CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain has scheduled a private meeting today in Cincinnati with six leaders of the conservative movement in Ohio.
The meeting was added to McCain’s schedule on Thursday morning, but it will remain closed to the press.
McCain will meet with Jack Willke, one of the founders of the National Right to Life Committee; Harvey Hook, a Christian leader from Columbus; Lori Viars, the executive director of the conservative group Family First; Mike Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life; Phil Burress, an ardent opponent of gay marriage and president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio affiliate of Focus on the Family; and Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance.
McCain is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting at Xavier University at noon, and later in the day he will hold a fundraiser at a private home in the upscale Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital, saying it violates Americans' constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."
Thursday's sharply divided 5-4 ruling gives constitutional validation to citizens seeking the right to possess one of the most common types of firearms in their homes. The gun control issue has been politically divisive for years, and the monumental decision is expected to have broad social and legal implications, especially in an election year.
Watch: What does the ruling mean?
The majority of justices disagreed with arguments that the Washington, D.C. government has broad authority to enact what local officials called "reasonable" weapons restrictions in order to reduce violent crime.
WASHINGTON (CNN) –- An official from the Log Cabin Republicans organization says the group representing gay Republicans has had a series of meetings with presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
The meetings, however, were not disclosed to the press by the McCain campaign. An e-mail from CNN to the McCain campaign for comment was not immediately returned.
A McCain aide told The Politico's Ben Smith that a meeting between McCain and the organization "a few weeks ago" was "scheduled as a meeting with the senator ... Like Sen. Obama, every single campaign-related meeting he has isn't alerted to the press."
In a statement Thursday, Log Cab Republicans President Patrick Sammon confirmed to CNN that the group had a "series of productive meetings with the campaign since Sen. McCain won the nomination—including a recent meeting with the Senator. We expect to have more conversations with the campaign as we head toward November."
While they have yet to endorse McCain, the organization's Web site says they are “encouraged” that he has won the party’s nod.
“Sen. McCain has had a long relationship with Log Cabin Republicans dating back to the opening of our organization’s national office in the mid 1990s."
The LCR endorsed McCain’s Senate reelection bid in 2004.
(CNN)— In what appears to be the latest line of attack, the McCain campaign released a memo Thursday accusing rival Barack Obama of putting his own “self-interest” ahead of his party and American citizens.
“[Obama] has never put his career on the line for a cause greater than himself,” Senior McCain advisor Steve Schmidt said in a memo released to reporters. “We have seen Barack Obama forced choose between principle and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosen the latter,” Schmidt wrote.
Calling upon McCain’s early days as a prisoner of war, Schmidt explains the presumptive Republican nominee has put his country first throughout his life.
“When John McCain was offered early release as a prisoner of war, he refused,” Schmidt said. “Subjecting himself to torture rather than give a propaganda victory to his captors.”
Mitt Romney, who has been a fervent McCain supporter since suspending his own presidential bid, reiterated the position to CNN Thursday.
“People recognize they need new leadership, strong leadership,” Romney said. “Not somebody who is consistently putting himself and his party ahead of the interests of the nation.”
The two presumptive nominees have been locked in an increasing war of words over their different policy stances since Obama all but secured the Democratic Party’s nomination.
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that if the election were held tomorrow, Republicans would lose seats in the House and Senate because "we've got a brand problem."
"I don¹t think the American people think the Democrats are governing very well in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. So it's not as if they are a shining example of good government," he said at a fundraiser in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The senator from Arizona said he's confident his party can come back and win with the "restoration of the trust and confidence of our base."
McCain brushed aside recent polls that show Sen. Barack Obama with a double-digit lead, pointing out that other surveys, such as a Gallup poll released Wednesday, show the race much closer.
"The first lesson I want you to draw is that people are really are not going to start focusing on the campaign until the conventions," he said.
With two months left until the party's conventions kick off, McCain suggested many people may forgo following politics and said instead are "going to try to enjoy the summer."
McCain said earlier this week that he¹s comfortable being the underdog.
"This is a tough race. We are behind; we are the underdog. That's what I like to be," he said at a fundraiser in Newport Beach, California.
(CNN) – With debates raging over who strategically would be the best vice presidential picks for the candidates, Barack Obama’s campaign manager said Wednesday the Illinois senator's choice would not be based solely on geography.
“I think Barack Obama will pick someone first of all who he believes is most qualified to be president,” David Plouffe told reporters. “Whether someone helps you in an election I think is kind of a side benefit. You certainly want to pick someone who doesn’t hurt you.”
Plouffe pointed to Dick Cheney and Al Gore as examples of VP candidates who weren't necessarily chosen to help win states.
“I don’t think that that’s going to be a factor in the selection,” he added.
Obama vice presidential vetters Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy were seen leaving the Democratic National Committee headquarters shortly before Plouffe’s press conference began.
“That’s unfortunate,” Plouffe joked regarding the press' sighting.
(CNN)—Rev. Michael Pfleger, the controversial Catholic priest who mocked Hillary Clinton in Barack Obama’s former church last month, said Thursday he does not “aplogize for being passionate,” or for “being free.”
"But I apologize when my passion or my freeness and my flawedness of character get in the way of a content which is much more important to me," Pfleger told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The controversial comments came during a May 25 visit to Barack Obama’s former church, when Pfleger described Clinton as a white elitist who felt entitled to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. He also mocked the New York senator for becoming teary-eyed at a New Hampshire campaign stop in January. Shortly after the comments, Pfleger was asked by his church, St. Sabina Church in Chicago, to take a temporary leave of absence.
“And then out of nowhere, came ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,” Pfleger said during the sermon last at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. “ And [Clinton] said, ‘oh damn, where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!”
Pfleger initially said he regretted the words he chose for his sermon.
"These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama's life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them," he said in a statement.
Pflegers sermon, as well as the controversial comments of Jeremiah Wright, ultimately led to Barack Obama’s resignation from the church late last month.
(CNN) - It was once the entrenched practice of any politician with a remote chance of being asked to serve as a party's vice presidential nominee: Never admit you'd say yes to the job.
But in the last two weeks, two Senate Democrats have flatly confessed they'd take the position if asked. On Sunday, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said candidly, "The answer I’ve got to say is yes," if the No. 2 position is offered.
And on Wednesday, Sen. Evan Bayh, a former Hillary Clinton supporter from the potential battleground state of Indiana, also admitted he'd take the job if it is offered.
"I don't think it's the kind of thing you say no to....the answer to that is yes," Bayh said in an interview on MSNBC.
"If you care about serving your country, that is the kind of thing that you do," he argued.
But the Indiana Democrat, who considered running for president himself last year, wouldn't go so far as to say he is actually interested in being Obama's No. 2.
"I love my day job. I'm not looking to change," he said.
Bayh, a former governor of Indiana and scion of one of the state’s most powerful political families, has long been considered a potential V.P. choice. The senator serves on the critical Armed Services Committee, is a political moderate, and comes from a state that Democrats haven’t carried in a presidential election since 1964. He also proved to be an effective spokesman for Clinton earlier in the campaign and could be helpful in drawing supporters of the New York senator into Obama’s camp.
Though Bayh was particularly critical of Obama after the Illinois senator's now-famous "bitter" comments, and suggested the remark could fatally harm him in a general election.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau
Washington Post: McCain-Obama So Far: Positively Negative
A campaign between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain once offered enormous possibilities for something new. Instead, the two presumptive nominees have opened their campaigns for the White House with what looks and sounds like a repeat of the kind of politics both have promised to leave behind.
CNN: McCain calls U.S. dependence on foreign oil dangerous
Sen. John McCain vowed Wednesday to break the partisan deadlock on energy policy, saying the dependence on foreign oil puts the U.S. in a "dangerous situation."
Washington Post: Top McCain Adviser Has Found Success Mixing Money, Politics
As Sen. John McCain's top presidential campaign adviser, Richard H. "Rick" Davis has worked for almost a year without compensation, telling reporters that the sacrifice shows his dedication to the cash-strapped Arizona Republican. He also took a protracted leave from his Washington lobbying firm to distance himself from ethical questions.
Financial Times: Angry diehards snub Clinton call for unity
In her concession speech less than three weeks ago, Hillary Clinton urged supporters to transfer their loyalties to her rival: “Today I am standing with Barack Obama to say ‘Yes we can’,” she said. “We will make history together as we write the next chapter in America’s story.”
CNNMoney.com: McCain's economic gurus
From ex-Senators to CEOs, McCain has tapped a wide range of advisers to bring him up to speed on the economy.
CNNMoney.com: Obama's business brain trust
From Omaha to Boston, the candidate reaches out to a diverse collection of economic thinkers.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. John McCain is in Cincinnati, OH, holding a town hall meeting and then visiting with local pastors.
* Sen. Barack Obama holds a morning economic summit at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA.