(CNN) - President Obama on Friday brushed off criticism from Sarah Palin that his agreement with Russia to restrict the use of nuclear weapons amounts to a dangerous sign of weakness.
"I really have no response," the president said tersely in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. "Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."
Speaking on Fox News earlier this week, Palin said the recently negotiated treaty with Russia - seeking a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons held by the two countries - is an "unbelievable" move and that "no administration in America's history I think would ever have considered such a step."
"It's kinda like getting out in the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying 'go ahead, punch me in the face, I am not going to retaliate, go ahead and do what you want to with me,'" Palin said.
(CNN) – A senior administration official tells CNN that the White House has "about 10" names on the list to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Another senior administration official told CNN that some on the list have "already been vetted," referring to those considered when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was chosen.
Sarah Palin delivered a speech Friday at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
New Orleans (CNN) - Her speeches are typically loaded with partisan zingers and Obama-bashing, but for the first time since the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin delivered a speech that focused as much on policy ideas as it did on political combat.
To be sure, her much-anticipated remarks Friday to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference were laced with a heavy dose of Republican cheerleading that drew cheers from the audience of party activists who had earlier stampeded into the speech venue to snag prime seating for her appearance.
"There is no shame in being the 'Party if No' if the other side is proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates the Constitution," she said, deviating from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who urged the SRLC crowd on Thursday to pivot to being the "Party of Yes."
But without shying away from heated partisan rhetoric, Palin spent the latter half of her talk expounding on differences between Democratic and Republican energy policies, a comfortable topic for the former Alaska governor and onetime chair of the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Stupak, who is staunchly anti-abortion rights, led a group of like-minded House Democrats in negotiating a deal with the White House on the issue of federal funding for abortion which allowed congressional Democrats to secure sufficient votes to pass the legislation. His prominent role in the health care debate coupled with his ultimate decision to support a bill which many Republicans and conservatives read as potentially allowing federal funding of abortion made Stupak a top target of the Tea Party movement - so much so that a Tea Party group was rallying in his congressional district earlier this week.
But, in his first one-on-one interview after announcing his decision to retire, Stupak told CNN that he is confident he would have won re-election later this year. And he suggested that many of the Tea Party activists who oppose him are strangers to his congressional district
"This district is independent," Stupak told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. "It's one-third independents, one-third Democrats, one-third Republicans. You have groups come and ago."
He added, "I got along with these folks. And even if they were from my district, they're my friends. And, there's no doubt in my mind, I'd win re-election if I chose to run again. I've chose not to."
(CNN) - NARAL Pro-Choice America, the national abortion rights group, praised Justice John Paul Stevens' record Friday and implored President Obama to nominate a replacement who will also uphold abortion rights.
"Given the current composition of the court, we will assess the eventual nominee's complete record on privacy and other relevant issues in the same way we did during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation process," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said in a statement.
"One thing is certain: opponents of women's freedom and privacy will use this vacancy on the court as an opportunity to further their attacks on nominees who have taken pro-choice positions," Keenan added. "America's pro-choice majority will fight back."
Marquette, Michigan (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat criticized for his role in backing President Obama's health care plan, said Friday he won't seek re-election.
The anti-abortion congressman has faced opposition from both the right and the left for his eleventh-hour deal with the White House to support the administration's health care legislation.
Stupak has said he struck the deal because he was convinced that the measure bans federal funding for abortion.
(CNN) - Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement Friday.
Read the statement after the jump:
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - When Sarah Palin speaks in public, she always finds the media spotlight. Or maybe the spotlight finds her.
Either way, he former Alaska governor will again be firmly in front of the cameras Friday afternoon, when she addresses the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The three-day event is billed as the largest GOP gathering of party officials, operatives, activists and strategists before the 2012 Republican National Convention, when the party will formally nominate its candidate for president.