(CNN) - Alaska Democrats sharply criticized Gov. Sarah Palin Friday for rejecting nearly half of the federal stimulus money allotted to her state, suggesting the former vice presidential candidate is putting national ambitions ahead of Alaska's interest.
"It’s outrageous that Palin wants to turn down Alaskans’ fair share of federal stimulus money for education, public safety, unemployment services and health programs," said State Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins. "It’s very clear that Palin is sacrificing the needs of Alaskans for her national political ambitions.”
Bob Poe, a Democratic candidate for governor of Alaska, called Palin's move downright "narcissistic" in a conference call with reporters, and said it's clear she is making decisions with an eye toward a future presidential campaign. Palin faces reelection in 2010.
"She is clearly aligning herself with the other very conservative governors who have also rejected the money," Poe said.
Poe also suggested Palin is playing an "obvious game," given the state legislature is permitted to overrule her decision to reject the money and is likely to do so.
The comments come one day after Palin announced she was rejecting more than $400 million of the federal funds, saying they came with too many strings attached that threaten to dig the state in a “deeper hole.”
The move follows that of other conservative governors, including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Both Sanford and Jindal are often considered to be future presidential candidates, and neither has ruled out a White House run.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Want to know where the presidential produce comes from?
Take a walk past the White House. The answer may be planted right in front of you.
First lady Michelle Obama helped break ground on a new White House "kitchen garden" Friday. It will be the first working garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a so-called "victory garden" at the height of World War II.
This time, however, the enemy is obesity. The first family is hoping to send a clear message to a fast food-driven nation that often seems to be losing the battle of the bulge.
"We're just hoping that a lot of families look at us and say this is something that they can do and talk to their own kids about and think a little bit critically about the food choices that they make," presidential mother-in-law Marian Robinson said.
(CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain had some harsh words for President Obama's budget, warning in a statement released Friday that the president's proposal is a "threat to the nation."
"The Congressional Budget Office report proves that the administration has indeed engaged in a policy of generational theft," said McCain. "The CBO numbers show the reality of the fundamentally flawed assumptions of the president's budget and make clear what it really is: a risky, debt-ridden threat to the nation."
The former Republican presidential candidate's statement follows CBO figures released Friday morning which estimate a deficit of $2.3 trillion higher than what the White House predicted last month. The CBO forecasts almost $1 trillion worth of red ink per year over the next decade, totaling an estimated $9.3 trillion.
"This staggering deficit threatens our children's and grandchildren's future and simply cannot be sustained," McCain continued. "If the administration had learned anything in the last week, I would have hoped that it was that the American people deserve an honest accounting of what they're paying for. The profligate spending spree the Congress and administration has been engaged in must be controlled. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to chart a different course toward real change and fiscal responsibility."
MINNEAPOLIS, Minneapolis (CNN) - The same team that brought baseball fans the Larry Craig 'bobblefoot' doll has done it again, and this time at the expense of former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken who - more than four months after the election - are still caught up in a fight over Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat.
The St. Paul Saints have created "Count Von 'Re'Count," a bobble head doll with a body modeled after Sesame Street's Count Von Count, only this figurine features a head with two sides–turn it one way, it's Franken's face, and the other, you get Coleman.
According to a press release, "the head will spin, reminding fans of the dizzying experience that has been this state's U.S. Senate race."
"We realize that this was sort of a historical thing and we wanted to have a little bit of fun with it," said Saints' director of broadcast and media relations Sean Aronson. "Fortunately for us–or unfortunately, however you want to look at it–this has carried on a lot longer than anyone thought it would."
(CNN) - The Special Olympics organization is calling on President Obama to "consider" hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House, following the president's reference to the organization during his Thursday night appearance on The Tonight Show.
“In so doing, he could help end misperceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Timothy Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics, said in a statement released Friday morning.
Shriver also said the president was heartfelt in his apology, but added "words hurt and words matter."
"Words can cause pain and result in stereotypes that are unfair and damaging to people with intellectual disabilities,” Shriver said in the statement. “And using "Special Olympics" in a negative or derogatory context can be a humiliating put-down to people with special needs.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Connecticut Republicans are hoping to cash in over the outrage of Sen. Christopher Dodd's involvement in the AIG bonus controversy.
The Connecticut Republican Party sent out two national fundraising solicitations Friday highlighting Dodd's political contributions from the embattled insurance giant, as well as his admission in signing off on legislative language to allow companies receiving federal assistance to honor bonuses.
"We are working hard to hold Chris Dodd accountable, but we need your help to continue," Chris Healy, chairman of the state GOP, wrote in the email sent to subscribers of two conservative on-line publications: Human Events and GOPUSA.
Dodd is seeking a sixth term in 2010, but recent polling indicates he could face a tough re-election. Former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons has announced he will challenge Dodd next year.
Healy told CNN in an interview that it was a strategic decision to issue a national appeal, because Dodd is a known figure and people are angry about the AIG bonuses.
"We have got to let them know where to come to help out," Healy said.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Joe Freidberg, the heavyweight Minnesota criminal defense lawyer who's been at the helm of former Sen. Norm Coleman's trial to overturn Democrat Al Franken's win in the recount, said in radio interview that he thinks Franken will come out on top and added they'll be taking their case to the state's high court.
"I think that we've been trying this case with the appeal record in mind, and thats where we're going," Friedberg said in a Wednesday interview with KFAN, a Twin Cities-area sports station.
"It's going to be a very quick appeal," he added.
Asked if he was confident that the three judge panel would side with Franken at the trial stage, Friedberg said that was "probably correct," even adding that he thinks the former comedian and SNL star will remain ahead "probably by a little bit more" than he was after the recount.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk was sworn in as new U.S. trade representative Friday, two days after winning Senate confirmation despite a recent revelation that he had failed to pay some federal taxes.
Kirk is "a man who can make a real difference in the lives of American families," Vice President Joe Biden said shortly before administering the oath of office.
"He's like a bulldog. He doesn't let anything go ... (He will) help inspire a new environment of basic fairness in our trade relationships."
A Senate Finance Committee review of Kirk's returns found that he had failed to report as income $37,750 in honoraria collected for 16 speaking engagements between 2005 and 2007. One year, he deducted honoraria from four events as charitable donations though he hadn't reported them as income, according to the committee report.
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think enforcing some of our immigration laws is a good idea. I guess we don’t need the Justice Department; just ask Pelosi what laws she thinks we should enforce.
The House Speaker was condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at an immigration event in San Francisco last weekend. Here’s what she said: “Who in our 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? It must be stopped… What value system is that? I think it’s un-American. I think it’s un-American."
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here.
(CNN) - Joe the Plumber got hot and bothered in Washington Thursday night.
Appearing unable to contain his libido in the nation's capital, Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, expressed his sexual urge to a sea of conservatives gathered at Washington's Grand Hyatt hotel.
"God, all this love and everything in the room – I'm horny," Joe said on-stage.
Joe was accepting an award on behalf of the "liberal media" at the 2009 MRC's Gala and DisHonors Awards, a roasting of the "most outrageously biased liberal media reporters." Faux awards of the night included "the Obamagasm" and the "Media Messiah."
Joe, referring to himself as the "token redneck," received a standing ovation while waltzing on stage as "God Bless the USA" played overhead.