WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Rep. Joe Hoeffel officially joined the crowded Democratic gubernatorial field in Pennsylvania Monday.
"I am in the race and I am ready to ride!" Hoeffel said on his Facebook page.
The self-described progressive is in the race to replace Gov. Ed Rendell, who is term-limited. Hoeffel joins a Democratic primary field that includes Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Auditor General Jack Wagner, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and businessman Tom Knox.
Hoeffel was a congressman from 1999-2004, but gave up his seat inan unsuccessful bit to unseat Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican. He is now the Montgomery County Commissioner.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a sign that President Obama is facing growing skepticism within his own party on Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined the call made by several top Republicans on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal to brief Congress on his recommendations for revising U.S. military strategy.
"I think it is useful at some point in time for General McChrystal to share with the Congress, both the Senate and the House, his views and his proposals and his sense of the success that change in strategy would have," Hoyer told reporters.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told Politico that McChrystal's report on Afghanistan should be delivered to the Hill "immediately," but Hoyer declined to put a timeframe on when Congress should get the assessment.
As House GOP Leader John Boehner did last week, Hoyer compared the discussion over next steps in Afghanistan to the debate in 2007 over the surge in Iraq. Hoyer noted that Gen. David Petraeus, then the U.S. Commander in Iraq, briefed Congress in both high profile public hearings and private briefings.
HONG KONG, China (CNN) - Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be in Hong Kong Wednesday to address about 1,000 investors from around the globe in what is billed as her first speech outside North America.
Palin, who recently stepped down as Alaska's governor, will make the keynote speech on Wednesday to the 16th CLSA Investors' Forum. She will cover governance, economics and current events in the United States and Asia, said Simone Wheeler, head of communications for CLSA.
"What we look to do is invite our keynote speakers who we feel are opinion makers, who are newsworthy and who we feel our clients - a very broad international client base - would be interested in hearing from," Wheeler said Monday, noting that CLSA is a politically neutral, independent brokerage. "We certainly believe that Sarah Palin will be - she has been in the news - we believe that she will continue to be a newsmaker in the future and therefore someone we feel that is definitely of interest to fund managers."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tim Pawlenty is joining the PAC club.
In another indication that he may be interested in running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, the Minnesota governor will launch a political action committee in the next few weeks.
The "Freedom First PAC" will allow Pawlenty to raise cash and donate the money to federal and state candidates across the country.
Alex Conant, an unofficial adviser to Pawlenty, says the first fundraiser will be held in Minnesota in a few weeks. Conant, a former press secretary for the Republican National Committee, says the PAC is another way for Pawlenty to help GOP candidates who are seeking election.
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - President Barack Obama made clear Tuesday that the United States expects China to take significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and develop clean energy sources.
In remarks to a U.N. summit on climate change, Obama said "rapidly-growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in
global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part as well."
China and the United States are the world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. While Obama didn't specify China, his comment appeared focused on the role of the world's major growing economy in the climate change debate.
"Some of these nations have already made great strides with the development and deployment of clean energy," Obama said. "Still, they need to commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own. We cannot meet this challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together. There's no other way."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, was taken to a Washington-area hospital Tuesday, after falling in his home, a spokesman confirms to CNN.
Jesse Jacobs, Byrd's spokesman, said the senator "stood up too fast this morning and fell down."
"To err on the side of caution his caregiver called an ambulance," Jacobs said in an e-mail to CNN. "He was taken to the hospital where he is currently being checked out. At this point in time there is no indication that he will be admitted."
Byrd was first elected to the House in 1952 and arrived in the Senate in 1958. The 91-year-old Byrd is the longest-serving senator in U.S. history.
(CNN) - Tuesday will serve as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's first test in his bid for a record-setting fifth term in the city's top post.
Menino, who has served as mayor of Boston since 1993, is facing his toughest re-election bid yet this year as his three opponents have campaigned on a need for fresh blood, and questions swirl over why an aide to Menino erased months of e-mails in a possible violation of public records law.
Menino is facing challenges from members of the Boston City Council, Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, along with Boston developer Kevin McCrea, all Democrats. But the three challengers lack the name recognition of the ubiquitous Menino, and it's believed the longtime mayor - affectionately nicknamed "Mumbles" because of his thick Boston accent - still holds the clear advantage.
The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's election will face off on November 3.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said Tuesday he will focus on health care costs as he offers changes to the compromise health care proposal he unveiled last week.
He made his comments as the committee met to begin considering his plan.
"My colleagues, this is our opportunity to make history. Our actions here this week will determine whether we are courageous and skillful enough to seize the opportunity to change things ... for the better," he said.
"No one should die because they cannot afford health care. This bill would fix that.
(CNN) - A new poll suggests that nearly three out of four New York State voters like Gov. David Paterson - but don't think he's getting the job done.
The Siena College Research Institute survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that more than six out of 10 say Paterson doesn't have the leadership skills to be governor and feel he's not effectively dealing with the problems facing New York.
According to the poll, 18 percent of people questioned say Paterson's doing a good or excellent job in office, with eight in 10 saying he's doing a fair or poor job as governor. The 18 percent who say Paterson's doing a good or excellent job is down 5 points from Siena's August survey.
"Voters say Gov. Paterson is well intentioned but ineffective. They say he lacks leadership skills and is off the mark on handling the state's fiscal situation. Voters say he's not too liberal but is not fighting for people like me," says Siena New York pollster Steven Greenberg. "While voters overwhelmingly don't believe that Paterson's blindness hinders his ability, they believe his actions – or lack of actions – as Governor define him as ineffective."