(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign correspondents went to Europe - but all the reporters covering John McCain got was a European press pass.
Campaign reporters trailing McCain across the United States as the press corps covering Obama gears up for the European leg of the presumptive Democratic nominee's journey still got a set of continental media credentials Tuesday night, courtesy of the Arizona senator's campaign.
Reporters arriving in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with the campaign were handed press passes that feature a shot of the Statue of Liberty in front of an American flag, and the words: "McCain Press Corps/JV Squad/"Left Behind To Report in America."
The back features a picture of what appears to be a Frenchman - sporting a beret and a neck scarf - standing in front of a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, staring at the camera as he pours a glass of wine. The legend below is the McCain campaign's take on a translation of the English on the front of the pass: "Le groupe de presse de McCain/L'equipe junior/"Laisse en arriere pour faire un rapport en Amerique."
(CNN) – In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s part fact-finding, part photo-op trip overseas. The Illinois senator travels to international hotspots like Afghanistan and Iraq, and voices his continued support of a 16-month timetable for troop withdrawal.
Meanwhile: Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain continues to relentlessly criticize Obama’s opposition to the troop surge in Iraq. In a town hall meeting in the battleground state of New Hampshire, the Arizona senator says Obama would rather lose the war in order to win a political campaign. CNN’s Dana Bash has the story.
Also: CNN’s Brianna Keilar looks at the Democrats’ push to crack down on oil speculators, and T. Boone Pickens’ pitch to Congress to break U.S. dependence on foreign oil. How does the billionaire oilman propose to solve the growing energy crisis?
Finally: Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at the Iraqi surge, then and now.
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(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign complained Tuesday morning that the press wasn’t treating the presumptive Republican nominee like they had covered Democrat Barack Obama. Tuesday afternoon, they got an unexpected jolt of equal treatment: their own parody magazine cover, modeled on the controversial illustration that graced last week’s New Yorker.
Earlier: New Yorker editor defends cover
In the picture, which debuted on Vanity Fair’s Web site Tuesday afternoon, John McCain and wife Cindy are shown in the Oval Office giving each other daps, the fist-jab greeting that Barack and Michelle Obama traded on the cover of the New Yorker.
Other elements have been tweaked so the illustration – like the New Yorker cover – reflect stories and stereotypes the candidate and his wife would most like to leave behind. Cindy McCain isn’t clutching a machine gun – she’s cradling vials of pills. There’s no Muslim garb in sight, but the Arizona senator is leaning on a walker. The American flag isn’t burning in the fireplace; instead, the Constitution smolders.
In place of the portrait of Osama bin Laden in the original art, the liberal magazine has opted for a likeness of President Bush.
“We had our own presidential campaign cover in the works, which explored a different facet of the Politics of Fear, but we shelved it when The New Yorker’s became the ‘It Girl’ of the blogosphere,” wrote the editors, in a tongue-in-cheek statement posted on the magazine’s Web site. “Now, however, in a selfless act of solidarity with our downstairs neighbors here at the Condé Nast building, we’d like to share it with you. Confidentially, of course.”
But don’t go looking for the cover on a newsstand near you: it will remain a virtual production, posted on the Web site alone.
(CNN)— A plane carrying Texas Rep. Ron Paul and six other members of Congress was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday due to mechanical issues.
According to the Federal Avaiation Administration (FAA), Continental Airlines flight 458, a Boeing 737 en route to Washington, DC from Houston made a rapid decent in New Orleans when the pilot reported pressurization problems.
Reps. Ted Poe, Nick Lampson, and Henry Cuellar, Solomon P. Ortiz, John Carter, and Ciro Rodriguez were among those aboard the flight. The FAA says the plane had a safe landing in New Orleans with no injuries.
Update: Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman for Rep. Nick Lampson, tells CNN the congressmen are being rebooked on two different flights from New Orleans to Washington, D.C.
Kincaid said Lampson told him, "there was a minor technical failure with the pressure" and there was "a slow gradual descent, no nosedive." Lampson told him in a phone conversation that, "some people didn't realize there was a problem until the gas masks came down." Lampson said there was no panic on the plane and praised Continental Airlines for their handling of the situation.
(CNN) - Barack Obama landed in Israel Tuesday evening, telling members of the media one of his goals was to reaffirm the United States' "special relationship" with the country.
