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Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Supreme Court has eased long-standing restrictions on "independent spending" by corporations and unions in political campaigns.
Thursday's landmark ruling, which overhauls decades of federal restrictions, has the potential to lead to a dramatic increase in campaign spending.
A close 5-4 conservative majority on Thursday crafted a narrow overhaul of federal campaign spending that could have an immediate impact on next year's congressional midterm elections.
"Our nation's speech dynamic is changing, and informative voices should not have to circumvent onerous restrictions to exercise their First Amendment rights," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority.
The conservative-led opinion radically alters the election calculus, offering greater spending flexibility for a broader range of for-profit and non-profit groups seeking a voice in the crowded national political debate.
In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, "In a democratic society, the long-standing consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden applications of judge-made rules."
(CNN) - One week after he switched races, a new poll indicates that former Rep. Tom Campbell leads the GOP field in the fight to oust Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.
According to the Field Poll, 3 in 10 people likely to vote in the Republican primary back Campbell as their party's senate nominee. That's 5 points ahead of 1 in 4 who are supporting former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Six percent say they back State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.
But the survey indicates that nearly 4 in 10 are undecided. California holds its primary on June 8. Last week Campbell gave up his bid for governor and instead jumped into the senate race.
According to the poll, Boxer, a 3-term Democrat, leads all three GOP candidates by double digits in hypothetical general election matchups.
Without a super-majority in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may need to step back before deciding how to move forward. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - The message from voters in Massachusetts has Democrats reassessing their next steps as they balance the risks of an election year with an agenda they can no longer push through on their own.
Republican Scott Brown's jaw-dropping victory Tuesday night in the special election to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's term stripped Democrats of their 60-seat majority in the Senate.
Washington (CNN) - Two days after his stunning victory in Massachusetts, Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown heads to the nation's capitol on Thursday.
Brown is a state senator who defeated Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley Tuesday to became the first Massachusetts Republican to win a U.S. Senate election since 1972.
Brown's first meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday will be in the 10 a.m. ET hour with Sen. John McCain of Arizona. McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, endorsed Brown's bid to fill the last three years of the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. In the January 3 endorsement, McCain said of Brown that "as an officer on the Army National Guard, he understands the importance of a strong military and the necessity of protecting our interests around the world."
McCain is a retired naval aviator who was shot down and served as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
McCain, through his Country First political action committee, is calling on Democrats to seat Brown immediately.
Washington (CNN) - The Internet and other technologies are critical to foreign policy, and those who engage in cyber attacks should face international condemnation, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to say Thursday, her office said.
"In an interconnected world, an attack on one nation's networks can be an attack on all," Clinton will stress during a talk at The Newseum in Washington.
Her comments come as search-engine giant Google is threatening to shut down its operations in China, five years after agreeing to allow some censorship in exchange for the right to work in that country's massive emerging technology market.
Washington (CNN) - Former Sen. John Edwards admitted Thursday that he fathered a baby with his mistress.
The two time White House hopeful and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee had previously denied that he was the girl's father.
"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me," he said in a statement.
"I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves," he added.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. John McCain is wasting no time trying to get his newest Republican colleague, Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts, seated and voting in the in the chamber.
Brown's "victory sent a strong message that you and I have long known – Americans are furious with the liberal leadership in Washington," McCain wrote in an e-mail sent Wednesday to supporters of his Country First political action committee. "Their out of control spending and proposed takeover of health care are destructive to our country and we must continue to fight against it."
"Today, we've put together a petition urging Democrats to seat Scott Brown immediately and I ask that you sign this petition right away," McCain writes.
Re-enforcing a Brown campaign pledge that helped power the Republican's successful long-shot bid to occupy the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy for more than 40 years, McCain told supporters that Brown's presence in the Senate was critical to derailing Democratic plans to pass a health care reform bill.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Democrats scramble on health care after GOP win
Nervous Democrats debated Wednesday how to save a health care reform plan suddenly pushed to the brink of defeat by an upset GOP Senate win in Massachusetts.
ABC News: Exclusive: President Obama Says Voter Anger, Frustration Key to Republican Victory in Massachusetts Senate
President Obama warned Democrats in Congress today not to "jam" a health care reform bill through now that they've lost their commanding majority in the Senate, and said they must wait for newly elected Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to be sworn into office. The president also said the same voter anger that swept him into office in 2008 carried Brown into office on a stunning upset victory Tuesday night over heavily favored Democrat Martha Coakley.
Boston Globe: Mass. delegation braces for GOP challenges
Scott Brown’s Senate victory Tuesday sent shock waves through the Massachusetts congressional delegation, many members of which saw key communities in their districts vote overwhelmingly Republican.
New York Times: Energy and Stealth of G.O.P. Groups Undid a Sure Bet
The e-mail message from a Massachusetts supporter to one of the leaders of the Tea Party movement arrived in early December. The state was holding a special election to fill the seat held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, it said, and conditions were ripe for a conservative ambush: an Election Day in the dead of winter with the turnout certain to be low.
Investors Business Daily: Does Mass. Health Law Cover Fewer People Than Believed?
As Massachusetts held a de facto referendum Tuesday on Democrats' national health plans, a new study says the state's own health overhaul law hasn't been as successful as its backers claim.
Washington Times: China removed as top priority for spies
The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing's military and its cyber-attacks.