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Making News Today…
Richardson to deliver foreign policy speech in California
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As California battles raging wildfires, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson heads to Los Angeles today to unveil his plans on how to improve America's diplomatic relations with Latin America.
Saying that the fires have "ravaged the national consciousness," Richardson will discuss fair trade and immigration from Latin American countries. He also will criticize President Bush for his "short-sighted, clumsy diplomacy" and say his experience will help him deal with rogue leaders like Hugo Chavez.
"He seems to think that Latin goodwill towards the United States is something we can take for granted," Richardson will say, according to prepared remarks. "He seems to think that the fact of our geography guarantees the fitness of our relationship. And he continues to believe that region will somehow follow a nation that refuses to lead. They will not. In the absence of principled leadership from us, they will turn elsewhere, anywhere, to whoever steps up."
Richardson announced Tuesday he will donate $10,000 from his campaign's war chest to the Red Cross and send firefighters from his home state to help fight the California wildfires.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Day Job Pulls Senators off the Campaign Trail
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain had been scheduled to be in New Hampshire Wednesday morning, campaigning for president, but a crucial vote back in Washington is keeping the Republican senator from Arizona off the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill.
The Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of a controversial judicial nominee. The person in the spotlight is Leslie Southwick.
He was nominated by President Bush to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. 5TH Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The seat has been vacant for nearly three years, and Southwick is the third person tapped to fill it. If confirmed, the 57-year-old former state judge would be based in Mississippi.
Race has played a role in the president's controversial efforts to fill this particular seat. Each of the three nominees, including Southwick, are white, and each has been accused of racist views or insensitivity to civil rights.
No African-American has ever been nominated from Mississippi, despite the state's 37 percent black population, highest OF all states.
Currently five women, three Hispanics, one African-American and five white males make up the 14 active judges on the New Orleans-based court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly approved Southwick's nomination in August, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, providing the deciding vote.
Political and legal analysts said McCain could be seeking to score points with Southern conservative voters by leaving a crucial early primary state to voice his support for the judge. McCain is scheduled to get back on the campaign trail Wednesday evening in Iowa, the state that kicks off the presidential primary season.
With Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas dropping out of the race for the White House, McCain is the only remaining Republican from the Senate still in the hunt.
The Democratic presidential front runner, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, also cancelled an early campaign event in Iowa Wednesday due to Senate votes. But Clinton plans to make it out to Iowa later in the day.
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was scheduled to campaign all day Wednesday in New Hampshire. He's changed his plans as well due to Senate votes and now will not make it up to the Granite State until later in the day.
Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut were not scheduled on the campaign trial Wednesday.
– CNN’s Bill Mears and Paul Steinhauser
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
CLINTON ON BUSH ADMIN: “THERE WERE A LOT OF ACTIONS WHICH THEY TOOK THAT WERE CLEARLY BEYOND ANY POWER THE CONGRESS WOULD HAVE GRANTED, OR THAT IN MY VIEW THAT WAS INHERENT IN THE CONSTITUTION,”: Senator Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the Bush-Cheney administration had engaged in a “power grab” and that she would consider relinquishing some of that executive power if she followed it into the White House. New York Times: Clinton Plans to Consider Giving Up Some Powers
TANCREDO WANTS SENATOR'S EVENT RAIDED: Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a Republican presidential candidate whose fierce opposition to illegal immigration is the center of his campaign, contacted the immigration service yesterday demanding that agents raid a senator’s news conference. New York Times: Candidate Calls for Raid on Immigration Bill Event
THOMPSON: "TAXPAYER MONEY SHOULD NOT BE PROVIDED TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS,": Fred Thompson yesterday became the first major presidential candidate to embrace attrition as the solution to illegal entry, saying the government should deny illegal aliens a hiding place by cracking down on the businesses and sanctuary cities that shield them. Washington Times: A call to end illegals' refuges
