Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney accused President Obama Friday of mishandling the BP oil spill, and specifically charged that the president had a dangerous hands-off approach in the early days of the crisis.
Romney, appearing a campaign stop in South Carolina for gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley, called the Obama administration's response to the spill "ineffective" and said the White House has relied too heavily on BP to cap the oil leak.
"In this kind of a crisis situation, the president's response should have been to step in, bring in the experts, people from various oil companies, from leading institutions, academic and engineering firms and look at the options for actually capping this oil spill and then actually making those decisions," Romney said.
He added, "That is something which he has delegated to BP. As the company responsible for causing the spill in the first place, I think it was a mistake to rely on BP for 60 days or so to make the decisions on how to cap the oil spill. They have been ineffective in that regard."
The former Massachusetts governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate would not comment on a controversial remark by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. Barton apologized Thursday for saying that BP's $20 billion fund to pay for oil spill damages was the result of a "shakedown" from the White House.
Romney said he is "pleased that funds are being put aside" to help Gulf residents affected by the spill.
President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood leave the White House Wednesday en route to Columbus, Ohio. (PHOTO CREDIT: Emily Schultze/CNN)
(CNN) - Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee Republican senator, says he knows why his failed 2008 presidential campaign didn't make it past the first few primaries.
"I had an insurmountable object to overcome in that presidential bid and that was the wisdom and the inherent good judgment of the American people," Thompson told John Stewart Thursday on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
"So it worked out for everybody," Thompson said after the audience's laughter and applause subsided.
The former "Law & Order" actor was on Stewart's show to promote his new book, "Teaching the Pig to Dance."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama heads back to Ohio Friday, his eighth trip to the politically important state since assuming the presidency a year and a half ago.
The mission for this latest visit is to help kick off what the White House calls "Recovery Summer," a six week long push to highlight what the administration says will be a summer and fall of job creation fueled by a surge in federal stimulus spending across the country. Obama travels to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the groundbreaking of what's touted as the 10,000 Recovery Act road project to get underway.
The president was last in Ohio on May 18, when he defended the federal stimulus and tore into political opponents for what he claimed is political hypocrisy and a defense of failed policies. Obama spoke at a steel pipe plant in Youngstown, Ohio that used funds from the Recovery Act to add more than 300 jobs.
Obama's first visit to Ohio as president, on March 6 of last year, was also to tout the stimulus. The president attended a police class graduation in Columbus that was made possible in part due to federal funding from the Recovery Act.
The stimulus, which is formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was designed to stimulate the country's economy by increasing federal government spending and cutting taxes at a total cost to the government of $862 billion.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama has called for greater market transparency and oversight to help propel the global economic recovery in a letter to leaders of the Group of 20 Nations ahead of their June 26 summit in Toronto.
"Our highest priority in Toronto must be to safeguard and strengthen the recovery," wrote Obama, in his G-20 letter released by the White House on Friday. "We worked exceptionally hard to restore growth; we cannot let it falter or lose strength now. This means that we should reaffirm our unity of purpose to provide the policy support necessary to keep economic growth strong.
Obama provided a list of suggested policy changes, including the implementation of more stringent capital and liquidity requirements as well as stronger oversight of derivatives markets and "more transparency and disclosure to promote market integrity and reduce market manipulation."
In addition, the president said the G-20 needs a "more effective framework for winding down large global firms."
The president pointed out that both houses of U.S. Congress have passed financial reform legislation. They are currently working on reconciling the bills in a move toward final approval.
Protesters make their case at an anti-Proposition 8 rally in east Los Angeles, California, on May 26, 2009. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - While closing arguments have ended in California's Proposition 8 trial - a case that will determine the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban - the outcome may not have an impact on states considering similar legislation.
The reason: State budget crises and the upcoming elections have shifted the focus from social issues to fiscal stability, which will sidetrack same-sex marriage legislation in other states, a policy expert said.
"I have also seen this issue pushed aside since the recession started. States are just so focused on budgets and the shortfalls," said Christine Nelson, a program director at the National Council of State Legislatures. "I had a legislator tell me 'Are you kidding? Our state needs money and job creation. So why in the world would we be tackling that?' "
Nelson, who follows the issue of same-sex marriage, said there's been very little legislative activity this year, which she attributes to a year where most legislators are up for re-election.
"I talked to advocates last fall and I said what are you expecting this session? And they said 'Oh, nothing, it's an election year' - no one's going to touch these issues."
(CNN) - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is fuming over a comment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to an Ecuadorean television station that the government will file a lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law.
In a statement Thursday, Brewer said she learned of plans for the lawsuit from the June 8 interview Clinton gave to NTN24.
According to a transcript of the interview, Clinton said that President Barack Obama had spoken out against the law because he believes the federal government should set immigration policy.
"And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act," Clinton said in the interview.
On Thursday, a Justice Department spokesperson said no final decision had been made on the matter.
"The department continues to review the law," said the spokesperson, Tracy Schmaler.
Brewer's statement said she was "stunned and angered" by Clinton's statement that a lawsuit would be filed.
(CNN) - Senate Democrats failed Thursday to overcome a Republican filibuster of a bill to extend unemployment benefits and prevent Medicare doctors from having their reimbursements cut.
All Republicans opposed ending debate on the wide-ranging bill, forcing further negotiations on specific provisions to seek a possible compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid complained Republicans were simply stalling progress on the bill, and he and other Democratic leaders said the GOP filibuster showed Republicans were aligned with special interests such as oil companies and Wall Street hedge funds.
In floor debate, Republicans proposed using money from the stimulus bill to pay for provisions of the bill, but Democrats objected. Republicans complained that the bill would increase the deficit, a concern shared by some Democrats.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Thursday seized on the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as a reason to pass climate-change and energy legislation, but internal policy differences will not be easy to overcome and may also leave many disheartened.
Members of the Democratic caucus met behind closed doors to discuss various legislative proposals, telling reporters afterward that no single vision has emerged as the way forward. The difficulty is that any policy change needs 60 votes to be approved in the Senate.
"One of the many lessons of the BP disaster is we can't afford to continue business as usual," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after the meeting. Reid, of Nevada, expressed his goal of voting on one bill that addresses both the BP spill and concerns about global warming before recessing in August, adding that "stalling for political purposes" is unacceptable.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN Poll: Rise in disapproval of Obama handling of oil spill
Six in ten Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama's handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a jump from last month, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that vast majority of the public disapproves of how BP has handled the environmental disaster and two-thirds say making a profit rather than cleaning up the spill is oil giant's top priority. Fifty-nine percent of people questioned say they disapprove of how the president is dealing with the spill, up eight points from May. Forty-one percent say they approve of how Obama's handling the crisis, down five points from last month.
Washington Post: Gulf oil spill puts industry-friendly Republicans in tight spot
Who says there's no such thing as loyalty in politics? Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), who has received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle, revealed Thursday that he may be the only person in America who believes that BP deserves an apology for the way it has been treated during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This is not the moment to be seen as coddling Big Oil. The GOP leadership has laid out a set of talking points that spread blame in all directions - toward the company, the White House and the regulators who looked the other way. But some Republicans are having trouble bringing themselves to say anything bad about an industry that has been so good to them.
CNN: Arizona governor: Government planning to sue over immigration law
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is fuming over a comment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to an Ecuadorean television station that the government will file a lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law. In a statement Thursday, Brewer said she learned of plans for the lawsuit from the June 8 interview Clinton gave to NTN24. According to a transcript of the interview, Clinton said that President Barack Obama had spoken out against the law because he believes the federal government should set immigration policy.
Des Moines Register: Rep. Steve King draws criticism from right for remarks
Some conservatives are backing away from U.S. Rep. Steve King after the Iowa Republican's recent comments about blacks and immigration, but one political expert doubts King will face consequences at the polls this November. The most widely distributed comment from King this week came in a national radio interview, in which he said President Barack Obama "favors the black person." He also said this week on the floor of the House that racial profiling "has always been an important component of legitimate law enforcement." And, in a statement released last week, he said the shooting death of a 15-year-old Mexican high school student by a U.S. Border Patrol agent could have been avoided if the Obama administration "had lived up to its responsibility under the Secure Fence Act to build fences on our border."
CNN: Democrats unveil midterm election get-out-the-vote effort
The Democratic National Committee announced details Thursday of a new addition to their get-out-the-vote efforts, which includes a website and a focus on recruiting new voters for the midterm election. Democratic leaders vowed to spend $50 million, which they describe as an unprecedented sum, for their "Vote 2010" efforts, which include the unveiling of a new "Raise Your Vote" campaign. Party officials say the new campaign is specifically geared toward making voting registration and getting information about voting as easy as possible for people in any state across the country to access. DNC staffers say this is the first-ever comprehensive voting information and registration hub ever housed at the party headquarters.