WASHINGTON (CNN) – She’s lost her first born child, continues to battle cancer, suffered through coping with her husband’s extramarital affair, and been an integral part of two unsuccessful presidential campaigns.
But notwithstanding all of the sympathy from voters built up in favor of Elizabeth Edwards, two reporters suggested Sunday that the famous political spouse’s current media blitz could bankrupt her goodwill with the American public.
“She was painted as this martyr figure,” CNN American Morning Entertainment Reporter Lola Ogunnaike said on CNN’s Reliable Sources.“
“They had what seemed to be this ideal marriage. And it turns out that she was complicit in basically this cover- up. She knew all along that he'd had an affair, that he cheated on her, and decided that they would go along with this massive cover-up, and she ultimately decided that his political career was worth more than being honest.” Ogunnaike added.
Washington Post reporter Lois Romano said Mrs. Edwards recent efforts to rehash her husband’s extramarital affair in multiple interviews and her forthcoming book is filling some sort of need but is risky.
“There's clearly something in her personality that is pushing her to get the last word,” said Romano. “I think she is at risk of diminishing her own stature. I mean, people held her up as the soul of this relationship, and now she's turned it into a spectacle again,” Romano also said.
Romano also suggested that Mrs. Edwards’ book tour might backfire. “Well, I think what we're going to see here is we're going to see the curve of the public follow us [the media]. Right now . . . the public is still generally in support of her,” Romano said. “Let's see what happens after two weeks of this.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee criticized the Republican Party in a new Web video released Sunday evening for having former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen. John McCain serve as the GOP’s national spokesmen.
The 38-second clip, posted on YouTube, opens with the statement: “Meet the New GOP Sunday Show Guests” stripped across the screen before it shows the three Republicans being introduced on the Sunday morning talk shows. The videos closing line: “The New GOP. Same As The Old GOP.”
The DNC’s criticism is not new as Democrats are trying to exploit the fact that Republicans are engaged in some real soul searching as they consider how to rebuild the party in time for the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has denied she was ever told explicitly that waterboarding had been used on terrorist suspects, "has a lot of explaining to do," former Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday.
Gingrich, who held the House post from 1995 to 1999, said Pelosi keeps changing her statements on how much she knew about the practice and when.
In the interest of national security, "she [Pelosi] has a responsibility to say nothing or tell the truth," he told "Fox News Sunday." "In this case, it's clear she wasn't telling the truth."
A CIA memo provided to CNN by Republican sources lists 40 briefings for members of Congress from September 2002 to March 2009.
The first briefing - on September 4, 2002 - was for then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the committee.
The subject of the briefing is listed as "EITs," or enhanced interrogation techniques, "including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah," a suspected al Qaeda leader imprisoned at U.S. facilities in Guantanamo Bay.
One of those techniques is waterboarding, which simulates drowning and which has been described by critics as torture.
Initially, Pelosi said she had not been briefed on EITs, according to the memo provided to CNN by Republican sources.
Editor's note: On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country.
LOS ANGELES (CNN) - The tears begin and her voice trembles as Ruth Martinez remembers the first few days of her new world.
She would leave work, pick up her son Jacob at school and drive aimlessly, sometimes sneaking back to the office, "to watch TV there without my boss knowing."
Her husband had lost his job, and the stress drove them apart. Then Martinez was evicted. Suddenly, her car was her home. And she was afraid to ask for help.
"We just prayed," Martinez told us. "And I was embarrassed because a Hispanic Latina does not ask for help. The way I was raised, you put your pride to the side and did what you had to do."
Rudy Salinas finds them in cars, under bridges, in abandoned homes, and even in protected trenches artfully dug by the military veterans who put survival skills learned in Iraq and Afghanistan to use in America's inner cities.
Salinas has been working to help the homeless here for eight years now, driving the streets every day looking for people hiding under bridges and in abandoned properties. More and more of late, there are people in business clothes, heading off to work. More and more, they are women with young children.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama's recent, much anticipated speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner turned from light-hearted to serious when the commander in chief addressed the role of the press in the country's democracy. Watch this clip from CNN's Reliable Sources.
Syracuse, NY (CNN ) - Vice President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address to the class of 2009 at Syracuse University Sunday, telling students to remain optimistic despite the challenges the country faces.
