(CNN) - Extramarital affairs have sidelined two potential Republican presidential hopefuls in recent weeks, but former Vice President Dick Cheney said the 2012 GOP bench remains strong.
"I know both of those gentlemen, I consider them friends, and I'm sorry to see them in the difficulties they're now in," said in a Washington Times radio interview Monday, according to the National Review, when asked about the recent sex scandals surrounding Nevada Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
"But I think from the standpoint of the party, we've got some great talent out there, young people coming along that are going to do a superb job. I always remind people that in adversity, there's opportunity," Cheney added.
The former vice president specifically identified Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan of Ohio and former Utah Gov Jon Huntsman - now President Obama's ambassador to China - as potential GOP White House aspirants.
"I think that it's just a matter of time before the party begins to sort of firm up around a few key individuals, and we'll hear big things from them in the future," Cheney said.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama personally thanked nearly 450 of his top fundraisers Monday night at a dinner in the nation's capital.
The president also braced his financial backers for the fights ahead.
"This is when it gets harder," Obama told supporters gathered at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. "This is when the criticism gets louder." He later added, "this is exactly the moment we need to fight the hardest," according to the pool report by David Jackson of USA Today.
The crowd included members of two organizations, the National Advisory Board, the finance arm of the Democratic National Committee, and Obama's own National Finance Committee; some attendees belonged to both groups.
"Without you, we would not be here," Obama told his fundraisers. He also praised them for also putting their "heart and soul" into what at first appeared to be a long shot bid for the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama honored Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month with a White House reception Monday where he likened the struggle for gay rights with the struggle of African-Americans for civil rights.
With first lady Michelle Obama at his side, the president told the cheering crowd filling the East Room that his administration would work to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gays in the military.
"I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," Obama said. "It's not for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago."
WASHINGTON (CNN) –A new national poll suggests that nearly three-quarters of all Americans support the plan to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns, even though most believe that the troop movements will lead to an increase in violence in that country.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Tuesday morning comes on the same day as the long-anticipated deadline for American troops to pull out of Iraqi towns and cities. The U.S. military has been gradually moving its combat troops out of Iraq's population centers for months to meet the deadline agreed by Washington and Baghdad. Since January the Americans have handed over or shut down more than 150 bases across the country, leaving U.S. troops in a little over 300 locations in Iraq that will gradually be handed over to Iraqi control. The Iraqi government describes Tuesday's pullout as National Sovereignty Day."
Seventy-three percent of Americans questioned in the poll favor the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns, with 26 percent opposed.
"This plan has widespread bipartisan support," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seventy two percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Republicans favor this move."
The poll indicates that 52 percent think the level of violence in Iraqi cities will increase after U.S. troops withdraw, with 32 percent saying things will remain the same and 15 percent feeling that the level of violence will decrease. If violence does increase, the poll suggests Americans are quite clear about how to respond.
"Nearly two-thirds say that the U.S. should not send combat troops back into Iraqi population centers even if there is a significant increase in the number of violence attacks." Holland notes. "Americans seem to believe that once the Iraqis are in charge, it's up to them to solve any future problems."
The overall war in Iraq remains unpopular, with only about a third the public supporting the U.S. war in that country.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,026 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: Will recent GOP sex scandals affect upcoming races?
It has been a rocky couple of weeks for the Republican Party as high-profile, traditional-values politicians have faced embarrassing sex scandals.
CNN: Obama holds gay pride reception, vows to overturn 'unjust laws'
President Obama honored Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month with a White House reception Monday where he likened the struggle for gay rights with the struggle of African-Americans for civil rights.
CNN: Cheney says GOP presidential bench still strong
Extramarital affairs have sidelined two potential Republican presidential hopefuls in recent weeks, but former Vice President Dick Cheney said the 2012 GOP bench remains strong.
First on the CNN Ticker: Calls mount for Sanford to step down
Three more Republicans in the South Carolina state legislature spoke out against Mark Sanford on Monday and said the best thing for the governor to do in the wake of last week’s scandal is resign.
NYT: U.S. Resumes Surveillance Flights Over Pakistan
As Pakistan escalates military operations against a top Taliban leader, the United States has resumed secret military surveillance drone flights over the country’s tribal areas to provide Pakistani commanders with a wide array of videos and other information on militants, according to American and Pakistani officials.
