(CNN) – Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s support for aerial wolf-hunting has sparked a heated cross-country war of words between the governor and an environmental ad campaign fronted by the actress Ashley Judd, with Palin calling the organization funding the ads an “extreme fringe group.”
The squabble began Tuesday when the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund unveiled a campaign called “Eye on Palin,” targeting the governor for what they call her “extreme anti-conservation policies.”
The group is highlighting “Palin’s championing of the brutal and unnecessary aerial killing of wolves and other carnivores” - a controversial practice allowed by permit in Alaska since 2003, with the goal of protecting populations of moose and caribou.
Judd, who has in the past lent her voice to AIDS prevention and reproductive health campaigns, signed on with the group and is featured in a YouTube video. “It is time to stop Sarah Palin, and stop this senseless savagery,” she says in the clip.
(CNN) - Dick Cheney is raising some eyebrows by issuing a chilling warning. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Brian Todd takes a look at what the former VP said about the possibility of a catastrophic terrorist attack — and about the Obama administration.
Plus: President Obama cracks down on corporate bigwigs. CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reports.
The President signs a bill bringing a basic service to millions of children. Watch the signing ceremony that will expand children’s health coverage.
And: Sarah Palin versus Ashley Judd. CNN Internet Reporter Abbi Tatton looks at the battle over aerial wolf hunting in an environmental ad campaign that pits the actress against the governor.
Finally: Democrats and Republicans continue the stimulus battle. CNN’s Dana Bash has the latest on the stimulus bill as Senators spar over what should and shouldn’t be in the economic recovery plan.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - The newly appointed head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday the department needs a fundamental change in how it handles its paperwork.
Eric Shinseki described a Sisyphean task for caseworkers trying to plow through the backlog of files to make decisions on veterans' claims.
"If you were to walk into one of our rooms where adjudication or decisions are being made about disability for veterans, you would see individuals sitting at a desk with stacks of paper that go up halfway to the ceiling. And as they finish one pile, another pile comes in," Shinseki said at a House Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - One of President Obama's leading economic advisors called Wednesday for major changes in the way the financial system is regulated - especially firms whose failure could sink the nation's troubled economy - and warned that this oversight would come with a major price tag.
“It’s not going to be cheap,” Paul Volcker told the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, suggesting that it would cost "billions of dollars" more.
Volcker, chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former Federal Reserve Board chairman, called for radical changes in the regulation of the country’s financial system. His recommendations were based on the global financial report, “Financial Reform: A Framework for Financial Stability.” The report was released in January from the Group of Thirty (G30), a committee he co-chaired that included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Summers.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll suggests that former Rep. Rob Portman has his work cut out for him to keep retiring Sen. George Voinovich's Ohio seat in Republican hands.
The Quinnipiac University survey of Ohio voters indicates that Portman trails two possible Democratic contenders in head-to-head match-ups in next year's midterm elections.
Voinovich, a two-term Republican, announced last month that he will not run for re-election in 2010. Portman, a former six-term congressman who also served as U.S. Trade Representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget in President George W. Bush’s administration, announced his intention to run shortly after Voinovich decided to retire.
In the poll released Wednesday, Portman trails Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher by 15 points, with 29 percent of those questioned undecided. And Portman trails Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner by 10 points, with 31 percent undecided.
Fisher, Brunner, and Rep. Tim Ryan are all considered possible Democratic contenders in the race for the open Senate seat.
The poll does show that Portman has a wide lead over state auditor Mary Taylor in the Republican primary.
"Portman has served in a number of national offices, but he has never served in a statewide office in Ohio, and it's possible he may not be well known outside of his home base in the southwestern part of the state," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Even in that home base, however, the political landscape has changed. Hamilton County, which Portman used to represent, went for George W. Bush in 2004 but it gave a majority of its support to Barack Obama in 2008."
(CNN) - President Obama warned Wednesday that failure to act immediately on his economic aid plan "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession."
"Millions more jobs will be lost. More businesses will be shuttered. More dreams will be deferred," Obama said, as Senate debate continued on amendments to the stimulus package.
The House last week passed an $819 billion version of the plan, but no Republican voted in favor of it. The president has been trying to gain Republican support before the Senate votes on its version of the bill.
Debate on amendments to the bill is expected to last all week in the Senate. A vote could come as early as Friday.
Republicans are calling for a plan with more tax cuts and less spending. They also want more emphasis on helping homeowners. One Republican proposal could double the tax credit for home buying from $7,500 to $15,000.
Obama has said he wants to make sure Republican ideas are incorporated into the final legislation, but he said Wednesday that Congress should "not make the perfect the enemy of the essential" and brushed off recent criticism of the plan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Noting that "great leaders are only as great as the people who hold them up," first lady Michelle Obama implored an enthusiastic throng of staffers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development Wednesday to "recommit to the task at hand" as the country struggles with a wave of home foreclosures.
"We love you," yelled one employee as the first lady began her brief remarks.
"I love you, too," she replied as the crowd roared its approval. "That's one of the reasons why I'm here."
Continuing a welcome tour of federal agencies that began Monday at the Education Department, the first lady thanked the HUD staffers for their warm reception. "I want to learn, listen, (and) know what is going on from you," the first lady said. "But also to say thank you on behalf of my husband, my family, and this country."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The newly empowered Democratic majority flexed its political muscle Wednesday as the House of Representatives voted to expand a key federal health care program to an estimated 4 million additional children.
The 290-135 vote to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program fell largely along party lines, with almost every Democrat voting in favor of the expansion and most Republicans voting against it.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Who says bipartisanship is dead?
Readers of the liberal Web site the Huffington Post have crossed ideological lines and voted Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock the “Hottest Freshman” in the 111th Congress.
At age 27, Schock also has the distinction of being the youngest member of Congress.
Although nearly 10,000 votes were cast in the site’s poll, Schock suggested that he might have gotten some help from some participants who weren’t exactly unbiased. “It’s flattering,” the congressman said in a statement Wednesday. “Apparently my friends and family have a lot of time on their hands.”
Schock hails from Peoria, Illinois and represents the state’s 18th District in the House of Representatives.