WASHINGTON (CNN) - Damning new allegations about former Sen. John Edwards' extramarital affair are coming out - this time, the claims could spell the end of Edwards' political career.
While the U.S. has a tradition of forgiveness, politicians seem able to gain forgiveness from the public and come back after just about anything. As long as the offender apologizes, gets punished and seems to suffer along the way, they are forgiven.
Edwards admitted to having an affair with former 2008 presidential campaign worker Rielle Hunter. He did a mea culpa.
"In 2006, two years ago, I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I am responsible for and no one else," he said during an interview with ABC News' "Nightline."
"I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness," he said.
But now he's getting the front page New York Times treatment.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An Obama administration source denies reports that the White House has been looking for a 'soft landing' for embattled New York Gov. David Paterson - but says Paterson hasn't flatly refused to remove himself from the race, though he is being coy about his plans.
Informed sources tell CNN that White House political director Patrick Gaspard met early last week with the Democratic governor to let him know about the administration's concerns he could not win the governor's race next year - a problem that could affect races down-ticket, not the least of which Senate seat now held by Kirsten Gillibrand. The White House decision to approach Paterson, says one source, "was driven by the poll numbers. There doesn't seem to be any way he can recover."
CNN has also learned that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer met with the president last month, and that the fate of the governor's race may have been one topic of conversation.
Polls show that Paterson's approval numbers are low - and dropping fast. In recent polls, just one in five voters approved of the job he'd been doing as governor. The same surveys indicated he'd lose in a matchup against former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo - who has assiduously avoided weighing in on the Paterson controversy - is clearly waiting in the wings, his approval ratings skyrocketing as he aggressively takes on Wall Street. "Every banker Cuomo indicts, the more popular he gets," says one Democratic strategist.
(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton told CNN Monday that he thinks some of the criticism directed at President Obama is racially motivated, but added that not all of Obama’s detractors are racist and urged his fellow Democrats to remain focused on trying to enact health care reform.
“I believe that some of the right-wing extremists which oppose President Obama are also racially prejudiced and would prefer not to have an African-American president,” Clinton told CNN’s Larry King in an interview to air Monday evening. “But I don’t believe that all the people who oppose him on health care – and all the conservatives – are racists. And I believe if he were white, every single person who opposes him now, would be opposing him then. Therefore, while I have devoted my life to getting rid of racism, I think this is a fight that my president and our party – this is one we need to win on the merits.”
Clinton later added, “I really think that we should disaggregate lingering problems of discrimination from the attacks to which the president is subject.”
Clinton was reacting to Rep. Joe Wilson’s, R-South Carolina, outburst when he shouted “You lie” at Obama during the president’s joint address to Congress and former President Jimmy Carter’s assessment that racism is an issue for Obama in trying to lead the country.
Watch Clinton’s entire interview on CNN’s Larry King Live Monday night beginning at 9 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The activist community-organizing group ACORN will be the subject of a limited investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, the internal watchdog office announced Monday.
Inspector General Glenn Fine said he is opening the review in response to a request from the top Republican on a key House Committee.
In a brief letter to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, Fine said he will investigate whether ACORN applied for or received any Justice Department grant funds, and if so, whether the Justice Department had conducted any audits or reviews of ACORN's use of such funds.
Smith, who also wants the FBI to open a full criminal investigation, is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - South Carolina Republican congressman Joe Wilson has now raised over $2 million in campaign contributions since he shouted "You lie!" at the president earlier this month.
A campaign aide confirmed that Wilson surpassed the $2 million mark on Monday.
Wilson and his 2010 opponent, Democrat Rob Miller, each raised more than $1.5 million in the week after Wilson's outburst, which occurred during President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress on September 9.
The House voted to formally reprimand Wilson last week, amidst an aggressive online fundraising effort by the congressman's staff.