Washington Post: No Peril Seen for Sotomayor
The Supreme Court's rejection of a decision against white firefighters endorsed by Judge Sonia Sotomayor gives Republicans a renewed chance to attack her speeches and writings but is not expected to imperil her confirmation to the high court, political and legal sources said yesterday.
Washington Post: More Intelligence Oversight Advised
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has approved legislation intended to strengthen congressional oversight of sensitive intelligence matters, including covert operations.
WSJ: U.S. and Europe Jointly Establish Cyber-Crime Force
The U.S. Secret Service plans to unveil Tuesday plans for a pan-European task force charged with preventing identity theft, computer hacking and other computer-based crime.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Three more Republicans in the South Carolina state legislature spoke out against Mark Sanford on Monday and said the best thing for the governor to do in the wake of last week’s scandal is resign.
At a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Cherokee County, GOP House members Lanny Littlejohn, Dennis Moss and Steve Moss each told the audience that Sanford has lost the credibility to steer the state’s economy through the final 18 months of his term following revelations of an extramarital affair.
Reached by phone, each legislator confirmed their comments at the breakfast. All argued that Sanford has simply become too much of a distraction for the state and can no longer devote his full attention to the troubled economy. South Carolina has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation.
“When business leaders start moving to South Carolina, they want to see somebody they can have confidence in,” Littlejohn told CNN. “If you lie to your family and you lie to your friends, you lie to anyone.”
Dennis Moss said the governor was derelict in his duty by traveling overseas without putting in place a chain of command in the case of an emergency. He also said it’s more important for Sanford to focus on being a husband and father at this time, and that his official duties in Columbia prevent him from doing so.
(CNN) – Across America and much of the world, opinion of Barack Obama as president continues at levels rarely seen in recent decades. Sure, there has been sniping from the right and a little slippage in the polls, but mainstream opinion – both in the polls and the press – has generally been lavish in praise.
That is why it has been jarring to read two of the most influential and mainstream newspapers in the world over the past few days, both of them harshly critical.
In editorials, columns and news stories on Saturday and again this morning, the Financial Times castigates the President for passive leadership. Among the headlines: “President Obama needs to lead”; “Obama is choosing to be weak”; “Cap-and-trade mess”; and “Punch-drunk Obama needs middle way on Tehran”. Meanwhile, the Economist spoke out in its new issue with a full-page column entitled, “The senator-in-chief: Barack Obama is too deferential to his former colleagues on Capitol Hill”.
The essence of their argument about his domestic leadership is that the President has assigned out to Congress primary responsibility for writing major legislative bills and then has stood by passively as the bills have been so watered down or become so flawed that they fall far short of what is needed.
Full post at AC360 Blog
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of liberal activists Monday called for the disbarment of two current CIA officials - and a former one - because of their roles in crafting and implementing Bush administration legal policies on detainee interrogations.
The National Disbar Torture Lawyers Coalition filed formal disciplinary complaints with the Washington, D.C., and New York state bar associations against John A. Rizzo, the current acting general counsel at the CIA; Jonathan M. Fredman, a CIA official currently on loan to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Scott W. Muller, the agency's former general counsel, who is now an attorney in the private sector.
The coalition has already filed a dozen similar complaints against former White House and Justice Department officials, including former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who also was attorney general in the Bush administration; and former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The complaints accuse the three attorneys of "advocating for immoral and unethical 'extended' or 'enhanced' interrogation techniques (amounting to torture), and other policies that resulted in clear violations of U.S. and international law." They were filed the same week that the CIA is expected to release an internal inspector-general report from 2004 criticizing the interrogation program.
CNN was unable to reach the three lawyers for comment, but CIA spokesman George Little responded, "This, to put it mildly, is something with which we do not agree."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The political response to the Supreme Court's overturning a ruling by the woman who could be its newest member was sharply divided, with Republicans supporting the ruling while Democrats criticized it.
In its last day in session this term, justices ruled by a 5-4 majority that the city of New Haven, Connecticut, improperly threw out the results of promotional exams that officials said left too few minorities qualified. A group of 20 mostly white firefighters sued, claiming "reverse discrimination."
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who President Obama nominated last month to replace retiring Justice David Souter, and two other judges heard the case on their federal appeals court last year and sided with the city.
"I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to uphold equal rights for all and to strike down government decisions based on race," said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
"No individual should be denied a promotion simply based on the color of their skin. ... The Supreme Court today reminded all courts and governments that equal justice under the law means refusing to tip the scale in favor of one race over another."