NEW CASTLE, Delaware (CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden spoke at his home state’s Veterans Day ceremony Tuesday morning, thanking the veterans present for their service and re-iterating his campaign’s promise to care for those coming back from foreign battlefields “in this war that we ignore in everyday life.”
“We are a nation at war,” said Biden “Sometimes, you would not recognize that because such a small percentage of our population is serving. But as I speak, it is probable that some young American has been felled by a bullet, or a IED, or a bomb or a terrorist attack somewhere in Afghanistan or in Iraq.”
As he regularly did on the campaign trail, Biden praised the National Guard for the role they’ve played in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the way they have joined in the fight with regular forces is “seamless.”
“I am astounded, I am moved to the point of pride that is hard to explain with the professionalism, the high morale and the unquestioned capability of our military forces now,” said Biden. “Regular in addition to our National Guard and Reserve. You cannot tell the distinction, it’s seamless.” (Biden’s son Beau is a captain in Delaware’s National Guard, deploying to Iraq at the end of the month.)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bernie Conatser has never seen business this good.
The owner of a gun shop in the Washington suburb of Manassas, Virginia, Conatser said sales have doubled or tripled the numbers he racked up in late October. Saturday, he said, he did as much business as he would normally do in a week.
"I have been in business for 12 years, and I was here for Y2K, September 11th, Katrina," Conatser said as a steady stream of customers browsed what remained of his stock. "And all of those were big events, and we did notice a spike in business, but nothing on the order of what we are seeing right now."
Weapons dealers in much of the United States are reporting sharply higher sales since Barack Obama won the presidency a week ago. Buyers and sellers attribute the surge to worries that Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress will move to restrict firearm ownership, despite the insistence of campaign aides that the president-elect supports gun rights and considers the issue a low priority.
According to FBI figures for the week of November 3-9, the bureau received more than 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers - a nearly 49 percent increase over the same period in 2007. Conatser said his store, Virginia Arms Company, has run out of some models - such as the AR-15 rifle, the civilian version of the military's M-16 - and is running low on others.
Such assault weapons are among the firearms that gun dealers and customers say they fear Obama will hit with new restrictions, or even take off the market.
(CNN) - The roller coaster Alaska Senate race could take another turn Wednesday when election officials there plan to count some 50,000 absentee and early ballots which previously have not been totalled.
Alaska's unofficial tally currently shows incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Stevens leading Democratic opponent Mark Begich 48 percent to 46.6 percent. Stevens, a political juggernaut in Washington, is clutching that narrow lead even after a jury found him guilty of seven felony corruption counts last month. The 40-year senator insists he is innocent.
Stevens and Begich are currently separated by just 3,257 votes, according to the Alaska Division of Elections Web site.
But those numbers primarily reflect votes cast on Election Day. In a statement, Alaska elections officials said that no absentee or early votes have been counted yet because the state wanted to check each one against precinct voter lists.
The officials estimate some 50,000 of the uncounted votes have now been cross-checked and will be counted Wednesday.
That could provide a big bounce for either candidate, but it may not end things. State figures indicate another 20,000 early and absentee votes are still being authenticated and will not be tallied yet.
(CNN) – A week after a group of young conservatives laid out an ambitious agenda for the Republican Party that’s focused on catching up to the Democrats online, the RNC has launched a Web site that allows users to explain and share their reasons for backing the GOP.
Users who create an account on the site can submit video or text submissions regarding the future of the party. The site also prominently features a four-and-a-half-minute video that is a retrospective of the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
The site allows users to “offer their opinion of where the Party is headed and how we can be better prepared for the future,” the RNC explained in a press release Tuesday.
“We are a party of principles and must regain our voice,” said RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, said in the release. “We need to hear what our volunteers, activists, elected leaders, and party members think about the Republican Party as we rebuild, re-focus, and renew our bond with the American people,” Duncan added.
Watch: GOP should focus on technology, blogger says
ABOARD THE CNN EXPRESS
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)– When John McCain talks to Jay Leno tonight, maybe he will discuss whether he watched on television President-elect Barack Obama's Monday visit to the White House.
Or maybe the subject won't come up.
Today is Veterans Day, so expect part of McCain's appearance to be poignant. But he will undoubtedly also be funny and charming; you don't choose the “Tonight” show for your first post-election-defeat interview if you don't plan to be at least a little lighthearted. And McCain, through friends and staff members, is already putting out the word that he's doing just fine.
If he doesn't completely mean that, it's understandable. The prize he wanted so badly belongs to someone else.
But if you somehow were able to speak to him, you might point out:
(CNN) - As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin heads to Florida to attend the Republican Governors Association annual conference in Miami, she says she'd consider a run for the White House in 2012 or beyond.
Less than one week after the victory by Barack Obama and Joe Biden over the GOP ticket in the presidential election, John McCain's running mate is speaking out about her political future in national politics.
"Don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is and even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll just plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door," Palin said in an interview with Fox News Monday.
Palin will be with her fellow Republican governors on Wednesday and Thursday as they meet in Miami. In the crowd will be other possible contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Palin also sits down Wednesday for a one on one interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Tune into the Situation Room, starting at 4 pm ET Wednesday to see Wolf's candid conversation with Palin.
(CNN)—President-elect Barack Obama is back in Chicago Tuesday after meeting with President Bush. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, White House correspondent Ed Henry has the latest on the Obama transition details and how the meeting went.
Plus: Gun sales have spiked across the country since Obama’s victory November 4. Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena explains why some rifle owners fear Obama will be too strict with gun laws.
Meanwhile: The Constitution says little about the duties of a vice president. CNN’s Alina Cho reports on what Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s role will be in the Obama administration.
Finally: Even though their move-in date is still months away, the President-elect and his family are wasting no time preparing for the move. CNN’s Randi Kay explains what awaits them in Washington.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
(CNN)—While President-elect Barack Obama met with President Bush Monday, Mrs. Obama met with head White House Usher Adm. Stephen W. Rochon to discuss how she wants things to operate when they move in in January.
Sources say they discussed everything from how to request meals, what they like to eat, and how formal a presence she wants the White House Staff to have.
An aide says the Obamas are pretty informal, but would not divulge specific requests at the time.
(CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama was taking time out from piecing together his leadership team Tuesday to honor the country's fallen veterans.
Obama planned to lay a wreath in Chicago, Illinois, while Vice President-elect Joe Biden was giving a speech at a Veterans Day event in New Castle, Delaware.
John Podesta, the co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team, was expected to provide an update on the presidential transition Tuesday afternoon.
No Cabinet appointments were expected this week, but Obama's transition team could make some key staff announcements as early as Tuesday.
With the transition process under way, President Bush welcomed the president-elect to the White House on Monday.
The two had a "relaxed" and "friendly" meeting, a White House spokesman said.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin told local reporters in Alaska that unhappiness with the Bush administration’s Iraq war policy and spending record were responsible for the GOP ticket’s defeat this year.
“I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration?” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska’s KTUU Channel 2.
“How have there been blunders with war strategy under a Republican administration? If we're talking change, we want to get far away from what it was that the present administration represented and that is to a great degree what the Republican Party at the time had been representing. So people desiring change I think went as far from the administration that is presently seated as they could. It's amazing that we did as well as we did.”
Watch: Actions Obama may take to reverse key Bush policies
Palin returned to Alaska last week amid growing speculation about her political future. The Alaska governor is slated to attend the Republican Governors Association’s meeting in Miami this week.