Miller is scheduled to visit Washington on Wednesday for a pair of fundraisers on Capitol Hill.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Former New York Gov. George Pataki wouldn't say Monday if he is interested in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand for her U.S. Senate seat next year - but didn't rule it out, either.
Asked if he's considering a bid, a coy Pataki wouldn't go any further than: "People have talked to me about a lot of different things."
Pataki's comments came as he was giving the Republican National Committee's response Monday to President Barack Obama's economic speech at Hudson Community College in Troy, New York.
A recent Marist College poll of New York State voters suggests that Pataki leads Gillibrand 48 percent to 44 percent in a hypothetical matchup in next year's Senate race. Pataki's lead in the survey is within the poll's sampling error.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs won't confirm or deny a report that President Obama urged embattled New York Gov. David Paterson not to seek a full term.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One Monday, Gibbs was asked about a New York Times report which said that Obama "sent a request" to Paterson urging him to step aside from the governor's race. Gibbs said Paterson is in a "tough situation" and said ultimately the decision on whether or not he is going to make a bid to keep his job next year is one "that he's going to make."
"Well, look, I think everybody understands the tough jobs that every elected official has right now in addressing many of the problems that we have, and I think people are aware of the tough situation that the governor of New York is in," Gibbs said. "And I wouldn't add a lot to what you've read, except this is a decision that he's going to make."
Gibbs said it isn't new for presidents to get involved in elections around the country, and called it one of the "hazards of the job."
(CNN) - Tom DeLay, a one-time House Majority Whip, now has a vote counter of his own.
DeLay's daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, blasted out an e-mail Monday in an effort to drum up votes for her father just as he is set to make his debut on the reality show "Dancing with the Stars" Monday night.
"[I]t's time to watch and vote!!," Ferro writes in the message. "The judges score is only half the overall score, our votes are the other half."
The daughter of the former Republican congressman offered multiple ways that recipients of her message can cast their votes during and after Monday night's show, adding: "Dad is really counting on us so now's a great time to show your support!!"
The e-mail was sent to friends, family, and the former lawmaker's political supporters, Ferro told CNN in an e-mail message.
Ferro isn't the only one excited about Monday night's premiere.
"I can't wait to show you my Cha Cha tonight," DeLay wrote Monday morning on the micro-blogging site Twitter, "We are ready. My foot is better. Life is sweet."
Almost a week ago, DeLay warned on Twitter that he might he might have suffered a stress fracture. "[I]t'll take more than that to keep me off the dance floor!" DeLay tweeted at the time.
Later the same day, DeLay used the popular social networking site to broadcast an update about his condition. "No stress fracture! . . . I live for another day."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In effort to show fellow Democrats he hears their deep concerns about his health care plan, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus plans to make changes to his own proposal even before the committee starts voting Tuesday on hundreds of proposed amendments to the $774 billion dollar plan.
The biggest concern he will begin to address: affordability.
Two Democratic sources close to Baucus tell CNN he plans to use the $28 billion surplus in the plan cited by the Congressional Budget Office to help Americans pay for health insurance that would be mandatory under his proposal.
The Baucus sources say he will discuss this in a Monday evening meeting with committee Democrats.
Late last Friday, 564 amendments were filed to make changes to Baucus' proposal, including a significant number from Democrats looking for ways to make health coverage more affordable.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sometimes even the fiercest political foes can put their partisan differences aside.
That’s exactly what happened on Sunday’s State of the Union when Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist Mary Matalin gave the public a rare glimpse inside their marriage.
The moment came when CNN Chief National Correspondent John King played a clip from a recent “Saturday Night Live” special where Carville, who is known for his Cajun accent and his outspokenness, was spoofed on the legendary comedy sketch show.
In the SNL skit, a Carville impersonator was asked to comment on the recent political protests against the Obama administration. “These people are first class crazy,” the impersonator says, “and I should know because I’m as crazy as they come. I mean look at me. I see this in the mirror every mornin’ and I think ‘Yup, that’s a good look.’ I mean c’mon. I look like a Skeletor.”