(CNN) – Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod insists that the White House was behind the rush decision in July to ask her to resign after a conservative web publisher released an edited video clip that seemed to show her recounting racist behavior on her part. But she left open the possibility that the request for her resignation might not have come from "others working for the president" rather than directly from President Obama.
After a meeting with Sherrod Tuesday morning, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack repeated his previous assertions that he did not speak with anyone at the White House before deciding to force Sherrod to step down.
"This was my responsibility," he said. "I disappointed the president (and) the country. ... I have to live with that."
But, in an interview set to air Tuesday on Anderson Cooper 360° Sherrod said "I stand by that" when asked about her past assertions that the White House had been involved in the loss of her job.
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration will appeal a federal judge's decision to temporarily block federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller confirmed Tuesday.
West Palm Beach, Florida (CNN) - Jeff Greene has deep pockets, and just hours before the polls closed Tuesday in Florida, this billionaire real estate investor, turned unlikely Democratic Senate contender, vowed to dig deep if he wins his party's nomination.
That's right - continue to dip into his personal fortune to fund his campaign.
"I will spend whatever it takes to get our message out, and it will be a clear message: a self-made businessman gets results against two career Republican politicians, Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio," Greene said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
Phoenix (CNN) – On primary day in Arizona, Republican Senator John McCain seemed a man of few words considering his front runner status. Joined by his wife, Cindy, who was wearing a leopard print suit, McCain voted at Phoenix's Madison Camelview Elementary School shortly after 9 a.m. MST. He chatted briefly with school kids and their parents then gave 21 seconds of remarks to the gathered press before refusing to take questions.
The candidate, seeking a 5th term as a U.S. Senator from Arizona, told gathered media: "We're looking forward to a good turnout today and there's already been a lot of early voting. We're confident we're going to win but obviously it isn't over till it's over."
McCain joked about the weather, and promised to "take nothing for granted." As he started to walk away, CNN asked him to respond to his opponent's charge that he'll move to the left if re-elected. The candidate smiled and kept on walking.
(CNN) – Mitt Romney is kicking off a tour on behalf of fellow Republicans running in this November's midterm elections that will take the former Massachusetts governor to 25 states across the country over the next ten weeks.
The tour, first reported by the Boston Globe and confirmed by a senior Romney adviser, kicks off Tuesday night when he attends a fundraiser in Boston for New Hampshire's Republican Party.
The event is the third time over the past month that Romney has helped raise money for New Hampshire Republicans. The state plays an important role in presidential primary process, thanks to New Hampshire's traditional role of holding the nation's first primary.
Romney ran for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination and is considered a likely bet to make another bid for the White House in 2012.
(CNN) - A group looking to brand itself as a political party in Michigan – going by the name of "The Tea Party" - is facing widespread criticism from Republicans and tea party activists, who accuse the group of fraud and deception.
Their main argument: They are a front for the Democratic Party, and are trying to siphon away votes from Republicans and genuine tea party-backed candidates this November.
On Monday, the Michigan State Canvassing Board voted against giving the group political party status after listening to testimony from witnesses questioning the group's intentions and the validity of the signatures they collected on petitions.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson told the board that nomination documents for one Tea Party candidate for the county commission were a "straightforward fraud."
(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele tells CNN he is standing by his recent interview with the Spanish-language network Univision, in which the top Republican said Arizona's controversial immigration law is not a "reflection" of the entire party.
"We support the Republican governor of Arizona in her efforts, but we also recognize that this is a transcendent issue and that for different parts of the country they look at it and approach it differently and Republican candidates and the Republican leadership in those states and those communities have to be able to respond to the needs at that time," Steele told CNN's Soledad O'Brien as part of her series "In America: See How They Run."
Steele, the top Republican charged with adding House and Senate seats to the GOP column this November, also said the divisiveness of the immigration issue shares similarities with that of abortion.
"We have pro-choice Republicans, we have pro-life Republicans, so I can't say that one of them is a reflection of the entire party," he said. "The same is true on this question on Arizona. Some people see that law one way, some people see that law another way. It depends on where you live and what your background is."
(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's upcoming book now has a title, cover and release date. And the timing of the release - January 11 - comes just as the next race for the Republican presidential nomination begins heating up. Pawlenty, of course, is considered a probable White House hopeful.
The release of the book, called "Courage to Stand: An American Story," also comes out just days after Pawlenty finishes up his second term as governor. His announcement last year that he would not run for a third term was the first serious indication that Pawlenty was considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
Pawlenty aide and spokesman Alex Conant says the book will concentrate on Pawlenty's life, his time as governor and his vision for the country. Conant says a nationwide book tour will follow the release of the book. Book releases and national tours have led to formal campaigns for many previous presidential candidates.
According to Amazon.com, the book is available for early ordering for $26.99. The website shows the cover, which pictures a serious looking Pawlenty in what appears to be a rustic red shirt with a lake and greenery in the background.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
Washington (CNN) – Embattled Democratic Senate candidate Alvin Greene was escorted from a meeting of the Oconee County Democratic Party on Saturday after police received reports that he and a companion were causing a disturbance.
Greene had been invited to attend the group's routine breakfast meeting, but was disinvited after he was indicted by a grand jury on obscenity charges. But he showed up anyway, and according Seneca Police Chief John Covington, one of his staffers became angry and engaged in an argument with meeting attendees.
According to the police report filed after the incident, Greene's companion, Dottie Sue Maggart-Feldman, argued with several members of the breakfast party, but that the altercation did not turn violent.
Vineyard Haven (CNN) - Despite a fierce Nor'easter that knocked out power and blew down tree limbs on Martha's Vineyard, the Obama family vacation is anything but a washout. "They're having a great time actually," said Deputy White House Spokesman Bill Burton, adding that "the rain has not dampened their spirits."
So how is the First Family occupying its time during these rain soaked days? "They've played board games. I've heard reports of Taboo and Scrabble being played," Burton said as he wrapped up a briefing with reporters in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.
Burton dared to lift the veil off the Obama's private time, by revealing that top Presidential adviser and close family friend Valerie Jarrett "did not do so well in Scrabble against the President."
This rare revelation of a behind the scenes vacation moment was a walk onto thin ice for Burton, who jokingly admitted "this will probably get me fired."