Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to re-examine an ongoing dispute over public release of photos apparently depicting abuse of suspected terrorists and foreign soldiers in U.S. custody.
President Obama signed legislation late last month to keep the disputed material under wraps. That executive action apparently prompted the justices to delay any consideration of the larger legal issues.
In a brief order Monday, the high court instructed the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to re-examine its decision earlier this year that the photos be disclosed. The photos - more than three dozen images of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners - were gathered as part of a military investigation into allegations that detainees held in Afghanistan and Iraq were tortured and physically abused.
The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the photos. The Bush administration denied that request, and the ACLU filed suit.
Washington (CNN) - Republican voters are split on whether their party's leadership is taking the GOP in the right direction, according to a new national poll. The Washington Post survey released Monday also indicates that Republicans say that Sarah Palin, more than any other leader, best reflects the core values of the party.
According to the poll, 18 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say the former Alaska governor best reflects core GOP values. In second place, 5 points back, is Sen. John McCain of Arizona, last year's Republican presidential nominee, followed by former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at 7 percent, former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney at 6 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 4 percent and conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh at 2 percent. Other current Republican leaders were picked by 1 percent or less of those questioned in the poll.
Palin also tops the list of potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls. According to the poll, 17 percent of Republican voters say they'd back last year's GOP vice presidential nominee if their state's caucus or primary were being held today, with Huckabee at 10 percent, Romney at 9 percent and McCain with 2 percent support. Huckabee, Palin and Romney have topped most national surveys of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
The survey indicates that nearly half the Republicans questioned think Palin's had a good effect on the party, with 1 in 5 saying she's had a bad effect and just over 3 in 10 saying she hasn't made a difference either way. One view those questioned overwhelmingly shared was their opinion of the news media's treatment of Palin: Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said reporter have treated her unfairly.
Washington (CNN) - Conservatives for Patient Rights is targeting 14 senators in their latest anti-public option ad, which hits airwaves Monday.
The group, which has spent millions on ads opposing President Obama's health care reform push, says is spending $250,000 on an ad airing on CNN and Fox News pushing centrist Democrats and a Republican to oppose a public option in the health care bill.
"The future of every Americans medical care rests with these 14 senators," says the narrator in the 30-second spot, as the 14 senators' photos and names scroll across the screen. Lawmakers targeted include Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Thomas Carper, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Jon Tester, Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama has informed several top diplomatic and military officials about his decision regarding new U.S. strategy and troop levels in Afghanistan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday to tell her about his decision, Gibbs said. He also informed his top military commander in the country - Gen. Stanley McChrystal - and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Obama will travel to West Point, New York, to announce his decision on a request by McChrystal for up to 40,000 additional troops.
Obama is expected to send more than 30,000 U.S. troops and seek further troop commitments from NATO allies as part of a counterinsurgency strategy to wipe out al Qaeda elements and stabilize the country while training Afghan forces.
–CNN's Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report
(CNN) - Americans overwhelmingly say talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh is currently the most influential conservative, according to a new poll.
In the new survey conducted by CBS' "60 Minutes" and Vanity Fair magazine, 26 percent of those sampled identified Limbaugh as the leading conservative, followed by fellow media personality Glenn Beck at 11 percent.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin followed close behind with 10 percent each.
The only Republican who currently holds office to make the list is House Minority Leader John Boehner, who registered 4 percent in the poll.
(CNN) - Georgia Rep. Tom Price, just back from Afghanistan, told CNN Monday that President Obama must sound resolute about his commitment to winning the war in Afghanistan when he unveils his military strategy for the country Tuesday evening.
"If he says that he's going to commit 32,000 or 34,000 more troops and maybe it will work or maybe it won't, that's not the message we need to hear or the world needs to hear," said Price, a Republican who spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Afghanistan. "What the world needs to hear is he's going to commit the number of troops necessary and accomplish the task and mission of keeping the American people safe. That's the most important thing."
Ultimately, Price said, success in Afghanistan could come down to the tone of the president's message when he announces his Afghanistan plan in a highly-anticipated speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
"If he talks about an exit strategy only and if he talks about benchmarks in terms of calendar time lines, that's where the challenge is because the Afghan people are hedging their bets," Price said. "They are not certain America is committed to prevailing in this mission. If the president is very resolute and very specific about what he believes the mission is and what can be accomplished, I think we'll be fine."
In the speech, Obama will explain why the United States is in Afghanistan, its interests there, and his decision-making process, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last week, adding that the president "does not see this as an open-ended engagement."
"Our time there will be limited, and I think that's important for people to understand," Gibbs said.
Washington (CNN) - The White House is "geared up to go on offense" on health care messaging this week, a White House official tells CNN.
As the Senate debate over health care reform gets underway, the administration is planning to "push back on the distortions and misinformation... being circulated by interest groups and opponents." The new offensive includes a video featuring Vice President Joe Biden and the presidents of the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Family Physicians.
(Who do Americans trust more on health care reform, asks Biden in the video: doctors and nurses, or "special interests"?)
The video comes as White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer continued his string of tough November blog posts slamming opponents of President Obama's proposal with a holiday weekend salvo taking on one Washington Post columnist - with the White House pledging more of the same to come.
(CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday he remains undecided about another presidential run in 2012, but called the possibility "less likely than more likely."
Appearing on "FOX News Sunday," Huckabee noted the election is almost three years away and that, regardless of what happens between now and then, President Barack Obama will be a tough opponent.
"It's hard to say. A lot of it depends on how the elections turn out next year," Huckabee said of the 2010 mid-term vote expected to bring some Republican gains in Congress.
(CNN) - Mike Huckabee released a statement Sunday night amid news the former Arkansas governor commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of fatally shooting four Washington state police officers.
“The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and Washington State.
The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within. Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State.
He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990. This commutation making him parole eligible and was paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him.
It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state.This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.”