(CNN) – As he campaigned for the White House in 2008, President Obama raked in millions of dollars in book royalties, according to recently filed Senate disclosure forms.
The president earned close to $2.5 million last year from royalties from 2006's The Audacity of Hope and 1995's Dreams from My Father, according to his Senate disclosure forms, filed with the Secretary of Senate's office earlier this week.
The Audacity of Hope - first published in paperback last summer - earned him $1,512,933, while Dreams of My Father earned $950,000.
An attachment to the disclosure form also reveals Obama agreed to a $500,000 advance days before his inauguration for an abridged version of Dreams from My Father "suitable for middle grade or young adult readers."
The president has also agreed to pen a non-fiction book for the Crown Publishing Group after he leaves office. A dollar figure on that advance has not been worked out.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – For those who might doubt that bashing AIG equals good politics, look no further than the commonwealth of Virginia.
In the span of just one hour on Thursday, all three of Virginia's Democratic candidates for governor released harshly-worded online petitions demanding that the insurance giant return $146 million in bonuses to the federal government.
"It's time we fight back," read an e-mail to supporters from former House member Brian Moran, whose campaign has already adopted a populist pitch. "Tell AIG executives that this is wrong. Tell them to return the money."
A similar e-mail from Creigh Deeds hit inboxes minutes later. The state senator took the step of attacking AIG CEO Edward Liddy directly, urging supporters to sign a petition that tells Liddy: "I don't think you get it."
"Where I'm from, your boss gives you a bonus when you work hard and your business succeeds," said the Deeds e-mail.
The third Democratic hopeful, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, followed suit with an outraged missive of his own, entitled "Nonsense."
"I supported this administration's plan to inject capital into the marketplace, but like the president, I believe that there needs to be accountability," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will reject almost half of the federal stimulus money available to her state, her office said Thursday.
"We will request federal stimulus funds for capital projects that will create new jobs and expand the economy," Palin said in a statement. "We won't be bound by federal strings in exchange for dollars, nor will we dig ourselves a deeper hole in two years when these federal funds are gone."
Palin said she will accept 55 percent of the federal bailout money and designate it to capital projects that she said are "job-ready." That breaks down to 514.1 million of the $930.7 million that was allocated to her state by the federal government.
Palin requested $262.6 million for transportation and aviation projects and the rest for water and sewage, public housing, a University of Alaska Fairbanks research vessel and other projects.
"We need to ensure that these stimulus dollars are used for job opportunities for Alaskans, while preserving the regular operating spending decisions through the normal budget process," Palin said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES (CNN) - For a brief moment Thursday, President Obama wasn't the star of his own town hall meeting in Los Angeles.
Ethan Lopez, an eight year old third grader asked the final question during a townhall meeting, pointing out that 25 of his teachers had already received "pink slips" due to budget cuts. Lopez then displayed a file full of letters he had for the president.
Obama quickly turned the tables and asked the young Ethan if he enjoyed school.
"Yes," replied Ethan
Obama then asked if Ethan knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
"A cop," Ethan quickly answered.
Which delighted the many uniformed police and fire officers standing nearby and the entire crowd who came for the town hall.
(CNN) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.
In an interview with CNN's Ali Velshi, Geithner said the Treasury Department was particularly concerned the government would face lawsuits if bonus contracts were breached.
Watch: Geithner on AIG bonuses
Dodd admitted to CNN Wednesday he'd added the controversial provision after a Treasury official pushed for it. Earlier in the week, Dodd had said he had not played any role in the addition of the loophole.
Geithner told Velshi Thursday he takes full responsibility for the situation.
Also in the interview, airing in part at 5 pm ET on CNN, Geithner said:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A spokesman for the IRS said Thursday that the agency "stands ready to take collection action if the need arises" to get back taxes from 13 still unnamed companies that received billions of dollars in federal bailout money.
"The IRS has every expectation that these amounts will be paid and is committed to collect every dollar of taxes that are owed," IRS spokesman Frank Keith said in a statement.
Georgia Rep. John Lewis, chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, first revealed at a hearing on Thursday morning that 13 companies receiving stimulus money owed over $220 million in back taxes. Keith said the IRS will closely monitor the companies and take action to make them pay, if necessary.
"The IRS recognizes that those entities that receive taxpayer support have a special obligation to pay their taxes, and these taxpayer accounts will remain closely monitored by the IRS to ensure that the full amount of taxes due are paid," Keith said. "The IRS stands ready to take collection action if the need arises."
Keith said the IRS gave Lewis' committee tax information related to TARP recipients. He noted that there could be a number of reasons why the companies did not pay all of their taxes and that having an unpaid balance "does not signal any intent not to pay."
ST. CLOUD, Minnesota (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden took what's been dubbed the "Middle Class Task Force" to rural Minnesota Thursday in an effort to sell the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The group of cabinet members helped field questions at a town hall meeting in St. Cloud.
"We're here to listen, to hear your questions," Biden told the room here at a factory that produces low-emissions buses. "We have laid out a pretty detailed plan. You may thnk some of it can be improved on. You don't like some of it, let us know. You may have other ideas."
"Tell us what it is you need," he added.
Biden was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Questions centered around bus and rail transportation, and economic aide for immigrants, students, and veterans affairs.
Biden said it call comes down to "being able to have the opportunity to have a decent paying job."
(CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she was standing by her statement that enforcement of some existing immigration laws is "un-American."
"ICE raids that separate parents from their children in the middle of the night are un-American, and I stand by that," Pelosi said when questioned about her remarks made last week at an immigration rally in San Francisco.
"We have to enforce our laws, we have to control our borders..." the California congresswoman told reporters. "We have to protect our workers, we have to, I believe, have a path to legalization for people who are in our country who are not fully documented. But we don't have to kick in doors in the middle of the night and take fathers out of their homes and think that we are solving the issue when we really need comprehensive immigration reform."
On Saturday, at an immigration rally in San Francisco, Pelosi criticized the practice of work site and housing raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Pelosi praised the predominantly immigrant audience, calling them "very, very patriotic" for "taking responsibility for country's future" by attending the rally on a Saturday night
"Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families," Pelosi said Saturday. "It must be stopped. What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American."
There's a chance the public outcry over those AIG bonuses winds up hurting President Obama's ambitious agenda.
Critics of the administration are now armed with new ammo in the form of public outrage that they can use to block Mr. Obama's efforts — particularly when it comes to his economic agenda — like the budget.
Republicans keep hammering away that Treasury Secretary Geithner and the White House should have known about the $165 million in bonuses sooner — and acted quicker. They're also using the AIG scandal to show why Congress shouldn't pass any more bailouts.
One Republican strategist tells Bloomberg News, "The real target for the Republicans is to bring Obama back down to earth." You can bet they’ll be watching his poll numbers.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday to try to recoup bonuses paid to Wall Street executives with taxpayer money.
The measure passed, 328-93; most Democrats supported the measure while Republicans were sharply divided.
A two-thirds majority among all members voting was required for passage.
The measure would tax individuals on any bonuses received in 2009 from companies getting $5 billion or more in money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Bonuses for people with incomes over $250,000 would be taxed at a 90 percent rate.
The measure now moves to the Senate for further consideration.