South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson slammed Hillary Clinton's new radio ad.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Responding to a new South Carolina radio ad from Sen. Hillary Clinton that targets black voters by claiming they are "invisible" to the Bush administration, state GOP chairman Katon Dawson responded Monday night with his own take on the "invisible" theme.
“Hillary Clinton claims if elected president she will fight for South Carolinians who are currently invisible in the eyes of the federal government," Dawson said in a statement. "But if you're a hardworking parent, you're invisible to Hillary Clinton because she voted for the largest tax increase in history. If you’re a member of our armed forces, you're invisible to Hillary Clinton because she wants America to surrender to the terrorists in Iraq. If you believe all life is sacred and that marriage is between one man and one woman you're invisible to Hillary Clinton because she joins with radical groups that support federal funding for abortion and forcing us to recognize same-sex marriages.
“But it's liberals like Hillary Clinton who will be 'invisible' to South Carolina voters this election."
The statement marks the first time Dawson has attacked Clinton exclusively, signaling that Republicans here may see Clinton as their strongest potential opponent in 2008.
Dawson criticized the Democratic frontrunners in July during the CNN/YouTube Debate at The Citadel in Charleston, saying: "Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama are poster children for shifty political opportunism that flies directly in the face of the Citadel and everything it stands for."
A Clinton spokesman was not available for comment Monday evening.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Obama is hoping a Biblically-titled grassroots effort will boost his stature among South Carolina primary voters.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign is hoping to increase the candidate's profile among African-American voters in South Carolina by launching a grassroots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family."
The effort, which began on Saturday, will organize Bible study programs and gospel concerts across the state over the next month in order to engage voters and boost Obama's name identification among Palmetto State voters who may be more familiar with the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Obama staffers have a significant grassroots effort underway in the state, using phone banks, canvassing and house meetings to reach out to black South Carolinians in urban centers as well far-flung rural areas. The campaign has also run radio ads here targeted at African-American voters emphasizing the Democratic candidate's faith.
African-Americans make up an estimated fifty percent of Democratic primary voters here. Recent polls have shown Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton running neck-and-neck among black voters.
According to a release from the campaign, "40 Days of Faith and Family" is "an opportunity for people of faith to come together, across racial and denominational lines, to talk about how they live their faith outside the four walls of the church, what they want to see from their presidential candidates and how Obama’s faith informs how he thinks about the issues of our time."
The release also says the effort will emphasize Obama's experience as a community organizer and civil rights attorney, two biographical entries that the campaign hopes will help the senator appeal to black voters.
Though Obama and Clinton are in a dead heat among African-Americans, Clinton still leads Obama by a wide margin in most statewide polls.
[For more campaign news from the Palmetto State, check out the South Carolina Political Ticker.]
UPDATE: The Obama campaign clarifies that they will not be organizing Bible studies themselves, but will be doing voter outreach through existing church Bible study programs.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Clinton said it is clear the President 'has no intention of changing his policy in Iraq.'.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - One week after releasing her health care plan, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, has won the endorsements of 121 New Hampshire nurses, her campaign announced Monday.
"During her time in the Senate, Hillary Clinton has been a leader in addressing the nursing shortage and has worked to secure increased funding for nursing education," said Margaret Franckhauser, a Granite State nurse, in a campaign news release. "She understands the unique and vital role that nurses play in caring for so many people across the county. Hillary has shown that she believes an investment in nursing is truly an investment in the future of our health care system."
Clinton announced a $110 billion health care reform plan last week that would require all Americans to have health insurance. Monday's announcement cited short-term funding for education, training and retention as a key provision in the senator's plan to address the nursing shortage.
- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates Monday questioned Columbia University's decision to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at it's New York campus.
In his speech at Columbia University that touched a number of emotionally-charged topics, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his controversial remarks over the Holocaust and Israel, saying he is an academic who had just posed questions.
He also said his country's nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes, which it has the right to pursue.
Related video: Obama says we should promote truth
Edwards unveiled his plan to combat HIV/AIDS Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to reclaim the health care spotlight from campaign rival Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards unveiled his plan to combat HIV/AIDS during an appearance at the Families USA/Kaiser Foundation Health Care Forum on Monday in Washington, D.C.
