(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden is heading back to New York's 23rd congressional district to campaign for Democrat Bill Owens the day before Tuesday's special election.
With the Republican Party split between party-backed Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, recent surveys suggests Owens is in the lead – giving Democrats a rare shot at a pickup in this solidly-Republican upstate district.
Owens, who is running to replace Rep. John McHugh, who resigned earlier this year to serve as Obama's Secretary of the Army.
Biden, who also campaigned with Owens in September, will appear in Watertown. Earlier this month, President Obama made an appearance at a fundraiser for Owens in New York City.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two senators are taking another shot at crafting a law that would protect journalists from having to reveal the identity of their sources.
Democratic Sens. Arlen Specter and Charles Schumer released details Friday of a revised version of the Free Flow of Information Act, which would provide a federal legal protection to reporters who refuse to reveal their confidential sources from being fined or imprisoned.
President Obama came under fire earlier this month for weakening an earlier shield law proposal by modifying a safeguard that would force prosecutors to exhaust all other options before making a reporter testify in court. Under the administration's version at the time, reporters would not be protected if executive branch believed the source's information caused "significant" harm to national security.
Schumer said this version of the bill provides new provisions to help the government protect national security interests while providing legal protection for journalists. More specifically, the government would have to prove to a judge that compelling a reporter to give up a confidential source would help the government in "preventing or mitigating" a future act of terrorism, according to excerpts of the bill.
"This new version preserves a strong protection for reporters interested in protecting their sources, while also making sure that the government can still do the job of protecting its citizens," Schumer said in a statement. "This agreement should expedite this bill's movement through committee and the full Senate."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is continuing to downplay the notion that the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races are referendums on President Obama as he heads into next year's midterm elections.
"Whatever the results are I don't think they portend a lot in dealing with the future," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in Friday's briefing.
In Virginia, polls indicate that Republican Bob McDonnell is holding onto a clear lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The picture is muddier in New Jersey, where surveys suggest a statistical dead heat between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and his Republican challenger, Chris Christie, with Independent Chris Daggett in the low double digits.
"In 2001, if I'm not mistaken, in Virginia and New Jersey, a Democrat won in either one of those," Gibbs continued. "I don't think anybody thought that when they looked at the election results in 2002 they thought that President Bush was signicantly hampered by that."
(CNN) - Days after drawing anger from liberal Democrats for opposing a public option to the Senate health care bill, Sen. Joe Lieberman is adding fuel to the fire, telling an interviewer it's likely he'll campaign for some Republicans in next year's midterm elections.
"I probably will support some Republican candidates for Congress or Senate in the election in 2010. I'm going to call them as I see them," Lieberman told ABC News in an interview published Friday.
Supporting Republicans is nothing new for Lieberman of course: the Democrat-turned-independent senator from Connecticut was a constant fixture on campaign trail on behalf of Republican John McCain's presidential bid.
He also supported Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New York Rep. Peter King last year over the Democratic Party candidates in those races.
Senate Democrats had threatened to revoke Lieberman's powerful Homeland Security Committee chairmanship after the 2008, election but ultimately decided to let him retain the post.
Lieberman, who lost a Democratic primary race in 2006 but ultimately won the general election as an independent candidate, also told ABC it is "an open question" whether he will again seek the Democratic nomination in 2012.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In an exclusive interview with CNN, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he believes the economy has "hit bottom" and he's confident the stimulus package is helping to put the economy back on track.
"Oh I'm confident we've hit bottom," Biden said. "The question is look, we're not going to be satisfied, Ed, until I'm able to sit in front of you and say, 'Look, this month we grew jobs.'"
The vice president acknowledged that with unemployment at 9.8 percent across the country right now, it is hard to convince the American people the nation is coming of out of recession. Biden made his comments on a day in which he released a new report claiming the stimulus has created or saved somewhere between 640,000 and one million jobs.
"The net effect is growing jobs," said Biden, though he quickly acknowledged: "It doesn't say a lot to people to say, 'You know there would have been a million more ... jobs lost but for this [stimulus]. My grandpop used to have an expression... We lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
He said when the guy in Dixon City, a suburb, is out of work it's an economic slowdown. When your brother-in-law's out of work, it's a recession. When you're out of work, it's a depression. And it's a depression for millions of people."
With Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats unveiling their 1,990 page health care reform bill – it made us wonder about other landmark pieces of legislation in U.S. history and how long they were.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
(CNN) - A new survey suggests that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, vying for a third term in office, holds a 15-point lead over his Democratic rival, with just four days to go before voters there head to the polls.
According to a Marist College survey released Friday, 53 percent of likely New York City voters support Bloomberg, running as an independent, with 38 percent backing the Democratic candidate, New York City Comptroller William Thompson. Nine percent of those questioned are undecided, or backing other candidates.
Bloomberg held a 16-point advantage in a Marist poll conducted last week and was up 18 points over Thompson in a Quinnpiac University survey released earlier this week.
Bloomberg holds an even bigger lead over his rival in another key campaign measure: he's spend more than $33 million on TV ads, according to an analysis of New York City's mayoral race by TNSMI-CMAG, CNN's consultant on campaign ad spending. Bloomberg's launched 50 different ads during his re-election bid, which have aired more than 11,000 times. Bill Thompson, Bloomberg's Democratic rival, has spent just over $2.66 million on TV ads.
The Republican-turned-independent mayor has outspent most of the Republicans who ran in last year's presidential primaries, according to TNSMI-CMAG's Evan Tracey - his $33 million outlay is more than three times what John McCain spent to win the GOP nomination, and makes up the lion's share of the roughly $50 million in mayoral campaign ads that have hit the airwaves in the pricey New York media market.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama may have one less problem to worry about.
A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Obama is ineligible to be president because he isn't a bona fide U.S. citizen.
The lawsuit represented the claim by the so-called "birthers" movement that Obama was not born in Hawaii - despite a birth certificate to the contrary - or that if he was, his citizenship was invalidated by living overseas as a child.
In a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter of California said his court lacked the jurisdiction to rule on a case intended to unseat a sitting president.
Carter's ruling said the plaintiffs were trying to persuade him to "disregard the constitutional procedures in place for the removal of a sitting president."
"The process for removal of a sitting president - removal for any reason - is within the province of Congress, not the courts," the ruling said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Calling Democratic health care bills "seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging priests around the country to speak out against the legislation from the pulpit this Sunday.
The conference - the leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States - is distributing a flier to churches to insert in their weekly newsletters urging parishioners to contact their senators and representatives to ask them "to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments."
"The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them," the flier reads. "Our nation is at a crossroads."
Bishops are also planning to take out advertisements in diocesan newspapers with a similar message. "Americans would be forced to subsidize abortions through their taxes and health insurance premiums," the ad claims.
According to the language in the House health care bill unveiled Thursday, a government-run insurance option could cover abortions, but federal money would not pay for the procedure.
Abortion opponents dispute that and point to the non-partisan FactCheck.org, which wrote in late August that "private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies." Those subsidies, the site wrote, would be available to low and middle-income Americans who sign up for a public insurance option.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate has formally confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin to be the U.S. surgeon general, making her only the third African American to hold the position as the nation's top doctor.
The Senate nod came by a voice vote Thursday night, an expression of unanimous consent of both parties.
The 53-year-old family practice doctor had spent most of her career tending to the needs of poor patients in a Gulf Coast clinic she founded two decades ago in Alabama.
She was the first African-American woman board member of the American Medical Association, and she just served a term as chairwoman of the group's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.