(CNN) - John McCain officially announced a 2010 campaign to hold on to his Senate seat Tuesday, sending supporters a fundraising message asking for help with “a tough re-election challenge.”
McCain won his home state of Arizona by 9 points in November, but the state has become increasingly competitive. Until the state’s Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano, was selected by President Obama to head the Department of Homeland Security, political observers had considered her to a formidable potential challenger to the four-term incumbent.
McCain’s e-mail this week takes aim at congressional Democrats, though it avoids criticism of President Obama.
“While the leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama, has pledged to change business as usual in Washington and spoken of bipartisanship, I have been saddened to watch as Congressional Democrats try to use their majority to advocate more of the same failed policies and wasteful spending of the past,” he writes. “With so much at stake, now is not the time to step away from my work in the Senate.
Following his presidential run, the Republican senator said he intended to seek re-election in 2010 and set up a political action committee as a first step in that process, but the e-mail marks McCain’s official announcement and fundraising pitch to supporters that he plans to defend his Senate seat.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – A day after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said it would be a few weeks before he unveils a solution for the housing crisis, regulators and lawmakers pressed financial institutions to suspend foreclosures until the plan comes out.
Geithner, who laid out a broad overview of the Obama's administration's plan to attack the financial meltdown, said Tuesday that the federal government would commit $50 billion to preventing foreclosures by reducing monthly payments. Details would be forthcoming, he said.
Until that loan modification plan is released, foreclosures should be halted, some say.
"I would ask all of you now to please make sure that we have a moratorium in effect," Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., told top bank executives at a hearing Wednesday. "It would be until we get that program, and until you know if people can qualify. Having someone suffer foreclosure because two weeks hadn't gone by for this program would be unacceptable."
(CNN) – Illlinois senator Roland Burris has some work to do if hopes to keep his seat in 2010.
A third of the state’s registered voters believe Burris should not run in 2010 when his appointed term expires, according to a new poll from the Chicago Tribune. Just 37 percent of voters think Burris should seek the seat, and 29 percent said they weren’t sure.
Burris has run for statewide office multiple times but hasn’t won an election since 1990, when he was elected attorney general.
Although Burris has never been accused of wrongdoing in the tumultuous appointment process that brought him to the Senate, he could face questions in a political campaign about his association with disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
Only 34 percent of voters in the state have a favorable view of Burris, according to the survey, with 18 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. A plurality of Illinois voters - 43 percent - have no opinion of him.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two key senators involved in talks over the economic stimulus plan emerged from closed-door talks in the Capitol to say negotiators have essentially reached an agreement on a $789 billion package but still need to resolve minor issues before calling it a done deal.
Aides notified reporters a deal could be announced by Democratic leaders at a Capitol news conference in the 2 p.m. hour.
Anticipating a deal is within reach, a conference committee was scheduled to meet publicly at 3 p.m. to formalize the agreement.
"Very, very close. We'll have a conference at 3," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, told reporters. "The votes are there for passage, that is clear."
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska - a key centrist in the talks - echoed Baucus' assessment, saying there are no "deal breaker" issues still to be resolved.
– CNN's Dana Bash, Ted Barrett and Evan Glass contributed to this report
(CNN) – Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine joined President Barack Obama just outside Washington in the latest event in the new president’s efforts to push his economic stimulus package.
Watch: Obama visits Virginia
“The time for talk has passed and now is the time to take bold and swift action,” the President said.
“Look around us,” Obama said standing on a construction site for the Fairfax County Parkway in Springfield, Virginia. “We’re surrounded by unmet needs and unfinished business in our schools, in our roads, in the systems we employ to treat the sick, in the energy we use to power our homes.”
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on our nation’s roads and congested highways, crumbling bridges and levees, and crowded trains and transit systems,” Obama added.
Related: Stimulus will be quick and by the book, LaHood says
As he advocated for hundreds of billions of dollars in governmental spending to jumpstart the economy, Obama also promised transparency and personal accountability for the spending he’s advocating. “As President, I expect to be judged – and should be judged – by the results of this program,” he said.
The president’s visit to northern Virginia Wednesday was his third trip in as many days as part of the White House’s efforts to highlight the need for economic stimulus across the country. Obama is scheduled to visit East Peoria, Illinois Thursday.
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - The White House briefing room is getting a visit from the Daily Show Wednesday. Correspondent John Oliver is speaking with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and several members of the press corps at the White House for an upcoming segment for the Comedy Central show.
No word on when the segment will air.
(CNN) – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is set to deliver the Republican response to Barack Obama's upcoming joint address to Congress - the high-profile slot the rival party often gives to one of its rising stars.
“Gov. Jindal embodies what I have long said: the Republican Party must not be simply the party of 'opposition,' but the party of better solutions," House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a Wednesday statement.
Jindal a former congressman and first term governor, was widely believed to be on then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain's shortlist for vice president, and often served as a campaign surrogate on the Arizona senator's behalf.
The 37-year-old son of Indian immigrants was also given a prime-time speaking slot at the GOP convention last September, though he ultimately decided not to attend the four-day event as Hurricane Gustav headed for landfall in his state.
An Ivy League grad, Rhodes Scholar, and the first non-white governor of Louisiana, Jindal has long been on the GOP's radar screen as a potential future leader and likely presidential candidate. And as the GOP is launching full-scale efforts to appeal to non-white voters, Jindal has become one of the party's most high-profile minorities.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new survey suggests Republican Sen. Arlen Specter could face a tough re-election fight.
Forty-three percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania questioned in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday say Specter doesn't deserve to be re-elected - 3 points higher than the 40 percent who feel Specter deserves to be re-elected. And in a sign that he could be in for a bruising primary if he faces a strong opponent, the poll indicates that Republican voters are split on whether Specter should be re-elected.
The poll does suggest a majority of Pennsylvania voters like the job Specter's doing: 56 percent of those polled approve of the way he's handling his duties as a senator, with Democrats giving Specter higher numbers than members of his own party. Sixty-two percent of Democrats questioned give Specter the thumbs up, 7 points higher than his approval rating among Republicans.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 4-9, with 1,490 registered voters in Pennsylvania questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the overall sample.
(CNN) – She's being hailed as the "face of the economic crisis," and now Henrietta Hughes has become somewhat of a media star after reaching out to President Obama on Tuesday in an emotional plea for help.
Watch: Hughes tells Obama she needs help
Her message: My son and I are homeless, and we need immediate help.
"I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," Hughes told Obama at a town hall rally in Fort Myers, Florida, as he pushed for passage of his stimulus plan in the Senate. "The housing authority has two years waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help."
Hughes said she had been homeless after her son lost his job and, subsequently, their home. Although her son has been looking for work, Hughes says, so far, no luck.
White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said Wednesday that the administration connected Hughes - who did not vote in the 2008 election because she didn't have a home - with local housing officials, who happened to be in the crowd.
And it wasn't just officials reaching out.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Top executives from eight of the nation's largest financial institutions told Congress Wednesday that they are continuing to lend, even as banks have come under severe scrutiny in recent weeks about their use of billions of dollars in government aid.
But skeptical legislators weren't buying it.
At a closely-watched hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, CEOs from such embattled firms as Citigroup and Bank of America defended their actions since taking hold of $165 billion last fall, adding that without government assistance, credit would be even harder to obtain.
"We are still lending, and we are lending far more because of the TARP program," Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis said in his prepared remarks.