WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man who ran John McCain's presidential campaign warned Friday that Sarah Palin could lead to a 'catastrophic' election result for the GOP in 2012 if the former Alaska governor captures the party's presidential nomination.
"I think that she has talents," Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager of McCain's failed presidential bid, told CNN's John King. "But my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican Party in 2012, and in fact, were she the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result."
The comments came during The Atlantic Magazine's First Draft of History Conferece, held at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
"I don't think it's inconceivable that she could be the Republican nominee for President of the United States," added Schmidt - who, among others in the McCain campaign, butted heads behind the scenes with Palin in the weeks leading up to Election Day. "I do think it's fairly inconceivable that she could be elected President of the United States."
Looking ahead to Palin's upcoming book - entitled "Going Rogue" - Schmidt predicted he would be portrayed as "anti-rogue in the running of the campaign."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin is remaining silent about a sharp jab directed at her Friday by former John McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, who predicted that a potential Palin presidential bid in 2012 would be "catastrophic."
A spokeswoman for the former Alaska governor said Palin is holding her fire until her new book is released next month.
"The governor will write about all of this in her book," Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said in an e-mail, referring to the internal fighting that marred the final weeks of McCain's president bid. "There will be plenty of time to talk about it then."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A former student of an Obama administration official is coming to his defense, as critics seek to use a 20-year-old incident to call for the official's resignation.
Kevin Jennings, who heads the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, is under fire for counseling advice he gave a gay student more than two decades ago. Conservative groups charge that Jennings, who is openly gay, condoned statutory rape and child molestation. That's in reference to an incident in 1988 when Jennings, who was a teacher at the time, failed to tell authorities that an underage student revealed to Jennings that he'd had sex with an older man.
Now that onetime student is speaking out for the first time and telling CNN he did not have sex with that man at all.
In a statement obtained by CNN the former student, who wanted to be called Brewster, writes: "Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my 'well-being' and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not 'inducted' into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery."
(CNN)–Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech before the International Olympics Committee. President Obama traveled overseas - in the middle of debates over health care and Afghanistan - to make his personal pitch to bring the 2016 Olympics to his hometown.
But despite their efforts, the Obamas will come home empty-handed as Chicago's dreams of hosting the Games evaporated in the first round.
The news stunned those awaiting the announcement, many of whom thought the battle was between Chicago, Illinois, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio also beat out Madrid, Spain, and Tokyo, Japan, to host the games.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrats are planning to hit Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl in his home state next week with a new television ad that accuses the Arizona Republican of being out of touch on health care issues - a pitch aimed squarely at women voters.
The 30-second commercial features video of a Senate exchange between Kyl and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. In the clip, Kyl says he doesn't need maternity care, and requiring that coverage in his insurance policy would be unnecessary and expensive. Asked whether he thinks insurance policies should be required to cover pre-natal health care, Kyl's response included an offhand remark that "over 60 years ago, my mom did."
"TELL JON KYL: COVERING MATERNITY CARE ISN'T A JOKE FOR WOMEN," reads the ad's on-screen text.
The TV ad, which is the latest element of the Democratic National Committee's "Call 'em Out" campaign, will begin airing Monday in Tucson and Phoenix. A DNC spokesman calls the buy "open-ended."
(CNN) - President Obama said Friday he's glad he went to Copenhagen in an effort to help Chicago win the right to host the Olympic Games. The head of the Republican Party said he's glad the president's coming back.
Obama is disappointed with Chicago's failure to land the 2016 Summer Olympics, his spokesman told reporters on Air Force One Friday – but he's not sorry he went to Denmark to make the pitch for his hometown.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also said that the president is "absolutely" glad he spoke in person on behalf of Chicago's unsuccessful bid, and that he "would never shy away from traveling anywhere, talking to anyone about this country."
Gibbs also said the president was "obviously proud of his wife for the presentation that she made." Michelle Obama had traveled earlier to Copenhagen to lobby members of the International Olympics Committee to choose her hometown to host the 2016 Olympics.
(Updated with Obama's own comments after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat whose district includes part of Chicago, called the Windy City's failed bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games "heartbreaking."
Davis was in the middle of telling CNN's Ed Henry on Friday why he believed Chicago would be the best location for the Olympics when the news broke that his city had been the first one eliminated. Above audible gasps around the studio, Henry asked Davis for his immediate reaction.
Listen: Davis hears the news from CNN's Ed Henry
"Well, it's kind of heartbreaking in a sense," Davis said. "It's obviously a downer for us, because a tremendous amount of effort has been put into trying to win the bid, but of course Chicago is the city of the big shoulders. We pick ourselves up and keep on moving and look for the next horizon."
Davis said he didn't think it was wrong for President Obama to visit Copehagen to personally push for Chicago's bid, and said that he was aiming to get an international opportunity and to show leadership. Davis also said that because Obama is from Chicago, he was expected to put up the extra effort to try to help his hometown.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Sen. John Ensign, and allegations of improper conduct stemming from an affair with the wife of a former aide.
"Whenever allegations of improper conduct are brought to the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee, we open a preliminary inquiry," committee spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz told CNN.
But, in keeping with the committee's tradition of secrecy, Ravitz went on to say that the "ethics committee doesn't comment on ongoing investigations."
Because of the tight lipped nature of the ethics panel, it is unclear exactly what the Ethics Committee is probing.