WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Carol Shea-Porter announced Monday she would not run for Senate in 2010, helping New Hampshire Democrats avert what could have been a divisive primary.
"I thank the many people in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. who have asked me to run, but I have decided that I do not want to run for the U.S. Senate," she said in a statement. "I love the House of Representatives and the work I am involved in there to help the people of New Hampshire."
Shea-Porter was first elected in 2006, beating Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley by just over 5,100 votes. In 2008, Shea-Porter defeated Bradley again, this time by 20,000-plus votes.
Had Shea-Porter decided to run for Senate, she would have faced off against Rep. Paul Hodes in a fight for the Democratic nomination. Hodes, who was also elected to the House in 2006, has already declared his candidacy for the Senate.
(CNN) - Could one of America's most famous ex-couples get back together again?
In an interview with ABC News, Levi Johnston - Bristol Palin's former boyfriend and father of her newborn baby Tripp - said it's possible the couple that made a splash at the Republican National Convention last summer could once again be an item.
"We'll see, we'll see how it is," The 19 year-old said in an interview on "Good Morning America" airing Monday. "We'll just remain friends for now. We're both cool with that decision, and we'll see."
The two were thrust into the spotlight last September when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Bristol’s mother, was chosen to be the Republican vice presidential candidate. During the GOP's national convention in Minneapolis, Palin revealed then-17 year-old Bristol was pregnant with Johnston's baby and the two had plans to marry.
The former vice presidential candidate later indicated the wedding would occur this summer. But news surfaced last week the two had split.
In the interview with ABC, Johnston said the breakup occurred after a fight.
"We were just, we were in a fight," he said. "And trying to see if we can make things work. But this is what it kind of ended up turning into. But we'll see what happens.
"It's just us not, me not being mature enough, or something, and having a kid and thinking ... it could be better - better for us to separate for a while," he added.
But regardless if the two ever get back together, Johnston said he plans to play an important role in his young son's life.
"I'd give anything for, to be with him," he said. "[There are] a lot of changes when you're a father, when you hold him for the first time, you know. I don't do a lot of things I used to anymore, I'll tell you that."
"[I'm] growing up a lot," he added. "So, it's fun. It's good times."
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin told People magazine over the weekend daughter Bristol is "doing just great."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney suggests President Obama is endangering the American people by reversing some of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies.
Speaking to CNN’s John King, Cheney said harsh interrogations of terror suspects and the use of warrantless electronic surveillance were “absolutely essential” to get information that prevented more 9/11 like attacks. He says Mr. Obama “is making some choices, that, in my mind, will, in fact raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”
Since taking office, President Obama has announced plans to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, to halt military trials of suspected terrorists there and to make CIA officers follow the Army field manual’s rules on interrogations. Critics of the Bush administration have said the so-called “alternative” interrogation techniques amounted to torture; and that the warrantless wiretapping violated laws that were enacted after Watergate.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House has rejected South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's request to use a portion of the state's allotted federal stimulus funds to pay off state debt instead of spending it on government services or programs.
Sanford, perhaps the most outspoken Republican opponent of the stimulus bill, wrote to the president last week asking for a waiver that would allow South Carolina to use a quarter of the money - $700 million - to pay down "our very sizable state debt and contingent liabilities."
In a letter to Sanford on Tuesday obtained by CNN White House Budget Director Peter Orszag wrote that "the president has asked me to respond on his behalf."
Orszag rejected the waiver request, writing that the $48.6 billion allocated to the states "must be used" for education and public works projects.
"Congress has not authorized the Executive Branch to waive any of the above statutory requirements governing the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund," Orszag wrote.
Sanford has said that if the President does not grant the waiver request, he would reject the funds alotegher. In an interview with CNN conducted last week, Sanford explained his reasoning, saying “spending money you don’t have I think is a horrible idea”. When asked to respond to charges by Democrats that he’s using the stimulus debate to position himself for higher political office Sanford responded, “If you don't want to debate the merits of the stimulus package itself, instead talk about motives.“
Sanford’s position on the stimulus was the subject of a new ad by the Democratic National Committee.
The issue could next go before the South Carolina legislature, where lawmakers can vote to overrule Sanford and accept the funds.
UPDATE: Sanford is not giving up. In a response to the White House, his spokesman Joel Sawyer said "we're in the process of drafting a response that will go back to the White House tomorrow, which will more narrowly tailor our request to pay off debt in a way consistent with the Administration's response."
"We believe there is a way to do so," he said.
Sawyer re-iterated Sanford's call to take down a Democratic National Committee ad currently running in South Carolina that attacks the governor's position on the stimulus bill.
"In the meantime, part of a truly constructive response would be to call off the attack dogs from the DNC who are now attempting through political attack ads to determine our course of action," Sawyer said. "It's time for the President's game of good cop, bad cop to end, and therefore we again ask him to end these ads so we can engage in a productive dialogue on the merits or our request."
