McCain said he still has great respect for Sanchez despite differing views on Iraq strategy.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – One day following Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez’s denigration of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, responded with deference for the former General and conviction for the current Iraq strategy.
“I have great respect and appreciation for Gen. Sanchez’s service to his country and the military. I am very grateful for it,” McCain said.
“The fact is I had face to face discussions with Gen. Sanchez when he was in Baghdad about how I believed that the strategy was failing, and he testified before the Senate armed services committee that the strategy was succeeding - the flawed [Donald] Rumsfeld strategy that I knew was doomed to failure.”
“When I argued for the strategy that we’re using now, he did not agree with that.”
McCain repeated his respect and appreciation for the Gen. Sanchez despite differing views on Iraq strategy.
“I think the record shows that one, while he was in charge he was supporting of a failed strategy and number two, is that he did not support, at that time, the strategy that I believe is succeeding.”
-CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Speaking before a crowd of
environmentalists at the Global Warming and Energy Solutions conference,
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, recognized Former Vice President Al Gore for
his Nobel peace prize, but said he would have given the award to others.
"I congratulate Al Gore on his selection for the Nobel peace prize because
of this effort, and I think it¹s going to help enormously the publicity
associated with that awarding."
But later McCain added, "I would have given the peace prize to the Buddhist
monks that are being killed in Burma, but the fact is that he's done fine
work on this issue."
During the question and answer section, an audience member expressed concern
that McCain's statements about Al Gore's Nobel peace prize award were
confusing the proactive message about energy conservation.
"I've never heard before someone say: I wish someone else had won," the
audience member said.
"I've said it almost every year," McCain responded. "I'm entitled to my
"Because I thought that Buddhist monks who were dying were deserving of the
award, in no way, in my view, diminishes the accomplishments that he [Al
Gore] has made," he said.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
The Edwards campaign criticized Clinton's recent comments on Iran.
(CNN)–Former North Carolina senator John Edwards campaign accused Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York of flip-flopping her position on negotiating with Iran.
“Senator Clinton needs to be honest with the American people about her plans – but on everything from Iran to Iraq to Social Security, it seems she's trying to have it both ways," said Chris Kofinis, communications director for Edwards' campaign in a statement on Friday.
During a Democratic presidential debate in July, Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said he would be willing to meet without precondition in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
Standing with him on stage, Clinton said she would first send envoys to test the waters and called Obama's position irresponsible and naive.
But asked about it Thursday by a voter, the New York senator said twice that she, too, would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."
"I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said at an apple orchard.
“It is very disappointing that Senator Clinton seems determined to hedge her responses on the issues that matter most to the American people. After six years of the Bush Administration’s disastrous foreign policy, the stakes in this election are too high," Kofinis went on to say in the release. "The American people deserve a president who will tell them the truth and offer straight answers, not flip-flops and political double-speak.”
Edwards was scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire on Saturday and Sunday.
Click here to CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Doctors removed a blockage from Sen. Ted Kennedy's left carotid artery Friday.
BOSTON (CNN) - Sen. Ted Kennedy was released from the hospital Saturday, following a procedure Friday to remove a blockage in his left carotid artery, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Democrat said.
"Senator Kennedy was released from Massachusetts General Hospital today following Friday's successful surgery to remove blockage in his carotid artery. After a few days of rest at home in Hyannis Port, the senator will return to the Senate," said Melissa Wagoner.
Kennedy's office said the blockage was discovered "as part of a routine evaluation of Senator Kennedy's back and spine."
"MRI studies picked up an unrelated, asymptomatic blockage in the senator's left carotid artery," the office said Friday in a written statement. It described the procedures as "preventive surgery."
Doctors for Kennedy, 75, said they performed a carotid endarterectomy, which involves making a cut in the neck and pulling plaque out of the artery.
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Biden and Dodd both received Iowa endorsements this week.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Joe Biden and Sen. Chris Dodd both
received boosts this week from the only two Iowa House Democrats who have served in Iraq.
On Friday, state Rep. Ray Zirkelbach said in a statement that he's backing Dodd for president because of the Connecticut Democrat's "clarity and leadership on working to end the war."
