MIAMI, Florida (CNN) - A man was being held in Florida on Thursday on charges he told classmates at a training seminar that he would kill Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama if he is elected, according to a law enforcement official and court documents.
The threats came just days before Obama was scheduled to visit Florida and were made by a person discovered to have ammunition, a handgun and other weapons, authorities said.
An affidavit filed by a Secret Service agent in U.S. District Court claims that Raymond Hunter Geisel, of Marathon, Florida, threatened to "kill, kidnap and cause bodily harm upon a major candidate for president of the United States, that is, Senator Barack Obama."
A search of Geisel's vehicle and a hotel room in Miami, where Geisel was attending a bail bondsman training class, found a 9-mm handgun, ammunition that included armor-piercing and rifle bullets, police-style emergency lights, body armor, a machete and two canisters of tear gas, among other military-style items, according to the document.
Agents say that classmates of Geisel reported that, between July 25-28, Geisel used a racial slur toward Obama and said "if he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself."
A classmate said that, one day after class, she also heard Geisel say "that he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president's head."
(CNN) — Multiple sources tell CNN that former President Bill Clinton will have a speaking role at the Democratic Convention, scheduled to take place in Denver later this month.
The sources say he will speak Wednesday night, the night of the vice presidential nominee’s speech. Barack Obama will officially become the presidential nominee the next night.
Candy Crowley also reports Obama and Bill Clinton spoke today.
News of the former president's role leaked out as reports of tension between the Clinton and Obama camps over fundraising and convention planning issues, and the release of a YouTube clip showing Clinton telling supporters they should develop some sort of “strategy” to make sure their positions were represented at the Denver convention.
Obama said Thursday that the controversy over whether the New York senator's delegates would be able to vote for her at the Democratic convention was a media creation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain’s campaign announced Thursday night that it’s returning about $50,000 in contributions believed to be brought in by a foreign citizen.
The actions late Thursday followed a move earlier in the day by the campaign that it would be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations brought in by Florida businessman Harry Sargeant, after reports that his business partner – Mustafa Abu Naba’a, who is not an American citizen – may have been connected with the fundraising efforts.
Federal campaign finance regulations prohibit donations from foreign nationals, but federal laws do not specify if it is illegal for them to solicit political contributions.
The McCain campaign says Abu Naba’a did not donate the money himself. But McCain spokesman Brian Rogers says, "we're taking the precautionary measure of returning any contributions solicited by Mr. Abu Naba'a. We thought it was an appropriate measure to take at this point, as we had an issue with the reports of people giving to the campaign who had no intention of supporting or voting for John McCain - that was clear from recent reports. We estimate that it totals under $50,000."
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Sargeant allowed Abu Naba’a to solicit the donations in March from a single extended family in California, the Abdullahs, along with their friends.
The McCain campaign is also sending a copy of the legal requirements for donations to all contributors whose funds were brought in through Sargeant.
Earlier this year, during the primary season, Norman Hsu, who was a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, was indicted for making contributions in the names of other people.
(CNN) – In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, deals are being made between Baghdad and Washington to pull troops out of Iraq by 2010. CNN’s Brian Todd has the details on the projected two-year timeline.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain took credit for advocating the surge in Iraq - now he’s proposing an economic surge. CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports on the Arizona senator’s latest economic plan and how he blasts presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s approach to taxes and government spending.
Plus: Will Hillary Clinton's name be placed into nominated at the Democratic convention? As the event approaches, many are wondering whether Clinton’s role at the convention will be one of unity or discord between the two respective teams. CNN’s Jessica Yellin has the story.
Finally: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets tough. The California governor and legislators are at a partisan stalemate on how to deal with the state budget. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has the story on the showdown between the "governator" and the California legislature.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Football quarterback Brett Favre may not be running for political office, but take one glance at a new campaign poster in Minnesota and you might be a bit confused.
Dean Barkley - an Independence Party candidate running for U.S. Senate - has decided to capitalize on the recent Favre hoopla and print the phrase "Brett Favre for Minnesota Quarterback" on one side of all his campaign signs. Barkley said it's not just a campaign gimmick, and that he genuinely hopes Favre will eventually end up in Minnesota.
"I firmly believe that Brett's the answer, [and] could bring the Vikings to the promised land," Barkley said. "So I said why not combine my run for the U.S. Senate with our effort to get Brett in Viking purple and get us that Super Bowl victory that every Viking fan wants."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – mentioned as a top contender to be John McCain’s running mate – said Thursday that the Republican Party needs to change its image and outreach geared toward young voters.
“I don't think we're doing a very good job reaching out and attracting the support of young people right now and that is part because we need to freshen up the party a little bit,” Pawlenty told CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck. “Doesn't mean we dilute our values or change our values. We just have to do a better job of making sure we translate that them into the modern generation.”
Veepstakes speculation has recently surrounded Pawlenty, a governor from a state in play this year. Political analysts say the Minnesota governor – who possesses a Washington-free resume - could take some of the same-old/same-old feel off the Republican ticket, counterbalancing McCain's age and decades in Congress with a light touch.
LIMA, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain offered a new justification for the Iraq war Thursday, arguing that if Saddam Hussein were still in power, he’d be a petro-dictator intent on using today's sky-high oil revenues to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
A voter at an Ohio town hall meeting Thursday asked McCain how he would vote on the 2002 war resolution if he had to do it again, given the advantage of hindsight.
“What do you think that Saddam Hussein would be doing with oil at $120, $125, $130 a barrel?,” McCain asked. “What do you think he’d be doing? I’ll tell you what he’d be doing. He’d be doing what he said he was committed to doing. And that’s acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction, which he did twice before.”
The Arizona senator elaborated on his other reasons for supporting the war resolution, including Iraq’s noncompliance with the U.N. mandated cease fire, as well as Saddam’s “brutal” human rights record.
Ultimately, McCain concluded, “If he were still in power, I believe that the world would be far worse off, especially with all the money he’d be making off of oil.”
(CNN) - Barack Obama said Thursday that the controversy over how whether Hillary Clinton’s delegates would be able to vote for her at the Democratic convention in Denver was a media creation — and that he hopes his upcoming vacation helps cure any “Obama fatigue” among voters.
Watch: Obama on the Clintons
“There hasn't been controversy other than what you guys are projecting right now,” he told reporters. Obama described conversations between the two campaigns over convention planning as “seamless.” “It has not been a problem,” he said.
Asked whether he would be content if Clinton’s name were placed into nomination at the convention, he responded “I didn't say that. I said they are working it out, guys.”
Obama also said he hopes his week off to visit family in Hawaii will help address public dissatisfaction reflected in a Pew poll this week that revealed nearly half those surveyed feels they have heard too much news about the presumptive Democratic nominee.
"We are going to correct that this week, hopefully with your help," said Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As most of Congress continues its August break from the Capitol, House Republican Leader John Boehner wants to keep a rare protest in the chamber continuing for at least the next two.
In a memo sent to GOP congressmen Wednesday, Boehner urged his troops to “indicate your availability for any days during the next two weeks, August 11th through 22nd, as soon as possible.” Those dates cover weekdays up until the political conventions start with the Democratic gathering in Denver on August 25.
“We must build on this opening,” Boehner wrote, “and keep building on it until the American people have been heard.”
Meanwhile, Democrats looked to make an issue of the Republican’s leisure time activity, distributing photos of a golfing Boehner along with reports that he had spent hundreds on green fees while golfing this week, as House Republicans demanded Democrats return to address a crisis situation.
Boehner’s office told the Washington Post that details of the outing at Boehner’s home course in Ohio were unclear, but they were confident that any golfing would have been done over the weekend.
(CNN) – MoveOn.org Political Action, a liberal advocacy group that supports many Democratic causes and Sen. Barack Obama presidential candidacy, will launch radio advertisements Friday that target six GOP members of Congress over their involvement in a week-long protest by House Republicans.
Since Congress’ five-week long recess began last Friday, some House Republicans have taken to the House floor every weekday to protest Congress’ failure to vote on an energy bill.
“The political theatrics in the House this week are brought to you by the Party that’s been sold to Big Oil,” said Noah T. Winer, in a statement released by MoveOn Thursday. “They are playing politics instead of offering solutions,” Winer, a campaign director at MoveOn also said in the statement.
The radio ads will air in the districts of Rep. Roy Blunt (Missouri’s 7th District), Rep. Mike Pence (Ohio’s Indiana’s 6th District), Rep. Mary Fallin (Oklahoma’s 5th District), Rep. John Culberson (Texas’s 7th District), Rep. Mike Conaway (Texas’s 11th District), and Rep. Jon Porter (Nevada’s 3rd District).
Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House, met with House Republicans Wednesday, followed by a Capitol Hill press conference. The GOP protest is being support by a burgeoning movement of conservative online political activists.