Washington (CNN) - President Obama heads west Tuesday afternoon to lend Sen. Barbara Boxer a hand. It's the president's second trip to California in a month to help the fellow Democrat raise campaign cash for her re-election battle.
Obama will headline three fundraisers in San Francisco for Boxer and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The events are scheduled to be held at the Fairmont Hotel, in the city's affluent Nob Hill district, and at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty, wealthy philanthropists who head their family's billion dollar trust.
Last month the president was the main attraction at two fundraisers in Los Angeles for the three-term senator and for the Democratic National Committee. A Democratic source confirmed to CNN that those two events raised at least $3 million in campaign cash.
Boxer faces what's expected to be a tough bid this year for a fourth term in office. A poll released last Friday by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) indicates that 50-percent of Golden state voters approve of the job Boxer is doing as senator, with 38-percent saying they disapprove.
Congressman Sestak and the White House are both providing few details about a job offer made before the recent Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary. (Photo Credit: Getty Image/File)
CNN Chief National Correspondent John King talks to CNN Radio about the White House's offer to Sestak and explains why it's important to learn more.
Listen: John King on the White House and Joe Sestak
Subscribe to the CNN Political Notebook podcast on iTunes
(CNN) - Former Rep. Rob Simmons is halting his campaign for the Senate.
While his name will remain on the primary ballot, the Connecticut Republican said at a news conference Tuesday that "we have decided, reluctantly and prayerfully, to scale back the campaign. We will release staff to pursue other opportunities and curtail campaign activities. This is not an easy decision or a happy decision."
Former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon captured the Connecticut GOP's Senate nomination endorsement, edging out Simmons at the party convention Friday night. At the time Simmons said he would challenge McMahon in the state's August 10 primary. Businessman Peter Schiff, another GOP candidate, failed to capture enough votes at the convention to qualify for the primary, but indicated he might launch a petition effort to get his name on the August primary ballot.
McMahon has spent millions of dollars of her own money on her campaign, which Simmons said Tuesday was a factor in his decision.
"We understand the mathematical reality of competing against an opponent with unlimited financial resources who has already invested over 16 and a half million dollars in this campaign – by far more than any senate candidate in the country – and who has an unlimited ability to continue spending at an extraordinary rate," said Simmons, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.
(CNN) - Most Americans say people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.
"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."
Full results [pdf]
The poll's release comes just hours after Congressional Democrats reached an agreement Monday with the White House and possibly the Pentagon on a key legislative step toward repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay soldiers from the military.
(CNN) - After a South Carolina political blogger claimed Monday to have had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley, Haley's campaign went on the warpath, issuing an emphatic denial and enlisting support from political allies to torpedo the accuser's credibility.
"There is nothing there," Haley told reporters after a debate in Greenville Monday night. "I am not going to let this distraction get to me. I know it's been a great story for you guys to have today, but there is no truth to it."
With even rival operatives privately acknowledging that Haley appears to be winning the he-said, she-said public relations battle, her campaign sought to continue that momentum Tuesday with a new ad touting support from Haley's most famous backer - Sarah Palin.
Related: 'Hang in there,' Palin tells Haley
The ad, Haley's second of the campaign, emphasizes Haley's gender in an appeal to the female voters she is targeting in her GOP primary race against three men. The June 8 primary pits Haley against Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, Attorney General Henry McMaster and Rep. Gresham Barrett.
"I am a woman who understands that through the grace of God all things are possible," Haley says in the ad, which uses footage of her and Palin at a campaign rally in Columbia earlier this month.
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates issued a lukewarm endorsement Tuesday of a newly unveiled Democratic plan to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The proposed agreement - reached Monday by the White House and top congressional Democrats - calls for a repeal of the controversial policy to become final after completion of a military review expected by the end of 2010, followed by a review certification from President Barack Obama, Gates and Joint
Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.
Initial votes on the proposal in the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House could occur as soon as Thursday, sources have told CNN.
Gates "continues to believe that ideally the [Defense Department] review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law," according to a statement by Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell. But "with Congress having indicated that is not possible, the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment."
Updated: 1:24 p.m.
TOPICS: Gays in military
Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders are drafting a blueprint similar to the 'Contract with America' that will lay out policy items they will pursue if they win back control of the House in November.
The twist, however, is that they are inviting constituents to let them know what issues they want the House members to focus on.
The lawmakers expect to release more details of the "America Speaking Out" initiative at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday morning.
"As we raise the curtain today on AmericaSpeakingOut.com we'll say yes, we have principles built on fiscal responsibility, strong defense, values, limited government," said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana on CNN's American Morning. "But we believe the best ideas, the best articulation of those principles comes from Americans and so as we build a governing agenda for this Congress, and we want to be listening to the American people which is a pretty new idea in the last year and a half here on Capitol Hill."
Commentary: Washington's not listening, Republican says
Beijing, China (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finished her meeting on economic and strategic points with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Tuesday, the two sides announced.
Wen called the two-day dialogue a "success" and said it showed both China and the United States are willing to cooperate.
"It is better for China and the United States to have dialogue rather than engaging in confrontation," Wen said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The dialogues could promote mutual understanding and consensus, Wen said, according to Xinhua.
The two countries signed a number of memorandums, including some on nuclear safety and customs. They discussed climate change and other environmental topics including clean water, clean energy, wetlands protection, bio-fuels and electric vehicles, the State Department said.