Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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click on each candidate to see today's news stories (caricatures by Linda Eddy)

Thursday, August 21, 2008



House Wars!

McCain's: "Housing Problem"

Obama's: "Seven"



'Biggest celebrity in the world' Obama mocks McCain over houses comment

Barack Obama Thursday depicted John McCain as rich, out of touch and less a foreign-policy expert than he claims—part of the increasingly negative tone of the presidential hopeful's message as he tries to fight the perception that his campaign has stalled.

Two national polls released Thursday showed McCain has drawn almost even with Obama in the last few weeks, thanks to an aggressive new tone and a series of negative campaign commercials painting Obama as a tax raiser who is ill-prepared to lead in a dangerous world. That, in turn, has prompted Obama to step up his rhetoric against McCain...

Speaking to supporters, Obama chided McCain for an interview he gave to the Politico Web site where he said he didn't know how many homes he owns. [story here]

McCain camp's response:

“Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?

Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people 'cling' to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans? ...

McCain doesn't own any properties - all owned by wife & her children

John McCain's family owns at least eight properties — not the seven Democrats are alleging or the four McCain's staff identified — according to a Politico analysis of property and tax records, as well as interviews.

The presumptive Republican nominee, though, may have some wiggle room in explaining why he couldn't immediately provide an answer when asked by Politico how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. Sen. McCain himself does not own any of the properties. They're all owned by Cindy McCain, her dependent children and the trusts and companies they control.


McCain and Obama tax plans diverge on wealth

The sharpening rhetoric between John McCain and Barack Obama over their competing plans to overhaul the nation's tax system has underscored one of the most profound differences between them -- how they would target America's wealthiest taxpayers.

Under McCain, the rich would see their tax burden ease. Under Obama, their rates would rise dramatically.



Hillary creates 'whip team' to quell anti-Obama protests

In an unusual move, Hillary Clinton's staff is creating a 40-member "whip team" at the Denver Democratic convention to ensure that her supporters don't engage in embarrassing anti-Obama demonstrations during the floor vote on her nomination, according to people familiar with the planning.

The team, which is being organized by longtime Clinton staffer Craig Smith, is working in conjunction with Obama's floor organizers to help foster the image of a unified front during a roll-call process Clinton herself has described as an emotional "catharsis" for her disappointed supporters.

"If people get down there on the floor and want to start blowing kazoos and making a scene we want to make sure we've got people who stand in front of them with Obama signs," said a person involved in the planning.

"Is it typical for a losing candidate to have their own whip team? No. But it's also not usual for a losing candidate to get 18 million votes either," said the person.



Karl Rove: Conventions need a believable script

"There are growing concerns, which the McCain campaign has tapped, that Mr. Obama is an inexperienced celebrity-politician smitten with his own press clippings..."







John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

White powder, threats received at 2 McCain offices

Threatening letters containing an unidentified white powder have been received at John McCain's campaign offices in Denver, Colorado, and Manchester, New Hampshire, CBS News has learned.

McCain's campaign office in Denver received a letter containing a threat and "an amount of white powder in it," a McCain campaign said.

"We immediately notified local and federal law enforcement agencies and are looking to cooperate with them," spokesman Jeff Sadosky said.

Another McCain spokesperson later said that McCain's New Hampshire office "received a similar letter."

Poll: McCain holds edge on patriotism

The public views Sen. John McCain as more patriotic than his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, even though it prefers the way Obama talks about patriotism, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, found that 74 percent of respondents saw McCain as patriotic, compared to just 56 percent who said the same of Obama.

But when respondents were read two excerpts of Obama and McCain’s comments describing their feelings about the United States, Obama’s statement came out ahead by a 52-41 percent margin.

McCain closes gap on Obama as conventions loom

Sen. John McCain has all but closed the gap with Sen. Barack Obama, underscoring how international crises -- and some well-placed negative ads -- have boosted the prospects of the Republican presidential candidate.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll also points to a big challenge for Sen. Obama as his party gathers in Denver next week for its convention: rallying Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters to his cause. Only half of those who voted for Sen. Clinton in the primaries say they are now supporting Sen. Obama. One in five is supporting Sen. McCain. The Republican has reached out to Clinton supporters by offering steady praise for the former first lady and hinting that he'd be open to a running mate who supports abortion rights.

No single-term pledge for McCain

John McCain stated unequivocally in an interview with Politico on Wednesday that he would not pledge to serve only a single four-year term, rejecting a suggestion that some allies believe would allay questions about his age and underscore his nonpartisan message of putting country first.

