WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama talks about his mother’s own losing battle with cancer and takes a veiled shot at New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, in a new ad released Friday by his presidential campaign.
Obama said that if lobbyists continue to have so much influence over Washington, the health care system will never change. Unlike Clinton, Obama does not accept campaign contributions from lobbyists.
“For 20 years, Washington’s talked about health care reform and reformed nothing,” Obama said. “I’ve got a plan to cut costs and cover everyone. But unless we stop the bickering and the lobbyists, we’ll be in the same place 20 years from now.”
Obama personalized his views on reforming the health care system by talking about his mother, who died in 1995.
"My mother died of cancer at 53," Obama. "In those last painful months she was more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well. I hear stories like hers every day."
The ad started running in Iowa on Friday.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican senators on Friday were again able to block a Democratic amendment that would set "definite timelines" for bringing home American combat forces from Iraq.
Democrats will keep pushing to bring troops home from Iraq, Sen. Harry Reid says.
The amendment, offered by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, called for the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in nine months. It failed on a vote of 47 to 47 - falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance under Senate rules.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday said the Levin-Reed proposal is "basically the same as it was" back in July, when it drew the support of 52 senators, including four Republicans.
TIME.com: The Dems' Best Chance on Iraq?
RESTON, Virginia (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani stood by Congressman Peter King, a homeland security adviser to his campaign, over his comment that there are “too many mosques” in the country.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke in Reston, Virginia on Wednesday.
Giuliani told reporters late Thursday afternoon, “I know exactly what Pete meant. I knew what he meant before I heard the clarification.”
The political web site, Politico, reported King said in an interview this week , “Unfortunately we have too many mosques in this country, there's too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully, we should be finding out how we can infiltrate, we should be much more aggressive in law enforcement." King, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said the comments were taken out of context.
Asked if he would remove King from the campaign, Giuliani smiled and said, “I’ve known Pete for 41 years, so I’m not about to do that....what he meant was there are mosques where violence is preached. I know that from my own investigations of Islamic terrorism. I also know there are many mosques where it isn’t.
“Peter explained it quite adequately ,” he Giuliani said at the news conference in Reston, Virginia after returning from London. “For me, he didn’t have to explain it. I understood exactly what he meant. I’m glad he explained it for everyone that might seek to misinterpret.
Giuliani said, “In politics, when you speak a hundred times a day, people can always interpret what you say. I always give people a chance to explain what they meant. I give to people who aren’t my allies. I sure as heck am going to give it to people who are.”
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Hsu appeared in court with his lawyer on Wednesday.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Federal prosecutors have charged Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu with breaking campaign finance laws and cheating investors out of millions of dollars in a $60 million Ponzi scheme.
The criminal complaint was announced Thursday at a press conference in Manhattan.
Hsu has raised money for several Democratic candidates, but most substantially for Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-New York, presidential bid. Clinton's campaign has said it will return the $850,000 Hsu raised to the individual contributors.
Hsu is charged with one count of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act after using investors in his companies as straw donors, making various political contributions greater than $25,000, which Hsu then paid back to the straw donors. Other charges include one count each of wire fraud and mail fraud.
"In committing acts of campaign finance fraud" said U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, "Hsu corrupted a system in which transparency is paramount in order to purchase a place on the celebrity campaign circuit."
Hsu contributed to political campaigns to raise his profile and draw more investors to his Ponzi scheme, prosecutors allege. "It doesn't appear the Ponzi scheme was devised in order to generate money for the political contributions," Garcia said.
Hsu persuaded his investors to contribute tens of thousands of dollars to various campaigns in order to build his public profile and lure more investors to his scheme, prosecutors say. Investors were made to fear that if they failed to contribute they would jeopardize their relationship with the company and risk losing their money.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With less than four months until primary voters begin to weigh in, it's beginning to get nasty out on the campaign trail.
As presidential candidates try to mobilize supporters and distance themselves from the rest of the pack, they, or their campaigns, are increasingly leveling attacks on one another – and it's getting personal.
Just last night, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a top surrogate for Sen. Hillary Clinton, slammed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani over his well documented marriage history and reportedly poor relationship with his children.
Also yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Sen. John Edwards, accused Clinton of "insider cronyism" and trading political access for campaign donations.
Are all these attacks too much, too soon? Or are they necessary given the crowded presidential fields in both parties and the need for candidates to differentiate themselves from one another?
What do you think? Weigh in below.
Compiled by Lindsey Pope, Lauren Kornreich, and Mark Preston
CNN Washington Bureau
Making News Today…
*A parade of presidential hopefuls will appear before the National Rifle Association’s “Celebration of American Values” conference today seeking to bond with and win over the nation’s gun rights advocates.