NO AMNESTY FOR FRED: Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson yesterday staked out one of the toughest plans on the campaign trail to curb illegal immigration, trying to reignite the issue among the GOP faithful who rose up in revolt against a more moderate approach in Congress earlier this year. Boston Globe: Thompson stirs rivals with immigration plan
RNC TAKES FLACK FOR THREATENING TO PUNISH THE GRANITE STATE: Sen. Judd Gregg has pulled out as a host of a fund-raiser tonight for the Republican State Committee because the featured guest, national GOP chairman Mike Duncan, has agreed that New Hampshire should be punished for holding its first-in-the-nation primary earlier than party rules allow. New Hampshire Union-Leader: Gregg rips national GOP chairman
UNIVERSITY THAT REGARDS MORMONISM AS A CULT, OFFERS SUPPORT TO MITT: Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has been embraced in a most unlikely place: at Bob Jones University, the influential Christian college that teaches that his Mormon church is a cult. Quad City Times: Mormon Romney Finds Christian Support
CLINTON'S WHITE HOUSE YEARS FARE WELL WITH VOTERS: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has neutralized the political fallout from some of the most difficult moments of her eight years as first lady, with Democratic voters looking favorably on her failed effort to revamp healthcare and either supporting or having no opinion of her decision to remain loyal to an unfaithful husband, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows. LA Times: Clinton's White House years become a boon
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PUT MORE INTO IOWA THAN GOP COUNTERPARTS: Democratic candidates for president have wagered vastly more on Iowa than their Republican counterparts, a sign the state's caucuses are seen as more pivotal to the Democrat nomination. USA Today: Democrats invest heavily in Iowa
BIDEN TOUTS UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IN IOWA: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled at a campaign stop in Des Moines today the details of his plan to move the nation toward universal health care. Des Moines Register: Biden unveils health plan in Iowa
JESSE JACKSON JR. ON OBAMA: “ONCE, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTED FOR MY FATHER, AND SENT A STRONG MESSAGE TO THE NATION…NEXT YEAR, YOU CAN SEND MORE THAN A MESSAGE. YOU CAN LAUNCH A PRESIDENT.”: Barack Obama began airing radio ads in South Carolina today featuring Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., son of the prominent civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Jesse Jackson Jr. cuts ad for Barack Obama
“IF IT DOES COME DOWN TO HILLARY VERSUS RUDY, IT IS AT ONE LEVEL A SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE ICONOGRAPHY OF MATRIARCHAL WOMANHOOD AND THE COWBOY RIDING TO THE RESCUE”: On its current trajectory, the race for president in 2008 may turn voters into children of divorce — forced to choose between Mom and Dad. Politico: Voters' choice in 2008: Mom versus Dad
NEW POLL SHOWS CLINTON "SOLIDIFIES" FRONT-RUNNER STATUS: Two New Yorkers dominate the 2008 presidential race: Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg News: Clinton, Giuliani Overshadow Field for 2008 Race, Poll Shows
"UNDERAGE GIVERS" FILLING CANDIDATES WALLETS: Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Washington Post: As Campaigns Chafe at Limits, Donors Might Be in Diapers
EDWARDS: "I WANT TO BE THE PRESIDENT WHO IS THE MOST AGGRESSIVE ABOUT ENFORCING OUR LAWS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN,": Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards told high school students yesterday that the United States has a moral and legal obligation to treat women as equals to men. AP via New Hampshire Union-Leader: Edwards promotes women's rights in Merrimack visit
"I'M THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE [FOR PRESIDENT] WHO'S BEEN GIVEN AN `A' RATING BY THE NRA": Lauding the National Rifle Association is not usually an applause line for a Democratic presidential candidate, but New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson - knowing his audience - was cheered when he brought the issue up in gun-friendly Nevada. Boston Globe: Richardson touts his NRA credentials
GOSPEL SINGER REACTS TO ANTI-GAY ACCUSATIONS: Gospel music superstar Donnie McClurkin says he was surprised to wake up Tuesday morning to a media firestorm. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: 'No crusade' to cure gays, says Obama's gospel star
CANDIDATES' SPOUSES SPEAK ABOUT LIFE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Fifteen years after Hillary Clinton made her then-controversial comment about being a career woman and not staying home to bake cookies, the wives of five contenders for the White House gathered in California Tuesday to discuss their involvement in their husband’s presidential campaigns. CNN.com: '08 wives talk candidly about their roles
COLBERT POLLS BETTER THAN RICHARDSON: He's been "in" the race for less than a week, and already faux-pundit Stephen Colbert has surged ahead of longtime candidate Gov. Bill Richardson in one national poll gauging the race for the Democratic nod for president. And watch out Joe Biden! Editor and Publisher: Stephen Colbert Moves Ahead of Richardson, Closes in on Biden, in National Poll!
