(CNN) – In this midterm election year, Republicans might do well to embrace the “party of no” label placed on them by Democrats, conservative blogger Erick Erickson said Friday in an appearance on CNN.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took different approaches to the Democratic label during speeches at this week’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Gingrich told the GOP gathering that he thought “[t]here are many things that we can say yes to” while Palin opined “[t]here is no shame in being the party of no if [Democrats are] proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates our Constitution.”
Asked about the split between Gingrich and Palin, Erickson sided with Palin.
“I would say that saying no and being the ‘party of no’ is working pretty well for them,” he told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
New Orleans (CNN) - Though it's a hot topic among GOP insiders at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, none of the event's speakers had uttered a word about the Republican National Committee's disastrous decision to spend money at a sex-themed Hollywood nightclub.
Until Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal finally broke the ice on Friday – albeit in a coy way.
Jindal took to the stage and welcomed conference-goers to New Orleans. He told them to "enjoy our great food, our great music, our great culture."
Then this: "A word of warning to RNC staffers: You may want to stay away from Bourbon Street," he said. "Just a word of advice."
The joke drew laughter and applause from the crowd.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Chinese and U.S. officials are reportedly close to a deal on boosting the value of China's currency, the yuan - the first step to making U.S.-made goods more competitive versus Chinese exports.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was in China for a surprise meeting this week, and Chinese President Hu Jintao is due in Washington next week.
"It's basically seems like it's a done deal," said foreign exchange expert Ashraf Laidi, chief market strategist for CMC Markets.
The agreement is widely expected to result in an immediate 2% to 3% rise in the yuan - a fairly modest step. What could make the agreement significant, however, is if China agrees to future increases as the currency moves toward being freely traded for the first time.
New Orleans (CNN) - Nine prominent Republicans are on the ballot in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference's 2012 straw poll - the results of which will be a gauge how much support each potential candidate has among the thousands of GOP activists gathered at the New Orleans event.
Voting in the straw poll began Friday and will continue Saturday. Results will be announced Saturday evening.
The candidates are: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
At least four potential 2012 candidates are not featured on the ballot - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Dakota Sen. John Thune - and no space is provided to write in a candidate.
Jindal removed himself from the 2012 chatter on Friday, telling the SRLC crowd: "I am not running for president of the United States."
Perry, in the midst of a re-election campaign in Texas, asked for his name to be kept off the ballot, an aide to the governor told CNN.
Federal officials said the spike in threats began around the debate over health care reform. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) – Federal law enforcement and Congressional authorities are reporting a large increase in threats against lawmakers, a law enforcement official tells CNN. The officials said the spike in threats began around the debate over health care reform.
Since October, 50 threats against members of Congress have been reported to the FBI, said the official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. In the previous year, less than 20 were reported to federal law enforcement authorities. When threats are received by lawmakers, the U.S. Capitol Police and in some cases, the FBI, investigate.
Members of the House and Senate reported nearly three times as many threats in the first three months of this year, compared to the last three months of 2009, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer told The Washington Post. He said nearly all of the incidents appeared to have come from opponents of health care. Gainer did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.
"There has been a spike in threats against members of Congress since passage of the legislation," according to the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the Congressional investigations.
New Orleans (CNN) - Will Americans start to hear more policy speeches from Sarah Palin in the future?
"Absolutely," Palin told CNN in a brief interview outside her New Orleans hotel on Friday. "The more of that, the better."
The former Alaska governor chatted for a few moments after wrapping up her speech to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, a showing that was closely scrutinized by political insiders looking for clues as to whether she's serious about a presidential bid in 2012.
She devoted much of her remarks to the topic of energy policy, a move possibly designed to prove to Republican insiders that she's as passionate about policy issues as she is about fiery political combat.
New Orleans (CNN) - The number of Republican National Committee members now publicly backing embattled Chairman Michael Steele is at 58 - a tally that makes it mathematically impossible for Steele to be removed from his job before his term expires next year, barring some unforeseen implosion.
For Steele to be ousted, two-thirds of the 168 committee members would have to support a resolution to that effect. Though two members of the RNC have demanded Steele’s resignation - and one committee member has resigned in protest over the committee's spending habits - there does not appear to be an appetite on the committee to topple their own leader in the middle of an election year.
The committee members affirmed their support in a letter organized over the last 24 hours by Maryland committeewoman Joyce Terhes and California GOP chairman Ron Nehring in response to calls for Steele to step down. The letter was provided to CNN by a Republican source.
Earlier Friday, 31 members signed on to the statement of support but more joined as the day progressed. Notably, several of Steele’s critics on the committee have not endorsed the letter.
Read the full statement after the jump:
New Orleans (CNN) - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told a hometown crowd Friday that he will not make a bid for the White House.
"I am not running for president of the United States,"Jindal said at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. "I've got the job I want."
The three-day event is billed as the largest GOP gathering of party officials, operatives, activists and strategists prior to the 2012 Republican National Convention, when the party will formally nominate its candidate for president.
While the 2012 election may seem far in the future, early jockeying is already underway, and the conference is considered the first real cattle call for possible Republican White House hopefuls.
(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden issued the following statement Friday.
Read the statement after the jump:
I was having an informal chat with Stevens' daughter Susan Mullen, a real estate lawyer in the Washington area, on Friday morning. We were talking about family, and her father's judicial legacy. Two minutes after our conversation ended at her law office, the Supreme Court press office called me to say that the 89-year-old Stevens had just announced his intention to step aside. I quickly reached Mullen on the phone and relayed the news, wondering whether she would have her best poker face on during our conversation - knowing but not saying.
"He what?" Mullen said, her voice rising. "Wait a minute, did you just say he just announced it?" The shock in her voice told me she had no idea.