Washington (CNN) - As Sarah Palin marks her birthday, a new national poll indicates that 7 out of 10 Americans feel that she is not qualified to be president.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey, 71 percent of the public say the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve in the White House, with 26 percent saying the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is qualified to be president. The 26 percent who say Palin is qualified is down 12 points from an ABC News/Washington Post poll from November.
Twenty-eight percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey from November indicated that Palin was qualified, with 7 in 10 feeling she was not qualified to be president.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll, released Thursday morning as Palin marks her 46th birthday, also indicates that even a majority of Republicans now view Palin as not qualified to serve as commander-in-chief. According to the survey, 45 percent of conservatives see her as qualified, down 21 points from last November.
The survey also indicates that 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of her, with 55 percent holding an unfavorable view. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey from last month, 43 percent of the public had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had an unfavorable view of Palin.
(CNN) – A candidate for the Texas gubernatorial nomination is taking heat from her rivals over controversial comments she made about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In a radio interview Thursday, Debra Medina, refused to take a position when directly asked whether she believed the government was involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I don't have all of the evidence there, Glenn," Medina told host Glenn Beck on Beck's radio program, according to a transcript of the interview published on the radio program's Web site. "So I don't - I'm not in a place - I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there. So I've not taken a position on that."
During the interview, Medina reiterated that she was not going to take a position on the governmental involvement theory whose adherents are often referred to as "9/11 truthers." But she added, "These questions have been raised and they are not answered."
In an effort to clarify her remarks, Medina's campaign issued a statement after the interview.
"I have never been involved with the 9-11 truth movement, and there is no doubt in my mind that Muslim terrorists flew planes into those buildings on 9/11," she said. "I have not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals in any way. No one can deny that the events on 9-11 were a tragedy for all Americans and especially those families who lost loved ones."
Medina's rivals for the GOP nod in the Texas gubernatorial race quickly pounced on her remarks.
Washington (CNN) - The mountains and valleys of southwestern Pennsylvania seem a world away from Washington, but they may soon be the scene of a fierce campaign battle between Democrats and Republicans.
Monday's death of Democratic Rep. John Murtha triggers a special election for his office, and conventional wisdom says the GOP has a good chance to pick up a House seat.
While Murtha rarely had any serious challenges in his 18 re-election contests, his party doesn't dominate what's considered a socially conservative district, which stretches from Cambria County in west-central Pennsylvania down to the southwestern corner of the state.
In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry won Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District by 2 percentage points. But Sen. John McCain narrowly edged out Barack Obama in that district in the 2008 presidential contest, even though Obama carried the state by 10 percent. The 12th was the only congressional district Kerry won in 2004 that McCain carried four years later.
(CNN) - The liberal group MoveOn.org is taking aim at President Obama over a recent interview during which he appeared to refrain from criticizing Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon over their multi-million dollar bonuses.
In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek Tuesday, Obama was asked if he thought the 2009 bonus packages totaling $9 million for Blankfein and $17 million for Dimon were acceptable.
"I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen," Obama responded. "And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance."
Obama also compared the big payouts to those of some professional athletes: "Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well."
In an e-mail to supporters Thursday, MoveOn.org Campaign Director Daniel Mintz especially targets Blankfein, saying "'savvy' doesn't accurately describe a businessman who brought the world economy to the edge of collapse."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet February 18 with the Dalai Lama, the White House announced Thursday.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the meeting date to reporters. The White House previously had said Obama intended to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader despite opposition by China.
Last week, China warned that ties between two of the world's superpowers would be strained if Obama met with the Dalai Lama.
"It will seriously undermine the foundation of Sino-U.S. political relations," said Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who is in charge of talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama. "We will take corresponding action to make relevant countries see their mistakes."
New York (CNNMoney.com) – Companies will begin slowly adding to their payrolls in 2010, according to an annual White House review of the economy.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers, which on Thursday released a 462-page analysis of the president's economic initiatives, said that the unemployment rate will be at 10% during 2010. It is now at 9.7%.
"With millions of Americans still unemployed, much work remains to restore the American economy to health," the report said. "It will take a prolonged and robust GDP expansion to eliminate the large jobs deficit that has opened up over the course of the recession."
On a call Wednesday with reporters, Council Chairwoman Christina Romer said she expects an average of 95,000 jobs a month to be created this year, and that the nation's GDP will expand at a 2.5% rate.
Washington (CNN) - Top congressional Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday that would ban foreign-controlled companies and firms receiving either government contracts or federal bailout funds from spending money on U.S. elections.
The bill, slated to be officially introduced later this month, also would require the head of any corporation running a political ad to appear in the commercial to say that he or she "approves this message" - just as candidates themselves do today.
The measure is designed to mitigate the impact of last month's controversial Supreme Court campaign finance ruling, which overturned a long-standing ban on corporations and unions using their treasury funds to run presidential and congressional election ads.
The 5-4 decision - a victory for the high court's conservative majority - also rejected a prohibition on companies and unions running campaign ads 30 days before a primary election or 60 days prior to a general election.
Washington (CNN) – Florida Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Republican who represented the Miami-area since 1993, will retire at the end of the year, a senior GOP official confirms to CNN.
Diaz-Balart will announce his decision during a noon news conference at the Florida International University's College of Law. The Republican easily won re-election in a district that Sen. John McCain carried by slightly more than 5,000 votes in the 2008 presidential election.
The congressman's office would not confirm his retirement. "All we can say is to be at the press conference today at noon," said Yanik Fenton, a spokeswoman for the congressman.
Diaz-Balart will be the third incumbent House member to announce retirement plans in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, CNN confirmed that Rep. Diane Watson, D-California, will announce Thursday she has decided to forgo a reelection campaign.
Rep. Vern Ehlers, R-Michigan, stated on Wednesday that he will leave at the conclusion of the 111th Congress.
Washington (CNN) – It's still early in the pre-season in the next battle for the White House, and a new poll indicates that the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is wide open.
A Gallup poll released Thursday indicates that 14 percent of Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents say they would like to see former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as their party's nominee.
Eleven percent of those questioned said they'd like former Alaska Gov. and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as their party's candidate in 2012, with 7 percent backing Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, 4 percent supporting the newest member of the Senate, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and 3 percent pulling for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and for former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 Republican White House hopeful Mike Huckabee. Everyone else registered at 2 percent or less.
The survey, without prompting any names, asked Republicans and Republican leaning-independents whom they would most like to see as the party's 2012 presidential candidate.
"I do I like her. She's an engaging person. She has a great personality," Biden said in an interview with CNN's Larry King airing Wednesday. "I don't agree with what she says and I think some of the things she says are not, um, not um…"
Pressed to continue his thought, Biden said, "Well I, you know it's sort of like, some of the comments made are just so far sort of out there. I just don't know where they come from, but...I understand why people like her. "
Asked if he feared Palin politically, Biden questioned the breadth of the former Republican vice presidential nominee's appeal.
"My sense is that Sarah appeals, Gov. Palin appeals to a group of people who are generally frustrated, feel disenfranchised, are very conservative, not all of them…Tea Party people, but beyond that," Biden said. "She has appeal beyond that as well, but I don't know that it represents anything approaching a significant portion of the population."