ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) - CNN confirms that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai next week in New York during the opening meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
The meeting is part of a larger effort by the McCain campaign to bolster Palin's foreign policy credentials in the face of criticism from Democrats questioning her preparedness for the Vice Presidency. Though her running mate is considered a leading voice on military issues and foreign affairs, Palin herself has only traveled abroad to Kuwait, Germany, Canada and, briefly, to an Iraqi border crossing.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the story, the Karzai meeting was initiated by McCain campaign officials.
At a town-hall meeting in Michigan on Wednesday, Palin expressed confidence in her foreign policy acumen.
"But as for foreign policy, you know, I think that I am prepared, and I know that on January 20th, if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we'll be ready," she told a questioner. "I'll be ready."
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) Pulling up to the Election Express: Bobby Hilton, a pastor with a radio show show in Cincinnati. He says he was listening to CNN on his car radio, heard “Ballot Bowl” and decided to come look for us.
What are his listeners talking about? No mystery here.: the economy. Ohio’s unemployment is higher than the national average at 7.4 percent. “People are hurting”, he says and they want to hear more from the candidates.
Hilton is a Barack Obama supporter. He says he’s glad to hear Obama talk about helping Main Street. But, Hilton says, he still isn’t convinced he is hearing enough specifics from either candidate. What’s his reaction to the Wall Street crisis? “Shock”. But he says Cincinnati has been feeling the ripple effects of a weak economy for some time.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS: Cambridge, OH (CNN) - There was a farmer’s market under way on the courthouse square as we pulled into town, and across the street Howard Forsythe, 73, was walking into the bank to take care of some personal business.
Biden campaigned in Virginia Saturday (AP Photo)
CASTLEWOOD, Virginia (CNN) – Joe Biden joined Barack Obama in jumping on John McCain’s recent comments that seemingly promote health care deregulation, at a campaign event deep in coal country Virginia Saturday.
The Democratic VP nominee also told supporters at the annual United Mine Workers Fish Fry that Obama won’t take away their guns, but if he tries, “he’s got a problem.”
Biden has hammered McCain all week for what he says is the Arizona senator's newfound support for regulation of Wall Street practices. But Biden questioned how the Arizona senator can seemingly still support deregulation in the health care industry. As Obama did in Florida Saturday morning, the Delaware senator read the crowd a quote from McCain in a new magazine article that appears to criticize state regulation of insurance companies.
“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done the last decade for banking, would provide more choices of innovative products burdened by the worst of excesses of state-based regulation,” McCain wrote in an article published today in the American Academy of Actuaries magazine.
“Translate it, get rid of the regulations, get rid of the protections and hang on to your health insurance,” said Biden. “This guy has not learned anything.”
“In the mortgage industry they talked about new innovative projects,” he added. “Sub-prime mortgages. Without anybody looking over anybody’s shoulder. All these new fancy business terms about new product. Well the new product is bringing down our economy, bringing down the world economy and we got a lot of work to do to staunch this bleeding and begin to rebuild.”
The McCain campaign shot back that the quote is being distorted, saying McCain wants people to be able to buy insurance across state lines in the way people can bank in different states.
“This is absurd,” said McCain economic advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin. “If Barack Obama thinks that today’s financial troubles were caused by policies which allowed Americans to use an ATM anywhere in the country, then it is better that he continue to be silent about the solutions to the crisis on Wall Street. That crisis arose from corruption and regulators asleep at the switch.”
CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (CNN) Cambridge is a small community about an hour from the West Virginia border. We were on our way from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, so we decided to stop there for lunch.
Whenever we roll into a small town we attract a lot of attention...a forty-five foot bus with CNN emblazoned on the side tends to catch the eye, so It's usually not hard to find people to talk to. There was a farmers market going on in the small park at the front of the towns courthouse, so we chatted with a few vendors to see how business was.
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain made a stop Saturday at his 50-year class reunion at the U.S. Naval Academy football game.
The Arizona senator, who often mentions his time as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam era, graduated from the Academy in 1958, along with fellow alumni John Poindexter and Robert “Bud” McFarlane—two consecutive national security advisers serving under President Ronald Reagan who both played a role in the Iran-Contra affair. McCain's son, Jack, is currently a senior at the Naval Academy.
The Navy Midshipmen (1-2) play the 0-2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
UPDATE: McCain and wife Cindy appeared to have left earlier than planned, as staff and U.S. Secret Service traveling with the press pool were caught off guard. The White House hopeful stayed long enough to see only the first quarter before he departed.
(CNN) - Rep. Charlie Rangel, the longtime House Democrat already mired in possible ethics violations, is facing a new round of fire Saturday after describing Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin as "disabled."
Interviewed by New York television station WCBS Friday evening, the powerful New York congressman was asked why Democrats appear "afraid" of Palin.
"You got to be kind to the disabled," Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded in an answer the reporter interviewing him later called "astonishing."
Rangel later repeated the comment, adding, "There's no question about it - Politically it's a nightmare to think that a person's foreign policy is based on their ability to look at Russia from where they live."
Republicans, who have already been highly critical of Rangel over his failure to report taxes on income from his Dominican Republic beach house, are seizing on the comments.
"As if achieving new ethical lows was not sufficient, now Rangel is hitting a rhetorical low. Insulting the next vice president will not distract from Rangel's tax scandals," Republican National Committee Spokesman Alex Conant said.
Rangel reported paying $10,800 in back taxes Friday, according to the Associated Press, and complained that Republicans were waging a "guerrilla war" against him.
Shortly after the interview aired Friday night, Rangel issued a statement say his words were "misinterpreted."
"Sometimes in the heat of a political campaign you choose words that can be misinterpreted," he said. "Governor Palin is an obviously healthy person who in no way fits the description of disabled. I meant to say then, and I am saying now, that she entered the campaign with a disadvantage in the area of foreign policy."
Rangel was a supporter of Hillary Clinton's White House bid, but endorsed Obama immediately after the last round of primary contests in June.
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (CNN) - Barack Obama told voters here that if John McCain became president he would “privatize” their Social Security – a debate over the program that could resurface as a major issue in the closing weeks of the campaign given the wild swings in financial markets.
“If my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would’ve had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week. Millions would’ve watched as the market tumbled and their nest egg disappeared before their eyes,” he said. “I know Senator McCain is talking about a ‘casino culture’ on Wall Street – but the fact is, he’s the one who wants to gamble with your life savings and that is not going to happen when I’m president. When I’m President, we’re not going to gamble with Social Security.”
The McCain campaign disputed Obama’s assertion calling it “a desperate attempt to gain political advantage using scare tactics and deceit.”
CNN Election Center: Where the candidates stand on Social Security
Obama also highlighted an article McCain penned in this month’s issue of the American Academy of Actuaries magazine, called “Contingencies,” in which he said consumers would have more choices for health insurance products if the market was opened to more “vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking.”
“He wants to run health care like they’ve been running Wall Street. Well, senator, I know some folks on Main Street who aren’t going to think that’s such a good idea,” Obama said.
The Democratic nominee has one more event in Jacksonville before heading to North Carolina for an event Sunday in Charlotte.
The campaign announced Obama will spend several days next week prepping for Friday’s first presidential debate in the Tampa area – a spot along the I-4 corridor which is considered a crucial swing vote region for both candidates.
(CNN) - An average of the latest polls in Michigan shows why the state continues to be a battleground in the fight for the presidency.
A new CNN poll of polls in Michigan, compiled Saturday, suggests Senator Barack Obama has a five point lead over Senator John McCain, 47 percent to 42 percent, with 11 percent of voters undecided.
Seventeen electoral votes are up for grabs in Michigan.
It seems the current financial crisis from Wall Street to Main Street will be a major factor in Michigan.
"The struggling economy could be Obama's trump card," noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. "Obama is doing slightly better in our Michigan poll of polls than in our national poll of polls in large part because Michigan is ground zero when it comes to the country's current economic hardship. The unsettling news from Wall Street over the last few days should play to Obama's advantage, especially in the Rust Belt."
Michigan's voted for the Democratic candidate in the last four presidential elections, but it was quite close last time around, with Senator John Kerry beating President Bush there by just three points.
The latest CNN poll of polls is an average of the three most recent surveys in Michigan. They are a Big Ten Batttleground poll conducted September 14-17, an EPIC/MRA survey taken on the same days, and a Marist poll conducted September 16-17.
UPDATE: The release of new ARG numbers this afternoon has tightened up the Michigan average by one point. Obama now leads McCain in the Michigan poll of polls by 4 points (47 to 43 percent). This morning's Michigan poll of polls showed Obama leading McCain by 5 points (47 to 42 percent).