Compiled by Lindsey Pope, Mark Preston and Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
Making News Today…
* John Edwards issued the challenge, but will any of his rivals accept it? The former North Carolina senator told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley Thursday that he will accept public financing for his presidential campaign. Full Story
Rival campaigns immediately suggested that Edwards was pulling a stunt to mask a poor fundraising quarter and pointed reporters to previous statements made by the senator and one of his top advisors on the issue. It was only nine months ago that Edwards told CNN’s Larry King he would follow Sen. Hillary Clinton’s lead and not pursue the public financing option. Full Story
The rivals also pointed out that one of his top advisors, Joe Trippi, was quoted in a 2003 Washington Post story as saying that public financing was a losing strategy.
"This campaign believes that any Democratic campaign that opted into the matching-funds system has given up on the general election," Trippi, an advisor to then-presidential candidate Howard Dean told the newspaper. "There is absolutely no way you can sustain the hits that are going to come from now until August with a $45 million limit."
So what happened? Edwards said he was not trying to sound “holier than thou,” and acknowledged he at one time intended to skip public financing.
“I myself thought early in this campaign about the possibility of not taking public financing,” he said. “But when I see … Washington money, the way it is, and when I am on the campaign trail, I constantly hear from people outside of Washington how worried they are about the way the system is functioning.”
The third quarter fundraising period closes on Oct. 1, and we will soon find out how much Edwards has raised over the past three months. You can bet his critics are also waiting for that day.
* Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee seeks to brandish his foreign policy credentials today when he delivers a speech titled "Paths and Priorities in the War on Terror" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
HUCKABEE "EMBARASSED" BY GOP NO-SHOWS: Four empty lecterns. They loomed large over tonight’s Republican presidential debate at Morgan State University in Maryland, an historically black college, where four of the leading candidates for their party’s presidential nomination were nowhere to be found. New York Times: G.O.P. Candidates Criticize Absent Rivals
ROMNEY CAMP MEMO: “WE WILL NOT BE MEASURING OURSELVES THROUGH THE LENS OF NATIONAL POLLS AND WE DO NOT EXPECT TO BE COMPETITIVE IN THEM”: A strategy memo circulating among top advisers inside Mitt Romney’s campaign appears aimed at lowering certain expectations for the coming months, especially about his anemic national polling numbers, but still makes the argument that he is well-positioned to capture the Republican nomination. New York Times: Romney Memo Plays Down Polls
ARMY RECRUITERS SURRENDERED PENTAGON RULES FOR MCCAIN'S "NO SURRENDER" TOUR: Seven on-duty Army personnel participated in a campaign event for Senator John McCain earlier this month in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in an apparent violation of a Pentagon directive against partisan political activity, two military officials confirmed this week. Boston Globe: Military: Army Personnel Violated Pentagon Directive By Attending McCain Event
MCCAIN'S SUBSTITUTE FOR THE UN: In a week in which the U.N. Security Council once again demonstrated its impotence by failing to halt the massacre of monks in Burma and the U.N. General Assembly became a pretext for a strutting performance by the Iranian president, Senator McCain refreshed his ideas for a more effective international body: what he calls "the League of Democracies." NY Sun: McCain Refreshes a Plan for League of Democracies
A "RESURRECTION" FOR MCCAIN: Days before hard financial numbers will deliver hard facts, increments of movement are suggesting to John McCain that he is on his way back to being a presidential contender. USA Today: For McCain, It's Make or Break Time
EDWARDS' IOWA BUSINESS TIES CAUSE SOME TO QUESTION POVERTY MESSAGE: A total of 107 Iowa homeowners were foreclosed upon by subprime mortgage companies owned by Fortress Investment Group while Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was associated with the equity company, court records show. Des Moines Register: Iowans Affected by Lender Linked to Edwards
WAS EDWARDS "OUT OF TOUCH" AT MTV, MYSPACE FORUM?: Anybody who has ever wanted to tell politicians they were dodging a question – or that they had the wrong ideas or were out of touch – could do so in real time Thursday to former Democratic Sen. John Edwards, the digital guinea pig for a new type of interactive technology that could change how voters challenge politicians. San Francisco Chronicle: Edwards First Candidate To Gain Feedback Through Online Dialogue
THOMPSON STRUGGLES WITH HOME STATE CURRENT EVENTS: Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Thursday he was unaware that a federal judge had ruled last week that lethal injection procedures in his home state were unconstitutional. Quad City Times: Thompson Unaware of Death Penalty Cases
STYLE POINTS FOR THOMPSON, OBAMA: Fonzworth Bentley, the hip-hop artist, fashion designer and former personal assistant to Sean “Diddy” Combs, gave Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. Fred Thompson tied among presidential candidates, with 7 out of 10 swagger points. DC Examiner's Yeas and Nays: Style Pro: Obama, Thompson Tops in "Swagger" Primary
NIECE OF MLK TO STUMP FOR BROWNBACK: Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will meet with supporters of Republican Sam Brownback at his Iowa headquarters Friday. Quad City Times: MLK Niece for Brownback
