(CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first major speaking engagement after leaving office won't be in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Instead, she's apparently headed to Hong Kong.
According to the Hong Kong-based brokerage firm CLSA, Palin will be the keynote speaker at their 16th annual investor's conference in September. The conference of financial heavy-hitters brings together hundreds of CEOs, CIOs and fund managers from around the world. In agreeing to speak, Palin's joining some esteemed company: past speakers at the conference have included Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Al Gore and Desmond Tutu.
The former governor's spokesman was not immediately available to confirm the speaking engagment, which was announced in a press release Monday by CLSA. Palin's team hasn't always been on the same page as event organizers who have billed her as as a headline speaker. Over the last four months, organizers at conservative events in Alaska and in Washington, D.C. have announced appearances by the GOP star, only to discover at the last minute she would not attend.
(CNN) - When President Obama unveiled the Making Home Affordable Program in March, he said it would help "responsible folks who have been making their payments" reduce their monthly mortgage bills and avoid losing their homes to foreclosure.
But six months into the program, only 6 percent of the 4 million eligible homeowners have gotten help. A lot more say they've been frustrated with the runaround they've been getting from lenders.
Are the new program's growing pains responsible for the slow start, as bankers say, or is pain to their bottom lines really preventing the program from working, as critics say?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Eager to draw attention Bob McDonnell's conservative roots, campaign advisers to Democrat Creigh Deeds on Monday called McDonnell's newly-discovered 1989 graduate thesis a "devastating" revelation that threatens to sink the Republican's campaign for the Virginia governor's mansion.
The 93-page research paper - first revealed in Sunday's Washington Post - articulated a Christian conservative worldview that criticized "cohabitators, homosexuals and fornicators" and described working women and feminists "detrimental" to the family.
On a conference call with reporters, Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee called the thesis McDonnell's "road map" for conservative governance. The Deeds camp argued that McDonnell immediately sought to put his theories to work in state government when he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates three years after writing the paper, which McDonnell wrote as master's student at Regent University in Virginia Beach.
Regent was founded by Pat Robertson and was initially named "CBN University" after Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. McDonnell wrote the paper when he was 34, twenty years before entering the Virginia governor's race.
"This paper laid out very explicity his vision for the role of government, his vision for the for a social agenda that should dominate governace, and it even went beyond just a personal political philosophy," Elleithee said. "It had a 15-point action plan for how to implement that philosophy."
The thesis was called "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade." In it, McDonnell wrote that working women are "detrimental" the the family; that feminism is among "the real enemies of the traditional family"; and that the "purging" of religious influence in public schools is damaging to healthy families.
(CNN) - A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday responded to a scathing column published in Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal that recounted an unfriendly encounter between Reid and the paper's advertising director, in which the Nevada senator told the executive: "I hope you go out of business."
"Clearly he wasn't serious," Reid spokesman Jon Summers told CNN in an e-mailed statement. "Once again, the editors at the Review-Journal got it wrong."
A follow-up phone call to Reid's office seeking more details on the encounter was not immediately returned.
Review-Journal Publisher Sherman Frederick detailed the incident, which occurred on August 26 at a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
"As [Director of Advertising] Bob [Brown] shook hands with our senior U.S. Senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting," Frederick wrote, "Reid said: 'I hope you go out of business.'"
In the op-ed, Frederick shot back that his paper can "damn sure outlast" Reid.
(CNN) - Two Massachusetts political sources say the Joint Elections Committee in the state legislature plans to hear a Senate succession
bill in just a week and a half.
The decision to consider the measure on September 9, just after lawmakers return from break, highlights the growing momentum to pass a change allowing the appointment of an interim senator to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat until a special election can be held to replace him.
Monday afternoon, Gov. Deval Patrick announced a new vote to fill the seat would take place on January 19.
One source close to the Kennedy family said former Rep. Joe Kennedy, whose name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for his uncle, is not eager for the job.
"Joe is reluctant," said the source. "The question is, does the pressure rise to a point where he feels he has to do it? Things here are too new to be able to answer that."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Monday that Americans shouldn't be "guilted" into passing health care reform because of the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Steele was asked in an interview on ABCNews.com what he thought of liberals using Kennedy's memory as a rallying cry to pass health care reform.
"I can see it and I understand why the Democrats and particularly the left are doing it," Steele said. "He was a champion of this issue for a long, long time."
But Steele said he is "not of the mind to reform health care for the sake of anyone's memory."
"While I admire the legacy of Sen. Ted Kennedy, I disagree with his view of health care for this country," he said. "That's part of the debate."
He added: "But I don't want to see this country guilted into health care reform because of the passing, the unfortunate passing, of a great senator."
(CNN) - Peter King made it official Monday.
The Republican congressman from New York State announced that he won't take on Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand next year when the appointed senator runs for the final two years of Hillary Clinton's term.
After Clinton announced that she would step down from her seat to become secretary of state, King - the last remanning GOP congressman from Long Island, a former Republican bastion - hinted that he might make a bid for statewide office. But in recent months, most political observers wrote off any actual run by King.
King says it came down to money.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner announced Monday that he is starting treatment for early stage prostate cancer, but said that it was "caught in time."
"In late July, during a routine checkup, my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels were found to be high, which can be an indicator of prostate cancer," the Republican lawmaker said in a statement. "After some additional testing was conducted, the doctor confirmed that I have an early stage of prostate cancer. Fortunately, it was caught in time, and the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate."
Sensenbrenner called the disease "treatable and curable with early diagnosis" and encouraged all men to get tested annually. He said he will continue to maintain his legislative schedule throughout his treatment.
"Over the next several months I will undergo treatment, including radiation therapy," Sensenbrenner said. "My treatments will have a minimal effect on my duties of serving the people of the Fifth Congressional District. I intend on maintaining my active schedule, both in Washington and in the District, and will still hold the numerous Town Hall Meetings that have been scheduled."
(CNN) - With the first week of his vacation marred by the death of his party's most revered senator, President Obama on Monday began his final week of vacation with a return to the golf course.
Obama teed off three times last week in Martha's Vineyard.
The president is teeing off this afternoon with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, White House Press Assistant Ben Finkenbinder and White House Aide Marvin Nicholson at Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.
Finkenbinder and Nicholson both hit the links with Obama last week as well.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Congress prepares to come back from its August recess and tackle health care reform, the question arises whether lawmakers will do something in honor of the "Lion of the Senate" - or should Congress simply start over?
Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died last week, was a staunch advocate of health care reform.
Following his burial over the weekend, Democratic lawmakers said they hoped Kennedy's memory will inspire legislators to start looking for compromise on stalled reform plans.
One of Kennedy's best friends in the Senate, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, urged legislators to bring civility to health care negotiations.