ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) – Barack Obama told donors at a Monday night fundraiser just across the Potomac River from Washington that “the odds of us winning are very good."
Obama was reflecting on how far the campaign had come since its early days when, “Let’s face it, there weren’t too many of y’all who thought we were going to pull this off,” he said to laughter.
“What I knew and I think those who joined us early knew was that this was a moment for change, this was a moment for big ideas and really trying to push the envelope,” said Obama. “And people have responded all across the country. We are now in a position where the odds of us winning are very good. But it’s still going to be difficult.”
The Illinois senator spoke to a dinner of about 40 people, each of whom was expected to raise $114,000. After thanking his hosts, he opened by talking about last week’s trip to the Middle East and Europe and “the enormous hunger for American leadership.”
He segued from the importance of strong international relations to domestic issues, commenting briefly on his early afternoon roundtable with top economic advisers including Warren Buffett (by speakerphone), former Fed chairman Paul Volcker and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
“Almost uniformly people said the crisis we’re in right now, the difficulties we’re in right now are as significant and as severe as they’ve seen in a very long time and we’re not going to be able to work our way out of it overnight.”
“Rather than succumb to pessimism we’ve got to think about how we take the problems that we’re having right now and turn them into opportunities,” he added.
Closing his brief remarks, Obama addressed the reason he hasn’t seen a surge in the polls following extensive coverage of his overseas trip, arguing that voters are still sizing him up and that his candidacy is "new for them, new for us as a country."
“This is going to be a close election for a long time because I’m new on the national scene and people sort of like what they see but they’re still not sure,” he concluded.
(CNN) — Potentially the oldest candidate ever elected to a first term, Sen. John McCain has faced questions about his ability to maintain his health and handle the nation at the same time. Now, Dana Bash reports on the presumptive Republican nominee latest trip to the doctor.
The worsening economy is issue #1 for voters and will likely be a deciding factor in who becomes the next president. Returning home from overseas, Sen. Barack Obama turns his attention to the struggling market while McCain focuses on the issue of off-shore drilling. Dana Bash and Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger discuss the two nominees' strategies in the next phase of the general election campaign.
Also: the estimated federal budget deficit for the next fiscal year is a record-setting $482 billion. White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano explains what the projected shortfall means for the Bush administration and how it might affect the White House race.
Finally: the general election is 100 days away and new polls show a sizeable lead by Sen. Obama. But how predictive are summer polls for a November election? Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at the historical record of how well summer polls have forecast the general election in past cycles.
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(CNN) - John McCain told CNN’s Larry King Monday that voters should not be concerned about his health, hours after the Arizona senator had a mole-like growth removed from his face.
McCain, who has had four malignant melanomas removed in the past, told reporters earlier in the day his doctor does not believe the latest growth is serious and was removed as a precautionary measure.
In the interview with King, McCain said he now takes precautions from the sun and is not concerned his skin cancer will return.
"Melanoma, if you look at it and be careful it's fine," he said. "I had one serious bout with it and that was frankly due to my own neglect. I let it go and go and go. In fact, I was running for president at the time. I'm not making that mistake again."
Three of McCain's past melanomas — on his left shoulder, left arm and left nasal wall — were limited to the top skin layer and were not invasive. They were removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002, and all were declared Stage 0, of little long-term concern.
But a fourth melanoma proved to be invasive and was removed from his left lower temple in 2000.
McCain also said he gets a routine skin checkup every three months, and his doctor often removes small patches of skin to ensure he remains cancer free.
"We do it quite frequently for those of us that were young and had great exposure to the sun," he said. "As you know my dad was in the Navy and we lived in places where I was at the beach a lot, and I'm paying the price for that."
McCain's comments also came shortly after the Mayo clinic issued a statement on the procedure.
"This morning, as part of his commitment to monitor his dermatological health on a regular basis, Senator John McCain visited the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a routine examination. As a precaution, a biopsy was ordered of a very small area on Senator McCain's right cheek. This is a routine minor procedure," said Michael Yardley, Chair of Public Affairs at the Mayo Clinic/
Catch the full interview with McCain tonight on Larry King Live, 9 p.m. ET
(CNN) – Barack Obama likes to stress his willingness to work across party lines, but Republican Sen. Larry Craig probably isn't the Illinois senator's top choice when it comes to showcasing his bipartisan credentials.
But campaign buttons mistakenly featuring those two politicians surfaced over the weekend under the Obama campaign's motto "Change You Can Believe In," according to CNN Idaho affiliate KPVI.
The buttons, created by an Ohio-based company called Tigereye Design, was supposed to feature Obama alongside the Democratic Senate candidate in Idaho, Larry LaRocco. A retired editor for the Lewiston Tribune noticed the mistaken buttons and printed them in Sunday's edition.
LaRocco's campaign says the buttons weren't ordered by them, but rather a commercial firm that sells campaign memorabilia.
Craig, who was arrested last year for allegedly soliciting sex in an airport men's room, is not running for reelection.
(CNN) – John McCain had a mole-like growth removed Monday from his temple, the McCain campaign said.
Doctors did not think the growth was cause for concern, but it was removed as a precautionary measure, the campaign said. It was noticed during McCain's standard three-month checkup and a biopsy on the mole was planned.
McCain was wearing a bandage on his face as a result of the procedure, but has since removed it.
McCain has had four malignant melanomas removed in the past. Three of them - on his left shoulder, left arm and left nasal wall - were limited to the top skin layer and were not invasive. They were removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002, and all were declared Stage 0, of little long-term concern.
But a fourth melanoma proved to be invasive and was removed from his left lower temple in 2000. He has since been cancer-free.
UPDATE: Speaking with reporters Monday, McCain said he is confident the removed mole is nothing major.
"As I do every three months, [I] visited my dermatologist this morning, she said I was doing fine, took a small little nick from my cheek, as she does regularly, and that will be biopsied, just to make sure that everything is fine," he said.
(CNN) – A liberal advocacy group is targeting young voters in a new political television ad that promotes Barack Obama’s presidential bid set to run on MTV and Comedy Central. While MoveOn.org never states Obama’s name in the ad, it uses a campaign slogan the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee often repeats on the campaign trail: “Hope.”
“Hope: It Could Happen to You,” parodies advertisements frequently directed to younger television viewers about the ill effects of drug use and abuse. Instead, of trying to scare its target audience away from making it a habit to use drugs, the ad suggests that Obama’s message of hope is a positive habit.
MoveOn.org announced Monday that it will spend $150,000 to run the ad for one week on both networks, which cater to younger voters.
Last week, MTV aired its first ever political ad, according to a report by MTV News. “Both Ways Barack,” targeted Sen. Barack Obama and suggested the presumptive Democratic nominee holds inconsistent positions on various issues at the same time.
(Full script after the jump)
(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Monday surprised Senate Republicans by offering them the chance to vote this week on four GOP-backed energy measures, including offshore drilling.
The Senate has been gridlocked for days on an energy bill, as both sides argue over which amendments will be allowed.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell, in an exchange with Reid on the senate floor, said he was “very encouraged” by the proposal but said he would have to confer with his leadership team before formally responding to the offer later in the day.
Judgment matters more than experience when it comes to picking a president... so says Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
The Nebraska senator traveled with Barack Obama into the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan last week. Hagel, a Vietnam vet who earned 2 purple hearts, says experience does matter, but that character and judgment matter more. That includes: who the candidate listens to and if he can make the right decisions on behalf of his country and the world.
Hagel has been a sharp critic of the war in Iraq and has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Barack Obama.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - John McCain again pushed for offshore drilling Monday, and suggested it could provide relief to American consumers "within a matter of months."
"There are some instances within a matter of months, they could be getting additional oil. In some cases, it would be a matter of a year," McCain said at a press conference in Bakersfield, California. "In some cases, it could take longer than that depending on the location and whether or not you use existing rigs or you have to install new rigs. But there is abundant resources in the view of the people who are in the business that could be exploited in a matter of months."
Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan called the proposal a "gimmick.
"By handing out $4 billion in tax breaks to the biggest oil companies and proposing gimmicks like offshore drilling that won’t produce a drop of oil for seven years, Senator McCain’s energy plan fails to provide short-term relief to consumers or long-term independence from foreign oil," he said.
(CNN) - It was just over one month ago Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made a much-hyped public display of unity at a New Hampshire campaign stop. But more than 30 days later, the New York Democrat has rarely been seen at Obama's side, and she's only attended a handful of events on his behalf.
The reason for her ostensible absence from the campaign trail? She has an important day job, said her former campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe.
"Since that meeting in Unity, New Hampshire, the Senate has been in session," McAuliffe told MSNBC Monday. “I've tried to get her to travel and do a couple of events. And she hasn't been able to do those yet."
Still in an election year where many Democrats feel so much is at stake, Clinton's relatively minimal public campaign role to date has been noticeable. It also comes amid continued resistance from many of her former supporters towards Obama's candidacy. Despite choreographed and carefully produced pictures of the two former rivals standing side by side last month, many of Clinton's top donors have yet to sign checks over to Obama, and some have even openly said they may not vote for him.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released earlier this month, Clinton supporters who say they plan to vote for presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain are down from a month ago, but those who say they plan to vote for Obama are also down, and a growing number say they may not vote at all.