(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may not be known for his sense of humor, but the Nevada Democrat put supporters in hysterics Monday as he launched what will likely be his most difficult reelection campaign to date with a dig at Sarah Palin.
"I was going to give a few remarks on the people who were over here a week ago Saturday," Reid told supporters in his hometown of Searchlight, Nevada. "But I couldn't write it all on my hand."
Reid then added "You betcha!" to more laughter.
The comments were a clear reference to Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, who was seen reading notes from her hand to much derision from critics during a speech earlier this year.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the federal government stands ready to offer support for the rescue and recovery efforts currently underway at the site of Tuesday's devastating coal mine explosion in West Virginia.
He also offered his condolences to the family and friends of the miners killed in the accident.
We are praying "for the safe return of the missing" as well as for the rescuers, he said at the White House. "May their families find comfort in the days ahead."
(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."
(CNN) - Some big bucks and a new name are making headlines in this year's battle for California's governor.
The new name is Peter Schurman, the former founding executive director of MoveOn.org. The San Francisco resident is announcing his candidacy for governor and hopes to challenge Jerry Brown in the state's June primary.
"Our Democratic standard-bearer must take bold stands on the key issues facing California – like closing our budget gap by making corporations, big commercial property owners, and the richest people pay their fair share," says Schurman, in an e-mail release.
Brown, California's attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975-1983, is currently the only major candidate in the running for the Democratic nomination.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (CNN) - A top House Democrat, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, confirmed for the first time that she received threats in the days after health care reform was signed into law.
In an interview with CNN Monday, Wasserman Schultz said information about the threats were turned over to federal law enforcement officials.
The south Florida Democrat held her first town hall since the passage of health care reform. At Fort Lauderdale's city hall, Wasserman Schultz Monday night defended the new law to hundreds of her constituents. The meeting turned rowdy after many of her supporters packed the auditorium, forcing dozens of raucous tea party activists and opponents of health care reform to stand outside of the venue.
One constituent accused Democrats of engaging in dirty dealing to get the law passed. Wasserman Schultz responded, "there were no such dirty deals. We're not here to discuss process. This is the law."
Washington (CNN) - Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sought to reassure party activists that the GOP will be prepared for November's elections after Monday's resignation of his chief of staff.
Ken McKay was replaced by Mike Leavitt, who served as the RNC's deputy chief of staff for external communications. And a few hours after McKay's departure was announced, another key Steele political ally said that his firm was cutting ties with the RNC.
Steele e-mailed all 168 RNC members early Monday evening to tell them of McKay's departure and accepted responsibility for some embarrassing headlines that have come out of the party lately. He guaranteed party activists and state party leaders that he is the right person to lead the GOP into the November midterms.
(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it's time for Republican insiders to lay off Michael Steele.
"I think it's foolish to focus on Michael Steele as a person," Gingrich said Tuesday on NBC's Today Show. "I think what we ought to do is focus on Democrats. We have a real chance to elect [House Minority Leader] John Boehner as speaker and to elect [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell as majority leader."
The comments follow a series or embarrassing headlines for the chairman of the Republican National Committee and his organization, including news that the committee financed a night out at a risqué Hollywood night club and spent big on private jets, limousines, and five-star hotels. The embattled chairman was in the headlines again Monday when his chief of staff, Ken McKay, resigned his post and a political strategy firm, OnMessage Inc., severed ties with the organization.
Gingrich, in his interview Tuesday, said Steele has proven to be an effective leader of the RNC and should remain in his post heading into the crucial round of elections this November.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and reduce its reliance on them in a sweeping overhaul of its nuclear strategy due out Tuesday.
The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review will alter decades of American policy to provide an incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official told CNN. The focus of U.S. nuclear policy will be on isolating countries that are flouting their obligations under that pact, the official said.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce the new strategy on Tuesday, two days before he plans to sign a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both countries' missile stockpiles. The president is expected to be joined by several Cabinet members, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: U.S. to announce new nuclear weapons strategy
The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and reduce its reliance on them in a sweeping overhaul of its nuclear strategy due out Tuesday. The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review will alter decades of American policy to provide an incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official told CNN. The focus of U.S. nuclear policy will be on isolating countries that are flouting their obligations under that pact, the official said.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Defends Legality of Killing With Drones
The Obama administration, facing questions about the legality of its drone program—a key part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan's Afghan-border region—is pushing back with a legal defense of a program it only tacitly acknowledges. The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Executions and some legal scholars have questioned whether it is legal for the U.S. to target and execute individuals in countries the U.S. isn't at war with. Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell of the University of Notre Dame law school has called the drone program "unlawful killing," and says it violates international law. For the first time, a senior Obama administration official—Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser—has publicly articulated the legal basis for targeted killings.
Foreign Policy: State Department begins interviews in Eikenberry leak investigation
The investigation into who leaked Amb. Karl Eikenberry's secret cables opposing the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan is heating up. It's been more than four months since the Washington Post published a sensational scoop, reporting that Eikenberry had warned Washington, in strong language, against committing more American forces to the war-torn country unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai cracked down on corruption and demonstrated a greater capacity to govern. And it's been more than two months since the New York Times published the text of the two memos.
CNN: Unemployment benefits expire for thousands
Extended unemployment benefits will temporarily expire for thousands of Americans on Monday because the Senate went on its spring recess without approving a one-month deadline extension. The extension, which had bipartisan support, would have cost about $10 billion, but a lone Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, said no until the costs are offset.
CNN: Steele tries to reassure GOP as top aide resigns
Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sought to reassure party activists that the GOP will be prepared for November's elections after Monday's resignation of his chief of staff. Ken McKay was replaced by Mike Leavitt, who served as the RNC's deputy chief of staff for external communications. And a few hours after McKay's departure was announced, another key Steele political ally said that his firm was cutting ties with the RNC.
Las Vegas Sun-Times: Harry Reid kicks off campaign tour in Searchlight
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kicked off his re-election campaign this morning with a speech to supporters in his hometown of Searchlight, before embarking on a statewide bus tour. He capped off his day in Las Vegas.Facing a tough re-election campaign, Reid argued that Congress has worked to turn around the economy.He spoke not far from where the conservative Tea Party held its March 27 rally to protest passage of the health care bill and rail against what the movement's members call a national lurch toward socialism.