August 12th, 2009
07:34 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford: It's 'hard' living alone in governor's mansion

Sanford did a round of radio interviews on Wednesday.
Sanford did a round of radio interviews on Wednesday.

(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford opened up about the state of his family on Wednesday - the first time he has done so since his wife, Jenny, moved out of the governor's mansion last week.

Asked during a radio interview how he's coping with being alone in the mansion, Sanford responded: "That part's hard."

"But there are consequences for any mess-up that we have in life, and that's one of them," the governor told Columbia-based WVOC radio. "That's probably the most bitter part of it."

Sanford said he and Jenny decided to move his four boys to Charleston for the school year because "they deserve to be out of the fishbowl they've been in."

"They've been subjected to a lot this summer," he said. "That was a result of my actions, but nonetheless it put them in a spot they really didn't want to be."

"The aftermath of any of these things is not going to be ideal," Sanford added, referring to his admission of an extramarital affair and the ensuing political fallout. "We take it a day at a time."

The governor did a round of local radio interviews Wednesday and spent much of his time responding to reports that he violated state law by booking expensive international flights and using state planes for personal and political business.

FULL POST


Filed under: Extra • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
August 12th, 2009
06:53 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Favorable view of Palin dipping

The favorability of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is down in a new CNN poll out Wednesday.
The favorability of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is down in a new CNN poll out Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Americans appear to be souring on Sarah Palin, according to a new national poll.

Thirty-nine percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor and last year's Republican vice presidential nominee. That's down seven points from a poll conducted in May, and it's also nine points lower than the 48 percent who now say they now view Palin unfavorably. Forty-three percent viewed Palin negatively in May.

"Most of that change has come among Republicans and conservatives," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "GOP voters still like Palin - two-thirds continue to have a favorable view of her - but she is not as wildly popular among GOPers as she was in the spring, when eight in ten Republicans had a favorable view of her."

It's unclear if the drop in Palin's rating is due to her resignation as Alaska governor, a year and a half before her first term ends, or if anything else she has done is contributing to the dip in her numbers. The poll was conducted July 31 through August 3, before national coverage of Palin's stinging criticism of President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals.
FULL POST


Filed under: CNN poll • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
August 12th, 2009
06:44 PM ET
5 years ago

Administration sets benchmarks to measure Afghanistan progress

President Obama's National Security Council is leading the effort to set benchmarks in Afghanistan.
President Obama's National Security Council is leading the effort to set benchmarks in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration is creating 50 benchmarks to measure success in Afghanistan at a time when the United States is struggling to beat back a virulent Taliban presence there, senior U.S. officials say.

Crafting of the upgraded benchmarks is nearly completed, the officials said Wednesday, adding they will become a part of larger objectives for the path ahead in Afghanistan set by the administration in March.

The benchmarks were ordered by President Barack Obama and Congress earlier this year and will be monitored by quarterly reports back to Capitol Hill yearly, according to the officials.

The beefed-up metrics are similar to the Bush-era quarterly evaluations for Iraq and Afghanistan currently used by the Pentagon to report security progress to Congress. But the new evaluations will be made up of categories and subcategories that will measure how well objectives were met as opposed to the "yes or no" responses to single issues in the current reports.

The metrics will be based on inputs and outputs to show the full spectrum of a goal, according to one of the officials.

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama
August 12th, 2009
06:16 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Truth Squad: Say goodnight, Grandpa


The Statement: The health-care bill now before the House of Representatives requires doctors to encourage the elderly to give up medical care "because you're no longer a working citizen who will be paying taxes," as one woman put it at a meeting with Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter on Tuesday. That claim has been spread through a variety of sources, from radio talk shows and e-mail to a Facebook message from former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who vowed never to let government "death panels" determine whether her parents or her infant son - who has Down syndrome - were "worthy of health care."

The "60 Plus Association," a group led by singer Pat Boone, warns in ads that if the House bill passes, "The government, not doctors, will decide if older patients are worth the cost." And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended Palin during appearance on ABC's "This Week," saying the Obama administration is "asking us to trust turning power over to the government, when there clearly are people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia."

(Get the facts and the verdict after the jump)

FULL POST

August 12th, 2009
05:29 PM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: House GOP targets Kagen in new ad

WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Republicans are trying to pressure Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wisconsin, to oppose his party's approach to health care reform in a new television commercial that begins airing this week in the Green Bay market.

The ad seeks to tie Kagen to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and uses footage of the Wisconsin Democrat responding to a question on health care posed by - and caught on camera by - a Republican campaign staffer.

This is the first ad on health care that the National Republican Congressional Committee has run this year. NRCC spokesman Ken Spain would not reveal much the GOP was spending on the commercial, but he did characterize it as a "significant buy" and noted it would run for one week.

Script after the jump:

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care • NRCC
August 12th, 2009
05:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Whistle-blower: Health care industry engaging in PR tactics

Wendell Potter once was a vice president in the public relations department for insurance giant Cigna
Wendell Potter once was a vice president in the public relations department for insurance giant Cigna

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Wendell Potter knows a little something about the health care industry's practices and is not afraid of to speak out as the health care reform debate heats up around the country.

