(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce Tuesday that he will not seek a third term as governor, sources tell CNN.
The decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid next year will almost certainly be seen as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012.
Pawlenty has scheduled a press conference at 3 pm ET today to reveal his future plans at the state capitol building in St. Paul, Minnesota.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll of Republicans suggests that there's no front runner at this extremely early moment in the next race for the White House.
Three possible candidates are all bunched at the top of a CNN/Opinion Research
Corporation survey released Tuesday.
The survey suggests that 22 percent of Republicans would most likely support former Arkansas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's presidential nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent say they would most likely back Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, with an equal number supporting former Massachusetts governor and former White House hopeful Mitt Romney.
Taking into account the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error, Huckabee, Palin and Romney seem to be locked in a hypothetical dead heat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former first lady Nancy Reagan will personally attend a White House ceremony Tuesday afternoon when President Obama signs legislation authorizing the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, CNN has learned.
Mrs. Reagan will also attend the unveiling of a new statute of President Reagan Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. After the unveiling, the former first lady will share a private White House lunch with Michelle Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama will announce Tuesday at mid-morning that he is nominating U.S. Rep. John M. McHugh, R-New York, to be secretary of the Army, a White House official told CNN.
McHugh is a nine-term Congressman from New York's 23rd Congressional district, which is located in the northernmost portion of the state, along the Canadian border.
He is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
(CNN) - President Obama is hitting back at Dick Cheney's string of recent statements declaring the new president has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, flatly telling NPR Monday the former vice president is "wrong."
"He…happens to be wrong, right?" Obama said laughing. "And last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact-check on his speech that didn't get a very good grade."
Obama's comments come 10 days after both he and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.
But Obama said Monday Cheney's vigorous criticisms do not complicate his administration’s efforts to chart its own course when it comes to conducting the war on terror.
"Does it make it more complicated? No, because I think these are complicated issues and there is a legitimate debate to be had about national security," he said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the former vice president or the previous administration in wanting to protect the American people. And these are very difficult decisions."
Obama also said he doesn't find it unusual Cheney has become so outspoken in his criticism of the new administration, citing former vice president Al Gore as an example.
"As I remember, there were some speeches given by Vice President Gore that differed with President Bush's policies and I think that's healthy; that's part of the debate," he said. "And I don't in any way begrudge, I think, anybody in debating sometimes ferociously these issues that are of preeminent importance to the United States."
But Gore himself may take issue with that statement. Appearing on CNN last month, the former vice president said Cheney is speaking out too early.
"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical,” Gore said. (Some have noted Gore actually began to criticize the run-up to the Iraq war in September 2002 - about a year-and-a-half after Bush took office.)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after former Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his support for the idea of same-sex marriage, Republican party chairman Michael Steele re-stated his opposition to the idea.
"My personal view is that marriage is between a man and a woman," Steele said Tuesday on CNN's American Morning, "very much in line with what the president [Barack Obama] has said."
"...The vice president brings a very personal perspective to this issue," he also said. "I think his comments are an appropriate reflection of his family and his situation with his daughter."
At an appearance at the National Press Club Monday, Cheney reiterated his long-standing position that individuals should be able to choose the type of relationship they wish to enter into. Citing his own family's experience with the issue, he said the question of same-sex marriage was best left to the states, not the federal government.
"I think freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said Monday, when asked whether some form of legalized same-sex marriage is inevitable in the United States. "As many of you know," told the audience, "one of my daughters is gay – something that we've lived for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."
(CNN) - No Republican candidate was won statewide in New Jersey in 12 years. But with Gov. Jon Corzine - the Democratic incumbent - struggling in the polls, the GOP hopes this year their losing streak will end.
Voters in the Garden State head to the polls today and in the gubernatorial battle, two very different Republican candidates are fighting to face off this November against Corzine.
Since the GOP gubernatorial showdown in New Jersey is the only statewide Republican primary this year, the race has also, to some extent, become a proxy in the nationwide battle between conservatives and moderates for the heart of the Republican party.
