WILMINGTON, Delaware (CNN) –- It will be a very public good-bye for Joe Biden and his eldest son, Beau: on Friday, the Delaware senator will address the deployment ceremony of his son’s National Guard unit as they prepare to leave for a tour of duty in Iraq.
Following Thursday night’s debate with Sarah Palin in St. Louis, Biden will fly back to Delaware to spend one last day with his 39 year-old son before his deployment to Iraq as a trial counselor in the 261st Signal Brigade, a unit that specializes in providing communications for the military in Iraq.
Friday morning, Biden will join the rest of Delaware’s congressional delegation and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner in speaking to the 110 members of the unit. Despite increased interest and security because Biden is now a vice presidential nominee, the public affairs officer for the unit insists the ceremony will be no different, and not political.
“Our ceremony will be the same as any other unit leaving,” said Lt. Col. Len Grattieri. “We’re not planning anything different or special, it’s going to be a nice respectful ceremony.”
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) - New polls in five crucial battleground states that could decide the race for the White House suggest Barack Obama is making some major gains.
CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls released Wednesday afternoon of likely voters in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia suggest a shift towards the Democratic presidential nominee.
In Florida, the state that decided it all in the 2000 presidential election, 51 percent of likely voters say Obama is their choice for president, with 47 percent backing Republican presidential nominee John McCain. The last CNN poll taken in Florida showed the race for the state's 27 electoral votes all tied at 48 percent apiece, among registered voters. A new CNN Poll of Polls in Florida, also out Wednesday afternoon, has Obama over McCain by 5 points. The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the new CNN poll and other new state polls.
"The campaign season is like the hurricane season. Florida lies directly in its path. Hurricane Obama hit Florida, and Hurricane McCain. Tropical Storms Biden and Palin made landfall in the Sunshine State. The impact? Over the last two weeks, Barack Obama has been gaining support in Florida," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.
The Statement: In a set of radio ads aired Tuesday, September 30 in several battleground states, Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign says Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, are against "clean coal" technology. In "Clean Coal Colorado" a narrator says, "Obama-Biden and their liberal allies oppose clean coal. Listen to Joe Biden - 'No coal plants here in America.' 'We're not supporting clean coal.'"
Get the facts!
(CNN) – A nurses union is releasing a new television ad Wednesday that highlights John McCain’s age and medical history — and throws the spotlight on running mate Sarah Palin.
The National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association’s 30-second spot, “One Heartbeat Away,” features images of McCain interspersed with images of a heartbeat from an electrocardiogram, or “EKG” and images of Palin. The EKG’s readout eventually flatlines and the remainder of the ad focuses solely on Palin and her record as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and governor.
If McCain wins in November, at age 72, he would become the oldest person to win a first term in the White House. The Arizona senator also has a history of battling melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
Last May, McCain allowed reporters, including CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to review more a thousand pages of his medical records but did not allow any copies of the records to be made. At the time, a group of physicians from the Mayo Clinic who have treated McCain declared that the Republican nominee was in “excellent health” and also said there did not appear to be any physical reason why McCain could not carry out the duties of the presidency.
The 85,000-member nurses union behind “One Heartbeat Away” said in a statement Wednesday that this release of McCain’s medical information fell “far short of the full disclosure that all major candidates to the presidency should provide” and the union is calling on McCain to release his full medical records.
The new ad will air in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri and is supported by an ad buy in the low six figures. The McCain-Palin campaign did not respond to CNN’s request for comment about the ad.
(Full script after the jump)
The Statement: Sen. Barack Obama, speaking at campaign event on September 30 in Reno, Nevada, said he would make health care and financial reforms. "And I will take power away from the corporate lobbyists who think they can stand in the way of these reforms" he said. "I've done it in Illinois, I've done it in Washington and I will do it again as president."
Get the facts!
SEDONA, Arizona (CNN) - Sarah Palin's interview Tuesday with conservative talker Hugh Hewitt gave the vice presidential candidate a chance to showcase elements of her life story and demonstrate some of the folksiness that's been central to her political success.
Watch: Hewitt defends Palin
It's exactly the kind of interview that voters can expect to see from the governor in the coming weeks, according to a Palin adviser, who recognized that there is hunger in Republican circles and among the public at large to see a less-scripted, more authentic candidate. That means more comfortable settings like conservative talk radio, and fewer opportunities for Palin to stumble, as was the case with a pair of high-profile network interviews with ABC and CBS.
