WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, told CNN in an interview Friday that the fact he is viewed as a legitimate presidential candidate is testament to the progress America has made in regards to race relations.
Denying that progress would be an insult to "dishonor the memories of all those who fought for our civil rights throughout the generations," said Obama, the only African-American candidate running for the Democratic nomination.
"My belief is that we have changed sufficiently in this country that it is possible for a large numbers of whites to vote for an African-American candidate," Obama told CNN contributor Roland Martin. "If I did not believe that, I would not be running.
"I just want to point out that all those other candidates are taking me awfully seriously, and if they didn't think I could get white votes then they wouldn't be worrying about my campaign as much as they are," he added.
Full story: Obama: Candicacy a sign of racial progress
More video: Obama on Ahmadinejad
- CNN's Silvio Carrillio and Scott Anderson
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gave a foreign policy speech in Washington, D.C. on Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called Pakistan the "corporate headquarters" of al Qaeda and criticized President Bush for ignoring the terrorists' safe haven along the country's borders Friday, in his first major foreign policy speech of his campaign.
"Now I disagree strongly with the Democrats who claim that we are fighting on the wrong battlefield," Huckabee said to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "I am convinced that our focus on Iraq at the expense of Pakistan or Iran is like dealing with a neighbor's house which is on fire, while ignoring the house on the other side of the street that's filled with carbon monoxide."
Huckabee, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, said that in order to avoid another terrorist attack at home, America needs to learn to understand Islamic culture and work to improve its image in the world. He compared the United States to "that one kid who was just exceptional at anything he did" that you wanted to "have some blundering calamity."
"The matter in which we handle our power is critical," Huckabee said. "And the more that we can do not to weaken ourselves but to strengthen our neighbors and to give them encouragement rather than to simply show them our muscle is an important part of rebuilding America's national prestige."
Huckabee also pledged to make America completely energy independent by the end of his second presidential term, if he wins the race to the White House.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee accused former President Bill Clinton Friday of engaging in “political payback,” after he condemned Republicans earlier this week for criticizing MoveOn.org’s pointed attack on Gen. David Petraeus.
"Why are the Clintons so invested in defending MoveOn.org?" RNC Chairman Mike Duncan asks in an e-mail fundraising solicitation "Well, remember what MoveOn.org's original purpose was? It was founded to attack any Republican who dared stand against the Clinton machine during the former President's impeachment and trial in the Senate for perjury and obstruction of justice."
"Not many people, even Democrats, dared to defend MoveOn.org in the wake of its attack on General Petraeus," Duncan added. "But if Bill and Hillary Clinton understand anything, it's political payback."
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper Wednesday, the former president said Republicans who condemned MoveOn.org for their recent ad in The New York Times attacking Petraeus are "disingenuous." He also highlighted a string of past questionable campaign commercials targeting Democrats, and suggested Republicans are acting hypocritically.
"These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with [former Sen.] Max Cleland — who lost half his body in Vietnam — in the same ad with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein,” Clinton said. “That's what the Republicans did. And the person that rode to the Senate on that ad was there voting to condemn the Democrats over the Petraeus ad.
"I mean, these are the people that funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And the president appointed one of the principal founders of the Swift Boat ads to be an ambassador," he continued. "But they're really upset about Petraeus. But it was okay to question [Massachusetts Sen.] John Kerry's patriotism on a blatantly dishonest play that had dishonest claims by people that didn't know what they were talking about."
Biden will take a break from his Iowa efforts to campaign in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - The presidential campaigns of Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden and Republican Sen. John McCain announced today that their candidates will stump in the Palmetto State next week.
Biden, who is focusing most of his resources on Iowa, will hold a meet and greet in Rock Hill in the morning, then head to Columbia for a press conference at the State House.
McCain, returning to South Carolina for the second time in two weeks, will spend three days here starting Tuesday. He'll make stops in Westminster, Camden, Orangeburg, Charleston, and Pawley's Island.
UPDATE: The Biden campaign tells CNN the senator will announce some state endorsements at his State House press conference on Monday.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Democrats are seizing on recent comments from Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the wake of the high-profile uproar from Republicans over a MoveOn.org ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus, Democrats are seizing on recent comments from popular conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh who said on a recent broadcast on Iraq that some veterans who criticize the war in the media are "phony soldiers."
Democrats are pointing to comments Limbaugh made Wednesday when he and a caller were discussing critics of the Iraq war:
"What's really funny is, they [Iraq war critics] never talk to real soldiers," the caller said. "They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media."
"The phony soldiers," Limbaugh then said.
In a statement issued Thursday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called Limbaugh's comments a "personal attack on our men and women in uniform" and "reprehensible."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Sen. John Edwards told CNN Thursday he has decided to accept public financing for his presidential campaign, subjecting himself to strict spending limits.
Is this a principled stand against the surge of money in politics or the consequence of severely lagging behind rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in fundraising totals?
Edwards himself says it's the former: "This is not about a money calculation,” he told CNN's Candy Crowley Thursday. “This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing.”
What do you think?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Watch CNN Internet reporter Abbi Tatton explain why the former Republican House speaker took questions Thursday from a cat, a scantily-clad woman, and other virtual characters in the 3-D online world Second Life.
- CNN Internet Producer Eric Weisbrod
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Remember the "Dean scream?" Bil Schneider takes a look at who Iowa may undo in the 2008 presidential race.
Gingrich is gauging whether he has enough support to make a run for the presidency.
MARIETTA, Ga. (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich edged closer Thursday to launching a possible run for the GOP presidential candidacy in 2008, telling supporters that if they pledge at least $30 million to his campaign over a three-week period starting Monday and ending Oct. 21, he will compete for the nomination.
Gingrich chose Thursday, the 13th anniversary of the signing of his "Contract With America," to launch his "Solutions Day" campaign, which he said is a search for bi-partisan answers to the country's major challenges. (Related video: Gingrich makes foray into virtual world)
While never mentioning the 2008 race in his speech Thursday night, Gingrich outlined what sounded like a campaign message when he called for "real change, not the same old stuff."
He said "very bold" proposals are needed to bring theUnited States government into the 21st century.
"I think, as a general rule, that levees should not break, that bridges should not fall, that students should actually learn," Gingrich said.
One of the empty podiums on stage Thursday night in Baltimore.
BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) - There were ten podiums on the stage, but only six candidates showed up.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, all said they had scheduling conflicts and skipped Thursday night's PBS All American Presidential Forum on minority issues. The Republican candidates who participated in the debate blasted their rivals for their absence.
"Frankly, I'm embarrassed," former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said. "I'm embarrassed for our party and I'm embarrassed for those who did not come, because there's long been a divide in this country, and it doesn't get better when we don't show up."
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, said it hurts the Republican Party when candidates choose not to participate in debates.
"I want to say just at the outset, I apologize for the candidates that aren't here," Brownback said. "I think this is a disgrace that they're not here."
But moderator Tom Joyner made jokes, at their expense.
"And let me take a moment right here and now to say hello to those of you viewing from home," Joyner said. "Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Senator John McCain. Governor Mitt Romney. And Senator Fred Thompson. Well, you know, I had to call them out."
Related: Not up for debate
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich