WASHINGTON (CNN) – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN on Thursday that he thinks filmmaker Roman Polanski, who was arrested in Switzerland last weekend for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, should not get special treatment because of his celebrity status.
As some in Hollywood rally to Polanski's defense, the movie star-turned-Republican governor said he wouldn't promise the director a pardon if he gets extradited to the United States and re-enters California's legal system. He said that he would "not treat (Polanski's) situation any differently than everyone else's."
"It doesn't matter if you are a big-time movie actor or a big-time movie director or producer," Schwarzenegger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I think that he is a very respected person, and I am a big admirer of his work. But nevertheless, I think he should be treated like everyone else."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Kevin Jennings is the latest target for critics of the Obama administration.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is calling for his resignation from the Department of Education. So is Sean Hannity. Fox News has accused him of condoning "statuatory rape."
The facts? They don't necessarily match the accusations.
Jennings is gay. He's also an expert in school bullying. Education Secretary Arne Duncan tapped him to run the Department's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. And that's when the trouble started.
Critics are making hay over counseling advice Jennings gave a gay student more than 20 years ago. Jennings, who has published several books, has written about the incident in his 1994 book "One Teacher in Ten." He wrote that when he was a 24-year-old teacher, a gay student confided that he'd had sex with an older man.
Jennings didn't report the incident to authorities. Instead, he writes, "I listened, sympathized, and offered advice." He has subsequently said he told the student: "I hope you used a condom."
In a statement Jennings released by the Department of Education on Wednesday, Jennings expressing regret over his decision.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily: President Obama is demanding that Iran back promises made to officials in Geneva following diplomatic talks Thursday. Foreign Affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty examines the timeline being set for Iran by the administration.
Meanwhile: U.S. military officials are laying out their strategies for Afghanistan. In London, Gen. Stanley McChrystal - the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan - reiterated that "time does matter." CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports.
Plus: A new book reveals fascinating untold stories from the Clinton Administration. The Situation Room's Wolf Blizter sits down with Taylor Branch, the author of "The Clinton Tapes," for a behind the scenes look.
Finally: Rumors are circulating that President Obama is headed to Copenhagen for an 2016 Olympic bid victory lap. The White House and the International Olympic Committee dispute the claims. CNN's White House Correspondent Ed Henry sets the record straight.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is sending a pair of top Cabinet officials next week to visit the Chicago, Illinois, school where an honors student was beaten to death, the beating videotaped and broadcast around the world.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder will make the trip October 7, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.
"It's a great concern to the president, as somebody who lives in Chicago and should be a concern for every American," Gibbs said.
Obama spoke with his advisers about the killing on Wednesday and directed Duncan and Holder to meet with officials from the school, the students and the community to "talk about the issue of school violence," Gibbs said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The beautifully ornate Catholic church in the nation's capital has seen its share of history and controversy.
In 1963, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle was the site of John F. Kennedy's funeral. After the service, on the steps outside, the slain president's young son famously saluted his father's memory.
But the church is also the site of an annual Mass that has drawn criticism for what many see as an unhealthy mix of politics, the law and religion.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) - As First Lady Michelle Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey wrapped up a day of furious behind-the-scenes lobbying of International Olympic Committee members here, two sources close to the process tell CNN that the battle between Chicago and Rio is heating up, as the two cities battle to host the 2016 Summer Games.
Madrid and Tokyo are also in the running, but sources close the process said that Chicago and Rio have emerged as the clear frontrunners, and are neck and-neck ahead of President Obama's arrival early Friday for a presentation to the IOC's 105 members, who will be voting later that day.
After a flurry of private conversations among IOC officials here, one of the sources close to the process said bluntly that it's "close as hell" between Chicago and Rio, as both Obama and Brazilian President Lula da Silva plan to make personal appeals to the voters on behalf of their cities on Friday morning.
In a sign of just how ferocious the lobbying is, King Juan Carlos of Spain and new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama are also making personal pitches to the IOC members.
(CNN) - The Republican Governors Association launched its latest ad slamming incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine Thursday, as a new survey suggested his GOP challenger's advantage has largely evaporated.
In a new 15-second television ad launched Thursday by the RGA, the Democratic governor is featured in 2006 footage saying "Hold me accountable."
"New Jersey's broke," an announcer then says in the ad, "Jobs are leaving. And our property taxes are the highest in the nation.
"Corzine. Taxes. Waste. Debt. Failure."
The RGA's spot was released the same day Corzine and Christie both launched their own new ads, hours before the two men and independent candidate Chris Daggett prepare to face off in the first debate of New Jersey's gubernatorial race.
A Monmouth University/Gannett poll released Thursday suggests Christie's edge over Corzine has shrunk to 3 percentage points among likely voters, 43 to 40 percent - an advantage that now falls within the survey's 4 point sampling error.
–CNN's Lauren Kornreich and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama will campaign for yet another vulnerable Democrat in late October, when he travels to Connecticut to raise money for embattled Sen. Chris Dodd.
Dodd's campaign announced the October 23 event on Thursday in an e-mail to reporters.
"As President Obama has said in the past, Senator Dodd's record is an incredibly strong one on behalf of the people of Connecticut and this country, and he's continuing to work with the President to help reform our healthcare system and make sure our financial regulatory rules protect consumers first and foremost," Dodd's campaign manager Jay Howser said in a release.
Dodd's approval ratings have climbed since last spring, but his approval rating is still only in the 40s - a difficult position for any incumbent. According to a Quinnipiac poll released in September, he trails Republican Rob Simmons - one of several candidates seeking the GOP nomination - by four points in hypothetical general election match-up.
The president has raised money and campaigned for other Democrats facing tough re-election challenges, including Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
(CNN) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday the coalition in the war-torn country is going to have to do things "dramatically differently, even uncomfortably differently" in order to succeed.
"We must operate and think in a fundamentally new way," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think thank. He stressed the importance of connecting with the Afghan people, who he said are "frustrated" that more has not been accomplished in the nearly 8-year-old war.
McChrystal said he discounts immediately those who simplify the problem or offer a solution "because they absolutely have no clue about the complexity of what we are dealing with."
McChrystal arrived in Afghanistan in 2002. In June, he replaced Gen. David McKiernan as the top commander in the region. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time that a "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed.
In a statement on talks held earlier Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, between Iran and the so-called P5+1 allies including the United States, Obama said the head of the IAEA would be traveling soon to Iran to inspect the Qom facility.
The IAEA has confirmed a trip to Iran by Director General Mohamed ElBaradei would take place soon, but no specific date has been announced.