(CNN) - A day after receiving the endorsement of a former rival, Sen. Barack Obama cemented his status as the front-runner in the Democratic nomination race by becoming the target of a very powerful Republican.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports from Jerusalem about President Bush's controversial remarks during a visit to Israel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state's founding.
It did not take long for Sen. Obama and his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill to respond to Bush's comments. Suzanne Malveaux reports on how the Obama campaign reacted and how high-ranking Democrats quickly closed ranks around Obama.
Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, also reacted quickly to Bush's remarks - by attacking Sen. Obama. Dana Bash was on the campaign trail with McCain and explains how McCain's reaction is part of a broader strategy that McCain's campaign intends to use against Obama should he become the Democratic nominee.
McCain also made an unusual speech Thursday. He envisioned the state of affairs in the U.S. and globally at the end of his first term in 2013 if he is elected president. Bash also reports on McCain's unorthodox method for setting forth the broad agenda of his presidency.
Finally, Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider puts President Bush's dust-up with Obama and other Democrats into the broader context of the contest for the Jewish vote during the general election.
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(CNN) – On the same day that Sen. John McCain gave an ambitious speech laying out what he intends to accomplish by the end of his first term in office, his campaign released an accompanying Web ad dramatizing those hypothetical achievements.
“The year: 2013,” an announcer says as the words “2013” appear on screen. Then the ad goes through a laundry list of accomplishments McCain envisions: stabilizing the Middle East, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, strengthening border security, advancing energy independence, reforming wasteful spending by the federal government, delivering health care choice, and restoring economic confidence. “The year: 2013, the president: John McCain,” the announcer says as McCain’s image appears on screen.
McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has been touring fall battleground states for the past several weeks while he lays out his policy proposals and reaches out to constituencies he will need to win the White House in November.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - "This one is actually fun," says Dale Fountain, driver and captain of the Election Express.
Dale has been driving CNN's mobile bureau for over a year as it's crisscrossed the nation on the campaign trail. Eight debates, ten primaries, twenty-six states, and fifty thousand
miles later, what does he think?
"it's a great race. It's biggest election in my lifetime."
The Election Express was a warm newsroom in a freezing Iowa, a roving studio where Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama all sat down to be interviewed, and a mobile bureau that's helped CNN to cover this presidential primary with unparalleled depth.
(CNN) – In a preview of the potential political onslaught Michelle Obama may face in the fall, the Tennessee Republican Party unveiled a new Web video Thursday that highlights her controversial comment earlier this year saying she was proud of America "for the first time in my adult life."
The four-minute video coincides with Mrs. Obama's visit to the state for a Democratic Party event later Thursday. It features several Tennesseans saying why they are proud of America while repeatedly cutting to Mrs. Obama's comments.
"The Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America. To further honor the occasion of Mrs. Obama’s visit, the Tennessee Republican Party has requested the playing of patriotic music by radio stations across the state," said a statement on the party's Web site that accompanied the video.
"While Mrs. Obama has trouble being proud of the country where she earned degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and then became a multi-millionaire, her husband makes statements that belittle average Americans’ response to the difficulties of life."
The Obama campaign called the attack "shameful."
"This is a shameful attempt to attack a woman who has repeatedly said she wouldn't be here without the opportunities and blessings of this nation," said Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan. "The Republican Party's pathetic attempts to use the same smear tactics to win elections have failed in Mississippi, failed in Louisiana, and will fail in November because the American people are looking for a positive vision of real change.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Whether it was deliberate or not, President Bush now has directly interfered in the Democratic presidential battle in this final stage of the nominating process. His Knesset speech in Jerusalem on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence was widely seen as raising serious last-minute warnings about Barack Obama’s foreign policy strategy.
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” he said, without referring to Obama by name. “We have heard this foolish delusion before.”
And then, the president dropped the bombshell – making the comparison to the appeasement of Hitler and the Nazis.
His remarks were seen as a direct condemnation of Obama’s assertion that he, as president, would be willing to meet directly with the leaders of Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela – among others.
There is no doubt that Obama’s critics, especially Republicans, want to raise questions about his readiness to be commander in chief. They think that his experience is limited. They also say that on many national security issues, he’s a blank slate.
So is he president’s assertion in Jerusalem his way of raising some flags even at this last moment? I don’t know. I do know that those kinds of pointed words don’t get into a carefully-drafted presidential speech without a lot of consideration and discussion.
Should the next U.S. president meet with the leaders of Iran, N. Korea, and Venezuela among others? Add your comment below or vote here. AOL breaks the vote down state-by-state.
(CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden, D-Delaware, called President Bush’s comments accusing Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats of wanting to appease terrorists "bulls**t” and said if the president disagrees so strongly with the idea of talking to Iran then he needs to fire his secretaries of State and Defense, both of whom Biden said have pushed to sit down with the Iranians.
“This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.
“He’s the guy who’s weakened us. He’s the guy that’s increased the number of terrorists in the world. His policies have produced this vulnerability the United States has. His intelligence community pointed that out not me. The NIE has pointed that out and what are you talking about, is he going to fire Condi Rice? Condi Rice has talked about the need to sit down. So his first two appeasers are Rice and Gates. I hope he comes home and does something.”
He quoted Gates saying Wednesday that we “need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them.”
John McCain peered into the future this morning... delivering a speech that looked ahead to what the U.S. and the world would be like in 4 years, after the first term of a McCain presidency.
Some of the highlights: he thinks the Iraq war will be won, Iraq will be a functioning democracy and violence there will be "spasmodic and much reduced." McCain believes the U.S. will have welcomed home most of its troops. He thinks the threat from al Qaeda and the Taliban won't yet be eliminated – even though bin Laden will be captured or killed. It's a pretty bold move to lay out objectives like this – gives critics a lot to measure you against.
In any case, John McCain seems to be one of the few things Republicans have going for them this fall.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
BATH, South Dakota (CNN) – Campaigning in rural South Dakota – one of the last two states to hold a primary on June 3 – Hillary Clinton focused on agriculture Thursday, drawing parallels with the work she’s done with upstate New York farms and attacking John McCain for not supporting the bi-partisan Farm Bill passed today.
“The idea of getting to a legislative compromise on something as complex as the Farm Bill is a huge undertaking, but it was finally accomplished,” said Clinton from the porch of a farmhouse. “President Bush says he’ll veto this bill and Sen. McCain said he’d do exactly the same thing as President Bush. You know, they’re like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn’t amount to much change does it?”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a much-anticipated ruling issued Thursday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
Several gay and lesbian couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, sued to overturn state laws allowing only marriages between a man and a woman.
"There can be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most consistent with our state's general legislative policy and preference," said the 120-page ruling.
Election Center: Find out where the candidates stand on same-sex marriage
(CNN) - Barack Obama picked up four more superdelegates Thursday, his campaign announced.
Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, California Rep. Henry Waxman, California Rep. Henry Berman and Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen will all cast their superdelegate votes for the Illinois senator.
Waxman and Berman both have ties to the Clintons, and many of their prominent supporters in California are supporters of Hillary Clinton.
The CWA said Thursday that Cohen's endorsement is a personal one and does not signal an endorsement by the union, which decided last year that it would not back a candidate. In a Thursday release, the union said that decision would be re-visited at its June convention.
According to CNN's estimate, Obama now has 291 superdelegates to Clinton's 274.