WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a lawsuit filed by former CIA operative Valerie Plame against onetime Bush administration officials to continue.
The justices offered no explanation for deciding not to hear the case brought by Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
The two accused then-Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials of leaking Plame's identity to reporters in 2003, endangering her life as covert operative and violating her constitutional rights.
A federal appeals court had dismissed the lawsuit, saying the allegations do not fall under protections provided by the Privacy Act.
(CNN) - President Obama has plans meet with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, but has yet to decide if he will attend next year's World Cup in South Africa.
"I'm told for scheduling that the president has accepted a meeting with the head of FIFA World Cup but that we have not yet all together made plans," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday in response to an ESPN report that the president had already committed to attending the event.
But Gibbs, who noted he was a soccer player in college, joked that he and a handful of other staffers are urging the president to go.
"I can assure you a small group have assembled in order to move the president in that direction," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Acknowledging his own struggle with smoking, President Obama signed a sweeping anti-tobacco bill into law Monday.
"Each day, 1,000 young people under the age of 18 become new regular, daily smokers, and almost 90 percent of all smokers began at or before their 18th birthday," Obama said. "I know; I was one of these teenagers. And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it's been with you for a long time."
During his campaign for the presidency, Obama acknowledged that he had been an occasional smoker since he was a teenager, but had begun using nicotine-based chewing gum as a way to stop using cigarettes. And while the president has not been seen sneaking a smoke since taking the oath of office, the White House does not deny it is a an ongoing struggle.
"It's something that he continues to struggle with as somebody - like millions of Americans have," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at a briefing Monday when asked if Mr. Obama was still smoking.
(CNN) - The field of candidates vying to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as California governor could grow today.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will announce this afternoon whether he's going to jump into the race. The mayor will make his news on exclusively on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer at 4pm ET.
If Villaraigosa jumps in, he'll join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who announced in April that he would run for Democratic nomination for governor in next year's election. California Attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown has indicated he plans to run as well, but he has not officially tossed his hat into the gubernatorial ring. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi may also join the contest.
"Villaraigosa is obviously very well known in Los Angeles and LA has the largest media market in the state," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "Ordinarily being a Latino would give Villaraigosa a large base of voters, but he may have to compete with Brown for some of those voters, particularly older ones, who were very loyal to Brown when he was governor back in the 1970's."
On the Republican side, although she hasn't officially announced her candidacy, former eBay executive Meg Whitman appears to be running governor. She would join former Rep. Tom Campbell and California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who have officially announced their intentions to run for governor of California in 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new survey suggests that New York Gov. David Paterson's poll numbers may have bottomed out.
But the Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday also indicates that seven out of 10 New York state voters would vote for someone other than Paterson in next year's gubernatorial contest.
Thirty-one percent of people questioned in the poll have a favorable view of Paterson, up four points from last month, with 57 percent viewing him unfavorably, down three points from May. Paterson has a 20 percent approval rating in the survey, up two points from last month.
Paterson took a hard line last week against the gridlocked state senate, threatening to order senators into an open-ended special session so they can vote on essential bills. Two-thirds of those questioned in the poll think the fight for leadership of the state senate is bad for New Yorkers and more than half polled say the situation is an embarrassment.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, once again has some high-powered help in his 2010 re-election bid.
Dodd began airing a new television ad Sunday that features his long time friend, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.
"Quality health care as a fundamental right has been the cause of my life," Kennedy says in the 30-second TV spot. "And Chris Dodd has been my closest ally in this fight."
Kennedy adds that "I believe that with Chris Dodd's leadership, our families will finally have accessible, affordable health care."
The Connecticut Democrat has already aired an ad featuring President Obama praising his work on credit card reform legislation.
The Kennedy ad is running state-wide on broadcast and cable outlets Dodd campaign manager Jay Howser told CNN. Howser said the campaign is spending at least $100,000 for the ad that is scheduled to run for at least a week.
Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, is the chairman of one of the congressional committees charged with crafting the Democrats' health care reform bill. Dodd has taken a leading role in championing the legislation in Kennedy's absence.
Public polling now indicates that Dodd faces a difficult re-election in 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - National Security Adviser Jim Jones is traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan "to follow up on the implementation of our new, comprehensive strategy," a spokesman said Monday in a news release.
Jones will meet with host country officials, embassy personnel, coalition representatives and military commanders, the National Security Council release said.
In addition, Jones will visit New Delhi, India at the invitation of his counterpart, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, as "part of our ongoing effort to further deepen and strengthen our key bilateral partnership with India," the release said.
President Obama's plan to push through health care reform this year is very much in danger of being dead.
Top Democratic advisers are urging the president to get even more involved in the debate before it's too late. The Congressional Budget office last week put the price tag at more than $1 trillion over the next decade; and said it would still leave millions of Americans uninsured.
Republicans have seized on this, insisting that health care reform may be too expensive at a time when we're already facing huge deficits. Senator Lindsey Graham called the CBO estimates a "death blow" to a government-run health care plan.
Some in the GOP suggest an overhaul of the nation's health care system just might have to wait for a while. They're also accusing the White House and Democrats of trying to rush through what they see as flawed legislation this year, before the mid-term elections in 2010.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has a busy week of political travel ahead of him, sparking chatter that he's collecting chits for 2012 presidential run.
Barbour - a widely-respected figure among party insiders who will wrap up his second term, conveniently, in 2011 - is visiting a trio of important states this week, beginning on Monday in Virginia, where he's campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
On Wednesday, he'll work his southern charm up north in Bedford, New Hampshire at a fundraising reception for the state GOP. And on Thursday, he's speaking at another state party fundraiser in the pivotal caucus state of Iowa.
Matt Strawn, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said Barbour was invited to speak at their "Night of the Rising Stars" in Des Moines, in part, because Barbour knocked off a Democratic incumbent to claim the governorship in 2003. Iowa Republicans are trying hoping for a similar result against Democrat Chet Culver next year.
"Haley has a message that will resonate with Iowa Republicans, capturing a governorship and providing competent and common sense conservative leadership," Strawn said.
Barbour, a 61-year old native of Yazoo City, Mississippi, is a former lobbyist and Republican National Committee chairman who won the governorship in 2003 and was easily re-elected in 2007. Even with a Democratic legislature, he has governed as a strong fiscal and social conservative, although he did sign into law a cigarette tax increase in May.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama strongly praised a decision by the nation's pharmaceutical industry to agree to a deal cutting drug costs for elderly Americans on Monday, calling it an example of the kind of compromise required for successful national health care reform.
The agreement discounts medications for Medicare beneficiaries currently facing high out-of-pocket expenses when their benefits reach a gap in coverage.
"Real health care reform ... will require these kinds of commitments," Obama said during an appearance at the White House.
"Today marks a major step forward, but it will only be meaningful if we complete the journey. ... We are going to get this done."
The nation's top drug manufacturers agreed over the weekend to at least a 50 percent discount for most beneficiaries for brand-name medicines purchased in the so-called "doughnut hole" gap in coverage, Obama noted.
The gap involves medication costs of senior citizens between roughly $2,700 and $6,100 a year that are not covered by the Medicare part D plan.
The deal is expected to amount to an $80 billion reduction in Medicare drug costs for senior citizens over the next 10 years, according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, who helped negotiate the agreement.