WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s nothing funny about the Colombia free trade agreement, a hotly contested issue on the 2008 election campaign trail and throughout the halls of Congress. But the White House is now sticking up for the beleaguered pact in the funny pages - and Democrats are counterattacking via cartoon.
"This past Sunday, in the comics section of papers nationwide (including the Post), was an insert called the Mini Page that explained trade at a children's level," Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Sean Spicer said in an e-mail sent to reporters Wednesday, adding that the fourth page of the insert included “an explanation of why the Colombia trade agreement is in the best interest of American workers."
President Bush has been a staunch supporter of trade with Colombia.
"Colombia is one of our strongest allies in the Western Hemisphere. They are led by a very strong and courageous leader, President Uribe. He's taken courageous stands to defend our shared democratic values," he said last month.
Joe Shoemaker, communications director for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, responded by pointing to another example of policy education through pictures: the "Schoolhouse Rock!" series.
"Thank you for your helpful (if somewhat condescending) explanation of trade 'at a children's level,'" he wrote in an e-mail.
"I wanted to bring to your attention a series known as Schoolhouse Rock! Between 1973 and 1986 a series of fifty-two educational short films featuring songs about schoolhouse topics” – adding that the cartoon short "I'm Just a Bill" had "dealt extensively with the legislative process - at a children's level."
"If you find 'I'm Just a Bill' helpful, you may also want to check out 'Three Ring Government' which explains the three co-equal branches of the federal government and discusses the concept of separation of powers," wrote Shoemaker.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would not bring the Columbia free trade legislation up for a vote.
(CNN) - John McCain needs to cool his rhetoric attacking Barack Obama over foreign policy, one of the Arizona senator's good friends in the Senate said.
According to a report on Huffingtonpost.com, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican and long time friend of McCain, said Tuesday he is "very upset" with some of the things the party's presumptive presidential nominee has been saying as he campaigns for the White House.
"We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things," Hagel reportedly said. "But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different."
"I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying," Hagel added. "And I can't get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things."
Hagel, who is not running for reelection in November, has become an outspoken critic of the War in Iraq and he said in April he is open to the possibility of endorsing Obama's candidacy.
(CNN) - Barack Obama is on the hunt for cash. The likely Democratic presidential nominee is slated to hold three high-dollar fundraising events in Florida later Wednesday and Thursday.
CNN's Jessica Yellin has the details of the fundraisers after the jump.
BOSTON (CNN) - Sen. Edward Kennedy, who was hospitalized Saturday after suffering a seizure at his home in Hyannisport, will be released from the hospital this morning about 10, his doctors said.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory in Kentucky Tuesday, but momentum - and a growing sense of inevitability - is now firmly on Barack Obama's side.
He took Oregon last night, but it was his symbolic victory with pledged delegates that was the storyline.
The one-time long shot for the Democratic nomination has a majority of pledged delegates to the Democratic Convention and is now about 70 delegates shy of the finish line.
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (CNN) - Tuesday may end up a big night for Barack Obama, giving him a majority of all possible pledged delegates in the Democratic race for the White House. But exit polling in Kentucky - where CNN is projecting rival Sen. Hillary Clinton will win by a wide margin - suggests that he still has big problems in states with a large majority of older, white and blue-collar voters.
Nearly half of Democratic voters in Kentucky polled Tuesday said they would either vote for Republican Sen. John McCain or not vote at all in November if Obama is the Democratic nominee. Among 1,278 people polled, 33 percent said they would pick McCain over Obama, and 16 percent said they would not vote at all.
By comparison, 76 percent said they would choose Clinton over McCain, with only 17 percent supporting the Republican and 6 percent not voting.
(CNN) - Even in a state Hillary Clinton appears to have won by 35 points, a majority of Kentucky voters say the New York senator attacked Barack Obama unfairly.
According to the exit polls, 54 percent of voters said Clinton launched unfair attacks on Obama, though that didn't seem to deter voters there from supporting Clinton - 55 percent of those who said Clinton attacked unfairly still voted for the New York senator.
Clinton faced a similar statistic in West Virginia last week. There she won by 41 points, but nearly 60 percent of voters said she made unfair attacks against the Illinois senator.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
Obama Takes Delegate Majority
Sen. Barack Obama crossed another threshold last night in his march toward the Democratic presidential nomination, splitting a pair of primaries with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and claiming a majority of the pledged delegates at stake in the long nomination battle.
WSJ: Clinton Keeps Up Fight
Heading into twin Democratic primaries Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon - which the two candidates are expected to split - Sen. Hillary Clinton is vowing to stay in the race to the end, even as her staff and supporters show further signs of fraying. In an interview in Bowling Green, Ky., on Sunday where she was campaigning ahead of Tuesday's vote, Sen. Clinton said, "I'm still here because I think I would be the best president."
Youngest Kennedy Brother Enhanced Legacy, and Built His Own
For millions of Americans, the announcement that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has brain cancer was at least the fourth chapter of a tragic epic that began on Nov. 22, 1963, with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It continued through the death of his brother Robert in 1968, then of John Jr. in a plane crash in 1999. And yesterday it was the sudden reminder of the mortality of the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch who created this family of strivers and doers.
LA Times: McCain, in Miami, promises to continue isolating Cuba
Sen. John McCain on Tuesday laid out his plans for strengthening democracy and U.S. influence in Latin America, vowing to extend free-trade pacts throughout the region and to continue isolating Cuba until the communist-ruled island frees political prisoners
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigns in Florida, holding “Solutions for America” events in Boca Raton, Sunrise, and Coral Gables.
* Sen. John McCain has no public events.
* Sen. Barack Obama is also in Florida today, holding a rally in Tampa at noon and then heads to a town hall meeting in Kissimmee.