(CNN) - A possible 2012 Republican presidential hopeful is heading Sunday and Monday to South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary in the road to the White House.
The visit by former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania comes just before he makes a mid-December visit to Iowa. That state's caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus season. And the South Carolina trip comes one week after he made a two-day swing through New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House.
Spirit Lake, Iowa (CNN) – It was an unscripted moment on Sarah Palin's tour to promote her new book, "America by Heart." As hundreds of Palin's fans filed inside a cordoned off area of a northern Iowa Walmart today, this CNN crew popped the question asked of countless potential White House contenders: "Are you any closer to an announcement on running for President?"
The country music that Palin's handlers had blaring at the signing station presumably to drown out such questions suddenly stopped. We asked the question again.
(CNN) - Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint turned his focus on 2012 by targeting incumbent Democratic senators over their vote on an earmark moratorium.
DeMint, a Tea Party movement favorite, sent an email to supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund Wednesday that criticized four senators who are up for reelection 2012, noting that each member hails from a state President Obama lost in 2008.
Washington (CNN) – Multiple congressional Democratic sources tell CNN that a compromise to extend all Bush-era tax cuts temporarily is getting close, and that there is increasing concern among Democratic lawmakers that the White House will not fight hard enough to get Democratic priorities in return.
"The goose is cooked," said one senior Democratic source, "the question is what the larger deal is going to look like."
(CNN) - Now is not the time to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. armed forces, Sen. John McCain said at a hearing Thursday.
"At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration," the Arizona Republican said at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Washington (CNN) - Politics is serious business, but not all of the time. From the halls of Congress to the campaign trail to the international stage, there's always something that gets a laugh or a second glance. Here are some of the things you might have missed:
From gutting fish to waltzing on the dance floor?
Move over Bristol, papa grizzly may be headed to Hollywood to dance with the stars, E! News reports. Producers are reportedly trying to get Todd Palin to join the next season of the ratings powerhouse TV show "Dancing with the Stars."
Washington (CNN) - It's only December 2010, but a possible 2012 GOP Senate primary battle in Missouri is already heating up.
Thursday the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative organization that endorses and contributes to Republican candidates, welcomed former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman's entry into the race for her state's Republican Senate nomination. Steelman formally announced her bid Wednesday in a new campaign website, saying "I want to do my part in fighting for America's future. That's why I have decided to run for the United States Senate."
(CNN) - Only about 15 percent of the gubernatorial ballots remain uncounted in Minnesota and as the final five counties complete their re-counts, the November 2 winner appears headed for a December victory as well.
Democrat Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes over his November 2 total; Republican Tom Emmer has gained 14 votes. Dayton's 8,751 vote pre-recount lead over Emmer has been upheld through three days of hand recounts.
Washington (CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for a shake-up at the Republican National Committee, another setback for Chairman Michael Steele as he decides whether to seek a second term atop the party organization.
Gingrich has a friendly relationship with Steele and has come to his defense repeatedly during Steele's rocky tenure, but that appeared to change Thursday when he said the status quo at the RNC is unworkable as the party moves into the presidential election cycle.
Washington (CNN) - House GOP Leader John Boehner ripped House Democrats for moving ahead with a vote Thursday just on extending tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less, calling the move "chicken crap."
"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right? But this is nonsense, all right?" Boehner told reporters Thursday.