McClellan was White House press secretary at the time of the CIA leak investigation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House spokesman Scott Stanzel denied accusations leveled at President Bush Tuesday by former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan. The accusations flow from an excerpt released from McClellan’s forthcoming book where he blames the president and other high-ranking White House officials for prompting him to “unknowingly pass along false information” as it related to the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
“The President has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he,” Stanzel said in a statement.
–CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux
Scott McClellan with President Bush in 2006.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is denying a claim in a new book by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan that top administration officials - including President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - were involved in his "unknowingly" passing along false information about the involvement of Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
Amid a burgeoning controversy about the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's name, McClellan went to the White House podium in October 2003 and told reporters that Rove, the president's top political adviser, and Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, had not been involved.
"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes in his new book, "What Happened," which is scheduled to be released in April. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."
Reacting to the release of an excerpt from McClellan's book, which was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the book's publisher, PublicAffairs, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, "The president has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he."
Another foreign policy spat has broken out between Sens. Clinton and Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The war of words between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama over foreign policy experience continues to escalate.
The latest salvo came Tuesday from Obama spokesman Bill Burton, who accused Clinton of supporting the Bush administration on matters of foreign policy.
"Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have spent time in the White House and (traveled) to many countries as well, but along with Hillary Clinton they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation and are now giving George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran,” Burton said in a statement. “The real choice in this election is between conventional Washington thinking that prizes posture and positioning, or real change that puts judgment and honesty first."
Burton was responding to criticism by Clinton, who knocked Obama for saying earlier in the week that his experience living in Indonesia taught him how “ordinary people in these other countries live.”
In criticizing Obama, Clinton said that America needs a president with more foreign policy experience than he has to offer.
“Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next President will face,” Clinton said. “I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in. I don’t think this is the time for on the job training on our economy or on foreign policy.”
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Clinton and Obama exchanged words Tuesday over their qualifications in terms of foreign relations.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Just one day after Democratic hopeful Barack Obama said he felt his strongest foreign relations experience came from spending four years overseas as a child, rival Hillary Clinton fired back—and then John Edwards took aim at her. And for good measure, Sen. Joe Biden chipped in with his own two cents on the matter.
"Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next President will face," Clinton said. "I think we need a President with more experience than that."
On Monday, Obama told an Iowa audience, "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 his time there and the fact that his father is from Kenya gives him the knowledge "of how ordinary people in these other countries live."
In her comments, Clinton also said she traveled the globe both as first lady and as a senator and that she knows many world leaders "personally."
But as of Tuesday afternoon, fellow Democratic contender John Edwards is also in the mix. His campaign took issue with Clinton's response.
Edwards’ spokesman Chris Kofinis released a "definition" of the term "mudslinging," calling it "the use of insults and accusations, esp. unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of an opponent."
"As in: Hillary Clinton said about Barack Obama, ‘Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face,’" Kofinis said.
He added, "Now we know what Senator Clinton meant when she talked about 'throwing mud' in the last debate. Like so many other things, when it comes to mud, Hillary Clinton says one thing and throws another."
Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also joined the fray Tuesday afternoon when asked what he thought of Obama's comments.
"I think he's right," Biden said smiling. "That is his strongest [foreign policy] credential."
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Edwards and Obama are both going on the air with ads in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama will make his South Carolina television ad debut Wednesday with a spot that promotes his experience as a community organizer and civil rights attorney.
The 30-second ad, "Hope and Change," features Obama sitting in front of a bay window in mock television interview style offering a similar message to ads already running in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"You know, hope and change haven’t just been campaign slogans for me ... they’ve been the causes of my life," the Illinois Democrat says in the ad.
Meanwhile, John Edwards will start airing the ad "Thanksgiving" Wednesday - his second TV spot in South Carolina.
The ad depicts Edwards in front of the pink house where he was born in Seneca, South Carolina. The former North Carolina senator narrates: "For this place where I was born, and all of you, who have welcomed us into your homes and hearts. Thank you."
The campaign said similar holiday-themed ads will run in Iowa and New Hampshire "through the holiday," although an Edwards’ aide declined to give an exact date.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
NEW YORK (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul received GQ magazine's "Dark Horse of the Year" award, his campaign announced Tuesday.
Paul, a Texas congressman, was the only 2008 presidential candidate to receive a 2007 "Men of the Year" award from the men’s magazine. However, former President Bill Clinton won the "Public Citizen" award and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg won the "Maverick" award.
- CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
Biden said climate change policy must be a top national security priority.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accused President Bush Tuesday of doing nothing to reduce the dependence on foreign oil and added that, if elected, he would make climate change one of his top two national priorities.
"After ending the war in Iraq," the senator from Delaware said, "the single most important thing I think needs (to) be addressed by the federal government of the next president of the United States - absent this president having not addressed it - is to deal with climate change policy."
"That must be our top national security priority — not just environmental priority, our national security priority," he added.
Biden said the United States' dependence on oil "limits our influence around the world" and keeps oil prices high.
"President Bush refuses to do anything about this notion of reducing our dependence on foreign oil or to take any action against climate change, and that has insured that we are stuck paying the bill at the pump and we are stuck with an irresponsible foreign policy," Biden said.
Biden said his energy plan would cost about $60 billion over a four-year period. It would include setting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and increasing fuel efficiency.
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
President Bush spared "May" and "Flower" Tuesday morning.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Adhering to a tradition now entering its 60th year, President Bush on Tuesday delivered a full presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House.
He also announced the names of the bird and its alternate, which were chosen by people who voted online. They will officially be called May and Flower, the president said.
"That's certainly better than the names the vice president suggested: Lunch and Dinner," Bush joked.
Edwards announced his 2008 presidential bid from the 9th Ward of New Orleans in late 2006.
NEW YORK (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards strongly criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates Tuesday for deciding not to hold one of the four sanctioned contests between the presidential and vice presidential nominees in New Orleans.
“As a nation, all of us have a responsibility to do everything we can to help rebuild this great city, and holding national events in this city, like a presidential debate, will help New Orleans move forward,” Edwards said in a statement. “I have made rebuilding this city a central part of my presidential campaign because I believe we cannot stand on the sidelines as President Bush continues to fail the people of New Orleans.”
Four universities in New Orleans applied to hold a joint debate, but they were not picked by the CDP. Four universities were chosen from16 applicants to host the contests. The CDP could not be reached for comment on why it didn’t choose New Orleans, but the committee announced its selections on Monday.
The presidential debates will take place next September and October at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The vice presidential nominees will face off at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, in February 2007 when he announced his White House bid.
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (CNN) – Michelle Obama told an audience Tuesday that electing an African-American president will challenge America to "look at itself differently.”
"Imagine our family on that inaugural platform," she said. "America will look at itself differently. The world will look at America differently. There is no other candidate who is going to do that for our country. You know that."
Obama was campaigning on behalf of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama told the audience at the historically black South Carolina State University that she and her husband realize there are doubts among black Americans about whether an African-American can win a presidential election. But she called those fears "the bitter legacy of racism and discrimination and oppression in this country."
"We would never entered this race if we were not confident that America was ready," she said. "We're not crazy."