CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) - Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, officially filed for the Democratic presidential primary ballot in New Hampshire Friday and shortly after criticized some of his rivals over the war in Iraq.
Signing the state archive document with the words "strength through peace," Kucinich took the opportunity to differentiate himself from Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards by attacking their positions on the war in Iraq.
The Ohio Democrat acknowledged Obama was against the war before Congress authorized the use of military force in Iraq in 2002, but said, "He voted over and over again to fund the war." He then continued, "If you really oppose something, do you fund it? He cannot square that. And he'll never be able to square it, and this is the difficulty he has with his candidacy."
About Clinton, Kucinich said, "She voted 100 percent of the time to fund the war except the last vote we had as the clock ran out."
But the harshest attacks were directed towards Edwards.
"I know Sen. Edwards has apologized all over kingdom come about having voted for the war. But you know what? Apologies are a little bit late when you've got dead bodies all over the field," he said.
Obama spoke at an evangelical church in Greenville, South Carolina earlier this month.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is kicking off a series of Gospel concerts in Charleston tonight, meant to boost Obama's support among black voters in South Carolina. But what started as a local outreach project that would otherwise fly under the national radar has turned into a major headache for the Obama campaign.
The controversy also highlights the fact that Obama's desire to unite disparate voting blocs - especially religious voters - under his umbrella of "change" is not without some serious pitfalls for a Democratic presidential candidate.
When the campaign announced the lineups for the three-city "Embrace the Change!" Gospel tour last week, one name stood out to gay bloggers: Donnie McClurkin. The Grammy-award winning singer/preacher is on record as saying homosexuality is a choice, and that he himself was "once involved with those desires and those thoughts," but was able to get past them through prayer. To say the least, neither of those arguments are very popular in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
John Aravosis, a prominent gay blogger and co-founder of the web site AmericaBlog, led the charge against the Obama campaign, writing that the Illinois Democrat was "sucking up to anti-gay bigots" and "giving them a stage."
Once the story bubbled up into the mainstream media, the Obama campaign was taken by surprise. In competing to win over African-American voters in South Carolina against Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's efforts in the Palmetto State have been overwhelmingly targeted at African-American churchgoers.
Congress' approval rating stands at 22 percent.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It may not come as a surprise that a new poll shows Americans think Congress is doing a pretty lousy job.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday shows the approval rating for all members of Congress sits at a dismal 22 percent, while 75 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job. (Read full poll results [PDF])
"The big issues of the day just don't seem to be being addressed," said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies Congress. "The issues that matter most to people - the economy, health care, the environment and the larger war in Iraq - it is so difficult for Congress to move on those issues that I believe the public looks and says 'why aren't they doing anything?'"
Even though the overall approval rating of Congress leaves much to be desired, Democrats can find a bit of a silver lining in the new survey. Approval of congressional Democrats stands at 43 percent, twice that of Congress in general. The flip side, however, is that the congressional Democratic leadership still faces a disapproval rating of 51 percent, a figure that has increased 11 percentage points since March.
"I think it is important to remember that when Congress performs well, when it actually addresses the big issues of the day, it tends to be rewarded in the public's view of Congress," said Binder. "If today's approval ratings are down in the dumps, we probably shouldn't be surprised. On the big issues of the day, Congress doesn't seem to be doing very much."
The poll, conducted October 12-14, surveyed roughly 600 Americans and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points
- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has no plans to stop airing a campaign advertisement in New Hampshire despite a cease and desist letter from Fox News.
The ad shows McCain at a Fox News debate criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's sponsorship of a $1 million earmark for a new museum honoring the 1969 Woodstock music festival.
"I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time," McCain says in the ad, referring to the five and a half years he spent in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.
McCain was in Iowa on Friday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his capture. When asked about the ad and Fox News' objection over it, McCain said he didn't understand why his campaign was singled out.
“I understand that the Giuliani campaign and the Romney campaign have both put up clips from the debate on their websites too,” McCain said. “So anyway, frankly, I don't get into that myself.”
McCain also acknowledged that his campaign is currently communicating with Fox News about the use of the clip.
–CNN Producer Xuan Thai
(CNN) – Former president Bill Clinton took on a heckler in a recent speech in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The man stood up during Clinton’s speech and suggested that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had been an inside job, according to CNN affiliate KARE. “A fraud?,” Clinton responded. “No, it wasn’t a fraud, but I’ll be glad to talk to you if you’ll shut up and let me talk,” the former president added. Watch this clip to see the rest of Clinton’s encounter with the heckler.
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- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said late Thursday he doesn’t know if the mob really wanted to have him killed when he was a U.S. attorney in 1986, but said threats against him were part of the job.
FBI agent William Bolinder testified in the murder trial of a former agent this week about the alleged plot. He testified two of New York’s five mob families favored ordering the hit, but it ended when the heads of three other families opposed it.
