The economy is issue number one for American voters, and that has sent both presidential candidates scrambling to describe what they'd do to fix this nation's economic problems.
John McCain is vowing to balance the budget by 2013. He says he'll do it by keeping taxes low and cutting back on spending. McCain's plan includes a one-year freeze in domestic spending, entitlement reforms and reducing the growth in Medicare spending. He also says he'll veto any bill with earmarks.
A lot of economists suggest there's no way that McCain can balance the budget in 4 years.
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(CNN) - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura – who has been hinting broadly for months of a possible U.S. Senate run – denied a report Wednesday that he had announced his intention to enter the race, telling the Associated Press he had been speaking hypothetically, and will reveal his plans Tuesday.
A Ventura campaign would set up a three-way brawl featuring the former professional wrestler, Democrat and former Saturday Night Live star Al Franken and incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman, who Ventura defeated in Minnesota’s 1998 gubernatorial race.
In an NPR interview airing Wednesday, Ventura denied charges he would only be campaigning to promote his latest book, which was released earlier this year. The former governor, born Jim Janos, told NPR Coleman’s support for the war in Iraq was a driving factor in his motivation to enter the race. "That's the reason I run, not to sell books," he said. "I run because it angers me...
“And all you Minnesotans take a good hard look at all three of us. And you decide: if you were in a dark alley which one of the three of us would you want with you?” But he told the Associated Press Wednesday he had not yet made a decision.
Ventura served a single, tumultuous term as governor, and did not make a second run for the office. He has not yet made any formal moves to enter this year’s Senate race in advance of Tuesday’s filing deadline.
(CNN) – Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton team up again Wednesday, but not all Clinton's supporters are jumping on the Obama bandwagon despite her calls for unity.
Two fundraisers are scheduled Wednesday in New York and a third on Thursday, making it five times the two have appeared together since Clinton ended her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination last month.
Two of the events are aimed at raising money for Obama's campaign, and one is to help Clinton retire the debt from her failed run.
The joint appearances have been choreographed carefully to produce pictures of the former rivals standing side by side in an effort to help move beyond the bitterness of the hard-fought Democratic primary.
But for some of Clinton's top supporters, it's going to take more than just encouragement from the former first lady to get them to open their wallets and hearts to Obama.
(CNN) - Days after Barack Obama granted the first television interview with his entire family, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said he regrets thrusting his two young daughters in the media spotlight.
"I think that we got carried away in the moment," Obama told NBC Wednesday morning. "We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up, and I didn't catch it quickly enough and I was surprised by the attention it got."
The comments came five days after the Illinois senator allowed Access Hollywood reporter Maria Menounos a sit-down interview with his entire family, including daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha 7. The television show, which aired the interview Tuesday, billed it as the first interview with the whole Obama family.
The interview remained decidedly light - Malia commented on seeing her mother in People Magazine while Sasha discussed her father's aversion to sweets - but it was highly played across several news programs, including many on CNN. (Earlier: Obama family talks campaign life)
Watch: Are Obama's kids off limits?
Also appearing on ABC Wednesday morning, Obama said he didn't think it was healthy for his two daughters to be so exposed.
"Particularly given the way it sort of went around the cable stations, I don't think it's healthy and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future," he said.
Watch: Obama family interviewed on Access Hollywood
(CNN)— The AFL-CIO will go on the air Thursday with its first television ad aimed at union veterans who might be tempted to support fellow vet John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
“Every vet respects John McCain’s war record,” says Navy veteran and union electrician Jim Wasser of Illinois. “It’s his record in the senate that I have a problem with. He wants us to keep spending $10 billion dollars in Iraq, just like Bush.”
The 30-second ad, ‘Not now,’ is set to air for three weeks in the battleground states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith said the size of the labor organization’s buy is “significant.”
This is the labor organization’s first ad since officially endorsing presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama for president late last month. The buy — and its newly-launched Union Veterans Council - will go head-to-head with ads from grassroots organization Vets for Freedom; the group, which launched a four-month election effort on the Fourth of July, supports the war in Iraq.
(CNN) - Barack Obama made a surprise stop Wednesday morning at the Washington, DC law firm of his top VP vetter, Eric Holder.
Campaign aides declined to say exactly why the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made the unscheduled stop, including whether Obama was specifically meeting with Holder.
Holder, a former deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, is currently an attorney at the law firm of Covington and Burling. He serves as a legal adviser to Obama, and was tapped by the campaign last month to help steer the Illinois senator's search for a running mate.
Election Center: Who's on Obama's VP list?
David Axelrod, one of Obama's top political advisers, accompanied the presidential candidate into the office.
Obama and Axelrod were in the building for a little more than an hour.
(CNN) - Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is raising eyebrows for a joke about killing Iranians - the second time the cycle a stab at humor involving the rogue nation has landed him in hot water.
At a Tuesday campaign event in Pennsylvania, a questioner referred to a recent survey that revealed cigarette exports to Iran rose significantly during the Bush administration. McCain replied jokingly, "Maybe that's a way of killing them."
After a few chuckles from those in attendance, he added "I meant that as a joke, as a person who hasn't had a cigarette in 28 years."
At a campaign event before the New Hampshire primary, the Arizona senator parodied the Beach Boys single “Barbara Ann,” replacing the lyrics with the words "Bomb Iran."
(CNN) - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain said Wednesday Iran's missile test showcases the need for implementing a more effective missile defense system while his Democratic counterpart, Barack Obama, said the event highlights the need for more aggressive diplomacy with the rogue nation.
Watch: Iran tests missiles
"Ballistic missile testing coupled with Iran's continued refusal to cease its nuclear activities should unite the international community in efforts to counter Iran's dangerous ambitions," McCain said in a statement. "Iran's missile tests also demonstrate the need for effective missile defense now and in the future, and this includes missile defense in Europe as is planned with the Czech Republic and Poland."
"Working with our European and regional allies is the best way to meet the threat posed by Iran, not unilateral concessions that undermine multilateral diplomacy," McCain also said.
Obama, who has faced criticism for saying he would directly sit down with sworn enemies of the United States, told CBS Wednesday morning the test underscores the need for direct diplomacy.
"At this point, the report is unclear, it's still early," he said on CBS' The Early Show. "What this underscores is the need for a clear policy that is putting the burden on Iran to change behavior. And frankly, we just have not been able to do that the last several years, partly because we're not engaged in direct diplomacy."
Obama also said he will continue to push for an incentive package that seeks to deter Iran from its nuclear goals.
Watch the latest edition of Preston on Politics.
(CNN) - In this latest installment of “Preston on Politics,” Nicolle Wallace, a senior advisor to Sen. John McCain, talks about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s political strategy, as well as what distinguishes him from President Bush.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: Preston on Politics
In this latest installment of “Preston on Politics,” Nicolle Wallace, a senior advisor to Sen. John McCain, talks about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s political strategy, as well as what distinguishes him from President Bush.
CNN: Yellin Analysis: McCain looking to fix mojo problems
It's being billed as the new and improved Sen. John McCain - a sure-footed candidate working to reconnect with voters and recapture the magic that made him a political maverick. But will it work?
LA Times: Obama shows signs of being trail-weary
The Democrat makes the most of the occasional break with his family but can't seem to escape the spotlight.
NY Times: McCain Adviser Rejects Talk of Becoming Chief Strategist
Mike Murphy, Senator John McCain’s longtime adviser and friend who had been rumored to be joining the McCain campaign as a chief strategist, said Tuesday that he would not be doing so.
WSJ: Clinton, Bush Advisers Steeped in Crisis Join Forces
Two hard-charging political operatives are teaming up to create a bipartisan consulting organization to advise corporations in crisis - as they work to burnish their own reputations as well. Former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, chairman and CEO of public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller, is hiring former Bush adviser Karen Hughes as a vice chairman, the principals say.