COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Mark Sanford has been working on a book, according to his wife Jenny, but Sanford's political team is so far keeping quiet about it.
Was the book meant to be a platform for Sanford to travel the country in advance of a 2012 presidential bid? No one is saying.
Last Friday, Jenny Sanford told the Associated Press that her husband told her when they separated that he needed to get away to clear his head and work on writing a book. Sanford, though, went to Argentina to visit his mistress against his wife's wishes.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The Obama administration is widening its mortgage refinancing program to allow more borrowers hit hard by falling home prices to take part.
Borrowers whose loans are now worth up to 125% of their home's value are now eligible to refinance their homes under the Obama foreclosure prevention plan announced in February. Previously, the limit was 105%.
The move acknowledges that home prices in many areas have fallen so far that many people were shut out of the program. Some 67% of homeowners in Las Vegas - one of the hardest hit areas where Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the expansion Wednesday - owe more than their homes are worth.
"The president's Making Home Affordable plan is already helping far more than any previous foreclosure initiative and with today's announcement we will extend its reach still further," said Donovan.
Some 20,000 loans have been refinanced so far, according to the Treasury Department.
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (CNN) - The resignation drumbeat continued in South Carolina on Wednesday, where GOP state senators continued to call for Gov. Mark Sanford to step down.
CNN has learned GOP Senators Daniel Verdin, Shane Martin and Wes Hayes joined the anti-Sanford chorus on Wednesday morning, bringing the total number of Republican senators calling for the governor's resignation to 12. (Update: GOP state senator Ronnie Cromer and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell also called for Sanford's resignation Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total to 14.) There are 27 Republicans in the state senate.
Sanford's support among legislators and grassroots leaders in the state eroded considerably on Tuesday after Sanford told the Associated Press he had met with his mistress more times than he had previously disclosed. He also admitted to dalliances with other women.
At least four county GOP chairman have also called for Sanford to go.
(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is confident Barack Obama can be beaten - in a long distance run.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate told Runner's World Magazine if it came down to a foot race between the two famous politicians, she'd likely come out on top.
"I betcha I'd have more endurance," Palin said in an interview published on the magazine's Web site Tuesday. "My one claim to fame in my own little internal running circle is a sub-four marathon. It wasn't necessarily a good running time, but it proves I have the endurance within me to at least gut it out and that is something.
"If you ever talk to my old coaches they'd tell you, too," she continued. "What I lacked in physical strength or skill I made up for in determination and endurance. So if [it] were a long race that required a lot of endurance I'd win."
The avid runner also revealed an accident she had only days before the vice presidential debate last fall, when she fell on a trail while jogging at Sen. John McCain's Arizona ranch.
"I was so stinkin' embarrassed that a golf cart full of Secret Service guys had to pull up beside me," she said of the fall. "My hands just got torn up and I was dripping blood. In the debate you could see a big fat ugly Band-Aid on my right hand."
Declaring "sweat is my sanity," Palin also said some of her worst days on the campaign trail were those when McCain staffers did not schedule time for her to run.
(CNN) – Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing new pressure from liberal groups pushing for a public health insurance option.
A coalition that includes MoveOn.org, Democracy for America and Change Congress released a 60-second television ad Wednesday highlighting contributions from insurance companies and other industry interests to the Louisiana Democrat.
"For me, this issue's personal," says breast cancer survivor Karen Gadbois in the ad, which is slated to run in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans media markets for the next week. "So when I see Mary Landrieu take $1.6 million from health and insurance companies, I have to ask: Whose side are you on?"
(CNN) – A new poll of New Jersey voters suggests this year's gubernatorial battle between incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie may be tightening up a bit.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University survey released Wednesday indicates that Christie has a 6 point lead, 45 percent to 39 percent, over Corzine, with 15 percent undecided. Christie had a 9 point lead over Corzine in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in April.
Just one in five of those questioned in the poll say New Jersey's on the right track, and only one in four say Corzine's doing good or excellent job as governor.
Christie, the former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, is trying to become the first Republican to win statewide office in New Jersey since then-governor Christie Todd Whitman won re-election in 1997.
"Even though it's early in the campaign, it is remarkable that a Republican is running ahead in New Jersey," said Peter Woolley, director of the poll.
COLUMBIA (CNN) – Seven more Republicans in the South Carolina Senate are calling on Mark Sanford to resign, including Majority Leader Harvey Peeler.
Late Tuesday, the senators jointly issued a press release demanding that the governor step down because he has lost the trust of South Carolinians.
"The bottom line is that the Governor's private matters should remain private, but his deception and negligence make it impossible for us to trust him, and for him to govern in the future," they wrote.
Peeler told CNN that Sanford "has lost his ability to lead, and I'm afraid he has lost his ability to function as a man."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the first time is outlining potential Obama Administration plans to selectively enforce the "don't ask don't tell" ban on gays in the military so that some gays could serve.
Gates says he is now looking at ways to make the ban "more humane" including letting people serve who may have been outed due to vengeance or a jilted lover. The remarks were made in a transcript released Tuesday by the Pentagon.
In addition, Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday the chairman "supports the idea of a less draconian way of enforcing the policy."
Gates told reporters traveling with him, "One of the things we're looking at - is there flexibility in how we apply this law?" As the "don't ask don't tell" law now stands, anyone who is openly gay in the military is expelled if they are found out.
Gates indicated he is looking at several options. "Let me give you an example. Do we need to be driven when the information, to take action on somebody, if we get that information from somebody who may have vengeance in mind or blackmail or somebody who has been jilted."
Gates said he has discussed the issue with President Obama and also during a meeting with his top war-fighting commanders last week. At that military meeting Gates said. "The issue that we face is that how do we begin to do preparations and simultaneously the administration move forward in terms of asking the Congress to change the law."
Obama has been criticized for not moving fast enough to propose a repeal of the ban to Congress. Gates did not indicate the Pentagon was yet supporting a full repeal.
"What we have is a law - be it a policy or a regulation - and as I discovered when I got into it, it's a very prescriptive law. It doesn't leave much to the imagination for a lot of flexibility. And so one of the things we're looking at - is there flexibility in how we apply this law."
The secretary appears to be proposing interim measures. "If somebody is outed by a third party … does that force us to take an action? And I don't know the answer to that, and I don't want to pretend to. But that's the kind of thing we're looking at to see if there's at least a more humane way to apply the law until the law gets changed."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The promise of health reform is to make care more accessible for everybody - and to reduce the federal deficit by slowing the growth rate in costs.
But the promise of deficit reduction through health reform might be overstated.
Here's why: Even if reform works well, the cost savings will not be nearly enough to tackle the debt ogre breathing down Uncle Sam's neck.
"Ultimately, the long-term budget outlook will necessitate serious tax and spending changes," says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is led by tax and budget experts from the left and the right.