Washington (CNN) - She may be the best known Republican politician considering a bid for the White House, but Sarah Palin comes in third in a hypothetical horserace for the next GOP presidential nomination, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday also indicates that President Barack Obama would top the former Alaska governor by double digits in a possible 2012 general election showdown.
The survey found that 24 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents say they would most likely support Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, in the battle for the 2012 GOP nomination. And 20 percent said they would back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also ran for the White House in 2008. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's running mate in the last presidential election, came in third place with 15 percent, a point ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, would be in fifth place, with eight percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour all register in the lower single digits in the hypothetical 2012 GOP presidential nomination matchup.
Rep. Gutierrez told CNN that he thinks President Obama needs to be more engaged on the issue of immigration reform. (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) – A Latino Democratic lawmaker said Tuesday that his party needs to change the way it views Latino voters who could withhold support in the future if the party does not move to pass an immigration reform bill.
“This administration has to stop looking at this community as a community they can simply rely on and not have to fulfill a very key and fundamental promise to,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, said on CNN’s John King, USA.
The Democratic lawmaker said Latino votes made the difference in 2008 in states like New Mexico, Colorado and Florida in helping President Obama secure the Oval Office.
“We have a majority,” Gutierrez told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “That majority must lead.”
The Democrat added, “But I think we need to have this president more engaged.”
Gutierrez said the thousands who marched last month in Washington in support of immigration reform “were inspired by a lack of inspiration” displayed by Obama on the issue in his first State of the Union address earlier this year.
Washington (CNN) – A respected Republican senator said Tuesday that the Obama administration and the Democratically-controlled Congress are taking the country too far in a liberal direction. And retiring New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg said his party is justified in opposing Democratic measures because the American public is fundamentally “center-right” in its political orientation.
Earlier in the day, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans will do themselves a disservice in this midterm election year by simply embracing “the party of no” label placed on the GOP by Democrats. If Republicans succeed in retaking both chambers of Congress, their agenda once in charge “can't just be yelling no,” Gingrich said.
In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Gregg was asked whether the GOP says “no” too much lately.
“Well, we do and we need to when we’re confronting things that are very bad for our country – either fiscally or from a standpoint of policy,” Gregg, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said on CNN’s John King, USA.
“You’ve got a government now that’s moving to the left,” Gregg said.
The Republican employed a football metaphor to explain his view of where national Democrats stand right now on the political spectrum.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama said Tuesday that the 47-nation nuclear security summit he convened raised global awareness of the threat of nuclear terrorism and yielded commitments to better secure nuclear arsenals and materials.
At a news conference wrapping up the two-day summit, Obama cited steps taken by countries including Russia and other former Soviet states to eliminate some of the vulnerable vestiges of nuclear stockpiles from the Cold War era.
However, Obama was unable to declare a breakthrough with China and Russia on imposing tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
Washington (CNN) - It may seem like putting the rooster in charge of the hen house, but the U.S. Departments of Defense and State spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on contracts for work in the United States and oversees, and then spend some more to have contractors - not government employees - oversee those contracts.
The United States Agency for International Development - the federal agency responsible for administering international aid to civilians through State Department guidelines - also hires contractors to oversee its other contracts.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office points out that such arrangements need improved rules.
"The agencies did not fully address risks related to potential conflicts of interest and oversight for contractors performing contract or grant administration functions," the GAO report concluded.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that China was concerned about the global economic impact of tougher sanctions against Iran.
At a news conference concluding a two-day nuclear security summit, Obama said negotiations among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - including China - sought agreement on the issue of Iran sanctions.
Obama did not offer any indication of when the issue might be resolved, only saying he wanted a conclusion as soon as possible.
Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Kennedy Space Center in April. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
Kennedy Space Center, Florida (CNN) - Tim Keyser and Dan Quinn, who work on the space shuttle in the vehicle shop at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, are eager to welcome President Barack Obama when he meets Thursday with NASA workers and officials on America's future in space.
Changes are coming to NASA.
The space shuttle has long been scheduled for retirement at year's end - there are just three scheduled launches remaining - and the president has cancelled NASA's follow-on program, Constellation. The space agency has already spent about $9.5 billion on that project to develop a next-generation rocket, Ares, and the crew capsule, Orion.
"I'd advise him to go back and reconsider on the Constellation program," space shuttle mechanic Keyser told CNN.
Washington (CNN) - The Department of Defense has teamed up with a famous furry red monster to tackle tough subjects with children.
Elmo and a slew of other Sesame Street characters arrived at the Pentagon Tuesday to help debut a military-themed episode of its series called "When Families Grieve."
The newly released installment deals with the difficult challenge of confronting death and loss. In the DVD, Elmo's cousin, Jesse, has lost his father in combat.
The story is geared toward providing support for military children and their families. Over 12,000 military children have lost a parent since the start of the wars eight and half years ago.
Gary Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, said he hoped the "power of our characters paired with resources" offered the right words of encouragement to families dealing with loss.
Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lashed out at Senate Republicans on Tuesday for holding up confirmation votes on President Obama's judicial nominees.
"The overall pattern set by Republicans on the other side of the aisle is one of reflexive partisanship, not principled argument," Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, told reporters. "Increasingly, Senate Republicans are avoiding answering aye or nay on these nominations. They prefer saying 'just maybe.' "
He pointed to the Republicans' use of filibustering, a parliamentarian tactic in which 60 votes are needed to end debate and allow an up-or-down vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference it appears Democrats will have to force a vote on some of the nominations, leading to late-night sessions.
"It will mean some speeches showing the American people how unusual this is in the history of our country, to have a party saying no to everything," he added.
Follow Ed Hornick on Twitter: @HornickCNN