Dodd is set to get a big endorsement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – CNN has learned that Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination will receive a boost in the form of an endorsement from the International Association of Firefighters.
The Association will endorse the presidential hopeful at a press conference on Wednesday in Washington.
Dodd, the author of both the FIRE (Fire Investment and Response Enhancement) and SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) acts, was warmly received at the firefighter union’s presidential forum in March. Both pieces of legislation have been responsible for supplying additional federal funds to firefighting units across the country.
The union has had a particularly contentious relationship with Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. While the former New York City mayor is often lauded for his leadership in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the union’s leaders have argued that he mishandled the search-and-recovery effort at Manhattan’s “Ground Zero.”
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth.
Cedar Rapids, IOWA (CNN) - At the Livestrong Forum Monday, Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, hit home the message of proper health education and personally shared the benefits he’s experienced since adopting a vegan lifestyle.
“I didn't need as much sleep. I had a lot more energy. I had a lot more clarity. I didn't have the health problems that I had previous to that,” the Ohio congressman said. “And as a result, I had a better quality of life.”
Kucinich added: “People want a president who is healthy because if you’re healthy you can think right.”
The White House hopeful emphasized his commitment to a “full disclosure” health education policy, where Americans are made aware of the nutrition value and health risks of the food they eat.
Referencing the epidemic of American obesity owing to such lack of information, Kucinich pushed for overall “health consciousness” that includes physical fitness, proper nutrition and access to health care.
“There is a direct connection not only between diet and health, but diet and the environment, diet and the economy. And so as president I'm going to be singularly positioned to be able to lead that discussion because I take in my own journey toward health based on my dietary choices,” he said.
While describing a diet free of animal products and an improved quality of life, MSNBC Hardball Host, Chris Matthews, ignited laughter when playfully remarking “And you married a young woman.”
Kucinich joked, “And I did. And my – hello. I mean, I'm 60 years old, I have a – my wife's 29. You draw your own conclusions. Diet helps.”
- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
The FEC said Tuesday McCain is eligible to receive matching funds.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In what may prove to be a much-needed boost to John McCain’s struggling White House bid, the Federal Election Commission announced Tuesday that the Arizona senator’s campaign will be eligible to receive federal matching funds.
After reporting dismal fundraising numbers for the first half of the year, McCain was forced to fire much of his staff and completely restructure his presidential campaign.
McCain's campaign said the senator has not decided yet on whether or not he will accept the money.
"We haven't made a final decision yet, but we're doing what’s necessary should we decide to take matching funds," said McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.
McCain, who trails Republican frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in fundraising, applied for public financing on August 10. He is the first presidential candidate to be declared eligible for the funding.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
BOISE, Idaho (CNN) - Sen. Larry Craig apologized to friends and family, but said he regretted the decision to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident in an airport rest room in Minneapolis.
"I did nothing wrong," the senator said.
Craig said he had retained counsel to review the case.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Senate leadership recommended Tuesday that the Larry Craig matter be referred to the Senate Ethics Committee for review.
"This is a serious matter," the leadership group said in a statement. "Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Senator Craig's incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review. In the meantime, Leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required."
The GOP leadership consists of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Assistant Minority Leader Trent Lott, Conference Chairman Jon Kyl, Policy Committee Chair Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senatorial Committee Chair John Ensign.
Romney slammed Craig's alleged behavior Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He was one of Mitt Romney's top backers in the Senate, but the GOP White House hopeful had some harsh words for embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig Tuesday.
In an interview with CNBC's "Kudlow and Company," Romney said the Idaho Republican's alleged conduct in an airport bathroom was "very disappointing."
"Once again, we've found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence," Romney added. "He's no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine... I'm sorry to see that he has fallen short."
Craig, formerly Romney's Senate co-liaison and head of his Idaho leadership team, resigned his campaign post Monday evening after news surfaced that he was arrested in an airport bathroom for disorderly conduct.
Romney also likened Craig's alleged behavior to that of former Rep. Mark Foley and former President Bill Clinton.
