(CNN) – Michelle Obama's fashion choices at the G20 summit have drawn widespread praise, but at least one famous designer thinks the fist lady made a major faux pas in her wardrobe choice for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II.
"You don't...go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater," Oscar de la Renta told Woman's Wear Daily regarding Mrs. Obama's decision to wear a cardigan over an Isabel Toledo-designed dress for the private meeting.
De la Renta also said the first lady - who often sports relatively affordable American brands - should broaden her wardrobe and seize an opportunity to spur the flailing fashion industry.
“American fashion right now is struggling,” he said. “I think I understand what [Obama and her advisers] are doing, but I don’t think that is the right message at this particular point."
"I don’t object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J. Crew to whatever because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there. I think it’s wrong to go in one direction only," he added.
But J. Crew is likely hoping the first lady doesn't change her style any time soon. When Mrs. Obama was photographed wearing a $300 J. Crew "crystal constellation" cardigan from the mid-market retailer Tuesday, the item sold out on the company's Web site only hours later.
A spokesman for J. Crew said the item has also sold out in nearly all the company’s stores as well.
(CNN) - Tom Braden, the creator and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," which pioneered the talk-show format that pitted a conservative against a liberal, died Friday at age 92.
Daughter Susan Braden said he died of natural causes at his home in Denver, Colorado.
In 1982, Braden took "Crossfire" to CNN from a local station in Washington and served as the program's host "from the left" until 1989.
"Many people believe that Tom created the genre of political talk shows and debate programs that has now been copied and copied and copied," said Sam Feist, CNN's political director and senior executive producer of political programming. "He was a giant of a man and one of the most decent human beings you'd ever want to meet. CNN was a better place because Tom Braden worked here."
Born in Greene, Iowa, Braden graduated from Dartmouth in the spring of 1940, when the Germans overran France. He volunteered to join the British army, said his good friend and conservative sparring partner Pat Buchanan.
After fighting in the African desert, Braden joined the U.S. Office of Strategic Services when the United States joined the fight, then joined the CIA, Buchanan said.
Braden tried his hand at politics, running for lieutenant governor of California in 1966, when he lost in a Democratic primary.
He and Bobby Kennedy "were real buddies," Buchanan said.
But Braden decided to become a journalist at the suggestion of the poet Robert Frost, Susan Braden said.
In 1975, he wrote the bestselling book, "Eight is Enough," about his eight children, which was made into a television sitcom that starred a crusty political columnist named Tom Bradford.
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(CNN) – Iowa Rep. Steve King condemned his state Supreme Court's Friday decision to lift a decade-long ban on same-sex marriage, saying it puts the state in danger of becoming a "gay marriage Mecca."
"This is an unconstitutional ruling and another example of activist judges molding the Constitution to achieve their personal political ends," King said in statement. "Iowa law says that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Earlier: Iowa court backs gay marriage
"Now it is the Iowa legislature's responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa," he added. "Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court's latest experiment in social engineering."
The state's highest court determined Friday that "the Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution," court spokesman Steve Davis said in a written statement. (Read Court ruling [PDF])
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – Now that the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens has been dropped, Alaska Rep. Don Young wants Stevens to run for governor - a move that would set up a Republican primary between the veteran lawmaker and Sarah Palin, if she decides to seek a second term in 2010.
"Personally I'd like to see him run for governor, and that's my personal feeling," Young told the Alaska Public Radio Network on Thursday. "So, we'll see what happens down the line. He probably won't, but I think that would be a great way to cap off a great career as being the governor of the state of Alaska."
Stevens will be 87 years old by the time the next governor takes office in January 2011.
Other top Alaska Republicans, including Palin and Alaska GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich, said Thursday that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich should step aside so a new vote can be held now that the charges against Stevens have been dropped by the Justice Department.
Young dismissed those demands, calling them "a lot of noise."
"Sen. Begich, in all due respect, won the race," he said. "There is no other recourse. He has taken office, he is now the new senator."
Young and Palin aren't exactly political pals. Palin endorsed a Republican primary challenger against Young in 2008, and during her vice presidential campaign the Alaska governor refused to publicly back Young's re-election bid while federal investigators looked into his dealings with an oil company.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite President Obama's vow to reign in earmarks - pet projects lawmakers use to divert money to their home districts - it looks like it may be business as usual in Washington.
Three of the top ten earmark recipients from last year have already submitted requests for next year in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Reps. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, Peter Visclosky, D-Indiana, and Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, have requested earmarks totaling more than $320 million.
House members originally had until Friday to submit their earmark requests and the publish them on their individual Web sites as required under Obama's new guidelines. But that date has been moved to Saturday at 5 p.m. ET because the House Appropriations Committee Web site where the requests were to be posted was overwhelmed and running "very slow," a committee staff member told CNN.
Last month, the president signed a $410 billion dollar spending bill - that the White House said was necessary to finish "last year's business" and fund the government through the end of this fiscal year - laden with 8,570 earmarks.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia Democrats are eagerly pouncing on Mike Huckabee for telling an audience in Appalachia that voters in northern Virginia "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think."
Huckabee made the remarks in southwest Virginia's Tazewell County on Monday while campaigning with Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor. His appearance was recorded and posted on YouTube by a state Democratic operative.
"They have never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family," Huckabee said. "Some folks up there near the Beltway," he claimed, have "never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family."
The comments were reminiscent of a gaffe made last October by Nancy Pfotenhauer, a campaign adviser to John McCain, who went on cable television and contrasted the strongly Democratic Washington suburbs with the rest of state, which she called 'real Virginia.' The Obama campaign, eager to shore up support in vote-heavy northern Virginia, seized on the comment.
Virginia Democratic Party chairman Richard C. Cranwell called Huckabee's remarks "divisive" and demanded that McDonnell condemn them. "It's the same thing they tried to do last year with the 'real Virginia,'" Cranwell said. "I expect we won't be seeing Mike Huckabee back in Virginia again."
State senator Creigh Deeds, one of three Democrats seeking his party's nomination for governor this year, said Huckabee's comments were "hurtful" and asked McDonnell supporters to "pick up a newspaper to find out that Virginians are hurting across the commonwealth."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Have Americans been prepared for Friday's bad news about the economy? It looks like they have.
They were warned even before President Obama took office.
President-elect Obama said on January 8th. "It is altogether likely that things may get worse before they get better."
"Our jobs report came out today, and it showed that we had lost 663,000 jobs just this month, which has pushed our unemployment rate to 8.5 percent - the highest in 25 years," the President said today at a news conference in Germany, a few hours after the Labor Department reported the March unemployment report.
Will Americans blame President Obama? Not likely.
(CNN) – Republicans are sharply criticizing the Iowa Supreme Court ruling Friday that reverses the state's 11-year-old ban on same-sex marriage.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele:
"The Iowa Supreme Court's decision today to reverse an 11 year old state law outlawing same-sex marriage is sadly another example of judicial activism currently threatening family values in America. While I respect an individual's right to live his or her life as they see fit, decisions like this are better left in the hands of legislators and governors."
"I firmly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. A state's autonomous nature allows it to change its laws as the citizenry sees fit, but it should be done by the people, not through judicial decree."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:
"I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman and the definition of marriage should be left to the people and not to activist courts."
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (via Twitter):
"Iowa Sup. Court dec. to allow same sex marriage is disappointing. All Iowans should have a say in this matter, not legislative judges ... must fight to preserve family and amend the Constitution of the United States to define marriage as one man and one woman."
South Carolina governor Mark Sanford:
Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, did not react to the Iowa ruling specifically, but said the governor is "against same-sex marriage." Sawyer pointed out that "South Carolina passed a same-sex marriage ban last year, and the governor was supportive of it."
Alaska governor Sarah Palin:
Bill McAllister, a spokesman for Palin, said that as of this morning, "we haven't discussed it." Palin has said she opposes defining marriage as anything but between a man and a woman.