[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/13/art.bobmcdonnell.com.jpg caption="Poll: McDonnell widens lead in Virginia."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With less than four weeks until election day, a new poll indicates that the Republicans are widening their lead over the Democrats in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Republican candidate and former state attorney general Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds 53 percent to 44 percent, according to a Washington Post survey released Thursday afternoon. McDonnell's nine point margin among likely voters is up five points from his lead in a Washington Post poll from mid September.
The survey suggests that the gains Deeds had made following his attacks on McDonnell's conservative views on social issues, have faded. The past five weeks the Deeds campaign has aggressively highlighted McDonnell's 20 year old graduate thesis, a document that called working women detrimental to families and criticized "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators."
But the poll indicates Deeds strategy may backfire. Fifty-six percent of people questioned say Deeds, a state senator, is conducting a negative campaign. Only 32 percent say McDonnell's running a negative campaign. And for the first time in Washington Post polling, a majority of voters, 51 percent, say McDonnell is "about right" ideologically.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarks Friday on a six-day trip to Europe and Russia that comes at a crucial time in the Obama administration's decision-making on a strategy for Afghanistan.
She will depart one day after the inaugural flight of the "lethal transit" agreement, signed in July by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, which allows transport of military personnel and equipment across Russia to support the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan.
On the trip, the secretary will confer with key allies about Obama's emerging strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Phil Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Meetings are planned with the French foreign minister, the British foreign secretary and prime minister, the Russian foreign minister and Medvedev. She also will discuss the next steps on Iran and North Korea and international efforts to have the two countries end their nuclear programs.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/08/art.biden.10.21.08.jpg
caption="Biden will continue Deeds campaign ."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)–Vice President Joe Biden vows to continue campaigning for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
"I hope to god you understand this race is winnable," Biden said Thursday at a fundraiser for Deeds in Alexandria, Virginia.
A new Washington Post poll suggests Deeds trails Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, the state's former attorney general, by nine points. Biden also made reference to New Jersey Gov. John Corzine, who is facing a tough bid for re-election, saying,"they declared him dead two weeks ago. He is now ahead."
The most recent polls in New Jersey indicate that Corzine is basically tied with Republican challenger Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/08/art.rangel.points.jpg caption="House Ethics Committee expands Rangel investigation."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Thursday to expand its investigation of Rep. Charlie Rangel, one of the most powerful members of Congress.
The committee is now looking into Rangel's alleged failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets on mandatory congressional financial disclosure forms.
The prominent Democrat, whose district includes the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, has been under investigation for a year over several issues relating to financial impropriety. He has admitted to failing to pay taxes on $75,000 in income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Rangel heads the influential Ways and Means Committee - the lead body for writing tax law in the House of Representatives. He has said he is the victim of a smear campaign by some in the media.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Dalai Lama said Thursday that an opportunity for President Obama to raise the Tibet issue with Chinese leader Hu Jintao - and the spiritual leader's strategic desire to avoid alienating the Chinese president ahead of Obama's visit to that nation - were more important than the chance to press his own political agenda in person during his latest visit to Washington.
"(A) more serious discussion is better than just a picture," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.
".... I have no disappointment," he said, in the decision to postpone a personal meeting with Obama until after next month's presidential visit to China.
"(Obama) already... indicated that he is going to speak with the Chinese.
And it seems that he possibly (will be) seriously engaging with the Chinese about the Tibet issue," among other issues like global warming, he said.
(CNN) - The Obama White House is ramping up its offensive against Fox News.
This summer, President Obama signaled his unhappiness with the network. "We've got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration."
Over the past month, that discontent has translated into an all-out war against Fox. Last month, Obama notably skipped a sitdown with Fox as he plugged his health care bill in one-on-one interviews on every other major news network. Earlier this month, the White House published a rare blog post directly attacking a news organization, slamming Fox for its "disregard for the facts" and pointing readers to an independent fact-checking organization that had debunked "more Fox lies."
Now, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn is questioning whether Fox is in the news business at all. "It's opinion journalism masquerading as news," she told Time of the news network, in an interview released Thursday. Dunn also made it clear this won't be the last White House blast aimed at the network: "They are boosting their audience. But that doesn't mean we are going to sit back."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://cnnlarrykinglive.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/art-gloves-operation-gi.jpg?w=292&h=219&h=219 caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
In an attempt to make sure health care reform doesn't get rammed through Congress with little debate - a group of Senate Republicans has introduced a resolution requiring all bills be made public for at least 72 hours before a vote.
Not a bad idea. Since many in Congress don't read the bills before voting, maybe somebody should.
Over in the House, a group of more than 180 - mostly Republicans - is circulating a petition also requiring all bills to be posted online for three days. They're demanding the Democratic leadership schedule a vote on this. No vote so far, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to post the final health care bill online 72 hours before the last vote.
But it's not just Republicans pushing for more transparency. A group of centrist Senate Democrats sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid this week saying "every step of the process needs to be transparent" - they also asked for three days for the public to look at this stuff on the internet.
There's also an online campaign called Read the Bill along with a group called Read to Vote that's collected more than 80,000 signatures asking lawmakers to promise to read every page of every bill before voting. That'll happen…
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/art.levi.gi.jpg caption="Johnston's latest gig is with Playgirl magazine."]Levi Johnston has laid bare life with the Palin family. Now he's about to expose much more – himself.
Rex Butler, a lawyer for the 19-year-old father of Sarah Palin's grandchild, says it is a "foregone conclusion" Johnston will pose nude for Playgirl and is now getting gym-ready three hours a day, six nights a week, working out with an Anchorage body builder, the Associated Press reports.
Full story at People Magazine
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating is hovering at or just above the 50 percent mark, according to the three most recent national surveys.
The latest edition of Gallup's daily tracking poll, released Thursday afternoon, indicates that 53 percent of Americans give Obama a thumbs-up on the job he's doing in the White House, with four in 10 saying they disapprove of his performance.
According to a Quinnipiac University national survey released Thursday morning, the president's approval rating stands at 50 percent, with 41 percent disapproval..
Fifty-six percent approve of the job Obama's doing according to a AP-GfK poll released Wednesday night. Thirty-nine percent of Americans questioned in that survey disapprove.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/08/art.brown.gi.jpg caption="The survey indicates Brown leads Newsom by 31 points in Southern California."]
(CNN) - Eight months before California's primary, a new poll suggests that Jerry Brown, the state's sitting attorney general and former governor, holds a 20-point lead over San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in the battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
The survey, by Field Research Corporation, indicates that the fight for the GOP nomination is up in the air, with nearly half of Republican primary voters undecided.
According to the Field poll, 47 percent of Democratic primary voters support Brown, while 27 percent back Newsom, with just over one in four undecided. Brown, who served two terms as California governor from 1975 to 1983, has not formally declared his candidacy.
The survey indicates Brown leads Newsom by 31 points in Southern California, but by just 5 points in the northern part of the state, where Newsom is better known. The poll also suggests a generational divide, wtih the much-younger Newsom leading by nine points among voters 39 and younger. According to the survey, Brown holds a 30-point advantage among voters age 40 to 64, and he has a 45-point lead among those 65 and older.