(CNN) - A Republican congressional candidate in Idaho who was recruited by national Republicans and endorsed by Sarah Palin was defeated Tuesday in a primary election.
Idaho state Representative Raul Labrador topped Vaughn Ward in the battle for the GOP nomination for Idaho's 1st Congressional District.
Ward, an Iraq war veteran who served as a campaign state coordinator for Sen. John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, was picked as a candidate for the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Gun's" program. He greatly outraised Labrador in the race for campaign cash, and Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee who was born in Idaho, joined Ward at a rally last week.
But Ward apparently damaged his bid in recent weeks, allegedly plagiarizing from a speech President Barack Obama made at the 2004 Democratic convention. He also mistakenly alluded that Puerto Rico was a country during a recent debate.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama heads to North Carolina today to tout his plans to create jobs, his third visit to the politically important state since he entered the White House.
The president is expected to make his remarks at a Charlotte company that's hired new workers and beefed up operations partially because of grants from the economic stimulus program.
Obama last visited the state in July, when he held a town hall on health care reform in Raleigh. Prior to that visit, the president outlined his plans for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, during a speech at Camp Lejeune Marine Base in North Carolina in February of last year.
(CNN) - One week after Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced he would campaign for the Senate next year rather than run for re-election, a new poll indicates he comfortably leads his primary and general challengers.
The popular first term governor announced last week that he would forgo re-election in 2010 and instead run for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Mel Martinez, a fellow Republican. Crist was immediately backed by some top Republicans in Washington.
A new Mason-Dixon poll, the first survey to question Florida voters since that announcement, indicates that if the Republican primary for the Senate seat were held today, Crist would easily top former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio 53 percent to 18 percent, who is considered more conservative than Crist.
The poll also suggests Crist would beat Democrat Kendrick Meek, a Congressman from south Florida, by 31 points and would defeat state senator Dan Gelber by 35 points in hypothetical general election matchups.
"Crist seems to be popular throughout Florida, but he also benefits in early polling from being the only Senate candidate who has been on a statewide ballot," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The challenge for the challengers is to boost their name ID in parts of the state where they have never run before. If one or more of them do that, the election results in 2010 may look nothing like today's poll."
The Mason Dixon poll was conducted May 14-18, with 625 Florida voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
(CNN) - Call him Fundraiser-in-chief.
Before heading home from Indiana yesterday, following his commencement address at The University of Notre Dame, the president stopped off in Indianapolis for two political fundraisers.
About 40 people attended a $15,000-per-couple event for the Democratic National Committee, which raised between $300,000 and $400,000 for the party. Some 650 people packed a second fundraiser, for four Indiana Democratic congressmen. Tickets for that even ranged from $250 to $5,000 per person.
Indiana native John Mellencamp performed at the larger fundraiser. For Mellencamp, it was a return to politics. The rock legend took to the stage at Obama campaign events last year during the Indiana primary.
Last November, Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Indiana since 1964.
Reflecting on that victory, the president told the crowd that, "I know that I'm here tonight because of you, and folks like you across this country who made the phone calls, and knocked on the doors, and registered voters, and dug deep and gave whatever you could, because you were hungry for new ideas and new leadership and a new kind of politics."
Sunday night's events were the first fundraisers Obama has attended outside Washington since becoming president in January. Obama is scheduled to team up with Sen. Harry Reid for a fundraiser for the Senate Majority Leader next week in Las Vegas. Reid is up for re-election next year.
According to local reports, some 100 people protesting Obama's economic policies demonstrated outside the downtown Indianapolis hotel where the two fundraisers were held.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A average of the most recent national polls indicates that nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job Barack Obama's doing as president.
According to a CNN Poll of Polls compiled Thursday, 64 percent say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties as president. Twenty-eight percent disapprove.
The President's approval rating also stood at 64 percent in a CNN Poll of Polls compiled in January, just after inauguration.
"Most polls have shown Obama getting fairly high marks on most of the issues he has handled so far," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "One exception has been the way he has handled government assistance to failing banks and automakers. His numbers on the federal deficit are also low in comparison to his approval ratings on the economy and foreign policy."
So how does Obama compare to his predecessors in the White House around the first 100 days mark?
How's the president doing? CNN Radio breaks down the numbers
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain says he'd vote against the bill backed by President Obama to pump up the economy.
The former GOP presidential nominee said Monday on CNN's "American Morning" that he's working with a group of fellow Republican senators to come up with an alternative package that emphasizes payroll tax cuts, incentives for people to stay in their homes, and an end to the stimulus spending when the economy begins to recover.
The Senate is expected to begin debate Monday on a nearly $900 billion stimulus plan. An $819 billion dollar version of the bill passed the House of Representatives last week without a single Republican vote. All 177 GOP House members voted against the legislation, saying it was too heavy on spending and too thin on tax cuts.
McCain's hungry for more tax cuts in the bill, saying "we would like too to see more incentives such as a $15,000 tax credit for home ownership. We would like to see elimination of these policy changes which have nothing to do with jobs, we want the stimulus package to focus on jobs."
And McCain says that some provisions in the current bill, crafted by Congressional Democrats, need to go, adding that "many of the policy changes they put in have nothing to do with stimulating the economy."
The senator from Arizona also called for serious negations with the Democrats who run the Senate, saying that '"we are clearly prepared to sit down, discuss, negotiate, a try to get a stimulus package that will create jobs. We all know how tough the economy is. It's been rammed through the Senate so far, we need to seriously negotiate. We haven't done that yet. We can do it, though."