[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/12/art.barbour.jpg caption ="Frequent GOP critic of Obama ‘tickled’ that president will visit."]
Washington (CNN) - Mississippi’s Republican governor, a frequent critic of President Obama, is passing up an opportunity to criticize the president’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Instead, Gov. Haley Barbour says he is “tickled to death” that the president will visit Mississippi on Monday.
Barbour made the comments on Friday to Chief National Correspondent John King in an interview that aired on CNN’s John King, USA.
“We’re tickled to death that he is coming Monday,” Barbour told King. “He [Obama] has known that the red carpet was out for whenever he wanted to come.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/12/art.cristpoint.gi.jpg caption ="Crist vetoes bill requiring ultrasound for abortion."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Republican turned independent Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill on Friday that he said "places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy."
The bill would have required a woman to have a mandatory ultrasound - and pay for it - before having an abortion. Women would have also had to view the live image and listen to the doctor describing the fetus.
"Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I," Crist wrote in a letter to Florida's Department of State. "However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary."
Crist states that "such action would violate a woman's right to privacy."
"There are many medical or fiscal barriers that could be placed upon a woman in order to prevent her from following through on her constitutionally protected decision to end a pregnancy. However, such measures do not change hearts, which is the only true and effective way to ensure that a new life coming into the world is loved, cherished, and receives the care that is deserved," Crist wrote.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/11/art.crist.0428.gi.jpg caption ="Crist: Rubio 'wrong' on drilling off Florida coast."]
(CNN) - Florida's governor, who is vying to be the state's next senator, is blasting his Republican opponent, saying that Senate candidate Marco Rubio is pushing "the wrong thing" regarding drilling off Florida's coast.
Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent after bowing out of the Republican primary, made his comments during an interview that aired Friday on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
As thousands of gallons of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, deepening the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Crist reiterated his stance on drilling off Florida's coast: he does not support it.
"I mean, if ever there was a wake-up call to say that we should not drill off the beautiful coast of Florida, this is it," Crist told Blitzer.
"I mean, I can't imagine anybody in their right mind thinking that this is a good idea to do something that would potentially have the secondary effect of one of these spills again."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was a key behind-the-scenes player during the investigation of the Whitewater controversy, while working as a top lawyer in the Clinton White House, documents released Friday show.
The latest batch of more than 41,000 pages was revealed Friday by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Kagan was a top lawyer in the White House counsel's office in 1995 and 1996.
The library said it was withholding several memos written by Kagan related to the broad Whitewater probe, citing presidential confidentiality.
A December 1995 letter from Kagan shows her privately reaching out to Clinton supporters to have them write opinion pieces favorable to the president, which would appear in newspapers nationwide.
She provides prominent Harvard Law School professor Arthur Miller with "some talking points summarizing the administration's position on subpoenas issued by the Senate Whitewater Committee. We are providing these to a number of people whom we hope will write opinion pieces supportive of that position."
(CNN) - The government's point man overseeing the Gulf oil disaster response told CNN Friday that a more accurate estimate over how much oil is flowing could come over the next few days.
"I would expect this estimate could evolve over the next four or five days, as we know more about what's going on with the pressure readings that we're going to be taking," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We're going to put some actual sensors down there and get some pressure readings over the next couple of days."
Researchers recently doubled estimates of how much oil has been flowing from the ruptured well, saying Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels - or 1.7 million gallons - a day may have leaked for weeks.
Sensors, Allen said, will soon be placed at the pipe and will help in estimating the flow rate.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/11/art.obamasqueezehead.jpg caption ="With $9.99 stress-relief toy buyers can 'crush' Obama."]
Washington (CNN) - For about $10 you can give President Obama the squeeze – or crush his head, if you're especially stressed.
Not the real president, but his likeness found in a new mushy toy being called the "Obama Stress Head."
The item is being sold by the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard for $9.99.
"Getting squeezed by Obama's policies? Squeeze back!" a headline blares on a website selling the toy.
The sales pitch also boasts, "Go ahead. Give the Commander in Chief a big squeeze. With our soft, mushy Obama Stress Head, you can crush those half-baked liberal ideas before they do any more damage."
