WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Sen. John Ensign vowed Sunday that his party will make sure newly-minted Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter loses his re-election bid in 2010.
"I know as Republicans that we have some great candidates that we're recruiting out there," Ensign said on Fox News Sunday. "And we want to make sure that Arlen Specter is no longer in the United States Senate after the next election. We're going to work very hard to make sure that happens."
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Richard Shelby told CNN Sunday his decision on President Obama's Supreme Court pick would not be affected by "payback" for the former Illinois senator's votes against Bush nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
"I’m not a payback type guy," he told John King on State of the Union. "I think you have to keep moving."
He was also pragmatic about the kind of nominee the Senate could expect to see. "I have no illusions about President Obama appointing a conservative like Alito or Roberts," he said. " But if he will appoint a pragmatist, someone who is not an ideologue, that someone is not just going to light all the lightbulbs in America on the left, I think that would be good for the country. He is very smart. He is very careful. I hope he is going to be careful in this appointment.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy suggested he knew some of the names on President Obama's Supreme Court shortlist, and planned to meet with the president this week to discuss the issue. He also said he was encouraging Obama to meet soon with leaders of both parties.
(CNN) - Janet Napolitano just started her first Washington job - but speculation lingers over whether she might be interested in a more permanent post in the nation's capital.
The Homeland Security secretary continued to shrug off questions Sunday over whether or not she'd be willing to serve on the Supreme Court if she were tapped by President Obama to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice David Souter.
"You know Chris, I got to tell you, I got my hands full with the flu right now and I’m just going to stick with that," she told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace.
Under further questioning, she didn't clarify. "The president has many, many excellent choices before him. And that’s his choice," she said.
The former Arizona governor has long been considered by some political observers to be a possible pick for the high court. On Friday, she also did not indicate whether or not she would consider serving on the high court.
“I’m fully engaged as the Secretary of Homeland Security,” she told reporters. “In fact, I hadn’t heard that he’d actually resigned so you just broke some news for me today.”
(CNN) - House Minority Whip Eric Cantor tells CNN's John King that the GOP still has a lot to learn from President Obama.
"President Obama is a great communicator. We understand that," he said in an interview that aired on CNN's State of the Union Sunday. "He's also been very adept at adopting the technology of today to access the youth vote and the younger population of this country. That's the future, and I believe we've got a lot to learn. The Republican Party can't keep doing things the way it always has in terms of technology."
Cantor, along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, held the kick off event Saturday for the National Council for a New America, a high-profile Republican effort to engage a diverse group of voters.
One new GOP face who seems to disagree with Cantor's point of view: Meghan McCain, whose father John McCain is involved with the NCNA effort.
"Simply embracing technology isn't going to fix our problem," the 24-year-old told a gay Republican group last month. "Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn't going to miraculously make people think we're cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don't divide our nation further will."
The NCNA is planning to hold a series of town halls across the country in the coming months in an effort to re-cast the party’s image.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former congressman and Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp died Saturday at age 73 after a battle with cancer, his family announced.
A onetime professional football player, Kemp served nine terms in Congress as a representative from New York and was former Sen. Bob Dole's running mate in 1996. He was a leading advocate of "supply-side" tax cuts, advancing the argument that cutting taxes would boost economic growth and yield more revenue for the federal government.
"The only way to oppose a bad idea is to replace it with a good idea, and I like to think that I have spent my life trying to promote good ideas," he told CNN in a 1996 interview.
Kemp "passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord" Sunday evening, a family statement said. He disclosed his illness in January.
(CNN) - Meghan McCain, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said the GOP is going to have to become more inclusive if it wants to rebuild.
“I just wish that moderates like myself - more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans - weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’” the 24-year-old told CNN affiliate KTAR radio in a joint interview with her father.
“We need to be an inclusive party. We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” she said on the "Mac & Gaydos" show.
“And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad - I just think it’s that the Democrats package their message better, and I think if we could be able to communicate with my generation, the Republican Party can really rebuild itself,” she added.
Asked about the coverage she’s been getting for the GOP, McCain said she feels like she’s “speaking out for a lot of young people that don’t feel spoken for.”
The U.S. declared a public health emergency after hundreds of cases of the H1N1 flu sprung up around the world. The virus has been linked to more than 150 deaths in Mexico and health officials are encouraging people to take standard precautions such as frequent hand washing and avoiding work or school if ill. But many people report still feeling confused about what exactly to do.
What more would you like to know about the flu outbreak? Are you satisfied with the government’s response?
Now is your chance to ask questions to two members of President Obama’s cabinet. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak with John King on CNN’s “State of the Union” this Sunday.
(CNN) - CNN has confirmed that Jack Kemp has died. The former Republican vice presidential candidate, New York congressman, and NFL quarterback died today of cancer, according to a family spokesman.