(CNN) – South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford will make her first public appearance on Saturday since separating from her scandal-plagued husband and moving out of the governor's mansion in August.
An aide to the First Lady announced Thursday that Sanford will participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a Charleston-area 5K run/walk to benefit breast cancer research.
The first lady has kept a low profile since her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, revealed an extramarital affair in June. She gave an interview to the Associated Press shortly after the affair and was the subject of a glowing profile in Vogue Magazine last month, but has been otherwise silent. Sanford is also writing a memoir, set to be published in May 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell holds a big cash advantage over his Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds, according to fundraising information released by both campaigns Thursday.
The McDonnell campaign announced it has $4.5 million on hand, while the Deeds campaign said it has $2.7 million.
Despite McDonnell's cash advantage over Deeds, the two campaigns raised comparable amounts during the month of September. The McDonnell campaign reported raising $3.8 million last month from a total of 6,440 donors while the Deeds campaign said it raised $3.5 million from 3,763 total donors.
A Washington Post poll released a week ago showed McDonnell leading Deeds by 9 percentage points - 53 percent to 44 percent - in a survey with a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
(CNN) – Meghan McCain says she's ready to quit Twitter all together after generating a wave of criticism from users of the popular social networking site Wednesday night for posting a picture of herself in a tank top that left little to the twitterverse's imagination.
The controversy began quietly enough when McCain, the vocal daughter of the former Republican presidential candidate, tweeted that her self described "spontaneous" night in included reading a biography of the iconic artist Andy Warhol and ordering takeout.
It was there the 24-year old McCain posted the photo of herself wearing a tank top that generated the subsequent controversy .
The photograph apparently generated a string of negative responses, leading McCain to weigh in 15 minutes later: "so I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit and I am a slut."
"This is why I have been considering deleting my twitter account," McCain, with close to 60,000 followers, continued in another tweet, "what once was fun now just seems like a vessel for harassment."
Fifteen minutes later, McCain weighed in again, tweeting, "When I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a slut", I can't even tell you how hurt I am."
An hour later, the prolific tweeter said her decision was nearly made: "ok I am getting the f**k off twitter, promise not to delete my account until I sleep on it, thank you for the nice words supporters."
But McCain did make one final tweet before the evening came to a close, posting a link to her latest column for the Web site The Daily Beast.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is blasting charges by a group of Republican lawmakers that a Muslim activist group has planted interns on Capitol Hill in an effort to alter national security legislation.
"It shouldn't need to be said in 2009, and after the historic election of our first African-American president, but let me remind all my colleagues that patriotic Americans of all races, religions, and beliefs have the right - and the responsibility - to participate in our political process, including by volunteering to work in Congressional offices," Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said in a Thursday statement. "Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism."
GOP Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Paul Broun of Georgia and John Shadegg and Trent Franks of Arizona had held a press conference Wednesday highlighting an undercover investigation undertaken by conservative Chris Gaubatz, who spent several months posing as an intern at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A book about that operation written by his father, David Gaubatz, and co-author Paul Sperry features a foreword previously penned by Myrick. That book, published by an imprint attached to conservative Web publication World Net Daily, was scheduled for release on Thursday.
In an excerpt of the foreword published by the Raleigh News & Observer, Myrick says the authors had documented evidence Muslim agents are in the country and "carrying out their subversive plan."
"America is asleep to the danger that confronts us," writes the congresswoman. "Since the 1960s there has been a concerted effort on the part of radical Islamists to infiltrate our major institutions. Front groups of terror now operate openly in our country, comprising a network of support for jihadists. …We Americans must wake up before it is too late!"
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Tim Griffin, the former U.S. Attorney and Karl Rove aide now running for Congress in Arkansas, has "scaled back" his relationship with his own political consulting firm because of his campaign, according to an aide.
But Griffin has not completely cut his ties with the firm, which has recently taken in tens of thousands of dollars from at least one other Republican office-seeker.
The Bush administration veteran, who was once described by the late columnist Robert Novak as "a leading practitioner of opposition research," founded his Little Rock-based firm in 2007 after resigning his post as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin's tenure with the Justice Department was rocky - questions surfaced as to whether Rove urged the dismissal of Griffin's predecessor and other U.S. Attorneys for political reasons.
Griffin, who also has a law firm in Little Rock, announced his bid to challenge Democrat Rep. Vic Snyder last month. Before jumping into the race, his firm, Griffin Public Affairs LLC, took in three payments totaling more than $30,000 from the campaign of Gresham Barrett, the South Carolina GOP congressman now running for governor in that state.
Emily Wood, a spokesman for Griffin, said the Republican "still has Griffin Public Affairs, LLC, but has scaled back his work because of his congressional campaign." She said the firm "generally provides communications and policy services," but does not disclose details of its work for clients.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Thursday that his campaign has raised more than $2 million so far this year for his U.S. Senate bid.
Conway is one of four Democratic candidates and five Republican candidates vying to fill Republican Sen. Jim Bunning's seat when he retires in 2010.
In a statement announcing their numbers, Conway's campaign claimed a two-to-one money advantage over their main Democratic primary opponent - Kentucky Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo - but did not provide a breakdown of how much their campaign raised during the most recent fundraising period.
"Mongiardo still has not raised in nine months what the Conway campaign collected in the first nine weeks," the statement read.
According to Mongiardo's team, their campaign has raised $1.25 million so far and just concluded their "best" quarter, raising $515,000 over the last three months.
"We have outraised Jack Conway prior to this quarter, and we have outraised him in Kentucky," Mongiardo's spokesman Kim Geveden told CNN, claiming the majority of Conway's donors are from out of state.
"Daniel Mongiardo's campaign of Kentuckians, by Kentuckians and for Kentuckians stands in sharp contrast to Jack Conway's campaign for and by the silver spoon crowd in New York and Hollywood," Geveden added in an e-mail. He noted that Conway's announcement is "vague" because it does not provide details of how much the campaign raised in the third quarter.
Conway and Mongiardo are facing off against law student Darlene Fitzgerald Price and businessman Maurice Sweeney in the Democratic primary.
UPDATE: Conway campaign manager Charles Halloran said Conway has raised 80 percent of his money - over $1.5 million - from donors inside Kentucky. Halloran also pointed out that Conway has over $1.6 million on hand compared to Mongiardo's $751,000.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A runoff election between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his leading challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, appears likely, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States said Thursday.
Ambassador Said Jawad told an audience at the U.S. Institute for Peace that a runoff is "a likely scenario." Jawad is the first member of Karzai's government to say publicly that a runoff is probable.
Election officials in Afghanistan are expected to announce in coming days whether allegations of fraud in the disputed August 20 presidential election will force a second round of voting.
Preliminary results of the August election showed Karzai winning with 54 percent, but a U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission could discard enough ballots to drop Karzai's total below 50 percent, forcing a runoff.
The runoff, Jawad stressed, would have to be held quickly. He said a two-week deadline, as spelled out in the Afghan constitution, would be "impossible," but added that the voting should be held in either late October or early November. The final vote tally would be expected two weeks later.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There is candid frustration Thursday coming from rank and file congressional Democrats about the influence of Maine's Republican senator in the health care reform debate.
The way Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe sees it, she's just using the power any senator has: the power of one.
"The brilliance of our Founding Fathers was this: that they gave power equally to every member of the United States Senate, whether you represented a large state or a small state, and exercising that authority in a positive way," she said.
But the challenge now for Democrats is that Snowe opposes what most of them support: a government-sponsored health care option.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) - Before a cheering crowd at a town hall meeting in New Orleans, President Obama fired back at critics who accuse him of accomplishing little in his nine months in office, saying "I'm just getting started."
"I never thought any of this was going to be easy," said Obama, speaking at the University of New Orleans in his first visit to the Gulf Coast city since taking office. He poked fun at his critics, asking, "Why haven't you solved world hunger yet? It's been nine months. Why?"
"What'd I say during the campaign? I said change is hard," Obama said. "Big change is harder. ... I wasn't kidding about it being hard."
"Those folks who are trying to stand in the way of progress ... let me tell you, I'm just getting started," he said. "I don't quit. I'm not tired. I'm just getting started."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – When it comes to questions about his sagging poll numbers, Sen. Harry Reid has a simple response: Everything is fine.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, the Senate Majority Leader was asked if he's willing to risk his political career to carry the Democrats' often contentious agenda through Congress.
"I don't answer hypothetical questions," Reid answered, grinning.
"Everything is going well in Nevada," he continued. "We have an economy that is very difficult in Nevada and we all know that. But it's going to get better there."
Reid said that realtors in Las Vegas told him last week that they see signs of economic recovery, and the senator noted that hotels in the resort city remain full on weekends. "We're doing fine," he said.
The Democratic leader said his poll numbers are also "fine," even though a recent poll shows his disapproval rating in his home state at 50 percent. The poll, Mason-Dixon survey commissioned by the Las Vegas Review Journal last week, showed Reid would lose his re-election bid next year in hypothetical match-ups against two potential Republican challengers.
"All my polling numbers are fine," he said. "They are not from a newspaper in Nevada that you guys tend to focus on. All my polling numbers are fine. And I'm continuing to do the best I can for the people of this country and the people of Nevada."