Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin caused a stir this week when she demanded that President Obama fire his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for using the word "retarded" to describe Democrats opposed to the administration's health care plans.
Now that Palin is headed to Texas to campaign for Gov. Rick Perry in his re-election bid, the campaign manager for Perry's rival Kay Bailey Hutchison is alleging that a top Perry aide used the very same term during a recent conference call.
Terry Sullivan, Hutchison's campaign manager, told CNN that Perry consultant Dave Carney dropped the "R" word repeatedly during a recent planning call between the three gubernatorial campaigns to walk through logistics for their Jan. 14 debate in Denton. The third candidate in the Republican primary is former Wharton County GOP chairwoman Debra Medina.
According to Sullivan, Carney became "bombastic and agitated" when he learned that one of the candidate holding rooms would be in a separate building from the debate venue. (Perry's team eventually got the holding room they wanted.)
"That's just retarded," Carney said when he learned about the holding room location, according to Sullivan. "That's the most retarded thing I've ever heard."
Sullivan said Carney used the word once again minutes later as the camps discussed how the debate footage would be used after the forum.
A spokesman for Perry did not respond to a request for comment on the call, nor did an aide to Palin, who is heading to Texas on Sunday to appear with the governor.
Washington (CNN) – A day after Illinois voters went to the polls, the outcomes for the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries remain unresolved.
On the Democratic side, Gov. Pat Quinn was leading state Comptroller Dan Hynes in a tight race, but Hynes had not conceded as of early Wednesday evening. He has scheduled an 11 a.m. ET news conference Thursday to "make an important announcement."
Later: Hynes concedes
On the Republican side, state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard are in a virtual tie with each candidate garnering roughly 20 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday's primary.
(CNN) – Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown is asking state officials to immediately certify his victory in the state's special election last month, a move that would allow Brown to be sworn into office as early as Thursday afternoon.
In a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, both Democrats, Brown's attorney says the senator-elect had planned on being sworn in February 11 but has since been told there are several votes being held before that date.
"For this reason, he wants certification to occur immediately," wrote Daniel Winslow, Brown's attorney.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Brown, also told CNN that "since the election results are now complete, there's no reason to wait."
A Brown adviser said the senator-elect is specifically interested in upcoming votes on President Obama's nominees for the GSA administrator, solicitor-general, and the National Labor Relations Board.
A spokeswoman for Patrick said the governor will certify the result at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday.
"As the Lieutenant Governor stated earlier today, the Governor will convene the Governor’s Council at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning and certify the results," said Deputy Press Secretary Kimberly Haberlin. "This will ensure that Senator-elect Brown’s request to receive the final paperwork by 11:00 a.m. tomorrow is fulfilled."
–CNN's Dana Bash, Kevin Bohn, John King, and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) - The District of Columbia's representative in Congress is criticizing a new effort led by a Utah senator to ban same sex couples from legally marrying in the nation's capital.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia, said Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, and eight of his Republican colleagues are "Disregarding the most basic of American self-government principles" by "trying to overturn same-sex marriage legislation in the District of Columbia.
"Marriage is a fundamental state's right in the District as elsewhere in America, not a political football to be used or abused to score points back home at the expense of the people of the District, and of democratic principles," Norton added.
Bennett introduced his legislation Tuesday that would stop same-sex marriages from becoming legal in the city without a referendum or vote by citizens of the District. Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Orrin Hatch of Utah, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Pat Roberts of Kansas, David Vitter of Louisiana and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, cosponsored Bennett's bill.
"The definition of marriage affects every person, and should be debated openly, lawfully, and democratically," Bennett said in a statement.
(CNN) - President Obama declared on Wednesday that Democrats can be trusted on the budget because, "the last time the budget was balanced was under a Democratic president."
Fact Check: Who was president the last time the budget was balanced?
– The U.S. government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997.
- Democrat Bill Clinton was president in 1998, when the government finally recorded a surplus.
- There also were budget surpluses in 1999, 2000 and in 2001. 2001 was the last year the Clinton administration proposed the budget.
- Republican George W. Bush succeeded Clinton in 2001. The United States had a budget deficit in 2002, and it has recorded budget deficits every year since. The deficit is projected to increase substantially this year under President Barack Obama.
- Republicans say they should get at least some of the credit for the balanced budgets during the Clinton administration, because Republican majorities controlled both the House and Senate.
Read the bottom line after the jump.
A coal scraper machine works on a pile of coal in West Virginia. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced Wednesday he is forming a task force to oversee how the United States can "deploy affordable clean coal technology on a widespread scale within 10 years."
At a meeting with governors from both parties and senior Cabinet members, including Vice President Joe Biden, Obama said he believes that taking the global lead on developing technology to remove carbon pollutants from coal-fired energy production is vital for future economic prosperity.
Goals of the task force include having 10 commercial power plants with clean-coal technology operating as demonstration projects by 2016, Obama said.
"If we can develop the technology to capture the carbon pollution released by coal, it can create jobs and provide energy well into the future," he told reporters.
Washington (CNN) - Walking into the room, the Senate Democrats issues conference looked at first glance like any other business meeting: Men and women in suits, sitting at long tables covered in black table cloths - each with a bottle of water and a pen and notepad in front of them.
But once the session with President Obama got going, it was clear these were not your average conference-goers. These were a group of politicians who knew the moment, and how to use the live television cameras to seize it.
It was no accident that six out of the eight Democrats who Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on to ask the president a question are in a tough re-election battle this year. It was even less of an accident that those Democratic Senators used their time live on CNN to show frustrated voters that they're not afraid to stand up to the president.
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, fighting for his political life in Pennsylvania, kicked the session off with a question about the "trade imbalance" with China and how that hurts union workers. He even asked the president to revoke America's trade agreements with China.
"Arlen, I would not be in favor of revoking the trade relationships that we've established with China," the president responded dryly.
(CNN) - During Tuesday's town hall event in New Hampshire, President Barack Obama was asked to grade his administration's transparency. He declined to give himself a grade, but cited a new report that says his administration is "the most transparent administration that we have seen in a very, very long time, perhaps in the modern era."
The report - titled "A Report Card on the Obama Administration's Executive Branch Lobbying, Ethics and Transparency Reforms in 2009" - was released on January 11. It characterizes the Obama administration's reform efforts as "the strongest and most comprehensive lobbying, ethics, and transparency rules and policies ever established by an administration to govern its own activities."
This report stands in stark contrast to recent criticism the president has received for falling short on a promise to televise all health care negotiations on C-SPAN.
Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Senate Democrats are expected to take up President Obama's call and start rolling out their employment creation package by week's end.
With the balance of power shifted in the Senate, Democrats have moved away from introducing a comprehensive bill similar to the $154 billion legislation passed by the House in December. Instead, the Democrats will likely push through smaller measures in stages.
"First of all, we do not have a jobs bill," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on Tuesday. "We have a jobs agenda that we're working on."