"The most important idea for me to reaffirm is the historic, special relationship between the United States and Israel," Obama said at Ben Gurion airport. "One that cannot be broken, one that I have affirmed through out my career, and one that I would intend to not only continue but actually strengthen in an Obama administration.
Obama also expressed sadness over an attack in downtown Jerusalem earlier Tuesday that injured five people. A Palestinian man rammed a construction vehicle into cars and buses before he was shot and killed near the hotel where Obama is scheduled to stay.
“It's just one more reminder of why we have to work diligently, urgently, and in a unified way to defeat terrorism," he said. "There are no excuses, and I am absolutely committed to working with the Israeli government to make sure these kinds of occurrences do not happen and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families that have suffered as a consequence of today's vicious attacks."
(CNN) – Running for president, Obama is used to getting driven around - but perhaps not by royalty.
Following his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the Democratic presidential nominee got a lift to the airport from none other than the monarch himself, in a royal Mercedes.
The airport drive followed a meeting between the two men during which the king reportedly repeated his long-standing view that a Palestinian state is vital to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
(CNN) – During his town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire Tuesday, John McCain repeatedly had to silence the crowd to allow pointed and sometimes angry questions from a woman opposed to the Iraq war. At one point, McCain asked the crowd, "Please, could we all be respectful of everybody's point of view?" McCain took three questions from the woman, saying he respected the fact that she came to state her views.
The woman told McCain it's time to end the "occupation" now.
McCain replied, "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat." McCain said we are winning in Iraq thanks to the troop surge.
For more on McCain's town hall event, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
(CNN) – A leading surrogate for John McCain called Barack Obama "frighteningly inexperienced" Tuesday, the latest effort from the Arizona senator's presidential campaign to step up its criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate while he travels abroad.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, sharply criticized Obama and his presidential campaign for suggesting the Iraqi government had endorsed his timetable for withdrawal from the war-torn country.
"He's not listening to the whole of what the Iraqi government was saying - he's hearing what he wanted to hear and what he thought would help him politically, which get backs to Senator Obama as a candidate for the presidency," Wilson said. "He has his finger in the wind, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing, and he is not leading.
"He is no way sophisticated enough, I don't think - I mean he is frighteningly inexperienced when it comes to international affairs and national security policy," she added. "And he heard what he wanted to hear from the Iraqi government, without any context around it, and took that simple message and decided it helped him politically. That's the antitheses of what we should expect from a president of the United States."
Listen: Wilson slams Obama on conference call (15:15)
Wilson's comments come after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was quoted in German newspaper appearing to suggest he supported Obama's 16-month timetable for withdrawal from the country. Top Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice said the campaign welcomed the comments, though Maliki's office letter dialed back from them.
Talk is suddenly heating up that John McCain might name his vice presidential partner in the next few days. Sources tell CNN there have been recent discussions high in the campaign of doing so. But there are also a bunch of other ideas on the table: hold off until after Barack Obama has named his V.P. pick, or have McCain name his running mate after the Democratic convention. Campaign sources say all these options have been discussed, but no decisions have been made.
Meanwhile, McCain is scheduled to meet with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal tomorrow, which could spark more speculation that he's on the short list for vice president. If an announcement comes this week it could grab some of the media attention away from Obama's overseas travels.
Usually little importance is given to vice presidential picks.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Democrats say one way to lower oil prices is to crackdown on oil price speculators - investors who trade in oil contracts aiming to profit from changes in prices.
But Republicans are skeptical. Senate Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa charges that Democrats' demands to curb speculating is a "fig leaf" to avoid more drilling for oil in the United States.
The Senate is facing a test vote on a Democratic bill that would reign in excessive oil price speculation.
Grassley says it the "right thing" to further regulate oil speculating but he says Congress needs a much more balanced approach including more U.S. oil exploration and development; greater conservation and more use of alternative fuels including ethanol. Much of the nation's ethanol production comes from corn grown in Grassley's home state.
Listen: Sen. Grassley talks to CNN Radio
Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, one of the main sponsors of the bill to stop excessive oil price speculating, estimates that "as much as 20 to 30 to 40 percent of the current price could be taken off if you got rid of excessive speculation."