[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/03/specter.gop/art.specter.walk.afp.gi.jpg caption="A new poll handicaps Arlen Specter's general election chances in 2010 against two prominent Pennsylvania Republicans."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll of Pennsylvania voters suggests that the newest Democrat in Congress, Sen. Arlen Specter, would easily beat his old rival, Republican Pat Toomey, in Specter's battle for re-election next year.
But the Quinnipiac University survey, released Monday, indicates that Specter would have a much tougher re-election fight on his hands if he faces
off in 2010 against former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.
Last Tuesday Specter, who has represented Pennsylvania in the Senate for nearly 30 years as a Republican, announced he was switching his party affiliation from the GOP to the Democrats.
The longtime moderate Republican said he was "anxious" to stay in the Senate, and didn't want to face a Republican primary in order to keep his seat next year.
"I was unwilling to subject my 29-year record in the U.S. Senate to the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate," Specter said Tuesday. "But I am pleased to run in the primary on the Democratic ticket and am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers in the general election."
Fifty-three percent of Pennsylvania voters say they would back Specter if their state's Senate race were held today, with 33 percent supporting Toomey. The fiscally conservative former congressman narrowly lost to Specter in the 2004 Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary and decided to take on Specter a second time after Specter was one of only three Republicans in Congress to vote for President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package.
But if Specter faces off against Ridge, a popular former Pennsylvania governor before joining the Bush Administration after the September 11th attacks as the first director and then secretary of Homeland Security, the poll indicates the race, if held today, would be extremely close. Forty-six percent of those questioned back Specter, with 43 percent supporting Ridge.
CNN's Dana Bash reports that Ridge has been formally approached by the Republican establishment in Pennsylvania to try and run in next year's election. A GOP strategist tells Bash that while it would be a struggle to encourage Ridge to run, the former governor did not close the door to the suggestion in his private conversation with top state Republicans.
"Gov. Tom Ridge is probably the only political figure in Pennsylvania who could give Sen. Arlen Specter a run for his money. But even if he gets a strong challenge from a Republican, Specter is still better off for having changed parties because he seemed headed to certain defeat had he stayed a Republican and faced Toomey in a primary," says Clay Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
(CNN) – A driving force behind the new effort to renew the GOP's image denied Monday that the group is looking to avoid addressing social issues that excite the conservative base but can be off-putting for moderate and independent voters.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia was joined at the group's town hall style kick off event Saturday by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
"During your meeting over the weekend, you didn't talk at all about abortion, gay marriage or immigration," American Morning's John Roberts said to Cantor Monday. "Those are three big Republican social issues. . . . Why were those issues left off the table?"
"The National Council for a New America is meant to be a wide-open policy debate," the Virginia Republican responded. "There is no exclusion about what we'll talk about, who can be involved.
"...The traditional family values are a part of everything we do. The value system that we hold raising our children, educating our children, delivering health care –these issues permeate everything, so there is absolutely no intention to veer away from discussion of any of that."
The goal is to help create new jobs in the United States and make the tax code fairer.
But tax policy experts and corporate lobbyists said said the measures, unless accompanied by a reduction in the corporate tax rate, will push more companies to move their operations - and jobs – overseas to more tax friendly countries.
The White House and Treasury Department laid out three proposals that they say will eliminate the current tax advantages U.S.-based multinationals get for investing and creating jobs abroad.
Among them, reforming the "deferral" rule that lets U.S.-based multinationals take deductions on their expenses supporting overseas operations but defer paying income tax on the profits they make from their overseas operations. They only need to pay U.S. income tax on those profits if and when they bring that money back to the United States.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/04/john.king.political.roundup/art.facebook.king.cnn.jpg caption="CNN's John King talks with newsmakers about the hot topics in Washington in the past week."]
Editor's note: John King, CNN's chief national correspondent and "State of the Union" host, examines the news made in Sunday talk and offers up this Monday morning crib sheet on what to watch this week in politics. Please note that all quotes are from rush transcripts and are subject to change. If you'd like to receive a sneak peek of next week's news in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up for the "Political Ticker newsletter" at http://www.cnn.com/profile/
(CNN) - It was another remarkably busy and newsy Sunday. And Sunday morning TV junkies saw the return of a term of Clinton-era lore: "The Full Ginsburg."
Depending on your perspective, Sunday's cover of Newsweek - featuring a pig's snout on an ominous black background - either reflected your anxiety over the spread of the H1N1 flu virus or was another example of media sensationalism. "Fear and the Flu" was the headline. Read Newsweek's coverage
It's been a week since the Obama administration declared a "national health emergency" over the swine flu spreading out of Mexico. To say there is unease across America is an understatement. That's where "The Full Ginsburg" comes into play.
The administration's top three "flu fighters" - Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius; and Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control - fanned out to all five Sunday news shows.
There were no "remotes." They visited the studios of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC - a feat first pulled off by William Ginsburg, the outspoken and always quotable attorney who represented former White House intern Monica Lewinski of Clinton impeachment fame.
It was a scheduling challenge not only for the Sunday bookers, but a logistics challenge for the security details and motorcade drivers. "We're getting to know each other very well," Sebelius said in an off-camera chat on the "State of the Union" set.
At "State of the Union," we decided this was a perfect opportunity to take the story out of Washington even as we sat on a set in Washington. Viewers asked many of the questions. They came in live by telephone, on CNNpolitics.com and on our Facebook page, and their straightforward style made for an informative conversation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House will unveil reforms to the nation's international tax code on Monday intended to close loopholes for overseas tax havens and end tax incentives for creating jobs overseas.
Senior administration officials briefed reporters Sunday evening in a conference call ahead of the announcement that will be made by President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
The two components of the president's plan include reforms that ensure the tax code does not handicap companies seeking to create jobs at home, as well as reforms that reduce the amount of tax revenue lost to tax havens.
The White House is targeting companies that use loopholes in the law that allow them to legally avoid paying billions in taxes. It also focuses on wealthy individuals who break the law by creating hidden overseas accounts.
The Obama administration plans to raise $103.1 billion dollars by removing tax advantages for investing overseas and will use that money to help make a tax credit permanent, the officials said. The administration also hopes to raise $95.2 billion dollars over the next 10 years by cracking down on overseas tax havens.
The White House, under the plan, would eliminate the "check-the-box" provision which allows corporations to designate overseas subsidiaries as branches of the company, not subjected to taxes. This tax loophole enables companies to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/03/art.sestakking.cnn.jpg caption="Sestak is weighing a 2010 Senate bid."](CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak told CNN Sunday that he wasn't sure Sen. Arlen Specter is really part of the Democratic Party, the latest in a series of tough comments aimed at his potential Senate primary rival.
"I'm not sure he's a Democrat yet," he told John King on State of the Union.
President Obama said earlier in the week that Specter had his support, with one administration official saying it took the president about "seven seconds" to make that decision.
Those remarks don't faze Sestak.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Obama likely to pick female nominee?
In the very early stages of the selection process to replace Justice David Souter, Obama administration officials say there is a strong inclination to pick a woman, but stress there is no short list and the field of candidates is wide open.
CNN: Rice: Bush wouldn't approve illegal interrogations
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended the Bush administration's policies on the interrogation of terrorism suspects Sunday, saying former President George W. Bush would not have authorized anything illegal.
CNN: Specter: Switch should be 'wake-up call' to GOP
Veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said Sunday that he hopes his recent switch to the Democratic Party will serve as a "wake-up call" to an increasingly conservative GOP.
CNN: Sestak says he's 'not sure' Specter's a Democrat yet
Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak told CNN Sunday that he wasn't sure Sen. Arlen Specter is really part of the Democratic Party, the latest in a series of tough comments aimed at his potential Senate primary rival.
CNN: Former Republican VP candidate, congressman Kemp dies
Former congressman and Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp died Saturday at age 73 after a battle with cancer, his family announced.
CNN: Conservatives prepare for Supreme battle
Few issues rally conservatives as much as a Supreme Court nomination - and activists are wasting no time gearing up for a battle.
NYT: Senators Accuse Pentagon of Delay in Recovering Millions
The Pentagon has done little to collect at least $100 million in overcharges paid in deals arranged by corrupt former officials of Kellogg Brown & Root, the defense contractor, even though the officials admitted much of the wrongdoing years ago, two senators have complained in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Washington Post: 4th-Grader Questions Rice on Waterboarding
Days after telling students at Stanford University that waterboarding was legal "by definition if it was authorized by the president," former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was pressed again on the subject yesterday by a fourth-grader at a Washington school.
Forbes: What Souter's Exit Means For Business
Justice David Souter's retirement from the Supreme Court gives President Obama an opportunity to appoint a left-leaning justice. How scared should business be? Not very.