[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/art.palin.0524.gi.jpg caption="Sarah Palin used a Facebook posting Monday to defend the candidacy of South Carolina Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley."]
By Charles Riley
Drawing parallels to her own experiences with rumor and political sniping, Sarah Palin used a Facebook posting Monday to defend the candidacy of South Carolina Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley.
"As I said to Nikki this morning, 'Hang in there. I've been there. Any lies told about you will strengthen your resolve to clean up political and media corruption. You and your supporters will grow stronger through things like this.'"
Palin's reaction comes just hours after Haley denied a claim that she once had an extramarital affair with a prominent South Carolina political blogger.
Palin endorsed Haley earlier this month in a surprise move, and then traveled to South Carolina, where the two women appeared at a rally.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/art.rnc.gi.jpg caption="An internal RNC document obtained by CNN reveals the organization has far less cash on hand than it has had in previous election cycles."]
By John King
CNN Chief National Correspondent
An internal Republican National Committee document obtained by CNN paints a damning picture of the committee's financial standing compared to the past five election cycles.
The document, pulled together during a recent review sparked by concerns over RNC spending practices, said the committee had $12.5 million in cash on hand at the end of April.
Read the RNC document here [pdf]
By comparison, the average cash on hand at the end of April from 2002-2009 was $40.4 million. And that average includes the odd numbered years when there are fewer election contests.
Looking only at even-numbered years, this year's $12.5 million end of April COH is less than one-third the amount the RNC had on hand on April 30 for the 2002 ($47 million) and the 2006 ($44.6 million) midterms.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/tim.burns.ad.jpg caption="Republican Tim Burns' advertising, opposing a variety of Democratic initiatives, didn't win him a special election for a House seat."]
Editor's note: David Frum writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A special assistant to President Bush in 2001-02, he is the author of six books, including "Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again" and is the editor of FrumForum.
By David Frum
To understand the shape of the impending 2010 congressional elections, compare these two campaign ads from the recent special election in the 12th district of Pennsylvania. First, Republican Tim Burns:
Message: Send a protest message to Washington. Notice that the word "no" is spoken or viewed five times in 30 seconds. No cap and trade. No health care deal. No more taxes and spending.
Next, Democrat Mark Critz:
It opens: "Political TV ads always talk about what we've lost. Well I'm Mark Critz, and as Jack Murtha's director of economic development, we always looked ahead." Then followed five promises at least arguably related to job creation.
I don't want to make too much of Mark Critz's victory in Pennsylvania. It's a historically Democratic district, heavily unionized. It voted for Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/joe.sestak.getty.jpg caption="Rep. Joe Sestak's victory illustrates that some of the grass-roots energy from the 2008 presidential election is still alive and kicking, Julian Zelizer says."]
Editor's note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is "Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security: From World War II to the War on Terrorism," published by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely about current events.
By Julian Zelizer
Special to CNN
For several weeks, Democrats have been feeling blue about the 2010 midterm elections. Many have been worried about the possibility of a precipitous decline in the size of their majority in the House and Senate, or even about Republicans retaking control of Congress.
The primaries and special elections turned into a litmus test on the condition of Democrats. If that assumption is true, then Tuesday produced some good news. Even with the alleged "anti-incumbent" fever that has spread through parts of the electorate, Democrats came out of several key races with positive news.
The first good sign came from a special election in western Pennsylvania to fill the seat of the late John Murtha. Democrat Mark Critz, a former staffer for Murtha, defeated the businessman and Tea Party candidate Tim Burns. In his campaign, Burns ran as an "outsider" and tied Critz to Washington Democrats. In response, Critz focused much of his campaign on how to create jobs for the middle class and Murtha's record of bringing government funds back to the district.
The district is the kind of electoral mix - economically liberal and socially conservative - where Republicans are hoping to make big gains in November. So Critz's victory is not good news for the GOP.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/getty.richard.phillips.jpg caption="Capt. Richard Phillips spent four days as a hostage after the attempted seizure of the Maersk Alabama. "]
By Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit
The captain of the container ship Maersk Alabama ignored explicit warnings to stay well off the coast of Somalia before his capture by pirates in 2009, according to 16 of its 19 crew members.
