MIAMI (CNN) – Two hours before Thursday morning’s press conference at the Republican Governors Association — her first since the Republican presidential ticket lost last week — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was still scheduled to appear alone. Instead, she spoke with a row of fellow governors standing silently behind her.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told CNN producer Evan Glass that they all met at 9 a.m. - an hour-and-a-half before the press conference’s scheduled start time - and by then it had been "decided" that they'd all go out together.
An RGA official told CNN the reason for the change is a "long story."
He said that when the governors were all at their private morning meeting, someone brought up the desire to get beyond what happened in the McCain campaign and look towards 2009 and 2010.
Then, this source said, Palin piped up and said she agreed that she didn't want to talk about the past.
(CNN) – The Republican National Committee is taking aim at the campaign finance reform law that is one of the trademark legislative achievements of the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.
The RNC announced Thursday that it will file two lawsuits challenging portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a major overhaul of federal campaign finance law enacted in 2002 that ban so-called “soft money” from the federal elections and that is commonly referred to as the “McCain-Feingold” bill after its two Senate sponsors.
A suit to be filed in Louisiana federal district court challenges the law’s limits on the amount of money national and state political parties may spend in coordination with candidates for seeking federal offices.
A second suit to be filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., challenges the McCain-Feingold bill’s ban on the use of “soft money” for activities that are not related to campaigns for federal office.
The RNC is charging that challenged portions of the law violate the First Amendment. “The RNC must have the ability to support state candidates, coordinate expenditures with our candidates, and truly engage in political activity on a national level,” RNC chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement released Thursday. “The RNC has operated under and complied with these provisions of the law since their enactment, and as applied it is unconstitutional,” Duncan added.
Duncan and RNC lawyers are set to discuss the two suits with reporters in a conference call Thursday afternoon.
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) - Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin sharply questioned the changing federal economic bailout plan Thursday during her first extended remarks since the end of the presidential campaign.
Addressing fellow GOP governors and party leaders at the annual Republican Governors Association convention in Miami, Palin criticized the growing list of industries and other entities seeking federal assistance.
"We're hearing now more talk of additional taxpayer bailouts ... for companies, for corporations, perhaps even states now who may be standing in line with their hands out despite, perhaps, some poor management decisions on their part that helped tank our economy," she said.
"Republicans can help shore (these sectors of the economy) up without getting any more addicted to opium, other people's money," she argued. "We need to have a rational discussion. What and when is enough enough?"
(CNN) – Nine days after losing the presidential election to Barack Obama, John McCain is back on the campaign trail.
The former GOP presidential nominee will stump for fellow Republican senator Saxby Chambliss today in Georgia.
The freshman senator most likely faces a run-off election December 2 against Democrat Jim Martin, a former state lawmaker.
At the start of the campaign, Chambliss was the heavy favorite in the race. But the contest tightened, and neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, thanks in part to a third-party candidate who won 3 percent of the vote. The race appears headed to a runoff between Chambliss and Martin.
The runoff is expected to become official later this week, after the state certifies the election results. Unofficial tallies show Chambliss with 49.8 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent plus one vote need to win. Martin has 46.8 percent of the vote.
(CNN) - Want a job in Barack Obama's administration? Be prepared to fork over nearly every detail of your life.
CNN's Suzzane Malveaux obtained the seven-page questionnaire that asks applicants to reveal everything from tax returns to blog posts.
(CNN) – Ron Klain, former chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, has agreed to serve in the same post under Vice President-elect Joe Biden, a Democratic source involved in the transition tells CNN.
Klain also served as general counsel of Gore's Florida recount effort, and was recently portrayed by Kevin Spacey in an HBO movie about the event. Reached by CNN, Klain would not confirm or deny reports he had accepted the position, but the Democratic source said it was a "done deal."
Klain previously worked with Biden when he served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the early 1990's. At that time, Biden was chairman of the committee.
Klain is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.
– CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Martina Stewart contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Si se puede.
Translation: Yes we can.
It was a common phrase used by Barack Obama and John McCain on the campaign trail this year as they tried to increase their outreach to Latino voters - an influential voting bloc.
But clearly, based on exit polling, those voters overwhelmingly said 'si se puede' for the Illinois senator. Latinos supported Obama 67 percent to 30 percent for McCain.
Obama did well with Latinos because they appear to disapprove of President Bush's job performance more than the rest of the country, said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst.
About 80 percent of Latinos gave Bush negative marks, while 72 percent of all Americans do, exit polling showed.
The question remains: Did Latinos flock to Obama's message of change or did they simply leave the beleaguered Republican Party?
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Ted Stevens has fallen 814 votes behind Democratic challenger Mark Begich as vote counting continues in Alaska.
The Anchorage mayor was trailing Stevens in the initial count, which did not include at least 90,000 absentee, early and provisional ballots.
With nearly two-thirds of those votes now tallied, Begich has taken the lead. An estimated 40,000 ballots have yet to be counted – a majority of them from the area of the state that includes Anchorage, according to state elections officials.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the Obamas did earlier this week, the Bidens will visit their future Washington residence on Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday.
“Vice President and Mrs. Cheney will host Vice President-elect and Dr. Jill Biden at the Naval Observatory,” said spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. “The Cheneys and the Bidens will have a private meeting and then tour the residence.”
Biden was a harsh critic of Cheney on the campaign trail. During this year’s vice presidential debate, the Delaware senator said Cheney “has been the most dangerous vice president probably in American history.” Like Obama, Biden reveled in the news that Cheney endorsed McCain in a November 1 speech, helping further their argument that the Republican nominee would be a continuation of the Bush-Cheney administration.
Biden has been a senator since 1973 but has never lived in Washington, instead famously taking the train to and from Wilmington, Delaware each day. He told reporters on Election Day that a move to Washington wouldn’t change his family life very much — the biggest shift, he said, was that relatives in Wilmington would have to travel to the nation’s capital for holidays, instead of the reverse.
The move has raised two questions for Biden that Obama has also had to answer: whether his mother will move with him, and what kind of dog to get.
“With Barack inquiring about would I be willing to get vetted [for the vice presidency], Jill said, ‘I’ll make you a deal - if you get the vice presidency and get elected, you can get a dog,’” said Biden.
(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church is cutting off funds to the community organizing group ACORN, citing complaints over its voter registration drives in the November 4 election as part of the reason.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development froze its contributions to the group in June amid allegations that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million.
This week, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore, Maryland, the campaign's chairman said it was cutting all ties with the group.
"We simply had too many questions and concerns to permit further CCHD funding of ACORN groups," Roger Morin, the auxiliary bishop of New Orleans, Louisiana, told his colleagues in a letter to the conference.
The CCHD has donated more than $7.3 million to ACORN-related projects over the past decade, including $40,000 to an ACORN chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada, that was raided before the election in an investigation into fraudulent voter registration forms. Among other questionable documents, the ACORN chapter submitted registration forms for members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
ACORN contends it has tried to help head off election fraud.