Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is heading to Iowa next month to raise money for the Republican Party of Iowa, a GOP source in the state told CNN Friday.
Gingrich will visit Cedar Rapids on May 26 as a "special guest" at a fundraising luncheon hosted by Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn and House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen.
Republicans who give $500 to the state party will also be given the chance to sit down with the potential 2012 presidential candidate before lunch for a private "Issues and Ideas Roundtable," according to a copy the invitation obtained by CNN. Donors who chip in $1,000 will also nab an autographed copy of Gingrich's latest book.
Washington (CNN) – At a Rose Garden ceremony swearing in 24 immigrant members of the U.S. military as citizens, President Obama made his first direct comments on Arizona's controversial immigration bill.
Obama said, "Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermined basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."
The bill would make it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and allow police to stop anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally to demand they produce an alien registration document, a driver's license or other documents proving their legal status.
(CNN) - A week after declining to appear with Sarah Palin at an event in Boston, Sen. Scott Brown says he'll stick with fellow Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney over Palin if the two were to face off for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.
"I am going to support Governor Romney," Brown said in an interview with NBC that aired on Friday, when asked if he'd back Palin. "I am going to see who is out there in the field and then make my decision."
Citing official business in Washington, Brown declined to appear with the former vice presidential nominee at a Tea Party rally in Boston last week, a move that led some Tea Party opponents to question how much sway the grassroots movement actually holds, especially in a Democratic state like Massachusetts.
Washington (CNN) – Marco Rubio picked up another high profile endorsement Friday as the frontrunner for the Florida Republican Senate nomination shrugged off speculation that Charlie Crist would abandon the GOP primary to run as an independent.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who hosts the Friday edition of Bill Bennett's "Morning in America," announced his support for Rubio on the nationally broadcast radio program in which Rubio appeared as a guest.
"Well Marco, you have my very strong support," Santorum told the former Florida House speaker. "I am excited to be on your team because, again, I think you are very much the future of the Republican Party and you are setting the standard that hopefully other candidate across the country will step up to the plate and do."
Crist, the governor of Florida, was once considered unbeatable in the GOP primary and the general election. But Rubio has taken what was once a long shot candidacy to displace Crist as the frontrunner for the Republican nod and he has become a darling of conservative Republicans. Now, Crist is considering leaving the GOP primary to pursue an independent Senate bid, a decision the governor must make by the end of April.
(CNN) - Sarah Palin takes the stage Friday night in Eugene, Oregon.
It may sound strange since Eugene, home to the University of Oregon, is considered a liberal bastion, and the former Alaska governor is known as a darling among conservative voters.
But the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is in Eugene to give the keynote address at the Lane County Republican's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, a major fundraising event for the organization.
(CNN) - As the country was sinking into its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors cruised porn sites and viewed sexually explicit pictures using government computers, according to an agency report obtained by CNN.
"During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time," said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general's office.
More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.
The inspector general's report includes specific examples of misuse by employees.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - With President Obama pushing hard, the Senate is on the verge of taking up a hotly disputed Wall Street reform measure.
On Monday afternoon, the Senate will vote on whether to begin work on the bill – although there's no assurance that Democrats will have the votes to get started.
Should the debate begin, there's broad bipartisan agreement to prevent bailouts, increase capital cushions at banks, protect consumers and shine a light on complex financial contracts now traded in the shadows.
But Democrats and Republicans disagree about a lot of things, ranging from how to prevent bailouts to how to empower a new consumer regulator.
"Details matter here," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Thursday. "What is the main goal? To do it right. Don't just do it, but do it right."
Shelby, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee, has been negotiating for months with panel chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., on the remaining differences. Republicans want to wait until the two reach an agreement. Democrats say it's time to move forward.
Washington (CNN) – Bo, the Obama family dog, managed to live up to his reputation as a bit of a rabble rouser Thursday – playfully biting a child and barking during an official White House event before being exiled from the room by the first lady.
The unscripted moment occurred in the East Room as Michelle Obama hosted a group of schoolchildren visiting the executive mansion as part of "Take Your Child to Work Day."
Assembled for the chat, the children lobbed question after question at the first lady for the better part of an hour, as she shared the spotlight with Bo, who arguably turned out to be the star of the show.
Trouble struck when the dog took some liberties while exploring the rows of seated children during one of his three petting sessions.
Shortly after one of these incursions, a questioner asked the first lady if Bo was prone to biting, and before Obama could answer, another child spoke up and said, "Yes, he just bit me."
"Oh did he bite you?" Obama replied. "Well what he does, Bo is not biting, like I'm going to bite you, but he's playful. Does anybody have a baby brother, someone who is teething…well that is the kind of playing he does."
The first dog was eventually escorted out of the room by a member of the first lady's staff and forced to wait until the end of the event to make another appearance.
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: Dems on financial reform bill: 'The games are over'
Senate Democrats called out Republicans on Thursday for what they said was the promotion of "falsehoods" on the financial reform bill and vowed to move the bill forward. On Thursday, Reid filed a motion to end debate on the bill, setting up that vote for Monday. The expected outcome of the vote is too close to call. Reid said Democrats are willing to work with Republicans if they are earnest about pushing the bill forward.
CNN: Dodd to tweak Wall St. reform bill, lawmaker says
The Democratic lawmaker taking the lead in crafting the Senate’s financial regulatory reform bill has agreed to a key change that would limit taxpayers’ exposure if the government must step in to wind down a large, failing financial institution, a key House Democrat said Thursday. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, told CNN that Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has agreed to change a provision in the Senate bill to limit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to borrowing no more than 90 percent of the value of the assets of a failing firm.
Roll Call: Lincoln’s Derivatives Plan Meets Resistance in Her Caucus
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) appears to be fighting an uphill battle to get her piece of the financial regulatory reform bill into the larger package before it hits the floor, possibly next week. Though the Agriculture panel approved a bill this week that would regulate complicated financial instruments known as derivatives, Senate Democratic leaders and Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) do not appear to be making it easy for Lincoln to plant her flag in Dodd’s broader measure, which already includes a less rigorous derivatives piece.
New York Times: Friend to Wall Street, Schumer Is Suddenly Quiet
Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York has long been known as one of Wall Street’s best friends on Capitol Hill, but there are apparently limits to that friendship. After years of being a go-to guy for the elite of high finance, Mr. Schumer has embraced new legislation that would put constraints on his hometown’s leading industry. The stance has put him at odds with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, caused consternation among his allies at the investment houses and led to suggestions that he was putting political ambition ahead of protecting New York’s interests.
CNN: Source: Rubio campaign asked for Cheney's backing
Marco Rubio's campaign asked former Vice President Dick Cheney to endorse the former Florida House Speaker as part of a concerted effort to put pressure on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and isolate him from fellow Republicans, a Rubio campaign source tells CNN. On Thursday, Cheney became the latest prominent Republican to line up behind Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida, following recent endorsements by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, ex-Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
St. Petersburg Times: George LeMieux in awkward spot over Charlie Crist's Senate decision
With Crist's Republican career at its nadir, the 40-year-old [Senator] Georgo LeMieux could be seeing his own ambitions fade. Should Crist run as an independent, LeMieux will have to decide whether to back him or get behind Crist's nemesis, Marco Rubio. If he sticks with Crist, LeMieux would be distanced from the Washington Republicans he has tried hard to fit in with, his eye on returning to the Senate full time.
CNN: Pawlenty makes moves in South Carolina
His top advisers have already started talks with key political players in South Carolina, and now Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 presidential contender, is planning his first foray into the crucial early primary state. Pawlenty will travel to Spartanburg on May 7 to attend a reception benefiting the South Carolina Republican Party at the home of state GOP chairwoman Karen Floyd, giving him a chance to meet with party activists and donors who could support him if he decides to seek the White House.