Editor's note: Before joining CNN, Senior Political Editor Mark Preston spent six years as a staff writer for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, writing stories on powerful lawmakers and key staffers such as Pete Rouse. Rouse, whom President Obama named his interim chief of staff Friday, is low-key but very well respected for his knowledge of the legislative process and straightforward approach when working with Republicans. This story, which appeared in Roll Call in 2004, is from one of the few interviews Rouse has given on the record. Although this article was written six years ago, it still provides readers with an inside look into one of the most powerful people in government.
Pete Rouse is no stranger to tough battles as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's (D-S.D.) top aide. He was part of the team that catapulted Daschle into his leadership post in 1994 and four years later helped negotiate the terms of former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.
In recent years, he has had to navigate a flip-flopping Senate majority, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and an envelope full of anthrax opened in Daschle's office that exposed more than a dozen staffers to the potentially deadly spores.
(CNN) - Mitt Romney's making a major investment in Iowa.
The former Massachusetts governor's political action committee, Free and Strong America PAC, announced 38 endorsements Friday of GOP candidates running in state and federal elections in Iowa. Romney's PAC is also pouring a total of $41,500 in contributions to the candidates' campaigns.
Romney's endorsements include five-term Sen. Chuck Grassley and all of the Republicans running in the state's five congressional districts. Romney endorsed former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, prior to the June primary, and has contributed $10,000 to Branstad's campaign.
Washington (CNN) - A national poll released Friday indicates that the Democratic Party has made gains with voters age 18-29 but has lost support among Hispanics.
According to data from Gallup surveys, 55 percent of younger registered voters questioned in September favor the Democratic congressional candidate in their district, with 36 percent favoring the Republican candidate. The Democrat's 19-point advantage is up from a nine point advantage in August. But the Democrats' 9-point margin in August was down from a 15-point advantage from July.
The survey's results come as President Barack Obama has increased efforts to motivate younger voters - many of whom went to the polls for the first time in the 2008 - to cast ballots again this year's election.
Washington (CNN) – Soon to be ex-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is getting a bit of his own medicine as he heads out the door.
Emanuel received a dead fish as a going away present from President Obama's economic advisor Austan Goolsbee during a senior staff meeting.
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Goolsbee recounted how he had "talked to the policy team and we wanted to give you a going away present - something to show how we feel about you but also shows we understand your new possibilities.
"I was the natural go-between," Goolsbee said. "I voted for you all three times you ran for Congress and even in that first primary. So here is your present."
(CNN) – Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation took heat last summer after it was revealed the media conglomerate steered $1 million to the Republican Governor's Association.
But it turns out that was only part of the story. According to Politico, the corporation that owns Fox News has also donated $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - a pro-business lobby that heavily donates to Republican candidates across the country.
The Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) organization and as such does not have to publicly disclose the sources of its contributions. News Corp. is also not legally required to disclose its donations.
Contacted by CNN, Chamber of Commerce spokesman J.P. Fielder declined to discuss the donation.
(CNN) – Midterm elections are just 32 days away, but many are already talking about the presidential race in 2012.
Former Bush White House chief of staff Andy Card had a few predictions for how the race may shake out - including a possible President Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket.
"[It] wouldn't surprise me if she became the vice presidential nominee. And the vice president [Biden] became the Secretary of State," Card said on CNN's American Morning. "That would shake things up."
Card's prediction came a day after a new Gallup Poll showed Obama would beat Clinton in a Democratic primary rematch. Talk of a potential Obama-Clinton ticket has been floating around political circles over the last several months, though neither Biden or Clinton have suggested they are interested in switching jobs.
(CNN) - As independent Republican groups pour more resources into West Virginia, a top non-partisan political handicapper now rates as a "toss up" the state's Senate battle, where the GOP hopes to capture a seat held by the Democrats for over half a century.
The Cook Political Report changed its outlook on the contest between popular two-term Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin and businessman John Raese, the Republican nominee, saying Thursday that, "the race that wasn't supposed to be competitive is now the contest that is too close to call today. It moves to the Toss Up column."
Another top non-partisan handicapper, the Rothenberg Political Report, lists the race as "Toss Up/Tilt Democrat."
(CNN) – A second straight poll in Florida shows Democrat Alex Sink faltering in her gubernatorial bid.
The survey from Quinnipiac University shows Republican Rick Scott, the controversial former health care CEO, with a 49 to 43 percent advantage over Sink, the state's chief financial officer.
But the two candidates have nearly identical favorability ratings, suggesting Sink may be most hindered by her Democratic affiliation in what appears to be a Republican year.
Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
Arizona 08: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords defends her seat
Primary: August 24, 2010
Days until the election: 33
Rising Democratic star Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is defending her seat from in this Tucscon-based congressional district. Though voters in Arizona's eighth supported McCain in 2008, and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, Giffords' prowess as a candidate and deep roots in her district will likely be big factors if she is able to hold on to her seat. Both parties and political handicappers aren't letting this race out of their sights because the GOP candidate, Iraq vet Jesse Kelly, has a shot to wrest the seat from Giffords. It won't be easy, however.