Which GOP candidates would pardon Libby?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Following the news that a judge has order I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to report to prison to serve his sentence while his attorneys appeal his case, the talk of Washington is likely to turn to whether President Bush will consider issuing the former White House aide a pardon.
At CNN's GOP presidential debate last week, the ten candidates were asked whether they would issue Libby a pardon if they were in the president's shoes. Four of the candidates said they likely would not, three said they likely would, and three said they would keep the option open.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, California Rep. Duncan Hunter, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee all responded “no,” or “no, not without looking at the transcript.”
Meanwhile, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo said flatly they would issue Libby a pardon. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani leaned heavily toward pardoning Libby, adding, “I think the sentence was way out of line."
Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson all indicated they would keep the option open but would not say "yes" or "no" before the appeals process was carried out.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Watch CNN's Anderson Cooper explain the upcoming CNN/YouTube debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the first time in presidential debate history, user-generated video will drive two unprecedented debates. CNN and YouTube's live forum will feature video questions submitted to YouTube which will be broadcast and answered by Democratic and Republican candidates on CNN. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will moderate the two-hour debates and pose follow-up questions.
The Democratic debate, the first Democratic National Committee-sanctioned presidential forum of the 2008 election cycle, will be held at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday, July 23, at and will air live on CNN. The Republican presidential forum hosted by CNN and YouTube will take place on Monday, Sept 17, in Florida.
Starting today, June 14, through July 22, the public will be able to submit their questions on YouTube. The site also includes some tips on how to help get your video chosen.
CNN will produce the televised events and will select the questions used in the debates. Select YouTube users will be flown to Charleston to watch the debates live.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino issued the following statement following the news that a judge has order I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to report to prison to serve his sentence while his attorneys appeal his case.
"Scooter Libby still has the right to appeal, and therefore the president will continue not to intervene in the judicial process. The president feels terribly for Scooter, his wife and their young children, and all that they're going through."
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby arrives at the courthouse on Thursday for his hearing.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge on Thursdayordered I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to report to prison to serve his sentence while his attorneys appeal his case.
In trying to delay the sentence, defense lawyers tried to convince U.S.District Judge Reggie Walton that there was a good chance they could overturn Libby's conviction on appeal
Libby has been free since he was convicted March 6 of perjury and obstruction of justice for hindering a FBI and grand jury investigation into how the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson was leaked to the media.
No one has been charged with leaking classified information in the case,
Cheney's former chief of staff, who maintains he is innocent, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and fined $250,000.
– CNN's Paul Courson and Debra Krajnak
Libby is headed back to court to try to forestall his 30 month prison term in the CIA leak case.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The federal judge who will decide whether to order Lewis "Scooter" Libby to prison or allow him to remain free pending the results of an appeal of his March conviction said Thursday he has received threatening phone calls and letters.
"In the interest of full disclosure, I have received a number of harassing, angry and mean-spirited phone calls and messages," U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton told the court at the start of the proceeding. "Some wishing bad things on me and my family."
"Those types of things will have no impact," Walton said. "I initially threw them away, but then there were more, some that were more hateful. They are being kept."
Lawyers for the convicted former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney are trying to keep their client out of prison while they appeal the case.
Walton has said he will hear arguments from the defense and prosecution before he makes his decision.
– CNN's Paul Courson
Brownback's campaign questioned Romney's abortion stance Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback's presidential campaign is adding its two cents to Wednesday's press release battle between GOP presidential rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney over the former Massachusetts governor's abortion stance.
In a statement released Thursday, Brownback's campaign called Romney's "alleged pro-life conversion story" "false and misleading," referencing a YouTube video the McCain campaign posted Wednesday of then-Gov. Romney saying in a 2005 press conference that he was "committed" to maintaining his state's existing abortion rights laws.
Romney has said he started opposing abortion rights in November 2004 after a conversation with a stem-cell researcher made him feel the value of human live had been diminished.
Soon after the McCain campaign circulated the video, Romney's camp fired back, saying “selective editing” had taken the Massachusetts Republican’s comments out of context and called the video's posting “borne of desperation.”
Brownback's campaign questioned Romney's abortion stance last week as well, criticizing him for not directly calling abortion "murder" at a recent campaign event.
There's speculation Thompson will jump into the White House race next month.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fred Thompson’s on the rise in the latest national polls of the Republican race for the White House.
Not bad for a guy who’s not officially a candidate.
The former senator from Tennessee and television and movie actor is in second place in two national polls this week.
Thompson trails GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, but is ahead of Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the most recent Wall Street Journal-NBC and Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg surveys.
Thompson’s tied with McCain for second place in this week’s poll by Quinnipiac University.
"Most national polls show Thompson gaining strength since he formed his exploratory committee,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Voters pay more attention to candidates who are serious about running, and that may account for his growing support in the polls."
Thompson took those first formal steps towards a White House run earlier this month. There’s speculation Thompson will formally announce his candidacy for president early next month.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
WASHINGTON DC (CNN) - More poll problems today for President George W. Bush. The president’s approval rating stands at 29% in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey out last night. That’s the lowest mark ever for Mr. Bush in their poll.
The president fares little better in today’s poll of polls computed by CNN. We took the president’s approval ratings from the six most recent national polls, and the average comes to 32%.
"Bush's approval first dropped to this level more than a year ago,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “His approval rating has been below 40% in every single national poll conducted this year, and in six of those polls he has dropped below 30%."
The numbers come as the president tries to rescue the immigration reform bill that’s stalled on Capitol Hill. The legislation has angered many Americans, especially conservatives, because the bill allows for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Many on the right consider that “amnesty.” Mr. Bush and other supporters of the reform measure disagree with that charge.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Bush Approval Rating Poll of Polls
NBC/Wall Street Journal June 8-11 29%
Quinnipiac June 5-11 28%
L.A. Times/Bloomberg June 7-10 34%
Fox News/Opinion Dynamics June 5-6 34%
AP/Ipsos June 4-6 32%
USA Today/Gallup June 1-3 32%
AVERAGE = 32%
McCain called Reid's comments on Gens. Pace and Petraeus "inappropriate" Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain sharply criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday over the Nevada Democrat's comments earlier this week reportedly bashing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, David Petraeus.
"It's incredibly disappointing that Harry Reid would make such disparaging remarks about both the highest ranking officer in the U.S military and the commander of our troops in Iraq," McCain said in a statement. "Generals Pace and Petraeus are two leaders who have spent their entire lives in service to their country and Senator Reid needs to clarify his criticisms, which can only be described as highly inappropriate and regrettable."
In a conference call with liberal bloggers Tuesday, Reid called Pace "incompetent" and made similarly disparaging comments about Patraeus, according to The Politico.
This is not the first time Reid has come under fire for controversial comments. The Senate's top Democrat faced a sharp backlash from the White House in April when he declared the Iraq war "lost," and was quickly criticized by Republican colleagues for calling President Bush a "loser" in May 2005.
On Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced he would replace Pace in September. He speculated that Pace's renomination would lead to a "contentious" hearing on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) –A Washington state law restricting use of union dues for political purposes was upheld Wednesday by the Supreme Court, in a pair of cases that melded free speech, election advocacy and workplace rights.
At issue was whether states could force labor unions to obtain direct permission from workers before having their mandatory "shop fees" spent on partisan politics, including candidates and issues many of them may not support.
"No suppression of ideas is afoot," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, "since the union remains free as any other entity to participate in the electoral process with all available funds other than the state-coerced agency fees lacking affirmative permission."
State officials were among those who brought the high court appeal, on behalf of a few thousand public school teachers who refused to join their union. Under a voter-approved ballot initiative, those non-union workers can still be charged an annual service fee - equal in amount to union dues - but only to help pay for traditional labor negotiations. Those fees cannot be spent on most types of political activities, under the 1992 law, "unless affirmatively authorized by the individual."
The sticking point was how and when teachers must express their opposition to having their fees used to influence elections.
– CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears