[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/30/art.steeleseal0330.gi.jpg caption="RNC chairman Michael Steele will issue a rallying cry to his embattled party in a speech Tuesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will tell GOP state leaders Tuesday that they must embrace conservative principles, focus their efforts on rebuilding the party and highlight the policy differences between Republican ideals and President Obama's agenda.
"The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over," Steele will say in a speech to the RNC's 2009 State Chairmen's Meeting, according to excerpts obtained by CNN. "It is done. We have turned the page, we have turned the corner. No more looking in the review mirror. From this point forward, we will focus all of our energies on winning the future."
Congressional Republicans, who were loyal to President Bush throughout a majority of his two terms, largely sought to break with him in the 2008 elections because he had become a political liability.Over the past few months, GOP lawmakers have acknowledged that the party moved away from one of its core principles of smaller government and less federal spending during the Bush era.
Steele, who was elected to head the party in January, will say the GOP is now "beginning to rally" at the grassroots level after losing control of the White House and additional seats in the Senate and House in November.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In one of the federal government's most dramatic steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions ever, President Obama on Tuesday will combine California's tough auto-emission rules with the federal government's current fuel efficiency guidelines to create one tough new national standard for cars and light trucks, according to a senior administration official.
The new regulations will take effect beginning in 2012 and force automobiles to get more fuel efficient over the course of the following five years. By 2016, cars will be required to get 39 miles per gallon while light trucks will be forced to reach 30 mpg for a fleet average of 35.5 miles per gallon, according to the senior administration official. The current standards require 22.2 MPG for passenger cars and 23.12 MPG for 2009 models of light trucks and SUVs.
"This has the effect of preserving consumer choice," said the senior administration official, who briefed reporters in advance of the official announcement. "You can continue to buy whatever sized car you like. All cars get cleaner."
Obama will unveil the changes at a 12:15pm event in the Rose Garden on Tuesday. Administration officials say that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will both be in attendance for the event along with executives from auto manufacturing companies.
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has been tapped as a United Nations special envoy to Haiti, U.N. officials confirmed on Monday.
An official announcement will be made Tuesday on the selection of the two-term president, officials said.
One of Pelosi's closest allies in the House, Connecticut Democrat John Larson, acknowledged to CNN that the Speaker's news conference last week could have been better, but insisted there hasn't been any fallout among Democrats.
"Perhaps it wasn't one of her best press conferences. But certainly everyone in this caucus stands behind her to be the lead in our caucus. I don't know if it could have been done better or not, but our caucus is entirely behind her, " Larson said.
Several Democratic sources tell CNN that privately, some congressional Democrats are baffled by Pelosi's decision to escalate the controversy last week by going after the CIA.
But Larson, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, also said he's spoken to members over the weekend and that they are "solidly behind the Speaker."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/26/art.getty.huckabee.jpg caption="Huckabee is going after Pelosi over the CIA controversy."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mike Huckabee has apparently found his muse: Nancy Pelosi.
Huckabee penned a poem about the House speaker, who has come under fire from the GOP for accusing the CIA of lying to her in intelligence briefings about the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques.
The seven-stanza poem, found on the former presidential candidate’s Web site, is called “Fancy Nancy.”
Huckabee calls Pelosi a “ruthless politician” and tweaks the San Franscisco Democrat for her use of a military plane for travel back to her district.
But the heart of the poem is about Pelosi's CIA he-said-she-said:
She sat in briefings and knew about enhanced interrogation; But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
She disparages the CIA and says they are a bunch of liars; Even the press aren't buying it and they're stoking their fires.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Most Americans say they are not concerned about the personal characteristics of the next Supreme Court justice - but they have very firm opinions about that person's experience and legal credentials, according to a new survey.
Nearly nine in ten Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday say that it is important to them that President Obama's nominee for the high court have some experience as a judge. Experience in elected office is much less important - roughly half say it is important to have someone on the Court who has served in elected office, and half say that doesn't matter.
The public is much less concerned about gender or race. Ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be the only woman currently serving on the high court, but most Americans - including a majority of women - say it is not vital to for the president to nominate a woman to replace Justice David Souter. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed - 65 percent of men, and 58 percent of women - say it is not important for Obama to pick a woman. The sampling error on the question for all Americans is plus or minus 3 percentage points; for the results by gender, it is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Fewer still say the race or ethnicity of the nominee is important. There are no Hispanics on the Supreme Court, but roughly three in four of those polled say it is not important for President Obama to name a Hispanic nominee. Nearly eight in 10 say it is not important to them that the nominee be black.
What about the issues that the next justice will tackle once he or she is elevated to the high court? Only three in ten Americans would like to see the Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/15/pelosi.waterboarding/art.pelosi.torture.cnn.jpg caption="House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that she was misled by the CIA about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Nancy Pelosi continues to face a firestorm over what she may have known about aggressive government interrogation techniques, and when, a new survey has more unpleasant news for the House Speaker.
Nearly half of all Americans - 48 percent - disapprove of how the California Democrat she is handling her job as Speaker of the House in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, while 39 percent approve of her performance.
That rating makes her less popular than other members of her party - congressional Democrats drew a 51 percent approval rating in last month's CNN/ORC survey - and roughly in line with the congressional GOP, which drew positive ratings in April from just 39 percent of those polled.
That puts her approval rating at roughly the levels Newt Gingrich had in his first year as Speaker of the House. (Back in 1995, Gingrich's approval rating was 37 percent; by 1997 - at the same point in his speakership that Pelosi is now - that had dropped to just 25 percent.)
The telephone poll of 1,010 Americans was conducted May 14-17, and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/21/art.getty.obama.2.26.jpg caption="A new CNN poll gives President Obama a 62 percent approval rating."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six in ten Americans continue to approve of how Barack Obama is handling his job as president - and despite the controversy over Obama's appearance at Notre Dame on Sunday, Catholics have a high opinion of him, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.
According to the survey released Monday, there is virtually no difference between the views of Obama among practicing Catholics and Catholics who do not attend Mass regularly. Obama's position on abortion has no effect on how most Americans - and how most Catholics - view Obama.
Sixty-two percent of Americans polled approve of Obama's performance, and 35 percent do not approve. Among Catholics, the poll suggests 65 percent have a positive view of the job the president is doing, and 33 percent do not. The sampling error on that question is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the general population, and plus or minus 6.5 percentage points for Catholics.
"Overall, the poll indicates that Obama's rating may be down a bit since early April," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But 62 percent is still a vote of confidence from most Americans."
TOPICS: Race relations