WASHINGTON (CNN) – It seems that what could have been one of the greatest political face-offs of 2012 is not meant to be after all.
A day after Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman welcomed a possible 2012 challenge from actor Alec Baldwin, a representative for Baldwin tells CNN that "it's great to see the excitement" about the possibility of Baldwin seeking political office but the actor has no plans to run against Lieberman.
In a statement provided to CNN, the actor also took a stab at Lieberman, who has sometimes allied himself with Republicans, particularly on the Iraq war and Middle East policy.
"Part of me would hate to see Lieberman go," Baldwin said in the statement, because there are so few moderate Republicans left in the Senate today."
When asked about the possibility of facing Baldwin in 2012, Lieberman responded with a Dirty Harry-esqe "Make my day" on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.
"I respect Alec Baldwin as an actor and as a comedian," Lieberman also told CNN's John King, "if he wants to run, that's his right."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A prominent Democratic strategist said Monday that the Justice Department probe of CIA interrogations during President George W. Bush's administration may turn into a political liability for President Obama.
"This is terrible politics for the Obama administration and the Democrats," James Carville, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, said Monday in an interview on 'The Situation Room.' "The country – like – really doesn't want this."
But, Carville added that the decision to open the probe into Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects is being driven by a belief that "we are a nation of laws."
Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist and CNN political contributor, agreed with Carville.
"Well, we are a nation of laws," Rollins said. "And, I think, obviously if there's anybody who violated laws, they should be punished."
But, Rollins noted that the probe runs the risk of sapping morale at the CIA "at a time that we need them to be on alert and moving forward."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - In just over a month, the federal government's fiscal year will draw to a close, leaving in its wake one of the biggest annual deficits in U.S. history - and a forecast of more record debt to come.
Just how much more will be the question on Tuesday.
The Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget are set to release separate updates of their 10-year deficit estimates, along with updates on their economic outlooks.
The agencies' previous estimates - based on the president's proposed 2010 budget - were about $2 trillion apart.
The CBO, which serves as Congress' official scorekeeper, had the higher estimate: $9.14 trillion over 10 years or 5.2% of gross domestic product.
By comparison, the Obama administration's budget office forecast a $7.11 trillion deficit or 4% of GDP.
The White House's economic estimates were seen by many as too optimistic. For instance, the administration estimated that unemployment would hit a peak of 8.1% this year. Actual unemployment numbers have already surpassed that level - hitting 9.4% in July. And many economists expect the number to reach 10% before too long.
Last week, White House officials said their new 10-year deficit forecast will be in the neighborhood of $9 trillion, in part because Uncle Sam is pulling down less tax revenue than expected. That would bring it more in line with the CBO's previous forecast.
(CNN) - Among President Obama's first activities on Martha's Vineyard: a friendly tennis match against wife Michelle.
White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters Monday on the Massachusetts island the first couple squared off earlier this morning, though it remains a secret who won.
Burton also revealed Obama is set to play golf later in the day with South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, UBS CEO and major Obama supporter Robert Wolf, and White House aide Marvin Nicholson.
As for the rest of the week, Burton offered few details, saying the president himself doesn't even have a particular schedule.
The White House has issued the following statement Monday:
Statement from the Press Secretary on the Department of Justice Inquiry
The President has said repeatedly that he wants to look forward, not back, and the President agrees with the Attorney General that those who acted in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance should not be prosecuted. Ultimately, determinations about whether someone broke the law are made independently by the Attorney General.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Justice Department has asked federal prosecutor John Durham to examine whether CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists were illegal, a source told CNN.
Full statement from the Justice Department after the jump
(CNN) – South Carolina's Republican Attorney General Henry McMaster officially announced his intention to run for governor on Monday - and he did so with a not-so-subtle swipe at the state's current scandal-tainted governor, Mark Sanford.
"Taxpayers no longer trust their government," McMaster said in a web video announcing his candidacy. "There's been too much dishonesty and too many scandals. Not long ago, South Carolina was a leader in creating new jobs. I know we can do it again."
McMaster also uses the video to blame President Obama – but not Sanford - for the 39,000 jobs that have been lost in South Carolina since his inauguration.
"What we need now is new leadership to pull us together," he said. "That's why I'm running for governor. And I ask you to stand with me."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama has approved the establishment of a special unit of terrorist interrogators based out of the FBI, senior administration officials said Monday.
The move comes in the wake of criticism of questionable CIA interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and the transfer of detainees to countries where torture is common.
A 2004 CIA report detailing the use of unauthorized interrogation methods - including the threatened use of a gun and an electric drill - is expected to be made public Monday.
The decision to place the FBI, rather than the CIA, in charge of the interrogations of suspected terrorists represents a major shift in U.S. national security policy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With health care negotiations stalled until Congress comes back from August recess, a top Democratic strategist says President Obama and his party need to seize control of the debate.
"We need message discipline on the Democratic side," Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile said. "I can't speak for Republicans, but I can tell you, without message discipline, this has been a very difficult, uphill battle for the president."
Obama has spent the past week trying to put out fires sparked after his administration appeared to hedge on support for a government-run public option. Some of the greatest criticism is coming from liberals who are now threatening to vote against any bill that does not include such an option.
At a town hall meeting over the weekend, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, implored the president not to drop the public option plan and said his efforts to be bipartisan are futile.
"Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward," she said. "We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.' "
At town hall meetings held by members of Congress in the past few weeks, angry voters have voiced concerns about government involvement in health care. Some have even resorted to violence and vocal anger. Watch more on the public option debate »
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a liberal economist and Nobel Prize winner, said Monday that the debate over the public option is "dismaying in some ways."