(CNN) - In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on Hillary Clinton’s return to the Senate. The New York senator talks with reporters for the first time since suspending her campaign.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain looked to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to spotlight his energy plan in an event Tuesday, but the differences between the two on the topic of offshore drilling were never discussed. CNN’s Dana Bash reports.
Plus: Sen. Barack Obama under attack. Evangelical leader James Dobson accuses the Illinois senator of distorting the Bible and misinterpreting the Constitution. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has the latest.
Finally: CNN Internet Correspondent Abbi Tatton reports on Hillary Clinton’s online push for funds.
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(CNN) Barack Obama had an “ops-intel” briefing from the Pentagon scheduled last week but it was canceled because of Tim Russert’s death.
A source from the Obama campaign tells CNN's Candy Crowley that the operations and intelligence briefing with the Joint Chiefs of Staff's office, first reported by Politico, was to bring the Illinois senator up to date on the situation on Afghanistan and Iraq.
The source adds that Obama had a similar meeting “a couple of months ago.”
Obama told reporters last Monday that he hopes to visit Iraq and Afghanistan before the election. McCain regularly reminds voters that it’s been almost 900 days since Obama last visited Iraq, and the Republican National Committee helps out with a running clock on its Web site.
The campaign and Pentagon are working on rescheduling the meeting.
(CNN) - Barack Obama's name is likely to help several Democratic candidates down ballot, but what about a Republican?
Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans, is stressing his history of working with the presumptive Democratic nominee in a new campaign ad hitting airwaves Tuesday.
"Who said Gordon Smith helped lead the fight for better gas mileage and a cleaner environment? Barack Obama," the ad's narrator states. "He joined with Gordon and broke through a 20 year deadlock to pass new laws which increased gas mileage for automobiles."
The Obama campaign immediately made clear the Illinois senator is supporting Smith's Democratic opponent.
“Barack Obama has a long record of bipartisan accomplishment and we appreciate that it is respected by his Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "But in this race, Oregonians should know that Barack Obama supports Jeff Merkley for Senate. Merkley will help Obama bring about the fundamental change we need in Washington."
RIVERSIDE, California (CNN) - John McCain announced Tuesday that he will travel to Colombia and Mexico next week, firming up plans that have been the subject of media speculation in recent weeks.
McCain said he will meet with Colombian president Alvaro Uribe to discuss drug trafficking as well as the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which has stalled in Congress and faces opposition from many Democrats, including Barack Obama.
As was the case with his trip to Canada last week, McCain said this foray will be paid for by his campaign.
“I want to assure [Uribe] that I believe in free trade between our two countries, that I believe our two nations can work together and fight back this scourge of drugs that has so much afflicted their country and ours,” McCain told reporters at a press conference. “And so I will be telling him that. I consider him a friend and I consider the people of Colombia my friends as well.”
He called Colombia a “vital ally” and praised the “enormous battle that they are waging against the drug cartels which have had such a damaging effect on their country but also on ours.”
(CNN) - Is Hillary Clinton done with presidential politics?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't appear to think so.
"I think her candidacy was a just a bright, bright moment for us and she may run again," Pelosi said at a breakfast with reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor.
Pelosi also appeared hesitant to blame sexism on Clinton's loss to Sen. Barack Obama in the prolonged race for the party's presidential nomination. Clinton, along with several of her supporters, have suggested sexist attitudes among members of the media contributed to the New York senator's eventual loss.
Watch: Pelosi on the Obama effect
“Sen. Clinton has advanced the cause of women in government and her candidacy has been a very positive tonic for the country and had a very wholesome effect on the political process," Pelosi said. "I really don’t know, I haven’t analyzed and the rest, I’m a victim of sexism myself all the time, but I just think it goes with the territory, I don’t sit around to say, ‘but for that."
Clinton talked with reporters about her first trip back to the Capitol since ending her presidential bid. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After wrapping up the longest presidential primary campaign in modern history, Hillary Clinton told reporters Tuesday she is ready to turn her attention back to being the junior senator from New York.
"I look forward to being back with this great team," she said as she returned to the Senate at the end of a two-week vacation, taken after she conceded the 17-month-long primary contest to Sen. Barack Obama.
Watch: Clinton greeted with cheers
The second-term New York Democrat pledged to "immerse myself in there," pointing to the chamber.
She had just emerged from the party's weekly luncheon that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called "one of the most emotional caucuses" he's ever attended on Capitol Hill. He said the New York senator entered the event to a sea of high fives, cheers, and a standing ovation from her Democratic colleagues.
Clinton said the opportunity to run for the Oval Office allowed her to "immerse myself in the extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness that is the American people."
"And I come back with an even greater depth of awareness about what we have to do here in Washington," she said. "So many of the concerns that people have expressed to me over the course of this campaign are ones that they can't individually solve. They can't even really take it on just at the state or local level."
RIVERSIDE, California (CNN) - On the day Hillary Clinton returned to the Senate for the first time since abandoning her presidential bid, her Senate Republican colleague John McCain said Clinton will probably come back to her day job with greater political clout.
“I think, if I had to guess, that the fact that the she ran an honorable and incredibly long and dedicated campaign for the nomination of her party would indicate to me that she would probably return to the United States Senate with enhanced prestige and enhanced influence,” McCain told reporters at a press conference here.
He also praised Clinton for her work on military matters since joining the legislative body in 2001.
“I think that Senator Clinton has already attained a position of leadership in the United States Senate,” he said. “She works hard at her job. She is a very important member of the Armed Services Committee and I have worked together wither her on a variety of national security issues.”
(CNN) – In the ongoing back-and-forth between John McCain and Barack Obama over energy policy, the Arizona senator's campaign gave Obama a new nickname on Tuesday – Dr. No.
“It’s just very clear at this point that Senator Obama is Dr. No on energy security,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said on a conference call with reporters. “Today it was ‘no’ on the $300 million for a new kind of battery. Before it was ‘no’ on further exploration or possibility of further exploration of our coasts. It was ‘no’ on gas tax relief that can help this summer families that are hurting. It’s ‘no’ on expanded nuclear power investments that we can make.”
“So, we think we’re seeing a pattern here,” Rogers concluded.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, echoed the list of energy initiatives Obama has disagreed with, adding, “It's a new law we might call Obamanomics. It would repeal half the law of supply and demand.”
(CNN)–Barack Obama says he’s going to run a 50-state race for the White House. His aides say he will aggressively seek to make inroads in some of the traditionally Republican presidential states. It’s an ambitious quest but one that would be made easier if he raises hundreds of millions of dollars.
We’ll see in the coming weeks and months how that works out. My instinct tells me he won’t be spending lots of time in Utah and Wyoming, for example.
Still, I do think Obama will campaign actively in North Carolina and Georgia – two states with large numbers of African Americans. His campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee will try to get hundreds of thousands of new voters registered, especially African-Americans and young people. That is potentially very fertile ground for Obama and could make a critical difference in November.
Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic Party, was criticized in recent years by some fellow Democrats for spending scarce DNC money in some of the Republican states. He said he wanted the Democratic Party active across the United States. His critics thought that was a waste of money and time.
But now, that investment seems to have paid off. Witness the recent Democratic successes in those three special Congressional elections in Mississippi, Louisiana and Illinois where seats long held by Republicans, including the former Speaker Dennis Hastert, were captured by Democrats.
(CNN)—John McCain is offering a free ride on the Straight Talk Express to supporters who make a contribution to his campaign over the next week.
In a fundraising email sent to the presumptive Republican nominee’s supporters, McCain calls the Straight Talk Express a symbol of his campaign’s “openness, honesty and access—true democracy at work.”
“I believe voters deserve a close, unfiltered examination of our presidential candidates,” McCain writes, inviting supporters for a “day of conversation and campaigning.”
Calling upon the success of the last bus ride contest, the Arizona senator explains the invitation is a “token” of his appreciation for each individual donation.
Every donation, no matter the size, made before next Monday at midnight will be entered into the drawing for a day with McCain on board his bus.
In a possible dig at rival Barack Obama, McCain adds a post-scriptum:
“P.S. I've never been afraid to do things a little differently on the campaign trail,” McCain writes. “I've never been afraid to hold town hall forums, engaging Americans in a discussion on the issues.”
Obama declined McCain’s invitation earlier this month to appear with the Arizona senator in a series of town halls.