(CNN) – Rev. Jesse Jackson has been known to utter some intemperate language in the past. Remember his famous 1984 description of New York City as “Hymietown”? It was deeply offensive to many people and Jackson was eventually forced to publicly apologize, though it took a month. It took far less time for Jackson to apologize for wanting to cut off a certain sensitive part of Barack Obama’s anatomy.
His comments were stunning to say the least and prompted many people to wonder – despite his proclaimed support for Obama – what he really thinks about the Senator, and Jackson moved quickly to apologize. "For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize," he said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "My support for Senator Obama's campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal..."
Some believe Jackson, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, is deeply envious of Obama for succeeding where he failed. I asked Jackson about that on today’s American Morning program. “That’s ridiculous,” Jackson assured me. “He’s running the last lap of a 54-year marathon. He is running that race. I am part of that race.” He added that whether it is “in 1963 Dr. King speaking about the dream or Barack in Denver, it’s a moment I really cherish...”
If Jackson so cherishes the moment, how is it that he wants to leave the Senator with – as Austin Powers might say – “a twig and no berries”? In his ‘open-mike’ moment, Jackson said he thought Obama was “talking down” to African Americans with his faith-based initiatives. This morning, when I confronted him directly, he refused to repeat that charge — in fact, he denied it completely. He also offered a convoluted explanation of why he thought faith-based programs can’t solve all the problems of the inner city.
NEW YORK (CNN) - For just the second time since she ended her campaign in early June, Hillary Clinton made a public appearance with Barack Obama Thursday morning at a women’s breakfast fundraiser in New York.
Obama is focusing on women’s issues Thursday, specifically how his proposed economic plan would impact them. But the message of unity between the two former Democratic rivals going forward into the general election was front and center.
“Anyone who voted for me has so much in common with those who voted for Barack,” Clinton told donors while introducing him. “It is critical that we join forces because the Democratic Party is a family.”
“Sometimes a dysfunctional family,” Clinton added, “but it’s a family.”
“1 am very proud to be here with someone I serve with from the United States Senate who I campaigned hard with and against,” she said. “[Someone] who I’m going to do everything I can and everything I’m asked to make sure he takes the oath of office on January 20th, 2009.”
Obama heaped praise on Clinton, saying, “I know firsthand how tough she is, how passionate she is, how committed she is to the causes that bring us here today.” He noted that though they took the same historic journey, “I didn’t do it in heels.”
The Illinois senator told the more than 2,000 donors gathered that he learned from Clinton as candidate and that he’ll “desperately need” both the New York senator and her husband, former President Clinton, over the course of the campaign.
Thursday morning’s fundraiser was the third Obama has held with Clinton. Spokespeople for both Clinton and Obama say there will be future events together, though none are currently scheduled.
(CNN) - Democrats blasted former Senator Phil Gramm, a top McCain economic adviser and campaign co-chairman, Thursday for saying Americans who have named the economy as a top concern this campaign cycle were “a nation of whiners.”
“Senator McCain said the economic problems facing Americans are psychological - now his top economic adviser and BFF, Phil Gramm said Americans facing tough economic are ‘whiners,’” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse in a statement sent to reporters.
McCain's campaign moved to distance itself from Gramm's comments. “Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views. John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage," said a McCain official. "That’s why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”
Gramm’s comments came in a Washington Times interview published Thursday. "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator.
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."
Gramm also said the media was responsible for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy. "Misery sells newspapers,” he said. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."
Democrats have been looking to portray John McCain as out-of-touch on the economy, as he and Democrat Barack Obama battle over working-class voters, who have named the economy as their biggest worry this year.
(CNN) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday denied allegations that his disparaging remarks about Sen. Barack Obama stemmed from envy.
"That's kind of ridiculous. He's running the last lap of a 54-year marathon. He is running that race. I am a part of that race," Jackson said on CNN's "American Morning," referring to the modern civil rights struggle. Jackson ran for president on the Democratic ticket in 1984 and 1988.
On Wednesday, he apologized for the "crude and hurtful remarks" he made about Obama following an interview Sunday with a Fox News correspondent.
NEW YORK (CNN) – It was announced last week that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would attend a series of fundraisers in New York together, one to help pay down her campaign debt and the rest to help raise money for his White House bid.
But a busy day in the Senate delayed Obama in Washington, forcing him to combine two events into one where he was supposed to ask donors to help Clinton as well as contribute to his campaign.
Wednesday night, he praised Clinton as “extraordinary” and “tough” - but nearly forgot about her need for funds.
After wrapping up his speech to donors Wednesday evening with an emphatic, “We will change the world!”, Obama left the stage to loud music, only to re-appear minutes later to complete his duties.
“Hold on a second guys, I was getting all carried away. I’ve got one more thing that is important to do,” Obama said to a laughing audience. “Senator Clinton still has some debt. And I could have had some debt if I hadn’t won so I know the drill.”
NEW YORK (CNN) – Barack Obama Wednesday night blamed recent criticism that he is shifting on his Iraq policy on skepticism about the political process.
“I understand why people were skeptical despite that fact that I hadn’t said anything that would suggest I had changed my position,” Obama told donors at a New York fundraiser. “What happens is people are used to seeing promises broken. They’re used to seeing us taking an easy way out. But not this time, not in this moment.”
“So don’t be confused by any reports out there,” he later added. “I will end this war, I will bring our troops home, we will treat our troops with the honor they deserve.”
Obama came under fire for telling reporters at a press conference last week that after visiting to Iraq he plans sit down with advisors and “refine” his Iraq policy.
(CNN) - John McCain may be hindered more by his age than Barack Obama will be by his race as the two men vie for the White House, a new USA Today/Gallup poll suggests.
According to the new poll, 23 percent of Americans say McCain's age - he'll turn 72 next month - is likely to make him a less effective president were he to win the White House. That compares to only 8 percent who said Obama's race would make him a less effective president.
Overall, more than 8 in 10 Americans said Obama's race would make no difference in his effectiveness in the White House while 65 percent said the same about McCain's age.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of Americans said Obama's race would likely make him a more effective president, while 11 percent said McCain is made more effective by his age.
Watch: The impact of age and race
McCain, who would be the oldest first term president should he win in November, often seeks to make light of the issue while on the campaign trail.
"I'm older than dirt, more scars than Frankenstein, but I learned a few things along the way," he often says.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: Preston’s Analysis: McCain's camp highlights differences with Bush
John McCain and George Bush have a lot in common, but these two Republicans have also had some high profile differences, and McCain's presidential campaign is more than willing to point them out.
CNNMoney.com: Why pulling out of Iraq won't save money
Both McCain and Obama say a drawdown in Iraq can provide a fiscal boost to help with their economic goals. But it's not as simple or as lucrative as they make it sound.
NY Times: Prospect of Obama at Brandenburg Gate Divides German Politicians
With the pillars of the Brandenburg Gate looming in the background, tens of thousands of adoring Berliners turn out to greet Senator Barack Obama with wild cheering. It may have seemed like the perfect campaign stop on the candidate’s highly anticipated European tour, an ideal way to burnish his foreign policy credentials. Instead, the plan — widely dissected in the German news media but never confirmed by the Obama campaign — has exposed fissures in the German government, with the conservative chancellor, Angela Merkel, strongly criticizing the proposal and the Social-Democratic vice chancellor and foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking out in favor of it.
USA Today: This year, 6 types of voters will decide the presidential election
All voters are not created equal. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll by only single digits among registered voters, 48%-42%, at the edge of the survey's margin of error.
Bloomberg: McCain's Adviser Salter Writes, Speaks and Fights for Candidate
John McCain has run for president twice, gone through four campaign managers, written five books and delivered hundreds of speeches. The one constant: Mark Salter, the Arizona senator's longtime aide and alter ego.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. John McCain holds a noon town hall meeting in Belleville, MI.
* Sen. Barack Obama holds an afternoon town hall meeting in Fairfax, VA.