(CNN) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – who has backed strict new emissions controls to combat climate change – made a comment Tuesday that's sure to raise some heat, especially in GOP circles.
The Republican governor of California is questioning the motives of a high-profile opponent of the idea: Sarah Palin.
The former Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor has questioned whether human activity contributes to climate change, and written op-eds blasting the cap and trade policy promoted by the Obama administration to limit emissions. Last week, she called on President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen conference.
"You have to ask: what was she trying to accomplish?" Schwarzenegger, in Copenhagen for the international climate change summit, told the Financial Times. "Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the (Republican presidential) nomination? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt."
Palin, dubbed a climate change "denier" by Al Gore, slammed the former vice president for promoting "doomsday scenarios": "Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it," she wrote in a Facebook post last week.
Washington (CNN) - Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman told CNN Tuesday that he has not ruled out running as a Republican in 2012.
Lieberman told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash Tuesday that the move remained a legitimate, if unlikely, option. "I don't know what I'll run as," he said. "I like being an independent. So that's definitely a possibility. But I'd say all options are open….
"It's unlikely I'd run as a Republican, but I wouldn't foreclose any possibility. I think the more likely thing is that I'd run as an independent because that's what I am."
He also denied that a decision on whether to caucus with Republicans depended on which party was in the majority: "Well, no. It depends on where I am. That's all hypothetical. I'm just happy to be where I am. I'm grateful I got reelected in '06, and I'm going to try to do the best I can every day.
"I've reached the stage in my career where I'm not measuring every step I take based on how it's going to affect the next election. I think if you do that you end up compromising the quality of your service."
"In this very polarized time in our politics, if you take a stand, a bunch of people will think you've done something great and a bunch of people will think you've done something awful. You've got to decide, I've got to decide that I've done the best I could to do what's right and best for my country and my state. And that's what I feel I'm doing on health care reform."
Washington (CNN) - A former office manager for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy was indicted Tuesday for allegedly pocketing more than $75,000 in excess pay. A federal grand jury indicted Ngozi Pole, 39, of Waldorf, Maryland, for submitting paperwork that prompted the Senate to pay him more than he was supposed to receive.
A six-count indictment says Pole transmitted information to the Senate Disbursing Office that caused overpayments to him from 2003 to 2007.
Each of five counts of wire fraud lodged against Pole carry up to 20 years in prison. The count of theft of government property carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman told CNN Tuesday he is "moving in the direction of" voting for the Democratic health care bill, if the provisions allowing for early Medicare buy-in and a new public health insurance option are removed. And the Connecticut independent senator dismissed liberal criticism that he is acting out of bitterness over his loss in the Democratic Senate primary in 2006.
"Well that's just poppycock," he told CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash. "….If I had any sense of vendetta against the Democratic Party I wouldn't be in the Democratic caucus today. I'm an independent Democrat."
His position was based on policy, not politics, he said.
Lieberman also said that even though the prospect was unlikely, he could not rule out running as a Republican in 2012: "All options are open," he told CNN.
Lieberman also denied that he was making demands because he enjoys the spotlight, pointing to a campaign launched earlier this week by progressive activists to convince the nation's largest breast cancer non-profit organization to dump his wife Hadassah Lieberman as an honorary spokeswoman. "I can tell you that inside myself I have not enjoyed this period of time. I've done what I thought was right, but it's no fun to have your colleagues be angry at you. It's no fun to have your wife attacked. But, you know, you got to do what you think is right.
"So, no. I'd be happy to have some time out of (the) limelight."
Washington (CNN) - CNN has learned President Obama is seriously considering an executive order to create a bipartisan commission that could weigh sweeping tax increases and spending cuts to popular programs like Social Security and Medicare in order to try slash the soaring federal deficit.
Documents obtained by CNN show that top advisers to the President have been privately weighing various versions of a commission and there are differing opinions about how to structure it. Officials say that some inside the administration are pushing for a narrow mandate because it's too complicated to tackle reform of the tax system and various popular federal spending programs all at once.
"Each major category of fiscal policy - Social Security, Medicare, discretionary spending, revenues - raises a complex and idiosyncratic array of policy problems and prescriptions," according to the documents detailing some of the administration's deliberations. "Achieving consensus on any one of these issues - much less all of them simultaneously - may be more than the political system can reasonably accommodate."
But officials told CNN that other advisers to the president are pushing for the commission to have a broad mandate to put all of these big issues "on the table" at the same time.
Washington (CNN) - Michelle Obama's stock is on the rise as more Americans approve of how she is handling her role as first lady now than they did 10 months ago, according to a new Marist College Poll.
The survey shows that 57 percent of registered voters approve of Obama's performance as first lady, up 7 points from a Marist poll conducted in March. Twenty-four percent said it has been fair, while 10 percent thought she is doing a poor job.
But Obama is not viewed as a transformative first lady. Only 37 percent said she has changed the role for the better, while 46 responded she has done nothing to change it. Another 10 percent said Obama has changed it for the worse, while 7 percent were unsure.
The poll of 858 registered voters was conducted on December 2, 3 and 7. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
Follow Mark Preston on Twitter: @prestoncnn
Washington (CNN) - Some terrorism suspects held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be moved to an Illinois prison that the federal government will buy to hold them, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.
Fewer than 100 Guantanamo detainees would come to the maximum-security Thomas Correctional Center, 150 miles west of Chicago, said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois put the figure at 70.
The federal government will buy the prison and enhance one section of it to make it exceed perimeter security standards at the nation's only "supermax" prison in Colorado, according to a letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair.
About 215 detainees are held at the controversial U.S. detention facility in Cuba, and finding a place to move some of the detainees was crucial to government plans to close it.
By closing Guantanamo, "we are removing from terrorist organizations around the world the recruiting tool" the detention center symbolizes, said retired Marine Gen. James Jones, the national security adviser to President Obama.
Washington (CNN) - As 'Code Red Rally' conservatives hit Capitol Hill today in a bid to kill the Democrats' health care reform bill, the same message came from a voice from the other end of the political spectrum: former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
There have been increasing complaints from liberals in recent days, as what they consider key elements of President Obama's health care reform plan – including a public health insurance option, and a compromise proposal that would allow individuals to buy in to the Medicare system at age 55 – have apparently been jettisoned to win the support of conservative Democrats, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, and moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Some have said the bill has been so watered-down, it may be time to abandon it entirely.
Dean – a doctor who has long made health care reform a signature issue – told Vermont Public Radio in an interview set to air later Tuesday afternoon that the proposal being weighed by the Senate signaled "the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two state supreme court justices from neighboring states find themselves in disagreement these days - not over a legal issue,but over how they should have gotten their jobs.
The two justices - Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and Pennsylvania Justice Seamus McCaffery - were both elected in statewide votes.
Moyer says having to travel across his state to fundraise can erodepublic confidence in the courts.
"Going out asking for money creates a real strain in my judicial work,and I can't promise or predict to voters how I would decide a particular
issue," said Moyer. "It conflicts with the idea that judges are and should be impartial, and not be influenced by anything, especially money."
But as Pennsylvania's newest elected high court member, McCaffery foundvisiting all of his state's 67 counties on his Harley motorcycle to campaign was a treat.
Conservatives rallied in Washington Tuesday to show their opposition to Democrats' plans for health care reform. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Activists opposed to the Democrats' health care reform plans rallied outside the U.S. Capitol Tuesday.
The "Code Red Rally," was organized by a long list of conservative groups, including advocacy organizations Americans for Prosperity and Patients First. Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, and talk show host Laura Ingraham were among the featured speakers.
The event was held as Senate Democrats try to reach agreement on a health care reform plan.