Watch part of Todd Purdum's interview with Wolf Blitzer.
(CNN) – The Vanity Fair journalist who infuriated the Clinton campaign over the weekend with an explosive article that questions former President Bill Clinton's business dealings and behavior since leaving the White House strongly defended his reporting Monday in an interview with CNN.
Todd Purdum, the national editor of Vanity Fair, stood by his article's most controversial assertions in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, including charges that aides to the former president believe his 2004 heart surgery fundamentally altered the 61 year-old's state of mind.
Purdum, a former White House reporter for the New York Times and the husband of former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Meyers, also defending his claim that some aides grew concerned with rumors Bill Clinton had been "seeing a lot of women on the road."
The lengthy article hits newsstands later this week, though Vanity Fair has posted a copy on its Web site. That prompted a blistering response from Clinton campaign spokesman Jay Carson Sunday night, who called the piece "journalism of personal destruction at its worst."
"A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece, published in this month’s Vanity Fair magazine regarding former President Bill Clinton repeats many past attacks on him, ignores much prior positive coverage, includes numerous errors, and ultimately breaks no new ground," he added.
(CNN) – At the end of January, I moderated a Democratic presidential debate at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. By then, there were only two candidates left – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I pointed out that this was an historic primary season since by then it had become clear that the party’s nominee would either be a woman or an African-American, and that would be a first either way. When the two of them walked on to the stage, the 2,000-plus people in the audience (mostly all Democrats) responded with real passion. They were totally pumped and excited. There was a prolonged standing ovation. The theater was electric. I remember that moment.
At the end of the nearly two-hour debate, I raised the so-called “Dream Ticket” question to the two candidates. It was the first time they had been asked that question directly: Would they consider running together on the same ticket? Neither made any commitment, but neither ruled it out.
That’s where the matter has rested all these months since then. Some of their aides, clearly caught up in the excitement of a very competitive campaign, say they hate the idea. There is no shortage of Obama supporters around the country who say they dread the notion of Clinton’s running as Obama’s vice presidential nominee. They say she simply brings too much baggage and would undermine his campaign theme of Change. They also insist they don’t want Bill Clinton back in the picture. FULL POST
(CNN) – Vice President Cheney’s appearance at the National Press Club took a decidedly lighter tone Monday afternoon when he was asked about his distant relationship to Sen. Barack Obama, who leads in the delegate count for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“It’s true. We are, in fact, distantly related,” the Vice President said. “We haven’t talked about a family reunion. I have no objections. I’m not sure Sen. Obama is up for it, at least not before November. He’d probably be fearful I might whisper in his ear and change his whole view of the Middle East,” Cheney added.
“His mother and my grandmother have a common ancestor, descended from Maryland about eight generations back. So, we are, in fact, cousins,” Cheney said of his relationship to the Democratic presidential hopeful.
For his part, Obama has made a point of joking about his relationship to Cheney in stump speeches since Cheney’s wife revealed the relationship last fall. In November of last year, Obama referred to his relationship to the Vice President and likened Cheney to the proverbial “black sheep in the family, a crazy uncle in the attic.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Asked what he thought of former White House spokesman Scott McClellan's new tell-all book, Vice-President Cheney said Monday he agreed with former senator Bob Dole, who called McClellan a "miserable creature."
"I thought Bob Dole got it about right," Cheney said, without further comment, drawing scattered gasps, chuckles and applause from an audience at the National Press Club.
"I haven't read Scott McClellan's book. I don't plan to read Scott McClellan's book any time soon," Cheney had said a moment before, enunciating the words "Scott McClellan's book" slowly and carefully both times.
(CNN) – Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, one of Hillary Clinton's most ardent supporters, said Sunday it's time for Hillary Clinton to acknowledge she has lost her bid for the Democratic nomination.
Vilsack, who was briefly a presidential candidate himself last year, told the Associated Press it's "pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee."
"After Tuesday's contests, she needs to acknowledge that he's going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him," Vilsack also said.
Vilsack first announced he was running for president in November, 2006, but dropped his bid three months later after the Democrat failed to drum up a significant level of support or raise the necessary campaign funds needed to compete. He endorsed Clinton shortly after and played a key role in the New York senator's unsuccessful Iowa campaign effort.
His comments came the same day the Clinton showed signs she plans to press on after Tuesday's contests - continuing argue she has won the popular vote and that the party's superdelegates are able to switch their allegiances before the convention in August.
(CNN) - If the corpulent lass hasn’t ululated her first note yet, she is only a few hours away from the performance - at least that’s what Democratic strategist Joe Trippi believes. The man who engineered Howard Dean’s ascension through the party ranks and advised John Edwards during his primary run earlier this year thinks that by the time the speeches are over on Tuesday night, Barack Obama may be over the finish line.
To get there – at the moment I am writing this – he needs 48 delegates. He’ll likely come away from Montana and South Dakota with an additional 10-15, and he’ll probably get a few more of the delegates that are currently pledged to John Edwards. Which means he only needs somewhere around 30 uncommitted superdelegates to come to his side, and he’s across the finish line.
Will it happen by Tuesday night? I’m not so sure. We’ve been talking to supers along the way, and many of them seem to prefer to wait until it’s all over to announce their support. Donna Brazile told us yesterday on CNN’s Election Center that “Wednesday is a new day. Tuesday’s not a new day. Wednesday is.” In recognition of Hillary Clinton’s history-making campaign, they may just wait until the final two contests are over.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Most of the seventeen Democratic senators who have remained uncommitted throughout the primaries will endorse Barack Obama for president this week, CNN has learned.
Sources familiar with discussions between Obama supporters and these senators tell CNN’s Gloria Borger that the senators will wait until after the South Dakota and Montana primaries to announce their support for Obama.
Two sources familiar with the sessions said the endorsements will come sometime later this week.
Obama supporters have been “pressing” for these superdelegates to endorse earlier in the week, but according to one source, “the senators don’t want to pound Hillary Clinton, and there is a sense she should be given a grace period.”
A series of meetings on the topic have been facilitated at different times by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. Durbin and Daschle are Obama supporters, while Harkin is uncommitted.
According to CNN’s Candy Crowley, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will remain uncommitted until Clinton officially drops out of the race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain Monday called for tougher worldwide pressure on Iran and painted his potential rival Barack Obama as naive about the Middle East.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee called for "targeted sanctions that will impose a heavy cost on the regime's leaders," such as limiting Iran's ability to import gasoline, denying travel visas to its leaders, freezing their assets and imposing financial sanctions on its Central Bank.
McCain was speaking at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobbying organization.
In a clear sign McCain has begun fighting the general election campaign, the speech was peppered with attacks on Obama, the Illinois senator who is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. McCain made his target unmistakable, mentioning Obama by name in two of the three criticisms.
The Obama campaign fired back immediately, sending reporters a lengthy e-mail rebutting McCain's points one by one as McCain began speaking.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford continues to see his name floated in the GOP veepstakes - but he’s still not dropping any hints that he wants the job.
On CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” yesterday, Blitzer asked Sanford: “You want to be the running mate?”
“No, I'm just trying to survive the week,” Sanford responded. “I made it to Sunday. I got another week ahead of me.”
“What's wrong with being vice president of the United States?,” Blitzer asked.
“There's nothing wrong with being president, there's nothing wrong with being president, there's nothing wrong with being vice president,” Sanford said. “But it's not on my radar screen. I'll worry about that lightning strike if it comes my way.”
Sanford told the Washington Post last year that if the GOP nominee inquired about putting him on the presidential ticket that he would at least entertain the idea. "Of course I'd take the call,” he said at the time.
The fiscal hawk is popular vice presidential option among conservatives, but some McCain insiders say Sanford may have damaged his chances by not endorsing the Arizona senator before the South Carolina primary in January. Sanford, as a congressman, had endorsed McCain during his 2000 bid.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of McCain’s closest advisers, appeared to pour cold water on Sanford’s chances in March, noting that Sanford has had a “tough” tenure as governor.
"To be honest with you, I don't see any of us in South Carolina bringing a whole lot of value to the ticket,” Graham told The State newspaper. “We're talking about winning a national race that's going to be very competitive."
(CNN) - In the latest sign Hillary Clinton isn't yet preparing to bow out of the presidential race, the New York senator is launching a new television ad Monday that highlights her claim she is beating Barack Obama in the popular vote.
The spot is set to run in the remaining two primary states - Montana and South Dakota - and argues Clinton has won “more votes than anyone in the history of the Democratic primaries.”
“Some say there isn’t a single reason for Hillary to be the Democratic nominee,” the ad's announcer states. “They’re right. There are over 17 million of them.”
Clinton echoed that argument in her Puerto Rican victory speech Sunday evening, declaring, "When the voting concludes on Tuesday…I will lead the popular vote."
"The decision [on who will be the nominee] will fall on the shoulders of those leaders in our party empowered by the rules to vote at the Democratic Convention," she also said.
Clinton's claim to winning the popular vote is debatable. Including the results from Clinton’s big win in Puerto Rico, she can only be considered the popular vote winner if the results from Michigan (where Obama was not on the ballot) are counted for her and Obama is awarded no votes from that state. But 237,762 voted "uncommitted" in that contest and the Obama campaign argues many of them were supporters of the Illinois senator.
In that scenario, Clinton holds a lead of 183,000 votes. But if Obama is awarded the uncommitted votes in Michigan, he comes out on top in the overall popular vote by 45,000 votes. Of all votes cast, that margin constitutes a difference of 0.1 percent.
Clinton can also be considered the popular vote leader if only the primary contests are included, and all caucus results are excluded. In that scenario, the New York Democrat is on top by more than 257,000 votes.
All scenarios don't include results from the non-binding primaries in Idaho and Nebraska.