Watch Brian Todd's report about a series of fires that have plagued Senate office buildings.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Brian Todd reports on the investigation into seven fires in two U.S. Senate office buildings since late September.
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Watch a clip of Sen. Obama's speech in South Carolina Friday.
(CNN) – At the end of a week where Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, made her most direct references yet to the historic nature of her presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, spoke Friday about being black and mounting a serious campaign for the White House.
Speaking from the steps of a historic courthouse in Clarendon County, South Carolina where one of the lawsuits which ultimately led to the desegregation of America’s schools was filed more than 50 years ago, Obama tied his presidential run to the black community’s fight for civil rights.
Obama told the crowd he’d heard people say, “’Ya know, we’re just not sure that America’s ready for an African-American president.’” “You’ve heard that before. You’ve heard the same voices you heard fifty years ago,” Obama said.
“So, I just want ya’ll to be clear. I would not be running if I weren’t confident I was going to win,” he said. “I’m not interested in second place,” he added.
“We are tied up in Iowa right now. And, let me tell you there aren’t a lot of folks in Iowa that look like me,” said Obama. “And, we’re doing just fine.”
Obama also took a shot at President Bush. Talking about the importance of education in his own life, Obama said, “I wasn’t like the President George Bush – born with a silver spoon in my mouth. My daddy wasn’t President of the United States,” the Illinois Senator told the crowd. “I had to work and get an education and get scholarships to get ahead.”
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Dodd campaigns in Manchester.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Following an event at the University of New Hampshire, democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd went to a Manchester hotspot, the Puritan Backroom, for a meet and greet.
Dodd made the rounds, chatting up diners and staffers at nearly every table in the packed dimly lit room. While many customers asked for photographs with the Connecticut Senator, the question, ‘who is that?’ was heard repeatedly.
CNN overheard one customer explain, ‘he’s a Republican.’
Accompanying Dodd was Ted Kennedy Jr., son of longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
He and his brother Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, are supporting Dodd’s presidential campaign.
“I have been a friend and a fan of Chris Dodd for many years, “Kennedy said. “He’s been one of my family’s closest friends. I believe in what he’s doing. I think he’s the most qualified candidate in the field today.”
Kennedy said that while Dodd might not win the “current popularity contest,” he has the best experience to lead the country.
He was asked who his father might endorse for president.
“My dad, you know, he’s got a lot of friends in this race with so many senators in the race. I don¹t know what his decision is,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said his father would campaign for the eventual Democratic nominee, no matter who it is.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-California, who is running for President, called on Mitt Romney, another GOP candidate, to take a public stance on the proposed partnership between the private equity firm Romney founded and a Chinese-based company.
Before running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney was the CEO and founder of Bain Capital Partners, a highly successful venture capital and investment firm based in Boston which currently manages more than $50 billion in assets, according to the company's website.
Last month, Bain Capital and China's Huawei Technology purchased 3Com in a deal valued at $2.2 billion. The deal gave the Chinese company a minority stake in 3Com, an internet security company.
Hunter says that 3Com has contracts with the U.S. Dept. of Defense. However, Bain Capital tells CNN 3Com does not contract with the U.S. government directly, and the Chinese company will not have access to sensitive U.S.-origin technology or U.S. government sales as a result of this transaction.
In a letter addressed to Romney, provided to CNN by Hunter's campaign, Hunter claims the Chinese company has ties to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban and asks Romney to come forward with a "clear statement" in opposition to the deal sealed last October.
The Bain Capital deal in question "can only be characterized as irresponsible," Hunter said in a written statement.
In September, other Republicans in the House called on the Bush administration to block the merger and proposed a resolution that says the deal "threatens the national security of the United States and should not be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States."
Romney's campaign provided CNN the following statement in response to the request from Hunter, "Governor Romney is no longer involved in Bain Capital and their investment decisions."
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
Watch Sen. Clinton in New Hampshire Friday.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton made it official Friday by signing her name on the last day of the New Hampshire primary filing period.
Following her signing, Clinton answered questions from reporters. She also joked there was less press the last two times she had been at the Secretary of State’s office.