"We're going to be continue to put her in settings where she has an opportunity to shine, to be on offense," the adviser said. "We've gotten very good feedback from the public from Hugh Hewitt interview."
The adviser suggested that the campaign's efforts at damage control following Palin's interview with Katie Couric may have been hampered by the fact that the governor wasn't doing more friendly interviews to counter her flubs on Russia and the congressional bailout bill, which have reverberated throughout the blogosphere and even turned Palin into a punchline on Saturday Night Live.
"We acknowledge that perhaps she should have been out there doing more," said the adviser, who argued that "it's not fair to judge her off one or two sound bites" from the network interviews.
Palin is apparently eager to take on a more outspoken role - both in interviews and in her stump speech - after Thursday's vice presidential debate, in order to remind voters of what it is they like about her.
"She connects really well, and she's good at it, and she wants to be doing more of it, and she will do more of it," the adviser said.
(CNN) - Controversy swirled over VP debate moderator Gwen Ifill one day before the vice presidential face-off between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, after new scrutiny was drawn to her upcoming book about Barack Obama.
In stories published Wednesday, conservative commentators noted that "Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" – first announced several months ago – is slated to be released around the inauguration of the next president in January 2009, less than four months from today.
"...as if we needed any further evidence of a jaw-dropping double standard, we have to contemplate the sheer impossibility that someone who wrote a positive biography of McCain being chosen to moderate a debate," wrote Jim Geraghty on the National Review's Web site Wednesday.
The book has not yet been released to critics or the general public. Ifill talked about the upcoming book in a Washington Post interview in August, before the terms of the debate were finalized. In her only pre-debate interview, the PBS journalist told the Post's Howard Kurtz, a CNN contributor, that her book would cover new black political leaders like Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Watch: Kurtz on Ifill
(CNN) –- A veterans group that has run ads against Democrat Barack Obama in several battleground states is the Democratic nominee in a new multi-million dollar ad campaign that accuses him of caring more about his campaign than about troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Barack Obama skipped 45 percent of Senate votes, but did manage to show up to vote against emergency funding for our troops,” the narrator says in the new 30-second spot from Veterans for Freedom. “Obama was chairman of the committee overseeing the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan but never held a single hearing. “...Obama found time to make 45 trips to Iowa but only two trips to Iraq."
The new ad was set to debut in California Wednesday, and the group plans to spend $2.2 million to keep it on the air for the next nine days.
Obama’s campaign has objected to the charge that he voted against funding the troops, saying the Illinois senator voted against an Iraq supplemental spending bill that did not include a withdrawal timeline, but supported one that did. McCain voted against that Iraq funding bill, instead supporting one that did not include a timeline.
The Democrat’s campaign has also objected to the charge that the subcommittee he chairs failed to conduct proper oversight of the situation in Afghanistan, and that those hearings were handled through the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That committee is chaired by Obama’s running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
Veterans for Freedom’s 527 arm, which directed much of its 2006 ad spending, lists just a handful of donors this year — the bulk of the group’s budget is now handled out of its non-profit 501 (c) arm, which does not have to disclose its donors under current federal campaign finance regulations. The group has aired several anti-Obama ads this year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on a massive plan to pump government cash into the lending industry, Democratic leadership aides told CNN Wednesday.
The House dramatically rejected an earlier version of the plan on Monday, dealing a stinging defeat to the White House and Congressional leaders, who had spent more than a week negotiating the deal.
The Senate is voting on a new version of the bill on Wednesday, partly in order to increase pressure on the House to pass it.
(CNN) - New polls released Wednesday morning suggest the race for the White House could be breaking for Barack Obama in three key battleground states.
Just-released Quinnipiac University surveys show Obama with wide leads in Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as Florida - the showdown state in the 2000 presidential race where John McCain has had held an advantage for most of the summer.
The latest poll results are bad news for McCain as Election Day inches closer and just may be the clearest sign yet the nation's ongoing financial crisis is taking its toll on the Arizona senator's candidacy.
"It is virtually impossible for McCain to win the White House without Florida and Ohio," CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib said. "The financial crisis is playing right into Obama's message of change, and putting the GOP on the defensive all across the electoral map."
Election Center: Check out CNN's electoral map breakdown