(CNN) - Sarah Palin has been rightly credited with helping propel little-known attorney Joe Miller to a possible Republican primary victory over Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Senate race, a win that would rank as perhaps the biggest upset of the 2010 cycle so far, if absentee ballot-counting goes in Miller's favor.
While the media focused largely on Palin's support for Miller, Mike Huckabee's political organization was also playing a key role in turning out conservative voters.
The Palin endorsement was guaranteed to draw more attention, given the former governor's influence among Republicans in her home state and Huckabee's relatively late support for Miller. Palin came out for Miller in early June, while Huckabee did so on August 9.
But the former Arkansas governor and Fox News host quickly put his political action committee to work for Miller - another example, his aides say, of Huckabee's underappreciated influence on races around the country.
Washington (CNN) - Bush-loving extremists.
That, in simplified form, was the label hung on Republicans Friday by the Democrat charged with spearheading his party's 2010 House election campaign.
Saddled with a sagging economy and lower presidential approval ratings, Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen laid out his party's apparent plan of attack for the looming midterm elections.
Addressing reporters, Van Hollen cast this fall's campaign as less a referendum on President Barack Obama and more a choice between much-needed change and a return to the policies of former President George W. Bush and a Republican Party increasingly under the sway of extreme Tea Party activists.
"I can assure you that despite the Washington summer political chatter, reports of the House Democrats' demise are greatly exaggerated," he declared.
(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday he "misspoke" when he told a television interviewer that he would have voted for President Obama's health care reform package.
Crist, engaged in a three-way Senate race against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, had previously said he would have voted against the bill were he in Washington at the time.
In an interview Friday with Orlando TV station Central Florida News 13, Crist was asked: "Health care bill, how would you have voted on that?"
Crist responded, "I would have voted for it but I think it can be done better. I really do."
The remark was highlighted by Rubio advisers eager to paint the governor as flip-flopping opportunist. They called it the governor's "fifth position on ObamaCare."
(CNN) – When it comes to picking the Republican Senate nominee in Nevada, it appears the great majority of Republican voters there want a mulligan.
According to a new Las Vegas Review-Journal/8NewsNow poll, 2 in 3 self-identified supporters of Republican candidate Sharron Angle say they wish another Republican was on top of the ticket instead. Only 24 percent of Angle supporters express approval she won the nomination.
Angle, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, captured the nomination on June 8, besting establishment favorite Sue Lowden and businessman Danny Tarkanian, as well as several other Republicans, in a race that grew increasingly bitter in the final days.
Incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has since sought to portray the former state legislator as an extremist and political neophyte unfit for the United States Senate. Angle has also faced a series of setbacks since winning the nomination, including several awkward attempts to avoid media interviews.
(CNN) – New Jersey's education commissioner, who was responsible for making a relatively simple mistake that cost the state $400 million in federal funding for public schools, has been fired, according to a statement made Friday by Gov. Chris Christie.
On its application for a federal grant from the "Race to the Top" fund, the Garden State lost more than four points for providing budgetary data for 2010 and 2011 rather than 2008 and 2009. Had the correct information been filed, the state would have scored higher on its review than Ohio–the tenth of 10 states to receive federal funding–and thus, it would have received a share of the $3.6 billion up for grabs.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released a video of an August 11 meeting between federal officials and New Jersey education commissioner Bret Schundler. The tape is at odds with an earlier claim made by Christie that the state had provided federal officials with the correct budget information.
Washington (CNN) - Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller, who holds a razor thin advantage as Alaska prepares to tally absentee votes in the wake of Tuesday's primary, says he is now concerned the National Republican Senatorial Committee is "meddling" in the race.
"We are concerned, we've got, I think, some game play going on here with the National Republican Senatorial Committee meddling in our primary election," Miller said Thursday during an interview on Fox Business Network.
The NRSC dispatched Sean Cairncross, the committee's general counsel, to Alaska on Thursday at the request of incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
But the NRSC says that Miller will have the committee's support if he prevails.
"At the end of the day, it's the voters of Alaska who will have decided this race and the NRSC will wholeheartedly support whichever candidate is chosen as the Republican nominee. We have communicated that to both campaigns and we intend to keep this seat in Republican hands," NRSC communications director Brian Walsh said in an email to CNN.
With 100 percent of election night precincts now reporting, Miller holds a 1668 vote advantage over Murkowski, but absentee ballots, which a significant number of Alaskans use to vote, have yet to be counted.
Washington (CNN) - The Democrats' point man for holding onto the party's majority in the House admitted Friday that the reach and intensity of conservative talk radio and television will be a "challenge" this fall but said voters will be smart enough to see through the "outrageous rhetoric on the right."
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, took specific aim at Fox News personality Glenn Beck, who is headlining a "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington this weekend alongside Sarah Palin.
The rally, to be held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, is being billed as a "non-political event." Van Hollen called that claim nonsense.
"It's blatantly political," the Maryland Democrat said in an appearance at the National Press Club. "I mean, come on. You have seen Glenn Beck and a lot of the talk show hosts on Fox News out there talking about this election for the last 15 months since the day President Obama was elected president.
(CNN) - So just what does it take to get Sarah Palin to speak at your fundraising gala?
A "deluxe" hotel suite, a first class ticket or a private jet ("Lear 60 or larger"), pre-selected audience questions, and "bendable" straws – not to mention the $75,000 in cash.
That's according to Palin's speaking contract with Cal State Stanislaus – ordered to be released by a California judge this week after the state school refused to make the document public last June.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown began an investigation in April into whether school officials were trying to avoid public disclosure laws by discarding documents. A state senator asked for the probe after he said the school refused to turn over some requested records concerning the event.
(CNN) - In an Op-Ed published Friday on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, says Democrats are finally abandoning the idea that the new health care law will cut spending and reduce the deficit.
Read McConnell's CNN Op-Ed
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly acknowledged that the U.S. economic recovery has lost considerable steam, but said the central bank has the necessary policy tools to support continued growth.
"The issue at this stage is not whether we have the tools to help support economic activity and guard against inflation," Bernanke said at the Fed annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. "We do."
Making his first public comments since the central bank announced it would buy additional long-term Treasurys to boost the recovery, Bernanke said that the pace of economic growth is "less vigorous" than expected, but the preconditions for a pickup in 2011 remain in place.