(Read the full letter here)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will headline a major fundraising dinner for congressional Republicans in June, stepping back into the national spotlight after keeping a relatively low profile since the November elections.
Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, has made a handful of trips outside of Alaska since the election, but has skipped prominent gatherings such as the Conservative Political Action Conference held last month in the nation’s capital.
Still, Palin remains a favorite of social conservatives, and in a February CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll was the candidate that Republicans said they would most likely support in 2012. In that poll, Palin received 29 percent, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee got 26 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew 21 percent. Huckabee and Romney both unsuccessfully sought the GOP presidential nomination last year.
View the announcement after the jump
WASHINGTON - President Obama is taking the case for his financial rescue plans to the late night audience, appearing Thursday night on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" during a visit to California, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
"It's a good place to talk about the economy and the choices and challenges we face," Gibbs told CNN, while acknowledging it is "not one of those places where you expect to see the president" appear for an interview.
But Gibbs said the president, who will tape the show Thursday during a two-day swing through the Los Angeles area for town hall meetings focused on the economy, sees the appearance as a good chance to "press his case" to a large number of viewers.
While presidential candidates like Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain have used late night appearances to show their lighter side in recent years, it is extremely rare for a sitting president to appear on such a venue.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Monday he will attempt to block bonuses to executives at ailing insurance giant AIG, payments hedescribed as an "outrage."
Watch: Obama on AIG bonuses
"This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed," Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation's small businesses.
The president expressed dismay and anger over the bonuses to executives at AIG, which has received $173 billion in U.S. government bailouts over the past six months.
"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"
Obama said he has asked Geithner to "pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."
(CNN) – South Carolina’s Republican governor called on President Obama Monday to call a halt to a Democratic ad that slams him over his position on stimulus spending.
Mark Sanford ended up in the crosshairs of the Democratic National Committee late last week after he announced his decision to seek permission from the White House to use $700 million in the stimulus funds due his state to pay down debt.
“South Carolina is facing tough times – but Governor Sanford is playing politics instead of doing what’s right,” says the announcer in a DNC television spot that begins airing Monday in Columbia, South Carolina. “Turning down millions in recovery act funds, putting politics ahead of health care, jobs and schools.”
Sanford, who criticized the ad Friday, said Monday that President Obama should use his influence to pull the ad from the airwaves. “I don't think this approach of targeting ads against anyone who sees an issue a little differently represents the kind of so-called 'change' many people were voting for in November,” said Sanford.
The decision to seek use the $700 million – or roughly a quarter of the total money due South Carolina from Obama’s stimulus package – “still means a $2.1 billion spending windfall would come to our state,” Sanford also said Monday. “[A]nd one has to ask isn’t there a point when enough is enough in spending money we don’t have?”
After quoting from Obama’s inaugural address, Sanford “respectfully ask[s] [Obama] to end this ad . . . . and to ask his Democratic National Committee to put an end to this mudslinging and get back to an honest debate about the future of our country.”
In a Friday statement, a spokesman for Sanford called the stimulus money “a federal predatory loan, the cost of which will be borne by future generations who will never have a chance to vote from office the very people who are saddling them with unprecedented spending and guaranteed future tax increases.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama vowed Monday to ease the financial plight of the nation's small businesses, promising immediate action to revive frozen credit markets.
Obama made his remarks to reporters after he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met in the White House with representatives of the Small Business Administration.
The president called small businesses "one of the biggest drivers of employment that we have" and said his administration is "working diligently to increase liquidity throughout the financial system."
But he cautioned it will be a long-term effort. "Understand, this is still going to be a first step in what is going to be a continuing effort to make sure people get credit out there," he said.
Many small businesses, drowning from dried-up coffers and unpaid bills, are having a tough time getting loans from lenders.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job Barack Obama's doing as president, but the survey suggests that people appear to be split on how the president is handling some specific aspects of the economy.
Obama's job approval rating stands at 64 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, down three points from mid-February. When asked specifically about the economy, 59 percent of respondents approve of how Obama's performing, with 40 percent in disapproval.
"Most of the Americans who disapprove of Obama are Republicans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "His approval rating is 59 percent among Independents and over 90 percent among Democrats, but two-thirds of Republicans have a negative view of his actions in office so far."
Two out of three approve of how the president is helping the middle class, 64 percent give Obama a 'thumbs up' on unemployment, 62 percent approve of how he's handling taxes, and 54 percent support him on the home foreclosure crisis. But Americans appear to be split on how the president is dealing with the massive federal budget deficit, the problems facing the major U.S. automakers, and the federal bailout of Wall Street and the major American banks.
"There's a lot of goodwill towards President Obama in this poll. Americans overwhelmingly hope he will succeed. They believe he will succeed, and they support his economic recovery program. But we're seeing growing doubt about some details," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider