(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign continued to hammer Barack Obama on foreign policy ahead of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s upcoming overseas trip, releasing its first contrast television ad of the general election campaign Friday – a spot that that paints the Illinois senator as a flip-flopping opportunist who opposed fully funding U.S. troops.
The ad is the first negative spot released by the McCain campaign, although the Republican National Committee attacked Obama on energy policy in a $3 million independent expenditure earlier this month.
“Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan. He hasn't been to Iraq in years,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot.
“He voted against funding our troops,” he continues, as a picture of Obama appears alongside the words “AGAINST TROOP FUNDING.”
(CNN) - As Sen. Barack Obama prepares to head overseas, attention is turning to what his rival Sen. John McCain plans to do to hold the public's attention during Obama's much anticipated trip.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Dana Bash reports on McCain's plan to focus on the economy while Obama is abroad focussing on foreign policy.
Chief National Correspondent John King breaks down how Sen. Obama's policy on Iraq is likely to be received by leaders in Europe and the Middle East.
Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a closer look at whether McCain is ripping a page from the political playbook of former President Bill Clinton.
A Congressman wants to know: why do we vote on Tuesday? Internet Reporter Abbi Tatton has the story.
Finally, earlier this week on CNN, you may have seen Brianna Keilar's interview with Cindy McCain. In this week's podcast extra, we bring you something you probably haven't seen: more of Keilar's interview with the woman who may be the next first lady as McCain satisfies her need for speed. Check it out.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm said Friday he is stepping down as co-chairman of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign after comments in which he called Americans "a nation of whiners."
(CNN) - A leading John McCain surrogate stirred controversy Friday after defending the Iraq war in particularly stark terms, telling reporters "the Muslims have said either we kneel, or they're going to kill us."
Bud Day, who was a prisoner of war with McCain in Vietnam and often advocates for the Arizona senator's presidential bid, made the comments during a conference call with Florida reporters organized by the Florida Republican Party.
"I don't intend to kneel, and I don't advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John doesn't advocate to anybody that we kneel," he also said.
Asked to respond to Day's comments, the McCain campaign issued a short statement from spokesman Michael Goldfarb.
“The threat we face is from radical Islamic extremism," he said.
Corey Saylor, the national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN Friday McCain should directly repudiate the remarks.
"CAIR would like to see Senator McCain come out and make a clear statement repudiating these remarks," he said. "We don't believe they're helpful at all in either putting out the campaign's message or winning the hearts and minds in the Muslim world that America needs to be winning."
"Earlier this year Sen. McCain in a similar situation said that there's no place in his campaign for that kind of rhetoric," he added. "I'd like to see him come out and reiterate that statement because obviously people in Florida haven't heard his position."
Day, a highly decorated retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam, is a member of John McCain's "Truth Squad" - which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on the Arizona senator's record of military service.
He was also a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - the group that was created to attack 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry’s military service record and derailed his presidential bid.
"The bottom line is this: 527 groups can do very effective, truthful things, and the Swift Boat attack was totally truthful," Day also said in Friday's conference call.
(CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN Friday that the administration’s decision to engage in a diplomatic dialogue with Iran did not mean it was softening its tough stand on negotiations with that country over its nuclear program.
"I am prepared to go and talk to my counterpart any pace, any time, any where. But there really must be a suspension - a verifiable suspension of their enrichment and reprocessing," she said.
The No. 3 diplomat at the State Department will meet with an Iranian nuclear negotiator in Geneva, Switzerland Saturday, in what some observers had described as a major reversal of the Bush administration's tough stance against meeting with Iran on nuclear issues – a shift Rice denied.
“I acknowledge that what we've done is to make a step that we think demonstrates to everyone our seriousness about this process,” Rice told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But what has not changed is that the United States is determined to have negotiations only when Iran has suspended its enrichment and reprocessing. That's when the United States can join.”
Rice has often been pegged as a likely vice presidential candidate – though the former Stanford University has insisted she’s looking forward to a return to academic life when her stint at the helm of the State Department ends.
Watch Blitzer’s full conversation with Rice on Late Edition this Sunday, starting 11 a.m. ET.
Al Gore says it will be like the challenge of landing a man on the moon.
He's calling on the United States to switch all of this country's electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years.
Gore says our dependence on carbon-based fuels is at the core of our economic, environmental and national security crises. Here's how Gore sums up our dilemma. "We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that has to change."
The former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner says the most important policy change will be to tax carbon dioxide pollution. Gore's bipartisan group estimates the 30-year cost of his plan is between $1.5 and $3 trillion.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - Several of Mitt Romney's top fundraisers anted up for John McCain on Friday afternoon in Detroit, and McCain returned the favor with some words of praise for his former rival.
"In case you missed it, as short a time ago as this morning, Mitt has been on the shows, not only defending, but standing up for the things that we believe in, are important to the future of the country," McCain told a small group of donors gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club, referring to Romney's efforts as a campaign surrogate.
The event raised over $1 million for his campaign.
McCain dined at a table with at least two of Romney’s top fundraisers - John Rakolta, Jr. and Ed Levy, Jr., both of whom were Bush "Rangers" during the 2004 cycle. They were joined by Romney's brother Scott, a Michigan attorney.
After a brief lunch, McCain spoke glowingly of not just of Romney, but also his wife Ann.
"I knew Mitt, and I knew what an outstanding individual he is and what a wonderful family person," McCain said, "but I hadn’t had the chance to get to know Ann, who we all know is battling a disease and she is a woman of courage and beauty and grace."
In the audience was Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, who said adding Romney to the Republican ticket would give McCain a major boost in Michigan.
Anuzis argued that Romney would also shore up GOP support in the swing states of Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada, where Romney enjoyed strong support during the primaries.
(CNN) - John McCain said Friday he expects the presidential election this fall will increase the occurrence of "spectacular" terror attempts in Iraq.
Speaking at a General Motors facility in Warren, Michigan, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate touted the decrease of violence in Iraq, but said Al Qaeda is not yet defeated there.
"I predict that they will make an attempt as we get in to the election season to make more of these spectacular kinds of attacks which they're still capable of doing," he said. "The suicide bombers, et cetera, would not surprise me and we've already found out that they're going to try and step up their attacks and try and do things in a more spectacular fashion so that they can erode the support of the Maliki government."
The comments come a day after the Arizona senator appeared to make a rhetorical shift in how he described conditions the war-torn country, telling reporters aboard his campaign bus that "we have succeeded in Iraq."
"I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq. Not 'We are succeeding.' We have succeeded in Iraq," he said Thursday.
Last month, senior McCain advisor Charlie Black stirred controversy in an interview with Fortune Magazine, when he touted the Republican presidential candidate's national security credentials and said another terrorist attack on the United States would likely boost his White House chances.
McCain repudiated those comments, and Black later apologized.
WARREN, Michigan (CNN) - John McCain on Thursday described Barack Obama’s Senate record as “more to the left” than Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont - an independent who caucuses with Democrats but has described himself as an “independent Democratic socialist.”
During his town hall meeting with voters in Kansas City yesterday, McCain said, “Senator Obama has the most extreme record of any member of the United States Senate.”
In an interview after the event, The Kansas City Star asked him to clarify the remark.
“His voting record … is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont,” McCain answered, according the paper.
Asked if he thought Obama was a socialist, McCain answered: “I don’t know. All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.”
(CNN) - Eight years in the No. 2 spot is enough for Al Gore.
The former vice president, who issued a challenge to the next President of the United States on Thursday to make the country's electricity output carbon-free in 10 years, said later that he will not under any circumstances serve as Barack Obama's running mate.
Unlike the office of the presidency, there are no imposed term-limits on the second highest office in the land. But Gore, who considerably expanded the role of vice president, said he's imposing his own term limits on the job.
“I have a personal term limit,” he told CBS News Thursday. “Only two terms as VP.”
Asked by interviewer Katie Couric whether he might reconsider if the Democratic presidential candidate "begged," Gore said his answer would remain no.
Buzz swirled around a possible Obama-Gore ticket last month after the former vice president - who remains a very popular figure in the Democratic Party - gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the Illinois senator after months on sidelines during the prolonged Democratic primary.
Obama said then he doubted Gore would be willing to serve as VP again.
“Obviously Al Gore is a great public servant, he was a great vice president," he said. He may not want to be vice president again, since he's already done that for eight years, but certainly he's somebody that I'll be getting advice from as we go forward and hopefully he'll help me when I'm president."
Gore said in December that he might jump back into the political fray – but only in a bid for the top spot. A third term as vice president would mean Gore had spent more time in the office than anyone in U.S. history.