Steele's recent comments on abortion did not sit well with some Republicans (GETTY IMAGES)
(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele - already under fire from some in the GOP over his turbulent first month at the helm of the party — looked to ease conservative concerns Thursday over his comments suggesting abortion is an "individual choice."
"I am pro-life, always have been, always will be," Steele said in a statement. "I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a 'choice' before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances."
On Wednesday, GQ magazine published a recent interview with Steele on its Web site, during which the RNC chairman called abortion a "choice" and said the matter should be left up to the states to decide.
"I think that’s an individual choice," he said of abortion, adding that he thinks Roe v. Wade was a "wrongly decided matter."
"The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide."
The comments haven't sat well with some conservative activists, and Steele has reportedly reached out to several in order ease concerns on his abortion stance.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, is among the group of conservatives who have publicly expressed concern:
"I expressed my concerns to the chairman earlier this week about previous statements that were very similar in nature. He assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the Party platform, which is very clear on these issues," Perkins said. "It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge."
Perkins is expected to have more to say on the matter later Thursday after speaking with Steele directly, according to a spokesman for the Family Research Council.
But in his statement, Steele said he is committed to the GOP's pro-life platform.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden told a group of state leaders Thursday that the Obama administration is set to unveil a series of regulations restricting the use of funds from the recently-enacted economic stimulus plan.
The new rules are expected to be rolled out on Friday.
The government needs to go "above and beyond the typical ways of doing business" to help the economy, President Obama said at a White House conference on best practices for implementing the $787 billion package.
His comments came as he joined the conference. Biden addressed attendees earlier in the day.
Obama said if money is being misspent, "we will call it out and we will publicize it."
"A lot of money is coming out quickly [and] it's got to be spent wisely," the president warned.
Biden also emphasized that the new funds are not part of business as usual.
"Let's get this straight. ... This is a different deal," the vice president said. "This is not your usual federal grant going to the states."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the administration will announce new regulations tomorrow governing how stimulus money can - and can't - be spent.
"We have asked a lot of the American people, a great deal of the American people in supporting this effort and so this is a different deal," he told a group of state officials gathered at the White House Thursday. "This is not your usual federal grant going to the state. ...Just because it may be legal, it is not acceptable, some of it."
He added that there will be "no swimming pools in this money."
(CNN) - Another new poll in New Jersey spells more trouble for Gov. Jon Corzine's bid for re-election.
A Quinnipiac University poll of New Jersey registered voters released Thursday indicates that Corzine trails Chris Christie, his likely Republican challenger in this year's general election campaign, by 9 points in a hypothetical matchup. Christie's lead is up from a 6 point margin in a Quinnipiac poll in February, despite relatively low public knowledge about the former U.S. Attorney - 61 percent of those questioned in the survey said they don't know enough about Christie to form an opinion.
Half of all voters disapprove of the job Corzine's doing as New Jersey governor, with 40 percent approving of how he's performing. And 53 percent of those questioned said Corzine doesn't deserve to be re-elected, with 34 percent saying he does deserve a second term.
The Quinnipiac poll follows a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey released last week that contained similar results.
(PEOPLE) - Standing outside his family home in Wasilla, Alaska, Wednesday, the 19-year-old Levi Johnston confirmed that the end of his engagement to Bristol Palin was mutual and decided "a while ago." But, he also told the Associated Press that the rumors on the Internet of why and how were inaccurate.
Meanwhile, Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, issued a statement through her mother's political action committee, saying, "Unfortunately, my family has seen many people say and do many things to 'cash in' on the Palin name. Sometimes that greed clouds good judgment and the truth."
Full story at People.com
(CNN) - The Republican National Committee said Thursday it is pumping more cash into the March 31 special election contest in New York’s 20th congressional district, transferring $100,000 to the New York State Republican Committee, as a new poll shows sliding support for the GOP candidate in that race.
“The RNC is proud to make an investment in our state parties and hard working grassroots," RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "These funds will be used to show our commitment to re-establishing a strong GOP presence in the Northeast. Our party is devoting the energy and resources necessary to win the special election in New York’s 20th Congressional district.”
The new spending comes as a Siena poll released Thursday suggests GOP New York assemblyman Jim Tedisco's lead over Democratic venture capitalist Scott Murphy has plummeted by two-thirds over the past two weeks, to just 4 points, despite the district's traditionally Republican bent.
(CNN) – Actor Chuck Norris has his eyes on the presidency, but not the White House. Norris wrote that he would be interested in becoming the president of Texas, if the state were ever to secede from the Union.
“I may run for president of Texas,” Norris wrote Monday in a column posted at WorldNetDaily. “That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.”
The actor claimed “thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation” and said that if states decide to secede from the union, that Texas would lead the way.
“Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we'd do if the going got rough in America,” Norris wrote.
“Let there be no doubt about that.” Norris was a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid, and he helped to draw attention to the former Arkansas governor’s campaign.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - National Democrats plan to unveil a new theme Thursday morning in their ongoing campaign to portray conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as the true leader of the Republican Party.
"Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure," is the slogan that will be splashed across a billboard in Limbaugh's hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida, and printed on T-shirts, a Democratic National Committee official told CNN.
Limbaugh has said several times that he hopes President Barack Obama fails, a sentiment that has put elected Republicans in a tight spot during this time of economic crisis.
The DNC official said more than 80,000 slogans were submitted for the contest, and more than 50,000 people helped narrow the list to the top five.
The timing of when the billboard will be set up has not been finalized, the official said.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: House Dems say no new stimulus in the works
House Democratic aides denied Wednesday that work is already underway on a second stimulus package.
CNN: Bill Clinton: Road to health care reform easier now
Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that overhauling the nation's health care system should be easier now than when he tried in the early '90s, despite the current financial doldrums.
CNN: S.C. governor evokes Zimbabwe in arguments against stimulus
The United States faces a Zimbabwe-style economic collapse if it keeps "spending a bunch of money we don't have," South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday.
Washington Post: Workers' Health Benefits Eyed for Taxation
With President Obama's plan to tax the rich to pay for health care facing deep skepticism on Capitol Hill, key lawmakers are pressing a different way to raise money: taxing the health benefits workers receive from their employers.
WSJ: Split Is Sought for Tanker Deal
House lawmakers are working to split a politically charged, $40 billion effort to replace the U.S. Air Force's fleet of flying gas stations between Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Washington Times: Infighting knocks wind from energy plans
Bureaucratic infighting is holding up one of the Obama administration's top goals in renewable energy – the construction of wind turbines off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts that would generate clean electricity and create "green" jobs.