(CNN) - Sen. John McCain on Monday recalled his family history and patriotic roots as he kicked off a tour to introduce himself to the general electorate.
"I have lived a blessed life, and the first of my blessings was the family I was born into," McCain said.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaking in Meridian, Mississippi, focused on how his upbringing and his family's military history shaped his views for the future. (Related video: McCain greets voters in Meridian, Mississippi)
"By all accounts, the McCains of Carroll County were devoted to one another and their traditions; a lively, proud and happy family on the Mississippi Delta," McCain said, describing the area considered his "ancestral home."
However dim their congressional prospects look this election year, Republicans are at least feeling pretty good about the state of play in Louisiana. The G.O.P. swept all but two statewide offices in last fall's elections, including the governors' office, where U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal replaced one-term Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Now Republicans have their sights set on an even bigger prize: the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Richardson recently endorsed Obama despite his longstanding ties to the Clintons.
(Photo credit: AP)
(CNN) - Barack Obama supporter Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, responded on Sunday to controversial comments by James Carville, saying that he would not "stoop to Carville's level."
Carville, a Hillary Clinton supporter and former strategist for her husband's 1992 presidential campaign, compared Richardson to the Biblical figure Judas in an interview with the New York Times last week. When later asked whether his comment was accurate, Carville made no attempt to apologize, saying that it had "the desired effect."
"I haven't gotten into the gutter on this. And you know, I'm not going to stoop to Carville's level. I barely know the guy in the first place," Richardson told Bob Scheiffer on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Carville had argued that Richardson's endorsement of the Illinois senator was an act of betrayal since the governor has a long history of political ties with her husband. Richardson disagreed.
"I think loyalty to the nation, loyalty to the party is a lot more important than personal loyalty," he said. "I owe the Clintons a lot. I served in the president's cabinet. That loyalty is to President Clinton. That doesn't mean that I'm going to for the rest of my life be in lockstep with whatever they do."
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
WSJ: Treasury Plan Is Called 'Inadequate' by Obama
Sen. Barack Obama described the Bush administration's sweeping changes to financial market regulation as "inadequate." While noting that he hadn't yet seen the full proposal, which Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will unveil Monday, the Illinois senator said that, based upon news reports, he believed the proposed regulatory reforms didn't go far enough, though he lauded the proposed consolidation of regulatory agencies.
Washington Times: Clinton, Obama Debate Electoral-Map Strategy
Central to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's argument that she would be the better Democratic presidential nominee are her Ohio victory, her wins in the West and lead in Pennsylvania — with her underlying message that Sen. Barack Obama can't carry such swing states in November. Mr. Obama, who rallied more than 20,000 at Penn State yesterday, disagrees, and charges that her campaign is using an old map in a new environment. His advisers say Mrs. Clinton is writing off potential Democratic pickups such as North Carolina, Virginia and Missouri.
Politico: Cash-Strapped Clinton Fails To Pay Bills
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s cash-strapped presidential campaign has been putting off paying hundreds of bills for months — freeing up cash for critical media buys but also earning the campaign a reputation as something of a deadbeat in some small-business circles.
NY Times: McCain Faces Test in Wooing Elite Donors
With attention focused on the Democrats’ infighting for the presidential nomination, Senator John McCain is pressing ahead to the general election but has yet to sign up one critical constituency: the big-money people who powered the Bush fund-raising machine.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton hosts a roundtable discussion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and attends a rally in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.
*John McCain delivers a speech at the Mississippi State University and partakes in a community service event both in Meridian, Mississippi.
*Barack Obama attends a town hall meeting in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and a rally in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, Democrat-Georgia, said Sunday that the controversy over Barack Obama's former pastor has reignited a conversation about race that could ultimately be beneficial for the country.
"The civil rights movement had the power to...what I call bring the dirt, the filth from under the American rug out of the cracks and corners, into the light so we can deal with it," said Lewis, a superdelegate who supports Obama, at a forum on faith and civil rights at Washington's National Cathedral. "Just maybe, just maybe, what is happening now will bring something out, so we all can be educated and sensitized."
While he did not mention Wright by name during a sermon he gave at the cathedral, Lewis indirectly addressed the Chicago pastor's fiery comments on race.
"During the past few days, the issue of race and the need for reconciliation have emerged through the presidential campaign. We know, and we all know, it's not a secret America had a dark past of division and separation," Lewis said. "But if we are to emerge unscarred by hate, we must learn to understand and forgive those who have been most hostile and violent towards us."
–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Cody Combs
WASHINGTON (CNN) - This week, the spirited back-and-forth between the camps of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led some in the Democratic Party to suggest that Clinton bow out of the race in order to unify Democrats against Sen. John McCain in the general election. The debate over whether it was time for Clinton to exit the race dominated the Sunday morning political talk show circuit.
CNN’s “Late Edition” featured a showdown between two Democratic strategists, Clinton supporter James Carville and Jamal Simmons, who backs Obama. Carville quickly downplayed any suggestion that Clinton drop out.
“The Clinton campaign has not had one one-second meeting about getting out of the race,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Calling on her to get out of the race is…going to hurt him in terms of getting votes. And it is going to make it more difficult to reconcile the party.”
Simmons responded that it’s the negativity coming from the Clinton campaign that’s tearing the Democratic Party apart. He said that Democrats “feel like Senator Clinton is fighting Barack Obama like he's a Republican and not fighting him like he's a fellow Democrat.”
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain this week begins a bus tour of five states that he says helped shape his views and make him the politician who will carry the GOP torch in the upcoming presidential election.
The presumptive Republican nominee heads to Mississippi on Sunday, where the tour kicks off the following day.
McCain will swing through Virginia, Maryland, Florida and Arizona in the upcoming week.
According to campaign officials, the purpose of the tour is to "introduce John McCain to the American people in an intimate way," and add significance to his "remarkable American tale."
McCain is now trying to style himself as the most attractive option for voters in November, while Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still in a delegate-by-delegate battle to become their party's nominee.
(CNN) - Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, compared presumptive Republican nominee John McCain to a surprising figure on Sunday — Democratic icon John F. Kennedy.
“I'm a Democrat who came to the party in the era of President John F. Kennedy,” Lieberman told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week. ”It's a strange turn of the road when I find among the candidates running this year that the one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.”
The Democrat-turned Independent endorsed McCain in early February, surprising many in the Democratic party. Lieberman, who ran with Al Gore on the Democratic presidential ticket eight years ago, insisted that his views have remained consistent while the Democratic Party changed.
“The Democratic Party today was not the party it was in 2000. It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically… very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me,” he said.
A staunch supporter of the Iraq war, Lieberman recently traveled to Baghdad with McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. Though he commended Hillary Clinton for her vote on declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, he slammed both Democratic presidential candidates on their foreign policy positions.
“The Democratic candidates have spent most of their time attacking the war in Iraq… they've honestly not done anything substantial to advance our cause in Afghanistan or against Al Qaeda.”
–CNN's Peter Lanier
(CNN) - Stumping for Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John Kerry faces a unique challenge when it comes to taking on the presumptive Republican nominee.
That's because Sen. John McCain has said that Kerry, in 2004, "asked if I would consider being his running mate." McCain told reporters earlier this month that at the time of the conversation, he made clear to Kerry the answer was no.
Kerry has said McCain's representatives contacted him about the possibility, and both men say there was never an actual offer.
McCain went on to campaign aggressively for President Bush in 2004.
Still, the complexity adds an unusual wrinkle for times like Sunday, when Kerry takes on McCain.
"Hillary Clinton has every right in the world to continue to fight, but the important thing is to be fighting against John McCain," Kerry told ABC's "This Week," discussing some calls for Sen. Clinton to drop out of the race.
"It is very important for both people to keep the eye on the real target - John McCain and the Republican disaster of the last seven and a half years," he added.
As the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, Kerry is one of Obama's most prominent campaign surrogates.
–CNN's Josh Levs