(CNN) – The Obama campaign announced Friday that it is asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over any investigations of voter fraud or voter suppression to Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy, the same special prosecutor recently appointed to investigate the U.S. attorney firing scandal.
It’s the latest salvo in an escalating war over allegations of possible voter irregularities during the upcoming presidential election.
“What they’re actually about is the unprecedented effort to essentially sap the American people of confidence in the voting process,” Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign’s general counsel, said Friday on a conference call.
Listen: Obama camp's general counsel explains the request
Bauer said partisan politics was behind Thursday’s leak from senior governmental officials about a preliminary FBI investigation into the voter registration activities of ACORN, the embattled community organizing group that has become the focus of Republican efforts to highlight voter fraud as the election approaches.
“ACORN is a tool for attacking voters,” Bauer also said.
“We need to have these matters removed from the day-to-day department’s direct control and put into the special prosecutor’s independent hands,” Bauer told reporters Friday. “She should have responsibility for reviewing any and all matters involving allegations of fraud and suppression in this election,” said Bauer.
The McCain campaign responded suggesting that it was Sen. Obama and his campaign who were engaging in partisan politics by requesting the special prosecutor's involvement. In a statement issued Friday night, McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt called Obama's request "absurd" and said it was an attempt to "criminalize political discourse."
"Rest assured that, despite these threats, the McCain-Palin campaign will continue to address the serious issue of voter registration fraud by ACORN and other partisan groups, and compliance by states with the Help America Vote Act's requirement of matching new voter registrations with state data bases to prevent voter fraud," Porritt added.
Listen: McCain campaign manager Rick Davis discusses ACORN Friday
(CNN) - Barack Obama scored three high-profile newspaper endorsements Friday, including two from papers that have never endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate before.
The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post all praised Obama's handling of the grueling presidential campaign and the historical nature of his candidacy as the first African American to be the nominee for a major political party. It's the first time either the Times or the Tribune, Obama's historically conservative hometown newspaper, has endorsed a Democrat for the White House.
"The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness," wrote the Times, which hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate since 1972. "But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity. These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade."
"We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready," wrote the Tribune, originally led by founding members of the Republican Party. "The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government.
"Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building," The post, which has a history of endorsing Democrats said.
With 18 days remaining before Election Day, more newspaper are expected to weigh in on the presidential race.
But it remains unclear if newspaper endorsements translates into a White House win. According to the newspaper trade magazine Editor and Publisher, John Kerry's losing 2004 presidential bid was endorsed by 211 newspapers while President Bush's successful campaign had the backing of 197. However, the president did win the backing of more key newspapers in the crucial presidential battlegrounds that propelled him to victory.
It is likely then that the endorsements of local papers in key states such as Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado will have a greater impact than those of the Times, Post, and Tribune.
(CNN) - Former first lady Nancy Reagan has been released from a hospital after fracturing her pelvis during a fall at home last week, a spokeswoman said Friday.
Reagan, 87, returned to her Bel Air, California, home, spokeswoman Joanne Drake said.
Doctors expect a full recovery, prescribing a regimen of daily physical therapy and a reduced public schedule, Drake said in a written release.
The former first lady admitted herself to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday after experiencing what Drake described as "persistent pain."
Tests revealed a fractured pelvis and sacrum - the triangular bone within the pelvis.
She previously was hospitalized for two days in February after a fall.
MESILLA, New Mexico (CNN) – In his strongest attack on Sarah Palin to date, Joe Biden let loose on Sarah Palin’s comments about “pro-America” parts of the country. “We are all patriotic!” he shouted, adding that he’s tired of Republicans insinuating that Barack Obama isn’t patriotic.
“It’s disappointing, and I hope it was just a slip on her part and she doesn’t really mean it,” said Biden to several hundred supporters at an outdoor rally in this sleepy southern New Mexico town. “But she said, it was reported she said, that she likes to visit “pro-American” parts of the country."
At a fundraiser in Greensboro, North Carolina Thursday night, Palin told donors, “We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit, and in the wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation.”
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, in a speech on October 16 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, said of his Republican opponent, "Sen. McCain's top economic adviser actually said the other day that they have no plan to invest in college affordability because we can't have a giveaway to every special interest."
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(CNN) – Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, earned close to $4.2 million in total income in 2007 and paid $1.1 million in taxes, according to her tax returns released late Friday by the McCain campaign.
At a campaign stop Friday, October 17, in Roanoke, Virginia, Sen. Barack Obama took aim at Sen. John McCain's health care plan. "The Wall Street Journal recently reported that it was actually worse than we thought. It turns out Senator McCain would pay for part of his plan by making drastic cuts in
Medicare - $882 billion worth," Obama said, adding, "It would mean a cut of more than 20 percent in Medicare benefits next year."
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MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) – On a brief flight from Ohio to Indiana on Friday, Sarah Palin spoke to reporters traveling with her campaign for just the second time this election cycle.
Watch: Palin chats with the press
During a seven-minute back and forth with the press, Palin was asked why her campaign was focusing on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, even though Obama has much closer ties to his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Alaska governor lamented Obama’s relationship with Wright, but said the decision to make it a campaign issue is John McCain’s.
“He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Rev. Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning,” she said. “But again that is John McCain's call.”
Though the McCain campaign is being forced to defend traditional GOP strongholds like North Carolina and Indiana this late in the election season, Palin said “my input has been, let us get out there to as many states as we have time for.”
“I think it's wise not to take anything for granted and assume that any state is a lock for either ticket,” she said.
She also talked about what she meant when she said she enjoyed visiting "pro-America" areas, whether or not she believes Barack Obama loves America, and her upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live.
The transcript of Palin’s full remarks are after the jump.
(CNN) – Joe Biden campaigned in New Mexico earlier Friday, during which he heavily criticized Sarah Palin for her recent comment that she likes to travel to 'pro-America' parts of the country.
"I, like your senators and governor have been all over this great land," Biden said. "I’ve never been to a state, I’ve never been to a state that hasn’t sent its sons and daughters to serve and die for this country."
"Folks, it doesn’t matter where you live, we all love this country and I hope it gets through. We all love this country," he also said.
Watch the event on CNN.com/live
At a campaign stop Friday, October 17, in Miami, Florida, Sen. John McCain said, "If I'm elected president, I won't make it harder to sell our goods overseas ... as Sen. Obama proposes. I'll open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair."
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