Not surprisingly, six of the seven White House candidates speaking to the organization – either in person or by taped address – are Republicans. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is the exception, but he won’t be the only Democrat to speak to the group. Michigan Rep. John Dingell and former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. will also deliver remarks.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is also scheduled to speak, and all ears will be perked to see if A) the Georgia Republican drops any further hints about his own potential White House bid; and B) if he directs any criticism at his own party. A safe bet is no on both options – it doesn’t seem like the right audience or venue – but with Gingrich you never know. Full Story
* Following the NRA conference, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani leaves D.C. and later in the day lands in Michigan for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference – a must-stop-by for Republicans on the ’08 presidential tour. Giuliani shares the dinner dais with California Rep. Duncan Hunter, who also is scheduled to address the NRA earlier in the day, via videotape. Tomorrow, attendees of this GOP conference will also hear from former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Oh, and Gingrich will also be in Mackinac. (The same two questions about Gingrich’s address to the NRA also apply here.) Full Story
And if appearing in a Republican National Committee cartoon is a sign you have made it, well then Eli Pariser of MoveOn.org has arrived. Full Story
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
U.S. "CORROBORATED" ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE ON SYRIA BOMBING: Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said. Washington Post: Israel, U.S. Shared Data on Suspected Nuclear Site
IRAQ REPORT: BLACKWATER EMPLOYEES FIRED ON IRAQI'S IN THE THEIR CARS: Iraq’s Ministry of Interior has concluded that employees of a private American security firm fired an unprovoked barrage in the shooting last Sunday in which at least eight Iraqis were killed and is proposing a radical reshaping of the way American diplomats and contractors here are protected. New York Times: Guards’ Shots Not Provoked, Iraq Concludes
HEARING DETAILS INVESTIGATION INTO BID-RIGGING, BRIBERY AND KICKBACKS LINKED TO THE PENTAGON: Military officials said Thursday that contracts worth $6 billion to provide essential supplies to American troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan — including food, water and shelter — were under review by criminal investigators, double the amount the Pentagon had previously disclosed. New York Times: 46 Billion in Contracts Reviewed, Pentagon Says
"MAYBE YOU LIKED OUR GENERAL PETRAEUS AD. MAYBE YOU THOUGHT THE LANGUAGE WENT TOO FAR…BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE: THIS IS MUCH BIGGER THAN ONE AD.": A few weeks before Army Gen. David H. Petraeus's much-anticipated testimony on Iraq, the leadership of MoveOn.org, the Internet-based liberal group that has rallied its 3 million members around the country to oppose the war, decided on a change in strategy. Washington Post: MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus
BUSH: "I’M THE C STUDENT": President Bush, voicing optimism for the American economy, declined to speculate today if a recession is coming. “I think I got a B in Econ 101,’’ the president said at a White House press conference this morning. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Bush, "I think I got a B in Eco 101"
VICENTE FOX CALLS BUSH "WINDSHIELD COWBOY" IN NEW BOOK: President Bush may like to be seen as a swaggering tough guy with a penchant for manly outdoor pursuits, but in a new book one of his closest allies has said he is afraid of horses. The Daily Telegraph: George Bush the Texan is "Scared of Horses"
REPUBLICANS DISAPPOINTED WITH BUSH'S OPPOSITION TO SCHIP EXPANSION: Republicans reacted angrily yesterday to President Bush's promise to veto a bill that would renew and expand the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program, raising the likelihood of significant GOP defections when the package comes to a vote next week. Washington Post: Veto Threat Angers Republicans
FBI TAPES SEN STEVENS' PHONE CALLS: The FBI, working with an Alaska oil contractor, secretly taped telephone calls with Sen. Ted Stevens as part of a public corruption sting, according to people close to the investigation. AP: FBI Recorded Stevens' Phone Calls With Oil Company Exec
GOPERS SEEK ETHICS INVESTIGATION OF REP. FILNER: Republicans are pointing to a 2003 altercation between Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) and a government official as proof that the lawmaker’s August run-in with an airline worker is a pattern of behavior that the ethics committee should examine. The Hill: Lawmaker Had Run-In with INS Officials in '03
MUKASEY 18 YEAR TRACK RECORD: Judge Michael B. Mukasey clearly believed that the defendant did not have a case. He dismissed her assertion that the New York City Police Department fired her because she had accused a more senior officer of rape, without allowing a jury to hear the case. But a higher court disagreed and told the judge to hold a trial. Washington Post: Rulings by Mukasey Are Called Conservative, Fair
