[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/18/art.mhuckabee.0918.gi.jpg
caption="Mike Huckabee took nearly a third of the votes in the straw poll."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit's 2012 presidential straw poll Saturday, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.
Four of the top five candidates addressed religious conservatives at the three-day Values Voter conference in Washington this week - the kind of attendance seen as a significant gesture by activists here, especially in an off-election year. Palin did not make an appearance.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama will host a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Saturday.
Gibbs said the trilateral meeting would come immediately after bilateral meetings between President Obama and the two leaders.
"These meetings will continue the efforts of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Special Envoy George Mitchell to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed," said Gibbs.
"It is another sign of the President's deep commitment to comprehensive peace that he wants to personally engage at this juncture, as we continue our efforts to encourage all sides to take responsibility for peace and to create a positive context for the resumption of negotiations," said Special Envoy Mitchell.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/14/art.palin.0914.gi.jpg caption ="A dinner with Sarah Palin was auctioned off for charity."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Dinner with Sarah Palin for $63,500?
That's what the winner of an eBay auction is forking over to chow down with the former Alaska governor, her husband, Todd and five guests.
Seven people bid a total of 61 times, starting with an opening bid of $25,000. The winner bid 27 times before winning with the $63,500 bid.
The proceeds will go to "Ride 2 Recovery," a charity that provides wounded veterans with bicycles and organized rides to help in their mental and physical recovery.
"Todd and I are so happy to help such a worthy organization," Palin said September 10 on her Facebook page.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit straw poll with 170 out of 597 votes.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.romney0716,gi.jpg caption="Romney is considered an early frontrunner for the White House race in 2012, according to recent polls."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A day after former Baptist minister and likely presidential rival Mike Huckabee offered a withering critique of Mitt Romney's record, Romney made his pitch to the same group of religious conservatives – a voting bloc that could be key to any future White House bid.
The former Massachusetts governor appealed to attendees at the Values Voters Summit in Washington Saturday, using a speech that drew heavily from his address to social conservatives at the same hotel earlier this year. "Putting such a spirit-crushing, back-breaking debt burden on our children is unworthy of our national character," he said. "That is why I believe that this spending and borrowing is not just economically irresponsible, it is morally wrong."
He blasted the Obama administration's financial track record, and its decision to consider prosecuting intelligence agents who violated government protocols on the interrogation of prisoners. "(Obama) can spin a speech, but he can't spin his record," said Romney. "And I'll bet you never dreamed you'd look back at Jimmy Carter as the good old days."
Despite the makeup of the crowd, the speech was relatively light on social issues, focusing instead on economic and security policy.
The former Republican presidential candidate, widely considered a likely 2012 contender, is on the ballot for the gathering's 2012 presidential straw poll, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
(Updated with DNC response after the jump)
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.njrace.gi.jpg caption="New Jersey voters head to the polls on November 3."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– One day after the Republican Governors Association unleashed an attack ad on Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, his challenger for the job, Chris Christie, released his own commercial saying the New Jersey governor was out of touch with his own state.
"Recently, Governor Jon Corzine had some advice for those looking for a job in New Jersey," the ad says as it cuts to a clip of Corzine explaining if residents want to see a "real unemployment rate" they should look at North Dakota.
"That's right, 'go to North Dakota,' the announcer says sarcastically in the minute-long radio ad. "Leave New Jersey, the Giants or the Eagles, the Shore or the Cities, and go to North Dakota."
The race for New Jersey governor has become heated in the final months, with both campaigns out with several attack ads.
The latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll conducted September 8 through 10 shows 53 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of Corzine, while 30 percent have an unfavorable view of Christie.
When matched head to head, Christie has maintained a steady lead in the polls. However, Corzine has been gaining ground in recent weeks.
New Jersey voters head to the polls November 3.
UPDATE: Corzine spokesman Sean Darcy released the following response to the latest ad:
"New Jersey's most recent employment numbers showed another increase in private sector job creation with a decrease in public sector jobs. Christie continues to be wrong when it matters most, rejecting federal stimulus funding that would result in the loss of 35,000 teacher jobs and saying he would cut 20,000 public sector jobs. Christie's Bush economics would result in New Jersey's unemployment rate skyrocketing to 10.9% and a $2 billion property tax increase state-wide."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/08/art.pawlenty.gi.jpg caption="Pawlenty spoke Friday night at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)–In one of his most politically charged addresses to date, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty strongly criticized Democrats and the Obama administration Friday for "reckless" and "irresponsible" spending.
Speaking before conservatives at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, Pawlenty insisted the Democrats' attempt at revamping the health care system will run the country into the ground.
"This proposal needs to get killed," Pawlenty said. "It is a bad idea."
"Well, with all due respect, Mr. President," Pawlenty added, "if we're out of money, stop spending it."
The two-term Governor spent a portion of his speech touting his successes in Minnesota, and discussed faith, values, and his views against same-sex marriage.
But perhaps the most rousing response came when Pawlenty directly responded to the Democratic National Committee's recent attack ad painting him as a liar and "extremist," attempting to appeal to his party's far-right wing.
"I accept the challenge… I'll call you out," Pawlenty said.
"Here's my message: Stop spending the country into bankruptcy. Stop taxing us into oblivion. And the next time you address a group of young people maybe you should apologize for the crushing debt you're putting on their shoulders," he said.
In response to his attacks, DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan repeated charges of Pawlenty's "extreme" ways.
"It looks like Tim Pawlenty isn't even going to offer the pretense of being anything but an extreme right wing radical anymore," Sevugan said in a statement. "At least it's honest, and if you've seen what he's said on health care lately you know that's a rare feat."
Earlier this year, Pawlenty announced he would not run next year for a third term as Governor, a move seen by many as a signal that he is interested in running for the White House.
Since then, he has been a constant critic of the current administration's policies.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/art.larrysummers0716.gi.jpg caption=" National Economic Council Director Larry Summers blasted big business ads Friday."]
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - A top White House adviser said Friday that business opponents of President Obama's plan to create an agency to protect financial consumers are trying to "scare people."
Larry Summers, director of Obama's National Economic Council, criticized an ad campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for suggesting that a new consumer agency will hurt small businesses that extend credit to their customers.
Summers compared the advertisements to the "death panel ads" invoked by opponents of health care reform.
"I'd suggest those ads are the financial regulatory equivalent to the death panel ads being run with respect to health care," Summers said in a speech at Georgetown University. "Those without a good argument try to scare people ... that's what is happening here."