challenged by Sharron Angle, a Tea Party Republican, in Nevada.
Bloomberg, who became a billionaire founding the financial news service that bears his name, is a Democrat turned Republican turned independent.
In an extensive interview, he told the Times the anger displayed by many voters this year is understandable: "Washington isn't working," he said.
"Anger, however, is not a government strategy," he added. "It's not a way to govern."
Gingrich hands red meat to Values Voters
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke in terms of religious war Saturday in a speech to the Value Voters Summit in Washington.
Gingrich described Democratic leaders, including President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada as destructive, CNN reported.
"We are at a point where our establishment is sliding into policies of such disastrous impact that they will in fact fundamentally challenge the survival of America as we know it," Gingrich said. "On the one front we have a secular socialist machine led by Obama, Pelosi and Reid, and on the other front we have radical Islamists who would fundamentally change this country into a system none of us in this room would recognize."
The most enthusiastic reaction came when Gingrich denounced the so-called Ground Zero mosque, an Islamic cultural center planned for a former warehouse blocks from the World Trade Center site.
"This is not about religious liberty, they want to build that mosque in the South Bronx, frankly they need the jobs," he said, accusing the center's backers of wanting to impose Sharia law in the United States.
The summit is sponsored by the Family Research Council.
Citigroup quits student loan business
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Citigroup says it is getting out of the student loan business.
The financial services giant said it will sell its student loan business to Sallie Mae and Discover Financial Services, The Washington Post reported.
Sallie Mae paid $1.2 billion and Discover paid $600 million in the deal, which comes after legislation in July let the Education Department issue new federal loans.
It also consolidates the student loan sector within the government, the newspaper said.
"It's basically fallout from the government takeover of the federal student loan program," Matt Snowling, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, told the newspaper.
The deal lets Sallie Mae collect payments and service $28 billion in existing loans backed by the federal government. Discover Financial Services will acquire $4 billion worth of private loans not guaranteed by the government, but which have higher loan rates.
"We are one of four companies selected to service federal student loans on behalf of the federal government, and this transaction adds to that servicing business," said Sallie Mae spokeswoman Martha Holler. "We purchased assets that satisfy our target for asset quality and return on investments, and that would increase our customer base."
Igor's waves to batter Bermuda
MIAMI, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A "very large" Hurricane Igor will begin to be felt in Bermuda Saturday night, the National Hurricane Center said.
The center's 11 a.m. EDT bulletin said Igor was 440 miles south of Bermuda, moving northwest at 12 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.
Farther east in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Julia continued to dwindle, CNN reported.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Bermuda, where Igor's center is expected to hit or pass nearby Sunday night. Igor is currently Category 2, with hurricane-force winds extending 105 miles from the center.
"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding on Bermuda," the hurricane center said, and five to eight inches of rain is predicted.
The center said swells also will hit the U.S. East Coast, Puerto Rico, the Leeward Islands, Hispaniola and parts of the Bahamas during the weekend.
Julia's maximum sustained winds weakened to 60 mph Saturday morning, the weather agency said. At 4 a.m. EDT, the storm was about 1,525 miles west-southwest of the Azores Islands and headed northwest at 18 mph.