NEW HAMPSHIRE DEM PREDICTS A SURPRISE AT THE PRIMARY: The smooth road to the White House down which Hillary Clinton has sped so far threatens to become rocky in the Granite State of New Hampshire. The Times of London: New Hampshire Prepares a Rocky Ride for Clinton
"GQ TOLD ME THE CLINTONS WERE UNHAPPY AND THREATENED TO REVOKE ACCESS TO BILL CLINTON IF THE HILLARY STORY RAN": Two stories, both about politicians named Clinton, collided recently at one of the nation's most prominent magazines, raising questions about journalistic integrity and hardball political tactics. Washington Post: 2 Clintons, 2 Stories– But Just 1 to See Print
BILL A TARGET FOR HILLARY OPPONENTS: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination often deliver oblique criticisms of her role in the turbulent administration of her husband, labeling her a Washington insider and calling on voters to "turn the page" on an era of political polarization. LA Times: Clinton's Blessing is Her Curse
GINGRICH: “THE MOST SOBERING THING ABOUT WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW IS THAT THE MOST EFFECTIVE CANDIDATE IN THE RACE IS HILLARY CLINTON”: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the leader of the 1994 Republican revolution said late Thursday that top Democratic White House candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is the most “effective” candidate of the 2008 presidential race. The Hill: Gingrich: "Formidable" Clinton Most "Effective" Candidate
RELIGIOUS RIGHT SEARCHING FOR GOP CANDIDATE: Religious conservatives are at odds over which of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination should get their backing. Washington Times: GOP's Crucial '08 Base Divided
REPUBLICAN BACKED CHALLEGE TO END CALIFORNIA'S WINNER-TAKE-ALL ELECTORATE SYSTEM IS DROPPED: A proposed California initiative campaign that could have helped Republicans hold on to the White House in 2008 was a shambles Thursday night, as two of its key consultants quit. LA Times: GOP Electoral Initiative Dealt major Blows
PARTISAN POLITICS ANGER TRENT LOTT: Republican Trent Lott, once the Senate majority leader, has harsh words about the way both parties are running the chamber these days. Bloomberg News: Lott Says, Democrats, Republicans Each Bear Blame for Gridlock
SENATE DELAYS VOTE TO REQUIRE ELECTRONIC FILING OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS: In the final days before elections, out of nowhere some candidates get infusions of cash. They blast ads, tar their opponents and go on to win. Las Vegas Sun: Campaign Funding Watchdogs Suspicious as Ensign Steps In
FIRST REPORT ON CONTROVERSIAL HOUSE VOTE DRAWS "NO CONCLUSIONS": The select committee tasked with investigating an August voting snafu in the House issued its first report on the incident Thursday, using the document to outline the steps ahead in its investigation rather that offering any determinations in the partisan dispute. Roll Call: Select Panel Approves First Report on Controversial House Vote
FERRY TO NOWHERE: Sen. Ted Stevens, who championed $452 million in federal funding for Alaska's notorious "bridges to nowhere," has directed the Navy to build an experimental ferry it once rejected to serve a little-used port in a remote area of his home state. USA Today: How Ferry Project, Pushed by Sen. Stevens Floated
56 SHOOTINGS ON BLACKWATER'S WATCH: The State Department said Thursday that Blackwater USA security personnel had been involved in 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq so far this year. It was the first time the Bush administration had made such data public. New York Times: State Dept. Tallies 56 Shootings Involving Blackwater on Diplomatic Guard Duty
BUSH V. CLINTON ON GLOBAL WARMING: George W Bush has staged his first major meeting on climate change in an attempt to persuade the world's most polluting powers to avoid another Kyoto-style agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions… By contrast, Bill Clinton, the former president, has been showered with praise during his Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York… The Daily Telegraph: George Bush's Climate Change Plan Draws Fire
On the Political Radar:
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, gives the keynote address at the 2007 Hispanic Business Expo and Economic Summit Luncheon at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. Later in the afternoon, he holds a town hall meeting and press conference in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, address the Congressional Black Caucus at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
* In the morning, Obama gives the opening convocation address at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, to deliver remarks to the Center for National Policy and hold a rally at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee delivers a speech on priorities for the war on terror at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He then heads to New Hampshire to play bass guitar with a local rock band, Mama Kicks, at Whippersnapper's in Londonderry.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards continues his Economic Fairness tour with town hall meetings in Littleton and Claremont, New Hampshire.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues campaigning in California with meet and greets at the Original Pantry Café in Los Angeles and at Pacific Blues Café in Yountville.
* Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, holds a "Community Kitchen Table" to discuss rural economic development at the Hanford Inn in Mason City, Iowa.
* Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson raises money in his home state and in Mississippi.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raises money in Florida.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook