Washington (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan took a pragmatic approach to the issue of late-term abortion when working as a top lawyer in the Clinton White House, documents released Friday show.
The material was part of more than 46,000 pages released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Kagan was a top lawyer in the administration's Office of Domestic Policy.
At issue at the time was a bill in the Republican-controlled Congress that would ban a type of abortion performed in the second trimester. Critics of the procedure called it "partial-birth" abortion.
In a February 27, 1997 memo to top White House staff, Kagan notes a leading abortion rights supporter had just admitted late-term abortions were being "performed more frequently than pro-choice groups have acknowledged, and often perfonned [sic – performed] on healthy women with healthy fetuses," repeating a claim conservatives at the time had long made.
(CNN) - Jenny Sanford is re-affirming her support for Nikki Haley in the South Carolina governor's race, a day after the Indian-American candidate was called a "raghead" by a political foe.
"I have watched with revulsion the spectacle that is now surrounding the Governor's race," Sanford said in a statement Friday. "Our state is better than this."
Haley has also denied multiple claims of infidelity over the last two weeks, accusations she says are being pushed by rival campaigns.
"I can't help but think that these attacks are being leveled at Nikki Haley because of the courageous stands she has taken over the years in defense of taxpayers and government reform - stands that offend many of the most powerful interests in state government," said Sanford, who endorsed Haley last November. "I am more convinced than ever that Nikki Haley is the best person to be South Carolina's next Governor."
(CNN) – South Carolina state Sen. Jake Knotts' use of a racial slur Thursday to describe gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley has drawn him a primary challenger.
Former Lexington County GOP chairwoman Katrina Shealy had already been plotting a run against Knotts in 2012, but she told CNN Friday that Knotts' "raghead" remark prompted her to make a very early entry into the race that won't happen for two years.
State senators serve four year terms in the Palmetto State.
The 2012 Republican primary will be a re-match of the 2008 race for the Columbia-area Senate seat, which Shealy lost in a runoff by a 57 to 42 margin.
"After the episode yesterday, I just kind of went ahead and threw it out there," Shealy told CNN. "The political climate out there is so ugly. I am sick and tired of the negative politics. We need to clean house and start over."
(CNN) – House Minority Leader John Boehner is demanding an apology from music legend Paul McCartney after the Beatle took a slap at President Bush during a recent White House ceremony.
President Obama on Wednesday awarded McCartney the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song – a lifetime achievement award given by the Library of Congress. Upon receiving the award, McCartney deadpanned, "After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is."
The comments generated laughter and cheers from the audience in the East Room, but Boehner said the remark showed a "lack of grace and respect."
"Like millions of other Americans, I have always had a good impression of Paul McCartney and thought of him as a classy guy, but I was surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House," the Ohio Republican said in a statement provided to CNN. "I hope he'll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama."
Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith added the comments were "particularly offensive" because "the [former] president and first lady (who is actually a librarian) did so much for literacy."
McCartney's comments came at the end of the ceremony and Obama did not reference them.
Presenting the award, Obama said it was given "on behalf of a grateful nation, grateful that a young Englishman shared his dreams with us."
(CNN) – Urging President Obama to "amp it up," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said the president should invite the world's oil experts down to the Gulf to brainstorm a solution to the BP oil disaster.
"If I were President Obama I would call everybody in from all over the world. I have got no pride in this. We have got to shut this down," McAuliffe told CNN.
McAuliffe declined to join the chorus of critics who say the president hasn't shown enough emotion during the crisis. Still the one-time party chairman said former President Bill Clinton "probably would have moved the White House down there."
Washington (CNN) – The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May, the Labor Department reported Friday.
That's a drop of two-tenths of a percent from April's 9.9 percent level. Analysts had expected to rate to fall to 9.8 percent.
The Labor Department also reports that the economy added 431,000 jobs in May, the biggest monthly gain since March of 2000. But economists had forecasted a gain of 500,000 jobs.
Of the jobs added, 390,000 were in the government, with the private sector adding 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April.
President Barack Obama said Friday that the economy's addition of 431,000 jobs in May is another sign that an economic recovery is underway, though he also warned that there are going to be "some ups and downs" in the months ahead.
"The economy's getting stronger by the day," he said during a visit to a commercial truck dealership in Hyattsville, Maryland.
But Obama said the recovery's "still in its early stages."
Washington (CNN) - Incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln is pulling out the big guns in her bid to defeat a hard charging challenger in the Arkansas Democratic Senate run-off.
Now just four days away from her showdown with Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Lincoln's newest campaign ad features former President Bill Clinton – the favorite son of Arkansan Democrats.
The two-term senator is locked in a tight run-off with Halter after neither candidate cracked the 50-percent mark in the May 18 primary.
Clinton made an appearance with Lincoln at a campaign event last Friday in Little Rock, and the new 30-second spot features video of Clinton quoting from a Washington Post article that said that national labor unions had decided to make Lincoln "the poster child for what happens when a Democrat crosses them."
Titled "The President," the ad closes with Clinton telling the crowd that "if you want to be Arkansas' advocate, vote for somebody that will fight for you."
(CNN) - Six days after Republican Rep. Mark Kirk first admitted to having mischaracterized portions of his 21-year long military record, the Illinois Senate candidate issued an apology and said it was the result of trying to communicate his accomplishments in "civilian-speak."
"I am sorry, absolutely," Kirk told the Chicago Tribune editorial board Thursday. "You should speak with utter precision. You should stand on the documented military record."
Kirk also pledged to speak more clearly about his tenure in the Navy going forward and said he would soon release military fitness reports that demonstrate his years of continuous service.
But in the same interview, Kirk acknowledged other mischaracterizations committed by his campaign and congressional office - first when campaign promotional materials described him as having faced fire while flying aboard a reconnaissance plane over Iraq in 2000 and second when a 2009 letter to constituents said he was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.
Kirk told the paper he's actually not sure if he was fired upon in Iraq during the 2000 mission and said that he did not serve in Desert Storm.
Washington (CNN) - Most Americans think that President Barack Obama's honest and trustworthy, but they are split over whether his presidency has improved race relations in the country, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that on race relations, the public is divided right down the middle over Obama's time in the White House. Eleven percent of those questioned say his presidency has created a new era of race relations; with 39 percent saying there has been some improvement in race relations since he took office. That adds up to 50 percent who see Obama's track record on race relations in a positive light.
But 33 percent say that Obama has not made any real changes in race relations and 17 percent say that his time in office has made race relations worse. That adds up to 50 percent who don't think that Obama has improved race relations at all.
Six out of ten people questioned in the poll, which was released Thursday, say the president is honest and trustworthy, with 39 percent saying they disagree. But when respondents are asked whether Obama is "honest and trustworthy enough to be president," the figure rises to 66 percent.
(CNN) – With four days left until California's primary, a new survey indicates that Meg Whitman has a two-to-one lead over her opponent in the battle for the state's Republican gubernatorial nomination.
A Field Poll released Friday morning shows that 51 percent of likely GOP primary voters support former eBay CEO Whitman, while 25 percent back California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Nearly one in five remain undecided.
The survey indicates that Whitman leads among all subgroups, including age, gender, geography, religion, ideology and Tea Party movement identification.
Whitman held a large lead over Poizner in numerous state polls earlier this year, but more recent surveys indicated that Poizner, a self made multimillionaire, was closing the gap, thanks to commercials questioning Whitman's conservative credentials, her stance on illegal immigration, and her ties to Goldman Sachs.