(CNN)–Too many congressional Republicans have stood in the way of legislative progress Senator Harry Reid said Saturday.
"The immigration vote we had this week was just the latest example," the Nevada senator said in the weekly Democratic radio address. "With that bill, we had a rare chance to make progress on one of the country's top problems. The overwhelming majority of Democrats voted to move forward on a bill even President Bush supported, but just a handful of Republicans joined us."
Reid was also critical of Republicans regarding legislation currently pending in the Senate. "The ethics reform bill passed by a vote of 96-2, but now Republicans are blocking it. The 9/11 commission bill passed with heavy Republican support, but they are also blocking this critical legislation."
In his remarks, Reid said putting partisan politics aside was the best way forward. "This can start next week with the Defense Authorization Bill, which is a new opportunity to change course in Iraq." The bill is expected to include measures that would seek to hasten a pull out of U.S. troops from Iraq. "While a growing number of Republicans are saying the right things on Iraq, we'll soon find out if they have the courage to vote the right way also."
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
(CNN)–With the last of the troop reinforcements arriving in Iraq earlier this month, President Bush said Saturday the full troop surge has begun.
"And its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconcilation and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law and is an ally in the war on terror." Bush made the comments Saturday in his weekly radio address.
"The enemy continues to carry out sensational attacks, but the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has been down in May and June." he said. "And because of our new strategy, U.S. and Iraqi forces are living among the people they secure, with the result that many Iraqis are now coming forward with information on where the terrorists are hiding."
Speaking to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, Mr. Bush said it was important to remember the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in the struggle. "They've helped bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They've helped make Americans more secure. We will not forget their sacrifice."
Bush is in Kennebunkport, Maine this weekend. He will host a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In presidential politics, money can create the perception of momentum, which is why the herd of 2008 White House hopefuls will be trying to stuff as much cash as they can in their coffers by midnight Saturday to show off their fund-raising prowess ahead of an upcoming federal report.
The Federal Election Commission requires presidential candidates to report their contributions and expenditures quarterly, and Saturday is the end of the second quarter. And although they have until July 15 to actually file their report with the FEC, many campaigns - especially those that did well - are likely to release the figures sooner.
In fact, several campaigns were providing estimates of their second quarter fund-raising even before the reporting period closed.
A spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he has raised at least $7 million from April through June, which would be about $800,000 more than he raised in the first quarter. Richardson's overall total will top $13 million, which would put him near the top of the second-tier of Democratic candidates.
Of course, he would still be far behind the front-runners, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who each raised more than $25 million in the first quarter.
Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Clinton, indicated Thursday that the former first lady would raise "in the range of $27 million" in the second quarter, which would put her total take for the year north of $53 million. But,trying to tamp down expectations, he said the Clinton campaign expects to be outraised by Obama.
Obama's campaign, which raised $25 million in the first quarter, has set a goal of getting donations from 350,000 people during the second quarter, although it did not attach a dollar total. To beat Clinton's estimate, each of those donors would to give an average of about $78.
Another Democratic hopeful, former Sen. John Edwards, e-mailed supporters Friday morning, telling them that his campaign was within "striking distance" of raising $9 million for the quarter. The campaign later put up a running total on its Web site, saying that $8.7 million had been raised and asking supporters to help top the $9 million mark.
However, even at $9 million, Edwards' fund-raising total for the last three months would be sharply lower than it was during the first quarter, when he raised more than $14 million.
During the second quarter, former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson began raising money to test the presidential waters. However, because he is not a declared candidate and his fund-raising committee was incorporated in his home state of Tennessee, rather than at the federal level, he will not be required to report.
The campaign of another GOP candidate, Sen. John McCain, said it had reached its goal of raising $3 million online during the quarter, although it did not detail any numbers for its non-Internet fund-raising.
McCain shook up his fund-raising operation in April, after his take in the first quarter - $13 million - put him behind both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.