Zirkelbach, a sargeant in the Iowa National Guard, returned from Iraq in August. He is also a Purple Heart recipient.
On Thursday state Rep. McKinley Bailey, who at age 26 is also the youngest serving Democrat in the Iowa state legislature, chose to endorse the Delaware Democrat.
"When I first learned of Sen. Biden's plan, I realized that was the ticket, a political solution, not a military one," Bailey said in a statement. Bailey served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
In recent polls, Dodd and Biden have consistently been in the single digits.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to star in a film loosely based on Howard Dean.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Howard Dean didn't make it to the White House, but could some form of him make it to the big screen?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney are in discussions to join forces for a movie loosely based on the former governor's meteoric rise and fall in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries.
The movie is set to be adapted from an upcoming Broadway play by Beau Willimon. The play, "Farragut North," tracks a novice but inspired campaign staffer who works for an "unorthodox" presidential candidate, according to the newspaper. Willimon worked on Dean’s presidential campaign.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that, according to the talks, Clooney would direct and produce the adaptation, and DiCaprio would star and produce.
Dean, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, led the 2004 Democratic field in both the polls and campaign cash heading into the first wave of primaries. But, after a disappointing third place showing in Iowa, the Vermont Democrat's campaign quickly fizzled out. He ultimately failed to win a single caucus or primary outside of his home state of Vermont.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressman William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, appeared in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va. late Friday to watch federal prosecutors and his defense lawyers tangle over legal motions leading up to his scheduled bribery racketeering and money laundering trial.
Jefferson, who was indicted for allegedly taking bribes relating to business dealings in Africa, sat silently beside his lawyers as they tried to get some of the 16 counts against him thrown out.
"There can be no bribery if he was not engaged in official acts," argued his lawyer Amy Berman Jackson.
"The conduct may be reprehensible, it may be distasteful, it may violate House rules, but it does not violate a statute," Jackson argued. She said Congressmen use their influence to assist constituents all the time.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lytle argued accepting things of value in exchange for using their influence is what the bribery laws are all about.
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis seemed unpersuaded by the defense arguments, but issued no rulings Thursday.
Ellis prompted chuckles throughout the courtroom when he gently admonished attorneys for both sides for referring to the $90,000 discovered in a freezer in an FBI raid on Jefferson's home as "cold, hard cash".
"We don't need to refer to cold and hard cash, the judge said.
Ellis said he would schedule additional pre-trial motions, but did not do so Friday.
As a smiling relaxed Congressman Jefferson left the courthouse he declined to speak to reporters or to indicate whether he intended to attend further such pre-trial sessions.
Jefferson's trial is scheduled to being on January 16 of next year.
– CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden
Watch Obama go after Clinton Friday in Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attacked New York Sen. Hillary Clinton on Friday for saying earlier in the week that she would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."
"A couple of months ago, Sen. Clinton called me naive and irresponsible for taking this position," said Obama. "[She] said that we could lose propaganda battles if we met with leaders we didn't like."
Obama was referring to Clinton's criticism of him after he said in a July debate that he would meet with controversial world leaders without preconditions.
"Just yesterday, though," Obama continued, "she called for diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. So I'm not sure if any of us knows exactly where she stands on this."
That wasn't the only shot Obama took at Clinton in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of congressional authorization of the war in Iraq. (Related: Obama: It's time to show where I differ from Clinton)
He also went after Clinton for being the only Democratic candidate for president currently supporting an amendment that contains strong language against Iran.
The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, according to Obama, provides another blank check to the current administration. The Illinois senator claims it could give President Bush an excuse to keep troops in Iraq "as long as they can point to a threat from Iran."
Responding to the criticisms, top Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said, "When Sen. Clinton used the term "no conditions," she was referring to meetings between the United States government and Iran, not personal meetings with the President. She was striking a contrast with President Bush who has refused to allow the U.S. government to talk to Iran about its nuclear weapons program. Senator Clinton has repeatedly said throughout this campaign that she would re-engage the world diplomatically and end the cowboy approach to diplomacy that has been used by the Bush administration."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch