(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford forcefully rejected his lieutenant governor's request that he resign for the good of the state, telling reporters Wednesday: "I am not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks that were never fans of mine in the first place."
Sanford called a press conference to respond to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who said earlier in the day "that the best interests of the people of South Carolina can no longer be served by the current administration." Bauer also promised voters that if Sanford resigns and he assumes the governorship, he will not go through with his long-held plans to enter the 2010 governor's race.
But Sanford dismissed Bauer's offer - which was made formally in a letter sent to Sanford's office - and accused Bauer and other critics of cynically trying to exploit his weakened political position in the wake of recent investigations into his travel expenses.
"A lot of what's going on is pure politics, plain and simple," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Ted Kennedy's desk in the Senate chamber is draped in a black cloth and has a vase of white roses sitting on it, as is customarily done when a member of the Senate dies. The chamber is currently open to the public but since the Senate is not in session, no video or still pictures can be taken of the desk.
Also on the desk, according to Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: a copy of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken."
Read text of Frost's poem after the jump:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A conservative group that opposes President Obama's approach to health care reform said Wednesday that it is suspending a multi-million dollar television campaign, because of the death of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.
"[N]ow is a time for respect, reflection and remembrance," Rick Scott, chairman of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, said in a statement. "Senator Kennedy's lifetime of dedicated public service transcended multiple generations. His devotion to many issues and his relentless passion made him a hero to his supporters and worthy adversary to his opponents. His voice and presence will be missed."
Related: Remembering Sen. Kennedy
Scott also said Wednesday that the group knows "the debate will continue.
"A debate Senator Kennedy embraced with vigor, and we look forward to engaging in the debate in the months ahead."
Conservatives for Patients' Rights has spent more than $4 million on ads against health care reform, including a recent ad buy intended to catch the eye of President Obama who is vacationing this week on Martha's Vineyard.
During his address to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Kennedy called health care reform "the cause of my life," and said he hoped to see legislation that would "guarantee that every American will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right."
Related: Health care in America
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Following Sen. Edward Kennedy's death, the staff in his personal office will have 60 days to archive his materials and close his office, according to the Secretary of the Senate's office, which oversees the process.
Kennedy staff members must only work on closing the office, and cannot continue any legislative or other work they had underway before his death.
All ongoing constituent casework will need to be either closed out or transferred to another member of the Massachusetts delegation, said Beth Provenzano, an aide to Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson.
(CNN) – South Carolina's lieutenant governor on Wednesday accused Gov. Mark Sanford of "serious misconduct" in office and said the time has come for the embattled governor to resign.
Andre Bauer is the highest-ranking official so far to call on Sanford to step down. He said he tried to remain supportive of the governor after he admitted to an extramarital affair in June, but subsequent investigations into Sanford's foreign and domestic travel expenses have become too much of a distraction for the state.
Several GOP lawmakers have said that Sanford, also a Republican, violated South Carolina law by paying for pricey seats on international flights and using state aircraft for personal and political purposes.
"Regrettably, we have reached a point where we must all put the interests of the people of South Carolina first," Bauer said at a news conference inside the state house in Columbia. "It is my opinion that the best interests of the people of South Carolina can no longer be served by the current administration."
Sanford has scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. ET to respond to Bauer's comments.
If Sanford does resign, Bauer would become governor for the remainder of Sanford's term, which expires in January 2011.
But the lieutenant governor, who was elected separately from Sanford and is not a political ally of the governor, offered Sanford a deal: If the governor resigns and Bauer takes office, he said he will put aside his own political ambitions and not move forward with the 2010 gubernatorial bid he has long been planning.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Republican political action committee launched the first negative ads of the Virginia gubernatorial race on Wednesday, accusing Democrat Creigh Deeds of supporting wasteful government spending.
The ads - one on TV and one on the radio - come one day after the Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, unveiled an upbeat ad promising to make Virginia "the energy capital of the East Coast."
Wednesday's ad, titled "Big Spender," was created by a group called Virginia Common Sense PAC, an offshoot of the Republican Governors Association. The 30-second ad will air statewide, except in the costly northern Virginia media market.
The ad shows video of Deeds on the campaign trail in April, before his victory in the Democratic primary, telling voters that in early 2008 he offered $1 billion in state budget amendments - the highest amount sought by any state senator.
(Story updated with reaction after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The young senator inspired a new generation of voters with his message of change and extended America's hand to the global community in an effort to promote a different kind of diplomacy.
One magazine characterized him as having a "quick charm, the patience to listen, a sure social touch, an interest in knowledge and a greed for facts."
A biographer recalled that he "had to touch the secret fears and ambivalent longings of the American heart, divine and speak to the desires of a swiftly changing nation - his message grounded on his own intuition of some vague and spreading desire for national renewal."
Those words could have been written about Barack Obama's rise to the presidency last year but actually come from coverage about the ascendancy of John F. Kennedy to the White House.
Kennedy's presidency is remembered as "Camelot," for the Broadway show about an idealized King Arthur's Court that opened the month after Kennedy won the presidency in November 1960.
After JFK's assassination in 1963, the Camelot legacy was handed down to younger brother Robert Kennedy, who served as John Kennedy's attorney general and was later elected to the Senate from New York. Ted Kennedy assumed the mantle after Robert Kennedy was assassinated during his run for the presidency in 1968.
And with the death of the youngest Kennedy brother, the question arises: Has Obama become the Kennedy family's heir apparent?
(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he is in favor of a change in state law supported by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement to fill the state's vacant Senate seat.
Under current Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant, with the winner serving the remainder of the former senator's unexpired term.
"I believe that the senator's request to permit the governor to appoint someone to serve for that five months until a special election was entirely reasonable," Patrick said in an interview with Boston radio station WBUR. "I think particularly now when you think about the momentous change legislation that is pending in the Congress today, Massachusetts needs two voices. "
Asked if he would push the state legislature to make that change, Patrick said he would, and that he would sign the bill into law.
Last week, Kennedy - who died Tuesday at age 77 after serving nearly five decades in the Senate - urged that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election can be held.
The president and Sen. Kennedy walked together on White House grounds before Obama signed the Kennedy Service Act in April 2009. (Photo Credit: Pete Souza/Official White House photo distributed via Flickr.com)
(Read the presidential proclamation after the jump.)