(CNN) - More than 150 conservative Christian leaders are headed to a Texas ranch on Friday for two days of meetings about the presidential race and the possibility of coalescing around one Republican candidate.
The news media has made much of the meeting, which will include such well-known evangelicals as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.
Bluffton, South Carolina (CNN) - One day after President Obama officially notified Congress that the national debt was nearing its limit, Rick Perry told an overflow crowd here that the Congress should say no to any increase in the debt ceiling.
"We got a President of the United States that is mortgaging the future of our children with all these spending programs – $15 trillion worth of debt – and wants more now, wants to raise the debt ceiling, and the answer to that is no, right Mick," Perry said, referencing Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who had introduced him during a visit to the Squat and Gobble restaurant. "No. No to the debt ceiling. Quit the spending."
Washington (CNN) – Jun Takao fully understands the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary and the complicated fight for convention delegates. But the veteran Japanese journalist and Washington bureau chief does not comprehend one thing about American presidential elections.
"What's interesting for the audience (about) listening to the debate dozens of times?" he asked. "Sometimes it's total repetition."
Listen to Takao's other thoughts and the latest from the campaign trail in our podcast here. Or keep reading for more.
Washington (CNN) - Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson did not direct the independent Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich on how it should spend the five million dollars he donated to it last week, a source close to Adelson told CNN.
"It was a donation with no instruction," the source said adding Adelson "gave no preconditions."
Johannesburg (CNN) - Daytime TV doyenne Oprah Winfrey said Friday she is "100%" behind President Obama as he campaigns for re-election this year - and that the man she backed four years ago for president is doing a great job.
Winfrey made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with CNN in South Africa, where she is marking the graduation of the first students to join the academy she set up five years ago.
(CNN) - The race for the Republican presidential nomination is on track to break new ground: For the first time in modern political history - some say ever - the GOP nominee could be someone who is not a Protestant Christian.
Front-runner Mitt Romney is Mormon, as is Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholics.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Friday he is elevating the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level agency.
Miami, Florida (CNN) - Perhaps it was the strong Cuban coffee.
At a campaign stop at the legendary Cafe Versailles in Miami's little Havana neighborhood, Newt Gingrich served up his toughest critique to date on Mitt Romney's claims on creating jobs.
(CNN) - With eight days to go until the South Carolina primary, a new poll suggests a close contest in the first southern state to vote in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
According to an American Research Group survey released Friday morning, 29% of likely Palmetto State GOP primary voters say they're backing Mitt Romney, with 25% supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Romney's four-point margin over Gingrich is within the poll's sampling error.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney is putting his endorsement from Gov. Nikki Haley front and center in a new mail piece sent out across South Carolina on Thursday.
The front flap of the mailer, which touts Romney's economic development plans, displays a photograph of Romney on stage with Haley at a recent campaign rally in New Hampshire.