Washington (CNN) - Nearly seven in ten Americans think that people who are openly gay or lesbian should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 69 percent of the public favors allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, with 27 percent opposed.
"That's a dramatic turnaround from the early 1990s, when the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was first being implemented," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 1994, only a bare 53 percent majority felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to openly serve in the military."
Support for allowing gays in the military is much higher among Democrats than Republicans, but the policy wins support from a majority of Republicans as well. More than eight in ten Democrats say that gays should be allowed to serve; 62 of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents agree with that view.
The poll's release follows Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announcement Monday that he would be a sponsor of legislation next week to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has been in place since 1993.
Washington (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Monday he has no regrets about supporting President Obama's stimulus package last year, an endorsement that has cost him precious support among conservatives in his Senate primary battle against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.
"It was the right thing to do," Crist said in an appearance on MSNBC. "Our economy was going off into the abyss and if we didn't have those monies, we would have had 87,000 people out of work today in the Sunshine State. Twenty thousand of those are educators, and how many people does that translate into in terms of the children they teach?
"It was the right thing to do. We needed the money. That's why what every Republican governor in the country took it. It was a common sense approach to take it."
Crist noted that he would not support a second stimulus package.
The governor also defended himself from conservative critics who continue to hector him for appearing with President Obama at a rally for the Recovery Act last February.
"I am a guy who understands that the President of the United States deserves respect, and when the president comes to my state and it's the first time he comes to Florida after he is sworn in about a month before, I am going to be there and represent the people of my state, because I am the governor of all the people, all the 20 million people who live in Florida almost, I am the governor," Crist said.
Crist said there is "no way" he will lose the August primary to Rubio despite his trailing poll numbers. "I am going to win," he promised.
Washington (CNN) - Folklore says that George Washington was known for never telling a lie. But as the United States marks its first president's birthday, a new poll indicates that 74 percent of the public thinks the father of our country did lie to the public while he served as president - an indication that Americans think that the government has been broken for a very, very long time.
The CNN/Opinion Corporation survey was released Monday, the 278th anniversary of Washington's birth.
Three quarters of people questioned in the survey think that modern-day federal officials are not honest, a figure that is essentially unchanged since 1994. But the poll suggests that Americans think the problem of dishonesty is not a new one.
And it's not just George Washington. 71 percent think that Abraham Lincoln, known as "Honest Abe," also lied to the public while serving in the White House.
"It's all part of a rich tradition in American history - the belief that politicians are not always telling the truth," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
What should we make of the figures for Washington and Lincoln?
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration raised the stakes in the health care debate Monday, releasing a new blueprint that seeks to bridge the gap between measures passed by the Senate and House of Representatives last year.
If enacted, the president's sweeping compromise plan would constitute the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago.
Among other things, it would close the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole," increase federal subsidies to help people buy insurance and give the federal government new authority to block excessive rate hikes by health insurance companies.
It increases the threshold - relative to the Senate bill - under which a tax on high-end health insurance plans would kick in.
President Obama's plan does not include a government-run public health insurance option, an idea strongly backed by liberal Democrats but fiercely opposed by both Republicans and key Democratic moderates.
(CNN) - Two days after he announced he would seek a full term as New York governor, a new poll suggests that David Paterson faces a rough road to victory.
According to a Siena College Research Institute survey released Monday morning, 35 percent of New York state voters have a favorable view of Paterson and 55 percent hold an unfavorable view of him. The poll also indicates that only 22 percent say Paterson is doing an excellent or good job as governor, and more than three out of four say he is doing a fair or poor job.
"After three months of seeing modest gains in his favorability and job performance ratings, Governor Paterson has lost ground with voters over the last month," says Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
In a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup with New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paterson trails by 42 points. Cuomo, the son of former three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has yet to formally say if he will challenge Paterson.
"David Paterson has done nothing to cut into the huge lead Andrew Cuomo enjoys in a potential Democratic primary. In fact, the lead has now expanded to 64 percent to 22 percent, including a nearly 20-point lead for Cuomo with African American voters," adds Greenberg.
Washington (CNN) - I am pretty sure I met the next leader of the conservative movement during a three-day confab of activists that wrapped up Saturday here in the nation's capital. I definitely shook hands with a future congressman or maybe even a governor.
Maybe it was the 14-year-old conservative wonder-kid Jonathan Krohn, who champions "conservatism based on reality" and was a prominent speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Seriously, 14 years old and he is talking about "conservatism based on reality." He has even written a book about it: "Defining Conservatism."
When I was 14, I was trying to learn how to hit a fastball. If you follow baseball, you know that spring training has started in Arizona and Florida, and I am writing this column from Washington.
Oh well. I wonder if Krohn can hit a fastball?
"Our politics in Congress has become tribal in some ways. We have the tribe of the Democrats and tribe of the Republicans," Bayh said, appearing on CNN's State of the Union with Democrat Jon Corzine, a former New Jersey governor and senator, and Republican Susan Molinari, a former House member from New York.
In discussing partisanship, Molinari said that "women have a tendency to band together a little bit more than the men."
Bayh interjected: "It's testosterone poisoning; it's not our fault."
"You said it. I didn't," Molinari joked in response.
Bayh, who stunned Democrats last week when he announced he will not seek re-election in November, spoke about why he believes Congress can't get much done.
"Well, the culture really has changed," Bayh told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
"We have a lot of wonderful people, well-meaning people, but they're trapped in a system that's dysfunctional," said Bayh, whose father also served in the Senate.
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will propose legislation that would allow the government to block excessive rate increases by health insurance companies, a senior administration official told CNN Sunday.
The official could not speak on the record because the White House has not yet formally announced the proposal.
Word of the administration plan comes as the White House was to unveil President Barack Obama's latest health insurance reform proposal at 10 a.m. ET Monday.
The House and Senate have passed their own versions of health care reform. The new Obama plan is expected to attempt to smooth the differences.
The proposal seeks to put "American families and small business owners in control of their own health care," the official said. It stems from discussions that have taken place with the House and the Senate, the official said.