WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Rick Warren said Thursday that his upcoming forum with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will be aimed at asking them tough "heartland questions."
The author of the best-selling book "The Purpose-Driven Life" is to interview McCain and Obama on Saturday.
The candidates will appear together at Warren's 20,000-member Saddleback mega-church in southern California.
"Well, I'm a pastor, not a pundit," he told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux on Thursday's "Situation Room." "One of the things we're going to do is I'm going to ask identical questions to both candidates, which will be different.
"I'm not going to play 'gotcha' with one candidate and not with the other. This way, it will be totally fair. You compare apples to apples," he added.
WASHINGTON (CNN)—The AFL-CIO launched a new offensive on Thursday, the 73rd anniversary of Social Security, looking to paint John McCain as a wealthy elitist who is unconcerned with the needs of senior citizens.
In a mailer expected to reach 50,000 seniors Friday in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, the labor organization focuses in on McCain’s plans to privatize social security and increase the minimum age for eligibility above 65 years old.
“John McCain started receiving Social Security when he turned 65,” the mailer says. “But now he has a risky scheme to privatize Social Security—threatening our benefits.
“McCain’s worth over $100 million...,” the mailer also says. “He walks around in $520 Italian loafers. If John McCain lost his Social Security, he’d get by just fine. Would you?”
In 2006 the Arizona senator earned $3.9 million and has a net worth of $40.4 million, which Democrats have noted in an effort to paint McCain as out-of-touch with the average voter.
McCain’s net worth far succeeds Obama’s $1.3 million. In 2006, the presumptive Democratic nominee earned $991,000.
The presumptive Republican nominee has said that he supports a partial privatization of Social Security — which the AFL-CIO is using to try to tie his positions to President Bush’s unpopular 2005 attempt to overhaul the system.
According to the AFL-CIO, their efforts will be expanding over the coming weeks to reach a larger number of voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan—with the potential of extending outside those swing states.
Summertime and the swift boats are sailing.
The author of the book that attacked John Kerry’s record on a Vietnam War Swift boat, and ultimately torpedoed his campaign, is now going after Barack Obama.
Jerome Corsi is out with “The Obama Nation”, which will debut at number 1 on the New York Times best-seller list this Sunday. It portrays Obama as a radical liberal who’s tried to cover up his connections to Islam. The book also questions whether Obama’s drug use as a youngster ever ended. Real nice stuff.
Critics say that a lot of the book’s accusations are unsubstantiated or just not true.
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(CNN) — Barack Obama's campaign announced Thursday that it had set a new campaign fundraising record, reaching the two million donor mark with more than two months left until Election Day.
“Today we achieved something amazing - 2,000,000 donors owning a piece of this campaign,” read a message on the campaign’s Web site. “In the face of John McCain’s low road tactics, it's more important than ever to keep our movement growing and show the power of millions of grassroots supporters coming together to work for change.”
In an e-mail to supporters Monday, campaign manager David Plouffe said he hoped a backlash from a television spot from John McCain’s campaign that painted Obama as a celebrity would help the campaign reach that mark by the party's convention at the end of August, just six months after the campaign topped one million donors.
"Two million donors is an incredible number — a number that was previously unimaginable for presidential campaigns," he wrote. "And it's a number this campaign never dreamed we could reach before the convention."
Obama surpassed one million donors in late February. As of the end of June, the most recent fundraising figures available, Obama had raised nearly $340 million for his presidential bid.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - The site of the 2008 Republican National Convention is one step closer to looking like it well the night presumptive GOP nominee John McCain officially accepts his party's nomination for president.
In a media walk-through of St. Paul, Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, officials unveiled the stage and steps that lead to the position where McCain will speak.
Mike Miller, director of operations of the event site, said the platform itself is only four feet above the actual floor, which gives the area a more open feeling and "brings everything down closer to the people who are watching."
Friday will mark the end of the fourth week of construction in a six-week process. In the remaining weeks, construction workers will add camera platforms, chairs and delegation signs on the floor, carpet in the aisles, and various colored decorations.
(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Wednesday some supporters of Hillary Clinton's White House bid need an attitude adjustment.
Appearing on a San Francisco radio show to promote her new book, Pelosi praised Clinton's actions since dropping out of the presidential race two months ago but said some of her backers have not acted so nobly.
"I think Hillary Clinton has been very gracious," Pelosi said on KGO radio. "I think some of her supporters have been less than gracious."
Polls have shown the majority of Democrats who voted for Clinton during the party's primaries will support Obama in November, but a highly-vocal minority has made it clear they won't support the Illinois senator under any circumstances.
One group of disenchanted Democrats have formed a coalition popularly referred to as "Party Unity My A–," while the AP reports Thursday other backers of Hillary Clinton plan to paper Denver, the city hosting the Democratic convention, with outraged fliers to express their disapproval with Obama as the presidential nominee.
Clinton herself has urged party unity, though she appeared to fuel some of the fire last week when she left open the possibility of placing her name in nomination at the party's convention. Critics have said that move would only serve to highlight rifts in the party on primetime television.
