Washington (CNN) - Inside the West Wing of the White House, President Obama's top aides call it "the G's" - the Gulf oil spill and the Greek debt crisis - two major crises that have slowed the administration's mojo though officials are hopeful it will get better before the midterm election.
When the Obama went behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and other top Senate Democrats at the White House on Tuesday, senior Democratic officials familiar with the conversation tell CNN that Obama recalled that "things were looking up" for his party in April after the signing of health care reform on March 23.
But the officials said Obama noted to the senators that momentum was slowed by the Gulf oil spill that started with an explosion on April 20, just weeks after the health care signing, coupled with the Greek debt crisis that over the same time period has spread across world markets and helped slow economic recovery in the United States.
Washington (CNN) – The Republicans got their "groove back" after the Democrats began to get "cracks in their foundation" following a year and a half of governing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday in a highly-partisan speech at the Young Republicans Leadership Conference.
The Kentucky Republican said the "Democrats were flying high" in 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated and that "the American people were eager to see their plan for addressing the nation's problems."
Meanwhile, McConnell said his party was portrayed as "beaten down, demoralized, and despondent." He said Republicans "were more likely to be a late night punch line than a relevant part of Obama's Washington."
Holland, Michigan (CNN) - Is it bad form to attend a ribbon cutting celebration when you voted against paying for the project? Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, sat smiling in the front row today as President Obama marked the groundbreaking of a new stimulus-funded project in Holland, Michigan.
"We are pleased to have in attendance with us today, and seated in the front row, Congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra, in attendance to show his support for a robust Recovery Act investment right here in Michigan," tweaked President Obama.
Watch: Rep. Hoekstra on Thursday's John King, USA.
Yet Hoekstra, who represents the district, voted against the very stimulus funding that provided the $151 million to build the LG Chem Power Plant where the presidential event was held.
Hoekstra accused the President of playing politics while portraying himself as above the fray, saying "this is politics … I came here out of respect for the office of the President, my constituents and the company that is coming to this community," Hoekstra said. "I could have been along the road protesting, that's not the right thing to do, this is the President of the United States... This is a very good day for the community. It's a good day for LG."
Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) – An attorney for a Phoenix police officer challenging the state's new immigration law argued in court Thursday that his client could be fired or disciplined if he doesn't enforce the law.
Stephen Montoya countered the state's position that Officer David Salgado can't prove he will be harmed because the law has not yet taken effect.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton heard the motions from Salgado and attorneys representing Gov. Jan Brewer, who wants Salgado's case dismissed. Bolton took the case, the first challenge to have a hearing, under advisement.
(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been in office for 10 years in a heavily Republican state, but his Democratic challenger raked in more campaign cash during the most recent fundraising period.
Former Houston Mayor Bill White collected nearly $7.5 million between Feb. 20 and the end of June, while Perry took in $7 million.
But more impressive for White is the substantial war chest he has amassed since launching his bid last December.
With the election less than four months away, White has more than $9 million left in the bank.
Perry, who had to slog through a months-long primary fight against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and conservative activist Debra Medina, has $5.8 million cash-on-hand.
White's campaign is touting support from small donors and first time contributors. More than 11,700 new donors gave to the campaign during the most recent filing period, and 75 percent of White's donors have $100 or less, according to the campaign
Perry's campaign said 87 percent of its contributions were less than $500.
It's way too soon to celebrate… but it's hard not to. After almost three months the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico has finally been stopped… for now.
Even if it's stopped for good, the implications of what has happened are huge and probably won't be known for sometime.
The damage to the environment is immeasurable. Some say it will wind up being worse than the Exxon Valdez.
The government wants a moratorium on offshore drilling… one judge already said no… the Obama administration came back with a second one.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
Washington (CNN) – Incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, holds a significant cash advantage over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, according to financial reports released Thursday by both campaigns.
Boxer raised $4.6 million during the second quarter of 2010, and has $11.3 million cash on hand, her campaign said Thursday in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Fiorina campaign said it has $950,000 cash on hand, a deficit it acknowledged.
"There's no denying that we're starting, and will probably continue to be, at a significant cash disadvantage to Boxer: we went through a tough and expensive primary and have only had a few weeks of raising cash for the general while Boxer has been stockpiling funds for 6 years," the campaign said in a release.
President Obama sits in an electric Ford Focus alongside Holland, Michigan, Mayor Kurt Dykstra. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Holland, Michigan (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Thursday touted the clean energy technology of a new plant that will make electric car batteries as an example of economic growth created by his administration's policies.
At the groundbreaking for the Compact Power plant in Holland, Michigan, Obama said the country is on the path to recovery from the economic recession that wiped out 8 million jobs.
However, he acknowledged the slow pace of the recovery and said the goal of his policies was never to "create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth."
Obama noted that advances in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars are expected to lower their costs by nearly 70 percent in the next few years.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) – The Senate on Thursday afternoon passed the most sweeping set of changes to the financial regulatory system since the 1930s, sending the Wall Street reform bill to President Obama.
The Senate voted 60 to 39 to pass the reforms, ending more than a year-long effort to pass legislation in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Obama is expected to sign the bill into law next week.
CNN Radio Political Notebook:
"We made a promise in the fall of '08 that we'd do everything in our power to see to it we'd never again put the American public in the position we were in September and early October 2008," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. "And we have fulfilled that promise with this legislation."
Earlier in the day lawmakers voted 60-38 to end debate on the legislation, with three Republicans joining Democrats to support it.