The former vice president of corporate communications at insurance giant Cigna, who left his post, says the industry is playing "dirty tricks" in an effort to manipulate public opinion.

"Words matter, and the insurance industry is a master at linguistics and using the hot words, buzzwords, buzz expressions that they know will get people upset," he told CNN Wednesday.

Now a senior fellow on health care for the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, Potter writes a blog on health care reform. He is focusing on efforts to defeat legislation supporting a government health care plan - something he supports.

In early July, Potter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, telling senators that "I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry."

Full Story


Filed under: Health care
August 12th, 2009
05:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Bloomberg: Como se dice 'first tweet'?

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg sent out his first Twitter message in both English and Spanish.
NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg sent out his first Twitter message in both English and Spanish.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who built a communications empire by fusing technology and journalism, entered the Twittersphere Tuesday when he sent out his first micro-blog message. And he did it with a twist.

Bloomberg, who is seeking a third term in November, sent out a note that was written in English and Spanish.  @MikeBloomberg wrote: "Good morning! Trying this out during my spanish lesson. Como se dice 'first tweet'?"

News quickly spread around that the mayor's first tweet was partly in Spanish, but it is not the first time a language other than English has been used to convey a message by a politician on Twitter. For example, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a Twitter account that only tweets his news in Spanish. And the White House not only tweets in English and Spanish, but has also sent out a message in Farsi.

Twitter does not maintain data on how many Hispanics use the social networking or how many people tweet in Spanish. Yukari Matsuzawa, who heads Twitter's International team, did tell CNN via e-mail, "It is very exciting though that Mayor Bloomberg is tweeting in Spanish! We hope to encourage more international tweets."


Filed under: Michael Bloomberg • Newt Gingrich • Social Networking • Twitter
August 12th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton warns against al Qaeda in Nigeria

Secretary of State Clinton is overseas visiting several countries in Africa.
Secretary of State Clinton is overseas visiting several countries in Africa.

ABUJA, Nigeria (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday visited Nigeria, warning it could be a target for al Qaeda.

The country has been racked by violence between Christians and Muslims, with hundreds having died in riots over the past several years.

"Al Qaeda has a presence in Northern Africa," Clinton said. "There is no doubt in our mind that al Qaeda and like organizations that are part of the syndicate of terror would seek a foothold anywhere they could find one, and whether that is the case here or whether this is a homegrown example of fundamentalist extremism - that's up to the Nigerians to determine."

Clinton met President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and other leading politicians in the capital Abuja, the latest stage on an 11-day African tour designed to show U.S. commitment to the continent.

In a town hall meeting she talked about the importance of democracy, making a reference to her own unsuccessful run for president last year.

"I have won some elections and I have lost some elections. And in a democracy there have to be winners and losers," she said, before looking ahead to Nigeria's next elections.

"Part of creating a strong democratic system is that the losers, despite how badly we might feel, accept the outcome, because it is for the good of the country we love," she said.

"And of course in my country the man that I was running against, and spent a lot of time and effort to defeat, asked me to join his government. So there is a way to begin to make this transition that will lead to free and fair elections in 2011,"

Nigeria is "the most important country in sub-Saharan Africa" and one of the most corrupt, according to a senior official on the trip.

It is a major oil and gas producer, one of the largest suppliers to the American market, said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary at the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs.
FULL POST


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
August 12th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama honors sixteen with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Actor Sidney Poitier was among the sixteen individuals honored by the president at the White House Wednesday.
Actor Sidney Poitier was among the sixteen individuals honored by the president at the White House Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday presented 16 people - including scientists, activists, actors, an athlete and a preacher - with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"This is a chance for me and for the United States of America to say thank you to some of the finest citizens of this country and of all countries," Obama told the audience assembled for the ceremony at the White House.

Watch: Obama says 'thank you'

"At a moment when cynicism and doubt too often prevail, when our obligations to one another are too often forgotten, when the road ahead can seem too long or hard to tread, these extraordinary men and women, these agents of change, remind us that excellence is not beyond our abilities, that hope lies around the corner and that justice can still be won in the forgotten corners of this world," the president said.

"They remind us that we each have it within our powers to fulfill dreams, to advance the dreams of others and to remake the world for our children."

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, an annual award, was created after World War II when President Harry Truman wanted to honor civilian service during the war.

Related: Sixteen to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom


Filed under: President Obama
August 12th, 2009
04:14 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Truth Squad: Will dental insurance be offered under the proposed Health Insurance Exchange?


The Statement: Mike, from Bristol, Connecticut, told CNN that "I've heard dental service will not be covered under the Health Insurance Exchange. Seems like we have to wait for a tooth to become life-threatening before it is considered health care. Why is my mouth not considered part of my health?"

(Get the facts and the verdict after the jump)

FULL POST

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