Washington (CNN) - The countdown to the Texas Republican gubernatorial primary is well underway, and with only two days remaining, attention is being paid to an unusual source: ABBA.
On Friday, Gov. Rick Perry's campaign released a new Web video with an unusual twist. The spot is set to a modified version of the Sweedish pop group ABBA's 1976 hit "Dancing Queen."
The video targets challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and casts her as the "Earmark Queen." The original lyrics are gone – replaced with a new set performed by former American Idol contestant Stephanie Daulong.
"You are the Earmark Queen, Spend and spend wasting our money, Earmark Queen spend and spend, From the Treasury oh no!" Daulong croons.
The song is set to a series of visual reminders of what the Perry campaign refers to as "Hutchison's fiscally irresponsible 17 years in Washington."
Hutchison's campaign has launched their own set of Web videos leading up to the primary.
Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is dismissing Republican claims that recent polls support their opposition to the current health care proposals, countering that the real problem is that the American people don't have a bill to judge.
"When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell," Pelosi told CNN's Candy Crowley in an interview Friday. She added that the final legislation will settle differences between the House and Senate bills, and that Americans will be more supportive once the bill is released.
"I feel very confident about what's in there," she said.
The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that nearly three quarters of respondents believe Congress should either start over on a new bill or drop health care reform altogether.
Earlier Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters she's asking the Senate to "act upon" reconciliation to move forward, a legislative procedural tool that allows bills to pass with a simple majority.
Editor's Note: Watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi's interview with Candy Crowley on State of the Union this Sunday at 9am ET.
Washington (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine on Friday made his case for the Senate maneuver known as reconciliation, calling it an "up and down vote."
"The reconciliation process is every bit as much a part of Senate rules as the filbuster is, for example," Kaine said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "And it has been used repeatedly in the last 30 years, mostly by Republicans, but often on health care matters."
Kaine said the reconciliation process, which would allow Democrats to pass a bill with a simple 51-vote majority, has previously been used to pass health care legislation like the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA.
He also rejected claims that using the tactic would amount to "ramming" a health care bill through the Senate. Reconciliation, Kaine said, would be used to pass a second bill with "financing adjustments."
"The bill has passed the Senate already with 60 votes, so it wasnt rammed through," Kaine said. "In fact it's been played out in slow motion for months, as you know."
Washington (CNN) - Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, plans to step down, three sources familiar with the situation told CNN Friday.
Her office came under scrutiny after a couple who lacked an invitation showed up at President Barack Obama's first state dinner.
Officials with the White House and the administration, as well as a colleague of Rogers, told CNN of her plans to leave.
UPDATE: In an e-mail to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Rogers said she is headed back to the private sector.
"It has been incredible setting the foundation for the WH for this historical Presidency," she wrote.
Read President Obama's statement after the jump.
Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee named three cities on Friday as potential hosts for the 2012 Republican National Convention: Phoenix, Tampa and Salt Lake City.
The finalists emerged after multiple cities submitted bids to the RNC by the committee's January 15 deadline.
"These cities submitted three very strong bids, so all three are in contention," Holly Hughes, an RNC member from Michigan who chairs the RNC Site Selection Committee, told CNN. "Hosting a convention is a huge deal. A city has to raise multiple millions of dollars, but they also get the benefit of showcasing their city and bringing in revenue."
A 12-member RNC Site Selection Committee will visit the cities in late March and early April to meet with local officials and evaluate the potential sites - and will then make their final recommendation to the RNC. The full 168-member committee will vote to select the host city at the RNC's summer meeting in July.
(CNN) – With New York Gov. David Paterson's announcement Friday afternoon that he won't run this year for a full term in office, all eyes are on fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the state's attorney general.
With Paterson out of the campaign picture, Cuomo is considered the Democratic Party's likely gubernatorial nominee. While the son of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo has not formally indicated if he'll make a bid for governor, he hinted Friday that some kind of announcement would be forth coming.
"This is an election year and I will announce my plans at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on my job as Attorney General and the many important issues we are pursuing," he said in a statement.
Cuomo added that he is "sure this is a difficult choice and a sad day for the Governor and his family. It is in the best interests of all New Yorkers that the state government function through this difficult time and address the pressing budgetary problems we face."
According to a Siena College Research Institute survey released Monday morning, Cuomo led Paterson by 42 points in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup. The survey also indicated that Cuomo would top former Rep. Rick Lazio, the probable GOP nominee, 63 percent to 26 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup. In that same poll, Lazio led Paterson 46 percent to 39 percent. The survey also showed two-thirds of New York state voters had a favorable opinion of Cuomo.
Washington (CNN) - Tim Pawlenty's shadow presidential campaign continues.
The Minnesota governor will return to Iowa on April 17 as the keynote speaker at the "2010 Iowa Taxpayers' Day," a Des Moines event put on by Iowans for Tax Relief.
Iowa's Republican gubernatorial candidates will also be at the event.
It's Pawlenty's second trip to Iowa as a potential 2012 candidate; he spoke at an Iowa Republican Party event in Des Moines last November.
(CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is dismissing a rumor that he will abandon the Republican Senate primary and run as an Independent.
A conservative online columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel floated the claim on Thursday, setting off a flurry of Internet speculation that Crist might bolt from his party to avoid losing to Marco Rubio in the primary. But Crist said Thursday it's not true.
"It's not going to happen," Crist said at an event in Broward County, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Crist also kept up his offensive against Rubio, who is back-pedaling this week after revelations that he made personal charges on his Republican Party of Florida credit card. The governor brushed off Rubio's claim that Crist allies leaked the credit card information to newspapers.
"He is the one who made these charges, not me, not any of my friends," Crist said, according to the Times. "I mean, you know, when you do something like that you ought to just take personal responsibility."
Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went further than any top Democrat has before in confirming what was become an open secret in Washington: Democrats are making tentative plans to use a controversial parliamentary shortcut to send the president a health care bill, with or without GOP votes.
The House Speaker called the legislative tool known as reconciliation "a simple majority" and said "that's what we're asking the Senate to act upon."
Democratic sources have told CNN that the general plan is for the House to pass the Senate bill and send it to the president, and for a package of changes that mirror the President's plan to be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which would only need 51 votes in the Senate.
Pelosi for the first time publicly laid out those tentative plans, and said the first step is figuring out exactly what that package of changes will be. She held out the possibility of incorporating some ideas Republicans put forward in Thursday's all day health care summit.
"Maybe we can find some positive suggestions from what they were talking about there," Pelosi said.
But Republicans repeatedly made clear they do not support one large health care bill, so they are unlikely to be swayed by Democrats including any GOP ideas in their legislation.
New York (CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson said Friday that he will not seek election to a full term in office.
"There are times in politics when you have to know not to strive for service but to step back," he said.
He said it was not the "latest distraction but an accumulation" of obstacles that were behind his decision not to be a candidate in the November election.