(CNN) - With the vice presidential selection process perhaps nearing its end, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, D-Kansas, appeared with a high profile Republican guest Wednesday.
Sebelius, thought to be a possible choice as Barack Obama’s running mate, introduced T. Boone Pickens at a town hall in Topeka that focused on his new energy plan.
“We have a crisis in America, no question,” the Democratic governor told the crowd, “It’s pretty simple to understand. We’re borrowing money from China to import 70 percent of oil, much of it from nations that don’t like us very much. And when we burn it, it harms out planet. Now, if that doesn’t seem like a lose-lose-lose situation to you.”
Pushing the Pickens proposal, Sebelius said, “I think we’re right in the middle of a big hole..when you’re in a hole, you stop digging.”
Pickens is calling for an investment plan to make wind and natural gas the main sources of energy in the United States. He told The Hill this week, “I’ll vote for McCain. But I’m not working on his campaign….I don’t see a plan by either Obama or McCain that is going to solve the $700 billion problem. Neither one of them address that.”
But he had words of praise for Sebelius, saying, “you know it, but you have a fabulous governor. Smart, working for Kansas, and highly intelligent.”
(CNN) - Britney Spears, Paris Hilton…Barack Obama?
A new campaign ad from John McCain - which flashes shots of the two aforementioned megacelebrities - calls Barack Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world," but asks, "Is he ready to lead."
"He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But, is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling. And, says he'll raise taxes on electricity. Higher taxes, more foreign oil, that's the real Obama," the ad's narrator says while crowds screaming, "Obama!" are shown.
Responding to the ad, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’"
The ad is the latest in a string of hard-hitting television commercials from the McCain campaign. Earlier spots suggest Obama is playing politics with the Iraq war, is against funding American troops, and bears some responsibility for high gas prices.
In a conference call with reporters announcing the ad, McCain adviser Rick Davis said of Obama's campaign coverage, "The focus on media, on events and activities, is much more something you'd expect from someone releasing a new movie."
Listen: McCain advisers explain the new ad in a conference call with reporters
"What we decided to do was find the top three international celebrities in the world," he said. "And I would say that from our estimation Britney and Paris came in second and third. So from our perspective, we have the biggest three celebrities in the world."
(CNN) - Former president Bill Clinton earned $10.1 million in 2007 from paid speeches, according to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate financial disclosure reports released Wednesday.
Clinton delivered a total of 54 paid speeches in 12 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 countries. His haul from speaking fees for 2006 was $10.2 million.
His most expensive address was delivered on August 14, 2007, in London to AEG, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company, for $425,000. The former president earned $150,000 for 31 of his 54 speeches and an overall average of $186,759.26 per speech. He did not deliver any paid speeches for less than $100,000 in 2007.
The groups he addressed last year include large companies, such as General Electric (delivered on January 13 for $150,000) and Goldman Sachs (delivered on March 1 for $150,000); civic organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles (delivered on March 6 for $150,000); and media organizations, such as TVLand (delivered on March 23 for $150,000) and KCBS Radio in San Francisco (delivered on April 14 for $150,000).
Just over half of Clinton’s income from paid speeches came from overseas. He earned a total of $5,150,000 from speeches in 10 countries: Canada (six speeches for a total of $1.1 million); Denmark (three speeches for a total of $790,000); Great Britain (2 speeches for a total of $595,000); Germany (one speech for $250,000); Greece (one speech for $300,000); Hungary (one speech for $275,000); Korea (one speech for $150,000); the Netherlands (one speech for $250,000); Norway (three speeches for $870,000); and Sweden (two speeches for $595,000)
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama stood his ground Wednesday in opposing what he calls the "scheme" of offshore drilling, during a campaign event in Springfield, Missouri.
"The oil companies are shoving this thing down the throats of Congress, because they know everybody wants to try to pretend they're doing something about the energy crisis,” Obama said. “This is not real. I know it's tempting. The polls say its one of the ways that a majority of Americans think we're going to solve this problem, but it's not real."
"I understand how desperate folks are. If I thought that I could provide you some immediate relief on gas by drilling off the shores of California and New Jersey... I'd do it.”
But the Democratic presidential candidate added, "The soonest you would see any drop of oil from drilling off our shores would be 10 years from now....The most you would end up saving 10 years or 20 years from now would be a few cents on the gallon, although at that point, I figure oil might be $12 a gallon."
Citing the oil companies' record profits, Obama charged that they are, "making money hand-over fist, they're making out like bandits."
For more on the the latest political news, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republicans are attacking the "audacity" of recent comments Barack Obama reportedly made to Democratic congressional leaders Tuesday night in a closed-door meeting.
In comments first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed to CNN by a senior Democratic aide, while discussing his recent trip to Europe, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said, "This is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world has been waiting for.”
The Illinois senator, on Capitol Hill to give House Democrats a pep talk ahead of the November elections, also said he had "become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."
The Democratic aide told CNN that comment was made in the context of "Americans struggling and demanding change." A House Democratic leadership aide who was in the room also told CNN Obama's point was the campaign is "NOT about him."
"The [Washington] Post left out the important first half of the sentence, which was something along the lines of: ‘It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol…,'" the aide said.
The Republican National Committee circulated the comments to reporters under the banner, "Barack Obama audacity watch." John McCain's presidential campaign also forwarded the comments with the subject line, "wow."
Obama and the Democratic leadership emerged from the meeting upbeat Tuesday evening after meeting behind closed doors for close to an hour. Speaking to reporters after the meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Obama has the ability to transform the way Washington does business.
"If we do what I know is possible then I think we can shake up Washington and actually deliver for the American people and that's an exciting prospect," she said.
Also speaking at the press conference, Obama predicted the November election could be a transformative one.
"If the Democrats can make clear our vision, which is not for larger government but is for a responsive, efficient, and honest government that is listening to the voices of the American people, if the American people can feel confident that the institutions here in Washington are working for them and not on behalf of special interests, then I think this can be an incredible election," he said.
(CNN) - Most Americans favor an increase in offshore oil drilling but the public is split over whether or not it would result in lower gas prices in the next year, according to a just-released CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.
More than two thirds of Americans say they favor increasing drilling efforts off America's costs while only 30 percent disapprove of such action. Those numbers come the same day President Bush publicly scolded Democratic congressional leaders for not putting his proposal to expand domestic oil drilling, specifically on the outer continental shelf, to a vote.
iReport.com: Is drilling the best option?
The issue has become a divisive one on the campaign trail, with John McCain in favor of lifting a congressional ban on offshore drilling while Barack Obama is opposed to such a proposal.
McCain has said such increases in drilling efforts could ease prices at the pump within a "matter of months." But Obama has said there is little evidence that drilling offshore would have any positive effect on American consumers and is instead pushing energy rebates.
The poll also shows Americans are divided when it comes to the effect of offshore drilling. Just over 50 percent think it will reduce gas prices while 49 percent say it will not.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens will make his first court appearance Thursday afternoon in Federal District Court in Washington, according to court records.
The Alaska Republican was indicted Tuesday on charges of lying about receiving gifts from an Alaska-based energy company on whose behalf he intervened in Washington.
Stevens has denied the charges.
"I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that," the veteran lawmaker said in a written statement Tuesday.
He told reporters Wednesday he would make a statement later, but refused to elaborate.
The seven-count indictment says Veco Energy paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on Stevens' home over a period of about seven years. It says that he made false statements regarding the property on his mandatory Senate financial disclosure forms.
Stevens is to appear Thursday before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan after an interview with court authorities in the morning, according to an order signed by Sullivan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With an unpopular president and a troubled national economy, large numbers of Democratic and independent voters are increasingly calling for "change" - and looking to Sen. Barack Obama as the solution.
But a surprising trend is emerging: Polls show a tight race between Obama and Sen. John McCain.
Asked whether they would rather see a Democrat or a Republican elected president, voters in a Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll released July 23 said they prefer a Democrat, by 12 points: 48 percent to Republicans' 36 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a sweeping housing bill that aims to boost the struggling housing market and bolster mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Senate voted 72-13 in favor of the bill on Saturday, after the House passed it three days earlier.
"We look forward to put in place new authorities to improve confidence and stability in markets, and to provide better oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "The Federal Housing Administration will begin to implement new policies intended to keep more deserving American families in their homes."
(CNN) - The nation's largest labor conglomerate says it's set to launch a major effort Tuesday to dispel ongoing rumors surrounding Barack Obama that continue to percolate more than 18 months after the Illinois senator launched his White House bid.
The organization is set to send out mailers to more than 600,000 union homes in crucial battleground states - including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin - that directly address the false rumors that he is not a Christian, refuses to wear a flag pin on his lapel, and was not sworn into the Senate on the Bible.
It also beats back claims the Democratic presidential candidate was not born in America and refuses to put his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. (view the mailer [PDF])
A majority of AFL-CIO's membership is considered part of the working-class demographic - the key voting bloc that overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in the prolonged Democratic primary race and is likely to play a key role in the battleground states this November.
Watch: Obama battles rumors online
The AFL-CIO is also sending out a second mailer that features testimonials for union workers in support of Obama's policies on job creation, health care reform, and worker's rights. (View the second mailer [PDF])
"The mailers are the leading edge of a massive campaign in August to clearly define Sen. Obama among millions of union voters and to contrast the policies and plans of Sen. Obama with those of Sen. [John] McCain," AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith said.
That massive campaign will include a large-scale mobilization effort in 24 states, targeting 13 million union voters. The organization will also deliver more than 1 million fliers touting Obama's record at work sites across the country in August.