[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/30/art.djouhand0630.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Charles Djou was sworn in, in late May. The Republican lawmaker says that he bought an iPad in order to help get up to speed quickly as a new member of Congress."]
Washington (CNN) – Recently elected Republican Rep. Charles Djou made history Wednesday.
"The House Parliamentarian told me that I'm the first Member of Congress to ever use an iPad during a floor speech," Djou tweeted around noon Eastern time.
In late May, Djou won a special election to fill the seat in Hawaii's First Congressional District once held by Democrat Neil Abercrombie.
In a phone interview with CNN, Djou said his long commute home to Hawaii and the fact that he is new to Congress led him to purchase an iPad.
"I never touched the device until a month ago when I became a member of Congress," the Republican said.
Djou explained that the new tablet device allows him to make the most of his 12-hour, one-way commute to Hawaii.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/30/art.kagan2.gi.jpg caption="Elena Kagan testified Wednesday before the Senate."]
Washington (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was hit with a blizzard of questions about politically thorny social and economic issues in her Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday.
In keeping with the tradition of other recent high court nominees, however, the 50-year-old solicitor general repeatedly declined to indicate how she might rule if approved, leading one senator to bemoan what many observers now characterize as a confirmation process devoid of substance.
Kagan spent much of the third and likely final day of hearings portraying herself as someone who would be an independent voice on the high court. She told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that, if confirmed, she will not be influenced by her previous political positions in the Clinton administration and elsewhere.
Read live updates on the Kagan hearings here.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/08/art.bennett.jpg caption ="Bennett has some tough words for members of his own party."](CNN) – Republican Sen. Bob Bennett – the first incumbent senator this cycle to fall victim to a primary challenge – says his party isn't doing a good job of advancing substantive ideas.
"As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas," Bennett told The Ripon Society, a Republican think tank in Washington.
"The concern I have is that ideology and a demand for absolute party purity endangers our ability to govern once we get into office," Bennett also said in his speech Wednesday.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/19/angle.art.jpg caption=" Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke with well known Nevada political anchor John Ralston on Tuesday on the program, 'Face to Face.'"]
Washington (CNN) - The woman who wants to defeat the most powerful Democrat in the Senate has taken part in a rare interview as critics claim she's avoided reporters by hiding in an "underground bunker."
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke with well known Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston on Tuesday on the program, "Face to Face." The interview was seen by KVBC Las Vegas and KRNV Reno viewers.
"She's been accused of hiding from all but friendly media, portrayed as a right wing kook by the Democrats and ridiculed on her positions from prisoner massages to prohibition," Ralston said in his introduction. The show host then said Angle would "clear the air" on what some consider her controversial positions.
Washington (CNN) - Nearly half of all Americans have a favorable view of the new health care reform law, according to a new national poll.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Wednesday indicates that 48 percent of the public views the law in a favorable light, up seven points from May, with 41 percent saying they have an unfavorable view. One in 10 questioned said they were unsure.
President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law in April. Supporters celebrate the enactment of the landmark $940 billion measure, but critics insist it will do little to slow spiraling costs and say businesses will be burdened by a slew of new regulations and taxes.
Recent national polls by USA Today/Gallup, AP/GfK, and NBC/Wall Street Journal also indicate a uptick in support or favorable views of health care reform.
The House is expected to pass the sweeping package of reforms to the financial regulatory system later Wednesday, moving the bill a step closer to the finish line. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The House is expected to pass the sweeping package of reforms to the financial regulatory system later Wednesday, moving the bill a step closer to the finish line.
But Democrats won't make their self-imposed deadline of passing the bill by July 4 after a delay to find a different way to pay the $19 billion tab for the measure. Instead, the Senate is likely to take up the measure after it returns from the Independence Day recess during the week of July 12.
On Tuesday, Democratic leaders found a way to pay for the bill by hiking the premiums big banks pay for federal back-stop insurance on commercial deposits and ending the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to aid troubled institutions a few months early.
That plan replaced what was already in the bill – assessing big banks and hedge funds – because key moderate Senate Republicans, especially Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., didn't like the idea of passing a new "tax." The assessment was agreed to last week during the final 20-hour session to negotiate a final bill from the ones passed separately by the House and Senate.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate vote 99-0 Wednesday to confirm Gen. David Petraeus as the new commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.
Petraeus was named by President Barack Obama to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/30/art.kirk2.ad.youtube.jpg caption="Senate hopeful Mark Kirk is up with two new ads in Illinois."]
Washington (CNN) – Less than twenty-four hours after his admission that he misrepresented his military record, the campaign of Senate hopeful Mark Kirk has released two ads that slam his Democratic opponent.
Kirk, the Republican nominee hoping to capture President Obama's old Senate seat, admitted during a news conference Tuesday that he had mischaracterized his military record.
"I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again," Kirk said.
But now his campaign is striking back at Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat who earlier this year waged a public relations battle of his own following the failure of a bank owned by his family.
Updated 1:00 p.m.: Read the Giannoulias campaign response after the jump.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/16/artpawlenty0523y.gi.jpg caption ="Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty lent a hand to Nikki Haley on Tuesday."](CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made his first visit to the early primary state of South Carolina on Tuesday and became the latest potential presidential candidate to donate to Republican Nikki Haley's gubernatorial campaign.
Pawlenty spoke to about sixty activists and business leaders at the Spartanburg home of South Carolina GOP chairwoman Karen Floyd about the threat of government spending and the need to elect Republicans in November, according to people present at the fundraiser, which benefited the state party.
Though he was accompanied on the trip by Terry Nelson, a senior adviser to his political operation, Pawlenty did not mention any potential White House ambitions.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/30/art.getty.obama.3.4.jpg caption="President Obama is in Wisconsin on Wednesday touting his economic plan."]Racine, Wisconsin (CNN) - President Barack Obama takes his economic message on the road Wednesday, traveling to Wisconsin to hold a town hall on the economy. But he also plans to use the forum to take aim at some recent controversial comments by two top Republicans.
"We already tried the other side's ideas. We already know where their theories led us. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future," the president is expected to tell an estimated audience of 1,300 in Racine, Wisconsin, according to excerpts of Obama's speech released by the White House.
Listen: CNN's John Lisk and Paul Steinhauser discuss Obama's trip.
The president's event comes one day after the stock markets on Wall Street tumbled, following a report showing a slump in consumer confidence and signs of a bigger slowdown in the global economy.