(CNN) - In her big interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Monday, Sarah Palin took a slap at Levi Johnston, the father of her nearly year-old grandson, for engaging in what amounts to "porn."
"We don't want to mess up the gig he's got going, aspiring, aspiring porn, some of the things that he's doing," the former Alaska governor told Winfrey. "It's kind of heartbreaking."
Winfrey asked if Palin was referencing Johnston's upcoming photo spread for Playgirl.
Palin said she was. "I call that porn, yes. So it's a bit heartbreaking to see the road that he's on right now," she said.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate appeared on Winfrey's show ahead of the release of her new book, 'Going Rogue.'
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who last week insisted that the Senate health care bill include tight restrictions passed by the House on the use of federal money for abortion coverage, now says he would be satisfied with the less restrictive language approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Nelson's position is apt to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is trying to cobble together a health care bill - which is full of policy mine fields such as abortion - without losing the support of any Democrats, many of whom support abortion rights, while others, like Nelson, do not.
At issue is whether federal money that is used to subsidize health insurance premiums can be separated from private funds to pay for abortions. In the Senate language, that would be allowed. In the House language, it would not.
(updated Tuesday 11/17 to clarify Nelson response)
Washington (CNN) - John McCain asked former campaign staffers Friday to avoid engaging in a back-and-forth over claims made by former running mate Sarah Palin in her new book, CNN has confirmed.
On a conference call with senior campaign advisers, the former Republican presidential candidate asked them to hold back from responding – telling them, in effect, that "this too shall pass," according to sources familiar with the call.
Palin's book, 'Going Rogue', slams the McCain team – particularly campaign manager Steve Schmidt and senior adviser Nicole Wallace – over the rollout plan and overall media strategy for the former vice presidential candidate. He also told staffers on the call he was sorry they were coming under fire.
On Friday, McCain conceded to the reality of the media firestorm surrounding Palin's charges against his team, and told them he understood if they felt the need to defend themselves. But the Arizona senator called for a minimalist approach, suggesting that his former aides avoid television appearances.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fewer than three in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin's qualified to be president, according to a new national poll - the least of any of the five potential candidates included in the survey.
But another woman tops that list in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday: two-thirds of the public thinks that Secretary of State HIllary Clinton's qualified for the Oval Office. That's more than Vice President Joe Biden, who's currently next in line for the presidency.
According to the poll, 28 percent of Americans say Palin is qualified to run the White House, with seven in 10 saying the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is not qualified.
The survey indicates that a majority of Republicans, 54 percent, feel Palin is qualified, with 44 percent indicating she isn't. But only 29 percent of independent voters questioned feel she is qualified to serve as president, with 68 percent disagreeing. According to the poll, nine in 10 Democrats feel Palin is not qualified.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin's new memoir, "Going Rogue," contains plenty of second-guessing about the way John McCain's presidential campaign was conducted.
But Palin writes that the campaign's biggest mistake may have been not making a greater issue out of Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
"I was told not to discuss Obama's pastor of twenty years, Jeremiah 'God Damn America' Wright," Palin writes in the book. "I will forever question the campaign for prohibiting discussion of such associations. All the more since these telltale signs of Obama's views, carefully concealed with centrist campaign-speak, have now been brought into light by his appointments and actions in office."
Though much of the book is devoted to re-hashing the internal squabbles that took place within the McCain campaign, it's clear Palin does not hold Obama in high regard.
Looking back at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi, Palin writes that Obama won - but only because reporters were smitten with the Democrat. Nine out of 10 reporters, to be specific.
"The debate went on as planned, and John did great," Palin writes. "The postgame analysis in the media, though, was that the coolheaded Obama had won the night, displaying a firm grasp of the facts, while John, they tried to convince voters, had seemed irritable and condescending. Granted, 90 percent of the newspeople covering the debate were liberal."
Washington (CNN) - Americans are split over whether China represents a military threat to the United States - but there is no doubt in the public's mind that the country poses an economic threat, according to a new national poll.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, 51 percent of the public consider China a military threat, with 47 percent disagreeing. That 4-point margin is within the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error.
The poll's Monday release comes as President Barack Obama makes his first visit to China, looking to bolster relations with that nation. He made the case to Chinese student at a Monday town hall that the countries' philosophical differences should not get in the way of a robust relationship.
According to the survey, two-thirds see China as a source of unfair competition for U.S. companies, while only a quarter are more likely to view China as a huge potential market for U.S. goods.
Washington (CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans disagree with the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military court, according to a new national poll.
But six in 10 people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say that the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks should be tried in the United States, as the administration plans to do, rather than at a U.S. facility in another country.
The poll indicates that 64 percent believe Mohammed should be tried in military court, with 34 percent suggesting that he face trial in civilian court. Six in 10 people questioned say Mohammed should be tried stateside, with 37 percent calling for the trial to take place at a U.S. facility in another country.
"The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in front of a civilian court is universally unpopular - even a majority of Democrats and liberals say that he should be tried by military authorities," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Despite that, most Americans say that he will get a fair trial in the U.S."
Washington (CNN) - The problematic intersection of health care and abortion politics was highlighted again Monday as religious abortion rights supporters demanded changes to reform legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives.
Members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice held a news conference calling on the Senate to alter language in the House bill that places explicit restrictions on federal funding for abortion.
"We call on the Senate to ensure that the health care reform is freed of religious doctrine and restrictions that would prevent women from making their own reproductive health care choices," said the Rev. Carlton Veazey, the head of the coalition.
"We are ... very disappointed, but we are not defeated," declared Jon O'Brien, head of the group Catholics for Choice, which is part of the coalition. "We believe that health care reform is not about covering some parts of some people, but all parts of everybody."
(CNN) - A new poll suggests that a new television ad push by New York Gov. David Paterson's campaign may not be making an impact so far on voters.
A Siena College Research Institute survey released Monday indicates that only 21 percent of New Yorkers have a positive opinion of the job Paterson's doing as governor, with 79 percent holding a negative opinion - a result virtually unchanged from last month.
According to the poll, Paterson trails Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by nearly 60 points in a hypothetical 2010 Democratic primary matchup. That's a wider lead than Cuomo held in last month's survey. The son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has yet to announce if he'll run for governor.
The poll also indicates that Paterson trails former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani by more than 20 points in a hypothetical general election face off. He also trails former Rep. Rick Lazio in a 2010 general election matchup for the first time, although the Republican's 3-point advantage is within the survey's 3.5 percent sampling error.
Washington (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is targeting 32 House Republicans in a new radio ad campaign that criticizes them for voting against health care reform legislation earlier this month.
The commercials will begin running Tuesday and are aimed at Republicans in congressional districts that voted for President Obama in the 2008 election.
"Republicans have read this wrong politically," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "They think the political peril is in voting for reform. The political peril is in voting against reform and siding with big insurance companies instead of their neighbors."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to marshal a health care reform bill through her chamber, although not without controversy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to bring the Senate bill to the floor soon, but the fate of health care reform remains up in the air as Democrats remain divided over issues such as a government-run insurance option and abortion.
A full list of Republicans targeted in the new DNC ad after the jump: