Washington (CNN) - In the wake of the Christmas day attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner, most Americans remain confident that the Obama administration can protect the country from terrorism, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that the vast majority of Americans believe that full-body scanners should be used in airports across the country.
Nearly two-thirds of people questioned in the poll say they have a moderate or great deal of confidence in the administration to protect the public from future terrorist attacks, up 2 points from August. Thirty-five percent say they have not much or no confidence at all, down 1 point from August.
A number of Republicans have criticized the president over his handling of the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. But according to the survey, 57 percent approve of the way President Barack Obama's responded, with 39 percent disapproving of how he handled the situation.
"Only a third of Republicans have a positive view of Obama on this matter, but the key for the administration is the 55 percent of independents who approve of how the president responded to the incident on Christmas Day," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is apologizing for telling Esquire Magazine he's "blacker than Barack Obama."
"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid," he told reporters outside his home Monday.
"I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I'm not blacker than President Obama," said Blagojevich, who was impeached last year after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
(CNN) - Rep. Peter King is formally bowing out of this year's New York Senate contest, again.
"While the political situation has changed dramatically in the Republicans' favor since September and I believe that Sen. (Kirsten) Gillibrand can and will be defeated in 2010, I will not be a candidate for the Senate," he said in a message sent to supporters Monday.
The 9-term Long Island Republican had announced his decision to skip the race last fall, but said in December that he would reconsider his decision based after requests by party leaders. He claimed the national spotlight in recent weeks as one of the most vocal congressional critics of the White House's response to the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing.
Surveys indicate Gillibrand could be vulnerable in a battle with a strong opponent. In a Siena poll last month, just under a third of the New York voters questioned thought she deserved to hold on to her seat, and 34 percent said they'd back another candidate. In the same poll, Gillibrand was virtually neck-and-neck with George Pataki, with a 46-43 edge over the former GOP governor.
(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama,” and tells Esquire magazine that the “strength of the truth in America” will one day vindicate him.
The governor, who was impeached after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, says most of the people in politics are “full of s*** and phonies, but I was real.”
Blagojevich tells the magazine that Obama was “catapulted in on hope can change, what we hope the guy is...
“What the f***? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up," he says.
(Updated after the jump with Blagojevich apology)
TOPICS: Terrorism, Obama administration, full-body scanners
Washington (CNN) - Former Rep. Mike Sodrel of Indiana is making another bid for his old seat, which could set up a fifth faceoff against Rep. Baron Hill, the Democrat who controls the seat.
Sodrel officially announced his 2010 bid in a message to supporters early Monday.
"The Obama administration and Pelosi's Congress are doing all the wrong things. They have spent the last year on health care legislation. We need to get the economy back on track," he wrote.
Sodrel and Hill first ran against each other in 2002, with Hill, the two-term incumbent at the time, narrowly winning. Sodrel ousted Hill in 2004 by a razor-thin margin, but Hill narrowly won the 2006 rematch. Hill beat Sodrel by 20 points in 2008.
Washington (CNN) - The Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that it had accepted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's apology for a remark he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and dismissed calls for the Nevada Democrat to step down.
Earlier in the day, the chairman of the Republican Party and a leading GOP senator had called on Reid to give up his post.
"Over the years, I have had an opportunity to work with Majority Leader Reid," Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the caucus, said in a statement.
"Senator Reid's record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities."
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.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Alison Harding
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Democrats dismiss Republican call for Reid to step down
The Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that it had accepted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's apology for a remark he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and dismissed calls for the Nevada Democrat to step down.
Washington Post: Yemeni president vows crackdown on al-Qaeda branch
Yemen's president vowed over the weekend to track down al-Qaeda militants who refuse to renounce terrorism, as President Obama affirmed in a magazine interview that he has no plans at the moment to send troops to Yemen in response to concerns that the terrorist network's presence has become more dangerous in that country.
Washington Post: U.S. food delivery contracts in Middle East worth billions
One of the least publicized elements of the cost of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq is the need to truck into Iraq and landlocked Afghanistan almost all the perishable and non-perishable food items consumed by U.S. forces and civilian personnel. The Defense Logistics Agency is preparing to contract out delivery of more than $10 billion worth of food to U.S. troops and other government personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Jordan
New York Times: Drone Flights Leave Military Awash in Data
As the military rushes to place more spy drones over Afghanistan, the remote-controlled planes are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up.
Wall Street Journal: States Want Delay on Emission Rules
A growing number of state regulators are urging the Obama administration to slow the rollout of proposed federal rules curbing industrial greenhouse-gas emissions, saying the administration's approach could overwhelm them with paperwork, delay construction projects and undercut their own efforts to fight climate change.
Los Angeles Times: Some Democrats want to rein in the filibuster
With Republicans using endless speeches to block all manner of legislation, and the prospect of fewer Democrats after midterm elections, some say it's time for a change so the majority can govern.