WASHINGTON (CNN)–A lawyer for Rep. Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Monday that the powerful New York Democrat would hire forensic accountants to investigate his financial statements that span two decades.
Lanny Davis said the firm, which has yet to be hired, would review Rangel’s tax returns and other financial documents over the last 20 years and compile a report on any financial improprieties or back taxes the chairman owed. Rangel would pay any back taxes he owed with penalties and would wave the normal three-year statute of limitations, Davis said.
The firm will send its report on Rangel’s finances directly to the House Ethics Committee, which is looking into Rangel’s finances after questions were raised about some real estate transactions. Rangel has admitted he owes $5,000 in back taxes after he failed to report income from a rental property in Florida, according to the Associated Press.
Davis said Rangel said asked for the independent investigation because “he never meant to conceal” his finances.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ever since Sen. John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate more than two weeks ago, the Republicans have dominated the headlines.
But as the recent failures of major investment banks on Wall Street remind voters of troubles facing the economy, the Democratic ticket of Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden has been able to get back on offense.
"We have reached another major turning point in the campaign. John McCain had all the momentum coming out of his convention with Sarah Palin and dominated the news, [and] was on offense right to the end of this last week," said David Gergen, a CNN senior political analyst. "And there is the opportunity for Obama to seize the momentum back on his side. I don't know if he's going to do it or not. He is trying."
The McCain campaign is not ceding the mantle of change to Democrats, however. It is portraying the Arizona Republican as the best candidate to shake up the Washington bureaucracy that allowed the financial crisis to occur.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – His popularity may be at an all-time low, but President Bush’s comments at the Republican National Convention were warmly received by many of the delegates.
“His speech basically passed the baton to John McCain,” Mark Quandahl, chairman of the Nebraska state party said.
Bush addressed the convention via satellite from the White House. Bush was originally scheduled to speak on the opening night of the convention. But he was forced to cancel as Hurricane Gustav bore down on the Gulf Coast. Quandahl said, “delegates would have preferred to have him here, but he did the right thing.”
Bush spent much of Monday visiting hurricane response centers in Texas.
Kathi Thompson, the wife of a retired Army officer from Hawaii, said whatever you think of President Bush’s administration, “He never wavered, and what you see is what you get.”
“[Bush] is a man of conviction,” she added.
Liz Tait from Houston, Texas, said “We’re extremely proud of him.”
“He kept us safe, and he fought for the values we believe in,” she said.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Republican delegates Tuesday applauded the courage of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s decision to speak at the Republican National Convention on behalf of his friend, Sen. John McCain.
“It was exciting to see Joe Lieberman put his country first,” Jon Woodward of St. Augustine, Florida, said.
None of the delegates appeared to be put out by the fact that a former Democrat was on stage. Lieberman, an independent senator from Connecticut, was the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee in 2000.
“It was a historic night for our country… It was magnificent.” Jean Peterson of Virginia said. “I think he did the country a great favor.”
“I was impressed by the personal courage he showed,” Jim Dicke, II, of New Bremen, Ohio, said.
Dicke said he believed Democrats who where waving between McCain and his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, would vote for McCain if they heard Lieberman’s speech.
“I think he was sincere, and so well and so much from the heart that people have to consider what he said.”
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – The Republicans Tuesday will emphasize service and introduce their presidential candidate, John McCain, to the American people on their first full day of convention activities, McCain officials said.
Party officials curtailed Monday’s session of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, to essential business as Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana.
McCain campaign officials decided to resume a full schedule early Tuesday morning and said they will try to make up for lost time by squeezing speeches and events originally scheduled for Monday by juggling the convention schedule over the next three days.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – A group of gay and lesbian Republicans Tuesday endorsed Sen. John McCain, saying his “inclusive” philosophy is exactly the direction the GOP needs to win in the future.
The Log Cabin Republicans endorsed McCain at an event in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, despite his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“He’s a very inclusive Republican, a different type of Republican,” Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, said “At the same time we have honest disagreements on some issues.”
In making its endorsement, the group pointed to the Arizona senator’s opposition to a federal constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being a man and a woman. The amendment has strong support from social conservatives and would have reversed the decisions by Massachusetts, California and New Jersey to allow same-sex marriages.
(CNN) – Sen. Joe Biden will make his first appearance before the Democratic National Convention as his party's vice presidential nominee Wednesday night, but the real drama of the evening may come from former President Clinton and what he says about Sen. Barack Obama.
"I think things are actually progressing better than maybe some of us might have thought in terms of the relationship between the two of them," said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN contributor.
"They haven't known each other very well or very long. And Sen. Obama ran against his wife, and there's still some bruised feelings, but I think the president and Sen. Obama are trying very hard to reach across that divide."
As the Democrats gather for their third day in Denver, the theme of the night will be national security, an issue traditionally owned by the Republicans. Some of the Democrats' most experienced statesmen are expected to argue that Obama is the best candidate to strengthen America's national security.
(CNN) – Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr Tuesday said he’s lost his faith in government since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“The government has taken tremendous liberties with our liberty, taking away our liberty in the name of fighting terrorism, using fear to take away people's rights and their privacy in this country,” Barr said during an interview with CNN American Morning’s Kiran Chetry. “And that's caused me and a lot of Americans to lose a great deal of faith in the government, which ought to be protecting our liberties, not taking them away.”
Barr, a former Republican representative from Georgia, is fighting to be included in the national dialogue. He unsuccessfully sued to be included in last weekend’s forum hosted by Rev. Rick Warren that included Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, and Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee.
The former Republican said the two major parties were excluding him from the national debates because they want to maintain their lock on national politics.
“They simply don't want the competition from an outsider, so to speak, somebody that might make them feel uncomfortable by raising some issues, some new perspectives, some new choices for the American people,” Barr said. “They like playing the game within the confines of their very closed system that they can control.”
The libertarian nominee, who is currently polling at 3 percent nationally according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted last month, said his goal was raise his support to 15 percent nationally so that he can participate in the official presidential debates this fall.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist wanted to attack Sen. Barack Obama for lacking “American roots” during the Democratic primary battle, according to a magazine article set to come out next week.
“All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light. Save it for 2050,” Mark Penn, then Clinton’s chief campaign strategist, wrote in a memo written in March 2007, according to an article to be published in The Atlantic magazine.
“It also exposes a very strong weakness for him – his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot image America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values,” Penn wrote, according to the article written by Joshua Green.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama's vote for a federal surveillance law that he had previously opposed has sparked a backlash from his online advocates, who had energized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In October, Obama had vowed to help filibuster an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gave telecommunication companies that had cooperated with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program immunity from lawsuits.
After 9/11, Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop, without the mandated warrant from a federal court, on electronic communication involving terrorist suspects.
Critics said Bush's Terrorist Surveillance Program was a violation of civil liberties.
The Senate voted Wednesday on the bill updating FISA - which had a provision to shield telecommunications companies that had cooperated in the surveillance. Obama joined the 68 other senators who voted to send the bill to the president's desk.