(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s office reacted Monday to North Korea’s missile test with a statement that “reaffirmed Alaska’s commitment to protecting America from rogue nation missile attacks.”
Palin herself criticized proposed Obama administration cuts proposed to missile defense programs. “I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program which has clear potential of impacting Alaska, a sovereign state of the United States, with a potentially nuclear armed warhead,” she said in the statement. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we continue to develop and perfect the global missile defense network. Alaska’s strategic location and the system in place here have proven invaluable in defending the nation....
“Our early opposition to reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency is proving to be well-founded during this turbulent time. I continue to support the development and implementation of a defensive missile shield based in Alaska. We are strategically placed to defend the critical assets of the United States and our allies in the Pacific Theater.”
The statement also stressed Palin’s request for stimulus funds for a commercial rocket launch facility owned and operated by a public corporation of the state of Alaska.
President Obama pushes his new ties with Turkey, wooing a predominantly Muslim nation and telling the world the United States is not "at war with Islam." In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry looks at the president's outreach to the Muslim world.
Plus: Mission Accomplished? President Obama has been making a big splash on his European tour, but how is his trip playing out at home? CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider breaks down the numbers in the latest CNN poll.
Also: If you think the president's economic plan is ambitious, take a look at his plan for nuclear disarmament. Can President Obama rid the world of nuclear weapons? CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at the world's stockpiles.
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(CNN) - A Palin family spokeswoman Monday is continuing to push back against recent claims from Levi Johnston, saying the former fiancé of Bristol Palin told an outright "lie" when he said the two were allowed to live together.
"Levi has never lived under the same roof as Bristol or any of the Palins," Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton told CNN.
In an interview that aired in full Monday on the Tyra Banks Show, Johnston said he moved in to the Palin household shortly before the birth of son Tripp last December.
"I just wanted to be there for her when she had the baby," Johnston said, adding the two were allowed to share a room.
"Do you really think the governor and Todd would have allowed that," Stapleton said in an e-mail.
In a statement released late last Friday, Stapelton was also sharply critical of Johnston for appearing on the show.
"We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship," Stapleton said. "It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well-being of the child."
(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee has launched a 2010 Rhode Island gubernatorial exploratory committee, Chafee aide James DeRentis told CNN Monday.
Chafee has "gotten a tremendous amount of encouragement," said DeRentis, who will serve as campaign manager for the exploratory committee. The new committee will "see how that support translates into financial and other support for a gubernatorial run," he added.
Chafee lost his Senate seat in 2006 election as a Republican, but subsequently became an independent in part over differences with the GOP. If he decides to run mount a 2010 gubernatorial run, he will run as an independent.
(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden took the mound Monday, throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles' home opener against the New York Yankees.
The vice president lobbed a high ball to catcher Chad Moeller to kick off the O's season.
And Biden had some help with the pitch. Eight youth from the Baltimore Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities League, a program founded by Major League Baseball and sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation, accompanied the vice president onto the mound at Camden Yards.
(CNN) – As he wraps up a week-long trip abroad that drew positive headlines across Europe, President Barack Obama's approval rating remains high at home, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday.
Obama draws a 66 percent approval rating in the latest CNN poll, a number that has remained statistically unchanged over the last month. That number is based on positive ratings from virtually all Democrats; two-thirds of Republicans disapprove of what the president has done in office so far.
"Polls indicate that Americans aren't blaming Obama yet for current economic conditions, so his rating remains robust despite the recession," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In addition, a fairly successful overseas trip usually helps a president win over a few converts."
The poll, which surveyed 1,023 Americans, was conducted between April 3-5 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus three point
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Americans are almost evenly split over whether to take military action against North Korea for this past weekend's missile launch, but only one in four think the country poses an immediate threat, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.
North Korea claims the launch of the long range missile was a success, but the United States and other nations have described it as a failure, and criticized the country for violating a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution. The U.N. Security Council met Sunday, but took no action against North Korea.
A slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, said the U.S. should take military action against North Korea, while 46 percent of Americans opposed the use of military force against what is often described as the most isolated nation in the world. More than half, 58 percent, of Americans said that North Korea is a long term threat, while 25 percent described the nation as an immediate threat and 17 percent believes it poses no threat at all.
"Nearly nine in ten Americans have an unfavorable view of North Korea, making it just about the least popular country in the eyes of the American public," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But far fewer Americans feel immediately threatened by North Korea, which may be one reason why the public is split on a military response to this weekend's developments."
The poll of 1,023 adult Americans was conducted APril 3-5. Most questions on North Korea were asked of roughly half the total sample, producing a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for each question.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – There are no officially-announced GOP challengers to Sen. Arlen Specter just yet - but the fight for the 2010 Republican primary in Pennsylvania is already turning brutal.
Specter's campaign manager, Christopher Nicholas, sent a letter to Club for Growth President Pat Toomey on Monday asking that he release the name of the organization members receiving federal bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"Senator Specter's campaign will not engage in reciprocal name calling with you. All we want are the facts," Nicholas said in the letter.
Nicholas added, "If you again refuse, the next question is, what do you have to hide?"
Last week, Specter released an ad trying to highlight Toomey's ties to Wall Street and said that while he worked as a trader, he sold the same "risky derivatives" that "have now plunged us into this financial mess."
Toomey, who has been critical of Specter's support for Obama's stimulus plan, has strongly hinted that he will run for Senate in 2010, but hasn't officially made an announcement yet. He narrowly lost a 2004 primary challenge for Specter's seat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration sent a fresh signal Monday that new rules on family travel and remittances to Cuba are coming soon, and may be announced before President Obama attends the Summit of the Americas on April 17.
Before he was elected president, Obama promised to ease restrictions Cuban-American travel to visit family in the island nation, and ability to send those relatives money. He will sit down with 33 of his fellow leaders at the summit in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The White House adviser for the summit, Jeffrey Davidow, would not say Monday when the Obama administration might announce the easing of the restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. "I really could not say," he said. "But I would not be surprised if it came before the summit… they're going to happen, I can't tell you exactly when."
Davidow also said he hoped that discussions of Cuba would not dominate the summit. "It would be unfortunate if the principal theme of this meeting turned out to be Cuba… I think there are a lot of very important issues that warrant discussion, whether it is economic issues, social inclusion, the environment, public safety," Davidow said at a State Department briefing.
(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is sticking to his guns – but leaving all of his options open – when it comes to $700 million in disputed stimulus funds at the center of a multi-sided dispute involving federal and state lawmakers.
Read: Sanford's latest letter to Obama's budget director
The governor is hoping to reach an agreement with the legislature that would allow state funds to be used to pay down debt, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN Monday. If an agreement is reached, then Sanford will complete the process of applying for the $700 million in funds available from the federal stimulus package.