Washington (CNN) - Support for Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court has dropped 10 points since May, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that most of that support has gone into the "undecided" column rather than turning into outright opposition. The poll's Friday release comes three days before the start of Kagan's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(CNN) - Lady Gaga and President Obama don't often travel in the same circles, but they're the top competitors in a popularity contest that could have one of them setting a record by this weekend.
(CNN) - As world leaders prepare to meet in Toronto for the G-20 summit, disagreements are brewing over how the global economy's fragile recovery should best be steered.
The United States has been urging other countries not to pull back on stimulus plans too quickly. Britain, in contrast, has recently joined other European countries in announcing drastic budget cuts as fears grow about mounting public debt.
Leaders have begun arriving for the G-8 summit, which begins Friday, followed by the G-20 summit this weekend.
The last G-20 summit was September in Pittsburgh. Since then sovereign debt issues have clouded the global economic recovery. Dubai's debt worries in November foreshadowed the Greek debt crisis, which spiraled to other southern European nations. Public debt woes saw the value of the euro dip from $1.50 in December to below $1.20 in May, sparking fears the 17-nation bloc united under the currency may collapse.
(CNN) - Australia's new prime minister pledged her commitment to the war in Afghanistan during a phone call with President Obama, the two leaders said.
"I assured President Obama that my approach to Afghanistan will continue the approach taken to date by the Australian government," said Julia Gillard, Australia's new prime minister, on Friday. "I fully support the current deployment and I indicated to President Obama that he should expect to see the Australian effort in Afghanistan continuing."
Julia Gillard, 48, was elected Thursday as Australia's first female prime minister. Obama called her Thursday night to congratulate her.
During the talk, Obama and Gillard "underscored their shared commitment to closely work together on the broad range of global challenges confronting both countries, including in Afghanistan," the White House statement said.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - After a grueling 20-hour session, lawmakers early Friday finished melding the House and Senate Wall Street reform bills, bringing Congress closer to passing the most sweeping changes to the financial system since the New Deal.
Finishing at 5:39 a.m. ET, 43 lawmakers agreed to send to their respective chambers a final bill that aims to strengthen consumer protection, shine a light on complex financial products, create a new process for taking down giant, failing financial firms, and make them stronger to prevent such failure.
The votes were 20-11 among House negotiators and 7-5 among Senate negotiators, strictly along party lines. The room erupted into claps and hugs when it was all done, with staffers shaking hands and saying, "big bill."
Related: What's in the reform bill?
In one of their final votes, lawmakers renamed the legislation the Dodd-Frank Bill for the lawmakers who led the work on the reforms: Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. The chamber erupted in cheers on the motion's approval.
"It's the most extraordinary experience," Frank said. "You hate to have the kind of pain that so many people went through in this economic crisis, but it just doubled our resolve to get it done."
Frank and Dodd insisted on pushing forward and wrapping up the negotiations, to ready the bill for final passage by each chamber before Congress adjourns for the Independence Day recess.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's nominee to be the nation's chief spy has been left waiting in the wings while Congress tries to complete work on a new intelligence bill that is being held up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she won't hold confirmation hearings for James Clapper, currently the Defense Department's chief intelligence officer, to become the next director of national intelligence until her top priority is completed - Congressional passage and the president's signature on the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill.
At issue is a provision in the bill that changes the ground rules for how the president notifies Congress about top secret intelligence activities.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - A top Taliban militant was among several insurgents killed in fighting with Afghan and international troops on Thursday near Kandahar city, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.
Faizullah, a Taliban sub-commander, was responsible for previous attacks in Arghandab district and was thought to be responsible for the death of at least one coalition soldier in March.
Troops saw people setting up a bomb and called in an airstrike. Insurgents fired at troops who went to the location, prompting them to return fire, killing some of the insurgents. Insurgents were also killed in the airstrike.
Washington (CNN) - On paper it appeared to be a winning team for President Obama and his new plan to fix Afghanistan: a celebrated general, a master of counterinsurgency strategy overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as head of CENTCOM, with his his protege running the war in Afghanistan.
The two, Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, had enjoyed success because of their military minds. Ask around the Pentagon and the phrase most often used in connection with both is "brilliant."
While coming from different paths, both generals have a good deal of similarities. After the now-infamous Rolling Stone article, however, it is clear that Petraeus alone has the savvy to survive in Washington.
An academic with political deftness, Petraeus approaches combat with a mix of military and diplomacy, the essence of counterinsurgency.
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CNNMoney: Wall Street reform debate goes on and on
Tired lawmakers worked into the early hours of Friday to meld two different versions of Wall Street reform. Just before midnight Thursday, lawmakers finished tackling one of the last and more controversial issues: Cracking down on the big banks' investment activities and risky bets. However, negotiations were going slow on another controversial measure requiring Wall Street banks to spin off their swaps desks. Top White House and Treasury officials met with Democrats in backrooms, talking about how to crack down on risky bets.
CNN: House passes campaign finance legislation
The U.S. House on Thursday passed a bill that would require most independent groups that pay for campaign ads to disclose their donors. The measure passed on a 219-206 vote, with most Democrats in support and Republicans opposing. The Senate is considering taking up its own version of the bill.
CNNMoney: Unemployment benefits extension nixed for nearly 1 million
Nearly a million people have lost their unemployment benefits because the Senate failed for the third time Thursday to extend the deadline to file for this safety net. Hoping to overcome deficit concerns, the Senate trimmed down the bill yet again on Wednesday night so that it would only increase the deficit by $33.3 billion over 10 years, instead of $55.1 billion. The main changes were to scale back additional Medicaid funding for the states and to reallocate some stimulus and Defense Department spending. The legislation failed by a 57-41 vote.
CNN Poll: Majority angry at both political parties
Americans are angry at both the Republican and Democratic parties, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday. But the survey also indicates the public continues to blame the GOP more than the Democrats for the country's current economic woes even though the Democrats have controlled both the White House and Congress for a year and a half. Fifty-three percent of people questioned say when it comes to the way the Democrats and Republicans have been dealing with the nation's problems, they are angry at both parties, with nine percent saying they're mad only at the Republicans and seven percent angry only at the Democrats. Just over three in ten say they're not angry at either party.