WASHINGTON (CNN) - On a rainy evening last December in the upstate South Carolina town of Greer, as his once-languishing campaign was clawing its way back into contention, John McCain hosted a town hall meeting at a diner called Pete's Drive-In.
He talked about the issues that usually stir his passions - a commitment to service, winning the war in Iraq, fighting pork-barrel spending - before taking questions from a small audience of Republican primary voters.
As the event neared its conclusion, a man in the back of the restaurant raised his hand and broached a topic not often heard at the VFW and American Legion halls where McCain preferred to campaign.
"I was wondering if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior?" the voter asked.
McCain, positioned before a large American flag, paused and lowered his head.
"I am a man of faith," he responded. "I have deep religious beliefs and values. I had experiences in my life where I had to rely on God not to get me through another day or another hour, but another minute."
The questioner, not satisfied, pressed the candidate again on whether he had let Christ into his life.
"I also believe that talking too much about one's faith and religion, in my view, is something between me and God," McCain said. The crowd clapped.
Eight months later, the GOP nominee-in-waiting sat onstage with mega-pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in California, earning cheers for telling an audience of evangelicals that he was "saved and forgiven."
(CNN) - John McCain told a veterans group Monday that Barack Obama had played politics with the Iraq war by trying to “legislate failure.”
“With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Senator Obama’s varying positions on the surge in Iraq,” McCain told the Veterans of Foreign Wars Monday at their annual convention in Orlando, Florida.
In recent weeks, McCain has intensified his criticisms of Obama on the war. At the Aspen Institute in Colorado last week, McCain said of his rival: "I think he's wrong, and I think he used the issue of Iraq for political reasons to get the nomination of his party.”
Watch: McCain hits Obama on Iraq
McCain repeated a number of accusations he first issued two weekends ago to the convention of the Disabled American Veterans in Las Vegas, including that Obama tried to “legislate failure” by voting against the May 2007 supplemental appropriations bill, a nay vote that Obama’s campaign said was a protest against the Bush administration’s refusal to include a timeline for troop withdrawal.
The presumptive Republican nominee also hammered Obama on his apparent refusal to admit that the troop surge has succeeded.
“Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines and to brave Iraqi fighters the surge has succeeded,” McCain said. “And yet Senator Obama still cannot quite bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment.”
McCain also continued to push his line on the Georgia-Russia conflict, accusing Moscow of “tyranny” and demanding that Russia be thrown out of the G-8.
“In cooperation with our friends and allies in Europe, we will make it clear to Russia’s rulers that acts of violence and intimidation come at a heavy cost,” he said. “There will be no place among G-8 nations, or in the WTO, for a modern Russia that acts at times like the old Soviet Union. The Cold War is over, the Soviet empire is gone, and neither one is missed.”
(CNN) – The staggering $7.8 million Barack Obama pulled in Sunday night in San Francisco was the latest sign he’s winning the presidential money chase — and the presumptive Democratic nominee made it clear he’s expecting to win another race as well.
“I will win. Don’t worry about that,” Obama said to a gathering of approximately 1,300 donors, according to a pool report of the event.
A confident Obama addressed three separate groups, but was particularly forceful during the final part of the evening, saying it would be nice if after the last eight years of economic disaster and “bungled” foreign policy that voters would say, “Toss the bums out, we’re starting from scratch, we’re starting over. This is not working.”
“So I understand why a lot of folks are saying, this should just happen. Why are we having to run all these television commercials? Why do we have to raise all this money?” Obama asked the crowd. “Just read the papers. These are the knuckleheads who have been in charge. Throw ‘em out. But American politics aren’t that simple.”
(CNN) – Less than a week before the Democratic Party convenes in Denver to officially name its nominee, a new poll shows the typically-red state of Colorado shaping up as a battleground in the November election.
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, leads his rival Sen. Barack Obama by 3 percentage points – 44 percent to 41 percent – in a new Rocky Mountain News/CBS 4 poll. Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they were unsure about their choice for president.
The poll of 500 registered voters conducted August 11-13 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, making the McCain-Obama race a virtual tie in Colorado.
Click here to see CNN's Electoral Map.
(CNN) – Sometimes you just have to take it on faith.
Pastor Rick Warren said John McCain didn’t hear any of the questions in advance at Saturday night’s Civil Forum, even if the candidate was a little late arriving to the pre-arranged quiet room or “cone of silence.”
At the beginning of the forum at California megachurch, Warren told the crowd and TV audience, “I'm going to ask identical questions to each of these candidates, so you can compare apples to apples. Now, Senator Obama is going to go first. We flipped a coin, and we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence.”
But at 8 p.m. ET, as Warren said that, McCain was actually not in the building. He was just leaving his hotel, with his motorcade arriving at the church nearly a half hour into the event. A. Larry Ross, a spokesman for Warren, says McCain then went directly into the holding room they dubbed the “cone of silence” (in reality, a room with no TV or audio).
CNN: Did you miss the forum? Catch the replay on CNN
Hear what Barack Obama and John McCain have to say about abortion, same sex marriages, leadership and faith.
CNN: Warren: McCain did not violate 'cone of silence'
Sometimes you just have to take it on faith. Pastor Rick Warren said John McCain didn’t hear any of the questions in advance at Saturday night’s Civil Forum, even if the candidate was a little late arriving to the pre-arranged quiet room or “cone of silence.”
CNN: Keck’s Analysis: Same tough questions, different approaches
From their views on abortion to their greatest moral failings, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain used much different styles to tackle the same tough questions at Saturday night's forum on faith.
Financial Times: Guessing grows over US running mates
Barack Obama and John McCain enter their final week before the start of the US presidential nominating conventions amid intense speculation about who they plan to choose as their respective running mates – with Mr Obama almost certain to make his choice in the next few days.
CNN Radio: Candidates talk mega-issues at mega-chruch
Both major presidential candidates took their Christian-based beliefs to a mega-church, where followers seemed to have their own wide variety of views. Bob Costantini has today's CNN Radio Political Ticker.
Washington Times: McCain pulls into a tie in new polling
One week before Democrats gather to nominate Sen. Barack Obama to be president, polls show the Illinois lawmaker locked in a dead heat with Republican Sen. John McCain, who now leads among white voters overall and has gained among Republicans, evangelicals and white working-class people.
Washington Post: Sarkozy Op-Ed: Europe Gets Started On Quelling a Crisis
The time will come when the sequence of events and responsibilities can be established in an indisputable and impartial manner: several weeks of provocations and skirmishes along the lines separating South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia; the thoughtless Georgian military intervention in South Ossetia the night of Aug. 7-8; the brutal and disproportionate response of Russian troops, driving the small Georgian army from South Ossetia and dislodging it from Abkhazia - the other separatist province, where it had regained a foothold in 2006 - before occupying part of the rest of Georgian territory.
* Sen. John McCain campaigns in Florida, speaking at 9am at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Orlando and then attending a business roundtable.
* Sen. Barack Obama takes part in the discussion on the economy at 12:15pm eastern at the main library in Albuquerque, NM. Later, Gov. Bill Richardson joins him at a town hall meeting.