“Do I think the mob really tried to whack me? Go ask the mob!”, Giuliani laughed as he was asked about the plot on Capitol Hill, “How do I know if the mob really wanted to whack me.”
Giuliani said he was aware of suspected plots to kill him while he was a U.S. attorney.
“I remember two, three times when the FBI was seriously concerned about what they described as contracts,” he said, “I remember the first one being resolved. This one that just came up, I don’t remember.”
The former New York City mayor said he believed the alleged threats came with the territory as a federal prosecutor. “
There was more than one, but the FBI always did a really good job of getting them resolved, but I always thought it was my obligation to put it out of my mind and just do my job.”
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- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Tancredo sought to make a risky bet with rival Mitt Romney.
Before the start of the World Series Wednesday night, the Colorado Congressman issued a challenge to the former Massachusetts governor: whichever candidate's home-team wins the series gets to stay in the presidential race - the other has to drop out.
“Governor Romney, I propose we make a bet on the World Series.” Tancredo said in an issued statement. “I will agree to drop out of the race if the Red Sox win on the condition that you will agree to drop out if the Rockies win.”
This is the second such life-or-death bet Trancredo has attempted to make with Romney. Last week the Colorado Republican challenged Romney to a trap-shooting contest in New Hampshire on the condition the loser abandons his presidential bid.
Tancredo spokesman Alan Moore told CNN he never heard a response from the Romney campaign on the baseball bet. Asked if Tancredo was actually prepared to exit the race if his baseball team lost, Moore said, "I guess we'll never know."
Reacting to the proposal, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said, "Governor Romney got in the race for the Republican nomination to win."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some people may be wary of turning 60 years old, but judging by Hillary Clinton’s star-studded birthday party, the Democratic presidential frontrunner is embracing the milestone with open arms.
Rocker Elvis Costello, musical band The Wallflowers, and comedian Billy Crystal headlined Clinton's birthday bash Thursday night in New York's Beacon Theater. (Watch Elvis Costello sing Happy Birthday)
Former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea were there, as was New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Rep. Charlie Rangel. (Related: Rangel: Giuliani 'embarrasses us')
Clinton’s actual birthday is Friday.
The former president introduced his wife on stage, declaring, "she still looks very beautiful."
The presidential candidate entered the room to loud cheers and said, "I feel very blessed, especially tonight, to be here with my family…and all of you, who I consider a big extended family." (Video: CNN's Candy Crowley takes a look at what Clinton is celebrating this year.)
She also took the opportunity to take a dig at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - the longtime New York Yankee fan who earlier this week said he was backing the Boston Red Sox in the World Series because he is a fan of the American League.
"I have been a fan, and I remain a fan of the New York Yankees," Clinton said to cheers. "No changes, no looking to curry favor with anyone else."
The event doubled as a $1.5 million fundraising haul with the most expensive tickets going for the Federal Election Commission maximum of $2,300. The show's "cheap seats" in the balcony cost $100.
Clinton's event Thursday night was the second birthday/fundraiser she has thrown this week. On Sunday, Hollywood director Rob Reiner threw Clinton a lavish party at his home in Los Angeles and even sang "Happy Birthday, Mrs. President."
But Democrats aren't the only ones noting Clinton's 60th birthday.
Republican National Committee spokesman Brian Walton said Thursday, "Hillary Clinton has a long wish list for her birthday, from Washington-controlled retirement plans and government-run health care to tax increases left and right, and all the while the American taxpayers are only wishing they won’t have to pay for her $750 billion in additional spending."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making news in South Carolina politics this Friday morning:
The State reports there will be a protest vigil outside the Barack Obama Gospel concert in Columbia on Sunday where controversial singer Donnie McClurkin will appear.
Also, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani announced his "S.C. College Students for Rudy" committee. Many current college students were in high school during Sept. 11. Some were in middle school.
Stephen Colbert makes his first (sort of) campaign visit to South Carolina on Saturday, visiting his hometown of Charleston, where he will be honored by Mayor Bob Coble.
One man has had enough of automated calls from politicians.
President Bush will be in Columbia on Nov. 2 for a fundraiser for Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is up for re-election in 2008. It's Bush's first fundraising visit to Columbia since he was elected.
S.C. Hotline editor Mike Green gets profiled!
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Men and women often don’t see eye to eye. And when it comes to Hillary Clinton, there’s no exception.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll out Thursday finds that most Americans see the senator from New York as a strong leader and a likeable person who can work well with both parties, but there’s a big gender gap when it comes to several of Clinton’s key characteristics.
Close to 68 percent of those questioned see the Democratic presidential front runner as a strong leader, with 63 percent saying Clinton’s likable, 61 percent agreeing that she can work with both parties, and 57 percent feeling that Clinton cares about people.
“The good news for Hillary Clinton is that a large majority of both men and women see her as a strong leader—71 percent for women, 65 percent for men. If there was a worry that there would be a huge gender gap on leadership, this poll shows that Clinton’s work to erase that is having some effect,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger.