(CNN) - President Obama and his family leave Friday for a weekend getaway to Maine, but along with a little rest and relaxation comes criticism that the president is taking it easy with the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis in a critical phase.
The Obamas plan to spend the weekend on Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. The trip marks the president's third vacation since the oil disaster began in April.
The Republican National Convention launched a website blasting what it considers Obama's "leisure activities or missteps" during the oil disaster, like playing golf, attending concerts and vacationing in Asheville, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; and now Maine.
(CNN) - Lawmakers on Thursday will get their first chance to grill BP CEO Tony Hayward, the man fighting to save his and his company's reputation as BP fights to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Hayward will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. The hearing will examine what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in April and the oil disaster.
A letter to Hayward from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, says a congressional investigation alleges that the besieged oil company took a low-cost, speedy approach to drilling the now-broken deepwater well responsible for the growing spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The hearing comes a day after Hayward met with President Obama, who last week charged that if it were up to him, Hayward would have been fired by then.
(CNN) - As Sharron Angle celebrated her win in Nevada's Republican Senate primary, she praised the Tea Party activists who backed her campaign and vowed to return the country to its constitutional principles.
Angle, a former Nevada Assembly member criticized as being too far from the mainstream to win, soared to the front of the crowded field of more than a dozen GOP candidates. She'll face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the general election.
The Tea Party Express, which endorsed her campaign, declared Angle's win "a huge victory for the Tea Parties."
But so far this election season, the message for Tea Party activists has been "you win some, you lose some."
As Angle was declaring victory, several time zones away, a slew of Tea Party candidates were going home empty-handed after establishment candidate Robert Hurt stomped them in the primary race for Virginia's 5th Congressional District.
Despite a nationwide wave of anti-incumbent fervor and a Tea Party cry to "throw the bums out," far more sitting lawmakers have survived than have been ousted.
(CNN) - Whoomp, there he is! Or is he?
Conspiracy theorists suspect that a left-handed, dominoes-playing dude who appears in the music video for Tag Team's single "Whoomp (There It Is)" is none other than President Obama.
The Obama look-alike makes a cameo about a minute into the video, sporting shades, flashy rings and a Zack Morris cell phone.
Online message boards have been abuzz with what would be the best kept secret of the Obama presidency.
Their argument: The guy flashing a smile in the 1993 music video looks a lot like the president, who would have been about 31 at the time.
(CNN) - With his loss in the Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary, Sen. Arlen Specter became the latest high-profile candidate that a boost from President Obama couldn't save.
Specter, the Republican-turned Democrat, lost Tuesday to U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
Sestak called his victory "a win for the people, over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C."
Observers called it a bruise for the White House.
(CNN) - Most people following the primaries are a lot more excited about the races coming up next week than those taking place on Tuesday.
Will Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lose in Arkansas? Can Sen. Arlen Specter survive his first Democratic primary? Will newcomer Rand Paul upset the establishment and win Kentucky's Republican Senate race? Will the anti-incumbent fervor take hold of voters and wipe out Congress as we know it?
Those questions can wait.
Before you get too overwhelmed with anticipation, take a minute to check out the contests taking place this week.
Here are three things to watch in Tuesday's contests in Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia.
The Obama administration is assisting efforts to combat the massive oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
(CNN) - A month after announcing plans to expand offshore drilling, President Obama visited ground zero of the Gulf Coast oil disaster and warned that residents could be facing a "potentially unprecedented environmental disaster."
"The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home," Obama said Sunday in Venice, Louisiana.
The president reiterated that oil company BP is responsible for the leak and will foot the cost of the cleanup. He pledged to "spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues."
Obama's remarks were a stark contrast from his late March proposal to open swaths of U.S. coastal waters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas drilling.
(CNN) - Now that Arizona lawmakers have passed what's considered some of the toughest immigration legislation in the country, other states are watching to see whether they should follow in the state's footsteps or stand back.
Arizona's bill orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.
Critics, including immigrant advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, are concerned that the legislation will foster racial profiling, arguing that most police officers don't have enough training to look past race while investigating a person's legal status.
The bill made it through the state Senate on Monday after it was passed by the state House last week. It's now awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Supporters of the measure expect her to sign it. Latino members of Congress are calling on Brewer to veto it.
(CNN) - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday that he still has his eyes on City Hall.
Should Mayor Richard Daley decide not to seek reelection, "one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago," Emanuel told PBS host Charlie Rose.
"That's always been an aspiration of mine," he said, according to a transcript of the interview.
Daley, who turns 68 this weekend, has been the city's mayor since 1989. Chicago's mayoral election is next year, but the Democratic politician has yet to announce whether he'll run again.
"I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection," Emanuel said.
(CNN) - Opponents of Meg Whitman's gubernatorial campaign have launched a Web site that relies on the public to help them "fully vet" the Republican candidate's credentials.
Wikimeg.com is marketed as a "bold new experiment in democracy."
The open source site encourages users to post information about the former eBay CEO in categories including "eBay Stories," "Meg History" and "Meg Sightings."
The site was launched Monday by Level The Playing Field 2010, a group run by California Democratic strategists who support Democratic candidate Jerry Brown.
Wikimeg.com discloses that "the structure of the project allows anyone with an Internet connection to alter its content," so its creators can't guarantee that what is posted is accurate. Users are asked to link to their sources or identify themselves if they are contributing first-hand information.
Sean Clegg, campaign manager for Level The Playing Field, said the site is monitored for editorial content, but the hope is that as the project moves forward, "the online community that's been created by it will begin to essentially govern itself."
Asked about the site, Whitman's campaigned deferred to its intern, Marcheta Marshall, who said in a statement: "Looks like these guys are pretty worried about Meg.