Speaking Wednesday, Pelosi also brushed aside comments made by Bill Clinton during a recent interview, during which the former president refused to say if he though Obama was ready to be Commander-in-Chief.
"I can't answer for Bill Clinton," she said. "It's hard when you're in a primary election. Losing is very, very difficult."
In the wide-ranging interview, Pelosi also had tough words for onetime Democrat Joe Lieberman, now an ardent supporter of John McCain's White House bid. The House Speaker called Lieberman's recent comments suggesting Obama has not always put American first "totally irresponsible."
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign unveiled its second Olympics spot Thursday, another economy-focused ad aimed at middle class voters.
The ad, Three Bedroom Ranch, will air on national cable and broadcast television in all 50 states beginning next Monday.
“A plan to build. A plan to put hard working Americans first,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot, over footage of a house being constructed. “He’ll put the middle class ahead of Corporate Interests to grow the economy. End tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Help businesses that create jobs here. Invest in education. Cut taxes for working families. And make energy independence an urgent national priority.”
Obama’s first Olympics buy was another positive spot, focused on his “green jobs” policy proposals.
During the same period, his campaign has also released tough local radio spots attacking opponent John McCain as he visits manufacturing communities in battleground states, including an ad that said the presumptive Republican nominee and his campaign manager Rick Davis were partly responsible for the potential loss of thousands of Ohio jobs, and another that painted him as uninterested in protecting motorcycle manufacturing jobs. That ad was timed to coincide with his trip to York, Pennsylvania, site of a major Harley-Davidson plant.
(CNN) – A major firefighters union will throw its support behind Barack Obama during its annual convention in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Obama, who is on vacation with his family in Hawaii, taped a message that will be played in front of the 3,500 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters at around 2pm E.T.
The union chose to back Obama over John McCain because of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s support of collective bargaining, which gives workers the right to jointly work with their employers to negotiate hours, salaries, benefits and overall working conditions, IAFF spokesman Scott Treibitz said.
“It is unacceptable when fire fighters do not have collective bargaining rights. But it's not just collective bargaining,” Obama said in the video. “For too long on too many issues, fire fighters have not been treated with the dignity, respect and honor you deserve."
The IAFF endorsed Sen. Chris Dodd’s ultimately unsuccessful presidential bid last August and IAFF President Harold Schaitberger campaigned with him in the early primary states. The union was also credited with giving Sen. John Kerry’s campaign a major boost in 2004.
"On every issue important to fire fighters Senator Obama is and has been in our corner," Schaitberger said. "We can't overlook Senator McCain's service to our country, but we also can't overlook his poor record on issues critical to the financial security of our 290,000 members."
Sen. Joe Biden will attend and address the convention on behalf of Obama.
(CNN) - Oprah Winfrey will be on hand when Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination in Denver – but the talk show host, who was a key presence at rallies for the Illinois senator during the primary season, won’t take the stage, a representative from her production company told CNN Wednesday.
The spokeswoman also denied rumors Winfrey was planning to spend thousands renting a home in Denver during the convention.
In June, shortly after Obama effectively clinched the Democratic nomination, Winfrey – who appeared with him in several key early-voting states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and California – said she was "euphoric” over his victory.
“I've been doing the happy dance all day,” she said in a statement then. “I'm so proud of Barack and Michelle and what this means for all of us, the new possibilities for our country.”
She added that she’d be happy to hit the trail again on his behalf: “And if he wants me to, I'm ready to go door to door."
McCain said Ridge's support of abortion rights does not rule him out as VP
(CNN) - John McCain has a message for those who believe former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge's support of abortion rights effectively rules him out for the VP spot on the Republican presidential ticket:
Not so fast.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who remains suspect in the eyes of many social conservatives, told the Weekly Standard Wednesday Ridge’s pro-choice stance does not necessarily mean he isn't being considered for the No.2 spot.
"I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party," McCain told the magazine. "And I also feel that–and I'm not trying to equivocate here–that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."
Ridge, a veteran of the Vietnam War who remains extremely popular in his critical home state, is a close ally of McCain who campaigned with the Arizona senator during his Pennsylvania swing earlier this week.
In many ways, Ridge is an appealing choice for McCain, especially geographically. The GOP hasn't carried Pennsylvania in two decades, and a McCain win there would deal a potentially devastating blow to Obama's hopes of winning the White House. Ridge's hardscrabble upbringing may also appeal to blue-collar voters while his moderate political leanings could play well with Independents.
But the pro-choice ridge is no ideological warrior and if McCain hopes to placate economic and social conservatives, Ridge may be the wrong pick. Along those lines, Joe Lieberman - now an "independent Democrat and fervent McCain supporter who is also pro-choice - likely wouldn't fare well with many conservatives either.
McCain has a solid pro-life voting record, and he has said he thinks Roe. v. Wade should be overturned. But the issue is not one McCain appears to like discussing.