"I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton," he said. "I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we'll just forgive and forget."
"We've seen disappointment in the White House, we've seen it in the Senate, we've seen it in Congress," Romney continued. "And frankly, it's disgusting."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Clinton won the backing of a major union Tuesday.
(CNN) – Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton won the support of the United Transportation Union Tuesday, the first national labor group to endorse a candidate in the 2008 race for the White House.
“It is a high honor and a distinct privilege to be the first labor union in making this endorsement,” UTU International President Paul Thompson said in a written statement. “The UTU has a long history of picking winners early. Hillary will be a president that America’s working families can count on."
"Time and again, as a United States senator, she has stood with us," Thompson added.
Calling itself "the leader among transportation labor unions," the UTU claims to represent 125,000 active and retired railroad and transit workers. It is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
According to the Associated Press, the UTU is also one of the top labor unions to donate to political candidates. It contributed $1.3 million to candidates in the 2004 federal elections, with 84 percent of the money going to Democrats.
All eight Democratic candidates have heavily sought the AFL-CIO's support, and participated in the labor federation's candidate forum earlier this month. Following the forum, the AFL-CIO decided not to make an official endorsement, instead allowing the 55 member unions to pick their own candidates.
“I am honored to receive the support of the United Transportation Union,” Clinton responded in a press release Tuesday. “America’s workers have been invisible to this administration, and it’s time they had an advocate in the White House.”
- CNN's Mark Norman and Alexander Mooney
Human Rights Campaign gave Sen. Craig its worst rating.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who is currently under fire for his conduct in a men's restroom, was given the lowest possible rating by the Human Rights Campaign in their report released right before the 2006 midterm election.
"Senator Craig is the latest in a string of public officials who have yet to learn that the days of treating Congress as a game of charades where you say one thing and do another are over," Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, said Tuesday. "Throughout his career, Senator Craig has readily espoused his so-called moral values in an attempt to score political points by passing judgments and dividing our country without regard to his own personal life."
Craig was given a "zero" rating by the prominent gay rights group based on his votes on seven issues over the past few years. Notably, Craig voted to add the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, which would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman while taking marital and other related legal rights away from unmarried or same-sex couples.
Craig was also criticized for his vote supporting the nomination of conservative Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In addition, Human Rights Campaign highlighted the senator’s vote against a bill that would allow states to expand Medicare coverage to low-income, HIV positive Americans. Finally, it targeted his vote against the expansion of federal funding for sex education.
"While he’s reflecting on his latest actions, maybe he’ll finally realize that standing in the way of equality and being hypocritical with his politics is wrong for the country," Solmonese said.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
CNN has obtained Craig's arrest report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained the June 11, 2007 police report detailing Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's disorderly conduct arrest in an airport bathroom.
In the report, the arresting officer alleges that Craig lingered outside a restroom stall where the officer was sitting, then entered the stall next door and blocked the stall door with his luggage. (Read the report [PDF])
According to the report, Craig tapped his right foot, which the officer said he recognized "as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."
"Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot," the report states. "I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area."
At that point, the officer said he put his police identification down by the floor so Craig could see it, and informed the senator that he was under arrest, before any sexual contact took place.
Craig, who agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, denied to the officer he was engaging in any inappropriate activity.
According to the report, Craig told the police that "he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine [the officer's]."
Brownback spoke at Armstrong's cancer forum Tuesday.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback said Tuesday that, contrary to what Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton claims, there is no war on science being waged by the Bush administration.
"I absolutely disagree," the Kansas senator said. "That is not taking place."
Speaking at Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids, Brownback pledged he would "actively fund science."
Brownback went on to say that he "believes in" stem cell research, but that he does not "believe you should kill a young life to do this... I believe all life is sacred."
The Kansas senator's comments came in response to what happened Monday at the Democratic forum, when Sen. Hillary Clinton said President Bush is at the helm of what a "war against science."
"What really bothers me," Clinton said, "is that we are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs right now [and] the current administration has literally called a halt to the war with cancer."
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch