Washington (CNN) - Congress appeared headed for a major partisan showdown over financial regulation reform, with Senate Republicans reiterating their opposition Sunday to a bill that Democrats say will prevent another Wall Street meltdown like the one that precipitated the U.S. recession.
While some officials hinted that behind-the-scenes talks could yield a deal, the rhetoric signaled deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats intended to score political points as the campaign season approaches for mid-term congressional elections in November.
Warner said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, that the disputed fund was the last in a series of measures designed to revamp how Washington oversees Wall Street and to prevent taxpayers from again being called on to provide massive infusions of cash to financial institutions that are the pillars of the economy.
Despite Republican protests that Democrats are trying to pass the reform legislation in a partisan way and with next to no Republican input or support, Warner said the process of crafting the bill “has been very bipartisan.” He said he has been working for more than a year with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, on crafting the package of reforms.
The crafting of the legislation, the former Virginia governor said, has been driven by three goals: (1) “end ‘too big to fail,’” the notion that some financial institutions are so important to the economy that they should not be allowed to collapse under any circumstances because of the wider damage their demise would do to the economy; (2) “never have taxpayer exposure [for bailouts] again,” and (3) “make sure that we set up financial rules of the road for the 21st century.”
Washington (CNN) – A freshman Democratic senator said Sunday that he supports a proposal that would create a bipartisan commission intended to help Congress control federal spending and borrowing.
Last week, the top Democrat and top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan task force charged with making recommendations to Congress for reining in runaway spending that threatens to overwhelm the federal budget. Specifically, the commission would suggest ways to curb spending growth, especially in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and to boost tax revenue.
The proposed commission would include members of Congress from both parties along with representatives of the administration. Once the commission submitted its recommendations to Congress, Congress would then have to vote yes or no to the commission's suggestions without filibustering or amending them.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who also sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said Sunday that he supports the proposal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With just over a month to go until election day in Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is deploying the state's most popular elected politician in a big way.
The Deeds campaign debuted a new television ad featuring Sen. Mark Warner - also the state's governor from 2002 to 2006 - vouching for the Democratic nominee and talking about the economy. The ad is airing throughout the commonwealth, according to a campaign aide, but is not yet running in the pricey Washington, D.C. media market.
"The choice in this election for Governor is really pretty simple," Warner says, speaking directly into the camera. "Do we move Virginia forward by continuing the pro-business economic policies that I helped put in place? Or do we go backwards with the failed economic approach that ruined our economy?"
Recent polls suggest that nearly two-thirds of Virginia voters have a favorable opinion of Warner, and he enjoyed sky-high approval ratings by the time he left the governor's office in January 2006 - thanks largely to his success at creating jobs and his efforts to fix the state's budget. Warner ushered through a bipartisan budget package in 2004 that included a tax increase. an effort that rescued the budget and maintained the state's precious AAA-bond rating.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Bob McDonnell took a page from the Mark Warner playbook on Monday by announcing the formation of a group called "Virginians for McDonnell" - "a broad group of Democrats, Independents and Republicans" supporting his gubernatorial bid, according to his campaign.
The group is patterned after "Virginians for Warner," a committee of Republicans and independents that helped raise money for Mark Warner when he ran for governor in 2001 and for Senate in 2008. In both campaigns, Warner presented himself as a business-minded moderate who could rise above party politics.
McDonnell is taking a similarly pragmatic tack in 2009, even with a conservative voting record and ties to the religious right.
His rival in the race, Democrat Creigh Deeds, is a conservative Democrat who has pledged to follow in the footsteps of Warner and current governor Tim Kaine, both of whom remain popular among Virginia voters. Not surprisingly, Warner himself is sticking with his own party and supporting Deeds.
In 2008, the "Virginians for Warner" coalition counted among its ranks hundreds of Republican and independent officials.
But McDonnell's new group, which includes members from "Virginians for Warner," is considerably smaller: There are 22 members, a roster that includes a few Democrats but no major party figures holding elected office. Most of the group's members are independents and Republicans who supported Warner in the past but are now returning to the GOP fold.
(CNN) - CNN is projecting that Mark Warner has won Virginia's Senate race.
GOP Sen. John Warner won the last race with more than 80 percent of the vote - but the only politician to rival him in popularity was former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner. If the veteran Republican senator had not retired, the battle of the Warners promised to be a tough fight.
But Mark Warner's Republican opponent was the far less-popular former Gov. Jim Gilmore, who mounted a barely-noticed presidential bid this cycle. With Warner's massive fundraising and organizing advantage, the race was a foregone conclusion for months. Virginia, which had not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson ran for re-election in 1964, delivered its electoral votes to Barack Obama last night. The party now also controls the governor's mansion, and both Senate seats.
DENVER (CNN) – A source close to Mark Warner who helped the Senate candidate craft his convention keynote speech said criticism by senior Democrats that his planned remarks were not partisan enough were off-base – because the Virginia Senate candidate's bi-partisan reputation is precisely why he was asked to speak in the first place.
“That is at odds with the notion that he should be the person ripping the bark off McCain,” this source said.
In a Huffington Post op-ed titled "Please, Democrats, Attack" Begala said he recognized that Warner was running this year in a traditionally Republican state, but that "Democrats should not have put Warner in this bind."
In his speech, Warner will include one of the Obama camp’s main themes – that the Illinois senator represents change versus four more years of the same - but the crux of his speech will be talking about working together with Republicans and the lessons and success he had doing that in Virginia.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Virginia Governor and Senate candidate Mark Warner will deliver the keynote address at this month’s 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign announced Wednesday that Warner will deliver the speech on the convention’s second night, Tuesday August 26 - that’s also the night that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) will also speak in prime time. Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination, dropping her bid for the White House and backing Obama just two months ago, after the end of the primary season.
But Warner gets the coveted role of keynote speaker. Four years ago a little-known state lawmaker from Illinois who was running for the Senate had the same role. His speech at the convention in Boston was highly praised by Democrats. That man, Obama, went on to win his election and now the Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Warner won election as Virginia’s governor in 2001, the first in a string of statewide election victories by Democrats this decade in a state that was once dominated by Republicans. Warner is now facing off with the man he succeeded in Richmond, Republican Jim Gilmore, in the battle to succeed retiring Senator John Warner (no relation to Mark Warner), a Republican who has held the seat for three decades.
Democrats say the theme of the second night of the convention will be “Renewing America’s Promise.”
Former Virginia Gov. Gilmore participating in a Republican presidential debate prior to dropping his White House bid.
WASHINGTON – (CNN) Jim Gilmore officially jumped into the race for the Senate Monday.
The former Republican Governor of Virginia announced in an e-mail and on the Internet that he’s a candidate for the seat of retiring Senator John Warner, a long time Republican Senator from Virginia who announced earlier this year that he’ll retire at the end of his term rather than run for re-election next year.
"America has a lot of work to do and doesn't have the right leaders to do it," says Gilmore in his announcement, adding that "I'm running for the United State Senate from Virginia because I want to be one of those leaders who call on the spirit that is common in all of us, and use it to restore our country for the benefit of our people and in the eyes of the world."
Gilmore’s announcement sets up an expected high profile contest between two former Virginia governors. Democrat Mark Warner, who succeeded Gilmore at the State House in Richmond, jumped into the race for the senate seat earlier this year. Warner is not related to the retiring senator.
Besides being former Virginia governors, Mark Warner and John Gilmore have something else in common: White House aspirations.
Mark Warner contemplated a presidential bid last year before deciding against it. Gilmore jumped into the race for the White House late last year before dropping out in July.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser