SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will sharply criticize President Obama in a speech to national Republicans Thursday in what is being viewed as a step towards a potential presidential run in 2012.
Pawlenty will take Obama to task for his approach to reforming the nation's health care system as well as the president's efforts to revive the ailing economy, a source close to the governor told CNN.
The source added that Pawlenty's address to the Republican National Committee Summer Meeting will give him an opportunity to "introduce himself" to these GOP leaders.
Pawlenty was said to be on the short list in 2008 to be Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate, and he was recently named to a leadership position in the Republican Governors Association.
(CNN) - The upcoming White House meeting with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the Cambridge police officer who arrested him earlier this month appears to have touched off a fresh debate all on its own: what kind of beer should be served?
Earlier this week the White House indicated each man would drink the beer of their choice - Bud Light for President Obama, Blue Moon for the police officer, and perhaps Red Stripe or Beck's for Gates.
But one Massachusetts congressman thinks another beer entirely should be served: Boston's own Sam Adams.
In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.
Instead, the White House should serve the three men - all with ties to Massachusetts - the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.
But Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch told NPR if it was up to him he would make a special beer just for the event.
"I'd make a blend of ingredients from all over the world. Which is certainly what's represented there with the three participants," he said. "I would blend those ingredients together artfully and harmoniously, because that's really what we all hope for."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Five national polls released Wednesday suggest Barack Obama's approval rating as president continues to slip.
Obama's approval rating stands at 53 percent in new surveys from NBC/Wall Street Journal, NPR and Gallup's daily tracking poll, 56 percent in a Time Magazine survey, and 58 percent in a CBS/New York Times poll.
"Every poll that has been publicly released in July has shown Obama's approval rating below 60 percent," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The results from July's surveys are a drop from last month, when the president's approval rating averaged 62 percent in early June and 61 percent in late June.
The polls also indicate a deterioration in Obama's approval rating on health care reform, the issue that's come to dominate the White House and Congress this summer. The NBC-Wall Street Journal, CBS-New York Times and Time Magazine surveys all place the president's approval rating on health care below 50 percent. But people questioned in all three surveys give Obama higher marks on the issue than Republicans in Congress.
The president's drop in the polls apparently doesn't equal a similar rise for Republicans.
Giuliani lamented the lack of a strong Republican leader who could direct the party's attention to what he called "the most left-wing agenda … since Roosevelt."
"We don't have a real leader of the party right now because we don't have a president, we don't have presidential candidates," Giuliani said in the CNN interview. "So everybody gets to speak their minds."
An unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination for 2008, Giuliani criticized Obama's domestic policies, including the economic stimulus package and proposed overhaul of the health care system, saying they expanded government and threatened economic stability.
"I think he has gone much further to the left than I thought he would," Giuliani said.
He was less critical of Obama's foreign policy so far, agreeing with the increased military focus on Afghanistan and Obama's low-key approach to the controversial Iranian election, and the subsequent demonstrations and government crackdown.
(CNN) - Fresh off her announcement she is running for governor, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Wednesday she expects to resign her Senate seat sometime in the fall, a move that will set up a pivotal special election next spring.
"The actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime - October, November - that, in that time frame," the Republican senator told Texas radio station KBH.
She later told reporters the resignation could come more toward the end of the year so she can be present for pivotal votes on health care and energy legislation.
Current Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Hutchison is challenging for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, is expected to appoint a replacement until the special election is held a few months later.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The deal Democratic House leaders struck with a group of conservative Blue Dogs Democrats Wednesday was not embraced by one leading liberal House Democrat: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "I have a lot of concerns," she told reporters Wednesday.
Lee said she still needed to get more details, but the fact that the overall pricetag of the bill had dropped below $1 trillion raised red flags for her. She said "at a minimum," a trillion dollars would be needed to cover the current number of uninsured Americans. Lee also pointed to the change to the small business exemption, saying the cost of exempting more small businesses could mean other parts of the bill would be cut. "We have to find out who wins and who loses," she said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters has a beauty secret.
"I bathe in moisturizer,'" the 70-year-old congresswoman told the Hill newspaper.
Waters is one of seven lawmakers that made the cut for the Capitol Hill paper's 2009 50 Most Beautiful List, landing in position #5 in the top 10.
Other lawmakers on the list include New Mexico Democrat Rep. Martin Heinrich, who scored the top spot on the list, Washington Republican Rep. Dave Reichert, Colorado Democrat Rep. Betsy Markey, California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier, Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, and North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Reichert said to CNN about making the list.
Update 6:48 p.m.: Rep. Heinrich has chimed in about making the list: "The honor and photo provided my colleagues and me a brief laugh this morning, and then we went back to work trying to reform our health care system.”
(CNN) - Newsweek magazine got some unsolicited PR Wednesday from President Obama, but it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of periodical's latest issue.
At a North Carolina town-hall health care event, Obama asked if anyone had seen the latest cover of Newsweek that boldly declares, "The Recession is Over!"
"I don't know whether you've seen the cover of the latest Newsweek magazine on the rack at the grocery store, but the cover says: 'The Recession is Over,'" the president said as part of his prepared remarks at the event.
"I imagine you might have found that news a little startling," Obama continued. "I know I did."
Obama went on to say while certain indicators are improving, like the stock market and home sales, "That's little comfort if you are one of the folks who have lost their job."
The article in question - with the sub-headline of 'Good Luck Surviving the Recovery' - actually says much the same as Obama did Wednesday - that leading indicators appear to suggest the recession is nearing an end, but the recovery is likely to be a slow process.
"When economists proclaim a recession over, they're celebrating a technicality: they mean economic output has stopped contracting," Newsweek's Daniel Gross writes. "And while that is good news, you might wait a while before adding Judy Garland's rendition of 'Happy Days Are Here Again' to your iPod."
UPDATE: Gross has issued a response to the president in a posting on Newsweek.com entitled, "Obama rips Newsweek's cover. We rip back."