(CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney is weighing into the heated internal debate over the future of the Republican Party, declaring it would be a mistake for the GOP to "moderate."
"This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles," Cheney said in an interview with North Dakota radio host Scott Hennen Thursday, according to a transcript.
"You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy," Cheney also said. "I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, 'Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.'"
Cheney's comments come a week after longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter formally left the GOP, in part, Specter said, because the party has "moved farther and farther to the right."
Specter's defection immediately unleashed a debate among Republicans over what type of candidates the party should embrace going forward as it seeks to regain control in Washington and establish a foothold in regions of the country where the GOP once dominated.
In the interview Thursday, Cheney also said it's time for the older leaders of the party - like him - to exit the stage.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will miss a chance to chat up President Obama this weekend because she's cancelling plans to attend the White House Correspondents' dinner, but she's got a good excuse.
Palin on Wednesday declared a state of emergency because of record flooding in Eagle, Alaska. "It's basically wiped out a town," Bill McAllister, Palin's communications director, told CNN.
Palin was slated to be a guest of Fox News at the annual dinner.
McAllister confirmed Palin will stay in Alaska this weekend and will no longer attend Saturday night’s annual press dinner headlined by Obama this year for the first time.
The former Republican presidential candidate has also pulled out of co-hosting a Friday night dinner for the Republican Governors Association with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. The dinner is a thank you to donors who have contributed at least $25,000 to the group. The dinner for 50 will be held at the Virginia home of Fred Malek, a major Republican fundraiser.
Nick Ayers, executive director of the RGA, told CNN the event was a "hot ticket" in part because of Palin's involvement and he's now searching for a new co-host with Sanford.
Ayers briefly interrupted a phone interview to take a call from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, who had considered making the trip to fill in for Palin but could not make it happen.
The RGA is now hoping Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, another hot property in Republican circles, can attend instead.
"We'll have a good group there," said Ayers.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the same day House Republican leaders accused the administration of endangering national security by possibly transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S., House Democrats demanded President Obama submit a plan to Congress within six months spelling out what the administration will do with the prisoners when it closes the facility.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, Thursday added the requirement to the $96.7 billion war funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. It directs the administration to provide details on where Guantanamo prisoners would be transferred, the cost of shutting down the facility and the cost of securing prisoners at other detention centers. The report is due by Oct. 1, 2009.
Earlier this week, Obey denied the administration's request for $80 million to close down the prison in Cuba, saying "so far as we can tell there is yet no concrete program for that." Although he supports the President's plan to close the facility, Obey told reporters on Mondayhe needed to see more details before signing off on any funding.
Obey took the issue a step further Thursday by attaching the demand for a report to must-pass legislation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards supported his wife writing about their marital problems in the wake of his affair with a campaign staffer, the former presidential candidate said in a rare on-camera interview airing Thursday.
In the brief television interview with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Edwards said he never suggested his wife, Elizabeth, change any part of the book, even chapters that described the most personal details of her reaction to his infidelity.
"I think it's how she feels, it's what's inside of her," Edwards said. It was his first television interview since publicly acknowledging the affair nine months ago.
Among the revelations in her book out this week, Mrs. Edwards said she became nauseous when her husband told her of an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006, who was hired to make Web videos about Edwards as he geared up for his second presidential run.
“I cried and screamed,” Mrs. Edwards writes in the book. “I went to the bathroom and threw up." Mrs. Edwards added that she urged her husband not to run for president in order to protect the family if the affair became public.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The GOP is sending a strong message to the Obama administration: Don't bring former Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
House Republicans introduced legislation Thursday aimed at stopping the release or transfer of terrorists at GITMO from being imported to the United States.
"The world suddenly did not become safer on January 20, 2009," House Republican Leader John Boehner said at a press conference Thursday. "We ought to make clear that none of these detainees should be brought to the United States until such time as the President has had a conversation with the American people, which is the essence of the bill that we are bringing forward."
The Keep Terrorists out of America Act opposes transfer of any detainee to the United States, but requires that governors and state legislatures pre-approve the import of terrorists from the prison camps to their respective states, if such a process should occur.
"Guantanamo was chosen for a specific reason. It is isolated," Texas Rep. Lamar Smith said Thursday. "That all fundamentally changes when you take them off of an island, away from Gitmo, and plunk them down in the middle of Michigan, in the middle of Kansas, in the middle of Virginia, or in the middle of New York."
No time frames or announcements have been made by the White House concerning what to do with some 240 detainees. The review that President Obama ordered at the beginning of his administration continues.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – News of baseball star Manny Ramirez's drug violation brought "disappointment" Thursday to Mudville and the White House.
"I think it's a disappointment to anyone who is a sports fan," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said of Ramirez's suspension.
The Los Angeles Dodgers all-star outfielder was suspended for 50 games after violating the "Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," Major League Baseball said in a prepared statement.
"It's a tragedy," Gibb said at his daily news conference. "It's a shame. My sense is, it's a great embarrassment on Major League Baseball and you hope that each time this happens that others will recognize, if they are doing it, and stop. Regrettably, it happens over and over again."
(CNN) - The Republican National Committee Thursday named two veterans of the 2008 presidential campaign to serve in the key posts of press secretary and research director.
Gail Gitcho, the Mid-Atlantic regional communications director for John McCain’s presidential campaign, will serve as press secretary, CNN has learned. Gitcho was also deputy press secretary for regional media for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
Jeff Berkowitz, the former research director and deputy communications director for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, will serve in a similar role at the RNC. He is currently the communications director for the Center for U.S. Global Engagement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States and Russia pledged Thursday not to let differences on issues such as Georgia prevent stronger ties and cooperation on nuclear reductions, proliferation and Iran.
"It is old thinking to say that we have a disagreement in one area and therefore we shouldn't work in something else that is overwhelmingly important," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after a meeting with
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We want to normalize the relationship and raise it to a new level," Clinton said.
Lavrov added that reducing both countries' nuclear stockpiles was "too important both for Russia and the United States and the rest of the world to hold hostage."
The two met to further negotiations on a nuclear reduction treaty to replace the 1991 START treaty, which expires at the end of this year, and in advance of a summit between President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in July. Last month in London the two leaders agreed to cooperate on arms control, nuclear proliferation and Iran.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican congressional leaders tore into President Barack Obama's proposed 2010 budget Thursday, arguing that his spending cuts will do little to stem a rising tide of red ink.
The White House released details earlier in the day outlining $17 billion in cuts from 121 federal programs. The total savings amounts to roughly 0.5 percent of the more than $3.5 trillion in spending approved for next year, or 1.2 percent of next year's projected $1.4 trillion deficit if the president's overall budget is adopted.
"With Democrats in Congress adding to the national debt at the rate of more than $100 billion every month already this year and with a budget that triples the already unsustainable public debt over the next decade, it is clear that there is not much more that we can do to protect our children and grandchildren from the unprecedented trillions in additional debt proposed by this administration," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on the Senate floor.
New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg, who withdrew as Obama's commerce secretary-designate earlier this year, also criticized the cuts as minuscule in the face of current spending and deficit projections.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Senate Thursday confirmed Seattle, Washington, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
"I am pleased that Mr. Kerlikowske supports combating drug use and crime with all the tools at our disposal, including enforcement, prevention, and reatment," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said in a written statement.
"I have always advocated vigorous enforcement and punishment of those who commit serious crimes. (But) along with others who serve in law enforcement, I also know that punishment alone will not solve the problems of drugs and violence in our rural communities. ... I congratulate Chief Kerlikowske and his family on his confirmation today, and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Kerlikowske, 59, is a military veteran with 36 years of law enforcement experience. He has headed Seattle's police department for the last nine years.
Kerlikowske will take over for John Walters, who held the position under President George W. Bush.
The job of drug policy chief entails overseeing the agency that sets the country's drug control strategy.