(CNN) - Play word association with the name "John McCain" and "maverick" is certain to pop up.
After all, McCain's presidential campaign repeatedly dubbed the Arizona Republican "the original maverick" and late last month McCain's former running mate, Sarah Palin, urged a crowd in Tucson to "send the maverick back to the Senate!"
But there's only one problem: McCain, who faces a difficult primary challenge from the right, says he's no maverick.
"I never considered myself a maverick," the senator told Newsweek this week. "I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities."
Washington (CNN) – The first African-American to be elected governor said Monday the Republican Party's first African-American chairman should stop complaining and "Do the job."
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, whose stewardship of the GOP has come under fire in recent weeks, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that he is being held to a higher standard because he's black. But former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder told CNN's John King that Steele "should have never responded that way."
"He has broken the barriers. He's gotten the job," said Wilder, who won Virginia's governorship in 1989. "Do the job."
Wilder added, "I have never used race as a badge nor a barrier. And I would hope that Michael understands that he speaks for a lot of people."
(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sent a e-mail to RNC members on Monday following the departure of top RNC aide Ken McKay.
Read the full letter after the jump.
Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee's chief of staff has resigned, an RNC spokesman said Monday.
Ken McKay's departure follows a spate of high-profile complaints about the party's fund-raising operations and spending. In an e-mail sent to RNC members and obtained by CNN, party Chairman Michael Steele said he accepted McKay's resignation to reassure "hard-working patriots" who donate to the party.
"Leadership requires that any distractions from our most serious mission be addressed immediately and decisively," he wrote. "Leadership requires that I can safely assure you, our donors, and the American people that our mission is what drives every dollar we spend, every phone call we make, every email we send and every event we organize. Recent events have called that assurance into question, and the buck stops with me. That is why I have made this change in my management team and why I am confident about going forward to November with
renewed focus and energy."
McKay will be replaced by Mike Leavitt, who is the RNC's deputy chief of staff for external communications, RNC spokesman Doug Heye told CNN.
But soon after the announcement, one of Steele's allies announced that he was cutting ties with the RNC. Curt Anderson, who helped engineer Steele's victory as chairman, said in an e-mail that his political strategy firm was stepping aside.
Washington (CNN) – Democrats, mark your calendars.
The Democratic National Committee announced Monday that it will hold its national convention the week of September 3, 2012. Where it will take place is still undecided.
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine revealed the convention date in a blog posting where he declared that Democrats “will re-nominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, and re-affirm our party’s values of equality, inclusion, diversity, and respect.”
The 2012 Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin August 27, 2012. This week a delegation of Republican officials are in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is vying to host the event. The 12 members tasked with helping to choose the GOP’s host city have already visited Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Washington (CNN) - In a new video, released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau, former George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove encourages Americans to participate in the 2010 Census, saying "it's not too late."
The public service announcement, already available online, runs 51 seconds and features Rove speaking about the history of the Census.
"One of my favorite founders is James Madison, principal author of the Constitution," Rove says in the spot. "He created an instrument of democracy by writing into the Constitution a requirement for a Census every ten years to ensure fair representation in Congress. If you've not yet mailed back your 2010 Census form, it's not too late. Please answer the ten easy questions. They are almost the same ones Madison helped write for the first Census back in 1790."
According to a statement from the U.S. Census Bureau, Rove's PSA is designed to remind residents that they have just over two weeks to mail back their census forms to avoid a visit from a census worker in early May.
(CNN) - Rudy Giuliani hailed former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio Monday as the "one candidate that [Florida Republicans] can trust" to uphold conservative values in Washington.
"This is an easy choice in this race," the former New York City mayor said at a press conference in Miami before a gathering of Rubio supporters. "This is an easy choice for a Republican because he is the one candidate that we can trust to represent Republican principles in Washington and remain a Republican if he goes to Washington."
Rubio will face Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the GOP senatorial primary in late August.
Giuliani's endorsement is among Rubio's most high profile to date, and is being seen as political payback to Crist who refused to endorse the former New York City mayor during his presidential bid two years ago.
Washington (CNN) - Justice John Paul Stevens is expected to announce by month's end whether he will retire from the Supreme Court, sources close to him tell CNN. His departure after nearly 35 years on the bench would give President Obama another opportunity to shape the nation's highest court.
Stevens, who turns 90 on April 20, has told colleagues he wants to decide soon - for his own peace of mind - but also to give the White House time to select a replacement and for the Senate to confirm the nominee.
He was not on the bench for a brief public session Monday; the court will hold its next public session in two weeks.
Washington (CNN) - Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Pat Toomey raised $2.3 million in the first three months of 2010, and has more than $4 million cash on hand, his campaign said Monday.
The former Republican congressman is aiming to unseat five-term Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched from the Republican to Democratic party last spring in part because he did not want to face Toomey in a primary challenge.
"I am very appreciative of the deluge of support I have received for my candidacy," Toomey said in a written statement. "As I travel across the state, I meet more and more Pennsylvanians who want to join our campaign and help bring true change and fiscal sanity to Washington.
Official fundraising totals for the first quarter of 2010 are due April 15, but the early release suggests Toomey believes he has amassed enough of a war chest to mount a vigorous campaign.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama continued a century-old baseball tradition among the nation's chief executives Monday, throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The southpaw president took the mound at a packed ballpark shortly after 1 p.m., tossing a pitch that flew high and outside.
Obama wore a Nationals jacket, but also donned a cap from his favorite hometown team, the Chicago White Sox.
Presidential William Howard Taft started the tradition on Opening Day of the 1910 season. The Washington Nationals defeated the Philadelphia Athletics that day, 3-0. Eventual Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson threw a one-hitter.