Washington (CNN) - Funny and Flip. Confident at times, nervous at others. An earnest student and a meticulous lawyer. Newly released documents of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's not-so-distant past reveal a determined, often blunt-speaking woman with an occasionally silly side.
The examination of thousands of pages of documents from Kagan's years in college, and from her various professional posts in academia and government are part of a ritual every high court nominee endures, as every aspect of their past is scrutinized.
Found in the papers, beyond the serious discussions of her views on hot-button issues such as abortion and homosexual rights, are some lighter moments.
The material begins with her work as a cub reporter for her undergraduate newspaper. She wrote about student council meetings, football and field hockey, and various protest marches.
After serving as a top editor her senior year, she and three colleagues offered a personal farewell in January 1981:
"There are days when the three of us have trudged back to the Daily Princetonian edit office, tried futilely to turn off the heat that makes even the furniture sweat, breathed in the cigarette smoke that one of us insists on exhaling" Kagan co-wrote, referring to her bad habit, "and wondered why we were here. ... As reluctant as were to admit it, we've taken a certain pride in putting out this page over the past year."
Skip to her time later as dean of the Harvard Law School, where administrative duties often left room for rhetorical mischief.
(CNN) - You may not have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore, but they do on Long Island.
Meet Christopher Nixon Cox, congressional candidate from the Hamptons and grandson of the nation's 37th president. Cox, a 30-year-old Republican business consultant, is hoping to ride a wave of voter anger all the way to Washington.
And in a race where he's trying to emerge from a crowded primary field and topple a four-term Democratic incumbent, he's not shying away from his family's controversial political past.
"When voters think about it, it'll be a big positive," he predicted.
Washington (CNN) - In the battle for campaign cash, the Democratic National Committee brought in $10.4 million dollars last month, outraising the Republican National Committee by $3.5 million.
A DNC official tells CNN that for the year, the party committee has raised more than $40 million. The DNC also reports $15.1 million cash on hand, with $2.7 million in debt.
The Republican National Committee raised $6.9 million dollars in April. In an e-mail release Friday morning, the RNC also reports that the party committee has $12.4 million cash on hand, an increase of $1.1 million from March, and holds no debt.
"I want to thank the many RNC donors who continue to ensure that the RNC remains on solid financial footing going into the mid-term elections," said RNC Chairman Michael Steele, in the e-mail release. "Because of our donors' generosity, by next month the RNC will have put nearly 100 Victory staffers into the field to aide Republicans on the path to victory. The generosity of Republican donors will continue to play a pivotal role in our victories this fall."
(CNN) - Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul is taking aim at President Barack Obama's handling of the oil crisis off the Gulf Coast.
The president, Paul told ABC, is being too tough on BP - the oil giant that controls the well that has been leaking thousands of barrels of oil a day in the Gulf since late last month.
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" said Paul who overwhelmingly won Tuesday's GOP Senate primary in Kentucky and is a favorite of Tea Party activists. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticisms of businesses."
"I've heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill," Paul continued. "I think it's part of this blame game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault, instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen."
Since capturing the Senate nomination, Paul has faced a barrage of questions over his past criticisms of several federal regulations that intrude on the private sector, including provisions of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the national minimum wage.
"When does my honeymoon period start?" said Paul when he was again asked about his past statements Friday. "I had a big victory. I thought I got a honeymoon period from you guys in the media."
Democrat Jack Conway, Paul's opponent in the Kentucky Senate race, released a statement Friday slamming Paul over his comments on BP.
"Rand Paul apparently has a deeply held conviction that corporations should be allowed to do what they see fit without oversight or accountability. He even goes so far as to say that that criticizing corporations when they hurt taxpayers and working families – as in the case of the massive BP oil disaster – is 'un-American,'" Conway said.
(CNN) - Democrats and Republicans gather separately this weekend in Connecticut to hand out party endorsements in the battle for Sen. Chris Dodd's seat. It's all part of the Democratic and GOP state party nominating conventions, which kick off Friday.
Polls indicate that state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is the overwhelming favorite over businessman Merrick Alpert in the fight for the Democratic nomination. But Blumenthal is under the gun this week, after the New York Times reported that he distorted his military service. The article alleges that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.
On Tuesday Blumenthal acknowledged that he has not always accurately described his military service during the Vietnam War.
"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said while surrounded by Vietnam veterans at a news conference in West Hartford. "But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The Senate's final version of Wall Street reform runs close to 1,600 pages.
It takes a broad swipe at the rules that govern the financial sector. It aims to prevent future financial crises. It establishes a new consumer regulatory agency. It throws down new rules on complex financial products and creates a new way for the government to take over failing financial firms.
The bill, which the Senate passed Thursday night, must now be reconciled with a similar measure the House approved last December.
Here's a breakdown of key measures in the Senate legislation.
(CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that North Korea must faces consequences after a report that it fired a torpedo that sank a South Korean warship in March.
"I think it's important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences," she said amid heightened tensions and a diplomatic war of words between Seoul and Pyongyang over the incident. "We cannot allow the attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community."
Clinton was speaking in Tokyo, Japan, for the first leg of her week-long tour in Asia. She said she was consulting with international allies to find the appropriate reaction.
North Korea threatened to back out of a nonaggression pact between the nations, while the South Korean president accused its northern neighbor of engaging in military provocation, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The Senate passed late Thursday night the most sweeping regulatory overhaul of the financial system since the New Deal.
The bill, which passed 59-39, imposes more oversight and stronger capital cushions for the largest banks and Wall Street firms, while aiming to stop bailouts, shine a light on complex financial products and strengthen consumer protection.
The bill only needed 51 votes to pass. Earlier in the evening, the bill cleared a tougher hurdle, a 60 vote threshold, ending a filibuster against stopping debate.
"We've made great progress ... it's been hard to get to this point," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "It's been a good debate. It's been the way the Senate should operate more often than it has."
Senate passage marks the last tough hurdle for financial overhaul which has been more than a year in the making. The bill will now be reconciled with the House version in "conference" negotiations, where differences are ironed out. Then both chambers vote again and send the compromised bill to the president.
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
CNNMoney: Senate passes sweeping Wall Street reform
The Senate on Thursday passed the most sweeping regulatory overhaul of the financial system since the New Deal. The bill, which passed 59-39, imposes more oversight and stronger capital cushions for the largest banks and Wall Street firms, while aiming to stop bailouts, shine a light on complex financial products and strengthen consumer protection. The bill only needed 51 votes to pass. Four Republicans voted for it and two Democrats voted against it. Earlier in the evening, the bill cleared a tougher hurdle, a 60 vote threshold, to end debate.
CNNMoney: Lawmakers hit BP: 'Live video doesn't lie'
After days of badgering from lawmakers seeking greater access to video footage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP Thursday made a live camera available for the public to view the disaster site 5,000 feet below water. The camera is moved periodically. Some of the shots show oil gushing from pipes or the above the well head. The new video has drawn scrutiny on BP's claim of how many barrels of oil were leaking out daily. Lawmakers seized the opportunity to criticize the company, accusing it of purposely misleading the public.
Lexington Herald Leader: Paul's statements on discrimination stir controversy
Fresh from Tuesday's victory to become the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in November's general election, Rand Paul got hammered Thursday as political observers parsed statements he made in the national media about anti-discrimination laws. The Bowling Green eye surgeon and Tea Party movement favorite had to hustle to try to quell the firestorm of criticism that greeted comments he made on MSNBC and National Public Radio on Wednesday. Similar views from Paul had surfaced first in the Courier-Journal on April 25, when the newspaper's editorial board wrote following an interview with him that Paul "holds an unacceptable view of civil rights, saying that while the federal government can enforce integration of government jobs and facilities, private business people should be able to decide whether they want to serve black people, or gays, or any other minority group." While those statements received little attention, there was a different result when Paul reiterated on NPR and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show that anti-discrimination laws should only apply to public institutions.
The Hill: Pelosi delays floor vote on tax extensions
Facing a Blue Dog revolt, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delayed the floor vote on a bill extending several individual and business tax breaks, which had been due Friday. The centrist Democrats object to several things — to how quickly the bill was being brought up, to the designation of unpaid-for provisions as emergency measures and to the lack of a price tag from the Congressional Budget Office. Brushing aside the notion that she lacked the support to pass the bill, Pelosi said its timing would be announced after Thursday afternoon’s caucus meeting.
Washington Post: Sen. Chuck Schumer is poised to be the Senate majority leader
During his three-decade legislative career, Schumer, 59, has developed a reputation as a razor-elbowed, shamelessly self-serving, media-addicted political monster. He is also arguably the single most effective lawmaker of his generation. Now, with confidant Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) hanging on to his seat by a thread, the Brooklynite is nearing the goal line of his long game. Succeeding Reid would make Schumer the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in American history and, more important for the uber-competitive politician, the first among peers.