"It's almost like he wanted to be captured," the ship's chief engineer, Mike Perry, told CNN in an interview to air on tonight's "AC360."
Capt. Richard Phillips spent four days as a hostage after the attempted seizure of the Maersk Alabama. After his rescue by U.S. Navy SEAL commandos, Phillips was lauded as a hero, and the publisher of his new book promoted him as a sea captain who risked his life by offering himself as a hostage "in exchange for the safety of the crew."
The 16 crew members have been far less public about the events, even as Phillips toured the country this spring to promote his book, "A Captain's Duty." But now they are telling a different version of what took place in the waters off the Somali coast in early April 2009.
Perry, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, was the chief engineer aboard the Alabama as it sailed from Oman, in the Persian Gulf, to Mombasa, Kenya, with a cargo of relief supplies. He told CNN Correspondent Drew Griffin that Phillips' decision "certainly warrants an investigation."
The parents of a teenage girl have been accused of forcing her to sleep outside their Miami home for years, authorities said.
Sherrine and Philip Mathieu, who were arrested last week, have been charged with 863 counts of felony child neglect, the Miami Police said in a statement.
"Using their blue Pontiac Grand Am as a bed, this family of three spent their nights sleeping within feet of their duplex apartment which had electricity, hot and cold running water and all of the comforts of home.," the statement said.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/21/art.oil.louisiana.jpg caption="Greenpeace USA executive director Phil Radford inspects oil-covered reeds in Louisiana."]
Special to CNN
One month ago today, the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico tragically killing eleven men working on the BP oil rig and choking the Gulf Coast with millions of gallons of oil — oil that is still pouring into the waters today. Thirty days later, we are no closer to knowing how to contain and stop the leak, or how extensive — or long-lasting — the damage will be. But we have been awakened to the dirty realities of our fossil-fuel addiction.
Thirty days later and the guesswork to basic questions continue. Even the most conservative estimates have the oil output at 210,000 gallons every day. But experts think that number could be as high as 4,200,000 gallons a day — 20 times as high.
How far will the oil slick spread? Currently nineteen percent of the Gulf of Mexico has been closed to fishing with the spill potentially reaching the Florida Keys and even further to Cuba. As we try to understand the scope of the spill, scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the plumes of oil that are spreading beneath the ocean surface – destruction unseen to us but felt at great depths.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/brittany.and.simon.copy.jpg width=292 height=320]
There were no signs of foul play or criminal activity in the death of the widower of actress Brittany Murphy, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Alex Ortiz said.
British screenwriter Simon Monjack was found dead Sunday night at his Hollywood home, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
Murphy, his wife of less than three years, died five months ago.
Monjack, 39, was pronounced dead after the Los Angeles Fire Department was called to the home for a medical emergency, according to police. Brittany's mother, Sharon Murphy, reportedly lived in the home with Monjack.
Murphy, 32, died in December from a combination of pneumonia, an iron deficiency and multiple drug intoxication, a coroner said. The drugs involved were legal and used to treat a respiratory infection, according to an autopsy.
The often bubbly, free-spirited actress appeared in films such as "Clueless," "8 Mile," "Don't Say a Word" and "Girl, Interrupted."
She also lent her voice to animated works, including the movie "Happy Feet" - in which she also sang - and a regular role on the animated TV series "King of the Hill."
A BP executive defended his company's attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday amid growing frustration and suggestions that the federal government could take over the effort.
Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, told CNN's "American Morning" that the company also is frustrated that several efforts have failed to stem the flow of oil that continues to churn into seawater.
"We won't quit until we get this job done," he said. "We're doing everything we can."
The company's latest effort to plug the leak is on track to happen Wednesday morning, he said. BP plans to pump thick, viscous fluid twice the density of water into the site of the leak to stop the flow so the well can then be sealed with cement in a "top kill" procedure.
Suttles spoke a day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed frustration with the delay in stopping the spill; Salazar said that BP has "from day one, frankly, not fulfilled the mission it was supposed to fulfill."