DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - At least via voice mail.
Actor James Denton may be campaigning in person here in Iowa Saturday and Sunday for Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, but he reached out to voters on Friday with a message sent to phones across the state.
“Hi. This is James Denton,” he said in the recording. “You might know me better as Mike Delfino, the plumber from ABC's Desperate Housewives.”
“I'm a huge supporter of Sen. John Edwards for president,” Denton continues, “and when elected he'll not only end the war in Iraq but he'll make sure every American has guaranteed healthcare, among other amazing things.”
In the message, Denton twice encourages listeners to "press '4'" to forward the message to friends.
Former President Clinton on the campaign trail with his wife.
(CNN)–Although Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, says he is the candidate best suited to change the ways of Washington as president, former President Bill Clinton says he was far more experienced to be president when he ran in 1992 than Obama is today.
Despite the fact that Clinton was 46 when he ran, the same age as Obama today, "there is a difference," Clinton said Friday in an interview with Al Hunt of Bloomberg Television. "I was the senior governor in America. I had been head of any number of national organizations that were related to the major issue of the day which is how to restore America's economic strength."
"I was in terms of experience was closer to Senator Obama in 1988 when I came within a day of announcing because most of the governors were for me," the former president, and husband of Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, said. "I had been governor for six years, and I really didn't think I knew enough and had served enough, and done enough to run. That doesn't mean that he shouldn't. That's his decision."
"What America needs in a president changes from time to time," Clinton said when highlighting his wife's role as a two-term senator, former first lady, and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Her experience is more relevant and more compelling."
On Saturday, Obama sought to use some previous comments by the former president to prove a point.
"I remember what was said years ago by a candidate running for President. He said, 'The same old experience is not relevant. You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience.' Well that candidate was Bill Clinton. And I think he was absolutely right," Obama said in a statement released by his campaign. “I may not have the experience Washington likes, but I have the experience America needs—the ability to bring people together, stand up to the special interests, and tell the truth to the American people on the major issues we face, from Iraq to Social Security,” Obama said.
Obama, a former member of the Illinois state legislature, is in his first term in the United State Senate, and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
(CNN) - Two days after hinting he would make a run for the White House, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided Saturday he would not run for president, his spokesman told CNN.
Rick Tyler said Gingrich realized he couldn't run a political action committee - his American Solutions group - and form an exploratory committee to run for president at the same time.
"He will continue to bring the American people solutions to the challenges America faces through American Solutions, not as a candidate for president," Tyler said in a phone interview.
Thursday, Gingrich told supporters in Marietta, Ga., 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.
Tyler said the assessment of whether or not Gingrich supporters could raise the money never began.
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.
Bush was critical of Congress for not passing spending bills before the end of the fiscal year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush lambasted Congress Saturday for not passing spending bills before the fiscal year ended, and signed emergency legislation to keep the government running for the next seven weeks.
"Congress failed in its most basic responsibility: to pass the spending bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
"I do thank the Congress for passing this temporary measure, and for passing it without any new spending, new policies or new projects," the president added.
Earlier this week, House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis., responded to similar criticism from the president, saying he had already talked to the White House about a "clean" continuing resolution and accused the president of manufacturing "a disagreement when there is none."
"This is the time when we ought to be sitting down to work out reasonable compromises with each other instead of issuing phony challenges or posing for political holy pictures," Obey said in a statement.
The president warned yet again that he would veto congressional plans to expand state-administered children's health programs, calling the increase in funding and coverage of State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, "irresponsible."
The Edwards campaign clarified earlier statements on accepting public campaign financing.
(CNN)–John Edwards appeared to be stepping back from comments he made earlier this week in which he said he was committed to participating in public campaign financing, and the limits that come from such a commitment.
Aboard CNN's Election Express Bus on Thursday, CNN's Candy Crowley asked Edwards if he would completely commit to public financing. "I will. I think that, I have thought a great deal about this," the Democratic presidential hopeful said, "and again I want to go back to the not sounding holier than thou, I myself thought earlier in this campaign about the possibility of not taking public financing."
