WASHINGTON (CNN) – Despite an earlier announcement from a California Republican womens group, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not be speaking to an event sponsored by the group scheduled for next weekend at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a spokeswoman for her political action committee said Thursday night.
“As repeatedly stated to several in the media over the last week, former Governor Sarah Palin is not committed to attend the Simi Valley Republican Women’s event at the Reagan Library and in fact is not attending the event,” read a statement from Meghan Stapleton that was posted on Palin‘s Facebook site.
“Neither the Governor’s state staff nor SarahPAC has ever committed to attending this event or speaking at this event, and even requested that the Governor's name be removed from the invitation several weeks ago.”
Stapleton said Palin “has other work and commitments to take care of at that time” without elaborating.
A representative of the Republican Women of Simi Valley, which bills itself as a non-profit group of volunteers, told CNN she had no comment about Palin’s statement. When asked if she knew who from Palin’s staff had accepted the invitation, she again said she had no comment.
In a statement released earlier this month, the group said the Saturday August 8th event, meant to commemorate the group‘s anniversary, said Palin was one of several scheduled speakers and was “slated to attend.”
“Sarah Palin loves Alaska & she has roots in southern California and our organization is very supportive of the troops! Palin also has a huge following in California, mostly folks who pay tribute to the Reagan legacy,” said Pat Saraceno, hospitality chair for the group. “Most of us view Palin as a ‘Reaganesque figure.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's late July, a time for hot and humid weather in the nation's capital. But when it comes to President Barack Obama's approval rating, an average of the most recent national surveys indicates a cooling trend.
According to a new CNN Poll of Polls, 54 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling his duties in the White House. That's down 7 points from late June, when the president's approval rating stood at 61 percent. The latest approval rating is the lowest for Obama in his young presidency. The CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Thursday, is an average of seven national surveys conducted over the past nine days.
It appears a drop in Obama's numbers on health care and the economy, the two issues that have dominated his domestic agenda since he took office in January, are contributing to the deterioration of his overall approval rating.
A CNN Poll of Polls of the five surveys that specifically asked about how Obama's handing the economy indicates that 48 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove.
(CNN) - The White House released a statement Thursday from President Obama on his meeting with Sergeant James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“I am thankful to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley for joining me at the White House this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another, which is a testament to them. I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican who represents the northern suburbs of Chicago and is running for Senate, also happens to be a Navy Reservist. While on service in the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, he recently 'tweeted,' causing the Military to look into the situation.
The first tweet sent on July 25 read: "On duty @ the Pentagon's National Military Command Center. All is currently (relatively) quiet. Honor 2 be back w/ my fellow Navy colleagues."
The next day he wrote: "Back on duty in the National Military Command Center – lets hope for a calm day for our troops."
Photo Credit: Getty Images
(CNN) - The much anticipated "Beer Summit" took place in the White House Rose Garden Thursday evening.
The participants - President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Sergeant James Crowley, and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. did not speak to reporters during the event.
After much discussion about which beer would be served, Obama chose a Bud Light, Biden went with Buckler, Gates had a Sam Adams Light, and Crowley chose a Blue Moon.
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty sharply criticized President Obama on issues ranging from health care reform to foreign policy Thursday, urging Republicans to challenge the president in a speech that was seen as a step toward a possible presidential run in 2012.
"It is time we stand up to President Obama," Pawlenty said in a speech to members of the Republican National Committee meeting here in this West Coast city. "It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."
Unlike fellow Republican Sarah Palin, Pawlenty is not new to national politics. He is a two-term governor, former head of the National Governors Association, and was on the short list to be Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate in 2008.
But Pawlenty is still relatively unknown, even within his own party.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Congress prepares to head into a monthlong August recess, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill ripped into the insurance industry, framing the health care debate as a battle against insurers.
"They are the villains in this," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. She labeled industry practices as "immoral."
Pelosi predicted that as members go to their districts next month and explain the Democrats' health care plan, it will pick up support. But she pointed directly at insurers as standing in the way of health care reform, highlighting their opposition to having a government-run plan compete with private insurers.
"They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know that," she said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The giveaway was when they started calling him "Barack."
It was jarring, at first, to hear many in this group of 12 independent voters refer to their new president by his first name. But the more they talked, the more it made sense. After all, they are seeing a lot of him.
And they like it - or at least they like him. "There's a sense of intimacy, or relationship, that was there," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the focus group in Towson, Maryland, on Wednesday night. "[It shows] how unbelievably powerful his personal presence is. ... Don't get fooled by numbers alone. Something is stronger here."
So while the president's poll numbers start to dip, these dozen independents - including four McCain supporters and a lone Nader voter - are giving the president some leeway. They feel like they know him, and that he's "honest,' as one put it. And while they say the country is "broke," "worried" and "confused, they're not blaming Barack. If anything, they seem invested in his success.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House announced Thursday the 16 recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom, who include researchers, activists and athletes.
Recipients "make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," the White House said in a written statement.
"Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive," said President Barack Obama in the statement.
(Full list of recipients after the jump):
(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is still sidestepping questions about his White House ambitions – feeding speculation that has surged in the wake of his decision not to seek a third gubernatorial term next year.
"Well, I've got a year and a half left to be a governor of the state of Minnesota and that's going to be the focus of my attention," he told CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room Thursday after being asked whether he was planning a presidential run.
"But I am in Minnesota and elsewhere going to try to speak to how my party can do a better job. Obviously we got our tails kicked in the last two elections, Wolf, we need to do a better job. I think I've got some ideas to share but that's really going to be focused on how we can do better in 2010, I'm not thinking beyond that."
Pawlenty, who will take the center stage with party leaders this week at the Republican National Committee Summer Meeting, has taken on a progressively higher profile over the past few months.
The Minnesota governor, named vice chair of the Republican Governors Association this summer in the wake of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's resignation of the top spot, has emerged as a major critic of the president's health care reform plan, blasting it this week in a letter to Minnesota's congressional delegation.
Earlier this week, he raised eyebrows when he also took a swipe at the health care plan Massachusetts launched under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential 2012 presidential rival.
Watch Tim Pawlenty on the Situation Room today at 4 p.m. ET.