(CNN) – Sarah Palin's camp is denying claims she's is snubbing talk show host Oprah Winfrey, telling CNN Monday the decision was "nothing personal" - the Alaska governor has just been flooded with so many media requests she simply hasn't had the time to sit down with the daytime talk show icon.
“The governor was invited to appear. She was also invited to appear on Letterman, Leno, Stephanopoulos, The Daily Show. She passed on a vast majority of these requests," Bill McAllister, Palin's communications director and press secretary.
"We’re up to about 250 requests for interviews and appearances and so on. It’s worldwide, there’s still a tremendous amount of interest. It’s nothing personal about Oprah, it’s just that she turned down the vast majority of these requests."
A Palin appearance at a later date is still possible, said McAllister: “I’m not aware that it’s been ruled out.”
Winfrey - the popular daytime talk show host and strong Barack Obama supporter - seemed to suggest last week that Palin was deliberately avoiding her show.
"I said I would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin when the election was over…" she said in an interview with the entertainment show Extra. "I went and tried to talk to Sarah Palin and instead she talked to Greta [Van Susteren]. She talked to Matt [Lauer]. She talked to Larry [King]. But she didn't talk to me.”
Winfrey’s comments came in response to rumors she'd refused to offer an invitation to the former vice presidential candidate.
(CNN) - Another Republican on Monday jumped into the race to head the Republican National Committee.
Chip Saltsman, the former head of the Tennessee Republican Party and the former campaign manger of Mike Huckabee's White House bid, said Monday he's best positioned to rebuild the party following its bruising defeats on Election Day.
“As Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, campaign manager for a Republican presidential campaign, and business owner, I know how to compete and how to win,” he said. “Our party needs new and energetic leadership to rededicate ourselves to conservative principles, to regain the American voter's trust, and to set the stage for a dramatic turnaround in 2010 and beyond.”
Saltsman faces a long list of challengers: former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis have already declared they are seeking Duncan's job.
(CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore is set to meet with President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, a move that's likely to unleash a wave of speculation that the incoming president is eyeing Gore for a slot in his administration.
According to the Obama transition office, the meeting will focus on issues relating to energy and climate change, and how the new administration's environmental policies can spur job creation.
Democratic officials have said Obama is not looking to tap Gore for a Cabinet-level post or any other position in the administration.
A Gore appointment would almost certainly be greeted with celebration from members of party's liberal wing, many of whom are still angered he lost the White House in 2000 despite wining the popular vote.
Gore has also rocketed to stardom in the years since his failed presidential bid, winning a Nobel Peace Prize last year for his work to raise awareness on the dangers of global warming. The former vice president also was involved in making a documentary on climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth," which won two Oscars in 2007.
But Gore, who has made millions in the private sector since his days at the White House during stints on corporate boards - including Apple Inc. - and partnerships at venture capital firms, has suggested he has little interest in returning to government. A spokesman for Gore flatly said last week the former vice president has no interest in serving the Obama administration.
Nonetheless, Gore's high profile visit to Chicago is raising eyebrows, even among some of Gore's close advisers.
"The Gore trip is for more than just a chat," a close friend of Gore told CNN's John King. "He wouldn't burn that much carbon flying to Chicago just to talk."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella of New York was sentenced to five days in jail Monday for a drunken-driving incident in Virginia that led to revelations he had fathered a child from an extramarital affair.
Fossella was given the maximum sentence of five days behind bars by Alexandria, Virginia, General District Judge Becky Moore. She rejected Fossella's arguments the device that measured his blood alcohol level at 0.17 percent at the time of his arrest had been faulty. Virginia law requires that anyone with a blood alcohol content level of 0.15 percent or more must serve five days in jail.
Fossella has 10 days to appeal the sentence. If he does not, the Republican congressman from Staten Island will have to report to the Alexandria jail on December 19 to serve his sentence.
(CNN) - CNN Chief National Correspondent John King is set to take the helm a new four-hour Sunday block of political programming, CNN announced Monday.
King, who has been with CNN for more than a decade, became a household name this election season after breaking a host of stories for the network - including Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. His expert analysis on election nights and innovative use of the "Magic Wall" technology won wide praise and was quickly imitated by several other networks.
Watch: King discusses his new show
“We are reinventing Sunday mornings around the best political reporter of his generation, John King," CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein said. "He has stood out throughout the election as the single best connected, most knowledgeable source of what’s going on and why, and this new program is an opportunity to showcase those strengths throughout the entire year.”
The new block, to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, will debut in January. The first hour will focus heavily on politics and the new administration, while the later hours will delve into national and world affairs and commentary on current events. The four hours will also include "Reliable Sources," hosted by Howard Kurtz, which will continue as an hourlong examination into the intersection of the national media, politics, and the hottest topics in news.