Biden compared today's challenges, such as the weak job market the 3,400 graduating students are facing, to those his generation dealt with - such as
the Vietnam War, race riots and political upheaval.
He noted that just three days after he graduated on the same field where he was speaking, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Biden is a 1968 graduate of Syracuse College of Law.
He called on the students to embrace the challenging times as an opportunity to make real change in the world.
"Throughout the span of history, only a handful of us ever get a chance to actually shape the course of history," he said.
Biden's remarks were well received by the crowd of nearly 20,000 people.
"He was really passionate talking about how this is the time to make a change, and we are the kids who are actually going to do it," said Adam Teitelbaum, a finance and entrepreneurship major.
The university presented Biden with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Biden also wished all of the mothers in the crowd a Happy Mother's Day and offered the graduates one of his favorite lines:
"If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mom told you."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Pennsylvania’s junior Sen. Bob Casey appeared to open the door Sunday for a possible challenger to Arlen Specter, the state’s senior senator and a newly-minted Democrat.
Casey seemed to part ways with his party’s leadership when asked by CNN’s John King whether Democratic Party leaders - including President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell - should be making public pledges of support to Specter in an apparent effort to dissuade any would-be primary challengers to the former Republican.
“I don’t think anyone in our party should ever dictate to a candidate,” Casey said on State of the Union. “That’s really up to that candidate, to run or not run,” Casey, a longtime Obama backer added.
Casey, who recently announced his own support for Specter, seemed to be acknowledging the possible candidacy of Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak.
While Sestak has yet to formally announce that he will challenge Specter for Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate nomination, the congressman has been critical of Specter in a number of interviews since Specter’s recent defection to the Democratic Party.
A week ago on State of the Union, Sestak questioned whether Specter was a Democrat yet. That criticism was shortly followed by Sestak suggesting that even if Specter won in 2010, he might not be a reliable member of the Democratic Party in 2016.
Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Torsella, who announced his intention to run before Specter’s party switch, has said he is staying in the race and will challenge Specter for the Democratic nod.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican who was considered a potentially formidable challenger to Specter in a general election match-up, recently announced that he will not run for election to the Senate in 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday he'd be willing to go to Congress to fight for continued use of interrogation methods that the Obama administration has declared illegal torture.
"Certainly," Cheney told CBS' "Face the Nation," when asked whether he'd be willing to make a trip to Capitol Hill. "I've made it very clear that I feel very strongly that what we did here was exactly the right thing to do."
When asked whether he'd be willing to testify under oath, Cheney responded, "I'd have to see what the circumstances are and what kind of precedent we were setting. But certainly I wouldn't be out here today if I didn't feel comfortable talking about what we're doing publicly."
Program host Bob Schieffer said the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, recently told him he would want Cheney to testify under oath.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Prominent Republican Bill Bennett took issue Sunday with what he called the “media’s focus” on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Asked about the Republican Party’s increasingly public struggle to define itself and identify new leaders after eight years of the George W. Bush administration, Bennett said the press should be less myopic in its coverage of the GOP.
“One of the things the media could do – some of the media – is to move the debate off Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh,” Bennett, a CNN Contributor, said on State of the Union. “This is probably not the future of the Republican Party,” added Bennett.
“You don’t think Gov. Palin’s the future of the Republican Party?” queried CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“I do not,” said Bennett. “It could talk about a Paul Ryan or a Mike Pence. It could talk about a Bobby Jindal. It could talk even about a John Kyl or a David Petraeus. You know, there’s a lot of talent in this party.”
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile has her own ideas about who the GOP might look to, to help find its way out of the political wilderness.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The pundits on cable were hot and bothered by one of President Obama’s requirements for a Supreme Court Justice.
“I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes,” Obama said last week at a White House press briefing.
Washington Times columnist Amanda Carpenter explained conservatives’ concern about the “empathy” issue on Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz Sunday morning. Several conservatives on cable, radio and in print argued that “empathy” is a code word for “liberal.” On Fox News, Sean Hannity said that Democrats “want the courts to take over and engage in social engineering.”
"Empathy, it's an emotive term. I mean, Barack Obama is calling for a judge who will take their emotions into account when making a judicial decision," Carpenter told Howard Kurtz.
"This is hilarious," TIME Magazine’s Joe Klein said in response. "This is 'Exhibit A' of what I was just talking about. The Republicans, when they hit the word 'empathy,' are being hateful and ugly."