(CNN) - President Obama will host a fundraiser for the Senate and congressional campaign committees in June, a Democratic Party source tells CNN.
The event - hosted by both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - will take place on Washington, DC, on June 18, though the specific venue has yet to be chosen.
Obama hosted a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in February which reportedly resulted in a $3 million cash haul.
As gay marriage legislation continues to pick up steam in several states, some Republicans are now calling on their party to get behind the movement. A top adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign warns that the GOP will keep losing young voters and the Northeast as long as they oppose same-sex marriages.
Steve Schmidt told a meeting of a gay rights group called the Log Cabin Republicans that it's harmful for GOP candidates to be seen as anti-gay in places like California, Washington and New York.
Schmidt - who has a lesbian sister - called heterosexual marriage "a tradition, not a creed," and dismissed arguments from conservatives that allowing gay marriage would weaken the institution or that it could turn the GOP into a "sectarian party." Nonetheless, he acknowledged that he's unlikely to find support from many in his party in the near future.
One Republican who does agree is John McCain’s daughter, Meghan. She addressed the same group over the weekend, saying there's "a war brewing in the Republican party" between the past and the future.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – The legal battle for Minnesota's Senate seat may be far from over, but Democrat Al Franken isn't waiting for a resolution: on Monday, he announced his first Senate staff hire.
Franken said that Alana Petersen, a former staffer for Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar, will serve as his state director - even though the Democrat's election has yet to be certified. "I want Minnesotans to be able to rely on me for assistance with the federal government. Whether it's a Social Security check, a small business loan, or help for a returning veteran, my office will be there for the people of our state," Franken said in a statement. "Drawing on her wealth of experience and her ability to reach out to every constituency in Minnesota, when I have the privilege of being certified, she'll work with me to ensure that we hit the ground running on Day One."
State GOP chair Ron Carey derided the move as a "publicity stunt."
"This is another shameful episode of disenfranchising voters from Al Franken, and his disrespect for the constitutional rights of all citizens. While the due process and equal protection rights of our fellow citizens are being denied, Al Franken is determined to thumb his nose at the Minnesota Supreme Court," he said in a statement.
Monday's announcement comes exactly a week after a three-judge panel declared Franken the winner of the Senate race over Coleman, by a margin of 312 votes. Republican Norm Coleman has vowed to file an appeal of the decision with the Minnesota Supreme Court.
(CNN) – President Obama on Monday will visit CIA headquarters amid criticism from an ex-CIA chief that he compromised national security last week by releasing Bush-era memos on interrogation tactics.
The president will meet with CIA Director Leon Panetta, Deputy Director Stephen Kappes and other officials as well as talk to employees about the importance of the agency's mission to national security.
Obama's visit comes a day after former CIA Director Michael Hayden said the decision to release the four memos undermined the work the agency is doing.
Hayden, President Bush's CIA director from 2006 to 2009, said the release of the memos emboldens terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.
(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry took heat last week after appearing to leave open the possibility of secession, but fellow Texas Republican Ron Paul says the notion is "very American."
"It is very American to talk about secession. That's how we came in being. Thirteen colonies seceded from the British and established a new country. So secession is a very much American principle," Paul said in a video posted on YouTube.
The self-professed libertarian, who garnered a substantial grassroots following when he ran for president last year, stopped short of endorsing secession for his home state, but said the idea is "worth a discussion."
"What about all the strong endorsements we have give the past decade or two to all the republics that seceded from the Soviet system? We were delighted about it," Paul also said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Congress comes back after a two week recess, a national poll indicates that the honeymoon may be over for congressional Democrats, although they maintain a decided advantage over the GOP.
Forty-nine percent of people questioned this month in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey say that the country is better off with the Democrats controlling Congress. That's down seven points from January, but it's 15 points higher than the 34 percent who say the nation would be better with the Republicans running Capitol Hill.
Democrats won back control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, and increased their majorities in last November's elections.
"Most of the Democrats' loss of support has come among younger Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In January, two-thirds of those under the age of 35 said Democratic control of Congress was good for the country. Now that figure is down to 48 percent."
(CNN) – President Obama's friendly interactions with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has set off a wave of controversy, but analysts said the leaders' next steps will show if relations have truly improved or if Obama was overstepping boundaries.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez presents a book to President Obama at the Summit of the Americas.
Chavez and Obama were both at the Summit of the Americas, which ended Sunday in Trinidad and Tobago.
On the first day, Obama reached out his hand to Chavez and was seen smiling and patting the Venezuelan leader on the shoulder as the two shook hands.
"With this same hand I greeted Bush eight years ago, I want to be your friend," Chavez said, his office reported.
On the second day, as cameras jockeyed for position, Chavez got up and gave Obama a book, "The Open Veins of Latin America," which documents centuries of American abuse in the region. After the exchange, the book skyrocketed to become one of Amazon's best-sellers.
(CNN) – The Democratic National Committee reported receipts of just under $14 million during the first three months of this year, a cash haul that is more than $10 million less than that amassed by its Republican counterpart during the same period.
According to a DNC official, the committee raised nearly $12 million from January through March of this year and accepted a transfer about $2 million from President Obama's presidential campaign.
That compares to the roughly $18 million the Republican National Committee raised in the first quarter of 2009 and a $7 million transfer to the RNC from John McCain's presidential campaign.
The quarter was the first for both DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
The DNC's cash shortfall comes even as Democrats have a president with sky-high approval ratings who hosted a multi-million dollar fundraiser in February.
But unlike Steele, Kaine is currently not allowed to raise money for the party because he is still serving as governor of Virginia.
(CNN) – President Obama's friendly encounter with Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas will be used as propaganda by enemies of the United States, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday.
Gingrich, the second high-profile Republican to criticize the president's now-famous exchange with the Venezuelan leader in as many days, said countries hostile toward America will view the cordial moment as evidence the United States accepts Chavez as an acceptable leader.
"Everywhere in Latin America, enemies of America are going to use the picture of Chavez smiling and being with the president as proof that Chavez is now legitimate that he is acceptable," Gingrich said in an interview on NBC's The Today Show.
"What I find distressing is that this administration is opposed to looking for oil offshore, but the president bows to the Saudi king, and the president is friends with Venezuela whose biggest impact on us is that they send us a lot of oil," Gingrich added.
Speaking Sunday to reporters Sunday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Obama brushed aside criticism of the appearance, saying, "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."
But in his interview Monday, Gingrich said there is a "shallowness about how [the Obama administration] analyzes things."
"It does matter to the world if the United States tolerates a vicious anti-American propaganda campaign, and then smiles and greets the person who has systematically been anti-American his entire career," he said.
Gingrich's comments come a day after Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, called the exchange "irresponsible" during an interview on State of The Union with John King. (Video below)
(CNN) - A new poll indicates that majority of New Yorkers support the legalization of same-sex marriages.
Fifty-three percent of New Yorkers questioned in a Siena College Research Institute poll support a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed, with 39 percent opposing the move.
The survey suggests that Democrats, independent and young voters, and women strongly support Senate passage. Republicans strongly oppose passage. Men, older voters, African-Americans, and Protestants are also opposed. The strongest support for the measure is found in New York City.
On Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson announced he will introduce a bill that would allow same-sex couples in New York State to enter into civil marriages with the full rights of legal marriage. A similar attempt two years ago failed to make it through the state's legislature.
Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Paterson strongly defended a proposed bill that aims to legalize same-sex marriage in his state.