[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.palinshirt.0902.gi.jpg caption="’Draft Sarah Palin 2012’ T-shirts for sale."] EL PASO, Texas (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express makes its way across the country, Sarah Palin has emerged as a favorite daughter of the movement, and organizers have invited her to join the tour - or at least come to the final stop in the nation's capital.
The bus is scheduled to end its nationwide journey in Washington on Saturday, September 12.
"We've been in touch with her people, letting her know the response that we've gotten. She's very suportive of the movement," says Joe Wierzbicki, one of the organizers traveling on the Tea Party Express.
So far, no politician has emerged as a leader of the Tea Party movement – and the question of just who might eventually take up the mantle is a hot topic on the bus. Nobody may be better positioned than Palin - but organizers, some of the most motivated members of the conservative base, still say she'll need to earn that title.
"Right now there's a handful of people who strike a chord with the tea party base, and she is certainly one of those people," says Wierzbicki. "Whether or not she emerges as one of those leaders, that's between her and the American people."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.dnc.cnn.jpg caption="The DNC is taking aim at Dick Cheney in a new ad."](CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is taking aim at Dick Cheney over his string of high-profile media appearances during which the former vice president has been highly critical of President Obama's national security policies.
In a new 30-second television ad set for national cable and local cable in Washington, the DNC asserts many of Cheney's statements have been incorrect - particularly those in which he has argued enhance interrogation techniques conclusively yielded intelligence.
That ad compares those recent statements to ones he made in the leadup to the Iraq war, when he declared Americans would be "greeted as liberators" and that he was sure Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
"Dick Cheney, wrong then, wrong now," the ad states.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.spitzer.0902.gi.jpg
caption="Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is teaching an upper-level political science course at the City College of New York this fall."]
NEW YORK (CNN) - Scandal-tarnished former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has found an opportunity to reassert his authority - in the classroom.
Spitzer, who resigned in March 2008 in the wake of a federal investigation that revealed that he had used a prostitution service, is teaching an upper-level political science course at the City College of New York during the fall semester.
On Tuesday, Spitzer began instructing junior and senior undergraduate students on "Law and Public Policy" as an adjunct faculty member of the historic City College in Manhattan.
"We're thrilled about it," Mary Lou Edmondson, CCNY's vice president for communications and marketing told CNN. Edmondson said that the former governor's "practical experience" made him an attractive hire. "He certainly has unique experience in law and public policy and politics," she said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/art.kaine.gi.jpg caption="Kaine serves as both Virginia governor and DNC chairman."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday it will pump $5 million into the commonwealth of Virginia over the next two months to help put Creigh Deeds in the governor's mansion.
The money will be doled out to Deeds' campaign and to the Democratic Party of Virginia's coordinated campaign. The $5 million infusion matches the sum given by the DNC in 2005 to then-candidate Tim Kaine, who won the race. Kaine himself is now chairing the DNC, and losing this year's marquee race in his own backyard could prove embarrassing.
"Chairman Kaine knows a thing or two about winning elections in Virginia - and he knows more than a thing or two about Creigh Deeds and how well prepared he is to be a solid, practical, mainstream Governor of Virginia," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in an e-mail.
The cash influx will help Deeds purchase television ads in the expensive Washington media market - especially as his campaign tries to highlight Republican Bob McDonnell's controversial master's thesis, in which he called working women "detrimental" to families. Woodhouse called the revelations about McDonnell's thesis "a real turning point in this election."
McDonnell, leading in the polls, said his views on several social issues have changed in the two decades since he wrote the thesis at age 34 - but that hasn't stopped the Deeds campaign from assailing the Republican as too conservative for moderate and independent voters.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will address the contentious issue of health-care reform in a speech before a joint session of Congress on September 9, multiple Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.
"The president is considering ... laying out a more specific vision" of health-care reform, said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
So far, Obama has outlined broad principles for what he would like in health-care reform, but he has left most details to leaders in Congress. Now, White House aides say, the dynamic has changed.
"We're entering a new season," senior adviser David Axelrod said. "It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done."
The new phase is being "driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP, including Senators Grassley and Enzi," the administration official noted.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.trapicant2.0902.gi.jpg
caption="Traficant was released from federal custody Wednesday."]
(CNN) - He may have left federal detention quietly, but - like almost everything else about James Traficant - the former congressman's Youngstown, Ohio homecoming promises to be a little bit over-the-top, and impossible to ignore.
A special "Traficant release night"-themed home game by the area's minor league baseball team, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, was canceled after a wave of criticism.
But a welcome home banquet for Traficant - what supporters are calling "an appreciation dinner" - will be held Sunday afternoon at a local banquet hall, where a representative said the venue was expecting 1,200 guests.
One of the organizers, Tony Trolio, told CNN that 1,200 was the official capacity crowd for the event, but that roughly 765 tickets had been sold as of midweek. The agenda is slated to include musical performances - including an appearance by an Elvis impersonator - and a PowerPoint presentation chronicling highlights of Traficant's congressional career.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.obamatalking.0902.gi.jpg
caption="Gloria Borger says the president has to lead the way out of the confusing health care debate."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a way, the president really has no other choice but to finally speak - and speak conclusively about what he wants in a health care reform bill.
After all, 67 percent of Americans told CBS pollsters over the weekend that the health care debate is "confusing." Only 31 percent thought they had a "clear understanding" of the issues involved. What's worse, the uncertainty cut across party lines. For once, in this polarized time, Democrats and Republicans agree on something: They're perplexed by this health care debate.
And so the White House has allowed that it's time for the president to weigh in, perhaps from the Oval Office or maybe in an address to Congress. No matter how he does it, this much is clear: better late than never.
It hasn't been an easy summer. And maybe, when this is all over, administration aides will look back at their initial strategy with some chagrin. You'll recall the plan was to allow Congress to legislate first, in order to avoid the mistakes of then-first lady Hillary Clinton 16 years ago. She presented a health care reform plan to Congress which then became a big, fat target. The bill died, and she was excoriated.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.rotunda.jpg caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
President Obama is getting ready to shift his strategy when it comes to health care reform — after a brutal month of August that wounded and divided his party.
Mr. Obama is considering a major speech that lays out his health care demands as soon as next week, when Congress returns from its recess.
And despite pressure from his base, the president reportedly has no plans to insist on a public insurance option. This would likely anger many liberals, but could show the president is willing to take on members of his own party to get things done. Nancy Pelosi said no bill would pass the House without a public option.
One top Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander is warning that there will be a "minor revolution" if Democrats reform health care without GOP backing. He says the town hall meetings show Americans are "scared to death" of reform; and going it alone would "wreck our health care system and wreck the Democratic Party."
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.obamahand.0902.gi.jpg
caption="President Obama faces wavering support on health care reform, key White House aides told CNN."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama, facing wavering support on health care reform, is considering a range of options to recapture momentum on his signature domestic initiative, key White House aides told CNN Wednesday.
"The president is considering all of his options on how to advance the debate and get reform passed. This includes possibly laying out a more
specific vision," said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Among other things, Obama is contemplating giving a major speech detailing specifics on what he would like to see included in a health care
reform bill, added senior adviser David Axelrod.
It's unclear what form a possible speech by the president would take. If he decides to give an address, he could do it from the Oval Office or before a joint session of Congress.