WASHINGTON (CNN) – Female political reporters and producers who may be without a Valentine this year are in luck - at least if they’re on the Republican National Committee press list.
Alex Conant, the committee’s press secretary for at least another month, sent electronic Valentine’s notes to all the ladies on his contact list. The pink and red e-card contained a smiling image of President Barack Obama with the inscription “This card hasn’t been fully vetted” - an obvious political nudge to the recent tax problems encountered by some of the president’s cabinet nominees.
When asked why he decided to grace selected inboxes with such a heartfelt sentiment, Conant responded the effort was “part of my ongoing campaign to prove that Republicans have hearts too.”
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) – Barack Obama told a Miami rally John McCain is “running out of time” and as a result has taken to “making stuff up” on Obama’s record and tax cut plan.
“He’s decided to make up, just fabricate this notion that I’ve been attacking Joe the plumber. Now, let me tell you something even just yesterday, Joe the plumber himself said that wasn’t true. I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the plumber. That’s why I want to give him a tax cut,” Obama said.
“Apparently Senator McCain’s decided that if he can’t beat our ideas, then he’s just going to make up some ideas and run against those. What we need now is not straw men we don’t need misleading charges. What we need is honest leadership.”
On Tuesday, Obama wrapped up a two-day Florida swing designed to pump up supporters and get them to vote early.
“We can take nothing for granted. My view is that Barack Obama is the underdog and will continue to be the underdog until he's sitting in the Oval Office,” said Michelle Obama, who joined her husband in Miami after campaigning in the northern part of the state. “We need you to vote early and then after you vote early to spend Election Day getting five, six, seven, ten other people to the polls.”
CHICAGO (CNN) - Fitness devotee Barack Obama has developed an obsession with of all things, pie.
The candidate known for his discriminate eating habits and daily workouts mentioned a recent pie stop at a southern Ohio restaurant during all four of his Saturday Philadelphia events.
"I was in Ohio, in a small town called Georgetown, we were on a bus tour, a bus tour for jobs in Ohio. And I was with the governor there, Governor Strickland. And we decided to stop at a diner because I was hungry and I decided I wanted some pie," Obama said in West Philly of his afternoon trip to Fireside Restaurant last Thursday. "I had coconut cream pie. The governor of Ohio, he had lemon meringue pie."
Obama started weaving the lengthy pie anecdote into his stump speech Thursday night in Ohio, telling audiences that the owner of Fireside, who served Obama and Strickland their pie slices, is a Republican disenchanted with the direction of the country.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – In a shift from the apolitical tone the presidential candidates took during Hurricane Gustav, Barack Obama did not temper his rhetoric Saturday, as his spokesman accused John McCain of “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”
“John McCain wants to have a debate about national security let’s have that debate. I warned that going into Iraq would distract us from Afghanistan. John McCain cheer-leaded for it. John McCain was wrong and I was right,” Obama told a screaming New Hampshire crowd.
“The McCain-Palin ticket, they don’t want to debate the Obama-Biden ticket on issues because they are running on eight more years of what we’ve just seen. And they know it,” Obama said. “As a consequence what they’re going to spend the next seven, eight weeks doing is trying to distract you.
“They’re going to talk about pigs and they’re going to talk about lipstick, they’re going to talk about Paris Hilton, they’re going to talk about Britney Spears. They will try to distort my record and they will try to undermine your trust in what the Democrats intend to do.”
Watch Obama on Hurricane Ike
Asked why the campaign responded differently than it did around hurricane Gustav, Obama Senior Strategist David Axelrod said,“We have enormous concern for people down there … that’s why we canceled “Saturday Night Live” … but these people also came out because they’re really concerned about the future of the country and he [Obama]wanted to talk about those issues.”
Listen: Obama camp conference call Saturday slams McCain
The McCain campaign criticized Obama for showing “zero restraint” given the storm and said “today’s attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama.”
DOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) – On the first day of what his campaign called the “final stretch,” Barack Obama hammered at John McCain, and repeatedly linked him to President Bush’s policies.
“We can’t afford four more years of what George Bush and John McCain consider progress,” he said at a town hall not far from Portsmouth. “We can’t afford another President who is so out of touch that they think the economy is strong right now and promises to the exact same thing we’ve been doing for the last eight years.”
The Obama campaign seized on a comment from Thursday night’s forum in New York where McCain said it was “easy” for him to become “somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have” while in Washington.
“Maybe from where he and George Bush sit, maybe things do look fundamentally sound,” Obama said after repeating McCain’s quote and eliciting some groans from the audience. “Maybe they don’t see what’s taking place. Maybe they’re that out of touch. But I do see what’s going on and so do you.”
Even as Obama goes on the offensive against McCain in these final weeks, he has spent time defending his own campaign, reassuring voters that the recent “lipstick” story, spike in enthusiasm for the GOP ticket, and serious up-tick in negative ads does not mean his presidential effort is off-message or floundering.
At a New Hampshire town hall Friday, a man stood and asked Obama, “when and how” was he “going to start fighting back against attack ads and smear campaigns.”
“I know there are a lot of Democrats, and some Independents and some Republicans who really want change who start getting nervous because they’ve seen this movie before every four years. Right? You have ads that are being just fabricated, they’re just made up. And lies – that’s the word I was looking for,” said Obama.
“Here’s what I can guarantee you: that we are going to be hitting back hard – we have been hitting back hard but …I’m not going to start making up lies about John McCain … we’re going to make sure that anything that is out there that we are immediately responding to. But this election is too important, it’s too serious to be playing silly games.”
The Democratic nominee also pledged that families making less than $250,000 a year would not see any type of tax increase should he become president.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Barack Obama criticized his Republican presidential opponent, Senator John McCain, for not standing firm in his support for immigration reform in the face of opposition from his own party.
“I know Senator McCain used to buck his party by fighting for comprehensive reform – and I admired him for it. But when he was running for his party’s nomination, he abandoned his stance, and said he wouldn’t even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote,” Obama told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gathered in Washington.
“When it came time to write his party’s platform, comprehensive reform never made it in. So you’ve got to ask yourself: if Senator McCain won’t stand up to opponents of reform at his own convention, how can you trust him to stand up for change in Washington?”
McCain’s support for comprehensive immigration reform nearly killed his candidacy in 2007 and he later came out in favor of greater emphasis on securing the nation’s borders in any future legislation. Now, however, he references his fight for reform as a mark of his maverick credentials.
Obama also defended his role as a community organizer, something that was mocked by several speakers at the Republican Party convention, including vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
ST. PAUL, Minesota (CNN) – Some delegates In the Texas section of the Republican National Convention are sporting "Thank You W" buttons with pictures of President Bush's two Supreme Court nominees — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.
Spotted elsewhere on the floor: "Drill here – Drill now – Pay less" stickers.
DENVER (CNN) – Joe Biden and family arrived mid-way through Warner's keynote address - just in time to see "McCain more of THE SAME" signs being passed out on the floor.
PARIS, France (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama said his multi-nation tour did not change his mind on issue of Iraq and added that it has “deepened” his “set of concerns” especially when it came to Afghanistan and Iran.
“Going to Afghanistan confirmed for me that situation is worsening there,” Obama said at a news conference Friday at the Elysee Palace with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “There was no leader I spoke with that was not concerned about the prospect of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.”
In a press conference that ranged from the serious to borderline love fest, Obama and Sarkozy each said they enjoyed the opportunity to meet and discuss their mutual concern on issues such as global warming and the situation in Darfur.
The French president U.S. senator emerged from behind closed doors to a crush of media crammed into what one French journalist described as the more “casual” area where the French president meets the press. “The French love the Americans,” Sarkozy said, which drew laughter from the crowd and Obama.
Obama returned the favor. “No one better captures the enthusiasm and energy of France than your president,” he said.
BERLIN, Germany (CNN) – Crowds have grown and thinned throughout the day outside of the swank Adlon Hotel where Barack Obama and his entourage are preparing for the Democratic presidential candidate’s visit here.
Police have closed off part of the street in front of the hotel which sits in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate as throngs lean on metal barriers, cameras in hand, hoping to get a glimpse of the man himself.
Just a short walk up the road is the Victory Column where Obama will deliver his remarks, a speech he says will be a “substantive articulation of the relationship” he would like to see between the United States and Europe.
Although Obama and his aides have strongly denied politics plays a role in today’s event, a leisurely stroll towards the event site left a different impression.