WASHINGTON (CNN) – Call it the overlooked election. An intense battle is going on right now for control of Congress, but it's overshadowed in the media by a historic race for the White House.
So which party has the upper hand in the fight for Capitol Hill?
The answer, according to a new national poll, appears to be the Democrats. In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Tuesday, 56 percent of those questioned are backing the Democratic candidate for Congress, while 42 percent support the Republicans.
That's a change from immediately after the GOP convention, when the Democrats had only a 3-point lead lead over the Republicans, 49 percent to 46 percent.
"The change may simply be due to the convention bounce fading for local Republicans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "We've seen evidence that the bounce for John McCain and Sarah Palin was not a permanent change in the horse race. Since the Dems have had a double-digit lead in the so-called 'generic ballot' question throughout the year, it's possible that the current numbers are just reverting back to normal levels for 2008."
The "generic ballot" question asked voters to choose between an unnamed Democratic candidate versus an unnamed Republican in the House race in their district. In reality, people vote for specific candidates in the 435 separate district elections for the House of Representatives.
(CNN) — The Bush administration $700 billion plan for bailing out the nation's stalled financial system got its first public review on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
In the latest installment of CNN= Politics Daily, Brianna Keilar reports on how lawmakers are responding to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposal to rescue Wall Street.
Meanwhile: Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley is out on the campaign trail in Florida, one of the key battleground states in the November election. Crowley outlines what Sen. Barack Obama wants in the bailout plan, and Dana Bash has the latest from Sen. John McCain who discussed what he'd like to see in the plan during his first press conference in several weeks.
Finally, some voters are already going to the polls even though there's still more than a month left in the general election campaign. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on the practice of early voting.
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In an Obama campaign Spanish-language radio ad aimed at Latino voters that aired in New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada during the second week of September, the narrator says, "John McCain abandoned us on immigration reform rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party."
Does Obama's radio ad accurately describe McCain on immigration?
NEW YORK (CNN) – Before heading out for a trio of well-publicized meetings with foreign dignitaries on Tuesday, Sarah Palin received a national security briefing from the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Michael McConnell, who met with the governor this morning in her New York hotel.
Palin’s top foreign policy adviser informed reporters of the meeting at a small briefing following Palin’s visits with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The adviser, Stephen Biegun, formerly a senior official on the National Security Council under President Bush, characterized the intelligence briefing as “routine” and said it was the sort of meeting that “is standard for candidates for the vice president and president.” Biegun said several officials were present to brief Palin.
Palin then departed her hotel for a series of motorcade trips around Manhattan, visiting with foreign leaders for the first time in her career.
“These are relationships that she intuitively understands are very important for the next President and Vice President of the United States,” Biegun said of the meetings.
(CNN) – On Tuesday, John McCain held a press conference for the first time since becoming the Republican nominee, his first in six weeks. Much has been made of his running mate Sarah Palin not talking to the press corps traveling with her, and rarely sitting for interviews. But amid all the criticism of the Republican ticket avoiding the press, it has slipped the notice of many that Joe Biden isn’t giving press conferences either.
His last media availability was over two weeks ago on September 7 aboard his campaign plane, flying from Montana to Wisconsin. He spoke for about half an hour, over a third of which was in response to a question about partitioning Iraq.
But since then, there has been no interaction with the small band of reporters on the Delaware senator’s plane.
To be fair, the famously talkative Biden has given 89 national and local interviews, according to the campaign. Palin, in contrast, has granted just a handful, including one to People Magazine.
Biden's press secretary David Wade blames the lack of access on a compressed schedule, combined with a workload that includes preparing for next week's debate and writing speeches, like Wednesday's foreign policy address in Cincinnati. He says that there will be a press conference once things slow down, but adds that as Barack Obama prepares this week for Friday's presidential debate, Biden will pick up the slack by adding more events.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
HURRICANE MILLS, Tennessee (CNN)– As Friday night’s first presidential debate approaches, with some television-industry experts predicting that the 90 minutes will garner Super Bowl-level ratings, it is instructive, and more than a little humbling, to step for a moment into the place where we paused for a bite to eat on our way to Mississippi.
This election year is often said to have captured the public’s imagination to a degree seldom seen in U.S. history. The nation is reputed to be all but addicted to the campaign and everything about it.
Well. . . .
(CNN) – In the wake of the crisis on Wall Street, the Obama campaign is targeting Latinos in four key battleground states with new ads focused on economic issues.
In the new Spanish-language radio ad “Crisis Económica” - “Economic Crisis” – the Obama campaign once again highlights McCain’s recent statement that “’The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” and accuses McCain of having “no clue about the struggles of the middle class and working people.” McCain and Republicans “can’t fix our economy if they don’t know it’s broken,” says a female announcer.
The campaign’s new 30-second Spanish language television ad, “No Hay Mayor Obligación” - “There Is No Greater Obligation” - strikes similar themes. “Maybe John McCain and the Republicans don’t want to bother themselves with the prosperity of our families, but for us, there’s no greater obligation,” a female voice says as the ad ends.
McCain surrogate Rosario Marin, former U.S. Treasurer, hit back in a Tuesday statement released by the campaign. “Barack Obama has once again lied and distorted John McCain’s record on the economy,” said Marin, adding that on taxes, “the only thing Barack Obama can offer to Hispanics is total lack of leadership.”
“Crisis Económica” and “No Hay Mayor Obligación” begin airing Tuesday in New Mexico, Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
Sen. John McCain, in a speech on September 21 to the National Guard Association of the United States, spoke about Iraq, citing his support of the "surge" and the strides it has fostered in the war. In the address, McCain repeated a statement that he made elsewhere that "victory in Iraq is finally in sight."
Get the facts after the jump!
(CNN) - McCain-Palin campaign officials shifted course Tuesday after being informed by television news organizations that they would not broadcast footage of Sarah Palin’s meeting with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai Tuesday in New York - the Republican VP nominee’s first with a foreign leader - if a reporter was not allowed in to observe the pair.
CNN, which was the pool network for the event, informed the campaign of its decision. The network was then told a CNN producer would be allowed in the room to act as a media representative, just minutes before the photo op was scheduled to take place. However, print reporters and wire services were not allowed to observe the meeting, as they have been able to do at similar McCain events in the past.
The press only caught a brief glimpse of the vice presidential nominee. Palin was seated in a large chair a few feet from Karzai, with a table in between them. Seated slightly behind Palin were campaign foreign policy advisers Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann, who are accompanying the governor in her motorcade today.
As the pool entered, the Afghan president appeared to be telling Palin about his young son, who was born in January 2007.
Palin, her legs crossed and at one point patting her heart, was leaning in eagerly and smiling. Karzai, wearing his traditional clothes but without his trademark karakul hat, was also grinning while discussing the child. His remarks were mostly unintelligible as the noise from the clicking cameras drowned them out.
“What is his name?,” Palin asked.
“Mirwais,” Karzai responded. “Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’”
“Oh nice,” Palin responded.
“He is the only one we have,” remarked Karzai.
After 29 seconds observing the meeting, CNN and other photographers covering the meeting were escorted out of the room.
Later, McCain-Palin press representatives chalked up the restrictions to a “mix-up, a miscommunication among staff.” The full pool — a print and wires reporter, along with a television producer — was then allowed in to observe Palin’s meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for 15-20 seconds.