COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Mark Sanford left the state capital of Columbia this morning and traveled to Sullivan’s Island to visit with his family, the governor’s office said Thursday.
Sanford’s spokesman also said the governor is calling state legislators and other state officials by phone.
Sanford’s wife Jenny has been at the family’s beach house on Sullivan’s Island since last week along with the couple’s four children.
The South Carolina governor returned from Argentina on Wednesday and admitted to an extramarital affair at an emotional press conference in the state capitol. Jenny Sanford said yesterday she asked her husband to leave two weeks ago for “a trial separation.” After the press conference, Sanford said in a statement that “Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.”
(CNN) – A new poll of Pennsylvania voters suggests that Sen. Arlen Specter's job approval rating has nose-dived over the past few months.
Thirty-four percent of those questioned in a Franklin and Marshall College survey released Thursday approve of the job Specter's doing as senator. That's down 18 points from a 52 percent approval rating in a Franklin and Marshall poll conducted in March.
The survey also indicates that only 28 percent believe Specter deserves to be re-elected next year, down from 40 percent in March.
Specter switched his political affiliation from the Republican to Democratic party in late April.
"The poll indicates that the party switch hurt him among Republicans - which is not surprising - but that it also hurt him among Independents," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance Committee has crafted a health care reform bill that is less than $1 trillion, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, announced Thursday.
The bill is paid for through a combination of tax increases and various savings.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has also assessed various policy options the committee can choose from in order meet that politically important price point, Baucus added.
Finance committee members were shocked last week when the CBO determined that their reform bill would cost $1.6 trillion. They have slowly whittled it down since.
Senators still have to make a number of decisions regarding which policy options they will choose in order to make up a comprehensive reform package.
–CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is set to begin tackling the politically contentious issue of immigration Thursday, hosting a bipartisan group of congressmen at the White House for what the administration is calling the "launch of a policy conversation."
The meeting, which was delayed twice as economic issues took center stage, is designed to be an "honest discussion of issues where we can identify areas of agreement, and areas where we still have work to do," according to the White House.
The meeting comes less than a week after the president reiterated his commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform that paves the way for citizenship for millions of undocumented workers.
On Friday, Obama told a Hispanic audience that the "fair, practical and promising way forward" is to strengthen border security, clarify the status of those who are here illegally, and require illegal immigrants to pay a penalty and taxes.
He also said undocumented workers should learn English and "go to the back of the line behind those who played by rules" in terms of applying for citizenship.
"The American people believe in immigration, but they also believe that we can't tolerate a situation where people come to the United States in violation of the law," Obama said in an address to the eighth annual National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
(CNN) – The road to the 2012 Republican nomination is wide open, but a growing list of contenders have struggled out of the gate.
(CNN) - A day after Mark Sanford admitted to an extramarital affair, one South Carolina newspaper is calling on the state's governor to resign.
"Mark Sanford cannot navigate a deep and painful personal crisis and lead the state through its economic crisis at the same time," read an editorial printed in The Spartanburg Herald-Journal. "This kind of personal issue is consuming. It will be more than a distraction from his duties as governor, it will be a higher priority."
The editorial comes after Sanford admitted he was in Argentina for the past five days to see a woman with whom he had cheated on his wife. Sanford said he did not tell his staff, or his wife, where he was going.
"The Palmetto State needs an effective spokesman who can talk to potential employers and convince them of the benefits of doing business in South Carolina without having to answer questions about his personal life," the editorial states.
Sanford immediately resigned his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but has not indicated any similar plans with regard to the governorship.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.
Sanford revealed Wednesday that he began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" from Argentina last year.
It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman the during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with her "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.
Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.
The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.
After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 - one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted his extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.
The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires - the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence - for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.
(CNN) – African-Americans really like President Obama, but more and more feel that race relations have not gotten better since he took office, a new national poll found.
Ninety-six percent of African-Americans approve of how Obama is handling his presidency, according to a CNN/Essence Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Thursday.
During the 2008 election, 38 percent of blacks surveyed thought racial discrimination was a serious problem. In the new survey, 55 percent of blacks surveyed believed it was a serious problem, which is about the same level as it was in 2000.
The poll was conducted May 16-18, in telephone interviews with 505 African-Americans and 501 whites.
(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told the woman with whom he was having an affair they were “in a hopelessly impossible situation of love” last year during the time he was thought to be under consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination, according to e-mails obtained by The State newspaper.
The paper, which acquired the emails in December, told CNN that the governor’s office had confirmed their authenticity on Wednesday. When contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the governor would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the emails.
The e-mails between the GOP governor and a Buenos Aires resident named “Maria,” were exchanged in July of last year, according to the newspaper.
In one message, Sanford told the woman about his plans to take a family vacation and meet with then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain “which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home ...” before he veered into more emotional territory.
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: South Carolina Gov. Sanford admits extramarital affair
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, just back from a secret trip to Argentina unknown to his staff or his wife, admitted Wednesday he has carried on an extramarital affair with a woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
CNN: Sanford e-mail to mistress: Situation 'hopelessly impossible'
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told the woman with whom he was having an affair they were "in a hopelessly impossible situation of love" last year when he was thought to be under consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination, according to e-mails obtained by The State newspaper.
CNN: Sanford took state-funded trip to Argentina last June
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a state-funded trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.
CNN: Health care battle intensifies for Obama, Congress
The struggle over health care reform reached a fever pitch Wednesday as sharp partisan lines were drawn over the politically explosive question of a possible government-funded public plan competing with private insurers' plans.
CNN: House Democrats unsure of global warming bill's passage
House Democratic leaders are furiously lobbying their members and moderate Republicans to support a landmark energy bill in the face of resistance from some conservative members of their own party, and staunch opposition from the GOP — roadblocks that are making it difficult to find the 218 votes necessary to pass the measure, according to Democratic leadership aides.
CNN: GOP senators challenge Sotomayor's commitment to Bill of Rights
Republican senators on Wednesday made public their strategy for combating the Supreme Court nomination of appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor, questioning whether she believes the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans.
CNN: Palin to take overseas trip to visit troops
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will head overseas to visit troops serving in the National Guard, her office said Wednesday.