Capitol Hill (CNN) – We now have the first expense reports for the 112th House of Representatives. The 3293-page Statement of Disbursements shows how much of their office budgets each House member spent in the first three months of the year. We've read it (you can read yourself, here) and will bring you highlights this week.
Who spent the most? A longtime congresswoman ending her Capitol career. Who spent the least? A fiscally-conservative freshman from Illinois.
Listen to our podcast for more, including something few people realize: when the House put expense reports online two years ago it also cut back on much of the detail in those reports. We now know far less about what members are spending than we did when the reports were done exclusively by hand.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama's top communications official is set to address the progressive Netroots Nation annual conference next week, another sign the White House is gearing up for the upcoming campaign and how seriously they take the online community.
Netroots Nation announced Monday that White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer will be their keynote speaker this year. The gathering of progressive activists and bloggers will hear an address from Pfeiffer which will also have question and answer session.
(CNN) - A top Iowa Republican said potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is "not ready for the big dance" if he stands by his decision not to compete in the 2012 Iowa caucuses should he run for president.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a fellow Mormon, said Huntsman's comments are a sign the former Utah governor needs "a lesson in Iowa politics."
(CNN) – The politics of Medicare continued Monday with two new web videos reiterating the arguments on both sides of the aisle over entitlement reform.
The minute and a half spot from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee singled out Republican representatives who voted for the budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which passed in the House and failed in the Senate. The DCCC said it has a paid advertising campaign scheduled for later in the week.
(CNN) - Saying "I'm ready to lead. I'm ready to do what has to be done for the next generation," all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum did just that, officially jumping into the race for the White House.
But the former two-term senator from Pennsylvania could face long odds and much better funded rivals in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
(CNN) - The intense debate over Sarah Palin, her career and her influence will only get more intense with the release later this month of a two hour feature film documentary about her. Make no mistake though - this is not an impartial examination. It was made and conceived by conservative filmmaker Steve Bannon.
The $1 million film, titled "The Undefeated," is expected to debut in the key early voting state of Iowa later this month and is also scheduled to be viewed in New Hampshire and South Carolina, which also happen to be critical states in the Republican nomination fight.
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CNN: Economic woes give Republicans early campaign focus
Eight months before the Iowa caucuses, a spate of bad economic reports last week gave Republicans a chance to start framing the 2012 campaign on their topic of choice - President Barack Obama's record. With the unemployment rate ticking up to 9.1 percent, home prices falling further and consumer confidence down, GOP strategists and possible and declared presidential contenders harmonized their criticism of Obama administration economic policies that they say have stymied recovery.