WASHINGTON (CNN) - National Republicans are using their first television ad buy of the 2010 election cycle to criticize Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in his own backyard, a Republican source tells CNN.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee will begin running an ad Wednesday in the Reno television market and purchase ads on Nevada Web sites criticizing Reid for voting for last year’s $700 billion bailout and now supporting President Obama’s stimulus plan. The NRSC will also highlight Reid’s donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – the campaign arm of Senate Democrats that attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, in a similar TV ad during his successful re-election campaign in 2008. Reid is running for another term in 2010.
(Update: the Reid team responds after the jump)
(CNN) – “Americans are not the enemy,” President Obama said in his first interview since becoming commander-in-chief. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, you’ll hear the interview with the Arab television network Al Arabiya, and the president’s message to the Muslim world.
And: President Obama urges the GOP to put politics aside and support his $825 billion economic stimulus plan. Watch the president make his personal appeal on Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile: Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is ensuring she stays in the public eye. CNN Internet reporter Abbi Tatton takes a look at the launch of the Alaska governor’s political action committee.
Plus: Presidential regrets revealed. Former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton open up about what they were unable do during their own White House terms. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has the details.
Finally: The wiretaps that could take Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich down. CNN’s Susan Roesgen is following Blagojevich’s impeachment trial, and taking a look at the startling evidence against the embattled governor.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sarah Palin has launched a new political action committee called SarahPac, signaling that the Alaska Governor intends to remain a player in national politics even after her failed bid to become the country’s first female vice president.
"SarahPac will support local and national candidates who share Gov. Palin's ideas and goals for our country," says the PAC’s Web site, which promises that Palin will be "a strong voice for energy independence and reform."
A spokesperson for SarahPac confirmed that Palin is behind the group and said it was registered with the Federal Election Commission on Monday evening. The Web site went live on Tuesday morning and is already soliciting donations.
"The PAC is a smart thing to do because she’s getting so many speaking requests still, so if she gets a request from, say, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, she could do that travel out of her PAC money,” explained the spokesperson, noting that Palin has been in high demand from Republicans around the country since the campaign ended. In December, the governor traveled to Georgia to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Saxby Chambliss in that state's runoff election.
(CNN) – Republican Senator Jim Bunning declared emphatically Tuesday that he is running for re-election in 2010, despite his cash-poor war chest and reports that some Republicans want him to step aside.
On a conference call with local reporters in Kentucky, Bunning also expressed frustration with fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who said last week he wasn’t sure what Bunning’s intentions are for the upcoming cycle.
“He either had a lapse of memory or something when speaking to the Press Club last week when he said that he didn't know what my intentions were,” Bunning said of the Senate Minority Leader, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He knew very well what my intentions were.”
Bunning suggested McConnell wasn’t being truthful.
“I had an hour-long meeting with Sen. McConnell in the first week of December in 2008, and we thoroughly discussed my candidacy for the Senate in that hour meeting in my office in Northern Kentucky, and gave him every indication that I was going to run again,” Bunning said on the call.
Bunning, the 77-year old former baseball player, already has at least one challenger for the seat: Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who nearly unseated Bunning in 2004. Other state Democrats are mulling whether to jump in the race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday he will support the nomination of Attorney General-designate Eric Holder when the panel votes on it Wednesday.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, had angered Holder during the confirmation hearing 10 days ago when he questioned Holder's "fitness" for the office.
Specter questioned whether Holder would be politically independent from the White House, recalling Holder's refusal as deputy attorney general to seek an independent counsel for an investigation of allegedly questionable fund-raising by then-Vice President Al Gore.
A clearly annoyed Holder then warned Specter he was "getting close to the line in questioning my integrity."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Jill Biden is back in the classroom: The veteran professor and wife of Vice President Jill Biden began a new job at a DC-area community college Tuesday.
The White House said that Mrs. Biden will teach two English courses this semester as an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College.
Biden has taught English in public schools and community colleges for nearly three decades, half of that at Delaware Technical & Community College.
(CNN) – A new poll suggests that New York City voters approve of the way Michael Bloomberg is handling his job as mayor, even if they oppose the extension of term limits that allowed him to run for a third term.
Sixty-nine percent of New York City residents questioned in a Quinnipiac poll released today approve of Bloomberg's job as mayor. Only one in four disapprove of how Bloomberg's handling his job running City Hall.
The poll also indicates that New York City voters give the Republican-turned-independent double-digit leads over his likely Democratic challengers in this year's mayoral election: The poll suggests New Yorkers would back Bloomberg over New York City Comptroller William Thompson 50 to 34 percent, and would support him over Rep. Anthony Weiner 50 to 35 percent.
New Yorkers give Bloomberg high approval ratings and support him for re-election, but the poll suggests that 56 percent of them disapprove of the City Council's move last year to extend term limits, allowing Bloomberg and the City Council members to run for third terms. Sixty-one percent of those polled say the limit of two four-year terms should be restored after this year's election.
The Quinnipiac University phone poll of 1,216 New York City registered voters was conducted January 20-25. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The confirmation process for President Barack Obama's choice to be CIA director is back on track after a delay in paperwork.
Leon Panetta has now provided all of the material needed by the Senate Intelligence Committee to go forward with his confirmation hearing, according to a Senate aide familiar with the process but not authorized to talk for attribution.
The hearing had been scheduled for this week, but was postponed to give Panetta more time to complete work on what the Senate aide called a "voluminous package of materials," including a lengthy questionnaire. Since Intelligence Committee rules require nominees to submit all information at least seven days prior to a hearing, Panetta is now scheduled to go before the committee next Tuesday, the Senate aide said.
(CNN) – President Obama seemed to lower expectations Tuesday on how many Republicans he expects to vote for his stimulus package, telling CNN Radio he's not sure even 50 percent of GOP caucus will support the bill when it comes to a vote.
“We're not going to get 100 percent agreement, and we might not even get 50 percent agreement, but I do think people appreciate me walking them through my thought process on this," Obama told CNN Radio's Bob Constantini.
"I hope I've communicated a sincere desire to get good ideas from everybody. And my attitude is that this is the first major piece of legislation we've been working on the Hill, and over time some of these habits of consultation and mutual respect will take over. But, you know, old habits die hard."
LISTEN to the full interview
(CNN) – The $825 billion stimulus bill the Obama administration is trying to push through Congress would prevent any money given to the state of Illinois from being handled by the state's impeached governor, Rod Blagojevich.
The 647-page bill bars Illinois agencies from receiving any money unless the Legislature directs how it will be spent, or until "Rod R. Blagojevich no longer holds the office of governor of the state of Illinois." It does allow local governments to receive money directly from Washington or through the state, if state agencies follow an established formula.
The provision was added by the House Appropriations Committee last week. Blagojevich's impeachment trial got under way Monday in the Illinois state Senate. He faces federal criminal charges accusing him of attempting to trade or sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama after his November election.
Blagojevich, whose administration was under scrutiny by federal prosecutors long before his December arrest, has denied any wrongdoing. He has skipped the first two days of his trial, instead making the rounds of television talk shows to proclaim his innocence.
–CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux contributed to this report.