(CNN) - The attacks and counter attacks in the presidential campaign are getting more personal.
Barack Obama today dismissed as "game playing" the McCain campaign's new attack ad comparing Obama's celebrity to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. At a town hall rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama taunted McCain, "I do have to ask my opponent: Is that the best you can come up with?"
When the subject came up at a McCain town hall rally in Racine, Wisconsin, McCain told a questioner, "We're proud of that commercial," and added, "campaigns are tough."
WATCH: Viewers react to McCain's "Celeb" ad
But Obama told the Iowa crowd: "Given the seriousness of the issues; given the fact that the decisions we make right now are going to help determine the future not just of the next generation but perhaps generations after that; given the magnitude of our challenges when it comes to energy and health care and jobs and our foreign policy; you'd think we'd been having a serious debate. But so far all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."
For more on the the latest political news, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama stood his ground Wednesday in opposing what he calls the "scheme" of offshore drilling, during a campaign event in Springfield, Missouri.
"The oil companies are shoving this thing down the throats of Congress, because they know everybody wants to try to pretend they're doing something about the energy crisis,” Obama said. “This is not real. I know it's tempting. The polls say its one of the ways that a majority of Americans think we're going to solve this problem, but it's not real."
"I understand how desperate folks are. If I thought that I could provide you some immediate relief on gas by drilling off the shores of California and New Jersey... I'd do it.”
But the Democratic presidential candidate added, "The soonest you would see any drop of oil from drilling off our shores would be 10 years from now....The most you would end up saving 10 years or 20 years from now would be a few cents on the gallon, although at that point, I figure oil might be $12 a gallon."
Citing the oil companies' record profits, Obama charged that they are, "making money hand-over fist, they're making out like bandits."
(CNN) - President Bush has a unique suggestion for easing the energy crisis Tuesday: "They ought to have the biggest wind turbine farm in Washington, D.C., where there's not only a lot of wind there's a lot of hot air."
The president made the suggestion during a speech to workers at Lincoln Electric, a welding plant in Euclid, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The suggestion got a big laugh. The president then turned serious and once again called on Congress to increase U.S. energy supplies by allowing offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf and in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
Bush’s visit to Ohio is also to raise money for Republican candidates.
(CNN) – A scathing new report accuses aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez of committing misconduct, violating Justice Department policy and breaking the law by making hiring decisions based on political ideology rather than professional qualifications. The report by the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility singles out Monica Goodling, the department's former White House liaison, for its harshest criticism.
In Congressional testimony provided under a grant of immunity last year, after her resignation from the Justice Department, Goodling stated that in a "very small number of cases" her decisions "may have been influenced in part based on political considerations." She did not cooperate in the investigation.
The report notes that the Justice Department's policy is to not discriminate against career-position applicants on the basis of "politics" and "political affiliation." However, the report goes on to show Goodling's background checks on prospective employees included the terms “spotted owl”, “Florida recount”, “Enron”, “Kerry”, “Iraq”, “WMD” (weapons of mass destruction), “abortion”, “gay”, “homosexual”, “sex” and “gun”.
For more on the report, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - At a crowded Judiciary Committee hearing today, House Democrats talked about impeaching President Bush.... to the disgust of the committee's Republicans.
It was purely stagecraft. The day's star witness, Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, received a noisy ovation filled with cheering, clapping and whistling as he walked into the hearing room. Kucinich, who has introduced articles of impeachment, exhorted the committee to "support and defend the constitution that has been trampled time and again over the last seven years."
The hearing, technically, was not about impeachment but about executive power and its constitutional limitations. Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, ticked-down a list of items that included, in his words, "the politicization of the Department of Justice, the misuse of signing statements, the misuse of authority with regard to detention, interrogation and rendition, possible manipulation of intelligence regarding the Iraq war, improper retaliation against critics of the administration... and excessive secrecy."
While Conyers called the evidence "both credible and substantial," Republicans scoffed.
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the senior Republican on the committee, dismissed the hearings as "an anger management class."
For more on the impeachment back-and-forth, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
(CNN) – During his town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire Tuesday, John McCain repeatedly had to silence the crowd to allow pointed and sometimes angry questions from a woman opposed to the Iraq war. At one point, McCain asked the crowd, "Please, could we all be respectful of everybody's point of view?" McCain took three questions from the woman, saying he respected the fact that she came to state her views.
The woman told McCain it's time to end the "occupation" now.
McCain replied, "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat." McCain said we are winning in Iraq thanks to the troop surge.
For more on McCain's town hall event, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
(CNN) - There’s been plenty of second-guessing from Republican critics about Barack Obama's large-scale public events and speeches scheduled for his visit to Europe this week - but former President George H.W. Bush isn't one of them.
Asked today whether, as a former head of state who has a sensitivity about protocol, he has any thoughts about the appropriateness of Obama's planned events, the former President replied, "A little jealous, is all."
The former president, who says he's just returned from a visit to Germany's Brandenburg gate, added that Obama will "figure it out."
For more on the stagecraft of Obama's world tour, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.