Meanwhile, the sales ad also touts what some may see as offensive.
"Pin his ears back, turn that smile upside down. Come on…you know you want to," the website states.
The site also promises upcoming, similar crushable toys in the likeness of "more of your favorite liberals – Pelosi, Biden and more."
The Democratic National Committee has responded to the sales pitch.
In a statement to CNN, Press Secretary Hari Sevugan said, "Given the civil war between factions of the right that has left the Republican party bloodied, bitterly divided and drained of resources heading into election season, and also given the waning of influence of establishment institutions like the Weekly Standard to shape the future of the right, we understand that they have a lot to be stressed about over there."
(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who finished fourth among four candidates in Tuesday's gubernatorial Republican primary, announced his endorsement Friday of Rep. Gresham Barrett, the second place finisher.
"I hope the media and the voters take these next two weeks to really look at the candidates: their real records – not just their rhetoric," Bauer said in a statement. "When they do, they will find Gresham Barrett has been a committed conservative soldier in the movement against big government long before it was politically advantageous and that Representative Haley has been misrepresenting her conservative credentials."
Barrett finished more than 25 points behind state Rep. Nikki Haley, who nearly avoided a runoff by receiving about 49 percent of the votes. South Carolina Republicans will return to the polls on June 22 to select their nominee.
Barrett's campaign also on Friday launched its second ad since the runoff campaign began.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/11/art.daniels.huckabee.2shot.in-gi.jpg caption ="Mike Huckabee (right) is slamming Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (left) over his recent comments suggesting the next president should focus exclusively on fiscal problems at the expense of social issues."](CNN) - In what could be an early preview of the 2012 race for the GOP presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee is slamming Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels over his recent comments suggesting the next president should focus exclusively on fiscal problems at the expense of social issues.
"Let me be clear…the issue of life and traditional marriage are not bargaining chips nor are they political issues," the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate said in an e-mail to supporters Friday. "They are moral issues. I didn't get involved in politics just to lower taxes and deficit spending though I believe in both and have done it as a Governor. But I want to stay true to the basic premises of our civilization."
Daniels' comments came in an interview with the Weekly Standard, during which the Indiana Republican said the next president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues" so he or she could focus on the fiscal problems facing the country.
The comments have riled several prominent social conservatives, including Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who called them "astonishing."
Daniels, the popular Indiana governor and former OMB head under President George W. Bush, is widely considered to be a potential presidential candidate.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/08/art.bennett.jpg caption ="Utah Sen. Bob Bennett announced Friday his endorsement for Tim Bridgewater in Utah's upcoming GOP primary."]Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah is backing one of the two challengers who ended his bid for a fourth term in the Senate.
On Friday, Bennett confirmed that he's endorsing Tim Bridgewater in Utah's upcoming GOP primary. Bridgewater and Mike Lee finished first and second early last month at a state Republican party convention, advancing to the June 22 primary. Bennett finished third in the voting by delegates, which eliminated him from advancing to the primary and ended his chances of re-election. Bennett became the first sitting senator to go down to defeat in a primary season marked by a strong anti-incumbent sentiment.
"I've known Tim Bridgewater for more than a decade, and I am impressed by the fact that he, like me, brings a businessman approach to political issues," said Bennett, in a statement released Friday by the Bridgewater campaign.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/11/art.robertford.gov.rffg.jpg caption ="Democratic South Carolina state Sen. Robert Ford on Thursday said that white state party leaders are running the party ‘like a plantation.’"](CNN) - The combustible issue of race was at play once again in South Carolina Thursday as an unsuccessful African-American gubernatorial candidate griped that Democratic leaders in the state are running the party "like a plantation at the expense of black candidates."
In a letter [pdf] to members of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and obtained by CNN, state Sen. Robert Ford complained about fellow black legislators who lined up behind the Democratic frontrunner and eventual nominee, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who is white.
Though he said he has "love and respect" for Sheheen, Ford said he is "going to be bitter for a long time" about the outcome of the governor's race and went on to blast younger black legislators who "could care less about civil rights."
The always outspoken Ford, who made raising tax revenue from video poker a central plank of his campaign, raised little money and was never given a serious shot at winning the nomination by political handicappers.