(CNN) - In 2008, during her brief time as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin teamed up with a Fairbanks Republican activist named Joe Miller in an unsuccessful effort to oust Alaska GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich.
Two years later, Palin is backing Miller's campaign to take down a bigger target: Sen. Lisa Murkoswki.
Palin endorsed Miller's Senate candidacy on her Facebook page Wednesday with the proclamation: "Contested primaries are so good for America's political process!"
"I share Joe's belief that we are at a critical time in our nation's history and the status quo will no longer do," Palin wrote. "Unfortunately, Lisa Murkowski and much of the political establishment have recently evolved into being a bigger part of the big government problem in Washington, and they've strayed from the principles upon which they had espoused."
The endorsement had been rumored for weeks, after Todd Palin appeared at a Wasilla fundraiser with Miller in May.
Though Palin claimed in her missive that there is no "feud or bad blood" between herself and Murkoswki, their differences have been well-documented.
Palin captured the governorship in 2006 after defeating then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, Lisa's father, in that year's Republican primary. And when Palin quit as governor last summer, Murkowski said she was "deeply disappointed" and accused Palin of abandoning the state.
Updated with Kirk Campaign response
(CNN) - When Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal admitted last month to making misstatements about his military service, it took at least a week for the Democratic Senate candidate to move past the story.
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, who admitted over the weekend to falsely claiming he won the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year Award, is now facing the same scrutiny. Kirk is the GOP nominee for the Senate seat held by President Barack Obama.
Kirk's acknowledgment about claiming he won the award for his service during the Kosovo conflict 10 years ago came after his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions about it with The Washington Post. Kirk highlighted the claim on both his congressional and campaign websites, and CSPAN footage from 2002 shows the Republican himself stating as much.
Kirk said in a blog post Sunday that his unit was instead the recipient of the Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award, given by The National Military Intelligence Association, which is a professional group. Kirk characterized the mix-up as inadvertent and said it was a "disgrace" that Giannoulias was trying to make political hay out of it.
But over the past four days, Kirk has been barraged by a series of additional allegations of misstatements about his two decades of service in the Navy and a string of newspaper editorials that question his honesty.
In a Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Wednesday, the paper ticked through several other problematic Kirk claims that have since come to light, including a statement on a campaign web video that he "command[s] the war room of the Pentagon."
Washington (CNN) – Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer was arrested Wednesday and charged with six felony counts stemming from a grand jury investigation into his activities while serving as state party leader.
Greer, 47, faces one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering, Statewide Prosecutor Bill Shepherd announced at a late morning press conference. He faces up to 90 years in jail if convicted on all counts.
Greer is a political ally of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and contemplated running for chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
Prosecutors charge that Greer steered $199,254 in state party money to a company, Victory Strategies, LLC, that he set up with former state Republican Party Executive Director Delmar Johnson. According to prosecutors, "Greer was paid $125,161" of the fees Victory Strategies collected from the state party. Prosecutors also said that Victory was given "a large amount for services that were never performed" by the company.
"The indictment and the affidavit allege that Mr. Greer developed a scheme to take money from the Republican Party of Florida through a shell company that he created called Victory Strategies," Shepherd said at the news conference. "He created that company to actively hide his own involvement."
According to Florida law enforcement officials, Victory Strategies received 10 percent of all major donations to the RPOF, as well as over $60,000 from GOP state party coffers at Greer's direction. And $40,000 more came from a 527 account designed to help Greer win re-election as state party chairman.
Prosecutors allege that a substantial amount of those funds then flowed directly to Greer.
TOPICS: Financial regulation, health care
Washington (CNN) - Two of President Barack Obama's top legislative initiatives - health care reform and financial regulation - are getting different reactions from the American public, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that a growing number of Americans support increased federal regulation over Wall Street banks and other financial institutions. Six out of ten people questioned in the poll say they favor the legislation, with 38 percent opposed. Support for the bill is up seven points from March, and opposition is down five points.
"Higher-income Americans appear more likely to support the bill than those who make less than $50,000 a year. Stricter financial regulations are popular with Democrats and Independents; a bare majority of Republicans oppose that legislation," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama used the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to advance his alternative energy agenda Wednesday, calling it a warning that America needs to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels.
"The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error - or corporations taking dangerous shortcuts that compromised safety," Obama said in remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth - risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren."
Obama's emphasis on energy issues was part of a broader focus in the president's speech on the state of the economy. Administration officials pledged to focus strongly on job creation earlier in the year but have since been forced to grapple with a host of unexpected challenges, including the oil spill.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (CNN) – With five months to go until Election Day, President Obama spoke about the economy, the Gulf oil spill and the Republican Party in a speech Wednesday that sounded remarkably like a midterm campaign speech.
Obama told a gathering in Pittsburgh that Republicans "said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy. They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks."
"But to be fair, a good deal of the other party's opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about government," Obama continued. "It's an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations."
In a dig at the GOP, which is aspiring to take a significant number of congressional seats from Democrats this November, Obama also said "for much of the last ten years, we tried it their way. So we already know where their ideas led us... I don't know about you, but I want to move forward."
Obama visited Pennsylvania with Sen. Arlen Specter, who lost his Democratic primary bid just two weeks earlier after leaving the GOP last year in part because he thought it would increase his re-election prospects this year.
Editor's note: Gloria Borger is a senior political analyst for CNN, appearing regularly on CNN's "The Situation Room," "AC360°" and "State of the Union," as well as participating in special event coverage.
Washington (CNN) - The news about Al and Tipper Gore deciding to separate after 40 years of marriage shocked Washington - and those who know them - into a kind of frenzy: How could this be? They have always been the genuine political couple. The ones who were affectionate and caring; the ones who had fun. The couple who dared to smooch onstage at a national political convention.
Al and Tipper were like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Always better together.
And maybe they were. And what we saw was true. And maybe now - because it once was true and isn't anymore - they've decided to split.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, has formally asked President Obama to consider "more fully involving the Department of Defense" to help establish a robust response to the Gulf oil spill. The letter, obtained by CNN, was sent by Nelson to the president on June 1.
Last week, Nelson told CNN that if the "top kill" operation to stem the oil leak did not work, the president must not only take more control, but use the military to do so.
In the letter, Nelson urges the president to enlist the military to "augment the massive public and private response to the growing oil spill in the Gulf."
(Read the full letter here)
"While the Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard both are involved, it is my belief that the broader assets and command and control capability of the Department of Defense could better translate your directives into prompt, effective action," Nelson wrote in the letter.
"Americans need to feel that their government is taking an all hands on deck response," Nelson added.
An aide to Nelson tells CNN that the senator's office has done a review of previous operations where the military was used in disaster relief missions, most recently in Haiti. Following the earthquake earlier this year, the president signed an executive order saying "I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of operational missions."
Washington (CNN) - President Obama returned to Pennsylvania Wednesday, his fifth trip to the politically important state since taking office last January.
Obama is scheduled to give an address on the economy and job creation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The White House tells CNN the president's remarks will address "the state of the economy, the future we need to seize, and the path we choose to get there." The president is also expected to make comments on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama first visited Pennsylvania as president on September 15, 2009, speaking about the economy and health care reform at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh. Following his address, the president attended a fundraiser for Sen. Arlen Specter, who was running for a sixth term as a Democrat after leaving the GOP last April. Specter, who traveled with Obama on Air Force One on Wednesday's trip, lost the Democratic primary last month to Rep. Joe Sestak, despite support from the White House.
The president returned to Pittsburgh later in September to discuss the global financial crisis at a meeting of world leaders at a G-20 conference.
Obama came back to Pennsylvania on December 4, to deliver remarks on the economy at Lehigh Carbon Community College. The event kicked off what the administration calls the president's "White House to Main Street" tour, a series of visits by Obama across the country to talk with Americans about how they are coping with the challenging economic times.
The battle for health care reform brough the president back to Pennsylvania on March 8. Obama delivered remarks and took questions at an event at Arcadia University in suburban Philadelphia.
While Obama lost the Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in April of 2008, he won the state and its 21 electoral votes by 11 percent over Republican Sen. John McCain in general election.
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in early May indicates that 46 percent of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job Obama's doing as president, wtih 48 percent opposed.
In case you are counting, Pennsylvania doesn't top the list of frequent stops by the president. He's visited New York and Ohio more often.