(CNN) – If you've ever wanted to eat dinner with Sarah Palin, now's your chance.
With bids starting at $25,000, eBay is auctioning off a dinner for five with the former Alaska governor and her husband, Todd. The proceeds will go to "Ride 2 Recovery," a charity that provides wounded veterans with bicycles and organized rides to help in their mental and physical recovery.
"The Governor is excited to have been asked to honor our nation's veterans in this way," said Palin spokesman Meg Stapleton.
The auction opens on Tuesday and will last for ten days. Also up for grabs: Lunch with Karl Rove. Bidding on a meal with the former Bush presidential adviser starts at $7,500.
–CNN's Tracy Sabo contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley tells CNN he intends to offer counter proposals to Sen. Max Baucus tomorrow morning, as the Senate Finance Committee chair requested.
What changes he will offer is still unclear. He and his aides will work on it tonight.
The source did not want to speak on the record by name discussing internal deliberations.
(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford - facing a growing impeachment threat over his secret trip to Argentina in June - said Tuesday he's not preparing for a legal battle with state legislators who want to remove him from office.
"I'm not looking for a fight," Sanford said during a radio interview in Columbia, when asked if he's ready to hire lawyers to combat possible impeachment charges.
At the same time, the embattled governor acknowledged his fate rests in the hands of the state legislature, which by many accounts is set to begin the impeachment process when it re-convenes in January, pending the outcome of a state ethics panel investigation into Sanford's travel expenses.
Asked if he believes he committed any sort of impeachable offense during his time in office, Sanford said only: "Well, that's for the General Assembly to decide."
The governor, however, suggested that actions related to his June disappearance did not rise to the level of offenses committed by other state executives who have been impeached in the past.
"There have been eight governors impeached in the history of this nation," he said, describing the actions of those governors as "heinous."
"And so I would say there is certainly a world of difference between what happened in those instances and what happened here," he added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee was placed in lockdown for 1.5 hours Tuesday afternoon after a suspicious package was discovered in the mailroom.
The U.S. Capitol Police investigated and determined there was no threat. Initial results from the tests on the scene indicate the substance was sugar. A hazmat team and other authorities have left the scene.
The building was reopened to the public at around 5:40 p.m. ET.
“There was a suspicious package found in the RNC mailroom,” RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told CNN. “We worked with the U.S. Capitol Police to investigate the situation and have been given the all clear.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's political road show continues on Wednesday, when the potential 2012 presidential candidate travels to Virginia to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
Last week, Pawlenty campaigned with Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey, the only other state with a governor's race this year.
Pawlenty will host a fundraiser before appearing with McDonnell at a joint press conference in Richmond, his campaign said Tuesday. He'll then travel solo to Fredericksburg and Alexandria to stump for the former state attorney general.
The two men met previously through the Republican Governors Association, but tomorrow's trip will mark the first time Pawlenty has campaigned in Virginia since announcing he would not seek a third term as Minnesota governor.
Pawlenty becomes the latest national figure to campaign for McDonnell, and one of several possible 2012 contenders lending a hand to the Virginia Republican this year. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - two veterans of the 2008 presidential campaign - have both campaigned with, and raised money for, McDonnell.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday a health care bill could pass the House without a public health insurance option. That assessment from the number two Democrat breaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who just last week insisted that "a bill without a strong public option will not pass the House."
When asked about the Speaker's position, Hoyer didn't answer directly, but signaled there would be support for a bill as long as it included major reforms. "I think a bill can pass the House that the majority of the House believes enhances, moves forward substantially the providing of access for affordable, quality healthcare…I believe a bill that accomplishes very substantially the objectives the President has put forward and we put forward can pass the House."
The Majority Leader repeated that while he still supports a public option, he could vote for a bill without one. "I think it is vital - it's vital, important. Do I think it's a condition of passing the bill? My position has been I'm for the public option. I want to see us adopt a public option, but I think there is a lot in the bill that is very good in addition to the public option. Interpreted, that means if the public option weren't in there, I still could support a bill because I think there's a lot in there that's good."
Hoyer repeated an assessment he made last month about the level of support for the public option. "I think it's a good option. On the other hand, I have said I hope we move a bill forward that can garner a majority of support."
That's what President Obama told a Virginia high school student Tuesday who asked how Obama's life had changed since becoming the nation's chief executive.
"When you announce that you're running for president, a lot more people know you," the president said at a gathering with students before his nationally televised speech to the nation's schoolchildren, "Then, slowly, you get Secret Service. Then, when you win the nomination, you get more Secret Service. Then when you become president, everything just shuts down."
"I can't just do things normally like I used to do them," Obama said of the gilded cage he now lives in as president. "I'm inside what's called 'the bubble,'" Obama told the students, "I can't just do things on the spur of the moment and that's actually the toughest thing about being president because you want to just interact with people normally."
But living in the White House has its perks, Obama also told the students.
WASHINGTON (CNN)- As President Obama prepares to deliver his health care message to the American people Wednesday night, the umbrella group Health Care for America Now and union allies launched a weeklong media and grassroots campaign in Maine to pressure the state's GOP senators to back a public health insurance option.
Sen. Olympia Snowe has been in quiet talks with the White House about a "trigger" option, which would threaten the insurance industry with a new public health insurance plan in several years if it did not meet certain coverage standards.
The new $280,000 campaign aimed at Snowe and fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins will include radio, print and television advertising in the state through Saturday, along with mailers and an online petition calling on Snowe to "stand up to the insurance company lobbyists."
(CNN) - After remaining relatively quiet on the matter for more than two months, South Carolina's Speaker of the House is now calling for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign.
The Charleston Republican delivered a letter to Sanford on Tuesday telling him that his actions "have forced unnecessary suffering on the people of South Carolina."
Harrell leads 73 members of the House GOP caucus and now becomes the second-highest ranking elected official in the state to ask Sanford to step down. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer called for the governor to resign last month - a request Sanford quickly rejected.
"The daily trickle of allegations against you has shown that there is no end in sight to the constant distractions caused by you remaining in office," he wrote. Harrell said the governor is destined to be an unnecessary distraction when the state legislature re-convenes in January.
Several Republican members of the legislature favor impeaching the governor, but Harrell said he would avoid talking about possible impeachment charges until the State Ethics Commission concludes its recently-launched investigation into Sanford's travel expenses.
The House Speaker has clashed publicly with Sanford over the years, most recently over the governor's refusal to take $700 million in federal stimulus funds.
(CNN) - As President Obama gets set to address a joint-session of Congress on the issue of health care reform Wednesday night, former President Clinton says it's time to forget about the Republican Party's role in the process entirely.
"The president's doing the right thing. It is both morally and politically right," Clinton told Esquire Magazine in an interview published online Tuesday. "I wouldn't even worry about the Republicans. I'd worry about executing."
Though it increasingly appears the White House will win few if any Republican votes on a final health care bill, some members of the GOP say they remain open to supporting a potential version legislation, including Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"I look forward to what he specific proposals are," the former Obama rival said last week. "I think the disappointment a lot of Americans display is that we are not working together more."
Still, Clinton said Obama's chief worry should be ensuring the entire Senate Democratic caucus (59 members with the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy) is in support of the reform legislation, including Democrats from more conservative states, like Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.