Sarah Palin's Eye On VP Slot Months Before Receiving Nomination?

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(JUNEAU, Alaska) -- Sarah Palin kept a close watch on her constituent mail in the months before Sen. John McCain picked her as the vice presidential nominee, especially a series of flattering messages suggesting she join the Republican presidential ticket.

“Sarah Palin should run for Vice President of the United States,” Richard Casey of Fort Collins, Colo. wrote in a message sent to the governor through her website in June 2008. “She is terrific! A vote from Colorado.”

Palin, who was evidently personally monitoring her constituent email, forwarded the message -- without comment -- to Jessalyn Rintala, Palin’s coordinator of constituent relations and Janice Mason, the governor’s scheduler and executive secretary.

Another message sent on the same day, June 29, 2008, from William McKane of Yankton, SD read: “I think that she would make a first-rate running mate for Senator John McCain. Please encourage her to accept if asked! What can we do to encourage Senator McCain to put her on the ticket?”

Keith Mundy of Nogales, Ariz. wrote: “Maybe you should run at some point in time. I sure as hell would vote for you.”

Palin forwarded five separate emails to Rintala and Mason on June 30, 2008 -- a day when speculation about who McCain would name as his running mate was heating up.

On that day, conservative commentator Bill Kristol appeared on Fox News, predicting that if McCain were to pick Palin as his running mate gas prices would "plummet immediately" because she would convince him to drill in Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

“I think she would help him get elected, which would be a good thing if you want gas prices to come down,” Kristol said. “Then she’ll persuade him that we have to drill in ANWR and have an aggressive drilling program across the board.”

But at that point in the presidential race, Palin’s ascent to the vice presidential slot was far from certain. On the same morning the news website, Politico, ran a story headlined: “Romney Tops McCain Veep List.”

Palin was apparently relishing the attention, which was suddenly coming in from all over the country.

“For the first time today I heard some politicians discussing running mates for John McCain,” Carol Brannock of Willow Spring, N.C. wrote to Palin. “I am excited about the possibility that you may be our next vice president!”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Tells Supporters: 'This Will Be Your Campaign'

William B. Plowman/NBC(WASHINGTON) -- In a message to supporters today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to build a campaign belonging to the people, telling supporters it will be "your campaign."

"Because the renewal of America can only begin with you, this will be your campaign,” Gingrich wrote in a posting on Facebook.

The exodus of approximately sixteen staffers from the Gingrich campaign yesterday due to "strategic differences" left Gingrich scrambling to define his campaign to supporters. In his message, he vowed to focus on devising new ways to address the struggling economy and create new jobs.

"I am running for President because we need to insist on dramatic and bold changes in Washington and in the policies that are killing jobs," Gingrich said.  "There is no more important task for the next president. President Obama has shown that he is not equal to the task. He has failed to lead effectively to solve these economic challenges.  In fact his policies and his attitudes have made the economy worse. He needs to be replaced."

"The road ahead will not be easy for America.  As a citizen who loves his country and does not want to see it fail, I will humbly offer my vision for renewing America’s future alongside the other candidates.  And I will work every day of this campaign to make this vision of American renewal a reality."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum Debuts New Radio Ad, First of Campaign

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum is releasing his first ad of the 2012 presidential campaign, entitled "The Courage to Fight for America."  According to the campaign, "The ad will begin running on Monday on national satellite radio and later in the week on stations in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina." These are key areas where Santorum hopes to capture the conservative vote.

"When our founders created this country, the idea that we were going to borrow money to provide for people today and charge the next generation for the excesses of today would have astounded them," Santorum says. "Over half of Americans now, receive some sort of government benefit and 40 cents of that dollar that they're getting, they're charging their children and grandchildren for the rest of their lives, to pay the debt service on the money that they’re receiving. That is immoral, that is wrong. Someone has to have the courage to go out and tell the American public: 'We can't afford the government that we have right now and we need to cut it back, across the board.' The promise that we have to the next generation is to hand off America in better shape than it was handed to us. And right now, we are not going to do that."

The ad is being released following a week of multiple radio and television appearances, as he tries to get his name out there in an increasingly crowded field where he trails at the bottom in name recognition and most national polls.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio to Make 'Maiden Speech' on Senate Floor Tuesday

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Freshman Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver his "maiden speech" on the Senate floor Tuesday in what aides are calling his first major national speech since Election Night.

The Senator -- via a web video that will be sent out to supporters on Friday -- harkens back to the history of a maiden speech, noting that this is an important address in the career of every Senator when they "first outline why you ran for the Senate and what you intend your Senate career to be all about."

Rubio has been in the Senate just five-and-a-half months, and is the last of the incoming freshman class of Senators to deliver his first floor address.

"My speech will come at an important time in American history when we're debating the future of our country," Rubio says in his web video sitting before a bookcase, an American flag and a tiny bust of President Ronald Reagan.  "Now our past is pretty clear -- we have built here the greatest and most exceptional nation in all of human history.  And now we have to decide whether we want to continue to be that.  Or are we prepared to decline."

The speech, scheduled for 2:45 pm on Tuesday, will be available on Facebook and the Senator's webpage in addition to C-SPAN.  Rubio's wife, Jeanette, and four children will be on Capitol Hill to watch his speech.

In a letter to supporters which will be sent to them on Friday, along with the web video, the Senator asks supports to tune in and comment.

"Since our nation's founding, the Senate floor is where our leaders have stood, debated and ultimately made consequential decisions to address the great challenges of their time," Rubio writes.  "Next week, I will have my first chance. You helped make this opportunity possible, so I don't want you to miss it."

The junior Senator, described as a rising star in the Republican Party, is a name being tossed around as a possible vice presidential candidate for 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Visit Home of Minor Who Communicated with Weiner

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW CASTLE COUNTY, Del.) -- ABC News has learned more about Congressman Anthony Weiner's online contacts.

Police in New Castle County, Del. visited the home of a 17-year-old girl who was one of Weiner's followers on Twitter who boasted that she has communicated with the congressman online.

It remains unclear who called the police, or exactly why they were there.  But Weiner's newly hired spokeswoman told ABC News in a statement, "According to Congressman Weiner, his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gingrich On Departed Campaign Staff: We Had 'Strategic Differences'

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(MCLEAN, Va.) -- For the first time since his campaign saw a huge staff shake up, Newt Gingrich spoke to media outside his McLean, Va., home Friday, citing "strategic differences" between himself and the departed staff.

"We had a strategic disagreement about how to run a campaign," Gingrich said. "There have been very few campaigns that have been solutions oriented and that are oriented to every single American."

In response to reports that staffers disagreed with his dedication to campaigning, Gingrich was defiant and said he plans to campaign "very intensely."

"I'm prepared to go out and to campaign very intensely, but I want a campaign on ideas and on solutions and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together into a large movement."

Gingrich said "There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run."

"I am a candidate for president of the United States because I think we are in the early stages of the Obama depression," he said.

Gingrich is committed to his event in Los Angeles on Sunday and will attend the New Hampshire debate on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Alaska Releasing 25,000 Emails of Former Gov. Sarah Palin

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(JUNEAU, Alaska) -- The State of Alaska will release 25,000 emails of its former Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday as part of an open-records request made during the 2008 presidential race by numerous citizen groups and newspapers.

The emails cover the period from December 2006 until September 2008.  They include emails from her personal Yahoo! account used to conduct state business.

The contents of the emails are not yet known.  Most of them could be routine and mundane, but some could be frank and revealing, as Palin seemed to indicate on Fox News Sunday.

"A lot of those emails obviously weren't meant for public consumption.  They are between staff members," Palin said.

The former Alaska governor added that some people may try to take the emails out of context.

"They'll never truly know what the context of each one of the emails was," she said.

The piles of emails are so voluminous, some newspapers that have traditionally been unsupportive of Palin, like the New York Times, are actually recruiting readers to screen them to try to sniff out anything unflattering. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Weiner Shouldn't Resign, Constituents Say in New Poll

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner may be taking heat from a growing number of his colleagues who think he should resign from office, but most voters in his congressional district appear to have his back.

A new poll by New York 1 and Marist College found 56 percent of registered voters in New York’s 9th congressional district think Weiner should stay, despite bold public lies about his online behavior and the embarrassing details that have since come to light.

Thirty-three percent said Weiner should immediately resign, while 12 percent were undecided, according to the poll.

The results mirror the findings of a broader poll of registered New York City voters released Tuesday.

“It’s shades of Clinton-Lewinsky in this poll,” said ABC News pollster Gary Langer of Langer Research Associates.  “The results indicate that the majority of Weiner’s constituents are willing to separate his personal behavior, however objectionable, from his professional performance -- much as we saw in public reaction to President Clinton’s sex scandal back in 1998.”

Weiner, who has been trying to keep a low profile since making a dramatic public confession and mea culpa on Monday, told the New York Post outside his home in Queens Thursday that he intends to keep his job and “get back to work as best I can.”

If the latest poll is any indication, Weiner could face an uphill climb in convincing voters to give him another term.

Only 44 percent of voters in his district said he’s doing an excellent or good job in office, while 38 percent see him favorably, and 48 percent think he can be effective or very effective in office if he stays.

As for whether they’d vote for Weiner again if the election were held today, it’s split fairly evenly three ways: 30 percent definitely would, 31 percent definitely would not, and 38 percent are undecided.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Will Newt Gingrich's Loss Become Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Gain?

Governor [dot] State [dot] Tx [dot] us(WASHINGTON) -- There are signs that three-term Texas Gov. Rick Perry might just make a run for the 2012 Republican nomination, despite his protestations to the contrary.

One of the reasons Perry has been reluctant to throw his hat in the ring was because his top political consultant, Dave Carney, and former campaign manager, Rob Johnson, had joined Newt Gingrich's campaign to seek the White House.

As of Thursday, both Carney and Johnson resigned from the Gingrich camp, along with much of the rest of the former House speaker's team.  Speculation is that they may help Perry make a bid for the GOP nomination.

There have also been reports that Perry has recently spoken to big-name donors, a major step if he was to become a serious candidate.  The governor already has a broad fundraising network both inside and outside of Texas.

Those close to Perry say he believes he can appeal to the Republican mainstream as well as to Tea Party activists because of his disavowal of big government policies and his defense of states’ rights.

However, Perry also runs into the problem of perhaps being too much of a social conservative, with very far-right views opposing abortion and same-sex marriage and somewhat fuzzy opinions on the separation of church and state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Rudy Giuliani Seems Ready for Another White House Run

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rudolph Giuliani is this-close to announcing his intention to seek the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Or, maybe he's not that close.

The former New York is reportedly ready to make another attempt at becoming the Republican standard bearer.  The last time he tried during the 2008 election, he collected a total of one delegate.

The rumors of a possible Giuliani candidacy, first fueled by New York Congressman Peter King last month, surfaced again this week in William Kristol's column for the Weekly Standard.

Kristol wrote, "I'm told by two reliable sources that Rudy Giuliani intends to run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012."

For now, Giuliani, who gained national attention for helping New York rebound after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, remains cagey about his intentions.  One aide said he's considering another bid for the White House, but that's as far as it goes right now.

While Giuliani's greatest strength among Republicans is his national security credentials, he's considered by some as being too moderate for the GOP base.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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