[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/14/art.bokerry0714.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Kerry is defending the president's cap-and-trade energy plan against criticism by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Call it Kerry vs. Palin, Round 2.
Massachusetts Democrat Sen. John Kerry, a longtime Obama ally, and Alaska's Republican Gov. Sarah Palin are sparring again, this time over climate change and energy policy.
Kerry has taken to liberal Web site The Huffington Post to respond to an op-ed by Palin published Tuesday in the Washington Post.
In her op-ed, Palin slams President Obama's cap-and-trade energy plan, saying she believes the plan is "an enormous threat to our economy."
In his response, Kerry takes a dig at Palin in an apparent reference to Tina Fey's "I can see Russia from my house" take-off on Palin.
"The global climate change crisis threatens our economy and our national security in profound ways," writes Kerry.
"Governor Palin need no look further than the view from her front porch in Alaska to see how destructive this crisis can be," says Kerry, pointing to a two-year-old New York Times report about a small Alaskan village facing destruction because of melting permafrost.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/06/art.palinclap0706.gi.jpg caption="According to a new poll, 33 percent of Republicans believe Sarah Palin has the ability to serve effectively as president."](CNN) - A majority of Americans think Sarah Palin is stepping down as Alaska's governor for political reasons, according to a new national poll, with a majority of Republicans now saying that they do not believe that Palin would be an effective president.
Only 33 percent of Republicans questioned in a CBS News survey released Monday night say that Palin would have the ability to serve effectively as president. Last fall, 71 percent of registered Republicans felt that way.
"It's unclear whether the change in Republicans' view of Palin is the result of her decision to step down as governor, or whether the GOP rank-and-file felt they had to defend their party's vice-presidential nominee during the campaign but don't feel the same tug of party loyalty today," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Either way, this is bad news for Palin, whose first task in 2012, if she runs for the White House, will be to convince Republican primary voters to support her."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/12/art.getty.reid.closeup.jpg caption=" Harry Reid has raised more than $3.25 million over the past three months."](CNN) - Harry Reid's campaign said Tuesday the Senate Majority Leader's raised more than $3.25 million over the past three months, leaving the Nevada Democrat with more than $7.33 million in cash on hand.
"Our campaign is strong and getting stronger by the day," Reid, who's up for re-election next year, said in a statement Tuesday. "The financial support we have already received will enable us to run a campaign that communicates with Nevadans in every corner of the state."
The campaign says Reid has brought in nearly half of the $25 million he's planning to raise before next year's election.
President Barack Obama helped Reid rake in an estimated $1-2 million at a fundraising event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in late May.
The most recent polling in Nevada suggests that only a minority of voters there think Reid deserves to be re-elected - but the GOP has yet to come up with a competitive candidate to challenge the incumbent.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration's plan to overhaul lending regulations - stemming from the housing and credit meltdowns, as well as the current recession - moves to Capitol Hill Wednesday with the start of three straight days of hearings. The House Financial Services Committee will get the banking community's input first.
Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, an industry lobbying group, told CNN Radio that larger lending institutions "favor major regulatory reform. We think the time is overdue." But the administration's plan is a mixed bag, even if "generally in the right direction," according to Bartlett, who is scheduled to be one of the lead-off witnesses.
Bankers approve of some of the administration's plans to consolidate the myriad of agencies that regulate financial products. "We would like to see more consolidation. We think what America needs now is fewer regulators, but stronger regulators. Fewer agencies, but agencies that have more stick."
Where bankers split strongly with the White House is over the idea of creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. "We think consumer protection should be beefed up. What we don't like is ... putting it into a separate, free-standing agency that will have less power to protect consumers," Bartlett said.
Current regulators, according to Bartlett, "have the full power of cease-and-desist orders, or life and death, over the financial institutions."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key Republican senator asserted Tuesday that a political double standard has been at play in the handling of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's controversial assertion that a Latina judge would "more often than not" be superior to a while male judge.
"If I had said anything like that, and my reasoning was I was trying to inspire somebody, (political opponents) would have had my head," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.
Graham made his remarks during the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/14/house.health.care/art.capitolsunset.gi.jpg caption=" President Obama has urged Congress to work quickly on creating a health care reform bill."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democrats announced their version of health care reform Tuesday, offering a proposal that includes a government-funded health insurance option while requiring both individuals and employers to participate and taxing the wealthy to help cover costs.
Democratic House leaders said the measure, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, met President Obama's requirements for health care reform by lowering costs of consumers and businesses, allowing people to keep their current plans and preventing denial of coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions.
"The House proposal will begin the process of fixing what's broken about our health care system, reducing costs for all, building on what works and covering an estimated 97 percent of all Americans," Obama said in a statement. "And by emphasizing prevention and wellness, it will also help improve the quality of health care for every American."
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said the bill was intended to repair a "dysfunctional" health care system that was draining the U.S. economy while leaving 46 million Americans without health insurance.
"We are going to accomplish what many people felt wouldn't happen in our lifetime," Waxman said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Judge Sonia Sotomayor asserted Tuesday that foreign law cannot be used to assist judges in their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
"American law does not permit the use of foreign law or international law to interpret the Constitution," she told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There is no debate on that question."
She noted, however, that there are situations when American law instructs a judge to look at foreign law. For example, she noted, there are instances when the United States has signed a treaty with an unclear interpretation under certain circumstances. In those instances, U.S. courts may examine the interpretation of the treaty by courts in other countries.