(CNN) - Barack Obama struck back hard at President Bush and John McCain Friday, accusing them of hypocrisy and of distorting his position on dialogue with nations hostile to the United States, telling a South Dakota crowd that “I’m running for president to change course, not to continue George Bush’s course.”
“I want to be perfectly clear with George Bush and John McCain, and with the people of South Dakota,” he said at a Watertown campaign stop. “If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place and that is debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.”
In his comments before the Israeli Knesset Thursday, Bush seemed to equate the Illinois senator’s foreign policy views with those of Nazi appeasers in the years before World War II, though he did not mention any names. Obama strongly criticized the president for the remarks Friday, calling them “the kind of appalling attack that's divided our country and that alienates us from the world.”
On Friday, Obama also fired back at McCain for saying Thursday that the Democratic senator was not qualified to protect the nation. “[John McCain] talked about elevating the tone of debate in our country. He talked about reaching out in a bipartisan fashion to the other side. Then not an hour later he turned around and embraced George Bush's attack on Democrats,” said Obama, who called the Arizona senator’s Iran policy “naïve and irresponsible.”
(CNN) - California Rep. Pete Stark became the latest superdelegate to endorse Barack Obama Friday.
Stark, who has represented California's 13th District for 35 years, said Obama has "captured the imagination of Americans in a way we’ve not seen for decades."
“He’s inspired millions of young people to register to vote and join the ranks of our Democratic Party, he’s consistently opposed the war, he advocates universal health care, and he delivers a message that transcends party politics at the same time," Stark also said in a statement released by the Obama campaign. “I have the greatest respect for Senator Clinton and for her many years of service, but I believe the time has come to unify our party.”
By CNN's count, Obama now leads Clinton among superdelegates by 18, 292-274.
(CNN)— Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a series of positive ads in Oregon and Kentucky Friday, as the Democratic primary race continued its second straight week without a negative spot.
“What’s Right,” airing in Oregon, stresses her support for universal health care and her opposition to President Bush’s energy bill and No Child Left Behind education policy.
“In Washington, they talk about who's up and who's down,” the announcer says. “In Oregon, we care about what's right and what's wrong. She's been right when it matters… She'll be there when it counts.”
Clinton continues her appeal to the blue collar voters who have overwhelmingly supported her presidential bid with two new Kentucky spots that highlight her image as a fighter for the working class.
“The wealthy and the well connected have had a president. It's time the middle class had a president who will stand up for you,” Clinton says in “Partner.”
(CNN)–CNN has confirmed that Barack Obama will respond directly to President Bush’s apparent criticism of his foreign policy vision, which includes a willingness to consider dialogue with Iran and other nations hostile to the United States. The Illinois senator’s response will come at a campaign event later Friday in South Dakota.
The news was first revealed by senior Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice on NBC Friday morning.
In an address before the Israeli Knesset Thursday, President Bush compared leaders who advocated dialogue with nations like Iran to politicians who appeased Nazi aggression in the years leading up to the Second World War.
(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign said Friday that claims by former State Department official Jamie Rubin that the presumptive Republican nominee had advocated unconditional dialogue with Hamas were misleading.
Rubin, who supports Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, wrote an op-ed in Friday’s Washington Post relating an interview he conducted with McCain on the British network Sky News shortly after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January 2006.
"Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?" Rubin asked.
McCain said the United States would not be able to avoid a dialogue with the Islamic militant group. "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another,” he said. “And I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice …
“But it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."
The Arizona senator has criticized Barack Obama for both his willingness to speak with hostile nations like Iran, and repeatedly raised what he has described as Hamas’ approval of Obama’s candidacy.
On CNN’s American Morning, Rubin said McCain’s criticism of Obama’s position was “the ultimate flip-flop in American politics.”
RAPID CITY, South Dakota (CNN) - Hours after President Bush made an apparent swipe at Barack Obama’s foreign policy in a speech to the Israeli Knesset, Hillary Clinton seemed to come to his defense.
“President Bush's comparison of any Democrat to Nazi appeasers is both offensive and outrageous on the face of it, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy,” she told reporters in Rapid City, South Dakota Thursday. “This is the kind of statement that has no place in any presidential address and certainly to use an important moment like the 60th anniversary celebration of Israel to make a political point seems terribly misplaced; unfortunately, this is what we've come to expect from President Bush.
"There is a very clear difference between Democrats and Republicans on foreign policy and that difference will be evident once we take back the White House.
Bush had made a historical parallel between those willing to engage in dialogue with countries like Iran and pre-World War II appeasers. He did not mention any names, but it was widely viewed as an attack on Obama, who has said that move could be part of his foreign policy as president.
(CNN) – At least six of John Edwards' pledged delegates in South Carolina will throw their support to Barack Obama following Edwards’ endorsement of the Democratic frontrunner, bringing the total number of delegates switching to Obama on Thursday to eight.
One Edwards delegate from Iowa, Machelle Crum, came out for Obama on Thursday morning, as did New Hampshire delegate Joshua Denton. Crum made the decision after receiving a phone call from Edwards supporters encouraging her to make the switch.
In South Carolina, Daniel Boan, Christine Brennan-Bond, Robert Groce, Susan Smith, Mike Evatt and Lauren Bilton - all elected as pledged delegates for Edwards following his third place finish in the primary there on January 29 - announced Thursday they will follow Edwards’ lead and pledge their support to Obama at the Democratic National Convention in August.
John Moylan, the Columbia attorney who directed Edwards’ campaign in the state and is now serving as an alternate delegate for Edwards, appeared on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday. He stated his support for Obama and hinted that more members of the Edwards delegation would follow later in the day.
“I didn't reach all eight of them, but I can tell you that at least six of the eight are prepared to endorse Senator Obama,” Moylan said this morning.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman and Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
USA Today: In Final Contests, It's All About Momentum
If leading pledged delegate counts and the seating of Michigan and Florida delegates are the determining events for the nomination, what are the last few contests for? Bragging rights, momentum and symbolism.
Politico: Six ways the GOP can save itself
Things are so ugly for the members of the GOP right now, it’s worth pondering their political mortality: Put bluntly, can this party be saved?
Politico: McCain adviser ousted in conflict uproar
John McCain's campaign asked a prominent Republican consultant, Craig Shirley, to leave his official campaign role Thursday after a Politico inquiry about Shirley's dual role consulting for the campaign and for an independent "527" group opposing the Democratic presidential candidates. The campaign also released a new conflict of interest policy barring such arrangements.
Washington Post: Bush May Have Lost Wealth During Presidency
President Bush's financial fortunes appear to have declined over the past seven years, with his family assets dropping as low as $6.5 million, according to disclosure forms released yesterday. Bush and his wife, Laura, were worth at least $9 million and as much as $24 million at the start of his term. The Bushes could still be worth as much as $20 million now, according to the financial documents filed with the Office of Government Ethics, which requires assets to be reported only within broad ranges.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton makes three stops in Oregon. She has a roundtable discussion in Springfield, makes a brief stop in Salem, and then holds a “Solutions for America” town hall meeting later in Portland.
* Sen. John McCain heads to a brief event in Vest Virginia and then travels to Kentucky for a speech. He ends the day in Newark, NJ.
* Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in South Dakota, first with former Sen. Tom Daschle at a town hall meeting about rural issues in Watertown. Later, former Sen. George McGovern joins Obama and Daschle at an early vote rally in Sioux Falls.