WASHINGTON (CNN) – Despite a personal phone call from President Obama urging him to do so, former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder said Thursday he will not endorse his fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds in this year's gubernatorial race.
Pointing to Deeds' support for gun rights and his willingness to raise taxes, Wilder wrote in an online column that he plans to keep his powder dry.
"The question before me is whether I support the Democratic candidate's position in addressing these issues," Wilder wrote on the Web site Virginia Tomorrow. "I have not thus far in the progress of the campaign, and as aforesaid refrain from so doing."
Wilder said he doesn't expect Obama - who called him several weeks ago asking him to publicly endorse Deeds - will be thrilled with his decision.
"I'm not thinking the president is going to be pleased," he told CNN, adding that he and the president "have a very good relationship."
(CNN) – National Republicans Thursday were quick to criticize the appointment of Paul Kirk to fill the vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts until a special election is held in January.
“The Democrats’ power play in Massachusetts has nothing to do with principle, and everything to do with politics," Rob Jesmer, Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a statement. "With their unpopular government-run health care bill on the brink of failure, Democrats in Washington desperately need another vote in the U.S. Senate, and it is clear that this Administration will stop at nothing to ram it through the Congress."
Full statement after the jump:
(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Thursday he has chosen longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk to fill the vacant seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a special election is held in January.
Patrick said Kirk will begin serving immediately, not in the 90 days that the measure passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate allowing for the appointment stipulates. The measure, which passed both chambers Wednesday, includes a provision allowing the interim senator to begin immediately if the governor declares it is an emergency.
"He's a distinguished lawyer, volunteer and citizen and he shares the sense of service that so distinguished Sen. Ted Kennedy," Patrick said. "Paul will not seek the open seat in the special election that's coming up in January but for the next few months he'll carry on the work and focus of Senator Kennedy, mindful of his mission and his values and his love of Massachusetts.
Kirk is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and currently heads the John F. Kennedy library in Boston.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Speaking out for the first time, Gov. Paterson's wife says it is "very unfair," that her husband be asked not to run for re-election.
"I have never heard of a president asking a sitting governor not to run for re-election," Michelle Paterson told NBC New York Wednesday. "I thought it was very unusual and very unfair."
Asked if she thought his blindness is a contributing factor to his low poll numbers, the first lady said "most definitely."
"People have to see who (the governor) is," said Mrs. Paterson. "...The whole time I dated David I forgot that he had a sight disability. He has a way of maneuvering and getting around [so] that you forget."
(CNN) – With less than six weeks left until Election Day, a new poll suggests that Michael Bloomberg holds a 16 point lead over his closest rival in the New York City mayor's bid for a third term.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday morning, 52 percent of likely New York City voters support Bloomberg, an Independent, with 36 percent backing New York City Comptroller William Thompson, who recently won the Democratic primary for mayor, and two percent supporting Conservative Party candidate Stephen Christopher.
The poll indicates that Bloomberg leads Thompson 75 to 12 percent among Republicans and 61 to 25 percent among independent voters, with each candidate grabbing 46 percent of Democrats votes.
The survey also suggests that white voters back Bloomberg 62 to 26 percent while African-Americans back Thompson 53 to 35 percent. Hispanic voters questioned in the poll say they back Bloomberg 53 to 37 percent.
"Comptroller William Thompson, fresh from a big Democratic primary win, got no post-primary bounce in his campaign to unseat Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has a 16-point mountain to climb and less than six weeks to do it," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted September 16-21, with 1,513 New York City likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will announce an interim replacement Thursday for the U.S. Senate seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and hours before the announcement, two Democratic sources, one of whom is close the Kennedy family, tell CNN that Patrick has picked Paul Kirk.
Wednesday two Kennedy family associates told CNN that Kirk, a longtime senior aide to the late Sen. Kennedy and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is the family's favorite to fill his vacant Senate seat – and that the late senator's sons have relayed this view to Patrick. One source said the late senator's widow, Vicki Kennedy, was among the family members supporting a Kirk appointment.
The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET at the State House in Boston.
The appointment would give Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the Senate as the chamber weighs President Barack Obama's health care proposal.
The measure, which Wednesday afternoon passed the Massachusetts House and Senate,
would not go into effect for 90 days - a period that ends just a month before the scheduled special election for a permanent successor to complete the remainder of Kennedy's Senate term– unless two-thirds of the state House voted to bypass the delay and enact the measure immediately.
Democrats fell just short of that mark, with a final state House vote of 95-59. But Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The largest city in Maine is ground zero in the television advertising war over health care reform that nationally is about to reach $100 million.
Organizations seeking to influence the health care debate have spent $1.5 million this year to run more than 4,650 separate commercials on TV stations in the coastal city of Portland, according to a new analysis conducted for CNN by TNSMI-Campaign Media Analysis Group (TNSMI-CMAG).
While Maine's population is just over 1.3 million, this small state casts a big shadow in the debate over health care reform. The state's two centrist Republican senators - Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins - are top targets for both pro- and anti- health care reform groups. Snowe is a member of a small group of Senate Finance Committee members known as the "Gang of Six," who met regularly to try and craft a bipartisan health care bill. The bipartisan pressure is nothing new for Maine's senators: Snowe and Collins are regularly lobbied by Democrats to break GOP ranks to vote with them on other issues.
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 cooperation mix with raw rhetoric in U.N. speeches
World leaders, many reeling from a year marked by global economic freefall and a growing threat from global warming and nuclear proliferation, exhorted one another Wednesday to work together to meet those challenges.
CNN: At U.N., Obama calls for new era in world relations
President Obama made a forceful call Wednesday for a new era in global relations, urging the United Nations to move past old divisions and disputes to reassert itself as a leading force in confronting the most pressing issues of today.
CNN: Gadhafi talks of U.N. 'inequality,' conspiracies at U.N. debut
Moammar Gadhafi's debut appearance at the United Nations was bound to be memorable, but his long and rambling diatribe Wednesday is one that few will forget.
CNN: ACORN sues filmmakers
ACORN filed suit Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland, against two filmmakers who secretly recorded videos embarrassing to the agency, claiming the pair violated state law by recording their conversations without permission of the employees involved.
CNN: Liberal Dem blasts ACORN
A leading liberal Democrat in the House blasted the embattled community organizing group ACORN Wednesday and said he is urging the White House to withhold any federal funding for the group.
CNN: U.S. scrambling to come up with new Afghanistan plan?
The Obama administration's national security team is working on alternative strategies for the war in Afghanistan that may not require tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops, a senior U.S. official told CNN Wednesday.
CNN: Request for more U.S. troops in Afghanistan expected soon
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan will send his request for more resources to combat the insurgency there in the next several days, according to a senior U.S. defense official familiar with the situation.