(CNN) - Can Lou Dobbs make the leap from the anchor desk to the Oval Office?
A radio interviewer on WTOP joked Monday about the "crazy" idea that the former CNN host could mount a White House bid in 2012 - but Dobbs wasn't laughing. "What's so crazy about that?" he responded in the interview broadcast on the Washington, D.C. station.
"Well, I'll tell you this much: it's one of the discussions that we're having," Dobbs said. "For the first time, I'm actually listening to some people about politics."
Dobbs, who amicably parted ways with the network earlier this month, also told former Sen. Fred Thompson that he was definitely weighing a run.
Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee will announce Monday that veteran political strategist Alex Castellanos will assume a senior communications role at the committee, an RNC official tells CNN.
Earlier in the day, RNC Chairman Michael Steele revealed that communications director Trevor Francis was leaving his post.
Castellanos will not be filling Francis' old position but, rather, will be acting as an adviser to the RNC.
Castellanos is a CNN contributor, but the network learned independently of his new role at the RNC.
"Now the RNC has a new focus and direction - the 2010 elections," Castellanos said when reached by telephone. "And I am happy to help."
In 2008, Castellanos was a key member of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign team. He will work with the committee through the 2010 elections.
Updated: 8:16 p.m.
Washington (CNN) - A dispute over abortion between the only remaining Kennedy in Congress and his Roman Catholic bishop has highlighted the political volatility of the issue and the challenge it presents to the nation's Catholics.
"How can you claim to be a Catholic and also support abortion?" Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, asked Monday on CNN, discussing his request that Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, stop receiving Holy Communion because of his pro-choice politics.
Kennedy went public Sunday about Tobin's request, originally made in a private letter to Kennedy in 2007. Tobin responded with a statement Sunday followed by his television appearance Monday, in which he acknowledged holding Kennedy to a higher standard than an ordinary parishioner because of the congressman's position as a legislator who can shape abortion laws and policy.
The issue is considered much broader than a public rift between the two men. A sweeping health care bill in Congress could get derailed by conflicts over abortion language, with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last week criticizing a Senate version of the measure for lacking the tougher language adopted earlier by the House.
(CNN) - Houston, Texas, Mayor Bill White said Monday he will announce within a week after the Thanksgiving holiday whether he will run for governor.
"I agree to consider running for that office, and will make a decision by Friday, December 4," the Democrat told reporters in Austin, the state capital.
He invited Texans to weigh in on the question by e-mailing him at email@example.com. "I think it's best that I listen to people and then make a decision and move on from there," he said.
White's announcement came shortly after candidate Tom Schieffer said he is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination and urged that White seek the job instead. Schieffer and his campaign co-chairman, Lyndon Olson, met Sunday with White, the Austin American reported Monday.
Washington (CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum doesn't appear to be shy about his 2012 intentions.
The Republican, who was thumped by 18 points in his 2006 re-election bid, has met with conservative activists in Iowa, delivered a speech to a Right to Life dinner in Michigan and has stepped up his public criticism of President Obama.
Now he's headed to another early primary state: South Carolina.
Santorum will campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett in Bluffton, Spartanburg and Greenville on December 8 and 9. Barrett, currently a member of Congress, is one of five candidates seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
"I'm also looking forward to visiting with South Carolina families to discuss the issues that matter to them and the future of this country," Santorum said in a statement announcing the trip. "Too much is at stake to sit back and not participate in the critical discussion of how to address these issues."
Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will kick off a series of town halls on jobs next month, one day before President Barack Obama holds a jobs forum at the White House.
Gingrich's American Solutions organization announced Monday that Gingrich will hold what it calls a "real jobs summit" in Cincinnati, Ohio, followed by another the next day in Jackson, Mississippi. That's the same day Obama holds his forum in Washington.
The president announced on November 12 that his forum will include representatives from business, organized labor, and academia, among other sectors.
The nation's unemployment rate now stands at 10.2 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter century.
(CNN) - The South Carolina Ethics Commission has charged Gov. Mark Sanford with 37 counts of violating state ethics laws, according to a complaint released by the commission on Monday.
The complaint follows a three-month investigation into Sanford's use of taxpayer money.
Sanford is accused of using tax money to purchase business-class airfare on domestic and international flights, flying on a state-owned aircraft to political gatherings or events "which involved no official business," and spending campaign funds for personal use such as purchasing a ticket to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration in January.
South Carolina law requires state officials to purchase the lowest fares available for flights, and bars the use of state aircraft for personal use.
Sanford's office did not respond to requests for comment about the charges.
The governor, once a rising star in the Republican party before he revealed an extramarital affair in June, will now face a hearing along with his legal team before a three-member ethics panel. Cathy Hazelwood, general counsel to the state Ethics Commission, told CNN that no date has been set for the hearing.
Washington (CNN) - Conservative members of the Republican National Committee are circulating a new resolution that calls on party members to stand up to President Obama's "socialist" agenda and would prohibit RNC funds from going to GOP candidates who disagree with elements of a proposed ten plank ideological platform.
The language of the proposal is still being tweaked ahead of January's RNC Winter Meeting in Hawaii, where it could be submitted for a vote before the full committee.
Jim Bopp, Jr., an RNC committee member from Indiana and the chief sponsor of the resolution, said the goal of the resolution is to "re-establish the party's conservative bona fides."
"This would establish standards for candidates and hold them accountable to RNC's conservative platform," he told CNN. "We are open to diverse views, but you do have to agree with us most of the time."
Bopp said such standards would insulate RNC chairman Michael Steele from the kind of conservative criticism he faced last month for supporting a moderate Republican, Dede Scozzafava, in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district.
"I think he has been unjustly criticized for supporting the Republican candidate in New York," Bopp said of Steele, whom he opposed during the chairman's race last Winter. "This resolution will establish standards so that he wont won't feel obligated to support every Republican and not feel criticized."
RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho had no comment on the resolution.
"The deadline for submitting Resolutions for the RNC Winter Meeting is more than 30 days away," Gitcho said in an e-mail.
"At this point, we do not what resolutions will be submitted nor what the final language of any resolution ultimately submitted may be."
If approved in its current form, the resolution would be the second RNC document this year to formally accuse the Obama administration of pushing socialist policies. The committee approved a resolution in May calling on Democrats to "stop pushing our country toward socialism."
Full text of the resolution after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama cited progress toward economic recovery Monday, but said the pace remained slower than desired.
Speaking to reporters after his first Cabinet meeting since returning from last week's trip to Asia, Obama made clear that reversing the rising unemployment of the past year is the goal of his administration's economic recovery efforts.
"Our economy's growing again, for the first time in more than a year, and we know that economic growth is a prerequisite for job growth," Obama said. "But having said that, what I emphasize today is we cannot sit back and be satisfied, given the extraordinarily high unemployment levels that we've seen."
He called any progress so far "the first step in curing our economy and making sure that it is moving on the right track."
Business profits are rising, Obama said, but due to cost-cutting from the recession rather than increased demand.
"They have learned to produce the same amount of goods with fewer people," Obama said, adding that "all of these things contribute to challenges of creating jobs in this economy."
Washington (CNN) - A senior aide to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has resigned his post less than one month after the GOP scored major victories by winning the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia, CNN has learned.
RNC Communications Director Trevor Francis is leaving his job, Steele confirmed in statement to CNN, but offered no reason for the departure. Francis joined the RNC after Steele was elected chairman at the beginning of the year.
"Trevor took a hiatus from a very successful private sector career to give service to the Republican Party this year," Steele said in the statement. "Trevor's talents will be missed at the RNC. We have accomplished a great deal in the year he was here. He worked tirelessly, as did the whole team, on the victories in Virginia and his home state of New Jersey."
Steele's short time as chairman has been marked by highs and lows, marked by both fundraising success and his own headline-grabbing statements.
–CNN's Mark Preston, Brianna Keilar and Deirdre Walsh