DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (CNN) – Call it the diplomatic version of a Shaq Attack.
As he seeks to strengthen ties to this African nation, President Bush gave his Tanzanian counterpart some large basketball sneakers autographed by Shaquille O'Neal, the NBA star recently traded from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush gave the gift Sunday to President Jakaya Kikwete, who is a huge sports fan and played basketball in his younger days. In turn, Bush received a stuffed leopard, a stuffed lion, a Zebra skin and a wood carving.
While I'm sure the "kicks" are sweet, that $700 million aid check that Bush turned over to Kikwete on Sunday is probably the diplomatic version of a slam dunk for Tanzania, which is planning to use most of the money for critical infrastructure needs.
– CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Responding to a mailer sent out by Hillary Clinton's campaign attacking Barack Obama's healthcare plan, Obama backer and longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy said the tactics are ones of "distortion, misrepresentation," and "fear-mongering."
"I respect Sen. Clinton and her healthcare plan," Kennedy said, "but I think it does a great disservice to all of us who are interested in universal comprehensive healthcare."
On a conference call with reporters, Kennedy said that as someone who considers healthcare to be the "passion of his life in the Senate," the nation is "much better off being positive."
The ad, being circulated via mailboxes in Wisconsin, relays a theme the Clinton campaign has been pushing since the days of Iowa–that Obama's healthcare plan will leave "15 million people without coverage." The ad also includes a photo of seven people standing in a row underneath text that reads "Barack Obama, which one of these people don't deserve healthcare?"
"I was really shocked and very surprised that Sen. Clinton put that pamphlet out," he continued, adding that both Democratic candidates want universal healthcare but that Obama is the one to get it done since he has the ability to bring the kind of coalition needed to accomplish it.
-CNN Political Producer Chris Welch
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) – Democratic insiders worry that the party may emerge mortally wounded if this protracted nomination battle trudges on into the summer.
But Hillary Clinton and one of her top backers, New York’s senior Sen. Chuck Schumer, apparently have different feelings on whether the fight should go all the way to the Democratic convention in late August.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, Clinton said she was “prepared to go the distance” and make a push on the convention floor to seat the barred delegations from Michigan and Florida.
She argued that the party was benefiting from the ongoing delegate chase. It’s “part of the excitement of the American political system,” she told reporters, adding that her husband’s 1992 campaign, which endured into the summer of that year, “was fun.”
“This is a spirited contest that is bringing more people into the Democratic party,” she said. “It’s getting a lot more people interested that might not have been before. I feel good about the way this has shaped up because I have watched this for more years than some of you have, and there is nothing out of the ordinary here.”
But Schumer told NBC’s Tim Russert on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press that the Clinton and Obama campaigns must avoid an “internecine fight that's so bitter that the other feels that they can't enthusiastically support the winner.”
(CNN) - Likely GOP nominee John McCain said Sunday that beating an energized Democratic party in a fall election fight would be “an uphill battle all the way.”
The Arizona senator told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week that he “can out-campaign them, and I can out-debate them, and I can out-perform them” but conceded that he had his work cut out for him in the months ahead.
“...We've got to reunite the party, and we've got to re-energize the party. And I'm prepared to do that. We've got plenty of time. But I won't waste a day,” said McCain.
The Arizona senator, who is close to capturing the number of delegates required to claim the Republican nomination, has struggled to win over much of the GOP’s conservative base. But party leaders have begun to rally to his side: Monday, he is scheduled to receive the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush.
Looking ahead, McCain said Sunday that - as President Bush had in 2004 - he would look to compete in California, where he won this year’s Republican presidential primary.
The senator, who supports the administration’s surge policy in Iraq, also repeated a familiar attack against potential opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - saying that they favored eventually setting a date for withdrawal from that country, a policy that would “bring chaos, genocide. And we'll be back, because Al Qaeda will then succeed.”
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Dar Es Salaam, TANZANIA (CNN) – It took two days, but Obama-mania finally crashed President Bush's party in Africa ever so briefly on Sunday.
The whole point of Bush's six-day trip to this continent is to break away from the presidential campaign that's overshadowing him in the United States, and get some attention for his AIDS relief program that's a popular legacy item. And in fact, Bush was greeted like a native son when he arrived at the statehouse here for a meeting with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete - literally thousands of screaming fans lining a red carpet to get a chance to shake his hand.
But this is also the home turf of sorts for a real native son, Sen. Barack Obama, whose father hailed from Kenya. So questions about the Democratic presidential candidate are bound to come up. And the first one did at a joint press conference with Bush and Kikwete, and it was politely and somewhat comically dodged by both leaders.
Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press asked Bush a question about his AIDS relief plan and then turned to Kikwete to note the excitement in Africa about Obama's candidacy and asked the African leader to comment on "what you think it says about America that we might elect a black President with roots in Africa?"
Even though that part of the question was not directed at him, Bush weighed in first with mock exasperation that everyone seemed to be forgetting he was treated like a rock star on the trip. "It seemed like there was a lot of excitement for me, wait a minute," the President said to laughter. "Maybe you missed it."
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -– Although Hillary Clinton delivered a relatively mild speech with largely indirect attacks aimed at her Democratic opponent, Barack Obama's remarks minutes later could easily be labeled far more critical.
Sen. Obama, following Sen. Clinton to the podium Saturday night at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Founders Day Gala, even strayed off his prepared comments to dish out attacks he's recently included on the stump.
The Illinois senator introduced a new line, as well, hitting Sen. Clinton for "just recently" supporting legislation aimed at keeping jobs in the United States that he said he's advocated for years. Obama said the Patriot Employer Act "will reward companies that create good jobs right here in America."
He also accused Clinton, as he has in the past, of participating in the "politics of the moment" by taking certain positions simply because it's campaign season.
"I didn't just start criticizing unfair trade deals like NAFTA and China because I started running for President," Obama said, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement, a treaty signed into law by former President Bill Clinton. Obama often points out that Hillary Clinton praised NAFTA during her husband's administration.