“I’m very excited obviously about today,” Clinton said. “This is such a tremendous personal honor for me to be declaring my candidacy formally.”
In a CNN interview, Edwards said Clinton is not "straight and honest."
CHERAW, South Carolina (CNN) – In his first public comments since Tuesday's contentious Democratic debate, John Edwards came out swinging against rival Hillary Clinton on Friday, accusing her of "double talk" and claiming that she cannot be trusted.
"What we saw in the debate on Tuesday night were the politics of double talk," the former senator from North Carolina told the crowd at an outdoor town hall meeting here. "What I heard was Sen. Clinton saying she wanted to be for change, but defended a broken system in Washington."
The Edwards campaign also released a Web video Friday called the "the politics of parsing" that accused the former first lady of avoiding straight answers during the debate.
The debate was the first issue Edwards brought up in his speech.
"Since the debate we've continued to hear spin, smoke and mirrors, the same kind of double talk to get away form the very serious issues that are in front is us in this campaign," he told the crowd.
As he did during the debate in Philadelphia, Edwards took Clinton to task on the issues of Iraq and Iran, claiming that the senator from New York wants to leave combat troops in Iraq for an indeterminate period, and that her support of a resolution declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization gave the White House a green light to pursue military action against Iran.
Michael Mukasey, left, talks with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two Democratic senators said Friday they would vote for President Bush's nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, hours after the chairman of the Judiciary Committee announced his opposition to the nominee.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles Schumer of New York announced they would support the retired federal judge from New York.
Feinstein and Schumer are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the Mukasey nomination Tuesday.
Giuliani was critical of Joe Biden's foreign policy experience Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani Friday criticized fellow White House hopeful Joe Biden for a lack of foreign policy experience and later denied making such an accusation.
The Republican front-runner was interviewed by South Carolina radio host Andy Gobeil. “You would say Sen. Biden doesn’t have foreign policy experience?” Gobeil asked.
“Has he ever been in the State Department? Has he ever been an executive?” Giuliani replied. “It’s one thing to speak about what you want or even pass laws about it, it’s another thing to actually do it. Foreign policy experience to me means being an ambassador, being in the State Department, being a law enforcement official, dealing with foreign countries.”
At an event later Friday morning, Giuliani denied saying Biden, a Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, lacked foreign policy experience.
“I didn't mention foreign policy,” said Giuliani. “I said Joe Biden fit into the category along with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and they were all questioned about this at the debate, but he wasn't, and here is the situation. They have in a very strange way – they have never run a city, never run a state, never run a business. Never run anything.”
Responding to Giuliani's criticisms, Biden said in a statement, "Today’s comments come from a guy—Rudy Giuliani—who said Dick Cheney, the architect of Bush's failed policy in Iraq, was a great choice for vice president and who recommended the now discredited Bernie Kerik to be Secretary of Homeland Security."
"Once again, Rudy has demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge of U.S. foreign policy," Biden added.
– CNN Political Producer Xuan Thai
Watch President Carter's interview on CNN's American Morning Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich caused heads to turn earlier this week when he acknowledged he once saw a UFO.
But if elected to the White House, Kucinich wouldn't be the first president to have such an encounter.
"When I was back as a peanut farmer in southwest Georgia, I and about 25 others saw something in the air that changed colors and was round and came and left," former President Jimmy Carter said in an interview with CNN’s John Roberts on American Morning. "We couldn't figure out what it was."
But while he couldn't identify the object, Carter said he doesn't think it was space aliens.
"It was unidentified as far as we were concerned, but I think it's impossible in my opinion, some people disagree, to have space people from other planets or other stars to come to us - I don't think that's possible," he said.
At Tuesday's presidential debate, NBC’s Tim Russert asked Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio, about a recent account from actress Shirley MacLaine that he saw a UFO at her home in Washington State.
“It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It's, like, it's unidentified. I saw something," Kucinich responded.
Related: A UFO lands in the '08 White House race
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Texas Rep. Ron Paul's new book, "A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce and Honest Friendship," is the top-seller in the nonfiction government category on Amazon.com. The Republican presidential hopeful's book rose from 594 to 114 this week on the Web site's list, according to Paul's campaign.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich