WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that white and black Americans don't see eye to eye on last month's arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday, also suggests a racial divide over President Barack Obama's initial comments on the incident.
Fifty-four percent of those questioned in the poll say they don't think Cambridge, Massachusetts police office James Crowley acted stupidly when he arrested Gates at the professor's home after Crowley responded to a call that someone was breaking into the house. One in three say they think Crowley did act stupidly. But there's a major racial divide, with 59 percent of black respondents saying that Crowley acted stupidly compared to 29 percent of whites questioned.
Just over half of those polled feel that Gates acted stupidly, with three in 10 saying no. Broken down by race, 58 percent of whites say Gates acted stupidly, with African-Americans split on the question.
The arrest sparked a national discussion on the issue of racial profiling, which was amplified when President Obama weighed in on the matter. In a prime time news conference last month, Obama said "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - When the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates voted in April to reject $125 million in stimulus funding for unemployment benefits, they guaranteed that the ideological fight over the federal money would spill over into this year's closely-watched governor's race.
Like Tim Kaine - the current governor of Virginia - Democrat Creigh Deeds favors taking the money. Republican Bob McDonnell opposes doing so. The winner of the race will determine whether or not the money will be pursued in 2010.
On Tuesday, Deeds made a pledge to put forth legislation next year to accept the money for unemployment benefits if he's elected in November. Virginia's jobless rate ticked up to 7.3 percent in June, the most recent month of unemployment statistics available.
"I voted for Gov. Kaine's proposals and I still support them," Deeds said in a statement announcing his plans. "I intend to start the process on my first day in office to accept these funds should our hard economic times continue."
But the purpose of proposing the legislation was two-fold: Democrats see the stimulus debate as a chance to flog McDonnell as out of touch with struggling workers in a tough economy, and Deeds didn't pass up the chance to take a swipe.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate will okay new funding for the "cash for clunkers" program before leaving this week for the August recess, Senate leaders from each party predicted Tuesday, clearing the way for the surprisingly popular program to continue uninterrupted.
"We'll pass cash for clunkers....before we leave here," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
"In the end, we know where the numbers are," acknowledged the third-ranking Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a critic of the program who said now he expects all Democrats and several Republicans to vote for additional funding.
(CNN) - North Korean President Kim Jong Il has pardoned and ordered the release of two U.S. journalists, state-run news agency KCNA said Wednesday.
The announcement came after former U.S. President Bill Clinton met with top North Korean officials in Pyongyang to appeal for the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had been arrested while reporting from the border between North Korea and China.
"Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it," the news agency reported. "Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong Il an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view.
"The meetings had candid and in-depth discussions on the pending issues between the DPRK and the U.S. in a sincere atmosphere and reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of them."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee released a sharply-worded statement Tuesday accusing Republicans of colluding with "K Street Lobbyists" to incite "angry mobs" of extremists to disrupt health care town halls in congressional districts around the country.
Full statement as released by DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse:
Statement from DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse on the Republican Party and Allied Groups’ Mob Rule:
The Republicans and their allied groups – desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill – are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country.
However, much like we saw at the McCain-Palin rallies last year where crowds were baited with cries of 'socialist,' 'communist,' and where the birthers movement was born – these mobs of extremists are not interested in having a thoughtful discussion about the issues – but like some Republican leaders have said – they are interested in ‘breaking’ the President and destroying his Presidency.
These mobs are bussed in by well funded, highly organized groups run by Republican operatives and funded by the special interests who are desperately trying to stop the agenda for change the President was elected to bring to Washington. Despite the headline grabbing nature of these angry mobs and their disruptions of events, they are not reflective of where the American people are on the issues – or the hundreds of thousands of thoughtful discussions taking place around kitchen tables, water coolers and in homes.
The right wing extremists’ use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President's citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are. This type of anger and discord did not serve Republicans well in 2008 – and it is bound to backfire again.
UPDATE: Republican reaction to the DNC statement after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The anti-tax Club for Growth is launching a $1.2 million ad campaign in four states pressuring Democratic members of Congress to "oppose government-run health care."
The spot makes the claim that in England, the government-administered health care system makes decisions about when patients should die.
"Life and death medical decisions should be made by patients and doctors, not politicians and bureaucrats," says the ad's narrator.
The 30-second ad will begin running Thursday in Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas and North Dakota. Several of the Democratic legislators being targeted hail from conservative districts and might have to answer for their health care vote in the 2010 midterms.
"Members of Congress who would support a plan that raises taxes and involves the government in some of the most important and personal decisions in our lives will hear from us," said the Club's president Chris Chocola in a statement announcing the campaign.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama celebrated his 48th birthday Tuesday by... meeting with the Senate Democratic Caucus. But he also marked the occasion by accepting a happy birthday call from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. And he stopped by the briefing room to greet veteran White House scribe Helen Thomas, also celebrating a birthday today (her 89th.) Thomas began reporting from the White House in 1960 - the year before Obama was born.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Joe Sestak officially declared his candidacy for the the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania Tuesday, setting up a primary season showdown with incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.
Although his campaign team has been sharply critical of Specter since he began considering a run, Sestak focused on policy matters in his announcement - the economy, health care and other challenges.
"These problems, when I am your senator, are not going to just disappear overnight - I can't promise you that," he said. "But I can promise you that you will have working for you the hardest working senator. That you will have the most honest of senators, the most accountable of senators. You will have the most caring of senators, and you will have the senator with the most energy."
As for Specter: "We are where we are today, and if everybody's happy with that, he's your guy."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Pentagon is reviewing its policy concerning the access by military personnel to social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The review follows a Marine Corps ban on accessing such sites on its computers, due to security concerns. The ban announced Monday only applies to Marine Corps networks and computers, allowing Marines to access the sites on their own computers or at Internet cafes.
A policy review for the entire Department of Defense should be complete by the end of September, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Whitman said the Defense Department realizes that social networking sites have value, noting the Army recently ordered all U.S. bases to provide access to Facebook.
In addition, commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have Facebook pages to share information about operations, while the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has 4,000 followers on Twitter.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The economy is showing signs of revival, but in the small business trenches, companies are still struggling. Sales are down, credit is tight, and the tally of laid-off workers keeps growing. Leading the federal government's effort to shore up Main Street businesses is Karen Mills, now four months into her job heading the Small Business Administration.
Getting attention at the highest levels in Washington isn't a problem, Mills said in a recent interview with CNNMoney: "The world has changed, and everyone has realized that it is small businesses that are going to drive the economy and the recovery," Mills said. "We're the popular kid at the dance."
But many small business owners feel slighted by the giant bailout packages showered on Wall Street companies and the auto giants. We asked Mills for her take on the government's small business recovery efforts so far, and the goals still left to achieve.