“Now are we talking about primary matching funds, or are we talking about general election matching funds?” Crowley asked. "We’re talking about through the campaign. Period," the former North Carolina senator said. "I will commit, because this is not about a money calculation. This is about taking a stand, a principled stand for what’s right. I believe in public financing. I’ve said that many times."
Those statements appear to contrast with later statements from the Edwards campaign. In an article in the New York Times on Friday, David Bonior, Edwards campaign manager, said that Edwards might reject public financing for the general election if the Republican nominee did not commit to doing the same. "Accordingly, we will continue to raise money for the general election so we will be ready to compete against the Republican nominee," Bonior said in the article.
In the same article, Joe Trippi, a senior adviser to the Edwards campaign, said that what Edwards had meant to say earlier was that he was committed to a similar proposal Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, had made to Republicans – that he would agree to public financing limits, if the eventual Republican nominee did the same. "He was thinking of the Obama challenge to the Republican nominee," Trippi said in the article.
On Saturday, the Edwards campaign called the comments from Bonior and Trippi a clarification of their position.
In order to qualify for so-called "matching funds," the public funding program for the primary season, the FEC requires candidates to demonstrate nationwide support by raising $5000 in 20 different states with no individual contribution to exceed $250, a task which poses little difficulty for major candidates like Edwards.
Once qualified, the federal government will match the first $250 from new contributors, provided Edwards adheres to a $50 million national spending limit, as well as spending limits in each state. Candidates may not receive more than about $21 million in matching funds.
Public funding in the general election comes in the form of an $84 million grant given to a major party nominee if the candidate agrees not to raise or spend outside funds.
No general election candidate has ever refused these funds since the program began in 1976, though this year a number of presidential candidates from both parties have indicated they may forego the general election funding.
Watch interview: Edwards to accept public financing
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson will report raising more than $7 million in the third quarter, a source inside the campaign tells CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Thompson is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. There are still three days for candidates to raise money in this fundraising period.
Sens. Obama and Clinton will raise comparable amounts during the third quarter of this year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fundraising dropped off dramatically for the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama will still report raising in the neighborhood of $20 million each over this three month time period, sources close to both candidates tell CNN.
Clinton will show she has pulled in between $17-$20 million, while Obama will report he raised between $18-$19 million. Fundraising is historically slow in the third quarter, which covers the final two months of summer and the first month of fall. In the second quarter, Obama shattered fundraising records by reporting that he raised $32.5 million, $31 million of which he could use in his bid for the Democratic nomination. Clinton raised $27 million during this same time period, and all but $6 million of it could be used in the primary.
There are still three days remaining for candidates to raise money for this fundraising period.
On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain is expected to show he raised more than $5 million this quarter, but a McCain advisor noted that his recent poll numbers in New Hampshire and a busy fundraising schedule next month shows that they “have some life.” Sources close to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggest that he will lead the GOP pack in fundraising this quarter, but would not reveal their fundraising totals.
– CNN National Correspondent John King
Does Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign have a Biblical parallel?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, appeared to draw comparisons between a biblical figure, the civil rights movement and his presidential campaign during a speech at Howard University on Friday.
The presidential candidate likened the civil rights movement to the Bible story of Moses and Joshua’s journey through the desert. He called on the students of Howard University to be the “Joshuas of your generation,” and to finish the work in the civil rights movement.
“When Joshua discovered the challenge he faced, he had doubts, and he had worries,” Obama said. “He told God, ‘Don’t choose me. I'm not strong enough. I'm not wise enough. I don't have training. I don't have enough experience.’”
Obama is often criticized for his lack of political experience, and the similarity between Joshua’s task and the Illinois Democrats’ bid to win the White House with only two-plus years in the Senate under his belt was not lost on the audience.
In the Bible, Moses takes his people to the promised land but on the last leg of the journey, God asks Joshua to be the guide.
– CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai
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