June 25th, 2008
06:21 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau

CNN: Obama asks contributors to help Clinton with debt
Sen. Barack Obama has asked top contributors to help his former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, retire her debt, an Obama campaign source said Tuesday.

Washington Post: McCain Adviser May Have Struck a Nerve
Sen. Barack Obama and his surrogates continued to criticize Charles R. Black Jr., a top adviser to Sen. John McCain, on Tuesday for saying a terrorist attack before the November election would help the presumptive Republican nominee. But behind their protests lay a question that has dogged Democrats since Sept. 11, 2001: Was Black speaking the truth?

NY Times: No. 1 Faux Pas in Washington? Candor, Perhaps
It was the journalist Michael Kinsley who changed Washington’s understanding of gaffes with his observation that they occur not when people lie, but when they say what they really think.

Financial Times: Obama under fire over Iraq troop pledge
US presidents have a history of abandoning campaign promises by pointing out that “the world looks different from here” when they reach the Oval Office. A growing number of Democratic foreign policy wonks are hoping that Barack Obama will do just that with his Iraq election promises if he wins the race for the White House in November.

USA Today: McCain aides seek undecideds, non-partisans for town halls
Instead of picking crowds of committed supporters to fill his town hall meetings, aides to Republican John McCain say they are hiring specialists to find undecided and not overly partisan voters. That's a contrast from the last Republican presidential campaign in which President Bush's aides and the Secret Service screened out opponents and emphasized loyal GOP supporters.

WSJ: The Greenest Show on Earth: Democrats Gear Up for Denver
As the Mile High City gears up to host a Democratic bash for 50,000, organizers are discovering the perils of trying to stage a political spectacle that's also politically correct. Consider the fanny packs.

Politico: Meet the make-believe strategists of TV
Jane Fleming Kleeb went on “The O’Reilly Factor” two weeks ago to talk about global warming, a topic on which, by her own admission, she’s hardly an expert. So who, then, is Jane Fleming Kleeb? Well, according to the Chyron that flashed across the screen after Bill O’Reilly introduced her, she is a “Democratic strategist.” But she’s hardly that, either.

CNN: Obama to reschedule Pentagon briefing
Barack Obama had an “ops-intel” briefing from the Pentagon scheduled last week but it was canceled because of Tim Russert’s death.

NYT: McCain’s Misguided Strategy?
As the 2008 general election heats up, one of John McCain’s strongest political advantages is his opponent Barack Obama’s lack of political experience. No surprise there: when Mr. McCain began his political career, Mr. Obama was still a college student.

NY Times: An Honor That Bush Is Unlikely to Embrace
From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

New York Daily News: Barack Obama backers demand John McCain fire aide over terror wish
Barack Obama and John McCain turned up the heat on their debates over energy and terror Tuesday, with some calling on the Republican to fire a top aide who suggested another attack would be a political boon.

NY Times: Bipartisan Group to Speak Out on Detainees
A bipartisan group of 200 former government officials, retired generals and religious leaders plans to issue a statement on Wednesday calling for a presidential order to outlaw some interrogation and detention practices used by the Bush administration over the last six years.

Times Online: Zimbabwe: Barack Obama wades into African politics
Barack Obama added his voice to the international condemnation of Robert Mugabe, declaring that the regime in Zimbabwe was illegitimate and lacked any credibility.

NY Times: Congress Looks for a Culprit for Rising Oil Prices
With Americans growing angrier by the day about high gasoline prices, nobody can accuse Congress of turning a deaf ear.

New York Sun: McCain N.Y. Headquarters Will Be in New Jersey
Senator McCain is snubbing New York by declining to have a campaign office in the Empire State, dimming chances for a competitive general election campaign here.

NY Times: Tancredo Questions McCain
He may be the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, but John McCain has yet to heal all the wounds on his right flank. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a failed presidential rival of McCain's and an anti-illegal immigration gadfly, launched into the senator from Arizona for meeting in secret with Latino leaders last week in Chicago.

Boston Herald: Convention snub fuels longtime feud
Longstanding bad blood between Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Sen. John F. Kerry is coming back to haunt the senator as he faces re-election and a primary fight for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

Washington Post: Vital Part of Housing Bill Is Brainchild of Banks; Mortgage Aid Under 'Credit Suisse Plan' Would Benefit Lenders
A key provision of the housing bill now awaiting action in the Senate - and widely touted as offering a lifeline to distressed homeowners - was initially suggested to Congress by lobbyists for major banks facing their own huge losses from the subprime mortgage crisis, according to congressional staff members and bank officials.

LA Times: In L.A., the stars line up for Obama
His battle with Clinton split A-listers, but at a gala that raises an estimated $5 million, they signal they've come together.

WSJ: Financier Linked to Burkle And Clinton Is Charged
Federal prosecutors charged Raffaello Follieri, an Italian entrepreneur and former business partner of California billionaire Ron Burkle, with funding a lavish lifestyle by using money from a real-estate venture that was supposed to capitalize on his alleged Vatican ties to redevelop surplus Catholic Church properties.

Washington Post: McCain Has Plan to Make Government More Green
Sen. John McCain pledged yesterday that he would make the federal government more environmentally friendly, while Sen. Barack Obama mocked his rival as crafting energy policies that merely pander to voters, in the latest skirmish over which presidential candidate is better prepared to tackle the nation's energy and environmental problems.

NY Times: High Medicare Costs, Courtesy of Congress
On Wal-Mart’s Web site, you can buy a walker for $59.92. It is called the Carex Explorer, and it’s a typical walker: a few feet high, with four metal poles extending to the ground. The Explorer is one of the walkers covered by Medicare. But Medicare and its beneficiaries aren’t paying $59.92 for the Explorer or any similar walker. In fact, they’re not paying anything close to it. They are paying about $110.

CNN: Religion and Campaign ‘08
CNN's Tom Foreman reports a leading voice of the Christian right is accusing Sen. Barack Obama of distorting the Bible.

WSJ: Drug Industry Boosts Lobbying
The pharmaceutical industry's spending on lobbying skyrocketed in 2007 as Democrats took control of Congress, according to a report by a Washington watchdog group.

Washington Post: Pentagon Contractor Was Suspect; Company Accused of Fraud Had Been Flagged by State Dept.
AEY Inc., the company run by a 22-year-old Miami Beach arms dealer who was indicted last week for conspiring to defraud the government on a $298 million Pentagon contract in 2007, was on a State Department watch list for suspicious international dealings the year before that contract was awarded, according to testimony before Congress yesterday.

Washignton Times: Bush cancels trip amid Seoul protests; Gives North break on nuke count
President Bush canceled plans Tuesday to visit Seoul next month amid protests over U.S. beef imports, and his administration made a key concession to North Korea by allowing it to exclude atomic bombs from a required disclosure of its nuclear activities.

CNN: Report: $6 billion in aid to Pakistan poorly tracked
The United States has not accurately tracked about $6 billion it gave to help the Pakistani government fight terrorism since 2001, according to a report released Tuesday.

NY Times: Top Engineers Shun Military; Concern Grows
When Paul G. Kaminski completed his graduate work in 1971 with degrees from M.I.T. and Stanford, he started building advanced airplanes for the Air Force. By the time he stopped several decades later, he had played a pivotal role in producing a flock of new weapons, including radar-evading stealth aircraft.

CNN: Anti-liberal bias found in Justice programs
Justice Department officials blocked liberals and people with Democratic Party ties from a highly selective program that funneled young lawyers into government jobs, according to an internal investigation released Tuesday.

USA Today: 'Deficit hawks' revive attacks on nation's fiscal woes
Eleven years after the last major effort to balance the federal government's books, advocates of fiscal integrity are seeking to make a comeback.

BBC: US to ignore Zimbabwe poll result
The US will not recognise the outcome of Friday's presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe, a senior state department official has said.

NY Times: Religion and Its Role Are in Dispute at the Service Academies
Three years after a scandal at the Air Force Academy over the evangelizing of cadets by Christian staff and faculty members, students and staff at West Point and the Naval Academy are complaining that their schools, too, have pushed religion on cadets and midshipmen.

AP: House fails to move gas pump price gouging bill
House Democrats failed Tuesday to resurrect a bill to punish price gouging at the gas pump, while maneuvering to block Republican attempts to expand offshore drilling, an idea gaining in popularity amid $4-a-gallon gas prices.

Washington Post: Miles to Go; In Ralph Nader's Race for Reform, This Is No Time to Slow Down
Ralph Nader still gets hate mail. Strangers stop him to dress him down. Friends and associates who supported him eight years ago have moved on. Worse, people who revered him for decades of advocacy on behalf of a zillion good causes - from auto safety to environmental protection to the Freedom of Information Act - curse his name.

AP: Labor probing work of major immigration law firm
The nation's largest immigration law firm is under federal scrutiny over whether it helped major U.S. corporations disqualify American job applicants and give thousands of high-paying positions to immigrants.

Washington Post: Driving Cabs Instead of Building Bridges, Iraqis Languish in U.S.
Two years ago, Firas Safar was a successful Baghdad printer, winning contracts with U.S. authorities to produce brochures for aid missions, posters for army units, and several million copies of the new Iraqi constitution.

AP: Senate confirms FEC nominees
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed five nominees for the Federal Election Commission, breaking a prolonged partisan logjam and allowing the agency to resume functioning.

USA Today: Rebate checks diverted to pay $2B in debts
About $2 billion in economic stimulus rebate checks are being confiscated to pay overdue bills for child support, students loans and back taxes, the government says. So far, 1.8 million rebate checks have been intercepted by Treasury Department computers showing that individuals owe money to federal or state governments. The biggest beneficiaries: parents who are owed child support.

USA Today: Report: Racial gap narrows, but what did No Child law do?
Math and reading test scores are up in most states since the No Child Left Behind law took effect in 2002, but it's impossible to know how much credit the law deserves, a new report says.


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