Washington (CNN) - If you supported Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential run, chances are you received an e-mail Tuesday morning from her husband asking for help to pay down the remaining campaign debt for her failed presidential bid.
Subscribers to Clinton's formidable e-mail list, amassed during her 2008 presidential run, received a message offering a day in New York with former President Bill Clinton. A contribution earns the donor a chance to enter their name into a contest."How would you like the chance to come up to New York and spend a day with me?" Clinton asks. "Hillary's campaign still has a few vestiges of debt that I know she would like to see paid in full. Will you reach out today to help Hillary this one last time?"
Clinton hosted a similar fundraiser in earlier this year, and writes he would "like to do it again."
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration's plan to split up the Mineral Management Service ("MMS"), the federal agency that regulates oil and gas drilling.
“MMS has been an agency in crisis for the better part of the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations. Despite numerous reports highlighting the corruption and dysfunction within MMS, it has unfortunately taken a large-scale and costly crisis to get the attention needed to have a legitimate discussion about the need to overhaul MMS and liberate it from the Department of Interior.
“Hopefully, Secretary Salazar’s proposal represents a first step in what must be a comprehensive effort that will address the entirety of the bureaucratic breakdown at Interior. Working together, we can incorporate the best of all ideas and recognize the problems at Interior and MMS stretch far beyond the Deepwater Horizon incident.
“While there are many outstanding questions surrounding what went wrong and what should have been done to avoid this disaster, what we know for sure is that MMS is in need of a surgical overhaul and that a quick-fix, band-aid approach is wholly inadequate and will only serve to preserve a broken bureaucracy at the expense of the American people and their safety.”
Washington (CNN) - An early television ad supporting Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is hitting the airwaves Tuesday, and President Obama plays a prominent role in the spot.
Released by the Coalition for Constitutional Values, a liberal advocacy group, the thirty-second spot is largely biographical, featuring still photos of Kagan paired with text graphics detailing major milestones and accomplishments in the high court hopeful's life.
The ad calls Kagan a nominee with an "independent mind" and a "fierce dedication to the rule of law." President Obama provides a voiceover, with a statement borrowed from his comments related to the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. When Stevens announced hs retirement, Obama listed his requirements for a new justice. While images of Kagan flash in the spot, Obama is heard saying he considers a Supreme Court nomination "among my most serious responsibilities as President."Obama goes on to say the new Justice must be someone who "[K]nows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration, eager to show it is responding to the Gulf Coast oil spill, will announce plans Tuesday to split up an Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling, White House officials confirmed.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs first sent out a Twitter with the news, and then confirmed its accuracy, addressing the "plan to split offshore drilling agency - one to inspect oil rigs and enforce safety, other to oversee leases, royalties."
The official announcement by the Department of Interior will be made at an afternoon news conference with Secretary Ken Salazar. According to a DOI release, Salazar will address new reforms "to toughen oversight of offshore oil and gas operations."
Salazar will propose splitting the Minerals Management Service, which is the government agency that oversees the oil business, into two separate ones.
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration rolled out a new national drug control strategy Tuesday focusing on, among other things, the need to stem a rising tide of prescription drug abuse.
The plan, according to the White House, establishes multiple five-year goals relating to drug abuse, including a 15 percent reduction in the number of chronic drug users, a 15 percent reduction in the rate of youth drug abuse, and a 10 percent drop in drug abuse by young adults.
It also aims to cut the incidence of drug-induced deaths by 15 percent and the prevalence of drugged driving by 10 percent.
This year, the administration will focus specifically on combating prescription drug abuse, drugged driving, and drug use prevention, a White House statement noted. Prescription drug abuse, the administration asserted, is "America's fastest growing drug problem, driving significant increases in drug overdoses in recent years."
Vice President Biden's son Beau, pictured here in July 2009 file photo, is hospitalized, Biden's office said Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden - the son of Vice President Joe Biden - is undergoing treatment at Delaware's Christiana Medical Center, according to a statement from the vice president's office Tuesday.
"He is alert, awake, and communicating with his parents and his wife, who are with him," the statement said.
The statement did not indicate the nature of Biden's illness.
Biden, 41, was elected as Delaware's attorney general in 2006. He recently served in Iraq for one year as a captain with the Delaware Army National Guard. He was considered a front-runner to fill his father's former U.S. Senate seat this November, but in January he announced he had decided against a run for higher office.
Biden served as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1997 to 2002.
Updated: 11:24 a.m.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington Tuesday meeting with members of the Obama administration. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Brushing recent public spats aside, the Obama administration welcomed Hamid Karzai to Washington Tuesday, opening a round of partnership talks with the Afghan president.
At a breakfast meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Karzai for several days of partnership talks. Later Tuesday, Clinton is expected to hold closed-door bilateral talks with Karzai. President Barack Obama will host his Afghan counterpart at the White House on Wednesday.
Clinton said Tuesday that the United States' commitment to Afghanistan remains strong and will continue long after U.S. combat troops have withdrawn.
But she said it was unrealistic to expect the two nations to see eye to eye on every issue.
Washington (CNN) - Congressional hearings into the massive oil spill growing in the Gulf of Mexico will start Tuesday, as winds continue to push the crude closer to the Mississippi Delta.
BP America President Lamar McKay and Transocean President Steven Newman will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the morning and then the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the afternoon. BP leased from Transocean the oil rig that exploded off the Louisiana coast last month, starting the spill.
Senators are expected to quiz McKay and Newman about the precautions taken before the blast that set off the underwater gusher and the steps being taken to stop the spill.
Experts also are expected to testify on the possible impact of the spill on fishing, tourism and local economies.
(CNN) - Most people following the primaries are a lot more excited about the races coming up next week than those taking place on Tuesday.
Will Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lose in Arkansas? Can Sen. Arlen Specter survive his first Democratic primary? Will newcomer Rand Paul upset the establishment and win Kentucky's Republican Senate race? Will the anti-incumbent fervor take hold of voters and wipe out Congress as we know it?
Those questions can wait.
Before you get too overwhelmed with anticipation, take a minute to check out the contests taking place this week.
Here are three things to watch in Tuesday's contests in Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Reforming Social Security is still a hot-button issue. But relative to other measures needed to stabilize U.S. debt, it should be a snap.
"They could begin with Social Security, which oddly enough has gone from being the 'third rail of American politics' to the low-hanging fruit," wrote Robert Bixby, director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots deficit watchdog group.
While a Social Security fix would cure only a small part of the country's long-term fiscal shortfall, it could pay big dividends in terms of the U.S. standing internationally, deficit hawks say. "It would be a confidence builder with our foreign lenders," said Pete Peterson at a recent fiscal summit organized by his foundation, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
That could lessen the risk of a big rise in interest rates and buy the country more time to handle other debt-related issues, such tax and budget reform and further changes in Medicare.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office in March estimated that starting this year, Social Security will for the first time take in less revenue than it must pay out in benefits.