(CNN) – Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to buy Sarah Palin's just-released memoir, but don't count President Obama among them.
In an interview with CNN's Ed Henry in China, the president acknowledged Wednesday he would not be reading the highly-anticipated memoir by his potential 2012 opponent.
"I probably won't, but I don't get a chance to read things other than briefing books very often these days anyway," he said.
Obama also suggested he views the former Alaska governor as a credible candidate should she decide to seek the presidency in a couple of years.
"You know, she obviously has a big constituency in the Republican Party," he said. "You know, there a lot of people who are excited by her."
But when it comes to the 2012 race, Obama didn't discount the possibility he may sit out on a reelection bid.
"You know, if - if I feel like I've made the very best decisions for the American people and three years from now I look at it and, you know, my poll numbers are in the tank and because we've gone through these wrenching changes, you know, politically, I'm in a tough spot, I'll - I'll feel all right about myself," Obama told CNN's Ed Henry during an interview in China.
"I said to myself very early on, even when I started running for office, I don't want to be making decisions based on getting reelected, because I think the challenges that America faces right now are so significant," the president also said. "Obviously, if I make those decisions and I think that I'm moving the country on the right direction economically, in terms of our security interests, our foreign policy, I'd like to think that those policies are continued because they're not going to bear fruit just in four years."
But in the next breath the president quickly sounded like someone who would relish taking his case to the American people in 2012, saying he's tackling big issues like health care and Iran that he's confident will bear fruit in the future.
The last president not to seek reelection was Lyndon Johnson in 1968.
CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) – Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, the soon-to-be-governors of New Jersey and Virginia, both deflected questions Wednesday about why Sarah Palin did not appear with the two Republicans during their respective campaigns.
Christie said he only had three GOP heavyweights visit New Jersey during his campaign - Rudy Giuliani, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney - and each came for a specific reason.
“I had a long standing relationship with Mayor Giuliani,” Christie explained. “Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Romney both faced the same type of crises financially in their state when they took over that we did.”
McDonnell said his campaign had reached out to Palin nearly a year ago to campaign in Virginia, but said she was overwhelmed with requests at the time. When she stepped down as governor of Alaska in July, McDonnell said, their visitor lineup had already been set - a full four months before election day in Virginia.
“We thought she was a good leader for the party as the governor of Alaska and had some good reforms in the state, but she was in such incredible demand frankly for the longest time we were not able to work out anything for her to come in,” he said. “And then after she decided to leave office we had pretty much already arranged all of the folks that we had for the home stretch for fundraisers, including several current and former governors, and so we pretty much had our strategy set at that point.”
Christie and McDonnell made the comments at a news conference held during the Republican Governors Association's annual meeting near Austin.
CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) – Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell on Wednesday would not disavow Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system.”
McDonnell, though, stressed that he reached out to Muslims and visited mosques in Virginia throughout the governor’s race and will continue to do so when he takes office in January.
Muslim groups have called on McDonnell to condemn the remark because Robertson is a longtime political benefactor of the Republican, who won a blowout victory in this year’s closely-watched gubernatorial election.
McDonnell attended law school at CBN University (now Regent University), founded by Robertson, and has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the televangelist along with appearing on his show, “The 700 Club.”
“I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might make,” McDonnell said in response to a question from CNN at the Republican Governors Association annual meeting near Austin. “I think people are entitled under the First Amendment to express whatever opinions that they may have, but I can only say that as governor of Virginia, I intend to have an inclusive administration where we bring people across the political and religious system to help us govern.”
Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that former Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana can remain free pending appeal of his conviction on corruption charges.
The appeal must be filed by November 23.
Jefferson, a Democrat who was defeated after nine terms representing the New Orleans area, was indicted in 2007 for bribery and other charges. The case included the discovery of $90,000 in the freezer of his Washington home.
Jefferson was not present at the hearing at U.S. District Court.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last week allowed him to waive his appearance, and to travel back to New Orleans.
Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping health care bill that would expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.
Reid and other Senate Democrats cited an analysis by the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office for the coverage and cost figures. In addition, they told a news conference, the CBO estimated the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $600 billion in the following decade.
