CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - A supporter of John McCain, speaking at an official campaign event in Ohio attended by the Arizona senator, called Barack Obama a “hack, Chicago-style Daly politician,” and told the crowd “all is going to be right with the world when the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand, and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya around the table of Barack Obama.”
“At some point in the near future the media, the stooges from the New York Times, CBS (The Clinton Broadcasting System), NBC (The Nobody But Clinton Network), The All Bill Clinton Channel (ABC), and the Clinton News Network at some point is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama,” said controversial conservative commentator Bill Cunningham, an Ohio native.
“That day will come and then you'll know the truth about his business dealings with Rezko, when he got sweetheart deals in Chicago,” he added, “and the illegal loans that he received, at some point the media will quit taking sides on this and maybe start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they covered Bush, the same way they covered Cheney, and they same way they cover every Republican.”
Cunningham also compared Hillary Clinton unfavorably to current First Lady Laura Bush.
McCain was not on stage during these remarks. Immediately after the event, he distanced himself from the comments, telling reporters that he had been informed about “disparaging remarks” about his potential Democratic opponents.
“I have repeatedly stated my respect for Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton, and I will treat them with respect,” he said.
“I regret any comments that may be made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans, we just have strong philosophical differences, so I want to disassociate myself from any disparaging remarks that may have been said about them,” he said, adding later that “I absolutely repudiate such comments, and again I will take responsibility it will never happen again. It will never happen again.”
UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a Tuesday statement that McCain's remarks were appreciated: “It is a sign that if there is a McCain-Obama general election, it can be intensely competitive but the candidates will attempt to keep it respectful and focused on issues.”
–CNN's Dana Bash, Evan Glass and Shirley Zilberstein
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It’s not often that a Democrat compliments President George W. Bush, but at an event on African policy Tuesday, former Democratic Congressman and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young had glowing praise for President Bush on the issue of Africa.
Before Bush arrived to deliver his remarks on African policy, Young, former Ambassador to the United Nations during the Carter administration, praised the President and his wife Laura for their work in Africa.
“They have been encouraging democracy and development, trade and still not neglecting the needs of AIDS and malaria and education on the African continent,” Young told the audience.
Following the president’s speech, Young told President Bush “I think your policies [in Africa] are paying off for America in many other ways.”
During his speech, President Bush said that his recent trip to Africa was “without a doubt…the most exciting, exhilarating, uplifting trip I've taken since I've been the President. It was an unbelievable experience.”
Bush’s six-day, five-nation tour of Africa last week was his second trip to the continent and Laura Bush’s fifth. While on the trip, the president announced numerous African initiatives including funds for tropical disease research, the distribution of over 5 million free bed nets to prevent malaria, and he encouraged Congress to increase funding for HIV/AIDS relief.
–CNN White House Producer Xuan Thai
It looks like some of Hillary Clinton's advisers may be avoiding the political writing on the wall.
In a terrific piece in today's Washington Post called "Team Clinton: Down, and Out of Touch", Dana Milbank writes about a breakfast held Monday with two Clinton advisers and members of the media, hich he describes as a "fascinating tour of an alternate universe."
First, one of Clinton's top advisers, Harold Ickes, talked about her campaign in a way that seemed far removed from the real-world. He said they're "on the way to locking this nomination down", that they're "on the verge of their next up cycle" and that the race is quote "tight as a tick." This is called denial.
Next came anger in the person of Clinton spokesman Phil Singer, who ripped into the media when he was asked about that photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali tribal dress.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - Mike Huckabee made clear Tuesday he's not ready to concede the Republican presidential race to John McCain.
Speaking to reporters in Cleveland, the Arkansas Republican pressed McCain for a debate, and suggested the Arizona senator's viability may be hindered if the Federal Election Commission caps his primary spending.
“There's a race going on, and I wish Sen. McCain was debating me this weekend,” Huckabee told reporters in Cleveland. “I wish we were going to be in Cleveland tonight on stage or in Dallas or in Houston or San Antonio or Austin or somewhere between now and Tuesday having a debate.”
"I think certainly Republicans in these states that are voting deserve that, and I'm disappointed that we're not in that same kind of forum," Huckabee also said.
McCain said later Tuesday he would consider the possibility of a debate.
Huckabee, who has said he plans on staying in the race until McCain amasses the entire 1,191 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination, also raised the Democratic National Committee's charge that McCain may be subject to FEC spending caps until the Republican Convention in September.
"There are a lot of issues about whether or not he’s going to be able to do anything but go completely dark between virtually now and the nomination convention, and what does that do to the whole field? " Huckabee said.
"What happens?" he continued. "None of us know, that’s my point. When everybody says 'here’s how it is,'nobody knows how it is because isn’t yet."
- CNN's Alexander Marquardt and John King contributed to this report
(CNN) - Sen. John Warner was admitted to a Washington area hospital Monday for observation after experiencing the return of an irregular heart beat.
According to a statement released by the Virginia Republican's Senate office, Warner experienced a return of atrial fibrillation, a condition he was first treated for last fall. He is currently pursuing a re-evaluation after consulting with his doctors.
Warner, 80, announced last summer he would not seek re-election for a sixth Senate term.
The formal endorsement will be announced during an event in Cleveland, Ohio.
A former adviser for Dodd said the timing of the Connecticut senator's endorsement "works pretty well" given that foreign policy has become a key issue of the campaign.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - Former presidential candidate and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd endorsed the candidacy of Barack Obama today with a call for the party "to come together," warning Democrats were in "danger" of damaging the party with a divisive campaign.
At a Cleveland press conference with Obama, Dodd denied he was implying Sen. Hillary Clinton should drop out, but merely suggesting that both campaigns watch their tone over the next week leading up to the critical Ohio and Texas contests.
Dodd said he informed Clinton last night of his decision to endorse Obama, adding that it was "not a comfortable" discussion.
- CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley
(CNN)— The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday pressed its formal complaint with federal election officials contesting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's effort to withdraw his intention to ask for public election funding.
“John McCain is posing as a reformer,” DNC Chairman Howard Dean told CNN’s John Roberts. “It turns out reform, as far as he's concerned, is good for everybody but him.”
The Democratic Party filed an official complaint against McCain Monday with the Federal Election Commission calling on them to investigate the Senators decision earlier this month to withdraw from the primary election’s public financing system.
According to FEC regulations, written exclusion is required before withdrawal from the matching funds program, but the McCain campaign argues they did not need written permission citing Dean’s 2003 Democratic campaign as an example.
In the statement released Tuesday the DNC highlights a significant difference between now and 2003 is not only Dean's prior permission from the FEC before withdrawing, but McCain’s use of the potential financing to get on the ballot free of charge in some states as a bank loan.
The McCain campaign flatly rejects that assertion.
(CNN) - Robert Portman, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, formally endorsed John McCain's White House bid Tuesday, hailing the Arizona senator as a "proven leader with a track record of breaking through partisan gridlock in Washington."
"He has been an effective champion for fiscal responsibility and pro-growth economic policies. No one is a more committed advocate for our men and women in uniform, and no one understands better the threats America faces," Portman, a former congressman from Ohio, said in a statement released by the campaign.
Portman is often mentioned as a potential pick for vice president given his fiscally conservative credentials and ties to Ohio - a crucial swing state in the general election.
McCain's campaign also announced the backing Tuesday of six former chairmen of the Republican National Committee.
Related: Potential V.P. picks stay mum
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A spokesman for Hillary Clinton lashed out at the media Monday for what he described as a double standard in the way the press covers the two Democratic White House hopefuls.
On a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon, Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson maintained Barack Obama is running a negative campaign, and said the press largely praises him for doing so.
“I think it is true that every time the Obama campaign in this campaign has attacked Sen. Clinton in the worst kind of personal ways, attacked her veracity, attacked her credibility, said that she would say or do anything to get elected, the press has largely applauded him," Wolfson said.
Wolfson's comments were prompted by a reporter's question over what seemed to be a change of tone for Clinton over the weekend, when she sharply criticized Obama in a press conference for distributing literature that she said misrepresented her position on NAFTA.
"Shame on you, Barack Obama," a visibly angry Clinton said Saturday. "Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics right out of Karl Rove's playbook. This is wrong, and every Democrat should be outraged."
Wolfson denied the campaign was going negative, and faulted the press for not distinguishing between the contrasts Clinton is drawing and the personal attacks the the Illinois senator is launching.
"When we have attempted to make contrasts with Sen. Obama, we have been criticized for it," he said. "That is a fact of life that we labor under. I reject the notion that Sen. Clinton has been engaged in this sort of seriatim attacks on Sen. Obama. I think Sen. Obama's entire campaign against Sen. Clinton is negative.
"I think he has run against her as the status quo, he has essentially called her divisive, he has called her untruthful, he has questioned her credibility, he has said she will do and say anything to get elected," Wolfson also said. " If that's not negative, I don't know what negative is."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney