Washington (CNN) - When it comes to Congress, a 'throw the bums out' attitude appears to be alive and well.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, 52 percent of registered voters would like to see their own member of the House of Representatives re-elected next year, while just over one in three say that most members of Congress should be returned to office. Both numbers come close to the all-time lows seen just prior to the 1994 election, when the Republicans won control of Congress, and the 2006 contest, when the Democrats returned to power in both chambers.
The survey indicates that only 42 percent of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected in 2010, and just one in four independents think most members of Congress should be returned to office.
The poll suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats. Fifty-eight percent of people who say they plan to vote for Republican in next year's elections say they are very enthusiastic about voting. That's 16 points higher than the 42 percent of people of plan to vote for a Democrat who describe themselves as enthusiastic.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released last week also indicated that Republicans are more energized right now than Democrats.
The president and first lady made a surprise visit on Veterans Day to Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where the war dead from Afghanistan and Iraq are buried. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Skip and Rhonda Rollins were visiting the gravesite of their son Justin at Arlington National Cemetery Veterans Day when they received condolences from unexpected visitors - President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
After making remarks at the Arlington's annual National Veterans Day Observance, the president made a surprise visit to Section 60 of the cemetery, where the war dead from Afghanistan and Iraq are buried.
Obama spoke with families, visited gravesites, and shook the hands of visiting veterans. The visit came just before he headed back to the White House to preside over what could be one of his last meetings with top advisers before he decides whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.
The Rollins' son Justin, who would have turned 25 years old the day before Veterans Day, was killed in Iraq in 2007.
Washington (CNN) - Dede Scozzafava, the Republican New York assemblywoman who gave up her bid for a House seat late last month, is decrying the "vicious" attacks she underwent from people within her own party.
"The attacks were pretty vicious, especially since it was coming from people that identified themselves as Republicans," Scozzafava told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning Wednesday. "So that was difficult to overcome."
Scozzafava ultimately gave up her bid in New York's special congressional elections for the 23rd district after conservatives rallied around third-party candidate Doug Hoffman and charged Scozzafava was too liberal on a host of issues including government spending, taxes, and abortion rights.
Scozzafava, who maintains she is not as liberal as her critics claim, endorsed the Democrat in the race who ultimately went on to victory - the first time a Democrat won in that district in over 100 years.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is considering four scenarios to move forward in Afghanistan, and was expected to discuss them at Wednesday's eighth meeting with his war council, sources told CNN.
The meeting in the White House Situation Room was to continue evaluating how best to carry out the mission in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, told CNN beforehand.
Petraeus provided no specifics on options under consideration, but said the process is approaching completion.
"I think we are indeed nearing a decision on this very important topic," he said.
Though the options under consideration are not being spelled out, one is fairly well-defined.
Updated: 4:31 p.m.
(CNN) - Next month, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is heading to New Hampshire, the latest presidential proving ground the Minnesota Republican will have visited this fall.
Pawlenty will keynote a $50-per-person fundraiser for the state's Republican Senate Majority Committee in Concord on December 16 in what could be seen as an effort to build early support in the key primary state.
The planned trip comes on the heels of a foray to Iowa last weekend, where Pawlenty headlined the state GOP's annual leadership dinner, one of the two major annual events for the state party.
Pawlenty announced this past summer he would not seek a second gubernatorial term in 2012, fueling speculation he is setting his sights on a presidential bid instead.
It's an idea that's long past due and it will probably never happen...
A group of Republican senators is proposing a Constitutional amendment to set congressional term limits – 12 years for the Senate and six years for the House.
Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina says real change will never happen in Washington until there's an end to the era of permanent politicians. DeMint says lawmakers have been re-elected about 90 percent of the time over the last 20 years – because the system favors incumbents.
We all know the drill: Some spend decades in Washington, get into bed with the special interest groups that feed their campaign coffers and forget all about the people they're supposed to represent.
And we've heard this before... Republicans who gained control of the House in 1994 promised to pass congressional term limits, but once they were in power, they failed to deliver. The Supreme Court later ruled term limits were unconstitutional – which is why this group of senators is trying to change the Constitution.
In order to pass, two-thirds of the House and Senate would have to approve the amendment – along with three-fourths of the 50 states.
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Washington (CNN) - CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus is once again shooting down any suggestions that he has aspirations to run for the White House in 2012.
In an exclusive interview on CNN Newsroom Wednesday, Kyra Phillips asked Petraeus whether the door might be open for a 2012 run.
"I'll close it right here, right now," Petraeus said. "I will remind you of the great country song that used to ask 'What about no don't you understand.'"
In an interview with Politico in September of this year, former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said he would like to see Petraeus mount a White House bid.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With a year to go before midterm congressional elections, a new national poll suggests that Republicans are making gains but that Americans are divided over whether they'd vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district.
According to a Gallup survey released Wednesday morning, 48 percent of registered voters questioned answered that they would vote for the Republican candidate if the 2010 election for the House was held today, while 44 percent said they would back the Democrat in the race. The GOP's 4 point advantage is within the poll's sampling error.
The Republican Party's lead is a switch from a Gallup poll released a month ago, when 46 percent said they'd back a Democrat, a two point advantage over the GOP. Republicans trailed the Democrats by 6 points when Gallup questioned Americans in July.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released last week indicated that 50 percent of registered voters would vote for the Democratic candidate, with 44 percent saying they would back the Republican candidate. The 6-point advantage for the Democrats was within that poll's sampling error.
Other polls conducted over the past two months also suggest a division among Americans when it comes to the generic ballot question, which asks a respondent if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without naming any specific candidates.
(CNN) – In a letter released Wednesday, Jenny Sanford, the wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, said she and her family are persevering after a difficult year in which her husband admitted to an extramarital affair. And South Carolina's first lady endorsed Republican Nikki Haley's candidacy to be the state's next governor.
Haley, a South Carolina legislator and an ally of Gov. Sanford, is one of five Republicans who have formally announced bids to replace Jenny Sanford's husband.
In the letter to Haley's supporters, Sanford praised her husband's tenure as governor.
"I'm proud of the work Mark and his Administration have done over almost seven years now, trying very hard to move the ball forward on [growing the economy, improving public schools, and reforming government]."
Sanford also praises Haley as "principled, conservative, tough, and smart."
"So when I'm asked my wish for South Carolina's future, my wish is for a leader of state government like Nikki Haley," Sanford writes.
"And there's one other thing," Sanford writes before broaching the subject of her family's challenges in the last year.
On Veterans Day, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama paid tribute Wednesday to those who have lost their lives in the nation's wars as well as to the men and women who currently serve.
"There's no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice," he said in a speech at Arlington National Cemetery on a rainy, overcast Veterans Day.
"We call this a holiday, but for many veterans, it's another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day as best as they possibly can," he said.
"For our troops, it is another day in harm's way. For their families, it is another day to feel the absence of a loved one and the concern for their safety. For our wounded warriors, it is another day of slow recovery. And in this national cemetery, it is another day when grief remains fresh."
He vowed that "America will do right" by its troops.
"To all who served in every battle in every war, we say that it's never too late to say thank you."
Earlier Wednesday, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He then stood solemnly as a bugle played taps. Some onlookers watched from under umbrellas.