The proposal drafted from two separate bills approved by Senate committees now goes to the full Senate, where Republicans have vowed to try to block it.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin has finally returned to Michigan.
"I just can't tell you how good it is to be back in Michigan," Palin told a large crowd outside a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Grand Rapids Wednesday, the first stop in the former Alaska governor's bus tour for her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life."
The former Republican vice presidential nominee wore a red and black jacket and black shirt and carried her son Trig as she emerged from the bus, which was emblazoned with the book's cover.
John McCain's running mate took issue last year with his campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan and move resources to other states. In her book, Palin says her opposition to the decision to abandon Michigan is when she first went rogue. At the end of the book, on page 403, Palin says that Michigan can't be forgotten.
McCain ended up losing the state to Barack Obama by 16 points in last year's presidential election.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Democratic Caucus re-launched their Web site late last week, aiming for a more Facebook-esque feel. While the site is still in beta, CNN got the first look at Dems.gov and some of its new features.
In the past, one could look up individual representatives' Web sites, which are not always well-designed, or view the House Clerk's Web site, which is clunky with bill numbers and legislative jargon.
The Democrats are focused on making the site more user-friendly, with the center of the page designed to emulate the Facebook news feed. Caucus updates appear in a linear fashion and below are the representatives’ headshots along with excerpts from their latest press releases, linking to their personal sites.
Another feature includes a Google Map, making it easy for users to find Democratic representatives and access their home pages, their YouTube page and their Facebook Page.
On the other side of the aisle, the Republican site GOP.gov claims its unique features include a dynamic blog, a prominent RSS feed and a larger number of social media outlets including Flickr and even an iTunes account.
The Democratic Caucus is looking for feedback on the new site. Following in the WhiteHouse.gov footsteps, Dems.gov was built using an open source content management system, which allows the worldwide community of programmers to view code and makes it easy to improve the site based on user feedback.
Washington (CNN) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed Wednesday that government funded programs will continue to cover routine mammograms, despite a federal advisory board's recommendations that women in their 40s should not regularly get tested for breast cancer.
"They are making recommendations, not coverage decisions, not payment decisions and the government payers have decided we will continue to cover both Medicare and Medicaid patients who have mammograms routinely," Sebelius told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We will continue to recommend it, and the health plans have indicated that they will do the same, if the health care provider recommends a mammogram for a patient, they intend to cover that payment."
Earlier in the day, Sebelius addressed the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms, saying they "caused a great deal of confusion and worry." She emphasized again on CNN that they "don't make coverage decisions" and advised women to go to their doctors to decide when and how often to get mammograms.
"What we know is that mammograms definitely save lives," Sebelius said. She added, "We want women to have a doctor, take the information, but then have that conversation about your own health history, what the risks are of having a mammogram versus the benefits and make a determination based on an informed decision."
Washington (CNN) - As the 2010 battle for Congress heats up, the Senate campaign committees for both parties had something to brag about Wednesday.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee reports that it raked in $4 million last month. That's slightly ahead of their counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which announced it brought in $3.72 million in October.
But the DSCC says it has $11.32 million cash on hand, more than twice the $5.8 million the NRSC says it has in the bank. The DSCC does report it owes just over $2 million.
The DSCC says it raked in $5.9 million in September, compared to $3.2 million for the NRSC.
Both committees say their October 2009 numbers are better than they were at same point two years ago.
Washington (CNN) – Coming out of their Wednesday meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana both had positive comments that suggested they were more ready to vote for a motion that would allow debate to begin on the Democrats' health care plan than they had been prior to this afternoon's sitdown.
Landrieu and Nelson, along with fellow moderate Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, met with Reid in his office.
"Sen. Reid gave me some assurances that some of my concerns will be dealt with," said Landrieu, who stressed she would not make a decision on whether to vote for the motion to proceed until the text of the bill was released, and she had a chance to review some of the provisions again.
"I’ve been very clear. There are two or three issues," she told CNN. "One, does this bill actually drive down costs to individuals, to businesses and to the government. Number two, is there a quote, public option that will undermine the private insurance market - and if there is, it needs to come out at some point. It needs to come out at some point.