REP. DAVIS MAY ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT: Veteran Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who has been seen as a leading candidate to replace retiring Sen. John Warner (R) in 2008, may now be just a day away from announcing his own retirement from Congress. Roll Call: Davis May Opt for ’08 Retirement
REPUBLICAN ACCUSES DOJ OF TARGETING DEMOCRATS: Richard L. Thornburgh, attorney general in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, charged Tuesday that political reasons motivated the Justice Department to open corruption investigations against Democrats in Mr. Thornburgh’s home state, Pennsylvania. New York Times: Democrats Were Targets in Inquiries, Panel Is Told
REPUBLICANS FEEL SECURE ABOUT SOUTHWICK CONFIRMATION: A hands-off posture by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and promises from key Republicans to help smooth the way for deals on outstanding appropriations bills appear to be the right recipe for the Senate confirmation this week of controversial appellate court nominee Leslie Southwick. LA Times: Deal Struck on Southwick Vote
TRAVEL UP FOR CONGRESS DESPITE NEW "RULES": Despite new House travel restrictions, lawmakers accepted free trips worth nearly $1.9 million during the first eight months of this year — more than in all of 2006, records show. USA Today: Limits don't slow trip perks for U.S. lawmakers
COBURN'S TIGHT-FISTED EARMARK BATTLE: Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has established himself as the chamber’s earmark sheriff — breaking with the traditional comity in the Senate by criticizing and trying to kill the extraneous spending carved out of appropriations bills for the pet projects of individual lawmakers. DC Examiner: Oklahoma senator goes hunting for earmarks
DEMS TO "PATCH" ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX: The Bush administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill are warning that the Democratic leadership's failure to confront the alternative minimum tax could affect nearly 50 million tax filers, causing a potential "filing fiasco" and holding up as much as $75 billion in refunds next year. NY Sun: Democrats Slowing Action on Tax Issue, GOP Warns
DNC DONATES HSU CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (N.Y.) not the only one playing hot potato with campaign donations from Democratic fundraiser-turned-political pariah Norman Hsu. Roll Call's Heard on the Hill: Dirty Sexy Money
WILDFIRES IN LAWMAKERS' BACK YARD: Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) woke up at 2:30 on Tuesday morning to see the hillside behind his house glowing with fire and flames shooting as high as 50 feet in the air. He then watched as the fire ran to the top of the ridge of the hill and raced back down the other side. The Hill: Wildfires get personal for lawmakers
VIRGINIA GOP: “THE PRESIDENT MAKES OUR JOB HARDER, BUT WE’RE USED TO HARD WORK.”: Virginia Republican legislative candidates admit George W. Bush’s poor popularity ratings harm their campaigns but downplay the president’s impact and believe they can overcome the disadvantage with strong get-out-the-vote efforts. DC Examiner: Va. GOP candidates devise strategies to deal with unpopular president
AFTER DEFEAT, JINDAL GETS LOUISIANA'S HIGHEST JOB: When Bobby Jindal lost his first Louisiana governor's race four years ago, some experts told him that white people here were not ready to elect a dark-skinned son of Indian immigrants. LA Times: Ethnicity is no bar to Jindal's dream
LA ATTORNEY GENERAL LOOSES PRIMARY: Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti doggedly pursued high-profile prosecutions against people involved in two of Hurricane Katrina's most heartbreaking tragedies. Now he's out of a job. USA Today: Katrina cases' backlash hurts La. AG
KUCINICH'S UFO ENCOUNTER: Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has seen a UFO, writes Shirley MacLaine in her new book, "Sage-Ing While Age-Ing." Cleveland.com: Kucinich sees UFO, new book claims
On the Trail:
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, gives a lecture at the Carrie Chatman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
* Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has breakfast with supporters at Alex's Restaurant in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Later, Thompson heads to Bluffton for a meet and greet at the Sippin Cow Cafe and at Sun City Retirement Community.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards kicks off a four-day tour through Iowa with town hall meetings in Glenwood, Sidney, Shenandoah and Red Oak.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani holds a town hall meeting at the Mississippi Valley Fair Grounds in Davenport, Iowa.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, delivers a speech at the International Relations Forum 6 in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, meets with local residents at the McConnell Center in Dover, New Hampshire.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney meets with local residents at the Donut Man in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Later, Romney hold a press conference at Philadelphia International Airport.
* Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, holds a reception with American University students in Washington, D.C.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson delivers a speech on his Latin American policy at UCLA Campus in Los Angeles, California.
* Elizabeth Edwards delivers the keynote address at the Girl Scouts Patriots' Trail Council's annual Leading Women Awards in Boston, Massachusetts.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook