Washington (CNN) – The man responsible for getting Republicans elected to the Senate said Monday that he was confident his party would pick up seats in November in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
And Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also weighed in on a potential liability for Republican incumbents – the passage of the Wall Street bailout package in late 2008 when the economy was teetering on the brink of collapse.
Appearing on CNN's John King, USA, Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, discussed a number of races including the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky. Ahead of Tuesday's voting, Rand Paul, a Tea Party-backed candidate, is leading Trey Grayson, the candidate backed by the Senate's leading Republican.
Cornyn told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the Kentucky race is indicative of the national mood.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The Senate is entering the final stretch of its work on the Wall Street reform bill, which aims to stop bailouts, shine a light on complex financial products and strengthen consumer protection.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Monday that he would consider forcing a final vote later this week.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will sign an executive order establishing a presidential commission to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, an administration official said Monday.
The official, who did not want to speak on the record ahead of an announcement, said it hasn't been determined when Obama will make the announcement or when he'll sign the executive order.
"The commission will take into account the investigations under way concerning the causes of the spill and explore a range of issues," the official said. In particular, the commission's inquiry will focus on industry practices, rig safety, regulatory regimes, federal governmental oversight - including the structure and functions of the Minerals Management Service, which oversees offshore drilling operations - and environmental review and other protections, the official said.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) - With little fanfare, Rep. Joe Sestak walked into Mount Ephraim Baptist Church on Sunday and quickly headed for a pew near the back of this African-American church.
Few of the 70 members of the congregation would have noticed the congressman if not for the handful of reporters who hustled in right behind him to record this moment of time-honored Democratic campaigning: a plea for the black vote.
Sestak, a two-term congressman hoping to defeat Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in Tuesday's Senate primary, sat alone in the pew for 30 minutes as a sermon was delivered and a family welcomed to the front. And then it was time for the retired Navy admiral turned congressman to make his pitch.
Sestak highlighted his military career; his ties to former President Clinton; his young daughter's triumph over brain cancer; and his pledge to work hard on issues of importance to the African-American community. He closed by asking church members for their support.
Washington (CNN) - The head of offshore drilling at an Interior Department agency criticized after the Gulf Coast oil spill is retiring a month earlier than planned, an administration official told CNN on Monday.
Chris Oynes will step down as associate director of the agency's Offshore Minerals Management Program at the end of May, the official said. The program is part of the Minerals Management Service.
"This was Chris Oynes' decision to retire after almost 35 years of public service," the official said. "Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he approached leadership at MMS and announced he would be retiring on June 30th, and today [Monday,] he told his colleagues that he would be accelerating his retirement."
(CNN) – The Boston Pops Orchestra announced Monday that it will soon have the world premiere of a new multimedia work about the legacy of John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy.
The new work, "The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers," will have its world premiere Tuesday and Wednesday, the Boston Pops said in a statement.
"[T]his new multi-media work combines quotes from speeches by the Kennedy brothers with original text and video, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral and choral score," the Pops said.
This week's performances will feature actors Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and Cherry Jones as guest narrators; the Tanglewood Festival Chorus will also take part in the world premieres.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, a longtime Democratic lawmaker from Massachusetts, died last year after a battle with cancer. In an upset victory in a special election earlier this year, Kennedy's seat was won by Republican Scott Brown. In the final days of his campaign, Brown coined the phrase "It's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat" – a phrase that came to exemplify both the end of the Kennedy family's long legacy in the Senate and the growing tide of popular anger against Washington.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers on Monday questioned two federal officials about the government's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Rear Admiral Peter Neffenger of the Coast Guard, are testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs about how the government is handling the disaster.
The explosion of one of BP's deepwater drill rigs, located 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana, has resulted in one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Monday he will nominate FBI Deputy Director John Pistole to become the new head of the Transportation Security Administration.
The position has been vacant since Obama became president in January 2009, with an acting head in place. Two previous Obama nominees have withdrawn from consideration due to Republican opposition and controversial issues.
Pistole has been FBI deputy director since October 2004, and previously helped lead the investigation of the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash off Rhode Island in 1999.
"The talent and knowledge John has acquired in more than two decades of service with the FBI will make him a valuable asset to our administration's efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports," Obama said in a written statement. "I am grateful that he has agreed to take on this important role, and I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead."