(CNN) - Last year - for the first time in U.S. history - black and white voters voted at roughly the same rates, according to a new study.
The overall turnout rate barely budged, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center - and turnout among white voters actually declined - but in another first, participation by black women was the highest of any gender or race. Nearly 69 percent of black women voted in November.
The difference between black and white turnout rates dropped from 7 percent in 2004 to less than 1 percent last year, a statistically insignificant gap.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Two days after Sen. Arlen Specter decided to leave the Republican Party, the newly-minted Democrat's campaign manager said he will honor requests to return 15 campaign contributions.
Specter's campaign manager Christopher Nichols said Thursday that he received those requests by the close of business on Wednesday afternoon. When Specter announced his decision to switch parties on Tuesday, he said in a statement that he would return contributions "upon request."
But some think Specter shouldn't wait to be asked, and that he should return all of the money that he received as a Republican. The chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, Rob Gleason, said in a statement Tuesday that Specter should "do the right thing and proactively return any and all campaign contributions he has received in recent months to run as a Republican in the upcoming election."
According to Opensecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics' online fundraising tracker, Specter raised $1.3 million during the first three months of 2009.
(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who once found himself in a war of words with Rush Limbaugh, said in an interview Thursday he agreed with the conservative talk show radio host that former Republican turned Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was a party dead weight.
When questioned on CBS' "Early Show" about which Republican reaction to the Specter exit he most identifies with: Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe's mourning of the loss or Rush Limbaugh's declaration of good riddance, the Republican National Committee Chairman replied, "Rush. I'm sorry I'm not weeping here. I'm sorry."
As to the future of the GOP, Steele wasn't overly optimistic, maintaining that the outlook of his party isn't great as of now.
"Well the future lies down the road a bit. I mean, look, I'm not going to sit here with, you know, pie-in-the-sky talking about, you know, how wonderful things are. They're not," he said.
But like his Republican colleague, Olympia Snowe, Steele insisted there is room for moderates in Republican Party, saying the notion that the party is exclusive "is just crazy."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama has said if the economy doesn't turn around on his watch, voters won't give him a second term.
"If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition," he said in an NBC interview in February.
Policy experts agree Obama's presidency will be rated on the speed and depth of the economic recovery. But they think he may only have until mid-2010 to get the economy moving in the right direction before Americans start blaming him for what ails them.
"If we get back to an upward economy in 2010, it'll be good. But if we're in it [longer] ... people's opinions will be formed. That's as much patience as Americans will have," said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones senior fellow of the Peterson Institute.
And voters could take it out on Democrats in the November 2010 midterm congressional elections.
"Republicans could cut into Democratic majorities," said American University Professor Allan Lichtman, a political historian and presidential election expert.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Chrysler plans to file for bankruptcy, an Obama administration official said Thursday.
(CNN) - After Arlen Specter bolted the GOP Tuesday, Republicans like party chair Michael Steele attacked him as a "leftist" with a history of "left-wing" stands.
That was yesterday.
Twenty-four hours later, his former colleagues in the Senate GOP are rushing to embrace Specter's past in a new campaign designed to highlight the consistency of his Republican record.
"In light of Senator Specter's changing political party, we felt it was our civic duty to adequately inform Pennsylvania Democrat primary voters about their new Senator's record and his close relationship with our former President George W. Bush," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson said in a Wednesday announcement.
The effort includes a Web page featuring YouTube clips of Specter's positive comments about conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, and criticism of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. It also involves robocalls to Pennsylvania voters to "help you welcome your newest Democrat senator" that use audio from Specter's old campaign ads - audio featuring what the NRSC describes as "glowing support" from former President George W. Bush.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: Obama says he doesn't have 'rubber-stamp Senate'
President Obama said Wednesday that he's under no illusions that he'll have a "rubber-stamp Senate" now that Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties to join the Democrats.
CNN: GOP set to launch rebranding effort
Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama's characterization of Republicans as "the party of 'no.'"
CNN: Congress approves $3.44 trillion budget resolution
Congress approved a $3.4 trillion budget for the coming year Wednesday, approving most of President Obama's key spending priorities including increasing in health care, education and alternative energy spending.
CNN: Torture tape delays U.S.-UAE nuclear deal, say U.S. officials
A videotape of a heinous torture session is delaying the ratification of a civil nuclear deal between the United Arab Emirates and the United States, senior U.S. officials familiar with the case said.
CNN: GOP using Specter's own campaign ads against him
After Arlen Specter bolted the GOP Tuesday, Republicans like party chair Michael Steele attacked him as a "leftist" with a history of "left-wing" stands.
Washington Post: Justice Department Backs Plan to Eliminate Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
Justice Department officials yesterday endorsed for the first time a plan that would eliminate vast sentencing disparities between possession of powdered cocaine and rock cocaine, an inequity that civil rights groups say has affected poor and minority defendants disproportionately.
Washington Times: Donors demand refund from Specter
Sen. Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party is prompting his campaign donors large and small to demand their money back, including several Republican senators whose political action committees gave tens of thousands of dollars to the Pennsylvania lawmaker.
WSJ: Obama Aims for Fast Private Sector Exit
President Barack Obama said he wants to get the government out of the private sector as fast as possible - but that as long as his administration is acting as a major shareholder for large sectors of American commerce, from cars to finance, he won't hesitate to shape decisions at those firms.