Meanwhile, Wolf Blitzer will continue to serve as CNN's lead political anchor through the next presidential race and host of "The Situation Room" - the No. 1-rated weekday news program in all three hours during November among the key 25- to 54-year-old demo.
(CNN) - Enemies of President Bush take heed: Karl Rove is set to name names.
The man widely credited with Bush's two presidential victories says his new book will include an accounting of those in Washington who never accepted the president as a legitimate commander-in-chief.
"I've got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States," Rove told Cox News in an interview published Sunday. "I'm going to name names and show examples."
Rove signed a deal with publishing giant Simon & Schuster last year, reported be worth over $1.5 million.
In the wide-ranging interview, Rove also suggested the criticisms the president and his aides took were partly because they were not part of the Washington establishment.
"You'll notice there was outrage when it was thought that I was the person behind outing Valerie Plame. And then when it came out that it was the sainted [Deputy Secretary of State] Richard Armitage, there was no interest," Rove said. "I don't remember seeing anybody camped out on his doorstep like they were camped out on mine. [It's]because he was part of the acceptable culture of Washington, and I was not. I was one of those Texans who came up. He was one of those perpetual I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you'll-scratch-mine Washington leakers. "
(CNN) - Call it a split decision.
Both the Democrats and Republicans captured a congressional seat from the other party this weekend, with two races remaining in the battle for the House of Representatives.
In Ohio's 15th Congressional district in the central part of the state, the Democrats captured a seat that was held by Republicans for 42 years. For the last 16 of those years, it's been held by 8 term Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce, who's retiring.
Mary Jo Kilroy, a county commissioner, came from behind to defeat Republican Steve Stivers by over 2,000 votes when the final results were released Sunday. Kilroy came back from an election day deficit of nearly 600 votes, after provisional ballots were counted from Franklin County, where the state capitol of Columbus is located.The counting of the provisional ballots proceeded after a ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court on Friday.
Stivers, who's a state senator, conceded to Kilroy shortly after the results were released. He also wished her well in Washington.
Kilroy came close to defeating Pryce for the seat in 2006.
"After an extremely close 2006 race, there was no doubt this seat was vulnerable. This could have been an easy Democratic takeover but Stivers ran a strong campaign," said Nathan Gonzales, Political Editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter.
While the Democrats grabbed away the seat in Ohio, they lost one in Louisiana, where 9 term Rep. William Jefferson was defeated in his re-election bid by Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao, an attorney and local organizer. Cao becomes the first Vietnamese-American to win election to Congress. He also breaks a streak of more than a century of Democratic control in New Orleans.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's team has pledged to appoint Republicans to his administration, but so far, just one Republican is set to hold a leading Cabinet post.
Obama last week announced that he wants Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on board for at least another year.
Asked if Gates meets the requirement for a Republican on the Cabinet, Obama said he didn't "check his voter registration."
"What I was most concerned with was whether or not they can serve the interests of the American people," Obama said.
(CNN) - Under fire for allegations of ethical violations, New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel told reporters Monday that he has no intention of stepping down as chairman of the key tax writing committee in the House.
"I don't see what purpose that would serve," Rangel said as he left a press conference with a group of Mayors. "I don't think reporters should be in the position of removing Chairmen.”
Recently press reports raised questions about Rangel's support for a tax break for a company that contributed to an academic center bearing his name and his campaign fund’s $80,000 payment to his son for designing his campaign Web site. The House ethics committee is already investigating Rangel for failing to pay taxes on a vacation home, using a rent controlled apartment for his political committee, and his use of official congressional stationary to solicit funds for the academic center.
Asked if the ethics committee should investigate the latest allegations, Rangel replied, "they should investigate everything that's been said."
Lashing out at the most recent report appearing in Politico that Rangel paid his son $80,000 to design his campaign Web site, a fee that experts say was legal but excessively high, Rangel said, "I think the reporter should crawl from under his rock and apologize to my son."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg meanwhile praised Rangel and said he continues to be a valuable ally for New York City.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from a retired lawyer in New Jersey who questioned Barack Obama's eligibility to be president, because he had dual British-American citizenship at birth.
The justices without comment on Monday refused to intervene in the November 4 presidential election, dismissing the claims of Leo Donofrio, a resident of East Brunswick, New Jersey.
In his appeal, Donofrio claims that because Obama's father was a Kenyan-born British subject, the president-elect does meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural born citizen" of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in the United States.
Many legal analysts questioned Donofrio's argument.
"The law has always been understood to be, if you are born here, you're a natural born citizen," said Thomas Goldstein, founder of the Scotusblog.com Web site, and a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the high court. "And that is particularly true in this case, when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama's mother."