[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/11/kurtz.johnston/art.johnston.gi.jpg caption="Johnston is the ex-fiance of Bristol Palin, the Alaska governor's daughter."](CNN) - Sarah Palin wanted to take the money and "just run with it," the father of her grandchild said Thursday.
Levi Johnston told reporters the Alaska governor was stepping down early to take advantage of millions in potential earnings. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the 19-year-old said that late last year he heard Palin say "how nice it would be to take some of this money people have been offering us and just run with it, and saying forget everything else."
He pointed to talk show offers and other potentially lucrative deals.
Earlier this week, Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein told the Washington Post that the governor had received "hundreds of credible offers since the campaign," including Hollywood projects, but had not taken advantage of any except her book deal. Johnston said that even the Palin children had been fielding offers.
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - In his first trip to Ohio since the election, Vice President Joe Biden jumped back into campaign mode, setting his sights on Republican critics of the $787 billion stimulus plan.
"All the talk about how we're gonna waste all this money, that's a dog that ain't barked yet," Biden said in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday. "And it's not gonna bark on my watch."
It appeared to be a direct shot at House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who posted a Web video featuring a bloodhound on the hunt for stimulus jobs.
"This is Ellie Mae, and she hasn't found any stimulus jobs. And neither have we," Boehner says in the video.
But some stimulus money has found its way to Boehner's own district in Butler County, Ohio.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/10/king.sotu.health.care/art.kingcouple.cnn.jpg caption="Elizabeth and Carl Walls of West Virginia have had their share of health problems."]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.
CLAY, West Virginia (CNN) - Carl Walls speaks softly and humbly.
"If life and death depended on money, I'd just have to die," is how he sees things.
"You would be dead now," his wife, Elizabeth, chimed in.
With a nod, Carl acknowledged that she had it right.
"I'd be dead right now."
He wasn't much for trusting doctors to begin with. ("Legal dope dispensers" is how he puts it.)
And then there was the financial hurdle: The Wallses sold two small businesses a few years ago to pay for back surgery and other health problems Elizabeth was facing.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/07/10/g8.summit/art.obama.zuma.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama greets his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, on Friday at the Group of Eight summit."]L'AQUILA, Italy (CNN) - President Obama declared the G8 summit Friday "highly productive," writing off suggestions that the United States did not get some key things it wanted out of the meeting.
"We've agreed to take significant measures to address some of the most pressing threats facing our environment, our global economy, and our international security," Obama told reporters at a news conference.
He denied reports that the United States had sought potential new sanctions against Iran for its violent crackdown on protesters following the recent presidential election. Instead, Obama said, "What we wanted was exactly what we got, which is a statement of unity and strong condemnation about the appalling treatment of peaceful protesters."
He also noted that on climate change, the G8 nations agreed to "reduce our emissions by 80 percent" - though the deadline for such achievement was set for 2050.
"We did not reach agreement on every issue. And we still have much work ahead on climate change," Obama said. "But these achievements are highly meaningful and they'll generate significant momentum" for future talks.
L'AQUILA, Italy (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama argued Friday that the G8 had sent a clear message to Iran: The world will not "wait indefinitely" and allow you to build nuclear weapons.
"The international community has said, 'Here's a door you can walk through that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international community,'" Obama told reporters at a news conference.
"If Iran chooses not to walk through that door, then you have on record the G8 to begin with, but I think potentially a lot of other countries, that are going to say, 'We need to take further steps.'"
CNN Radio: Ed Henry reports from the G-8
Obama - who has promised diplomatic engagement with Tehran - said offering a "door" has always been "our premise."
"But we also say we're not going to just wait indefinitely and allow for the development of the nuclear weapon, the breach of international treaties, and wake up one day and find ourselves in a much worse situation and unable to act. So my hope is that the Iranian leadership will look at the statement coming out of the G8 and recognize that world opinion is clear."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/30/art.dole.gi.jpg caption="Former Sen. Bob Dole was treated for a leg infection."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after surgery to treat a serious leg infection, according to a statement released by his press office Friday.
Dole, 85, was hospitalized last week after experiencing "a sharply elevated heart rate in the middle of the night," the statement said. Doctors determined that the former presidential nominee's heart was fine, but then discovered he had open sores on both of his legs. Surgeons quickly operated and "have since performed several procedures on his left leg," according to the statement.
"I am recovering nicely thanks to the great doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed," Dole said in the statement. "I have been coming to Walter Reed for over 40 years and I hope to be out by my birthday, July 22. It has been painful but I think I will be fine."
The statement noted that Dole's doctors believe his legs are healing properly. They are planning to perform a skin graft on his left leg Monday if his recovery continues as expected.
L'AQUILA, Italy (CNN) - President Obama said Friday that leaders of the industrialized nations have agreed to continue fueling economic growth while strengthening regulatory measures but they also realize that full recovery is "still a ways off."
Obama listed some of the achievements of the Group of Eight summit this week in Italy as the conference neared the end, and he stressed the need for collective action.
In addition, the G8 nations agreed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, set goals for reducing carbon monoxide emissions and invest $20 billion in food security. That money is in addition to humanitarian aid already provided.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden tried to rekindle the suddenly faltering momentum for health care reform Friday, warning a group of small business owners that a failure to act soon would have catastrophic consequences for the private sector.
Biden made his pitch as a senior administration health care official, Nancy-Ann DeParle, huddled with Capitol Hill Democrats struggling to forge a consensus on a bill before the planned August congressional recess.
Health care reform is the "foremost economic and moral issue that this administration is determined to deal with," Biden told the business leaders at a meeting near the White House.
Premiums for employer-provided health insurance, he noted, have doubled in the past nine years - rising three times faster than wages.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just three days before the start of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, a new national poll indicates that by a narrow margin, Americans would like the Senate to confirm her as the next Supreme Court justice.
In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday morning, 47 percent of people questioned would like to see the Senate vote in favor of Sotomayor's confirmation, with 40 percent opposed and 13 percent unsure.
Sotomayor, a New York federal appeals court judge, was nominated by President Barack Obama in May to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.
The poll suggests a partisan divide, with nearly seven in 10 Democrats supporting Sotomayor's confirmation, Independents split, and nearly two out of three Republicans opposing Senate confirmation.
"Republican opposition to Sotomayor's confirmation is a higher level of opposition from the party out of power than any Supreme Court nominee has faced
in the past two decades," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Only 32 percent of Republicans opposed Ruth Ginsburg's 1993 nomination by President Bill Clinton to the high court, Holland said.
"In 2005, when it was the GOP's turn to appoint justices, only 35 percent of Democrats opposed John Roberts, and 46 percent of Democrats opposed Samuel Alito the following year," Holland said. "And even when Bush nominated Harriet Miers, opposition among Democrats to her confirmation hit only 53 percent."