July 3rd, 2008
06:30 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, July 3, 2008

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Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas

CNN Washington Bureau

WSJ: Big-Spending Groups Enter Campaign Fray
As Democrats and Republicans gear up for the general election, a string of interest groups are launching their own campaigns to elect candidates who support their agendas. A coalition of liberal organizations will announce plans next week to spend $40 million this election cycle to promote health-care reform and candidates backing the group's proposals.

WSJ: McCain Allies Find Finance-Law Holes
Allies of Sen. John McCain have found new loopholes in the campaign-finance law he helped write - and they're using them to reel in huge contributions to help him compete with Sen. Barack Obama.

LA Times: Depends on what your definition of a lobbyist is
Did the campaign violate its own rules by accepting a $2,300 contribution from Gabriel Guerra?

LA Times: McCain works the room, one town hall meeting at a time
Supporters say the freewheeling sessions showcase the Arizona senator as a straight-talking candidate who is an expert on policy issues. Others are not so sure.

LA Times: Pre-Fourth campaign news: lots of fireworks, little meat
A parade of inconsequential and misguided stories makes this week nothing to celebrate.

NY Times: A Lucrative Deal for Limbaugh
Talk was never cheap for Rush Limbaugh, but now it is getting a lot more expensive. The A.M. radio host will be paid about $400 million to continue serving up his daily dose of conservative patter through 2016. His $50 million a year paycheck represents a raise of about $14.4 million a year over his current contract, which was paying him $285 million over eight years and was set to expire in 2009.

LA Times: A short but sweet gathering
Barack Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee are toying with a convention scheduling change that has been broached before in theory but never seriously considered: cutting the party's conclave in Denver short by one day to give Obama an extra day of post-nomination bounce in the crowded August calendar.

WSJ: Obama, McCain View Mountain States as Pivotal
Speaking near the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama pledged to create new incentives to motivate Americans to serve their country.

WSJ: White House, Candidates Plan Smooth Transfer of Power
The Bush administration and the two major presidential campaigns are beginning an unprecedented attempt to prevent the transfer of power in January from disrupting defense and counterterrorism efforts.

LA Times: Hillary Clinton returns to upstate N.Y.
Cheering constituents greet the senator on her first trip back since suspending her historic presidential campaign. 'It feels like a family reunion,' she says.

Politico: A dose of discipline for McCain's campaign
The Sergeant has been promoted. Whenever Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) needed an answer to a political question during long days on buses and planes with reporters during the GOP primary, he would turn to a linebacker of a campaign adviser.

loomberg: Obama Draws On Lessons From Chicago Streets to Propel Campaign
When Barack Obama launched his presidential campaign, he called his three years as a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s "the best education I ever had." He's putting those lessons to good use in his drive for the White House, say many of those who worked with him then.

The Hill: Miss. senators defiant over controversial Medicare vote
Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker lashed out Wednesday at what they term a “misinformation” campaign being waged against them by the American Medical Association over their votes against a Medicare bill favored by physicians.

Washington Post: Leahy's Hat Trick as a Batman Cameo
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is used to dealing with real men in black as he oversees the federal judiciary. But since childhood, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman also has been fanatic about the fictitious black-caped crusader who metes out his own brand of vigilante justice.

The Hill: Informal Obama adviser links gas prices to Bush war policies
An informal foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) on Wednesday linked high oil prices to threats the Bush administration has made against Iran.
Rand Beers, an adviser to 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), said a one-day $11-per-barrel spike in the price of oil was a response to “potential military action threatened against Iran."

olitico: McCain’s TV biopic, reconsidered
“I’m voting for McCain ... but I gotta tell ya, I really like Obama.” So laughs Peter Markle, the director of the 2005 movie “Faith of My Fathers,” based on John McCain’s best-selling memoir. Markle, who has voted for Democrats and Republicans, said he’s choosing the Arizona senator this time around based on the personal connection the two forged during production of the movie about the senator’s Vietnam War POW experiences.

Politico: Caroline Kennedy: The reluctant operative
The question bounced around the Internet and tumbled from the lips of Washington insiders: Why would Barack Obama choose Caroline Kennedy, a reluctant public figure with little affection for modern politics, to vet the next Democratic vice presidential candidate?

NY Times: McCain and Obama Differ on Same-Sex Marriage Initiative
Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are at odds over a California ballot initiative that would amend the state’s Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

NY Times: Obama Picks Up Fund-Raising Pace
In the wake of Senator Barack Obama’s decision last month to bypass public financing for the general election, his campaign is embarking on a spree of pricey fund-raising events across the country.

USA Today: Poll: Flag pins, protests both patriotic
Americans like to wear their patriotism on their sleeve — and their lapels. As the Fourth of July approaches, six in 10 of those surveyed in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll say sporting an American flag pin indicates that a person is patriotic, one of a half-dozen actions that most say reflect a love of country.

The Hill: GOP candidates to visit ANWR to promote drilling
Five Republican congressional candidates will travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to promote drilling there to reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil.

NY Times: Justice Dept. Admits Error in Failure to Brief Court
In a highly unusual admission of error, the Justice Department acknowledged on Wednesday that government lawyers should have known that Congress had recently made the rape of a child a capital offense in the military and should have informed the Supreme Court of that fact while the justices were considering whether death was a constitutional punishment for the crime.

Washington Times: Louisiana seizes on U.S. oversight; Eyes new ruling on child-rape death penalty
The state of Louisiana is looking at options to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its recent ruling forbidding the death penalty in child rape cases after the U.S. government took the rare step of acknowledging it made an oversight.

AP: Race profiling eyed for terror probes
The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

NY Times: Committee Questions State Dept. Role in Iraq Oil Deal
Bush administration officials knew that a Texas oil company with close ties to President Bush was planning to sign an oil deal with the regional Kurdistan government that ran counter to American policy and undercut Iraq’s central government, a Congressional committee has concluded.

Washington Post: Toxicity in FEMA Trailers Blamed on Cheap Materials, Low Construction Standards
High levels of formaldehyde found in trailers provided to Hurricane Katrina evacuees on the Gulf Coast probably resulted from cheap wood and poor ventilation in designs used by manufacturers under permissive government standards, federal scientists reported yesterday.

Washington Post: Not So Quiet on the Third Front
At this rate, the October Surprise won't be very surprising. The threats, counterthreats, and counter-counterthreats between Israel, Iran and the United States have reached new levels of hysteria in recent days. Israel openly threatens to attack Iran's nuclear program, Iran threatens to shut down oil-shipping lanes, and the commander of the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, says this would be an "act of war" requiring an American military response.

NY Times: Paulson Calls for Stronger Regulators
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. called on Wednesday for a new regulatory system that would prevent future financial turmoil while allowing even large financial institutions to fail without risking a wider market collapse.

NY Times: Iraq Hints at Delay in U.S. Security Deal
BAGHDAD — Declaring that there will not be “another colonization of Iraq,” Iraq’s foreign minister raised the possibility on Wednesday that a full security agreement with the United States might not be reached this year, and that if one was, it would be a short-term pact.

NY Times: Washington’s Boyhood Home Is Found
George Washington’s boyhood home has been found. Researchers announced Wednesday that remains excavated in the last three years were those of the long-sought dwelling, on the old family farm in Virginia 50 miles south of Washington. The house stood on a terrace overlooking the Rappahannock River, where legend has it the boy threw a stone or a coin across to Fredericksburg.


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