WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee is intensifying its push to reach seniors skeptical of President Obama's health care proposal, releasing a new television ad Tuesday that targets the powerful voter bloc.
In the one-minute ad, RNC Chairman Michael Steele outlines the RNC's new "Seniors' Bill of Rights" - six policies the party says will serve as "protections" for senior citizens.
"When you disagree with Washington, how come they act like it's your problem?" Steele says. "That's what the Democrats have done with health care. They say you're the problem."
"How about a different way? A focus on things we can all agree on? I'm Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican Party. Join us in supporting a new Seniors' Bill of Rights."
The GOP's plan repeats recent Republican calls for zero cuts to Medicare, a rule barring health care rationing based on age, and a measure that would prevent the government from playing any role in end-of-life care.
The White House has said any cuts to Medicare would target government waste, and would not affect the level of care for seniors, and independent fact-checking organizations have said claims that the proposed plan includes any provision for rationing are inaccurate.
(CNN) - With two months until election day, two new polls in New Jersey indicate that Republican challenger Chris Christie maintains the edge over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the Garden State's gubernatorial battle.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning suggests that Corzine, who's fighting for a second term, trails Christie, the former federal prosecutor for New Jersey, by 10 points - 47 percent to 37 percent - with 9 percent of New Jersey likely voters questioned backing Independent candidate Chris Daggett and six percent undecided.
Christie's lead is up four points from a Quinnipiac poll conducted in early August.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind survey also released Tuesday morning indicates that Christie holds a 5 point lead over Corzine, 47 percent to 42 percent, in a two-person race, with 6 percent unsure. Christie was ahead by 6 points in Fairleigh Dickinson's last poll, conducted in July.
Both surveys suggest that Christie's support among Republican voters is slightly stronger than Corzine's backing by Democrats, and both polls indicate that the Republican has a double-digit advantage among independent voters.
(CNN) - Congress may have officially taken the month off, but August was the busiest month yet for health care ads designed to sway their votes, according to a new report from Campaign Media Analysis Group.
Organizations across the ideological spectrum spent more than $20 million to air a combined total of 34,000 ads across the country last month specifically dealing with the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democrats to reform the nation's health care system.
The ads target or promote nearly every player in the health care debate, including the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, special interest groups, congressional Democrats, and President Obama himself.
The group says 13,000 of the spots - totaling $6.6 million - specifically target big insurance companies for rising costs and massive profits, implicitly supporting the Democratic reform efforts. Liberal and Democratic-supporting groups including MoveOn.org, Americans United for Change, and AFSCME have also spent millions on ads supporting the party's efforts, and attacking Republicans for unwillingness to support the reforms.
On the other side of the debate, the United States Chamber of Commerce has spent close to $6 million on one ad alone denouncing the reforms and arguing the changes will lead to massive deficit increases. A string of GOP and conservative organizations, including the Republican National Committee, various state Republican parties, the Club for Growth, and the League of American Voters, have also aired ads critical of the health care reform plan .
Close to $60 million has been spent on health care ads since the beginning of the summer.
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Las Vegas, NEVADA (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express rolls out of Las Vegas, there is at least one person who may be glad to see it go: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"There's been kind of an underground gathering of opponents of Harry Reid," said Mark Williams, one of the organizers of the cross country conservative caravan that is making its way towards Washington.
Williams says that dislike of the Nevada Democrat is one of the key factors that is driving people to come out to the five Nevada stops on the tour. With Reid not being up for election until 2010, Williams says people are using the tea parties to come together and vent their frustration with the state's senior senator.
Protesters at a tea party event in Sparks, Nevada drew a rather unflattering caricature of the senator and taped it to the door of a port-a-pottie.
In Winnemucca, Nevada Deborah Johns, another tour organizer, won big applause when she brought up Reid.
"It's time to let Harry Reid know it's time to go back to searchlight," she said, referring to Reid's hometown in Nevada. "When he gets there the lights are going to be out."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, denied Tuesday that he attacked former colleagues Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft in his controversial new book.
Ridge called them "people whose opinions I respect immensely" on CNN's "American Morning."
He made headlines recently by saying he fought their proposal to raise the U.S. terror threat level in the run-up to the 2004 presidential elections.
In his book, "The Test of Our Time," he implied that politics may have played a
role in the proposal to raise it. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Attorney General Ashcroft strongly advocated raising the security threat level to "orange" - even though Ridge believed a threatening message from Osama Bin Laden "should not be the sole reason to elevate the threat level."
(CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first major speaking engagement after leaving office won't be in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Instead, she's apparently headed to Hong Kong.
According to the Hong Kong-based brokerage firm CLSA, Palin will be the keynote speaker at their 16th annual investor's conference in September. The conference of financial heavy-hitters brings together hundreds of CEOs, CIOs and fund managers from around the world. In agreeing to speak, Palin's joining some esteemed company: past speakers at the conference have included Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Al Gore and Desmond Tutu.
The former governor's spokesman was not immediately available to confirm the speaking engagment, which was announced in a press release Monday by CLSA. Palin's team hasn't always been on the same page as event organizers who have billed her as as a headline speaker. Over the last four months, organizers at conservative events in Alaska and in Washington, D.C. have announced appearances by the GOP star, only to discover at the last minute she would not attend.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: Calls for bipartisanship rise as health care debate nears
As Congress prepares to come back from its August recess and tackle health care reform, the question arises whether lawmakers will do something in honor of the "Lion of the Senate" - or should Congress simply start over?
CNN: Palin to Hong Kong
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first major speaking engagement after leaving office won't be in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
CNN: Republican warns against tactic to pass health-care reform
A top Republican in Congress warned Monday that using a legislative tactic to pass a Democratic health-care bill opposed by Republicans would increase public anger over partisan politics.
CNN: Steele: No guilt trip after Kennedy death
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Monday that Americans shouldn't be "guilted" into passing health care reform because of the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy.
CNN: MA lawmakers set date for succession bill hearing
Two Massachusetts political sources say the Joint Elections Committee in the state legislature plans to hear a Senate succession
bill in just a week and a half.
CNN: King not taking on Gillibrand
Peter King made it official Monday. The Republican congressman from New York State announced that he won't take on Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand next year when the appointed senator runs for the final two years of Hillary Clinton's term.
CNN: Obama official disputes Cheney's interrogation claims
Former Vice President Dick Cheney had his facts wrong when he blasted Attorney General Eric Holder last week for launching an investigation into past CIA interrogation techniques, an administration official asserted Monday.
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