Washington (CNN) – Outspoken Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele may be able to rest easy. Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President and an often outspoken conservative in her own right, said Sunday that she did not want to be endorsed for a bid to be the next RNC chair and Cheney defended Steele amid renewed concerns about his stewardship of the GOP's national committee.
"Liz, are you looking for a job?," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile teased Sunday when the two women were asked about Steele Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
"Thanks," Cheney responded, "Donna, please don't endorse me for that."
"Go head, girl. Go head. Go head, girl. Go head." Brazile, a member of the Democratic National Committee, joked as she playfully nudged Cheney who was sitting right next to Brazile.
On a more serious note, Cheney, who served in George W. Bush's State Department and is now chair of KeepAmericaSafe.com, said Sunday that recent concerns expressed about Steele from within Republican ranks would ultimately end up mattering very little as the November midterm elections approach.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Paula Nowakowski, the chief of staff to House Minority Leader John Boehner, died Saturday, according to a statement from Boehner.
"It is with profound sadness and shock that I announce the passing of Paula Nowakowski, my longtime chief of staff, trusted aide, and friend, who died suddenly last night," Boehner said in the statement released Sunday.
Boehner spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said Sunday that the 46-year-old Nowakowski had "an apparent heart attack."
In his statement Boehner wrote, "Words cannot adequately express the sorrow and disbelief I and every member of our team are grappling with today in the wake of this stunning news. We will remember Paula as she would want to be remembered - as a tireless worker, faithful friend, rabid Detroit sports fan, whip-smart strategist, warrior for freedom, and devoted Catholic who counted President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II among her greatest heroes."
President Barack Obama called Boehner on Sunday to express his condolences, Ferrier said.
(CNN) – As first reported Sunday evening by CNN Political Editor Mark Preston, the Congressional Black Caucus has accepted Sen. Harry Reid’s apology for remarks he made about President Obama's race and is dismissing calls for him to step down as majority leader.
See full statement below:
Sunday, January 10, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C. – Today Rep. Barbara Lee, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement in response to Republican demands that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid step down:
“I have had an opportunity to speak with Senator Reid and he apologized for his unfortunate remarks concerning the President and he understands the gravity of such remarks. There are too many issues like the economy, job creation and energy for these regrettable comments to distract us from the work that must be done on behalf of the American people.
“Over the years, I have had an opportunity to work with Majority Leader Reid. Senator Reid’s record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities – most recently reflected in Republican opposition to the Health Bill now under consideration. I look forward to Senator Reid continuing to serve as Majority Leader to guide this important agenda through the Senate.
“The Congressional Black Caucus believes that thoughtful engagement and civil discourse on race is needed, as our first “Dialogue on Race” in November 2009 demonstrated. There is a deep unease about race which cannot be swept under the rug. I appreciate Senator Reid’s apology and look forward to our continuing work.”
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(CNN) - Democrat Martha Coakley leads Republican Scott Brown by 15 points in the battle to fill the final three years of the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, according to a new poll.
The Boston Globe survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, was released Sunday, nine days before Bay State voters cast ballots in the special election.
According to the poll, half of the percent of people likely to vote in the contest say they're backing Coakley, the state's attorney general, with 35 percent supporting Brown, a state senator. Nine percent questioned are undecided and 5 percent support Independent Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator.
The poll indicates that Coakley's lead over Brown grows to 17 points, 53 percent to 36 percent, when undecided voters leaning toward a candidate are included in the tally. And nearly two-thirds of Brown supporters believe that Coakley will win. Brown is hoping to become the first Massachusetts Republican since 1972 to win a U.S. Senate seat.
"She's simply better known and better liked than Brown," Andrew E. Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, told the Globe.
The Coakley campaign announced Sunday that former President Bill Clinton and five-term Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts will team up at a rally for Coakley on Friday in Boston. Brown spent part of Sunday greeting fans of the NFL's New England Patriots, before the team's playoff game.
The 77-year-old Kennedy, who died of brain cancer in August, was the fourth-longest serving senator in American history. Paul Kirk, a long time adviser and friend to Kennedy, is serving as his interim replacement.
The Boston Globe/University of New Hampshire poll was conducted January 2-6, with 554 likely special election voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
(CNN) - As Harry Reid deals with the fallout from controversial comments, a new poll suggests the Senate majority leader faces an increasing difficult re-election this November.
Only one-third of Nevada voters have a favorable opinion of Reid, according to the survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for the Last Vegas Review-Journal. The poll, released this weekend, indicates that a majority of voters in the state, 52 percent, hold an unfavorable opinion of their four-term senator. The 33 percent who see Reid in a positive light is down 5 points from November, with the unfavorable rating edging up 3 points.
The poll was conducted January 5-7, before news of Reid’s comments about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's race sparked a controversy.
According to the survey, Reid trails three of his possible GOP challengers in hypothetical general election match-ups. The poll indicates Reid trails former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden by 10 points and businessman Danny Tarkanian by 8 points. Tarkanian is the son of former longtime University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Reid also trails Sharron Angle by 5 points. Tarkanian and Lowden are deadlocked the primary battle among GOP voters.
Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the Republican Party and a leading GOP senator called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give up his post Sunday, following the publication of remarks he made about President Barack Obama's race in 2008.
The remarks were "embarrassing and racially insensitive," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of the GOP's Senate campaign arm, in a statement to CNN.
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said. "Racism and racist conversations have no place today in America."
Steele was also on the defensive for a remark he made last week that members of both parties have called a racial slur.
Democrats rejected the calls for Reid's dismissal, and Reid's office made clear he has no plans to step down.
"Sen. Reid will stay in his position as Majority Leader and will run for reelection," his spokesman said.
Sober is the word that came to mind after two Sunday conversations: one with Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman about the fight against Al Qaeda; the other with White House economic adviser, Christina Romer, about the prospects for jobs growth in the year ahead.
“I think America is safer since 9/11 but we are not – certainly not safe,” Senator McCain told us from Israel, after stops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon. “Al Qaeda can land almost anywhere. Where there is fertile ground, they’re going to breed.”
Here at home, Romer would not offer a prediction of where the unemployment rate – 10 percent nationally to begin the year – would be by the end of the year – or this November’s critical midterm elections.
But she did have a message for banks preparing to dole out big bonuses in the days ahead: “For heaven's sakes, people, it does seem really ridiculous.”
There also was a vibrant political debate to add some spice to the day – some of it about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s apology for racially insensitive remarks about then candidate Barack Obama back in 2008, and some of it about whether Michael Steele’s book – and book tour – is a drag on his ability to lead the Republican National Committee in this critical midterm election year.
“There is a big double standard here,” was Steele’s take as Democrats from the president on down said Reid’s apology was good enough.
Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reported the remarks in their new book, "Game Change," which is scheduled to be in bookstores Tuesday.
The authors quote Reid as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
In a statement to CNN Saturday, Reid said, "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words."
"I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments.”
Asked about Reid’s comments, Virginia Democrat Douglas Wilder, who became the first African-American to be elected governor of a state 20 years ago, took issue with Reid’s assumptions about race relations. “We’re not where he thought we may have been a year ago,” Wilder said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Sen. Lieberman said Sunday that he does not agree with a new hard-hitting ad released as part of friend's 2010 re-election bid. (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) – Sometimes election year politics can drive a bit of a wedge between the closest of political allies. In this case, Sen. John McCain’s first foray into 2010 campaign advertising is rubbing his longtime ally the wrong way.
In a new radio ad released Thursday, McCain takes on the record deficit spending by the Obama administration, which has defended it as an effort to pull the country out of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"President Obama is leading an extreme, left-wing crusade to bankrupt America," McCain says in the new ad, I stand in his way every day.”
Asked about McCain’s new ad Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Joe Lieberman said “You know, every now and then, John McCain and I disagree.”
Washington (CNN) –A senior Republican senator called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step down as majority leader, following the revelation that the Nevada Democrat made racially insensitive remarks about Barack Obama during the presidential campaign.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the GOP's Senate campaign arm, called on Reid to vacate his position in a statement released Sunday.
"It's difficult to see this situation as anything other than a clear double standard on the part of Senate Democrats and others," Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement sent to CNN. "In 2002, Democrats expressed outrage at Senator Lott and called on him to step down as Leader. That same standard should be applied to Senator Reid and his embarrassing and racially insensitive statements; statements, I would add, that Senator Reid still has yet to clarify. As we await his explanation, Senator Reid should do the right thing, follow the example that he himself set in 2002, and step down as Majority Leader."
Reid has personally apologized to Obama and prominent African-American leaders for his remarks. The president released a statement Saturday, saying he accepted Reid's apology.