Watch Sen. Obama explain his response to a report by a conservative columnist over the weekend.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, explained his swift response to a report by conservative columnist Robert Novak that the Clinton campaign had “scandalous” information about him.
“I think it is very important to send a clear message that whether it is coming from our party, the other party, third parties, 527’s, that our campaign will not tolerate this kind of slime politics,” Obama said Sunday at a campaign appearance in Iowa.
“In the era of the blogosphere, we have seen what happened with John McCain in 2000, we’re seen what happened with John Kerry in 2004, if you don’t get on this stuff quick, it starts drifting around,” he said.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
The standings of the Republican White House hopefuls has shifted, according to a new CNN poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has skidded into sixth place in a new CNN/WMUR poll of likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, edged out by ex-Libertarian and anti-war congressman Ron Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney topped the poll, widening a lead he has held for months in neighboring New Hampshire, while Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani were running close in the second and third spots.
The CNN/WMUR poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire between Wednesday and Sunday. Pollsters surveyed 404 Republican voters for the survey, which had a sampling error of 5 percentage points.
Obama said his childhood years spent overseas have shaped his perspective on foreign relations.
CLARION, Iowa (CNN) – Presidential hopeful Barack Obama told an audience Monday that some of his strongest foreign relations experience comes from having spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia, and having family ties to Kenya.
After first mentioning that as a senator he's had "frequent interactions with world leaders" on fact-finding missions across the globe, the Illinois Democrat added, "But you know, probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in Asia - Southeast Asia."
According to the campaign, Obama was six years old when he moved to Indonesia in 1967, and stayed until he was 10.
Obama said those four years overseas, combined with the fact that his father is from Kenya, gave him the knowledge "of how ordinary people in these other countries live."
He then implied that simply going on congressional delegation trips isn't enough.
"Various people come and give you a tour of some factory or some school, and the children do a native dance … you have dinner with some important people, and then you maybe go on a shopping excursion, and then you leave," Obama said. "You don’t really get a chance to know what are in the minds of ordinary people in these countries."
He then implied that his time in Asia gave him additional foresight on the issue of Iraq.
"I have a better sense of how they're thinking and what their society is really like, and that's part of the reason why I was able to see what would happen when we went into Iraq," Obama said.
"I said at the time … the Sunnis and the Shias, they don’t agree on a lot of things, so if you think that suddenly they're gonna have this great democracy once we go in there it's just not, that’s not what's going on in the culture there."
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Mrs. Obama will be joining the popular talk show next month.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, will be a guest host on the television talk show "The View" next month.
Mrs. Obama will co-host the hour-long show on December 5th in New York, press secretary Katie McCormick confirmed to CNN Monday
The program’s regular panel includes: Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd.
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
Obama reacted to Clinton's allusions that he is inexperienced on fiscal issues.
FORT DODGE, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama fired back Monday at Sen. Hillary Clinton, who said in a speech earlier in the day that the country can’t afford a president in need of on-the-job training, especially when it comes to fiscal issues.
“I am happy to compare my experiences to hers when it comes to the economy,”
Obama said when asked about Clinton’s veiled criticism of him. “My understanding was that she wasn't Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.”
Clinton said in a speech in Knoxville, Iowa, that “every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families. And they cannot afford to keep waiting." She noted that electing someone not ready for the task “could be the costliest job training in history."
Obama countered, “If she has specific differences with me with respect to economic policy, I'm happy to have those debates. But this sort of general notion of experience based on longevity in Washington I don't think is sufficient to make the case to the voters of Iowa or the American people."
Clinton of New York and Obama of Illinois are competing for the Democratic presidential nomination.
- CNN’s Alexander Marquardt and Chris Welch
FORT DODGE, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, announced Monday a proposed tax credit that he says would cover the cost of community college for most high school graduates.
"For too long policy makers in Washington have treated community colleges as a step child of the higher education system instead of essential resources for training and preparing the workers of tomorrow," Obama said at a press conference.
The presidential hopeful said the tax credit would cover the first $4,000 of college, which according to him would make community college "completely free for most Americans."
"These schools produce the lifeblood of our communities and the backbone of our workforce," Obama added. "As our changing economy demands a more skilled workforce, America's community colleges must be at the forefront of higher education and economic competitiveness."
Obama made the comments in front of students and reporters gathered at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Thompson is running two of his his ads in Iowa and one in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - In a fundraising e-mail blast sent out Monday morning, Fred Thompson's presidential campaign asked supporters for help in getting more TV ads on the air in two key early states.
Thompson's ad "No Amnesty" is on the air in Iowa and "Consistent Conservative" is running in both Iowa and South Carolina. Thompson says in the e-mail: "To build even more momentum though, I'm going to need the resources to further get my message out."
The email says Thompson needs more money to stay on TV in Iowa and South Carolina, two states with conservative voting blocs crucial to Thompson's bid.
However, Thompson's e-mail pitch is more straightforward than most: he asks supporters to cover the cost of an entire 30-second ad, and outlines just how much the campaign says those ads will cost in different media markets.
"You can pay for a 30-second ad for my campaign in Sioux City, Iowa simply by contributing $70 to my campaign, and $250 will buy an ad in Greenville, South Carolina," the e-mail reads.
"If you and your friends and family can combine to give $850 to my campaign, I can buy a prime-time advertisement in Charleston, South Carolina."
The e-mail makes no mention of New Hampshire, where Thompson is not running ads and has struggled to gain traction in the polls. On ABC this weekend, Thompson acknowledged, "I don't know what the situation is going to be in New Hampshire. I haven't done as well there."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Jersey Rep. Mike Ferguson announced Monday he would not seek reelection in 2009, the 18th Republican this year to announce plans to either leave office during or retire at the close of the 110th Congress.
Ferguson, who was first elected in 2000, narrowly won re-election last year beating Democrat Linda Stender by a 49 percent to 48 percent margin.
Ferguson said he decided to leave Congress so that he could spend more time with his family.
“Being a representative in Congress is more meaningful than I had imagined, and I know that now is the right time to step away from public life to focus more on family life while our children are still young,” he said in a statement released by his congressional office.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Rudy Giuliani has released a new ad focused on his time as mayor of New York City.
NEW YORK (CNN) – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani released a new campaign ad Monday touting himself as the best leader and most “tested” of the candidates hoping to win the race to the White House.
“I’ve been tested in a way in which the American people can look to me,” Giuliani says in the ad. “They’re not going to find perfection, but they’re going to find somebody who has dealt with crisis almost on a regular basis and has had results. And in many cases, exceptional results.”
In the ad, Giuliani promotes his resume, pointing out that he served as a U.S. Attorney and as an official in the Justice Department. Although he doesn’t mention 9/11 directly, the GOP presidential hopeful highlights that he was the mayor of New York during a “time of crisis.”
The ad will run in New Hampshire and Boston starting Monday.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Townsend will be joining the private sector.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Bush's top adviser on homeland security is stepping down after 4½ years on the job, the White House said Monday.
Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend turned in her letter of resignation to President Bush on November 6 and will be looking for new opportunities outside government.
"I'm going to just take another job doing 20-hour days, but this time in the private sector," said Townsend, who has spent 25 years working in law enforcement and government.
Bush praised Townsend's work Monday.
"Fran has always provided wise counsel on how to best protect the American people from the threat of terrorism," Bush said in a statement. "We are safer today because of her leadership."