(CNN) - Her accuser has, for now, fallen silent. But with less than a week remaining before next Tuesday's Republican primary, South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley continues to face questions about an alleged affair with conservative blogger Will Folks.
Haley addressed the chatter once again in a debate Tuesday night in Florence.
"The questions raised about my personal life aren't true," she said, according to The State newspaper.
But her campaign, keen on making the most out of her moment in the spotlight, is also taking on the accusation in a new campaign ad depicting her as a dedicated wife and mother.
"I've seen the dark side of our state's politics," Haley says in the ad, an apparent reference to the scandal. But, she adds, "I know the bright side of our state's people."
The 30-second commercial, Haley's third of the campaign, flashes images of the Republican frontrunner with her children and prominently features her husband, Michael.
Haley's three rivals in the GOP race are Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, Attorney General Henry McMaster and Rep. Gresham Barrett.
Unless one of the candidates earns more than 50 percent of the vote next Tuesday - an unlikely prospect - the race will head to a runoff between to the top two finishers.
Washington (CNN) – Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer was arrested Wednesday morning, an official with the James E. Polk Correctional facility in Seminole County, Florida confirms to CNN.
Lisa Scobey, the correctional facility spokeswoman, would not disclose why Greer had been arrested. Greer stepped down from his post earlier this year amid allegations that he misappropriated party funds.
Greer could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
(CNN) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is using the Gulf Coast oil spill to promote the issue of drilling in the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge – the 20-million protected acres where untapped oil and gas reserves have long served as a lightning rod of controversy.
"Extreme Greenies: see now why we push 'drill,baby,drill' of known reserves & promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?" the former Republican vice presidential nominee wrote Tuesday evening on her Twitter account.
That comment followed a similarly-themed tweet last week after President Obama announced a moratorium on deep offshore drilling for six months, while an independent commission reviews the explosion of the BP rig that caused the ongoing leak.
"Deep offshore moratorium? Then correspondingly allow more onshore drilling, incl ANWR reserves. Domestic oil's still required in US industry," she tweeted Thursday.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin was a strong advocate of drilling both offshore and in ANWR, a position that was repeatedly expressed her now-famous phrase "Drill Baby Drill."
In her Oct. 2008 vice presidential debate with Joe Biden, Palin specifically took aim at him for opposing offshore drilling efforts.
"You even called drilling – safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore – as raping the outer continental shelf," Palin said at the debate. "There – with new technology, with tiny footprints even on land, it is safe to drill and we need to do more of that."
(CNN) – A crowd had gathered to see California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman speak outside a mall in Little Saigon in Southern California when a plane circled overhead pulling a banner that read "Queen Meg 2010." One of the introductory speakers had just announced to the crowd of largely Vietnamese immigrants that Whitman was born in the "Year of the Rooster," when the banner came into sight. Some of her supporters applauded apparently mistaking it for a campaign sign. It was anything but.
The message was part of a union organized protest that's following Whitman in the final days before the California GOP primary. More than a dozen protesters wearing blond wigs – designed to look like Whitman's coif – blew whistles and held signs that read "Rich Enough to Rule 2010" and "Only the Rich Deserve Health Care." Leading the group in chants of "let them eat cake!" were a tiara and tux clad couple waving like royalty.
It's a self-styled "satire" campaign organized by the California Nurses Association objecting to the unprecedented amount of money Whitman has poured into the race. "The former eBay CEO has spent as much as $80 million on the primary to date – $60 million from her own fortune." When asked about the unprecedented spending, Whitman pointed out that California has extremely expensive media markets.
"I have to get the message out," she told CNN.
It is nearly impossible to turn on the television or radio in California without hearing ads by Whitman and her chief opponent, Steve Poizner, a self-made multi-millionaire.
(CNN) – Voters in New Mexico made history, while voters in Alabama did not. And a second party-switching Congressional lawmaker was ousted in a primary by his new party.
Susana Martinez on Tuesday easily captured the Republican gubernatorial primary in New Mexico. She'll face off in the general election against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The winner in November will become New Mexico's first female governor, succeeding term-limited Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.
With nearly all the results reported, Martinez was winning just over 50 percent of the vote in a five person primary field. The district attorney for Dona Ana County in the southern part of the state will join GOP Lt. Gov. nominee John Sanchez on an all Hispanic ticket.
Assistance from the Republican Governors Association apparently played a key role in the Martinez victory, and an endorsement and campaign visit last month from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also aided Martinez.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet with U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno at the Oval Office Wednesday morning to get a first-hand account of conditions in Iraq from the top commander for the country.
Odierno is responsible for determining the pace of withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. But the administration has said the deadline - the end of August - remains on schedule despite the recent spike in violence there.
"We plan for everything. But right now, every expectation is that we will meet the 50,000 as of the first of September," said Secretary Robert Gates on May 20.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday found that 64 percent of Americans favor the president's plan to keep just 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the summer, with 35 percent opposed.
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
CNN Poll: Regardless of experience concerns, majority back Kagan
Many Americans express concern over Elena Kagan's lack of experience as a judge, but they currently don't think she is too liberal for a seat on the Supreme Court and a majority say that the U.S. Senate should vote for confirm her, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 54 percent of the public says that Kagan should be confirmed to the high court, with 36 percent saying that senators should not confirm President Obama's nominee for associate justice to the high court.
CNN: Obama to talk economy in Pittsburgh
President Obama will be talking jobs and the economy when he travels to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. A White House official tells CNN the president will deliver remarks on "the state of the economy, the future we need to seize, and the path we choose to get there."
CNN: Arizona governor defends immigration law; will meet with president
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer made clear Tuesday she's not worried about a potential legal challenge from the Obama administration over her state's controversial immigration law. "We'll meet you in court," Brewer told CNN' when asked how she would respond if President Barack Obama's Department of Justice decided to challenge the law. "I have a pretty good record of winning in court." The American Civil Liberties Union is currently leading a court challenge. Attorney General Eric Holder, who met with a delegation of police chiefs from Arizona and elsewhere this week to discuss the law, has yet to indicate whether the federal government would file a legal challenge.
The Hill: Hispanic Caucus wants Napolitano to cut ties with Arizona police
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) have called on the Department of Homeland Security to sever its ties with Arizona police in response to the state's new immigration enforcement law. Calling Arizona's recently-enacted law requiring police to question and verify the citizenship of anyone they reasonably suspect to be an illegal immigrant "appalling," three leaders of the Hispanic Caucus wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to demand the termination of its immigration-enforcement partnerships with law enforcement entities in the state.
Washington Post: Money intended to help candidates often ends up funding PACs themselves
Minority Leader John A. Boehner has collected more than $1.4 million from business interests this election cycle for a committee he says he created to help fellow Republican lawmakers. But Boehner's committee has spent only about a third of its money helping other candidates. About two-thirds of its expenditures have gone instead to costs the committee describes as necessary to raise money, including fine meals and trips to luxurious resorts where the congressman mingles with corporate-directed groups and lobbyists. Boehner (Ohio) has spent more than $182,000 through the committee on frequent travel with donors to Florida and similar vacation spots, according to Federal Election Commission records, including $70,403 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples and more than $30,000 at Disney Resort Destinations. As it turns out, Boehner's use of funds collected for others by his "leadership PAC," or political action committee, is more the rule than the exception among Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
CNN: Gibbs declines to give more Sestak details
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined Tuesday to name what position was offered to Pennsylvania Rep. Rep. Joe Sestak last year in an effort to dissuade him from launching a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter.