"Absolutely not," Haley said when asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether, as governor, she would accept additional economic stimulus funds from Democratically-controlled Washington. "You know, that's the problem that we've had right now, is government is trying to be all things to all people. What we need to understand is, this is not about losing teachers, this is not about losing law enforcement, this is not about what you spend, it's about how you spend."
Haley weighed in with praise for Arizona's controversial illegal immigration law.
"I applaud what Arizona did," she told King. "I applaud the governor. And I think that every state in the country is going to turn around and start looking at what they need to do to take care of themselves. I think that's part of states' rights and that's what we want to do."
The South Carolina Republican added, "I think Arizona did the right thing. But I also that that the federal government needs to look at what Arizona did and realize that they did that because the federal government did not do its job and is not securing the borders."
And Haley supported President Obama's decision to change the leadership of the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan after Rolling Stone magazine published an article in which Gen. Stanley McChrystal was critical of members of Obama's national security team.
(CNN) – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had harsh words for government authorities on Wednesday after sand-dredging operations to protect the state's coastline from the BP oil disaster were halted due to environmental concerns.
"This is a war," Jindal said of the fight to protect shorelines from the approaching oil. "Every hour, every day matters. Maybe they don't see the oil from Washington (but) we see it every day on our coast."
Jindal called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to let workers resume dredging off the Chandeleur Islands. The dredging would be followed by construction of berms in hopes the offshore berms would block oil before it hit the beach.
The issue stems from the original proposal Louisiana submitted for the project, which raised concerns among scientists and wildlife officials about its proximity to the state's sensitive barrier islands, said Tom Strickland, the assistant Interior Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Washington (CNN) – It's still unclear whether President Barack Obama had made up his mind before sitting down Wednesday with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the article," said a senior administration official, referring to a Rolling Stone magazine article containing comments from McChrystal and his staff that appear to mock top civilian officials,
including the vice president.
"He [McChrystal] tried to explain the situation," the official said.
That senior administration official, who briefed reporters, gave this backstory:
Once Obama accepted McChrystal's resignation, he wasted no time finding his replacement. After McChrystal walked out of the White House following his 30 minute face-to-face meeting with the president, the president immediately huddled with a team of advisors to decide who would replace McChrystal.
That group included Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. For 45 minutes, they mulled over the president's options.
Washington (CNN) - Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew he lacked White House support when he walked into an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama, a source close to McChrystal told CNN.
According to the source, McChrystal briefly explained the magazine article at the center of the controversy and took responsibility, then offered his resignation. Obama accepted the resignation, the source said.
The president "had no intention of keeping him," and McChrystal knew that going into the meeting, according to the source.
In addition, the source said McChrystal will not return to Afghanistan. His team will go back to pack up on his behalf.
Updated: 7:11 p.m.
Washington (CNN) – Florida Republican Senate hopeful Marco Rubio slammed the Obama administration Wednesday for its response to the Gulf oil spill. And Rubio did not miss the opportunity to criticize his opponent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for not doing more to get the resources Florida needs to defend against the spill's onslaught.
"I think the federal government took its time responding to this early on," Rubio said of the spill in an interview that aired on CNN's The Situation Room. "I think that they weren't quick enough. I think that the bureaucracy continues to be in place."
"[W]e are the most powerful country in the world," Rubio told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "Every oil skimmer on the planet should be in the Gulf of Mexico by now. And they're not."
Rubio added that it is "tragic" to see what Florida is facing "because of the lack of response from the federal government" as more oil has come ashore in Pensacola even today.
Washington (CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama visited the Justice Department on Wednesday to thank employees for their work in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but she warned them their long hours are not going to be ending soon.
"These are going to be tough times and we are going to need every one of you to buckle up and work even harder," she told a cheering crowd of several hundred Justice workers.
"Many folks here in this agency are working tirelessly to ensure that accountability is going on, that we are protecting taxpayers dollars and that we are helping those affected by the oil spill to get back to their feet, and people need to know that the Department of Justice is at the center of that work," she said.
The first lady praised the federal legal force for upholding the law and fighting for fairness, but avoided mention of any of several controversial issues in which Justice Department lawyers are currently engaged, including the oil drilling moratorium, Arizona's immigration law, and plans for the Guantanamo detainees.
(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's re-election campaign is out with a new television commercial Wednesday that calls his Republican challenger Sharron Angle "just too extreme."
The ad, which the Reid campaign says is running in the Las Vegas and Reno TV markets, appears to be another attempt by Reid to paint Angle as too conservative and out of the mainstream for a majority of Nevada voters.
In the commercial, the narrator says "You've heard Sharron Angle wants to wipe out Social Security. Now she says it's like welfare."
The ad continues with audio of Angle, from an interview last month with KNPR, saying "my grandfather would not even take his Social Security check because he said he was not up for welfare..."
That clip is followed by a soundbite of Edward Coyle, from the Alliance for Retired Americans, saying "the money that people have invested in Social Security all their working lives is their money. To call it welfare is just plain insulting."
The new ad follows another Reid commercial launched earlier this month that also targets Angle's stance on Social Security.
Washington (CNN) – Despite calls for Rep. Joe Barton to be stripped of his powerful committee position, House Republicans decided Wednesday to allow him to retain the senior GOP slot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
A handful of fellow House Republicans wanted Barton to lose his post after the Texas GOP lawmaker described BP's agreement to establish a $20 billion fund for oil spill victims "a shakedown" by the Obama administration and apologized to the oil giant. Barton later retracted his comments after being shelled by criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, emphasized that Barton had apologized again for making those remarks and noted that the issue was now "closed."
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - The South Carolina GOP, still licking its wounds after a nasty gubernatorial primary that exposed long-standing rifts within the party, gathered in Columbia Wednesday for a "unity rally" to show support for their newly-minted nominee, Nikki Haley.
Haley sailed to victory in Tuesday's primary runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett by a whopping 30-point margin. But some establishment figures are reluctant to embrace Haley - a devotee of Gov. Mark Sanford's uncompromising fiscally conservative principles - out of fear that she might pursue ideological fights with the legislature instead of forging compromise.
Haley, though, made it clear that that her sweeping win was a validation of her small government message.
"The reason South Carolina is moving in this direction is because all of the people have stood behind the fact that they want the government to understand the value of the dollar," Haley said. "This is the Republican Party that's going to help us get there and get behind that message."
Haley said she received congratulatory phone calls from numerous national figures, including potential presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour and Bobby Jindal. If she wins in November, Haley's position as governor of a crucial early primary state could make her a potential kingmaker in the presidential nominating process.
(CNN) – Parts of a 2007 infomercial that features Arizona Senate hopeful J.D. Hayworth are hitting Arizona airwaves today – but this time as part of a McCain campaign ad that slams Hayworth over his involvement with a company called National Grants Conferences.
Hayworth, a radio host and former congressman, recorded the infomercial in 2007. The ad promised free information about "hundreds of billions of dollars in government funding" to individuals who attend a conference on the topic.
But the company behind the meetings – National Grants Conferences – has been criticized by the attorneys general of multiple states for deceptive marketing. A simple internet search brings back legions of complaints about the company.
Hayworth is seen in the spot saying, "Now you may think that what you've heard is too good to be true, but let me assure you, it is real."
Fast forward to 2010, and the McCain ad hitting airwaves statewide Wednesday uses the same language, but this time, a narrator's voice slams Hayworth after he delivers his pitch.