STANFORD PETITIONS AGAINST RUMSFELD: The appointment of Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution is drawing fierce protests from faculty members and students at Stanford University and is threatening to rekindle tensions between the institution, a conservative research body, and the more liberal campus. New York Times: Rumsfeld as Fellow Draws a Protest at Stanford
SPITZER ADMIN CLEARED: Albany County District Attorney David Soares yesterday cleared the Spitzer administration of any wrongdoing in the dirty-tricks scandal. New York Post: 'Dirty Tricks' Probe Comes Up Clean
GIULIANI'S INFAMOUS 9/11 CONNECTION: That first tower toppled at 9:59 a.m., a billion pounds of steel and concrete and bodies raining down…Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was two blocks from the south tower, in an office on Barclay Street, trying to get the vice president on the phone, when his world went dark with smoke. New York Times: In 9/11 Chaos, Giuliani Forged a Lasting Image
VILSACK ON GIULIANI: "I CAN'T EVEN GET INTO THE NUMBER OF MARRIAGES, (AND) THE RELATIONSHIP HE HAS WITH HIS CHILDREN": Tom Vilsack may no longer be governor of Iowa but the one-time presidential contender who is now a key player in Hillary Clinton's bid has stirred up some controversy over disparaging comments he made about another New Yorker who is running for president. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Vilsack Rude to Rudy?
DEMS FIGHT FOR GRAY VOTE IN FORUM: Most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates promised here Thursday to provide universal health care and save Medicare and Social Security, but they disagreed on which of them would be most qualified to do it. USA Today: Democratic Candidates Focus on Seniors at Iowa Forum
OBAMA AID STEPPING UP SUPPORT: A family friend and political confidante of Sen. Barack Obama says she is stepping up her longstanding commitment to the Illinois Democrat in his campaign for the White House this month. Chicago Tribune: Valerie Jarrett to Step Up Aid for Obama
OBAMA GETS PERSONAL IN NEW AD: Sen. Barack Obama is using an image of his deceased mother in a new campaign ad that seeks to make the case that he is the best qualified to bring change in the way the nation delivers health care. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Obama's Mother in New Ad
CLINTON NOT WORRIED THAT HSU CASE WILL HURT HER '08 RUN: Federal prosecutors have charged Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu with breaking campaign finance laws and creating a $60 million Ponzi scheme. CNN.com: Democratic Fundraiser HSU Charged
HRC: "HE'S LIKE A FORCE OF NATURE. ... I DON'T EVEN PRETEND TO BE THAT. THAT'S NOT WHO I AM": A second President Clinton might occupy a little less space than the first. Asked how her governing style might differ from her husband's, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton noted Wednesday that the former president has "a bigger-than-life presence." AP via Boston Globe: Sen. Clinton Bill and I are Different
MAGAZINE ASKS HIL: "HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE OCCASIONAL RUMOR THAT YOU'RE A LESBIAN?": Hillary Clinton officially declared she's not a lesbian – not that there's anything wrong with that. New York Daily News: Hillary Clinton: I'm Not a Lesbian
WELLER TO ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT FRIDAY: Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), who has had to fend off allegations in recent weeks about questionable Central American land deals, will announce Friday that he will not seek an eighth term in 2008, inside sources confirmed late Thursday. Roll Call: Weller Confirms Retirement
On the Political Radar:
* Most of the Republican presidential candidates, along with one lone Democratic White House hopeful - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson - appear before the National Rifle Association's "Celebration of American Values" Conference” taking place in D.C.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney meets with local residents in Savoy, Illinois and holds a media availability at the Chicago Club in Chicago.
* Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, heads to Ames to talk to students at Iowa State University about political activism. Later in the afternoon, he holds a "Senior Town Hall Meeting" to bring together senior citizens and high school seniors to discuss uniting America.
* Before addressing the NRA conference, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivers remarks to the Northern Virginia Technology Council at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia. In the evening, he addresses the Michigan Republican Party's biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Lansing, Michigan.
* Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, joins Giuliani for a dinner speech at the Michigan Republican Party's biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Lansing, Michigan.
* After delivering a speech at the Adventureland Inn in Altoona, Iowa, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards delivers what is being billed as a “major” education policy address at Brody Middle School in Des Moines. In the evening, Edwards holds a community meeting at Guthrie Center High School in Guthrie Center, Iowa.
* Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, talks about his new book, "Letters From Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice," and signs copies at the Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa.
* Elizabeth Edwards attends house parties in Lee, Hookset and Epson, New Hampshire.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook