Buffalo, New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama sampled some of Buffalo's finest Thursday when he stopped at a local restaurant for chicken wings on his trip to New York.
The president at first ordered 10 medium wings and fries, then changed his order to five regular and five extra crispy on the advice of a customer at Duff's Famous Wings.
Obama, in town to visit a metal fabrication plant as part of his "White House to Main Street" tour, also shook hands and autographed t-shirts - and even held a baby - as he waited among the 40 or so patrons.
When given his to-go order, the president paid the $14.90 bill.
Washington (CNN) - With crucial congressional primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania less than a week away, a new poll reveals trouble ahead for incumbents, and suggests that the Republican party may be well positioned to capitalize on intense voter distrust directed at Washington.
When likely voters were asked in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Thursday which party they'd prefer to control Congress, equal numbers – forty four percent – supported each party.
The move represents a significant shift from April 2008, when during the run-up to President Obama's election, 49 percent said they would prefer Democratic control, while Republicans garnered only 34 percent.
Republican gains may be buttressed by feelings of anti-incumbent voter anger that have swept the country this year.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch last year was a boon for Democrats, and maybe a survival move on his part. But with the wave of anti-incumbency sweeping the nation, his job is still in jeopardy.
Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall University's Center for Politics and Public Affairs is following the Democratic primary between Specter and suburban Philadelphia Rep. Joe Sestak.
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"This has turned into a dogfight," Madonna said, pointing to polls that indicate support for Sestak is surging in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's statewide vote, in which only Democrats can participate.
Specter's switch from Republican to Democrat, was by his own admission made in part to aid his chances for re-election, a fact Sestak has been all too happy to point out.
(CNN) – "I need a freakin job."
That's the message on a billboard that went up in Buffalo, New York, just in time for President Obama's town hall meeting there Thursday.
On CNN's American Morning, the creator of the billboard, Jeff Baker, said he was inspired to help pay for the eye-catching gimmick because he wanted to "refocus the national dialogue" back to "basic job creation."
When the economy went south, Baker and his brother lost their 10-year-old textile business, which employed 25 people. Their family's woes are reflected throughout the city of Buffalo, which suffers from one of the country's highest poverty rates, with nearly 30 percent of its population living at or below the poverty line. Buffalo's unemployment rate is at 8.6 percent, while the national average is 9.7 percent.
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan meets Thursday with Sen. Arlen Specter. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images) . (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
(Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET)
Washington (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan received critical cover from moderate Republicans on Thursday on two issues likely to dominate her upcoming confirmation hearings: gays in the military and judicial experience.
Kagan has been strongly criticized by GOP leaders for her efforts to block military recruiters from Harvard University during her time as the school's law school dean because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The policy, opposed by President Barack Obama, prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.
Top Republicans have also highlighted the fact that Kagan has never served as a federal judge, something that distinguishes her from all nine current members of the high court.
If party moderates break from the GOP leadership on these issues, it dramatically increases Kagan's chances of overcoming a possible filibuster and winning confirmation as the country's 112th Supreme Court justice.
Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown - who broke the Democrats' 60-member filibuster-proof majority by winning the late Ted Kennedy's seat in January - said after meeting with Kagan that he is satisfied she supports members of the military.
"It was the first question I actually asked her because, having been in the military, I had concerns about [her] position at Harvard," Brown said.
"It was very clear to me, after we spoke about it at length, that she is supportive of the men and women who are fighting to protect us and very supportive of the military as a whole. I do not feel that her judicial philosophy will not hurt the men and women who are serving."
(CNN) – Less than a week before Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary, a new poll shows Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak gaining ground in a hypothetical general election match-up against former Rep. Pat Toomey, the likely Republican nominee.
In a head-to-head race between Toomey and Sestak, forty-two percent of those surveyed said they would back Toomey while 40 percent said they would support Sestak, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
In a Quinnipiac poll released April 8, Toomey led Sestak by 8 percentage points – with Toomey's support at 42 percent and Sestak's was 34 percent.
"The money that Sestak has been spending introducing himself to Democratic primary voters with TV ads seems to be having an effect on general election voters as well," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said. "The difference is largely among independent voters, who favor Toomey 52 – 31 percent over Specter, but only 46 – 30 percent over Sestak."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to visit Arlington National Cemetery Thursday. In this 2009 file photo, soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as ‘The Old Guard,’ conduct military honors during the burial ceremony for a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will speak at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Thursday during what has become a week of playing down tensions between Washington and Kabul.
Earlier in the day, Karzai will travel to Arlington National Cemetery with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to visit the graves of Americans killed while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Karzai expressed thanks this week to the American people for the sacrifices they have made in his country. He has said Afghanistan will remain a dependable partner with the United States and its allies in the global war on terrorism.
Washington (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he doesn't yet see the evidence to support Obama administration claims that the Times Square bombing suspect was working on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban.
Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, also is criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder for launching what he calls a "hostile takeover" of the intelligence community.
In a written statement released on Wednesday, Bond accused the Justice Department of violating the National Security Act by not allowing intelligence agencies to provide congressional oversight committees information the agencies had gathered about alleged Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
"Instead of complying with the law and getting timely information to Congress, the Attorney General and Administration officials were busy spinning the Times Square story in the press," Bond in the statement.
Washington (CNN) – Six weeks ago in Kabul, President Obama struggled to find something positive to say about his host, Afghan President Hamid Karzai. U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones was far less diplomatic, saying his boss wanted Karzai to understand "that in his second term, there are certain things that have not been paid attention to, almost since Day One."
That frosty visit was followed by weeks of hostility between Washington and Kabul, during which Karzai made a string of anti-Western comments.
He blamed the West for corruption in Afghanistan, accused the U.S. and its allies of fraud in the election that kept him in power and even threatened to join the Taliban if the international community continued to pressure his administration.
An incensed White House threatened to cancel this week's visit. Yet there were no visible tensions Tuesday when Hillary Clinton welcomed Karzai to the State Department for several days of talks including military, defense, diplomatic and intelligence chiefs from both countries, and meetings with President Obama.