July 16th, 2008
07:03 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas

CNN Washington Bureau

CNN: Obama: I'd consult on Iraq, but war needs to end
Sen. Barack Obama said that if he's elected president in November, he will seek input from military commanders on the Iraq war and the fighting in Afghanistan. "But ultimately, the buck stops with me," he told CNN's "Larry King Live" in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday.

Washington Post: Candidates Find Some Accord on Afghanistan
Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain shifted their foreign policy focus yesterday from the future of U.S. military involvement in Iraq to the deteriorating war in Afghanistan, with both White House hopefuls pledging thousands of additional troops and a large-scale infusion of aid for the Afghan conflict.

Washington Post: Obama Leads by 8 Points In Poll; Economy Remains The Top Concern
Sen. Barack Obama holds his biggest advantage of the presidential campaign as the candidate best prepared to fix the nation's ailing economy, but lingering concerns about his readiness to handle international crises are keeping the race competitive, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

NY Times: McCain Names More Top Fund-Raisers, Including Lobbyists
Senator John McCain released an updated list of his top money collectors on Tuesday, revealing that nearly a fifth of those who have brought in the largest amounts for him, more than $500,000 each, are lobbyists or work for firms that engage in lobbying.

NY Times: They Get It
The furor over this week’s New Yorker cover — the satirical cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama in Muslim and black-militant poses — boils down to this: We get it, but what will those folks in fly-over country think? The answer is that they get it as well. Irony, it turns out, does cross the Hudson River.

Washington Post: On the Outside Now, Watching Fannie Falter
In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae's chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case's D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.

WSJ: McCain Uses Fund to Raise $62.3 Million
Sen. John McCain raised $62.3 million for his presidential bid in the second quarter in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, according to campaign-finance reports filed Tuesday night.The campaign gathered most of the money using an unprecedented system that allows it to collect checks as large as $70,000 from an individual by parsing the money between the campaign, the national party and state committees in four states. That fund raised $41.2 million in the three-month period.

CNN: Congress rejects veto of bill to halt Medicare payment cuts
Congress voted to halt planned cuts in Medicare payments to doctors Tuesday, overriding President Bush's veto in a battle that pitted health insurers against physicians. The new law stops a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors, part of a scheduled cost-saving formula that went into effect July 1.

CNN: McCain again cites current events in 'Czechoslovakia'
For the second time in two days, John McCain has referred to current events in “Czechoslovakia” – a country that officially ceased to exist in January of 1993.

USA Today: McCain uses 'bundler' money more than Obama campaign
Republican John McCain's elite fundraisers have helped collect more than half of his presidential campaign money, while Democratic rival Barack Obama has relied on his own top fundraisers for nearly one-fifth of his coffers, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

NY Times: Obama and McCain Duel Over Foreign Policy
Senator Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the addition of tens of thousands of combat troops to Iraq last year had significantly reduced violence in the country. But he said that positive developments there had not changed his mind about the need to pull troops from Iraq so America could focus more on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

NY Times: Opposition, From Both Parties, Over Bailout Plan
The Bush administration’s plan to rescue the nation’s two largest mortgage finance companies ran into sharp criticism in Congress on Tuesday as some lawmakers questioned the open-ended request for money that could be used to help the companies.

Washington Post: Fox's Hume to Step Down
Brit Hume, a top anchor and executive with Fox News since the channel was launched 12 years ago, plans to step down at year's end. But he won't disappear entirely.

NY Times: Facing Criticism, McCain Clarifies His Statement on Gay Adoption
As several gay rights groups criticized Senator John McCain for saying he opposed gay adoption, the McCain campaign issued a clarification on Tuesday saying that he believed the issue should be decided by the states, and that such adoptions should not be subject to a federal ban.

AP: Dems claim vets possibly shortchanged money owed
Tens of thousands of veterans may not have been paid money owed them by the government because of hasty efforts to clear a massive backlog of claims, House Democrats said Tuesday. In a new report, Democrats found that at least 28,283 veterans had their claims denied at a time when the government had stopped doing quality assurance checks.

Politico: 'W' film could prove controversial
Marking a wild end to a controversial production, two actors in Oliver Stone’s upcoming “W” were arrested in a bar brawl over the weekend. Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright, who play George W. Bush and Colin Powell, respectively, were collared with several crew members at the Stray Cats Bar in Shreveport, La., after police responded to a disorderly person call.

Politico: Obama says McCain has shifted more
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told Gwen Ifill of PBS" "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" that his rival for president, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has shifted on issues more than he has. Obama has faced a torrent of stories about moving toward the middle for the general election, on issues ranging from gun control to Iraq policy.

NY Times: Poll Finds Obama Candidacy Isn’t Closing Divide on Race
Americans are sharply divided by race heading into the first election in which an African-American will be a major-party presidential nominee, with blacks and whites holding vastly different views of Senator Barack Obama, the state of race relations and how black Americans are treated by society, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

NY Times: Obama Plays a Part in Contests in Georgia
Vernon Jones, a black Democrat who voted for George W. Bush twice and then used Senator Barack Obama’s image on his campaign literature, led a crowded field on Tuesday in a primary race to challenge Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican.

AP: Neb. supporters pay big bucks to see McCain
Some Nebraska couples are paying $50,000 to visit with Republican presidential contender John McCain in Ashland on Wednesday, prompting criticism from Democrats about the Arizona senator's first campaign stop in the state this election cycle.

AP: Dean Spurs Voter Drive in the South
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is embarking on a voter-registration tour he hopes will help push the South to the Democrats. Mr. Dean's trip begins Thursday in President George W. Bush's town of Crawford, Texas, riding a bus wrapped in the red, white and blue of presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign logo.

WSJ: Reid Faces More Heat To Ease Oil-Drilling Ban
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faced more pressure to ease a congressional ban on expanded offshore drilling for oil, as both Republicans and Democrats sought to show they are responding to high energy prices in an election year.

DC Examiner: Ill. congressional candidates rake in millions
With the general election less than four months away, quarterly reports filed Tuesday show Illinois' congressional candidates raked in millions. But the signals are still mixed as to what the money might mean for Democrats and Republicans once all the votes are tallied.

NY Times: Spitzer Charged Campaign for Hotel Bills, Raising Questions on His Use of Funds
Two payments to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington were included in former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s campaign filings, which were released on Tuesday afternoon. The two payments, $411.06 apiece, were recorded on Jan. 14, 2008, although it is unclear what nights were covered, or whether Mr. Spitzer stayed at the hotel.

NY Times: Democrats See a Need for Further Economic Stimulus
Many economists have concluded that a second dose of government stimulus spending is required to prevent a broad economic unraveling and provide relief to millions of Americans grappling with joblessness, plunging home prices and tight credit.

LA Times: Americans may be losing faith in free markets
For a generation, most people accepted the idea that the core of what makes America tick was an economy governed by free markets. And whatever combination of goods, services and jobs the market cooked up was presumed to be fine for the nation and for its citizens - certainly better than government meddling. No longer.

Washington Post: Probe Is Urged of Rangel's Fundraising for N.Y. Center
The House Republican leader and a government watchdog group separately called yesterday for the House ethics committee to look into Rep. Charles B. Rangel's fundraising efforts on behalf of an academic center that bears his name.

Washington Post: Former Lobbyist Is Charged With Trying To Destroy Evidence
A former lobbyist and close friend of former congressman Curt Weldon was charged yesterday with trying to destroy potential evidence in the federal investigation of the Pennsylvania Republican. The lobbyist, Cecilia M. Grimes, is accused of throwing away documents sought by FBI agents as part of their probe into Weldon's ties to lobbying and consulting firms.

Washington Post: Costly Weapon-Detection Plans Are in Disarray, Investigators Say
Bush administration initiatives to defend the nation against a smuggled nuclear bomb or a biological outbreak or attack remain poorly coordinated, costing billions of tax dollars while basic goals and policies remain incomplete, according to new reports by congressional investigators.

CNN: Ex-Pentagon official defends 'harsh treatment'
A former top Pentagon official defended the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners, saying its policies prohibited torture during interrogations.

NY Times: Detainee Challenges Guantánamo by Describing Life There
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Salim Hamdan moved slowly to the witness chair. Once a driver for Osama bin Laden, Mr. Hamdan is scheduled next week to become the first detainee to go on trial at Guantánamo and the first person in decades to face an American war crimes trial.

CNN: 1st step of prisoner exchange begins
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah handed over what are believed to be the remains of two Israeli soldiers Wednesday — the first step of a long-awaited prisoner swap between the two sides. Hezbollah officials handed over two large black boxes to Red Cross officials who will carry them over the border to Israel.

AP: US ban on visitors with HIV could end soon
A two-decade ban on people with HIV visiting or immigrating to the United States may end soon through a Senate bill aimed at fighting AIDS and other diseases in Africa and other poor areas of the world.

NY Times: A 1913 Law Dies to Better Serve Gay Marriages
Massachusetts may have been the first state to legalize same-sex marriage for its residents, but when California last month invited out-of-state gay and lesbian couples to get married, the potential economic benefits did not go unnoticed here. Now Massachusetts wants to extend the same invitation.

NY Times: NATO Hires a Coke Executive to Retool Its Brand
During the cold war, when Western and Warsaw Pact tanks massed on either side of the Iron Curtain, the idea of a brand for NATO would have been ludicrous because everyone knew why it was important. Not anymore.


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