All recent polls in New Jersey suggest that former federal prosecutor Chris Christie has a wide lead in the contest. The moderate Republican candidate also has the backing of the state party's establishment. He's facing off against the much more conservative Steve Lonegan, a former three term mayor and small business owner who's running as the candidate of the right and against what he calls the "party bosses."
When it comes to the issues, there's a clear divide. Christie supports gun control, calls for incremental tax overhaul, and, after once supporting abortion rights, now favors some restrictions. Lonegan is a firm believer in gun rights, supports a flat tax on income, and opposes abortion rights.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hours before President Barack Obama departs for a trip to the Middle East, a new national poll suggests that only one in five Americans has a favorable view of Muslim countries.
That compares to 46 percent of the people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey who say they have an unfavorable opinion of Muslim countries. That's up five points from 2002, when 41 percent indicated they had an unfavorable view.
Three in ten meanwhile say they have a neutral opinion of Muslim countries.
The poll also suggests that most Americans think people in Muslim countries don't think highly of the United States. Nearly eight in ten questioned say people in Muslim countries have a unfavorable opinion of the U.S., with 14 percent saying Muslims hold a favorable view.
But the poll indicates Americans seem to be split on whether such negative opinions by Muslims matter. Fifty-three percent of those questioned say they think Muslim views of the U.S. matter a great deal or a moderate amount, with 47 percent saying that Muslim opinions of the U.S. don't matter very much or at all.
The poll's release comes just hours before the president flies to Saudi Arabia for meetings with King Abdullah. Following the stop in Saudi Arabia, Obama heads to Egypt, where Thursday he'll deliver a long-awaited speech on relations between the United States and the Muslim world. At a town hall in Turkey earlier this year, the president delcared that "the United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam."
Americans seem to agree with the president: 62 percent of those surveyed say they don't think the U.S. is at war with the Muslim world, with 36 percent indicating that the country is at war with Muslim countries. Those numbers have remained stable since CNN's 2002 poll.
But the poll suggests that six out of ten think that the Muslim world considers itself at war with the U.S.
"The feeling seems to be mutual. We distrust Muslims. They distrust Americans. Views of Americans have not changed very much over the past seven years. There are some indications that Muslims' views of Americans have improved a bit since Barack Obama took office, but they are still not positive," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Obama refutes Cheney: He's 'wrong'
President Obama is hitting back at Dick Cheney's string of recent statements declaring the new president has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, flatly telling NPR Monday the former vice president is "wrong."
CNN: Kaine: Texas is the next Virginia
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appears to have his eyes set on Texas, announcing Monday the organization's fall meeting will be held in the Lone Star state.
CNN: Cheney: No link between Saddam Hussein, 9/11
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he does not believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the planning or execution of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
CNN: Sotomayor: GOP cries racism, Dems cry foul
During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama said that he hoped his administration wouldn't get hung up on matters of race.
CNN: Clinton pledges to fight for gay rights worldwide
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged Monday to fight for gay rights and called on the world to stop discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation.
CNN: Romney slams Obama for 'tour of apology'
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took aim at President Obama's foreign and national security policy Monday, criticizing the commander-in-chief's message abroad as a "tour of apology" and calling plans to trim the missile defense budget a "grave miscalculation" that puts the nation at risk in the face of urgent threats like North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
CNN: U.S., allies plan tough U.N. resolution on North Korea
The United States is working with its allies to send a "strong, unified" message to North Korea that its "belligerent" actions have consequences, the State Department said Monday.
CNN: Crucial hearing Monday in Coleman-Franken fight
Nearly seven months after Election Day, the battle between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota heads to the state's Supreme Court.
NYT: Administration Is Near a Financial Overhaul Plan
Washington is asking some painful questions about how to prevent the next financial meltdown. Should it reinvent the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation? Abolish the seemingly feckless overseer of savings and loans? Grant new powers to the Federal Reserve?