Clark announced his endorsement on Saturday.
(CNN)–Wesley Clark, the retired four star general who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, announced his endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton on Saturday.
"I'm very pleased today to announce my endorsement of Senator Clinton to be our next President of the United States," Clark said on a conference call with reporters. "She'll be a great leader for the United States of America, and I think she'll be a great commander in chief for the men and women in the armed forces."
“The world has reached a critical point, and we need a leader in the White House with the courage, intelligence and humility to navigate through many troubling challenges to our security at home and abroad," Clark also said Saturday.
"I want to thank General Clark. He and I have been friends for twenty five years," Senator Clinton said on the call after Clark made his announcement. "I'm looking forward to having him involved with my campaign, working with him now and into the future, and so I'm very grateful for this endorsement. It means a lot to me personally, as well as a real sign of confidence in my ability to be president and commander in chief."
Clark was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and led the allied military operation in the Kosovo war in 1999 under President Bill Clinton.
Shortly after announcing Clark's backing, the Clinton campaign sent out a statement touting the endorsement of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.
– CNN's Mark Preston and Jamie Crawford
Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas
AMES, Iowa (CNN) - After a stop at a football tailgate party with college Republicans Saturday, presidential candidate Sam Brownback jokingly said to law enforcement officials that driving under the influence charges, or DUI's, translated to a "lot of business" for him.
"I lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and after the (University of Kansas/Kansas State) game there would generally be a lot of DUI's," the Kansas senator said.
"I was a practicing lawyer there, and it's kind of like on Monday morning that's a lot of business," he said laughing.
When asked to elaborate, Brownback told CNN, "I was just reflecting that when you get these big in-state rivalries a lot of people drink too much alcohol, and then there's a lot of DUI's."
Brownback made the comments in Ames, Iowa, before the University of Iowa/Iowa State football game. He stopped to speak to the Iowa College Republican Federation's tailgate party.
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A retired federal judge is a leading candidate to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who announced his resignation last month, two sources familiar with the search for a replacement told CNN Saturday.
Michael B. Mukasey, 66, was nominated to the bench in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, and was chief judge until September 2006 for the Southern District of New York, one of the nation's busiest and high profile U.S. court districts.
Gonzales, who was beset with controversy during his tenure, said he would resign Sept. 17. Solicitor General Paul Clement, the Justice Department's No. 3 official, will be acting attorney general until a successor is confirmed.
Full story: Sources: Retired judge may replace Gonzales
Sen. Biden says his plan for Iraq would keep America safer.
(CNN)–Senator Joe Biden says his plan to divide Iraq into regional governments along sectarian lines is the best way forward for the country.
"This week, America found out what I have been saying for over a year is true. President Bush has no intention of ending this war in Iraq on his watch," Biden said.
"Too many people are saying we don't want to impose a political settlement on Iraq, but the fact is that a federal system, where the tribes and religious leaders can form their own states, is called for in their constitution," the Democratic presidential hopeful from Delaware said Saturday in a release from his campaign. "What they need is our help in bringing the international community and the neighboring states to the table to enforce their own laws. They can't do it themselves and our soldiers can't enforce them either."
"We must get our soldiers out of this civil war where they become justification for the Bush-fulfilling prophecy of Al-Qaeda in Iraq to flourish," he said. "We must legislate a new mission for our troops to secure the borders and focus on Al-Qaeda. That is the only way, short of a sea change among Republicans in Congress, to force the President to draw down troops this year.”
Biden added, "by pulling our troops out of Iraq we will be strengthening the U.S. military by allowing them to resume normal rotations and we will have the flexibility to focus on the real Al-Qaeda threat to the U.S. which is fomenting along the Afghan-Pakistan border where Osama bin Laden is still in hiding."
Biden's plan would maintain a unified country, but decentralizing it into three autonomous regions run by Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds respectively. A central government in Baghdad would handle issues such as border security and distribution of oil revenue.
Biden campaigned in Iowa on Saturday.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
President Bush stood by his Iraq plan on Saturday.
(CNN)–The state of U.S. involvement in Iraq following the much anticipated testimony this week from General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, was the talk of the airwaves Saturday.
President Bush used his weekly radio address to re-affirm the plan he laid out to the nation in a televised address Thursday night.
"I have accepted General Petraeus's recommendations. And I have directed that he and Ambassador Crocker deliver another report to Congress in March," Mr. Bush said. "At that time, they will provide a fresh assessment of the situation in Iraq and of the troop levels we need to meet our national security objectives. The principle that guides my decisions on troop levels is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy."
The president went on to say the outcome in Iraq is important.