The former North Carolina senator argued that, in order to better combat HIV/AIDS domestically, Medicaid needs to provide more extensive coverage for HIV-related treatment. He also advocated teaching age-appropriate sex education and ending the federal ban on needle exchange programs. Turning his attention to the worldwide scale of the epidemic, Edwards argued that the United States should invest an additional $50 billion in global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment over a five-year period. Additionally, he proposed bypassing the FDA and relying on the World Health Organization to provide approval for new AIDS drugs in the developing world.
The former senator used the occasion to highlight the racial disparity in new rates of HIV/AIDS infection. “This is a disease that hits people of color much harder than others,” he said, explaining that, in the U.S., two out of every three newly diagnosed cases are with Americans of color.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, announced he will officially endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, for president at a press conference in Washington on Monday.
"I believe that the next president of the United States must be experienced and seasoned, must be smart, and must be tough," Bayh said. "And I believe that Hillary Clinton is all of these things and more."
Clinton praised Bayh for his work in the Senate, but fell short of saying that she would tap him to be her running mate if she wins the nomination. Bayh had considered running for president in 2008.
"It goes without saying that his record of public service is extraordinary," Clinton said when asked if she would pick Bayh to be her vice president. "I have the highest personal and professional regard for him."
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Giuliani, above, and Romney had some harsh words for the Iranian president Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday he finds it "disturbing" Columbia University invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak before its student body. (Related: Iranian president speaks)
"He’s denied the Holocaust. He’s threatened the future survival of Israel,” Giuliani said in an interview with Maine television station WMTW. "I believe he’s even threatened at various times American interests, and he keeps threatening to develop nuclear capacity."
"So this is not even a close question. Literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people would want to have the right to go to Columbia and speak," Giuliani added. "So a choice had to be made, which seemed to me the choice would be made not to bring ... the leader of one of the governments that’s one of the biggest supporters of terrorism in the world. [I]t’s very, very disturbing and I think that’s why you see such an outcry against it."
Meanwhile, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of Giuliani's chief rivals for the GOP nomination, is out with a new radio ad Monday that calls on the United Nations Secretary-General to revoke his decision to allow the Iranian leader to speak before the body later this week.
"We should be tightening our sanctions against Iran, not welcoming him to the world stage, and I've called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to withdraw that invitation," Romney says in the ad set to run in Iowa and South Carolina today and Florida later in the week. "What we should be doing is indicting Ahmadinejad under the Genocide Convention."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Hillary Clinton has launched the first radio ad of her presidential campaign.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton on Monday became the second Democratic presidential candidate - after Sen. Barack Obama - to hit South Carolina's radio airwaves with an advertisement targeting African-American voters.
Clinton's ad is the first radio spot released by her presidential campaign. Entitled "Invisible," the ad touches on several issues important to black voters here, such as health care, crumbling schools, and the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
The ad argues that black voters are "invisible" to President Bush. "And if you're stuck on a rooftop or stranded in the Superdome during a hurricane, you're invisible to this president even when you're on CNN," says Clinton during the ad, plucking a line from her September 16 speech to the Charleston NAACP.
The narrator ends the ad with a theme the Clinton campaign has pushed increasingly in recent weeks: that she is the candidate of change.
The ad will run on two-dozen radio stations of "predominantly African-American listenership" across the state, according to the Clinton campaign.
Obama's radio ad, which touted the Illinois Senator as a "Christian family man" and a "soldier for justice," launched here in late July on gospel and urban stations across the state.
Listen to the Clinton ad here.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
NEW YORK (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama stood his ground Monday on his controversial remarks earlier this year that he would meet with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate," Obama said, quoting John F. Kennedy.
"Meeting with somebody is not tantamount to agreeing with them," he later added when taking questions from reporters after announcing an endorsement by the New York City Correctional Officers Benevolent Association in Manhattan.
Obama's toughest Democratic primary competition in the race for the White House, Sen. Hillary Clinton, criticized Obama earlier this year for saying he would meet with Ahmadinejad during a debate, called his comments irresponsible and attacked the Illinois senator for being inexperienced.
Obama also said he would not have invited Ahmadinejad to speak as Columbia University has done.
Ahmadinejad, who is in New York City to visit the United Nations, was invited to speak Monday afternoon at the university.
But Obama said U.S. schools have the freedom to make such decisions.
The NYC-COBA, the largest municipal prison union in the United States, represents 9,000 correction workers in the city.
- CNN's Katy Byron