(CNN) - John McCain directed his trademark straight talk toward a former president, flatly calling Jimmy Carter a "lousy" commander in chief.
The Arizona senator has long attempted to portray Barack Obama's policies as in the mold of Carter's, though the Republican has previously held back criticizing Carter so directly.
But in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun published Friday, McCain was decidedly more blunt than he has been in the past. McCain, who is a proponent of nuclear reprocessing, was asked why he thought Carter was against the process when he was president.
"Yes, because Carter was a lousy president," McCain quipped. "This is the same guy who kissed Brezhnev."
McCain's comments are in reference to the now famous moment when Carter and then Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev kissed after signing the SALT II treaty in 1979. Both the agreement and the kiss were widely panned by Republicans.
Carter himself largely stayed on the sidelines during the prolonged Democratic primary race, refusing to publicly back a candidate. Though he had long dropped several hints that he was a supporter of Barack Obama and he formally endorsed the Illinois senator shortly after he tied up the nomination.
Watch: Jimmy Carter sounds off
(CNN) - After much anticipation, the big day has finally arrived.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on the unity event that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held in aptly named Unity, New Hampshire.
While Obama and Clinton are working hard to build unity within the Democratic Party, Sen. John McCain is hoping for disunity within the Dems' ranks. Dana Bash reports on what McCain is doing to try to win over voters who supported Clinton in the primaries.
With new pollls out, CNN has updated its Electoral Map. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider breaks it all down for you.
Despite the Obama-Clinton campaign appearance, not everyone is on board the unity bandwagon. Internet Reporter Abbi Tatton highlights the Web sites of several groups of Clinton supporters who are not backing Obama.
Finally, it's Friday. That means it's time for Trail Mix, a look at some of the most memorable moments on the campaign trail this week courtesy of CNN's Jennifer Mikell.
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(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton is working hard to ensure that her supporters are backing Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee.
But many Clinton diehards are doing the opposite online. A group of her supporters with Web sites attacking Obama and the Democratic Party are rallying together to make sure Obama does not get elected in November.
(CNN) - Barack Obama holds a 5-point lead over John McCain in the latest CNN "Poll of Polls" - a slight decrease for the Illinois senator from previous CNN polls of polls released earlier this week.
In an average of three recently released national surveys, Obama stands at 45 percent among registered voters while McCain is at 40 percent. Fifteen percent remain unsure about who they will support in November.
In a CNN poll of polls released Thursday, Obama held a 7-point lead over McCain, and the presumptive Democratic presidential was 8 points over McCain in a poll of polls released Tuesday.
But CNN's Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib notes McCain's support has consistently hovered around 40 percent.
“While Obama’s lead in our average has fluctuated by a point or two over the last week, McCain has been stuck at 40 percent,” he said. “Heading into the July 4 holiday, McCain is clearly trailing. He has his work cut out for him in terms of changing voters’ perceptions of his candidacy.”
The latest CNN poll of polls included national surveys from Time Magazine, LA Times/Bloomberg, and Gallup.
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain took his free trade message into somewhat hostile territory Friday, telling a group of Ohio automobile workers that free trade is “in the best interests of the United States of America from a macro sense and in the long term.”
“I understand the pain” of families affected by manufacturing job losses, McCain said, but he added that many “labor intensive jobs” were not coming back to America.
Instead, he said his job re-training proposals coupled with an “emphasis on new technology” in the automotive sector would boost employment.
McCain, battling a slight cold, was responding to an employee at the Lordstown General Motors plant who asked him what he would to make trade agreements “a little bit more fair.”
The presumptive GOP nominee said he does not believe “that every trade agreement is totally fair” and promised to “do everything in my power to make sure that trade practices practiced by our trading partners are fair and equitable.”
UNITY, New Hampshire (CNN) - The day began with a kiss.
Sen. Barack Obama, on the tarmac at Reagan Washington National Airport, reached out to shake Sen. Hillary Clinton's hand and leaned down to kiss her cheek.
It went on from there. Wearing a tie that matched her suit, he put his hand on her back, guiding the way up the plane steps.
They sat side-by-side for the flight up to Manchester, New Hampshire, chatting amiably. One overheard conversation was about the plane. Clinton had used it during the primary season.
They hopped on a souped-up bus for the 1½-hour ride to Unity, New Hampshire.
The honorary mayor of Unity introduced the pair, admitting that he was a Republican who voted for John McCain in the primary. He didn't seem so sure about the general election.
They walked onstage to the tune of "Beautiful Day."
Arms around each other's waist, they smiled and waved at the crowd.
(CNN) - Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared together Friday at a rally in Unity, New Hampshire, a town where they tied in the January primary.
Watch: Obama says Clinton 'rocks'
"We may have started on separate paths ... today our hearts are set on the same destination for America ... to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States," Clinton said.
Watch: Clinton praises Obama
"We are one party, we are one America," she added.
The two Democrats walked onstage together to U2's song, "Beautiful Day" as an enthusiastic crowd chanted "Yes we can!"
Today's rally with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, was the latest in a series of staged events designed to show that all is forgiven between two former rivals for the Democratic nomination. Like a children's fairy tale... if it doesn't have a happy ending, it won't sell.
Yesterday, Clinton praised Obama in front of two major interest groups that had supported her in the primaries. And the two Democrats appeared before a group of Clinton's top donors last night. Clinton told supporters that Democrats "are a family" and Obama hailed Clinton and her backers, for their passion. Both Obama and his wife Michelle gave the maximum $2,300 to help Clinton retire her debt.
But how close-knit is this family really? The fact is each is forced to rely on the other as the general election ramps up. Obama needs Clinton to help convince her supporters to vote for him in November. And Clinton needs help in paying down her campaign debt, plus she wants to know that she'll be treated as a top surrogate throughout the campaign and at the convention.
Fine, but there are sticking points.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - The prolonged Democratic primary race had all the twists and turns of a Hollywood thriller, and at least one A-list actor is ready to portray Barack Obama on the big screen.
Speaking with MTV earlier this week, actor Will Smith said he'd enjoy playing the Illinois senator in an upcoming movie and noted the two share at least one feature in common: rather large ears.
"It's all right here," Smith joked as he pointed to his ears. "That's the key. That's the key. America loves ears, you know? Mickey Mouse started it; Goofy and Dumbo followed behind. And America just loves ears."
Earlier this year, Obama said he and Smith had discussed the possibility.
"Will and I have talked about this because he has the ears!" Obama said at an MTV/MySpace Presidential forum in February.
But Smith says he wouldn't sign onto a movie about Obama until the campaign outcome is clear.
"As soon as he writes the end of the story," Smith said of when he'd be willing to take up the role.
No word on which Hollywood actresses are interested in portraying Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Democratic lawmaker's comment that he was "glad" that a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney could be identified by al Qaeda has sparked outrage among Republicans at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
During a contentious House hearing on harsh interrogation techniques for terror suspects Thursday, Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Massachusetts, was pressing David Addington, the vice president's chief of staff, about meetings he attended while serving as Cheney's chief counsel.
Delahunt asked repeatedly whether the topic of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning, ever came up.
Addington replied that he could not discuss that because "al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN."
"Right," Delahunt responded. "Well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington."
"Yeah, I'm sure you're pleased," Addington shot back.
"Given your penchant for being unobtrusive," Delahunt said about Addington's ability to stay behind the scenes.