(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is appearing increasingly open to the possibility of dropping out of Florida's Republican senatorial primary.
Although Crist has previously said he intends to run as a Republican, he struck a different note in a Monday television interview.
Asked whether he was considering an independent bid, Crist opened the door to the idea.
"I'm getting a lot of advice in that direction," Crist said in an interview with WFTS. "And so, I'm a listener. I'm certainly listening to it."
Earlier in the day, a top Republican campaign official predicted that Crist would not run in the GOP primary.
Washington (CNN) – On the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the man who was the governor of Oklahoma at that time said there is a big difference between violent extremists and more moderate citizens speaking out about their criticisms of Washington.
“The reality is we have had, unfortunately, a lot of violent acts by extreme individuals and groups,” Frank Keating, a Republican, said Monday on CNN’s John King, USA, “but I think to have a group of individuals – largely reasonably well-educated, upscale economically – who have had enough of taxes and are protesting and are angry – that’s really quintessentially America. I mean that’s something from the Boston tea party forward.
“As long as you say, ‘I’m angry, but I’m not violent,’ that’s okay. If you’re angry and you’re violent, then you’re a problem, law enforcement is interested in you and that is not American.”
Keating put Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for his role in the crime, in a long line of violent, anti-government extremists including John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth, all of whom Keating called “isolated, dangerous individuals.”
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to West Virginia Sunday for a memorial service for the 29 miners who perished at Upper Branch mine, the White House Press spokesman said Monday.
Obama will deliver a eulogy at the memorial "honoring the lives of those who perished and offering his deepest condolences to the loved ones they left behind," Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Last week, Obama ordered a review of mines with poor safety.
At the time he ordered the review, Obama blamed the explosion at Upper Branch mine on negligent management and lax regulation, saying the disaster was, "a failure first and foremost of management, a failure of oversight and a failure of laws so riddled with loopholes" that companies repeatedly violate safety regulations without penalty.
(CNN) – Mitt Romney was not shy Monday about bashing President Obama's stimulus package, but he would not say whether he would have accepted the federal funds had he been governor when the money was doled out to the states.
Romney appeared in Florida to campaign for Senate candidate Marco Rubio, and did a round of interviews with local television networks following a joint rally with the candidate in Tampa.
In a sit-down with CNN affiliate WTSP, the once and possibly future presidential candidate was asked if he would have accepted stimulus money last year if he were governor of Florida. Gov. Charlie Crist, trailing Rubio in the Republican Senate primary, endorsed the stimulus plan and accepted the funds last year.
"What I would not have done would have been to welcome President Obama and say, 'This stimulus is one I support,'" the former Massachusetts governor said. "The Obama stimulus was a mistake for the country. It was a mistake for Florida. It did not create any new net jobs in the private sector. The only place it created jobs was in government."
Pressed again on whether he would have taken stimulus cash, Romney said: "It depends on what the money was."
Washington (CNN) – Dr. James Dobson, the influential evangelical and founder of Focus on the Family, is endorsing Republican Dan Coats in the race for Senate in Indiana, the Coats campaign said Monday.
"I have long respected former Senator Dan Coats for his integrity and his legislative influence in the Congress," Dobson said in a statement. "I also admire his personal commitment to his Christian faith in public life. Dan has been a consistent leader of pro-family causes and a stalwart defender of unborn children. If my wife Shirley and I were Hoosiers, we would definitely vote for Dan Coats in the May 4th primary."
In addition to the endorsement, Dobson cut a radio ad on Coats' behalf that is set to run starting on Tuesday.
"The purpose of the Committee's investigation . . . is to answer questions that are critical to our government's ability to counter homegrown terrorism," Sens. Lieberman and Collins wrote in a letter accompanying the subpoenas. . (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) – Two top senators on the Homeland Security Committee served the government with subpoenas Monday for witnesses and documents involving the 2009 shooting attack at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 people.
Committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said the Defense Department and Justice Department had so far failed to provide information about the shootings sought by the panel.
Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been charged with 13 counts of murder in the November shootings.
"The purpose of the Committee's investigation of the Fort Hood attack is to answer questions that are critical to our government's ability to counter homegrown terrorism," Lieberman and Collins wrote in a letter accompanying the subpoenas.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama's top homeland security official said Monday that the government has an obligation to tolerate expressions of political anger, while being ever vigilant for behavior that crosses the line into violence.
In an interview set to air Monday on CNN's The Situation Room, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked whether Obama's status as the first African-American president is playing any role in motivating anti-government groups.
"It is mentioned by some, but lots of things are now being mentioned," she said. "So it's really hard to extrapolate from what a few are saying to what all are saying or what all believe.
"There's obviously a great deal of political anger out there and angry rhetoric out there. But, as I said earlier, that's something that we've had constantly in our country's history. We may not like it – don't appreciate it – but it is protected under our Constitution, under our sense of values. Where it's not protected is where you start moving into preparation for and carrying out violent acts."
Napolitano added that all levels of law enforcement have to be "leaning forward" and sharing threat information in order to minimize the chance of another event such as the Oklahoma City bombing or the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Napolitano was in Oklahoma Monday to attend a ceremony remembering victims of the bombing.
The Homeland Security secretary told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux that the Secret Service is "constantly monitoring" the safety of the president, the vice president, and their families. "That is something that there's no quarter left unspent to make that happen," she said.
Washington (CNN) -– The top political strategist for Senate Republicans urged key GOP consultants Monday to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to forgo an independent bid for Senate if he withdraws from the Republican primary, CNN has learned.
Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, sent an e-mail to national political operatives just before noon in which he also predicted that Crist will decide not to compete in the GOP primary against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.
“We believe there is zero chance Governor Crist continues running in the Republican primary,” Jesmer wrote in the e-mail provided to CNN by a Republican source on the condition of anonymity. “It [is] our view that if Governor Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day.”
An NRSC spokesman declined to comment on the message.
Crist, the onetime frontrunner for the Republican Senate nomination, trails Rubio by double-digits in recent polls and must decide by the end of the month whether to run as an independent. The Florida primary is scheduled for August 24.
The NRSC has endorsed Crist in the GOP primary, but Jesmer emphasized in his note that the Senate Republican political arm is ready to stand behind Rubio’s candidacy.
Read the full e-mail after the jump:
Miami, Florida (CNN) - Federal authorities announced Monday they have charged a 66-year-old Florida man with making a threatening phone call last month to Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Florida.
In his initial appearance on Monday before Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli, Erik L. Pidrman was ordered to submit to home detention and electronic monitoring and his bond was set at $20,000, said Steve Cole, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Florida.
Pidrman had been taken into custody by the FBI on Sunday afternoon at his home in Spring Hill, Florida, without incident, the FBI said.
Washington (CNN) - With Mitt Romney in Florida Monday to endorse his Senate bid, Marco Rubio spoke charitably about the health care plan that Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts – a plan many conservatives have called a blueprint for the health care bill recently signed into law by President Obama.
In an interview with The National Review after their joint rally in Tampa, Rubio called Romney's health care plan "a work in progress."
The libertarian Cato Institute last week described the Obama and Romney plans as "identical." Both plans, for instance, mandate that individuals purchase health insurance. Rubio has called the Obama mandate unconstitutional and supports a joint federal lawsuit to overturn the new law.
Rubio suggested in the interview that the mandate in Romney's plan is more palatable because it is a state-driven solution, instead of a federal plan forced on the states.
"All I would say to you is that states were designed to be laboratories for creative thoughts and ideas," Rubio said. "That's what the Framers of our great republic intended. They wanted the states to be the places that came up with innovation and competition."