“No,” McCain said flatly, “I’m not considering it.”

Bush praises McCain's foresight

Sen. John McCain, who watched from a prison camp as America failed to deploy the overwhelming force necessary to win the Vietnam War, seized the moment after Republicans lost Congress in 2006 to push President Bush not to make the same mistake.

Mr. McCain sent a private letter to Mr. Bush on Dec. 12, 2006, that challenged the president to show the "will" to win the Iraq war by deploying 20,000 troops into Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle to beat back a growing insurgency.

The letter was the climax of a 3 1/2-year effort to persuade the president to send more troops to Iraq. The former Navy pilot, who had his arms repeatedly broken during nearly six years of captivity, couched his argument in the terms born of the Vietnam War.

"The question is one of will more than capacity," wrote the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "If we are not willing to provide the troops necessary for victory, however, victory itself will be impossible."

Mr. McCain, whose letter is made public in the Washington Times for the first time, added that "surging five additional brigades into Baghdad by March" was the answer.

Mr. Bush, who had resisted Mr. McCain's call for a troop surge for years, now praises him for persisting in his argument that expanding the war in Iraq was the way to win it.

"John recognized early on that more troops would be needed in order to achieve the security necessary for the Iraqis to make the political progress we're seeing now," the president told The Washington Times this week.

"He supported that action even though many said it would hurt his campaign [for president]. He didn't care about popularity; he cared about success for our troops and our country. And now that the surge has worked, it proves that John's judgment was correct."

McCain's knife-wielding captor leads Vietnam in rooting for him

Le Van Lua, the first North Vietnamese that Lieutenant Commander John McCain encountered in 1967, says he greeted the American aviator with the biggest kitchen knife he could find. He'd like to welcome McCain back as president of the United States.

He isn't alone. Former prisoner of war McCain has some unlikely supporters in Vietnam, a country he bombed 23 times. Like Le, many Vietnamese are cheering for the self-confessed ``air pirate,'' absolving McCain-the-bomber and embracing the senator who pushed to normalize diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1995...

McCain calls lobbyists 'birds of prey'

Sen. John McCain called lobbyists “birds of prey” Wednesday and vowed to enforce a lifetime ban on lobbying for members of his administration.

“Whenever there’s a corrupt system, then you’re going to have these birds of prey descend on it to get their share of the spoils,” McCain said...





Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama rips FOX news, anti-Obama book

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) personally went on the attack Wednesday on a best-selling new book that falsely describes him as a closet Muslim.

Talking about "The Obama Nation," Obama said author Jerome Corsi was just making "stuff up."

“But it gets a lot of play on Fox News,” he said to loud boos.

The news network has interviewed Corsi.




Obama camp lashes out at 'quick-draw' McCain

Coinciding with a new poll suggesting McCain has overhauled Obama among voters nationally, Obama's senior foreign policy adviser Susan Rice portrayed the Republican as a hot-head who could not be trusted to stay cool under fire.

McCain's "tendency is to shoot first and to ask questions later," she said on a conference call alongside former White House anti-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, who called the Republican "trigger-happy" and "reckless."

McCain, according to Rice, "cheer-led (President George W.) Bush's decision to take our eye off the ball and start a war in Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11."

"This is a record that belies anything approaching sound judgment," she said.

Clarke added, "he has consistently been quick-draw McCain here on every issue. His first instinct is to rattle sabers and look for a military solution."

Caroline Kennedy, ambassador to London

If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, Britain seems set to have its first Kennedy as American Ambassador to the Court of St James's since JFK's father, Joe.

Mandrake hears that it will be payback for Caroline Kennedy JFK's only surviving child and a power broker in the Democratic Party, for being such an enthusiastic cheerleader for Obama.



Obama spent more $$$ on ads in July than McCain spent on election

Barack Obama spent more on advertising last month than Republican rival John McCain spent on his campaign, new Federal Election Commission filings show.

Obama spent $57.2 million in July, including $33 million on advertising. McCain spent $32.4 million, with $18.7 million going for ads.

Obama team seeks changes in primaries - plan reduces role of superdelegates

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign will call next week for the creation of a commission to revise the rules for selecting a presidential nominee in 2012, with a goal of reducing the power of superdelegates, whose role became a major point of contention during the long battle for the Democratic nomination between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The commission also will be urged to redraw the nominating calendar for 2012 to avoid starting the primaries and caucuses so early, and also to look specifically at ensuring more uniform rules and standards for those caucuses.






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