"The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States," he said. "If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could find new recruits and new sanctuaries. And a failed Iraq could increase the likelihood that our forces would someday have to return - and confront extremists even more entrenched and even more deadly. By contrast, a free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. It will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. And it will serve as a partner in the fight against terrorism."
Delivering the response for the Democrats, Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said the 'surge' strategy announced earlier in the year by the president, was a failure.
"Strategically, the escalation has failed," the Democrat from California said. "It was intended to buy time for Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki and the other Iraqi political leaders to find ways to move toward the one thing that may end this terrible civil conflict – a political settlement. As best we can see, that time has been utterly squandered. Prime Minister Maliki has not shown the slightest inclination to move in the direction of compromise."
"To win the war against international terrorism, we must stop frittering away our resources – military, diplomatic, and economic – on an endless religious war in Iraq," Lantos said.
Lantos also criticized the administration for continuing to "stay the course" in Iraq in the wake of other issues back home. "The war is also forcing us to give short shrift to pressing domestic needs such as health care, crumbling infrastructure, and public education. These costs will be passed on to our grandchildren, and beyond."
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Giuliani is accusing Clinton of changing positions on Iraq in a new Web ad released Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The official start of the presidential primary season is over three months away, but former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is going after Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton as if she were already her party's nominee.
The New York Republican's latest hit on Clinton comes in a Web ad released Friday afternoon, alleging she changed her position on the Iraq war "now that she's running for president."
“In 2002, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize military action in Iraq … because she believed it was the right thing to do," the ad states. “But now that she’s running for president, Hillary Clinton has changed her position, even joining with the radical group MoveOn.org in attacking American General Petraeus."
Giuliani has been heavily critical this week of MoveOn.org's ad in the New York Times Monday. In the ad, the organization alleged the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is not telling the truth about conditions in Iraq for political reasons.
Giuliani has also condemned Clinton directly for not denouncing the ad, as well as for her comments during Petraeus' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, when she said his progress report required "a willing suspension of disbelief."
"Clinton stood silently by when MoveOn.org ran this venomous ad in the New York Times," the ad states. “The same general she called an expert not long ago. Now she is questioning his honesty.”
Responding to the Web ad, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "Rudy Giuliani is dropping in the polls and is unable to defend his own support for George Bush's failed war."
"Instead of distorting Senator Clinton’s record in the campaign's first attack ad, the Mayor should tell voters why he thinks sticking with the Bush Iraq strategy makes sense. The country wants change and while Hillary Clinton is focused on ending the war, Mayor Giuliani is playing politics," he added.
Sen. Chris Dodd and Gov. Bill Richardson, who both speak fluent Spanish, looked friendly recently at the Univision Democratic debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A friendly wager over a weekend series between one of the greatest rivalries in baseball turned into a sour spat on Friday.
Sen. Chris Dodd, a lifelong Red Sox fan, challenged New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to a friendly bet over the Yankees-Red Sox series this weekend. Of course, Dodd wanted the Sox in the bet. But a Richardson spokesman countered that the governor has always been an avid Red Sox fan.
"Governor Richardson is a devoted Red Sox fan, and has been since his days playing ball in Massachusetts in high school, college, and in the Cape Cod League," Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley said.
Dodd and Richardson are both seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and New Hampshire is in the heartland of “Red Sox Nation.”
In a press release, Dodd offered to wager a gallon of New England clam chowder on the game in return for an equal bet from Richardson "if he's confident enough in his team to accept my challenge." Dodd quoted Richardson saying that his dream job would be "playing center field for the New York Yankees.”
"Nothing is more exciting than a Red Sox-Yankees series in September," Dodd said in a statement. "The governor and I both dreamed about playing center field for our respective teams as children, and although that didn't happen, I know we will be both be watching this series closely, so why not have a little fun with it?"
Richardson will not participate in the bet.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
MoveOn.org plans to escalate the political ad wars in an early primary state.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After first sharply criticizing Gen. David Petraeus, MoveOn.org is now setting its sights on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
MoveOn.org is planning to air a television ad in Iowa, which will focus on Giuliani’s “frequent absences” while working with Iraq Study Group, said a MoveOn.org spokesperson. Earlier in the week, the liberal advocacy group took out an ad in The New York Times attacking Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq.
A Giuliani spokeswoman was dismissive of the new television ad.
“This is, after all, the same liberal group whose website compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, the same liberal group that wanted no military response against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11,” the spokeswoman said.
The announcement of the new MoveOn.org television ad comes the same day Giuliani placed his own ad in the Times Friday rebutting the organization and attacking "the Democrats' orchestrated attacks on General Petraeus."
– CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai