Washington (CNN) – Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln is casting herself as an "independent voice" in her Democratic primary fight against Lieutenant Gov. Bill Halter, who has the backing of unions and liberal activists frustrated with Lincoln's moderate positions.
Just this week, Lincoln launched a new television ad taking aim at the "bunch of Washington D.C. unions" running ads accusing her of siding with big business over middle class workers. A union-backed group called "Arkansans For Change" is behind those ads.
"I'm not working for them," she tells viewers in her response ad. "I work for you."
One union, the Arkansas AFL-CIO, is now hitting back at Lincoln for that claim, calling her "a hypocritical, flip-flopping D.C. politician." The group has endorsed Halter.
"It's easy for her to try to paint opponents as outsiders, but working class voters in Arkansas can see as well as anybody that she has turned her back on us," Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes said in a statement Wednesday.
Dallas, Texas (CNN) - Texas Republican Party chairwoman Cathie Adams is in the somewhat unusual position of having endorsed one of the candidates in Tuesday's GOP gubernatorial primary.
Though it happens from time to time, party chairs don't often take sides in contested primaries, especially high-profile slugfests like the one in Texas.
Adams threw her support to Gov. Rick Perry over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison before she became party chairwoman in October, and says that as the head of the state party, she has tried to remain as neutral as possible (despite appearing with Perry at multiple campaign events).
But she's hoping Perry crosses the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid an April runoff against the second-place finisher. A runoff, she said, would be bad for the state party.
"I think it would be very good for our state if we do not have a runoff," Adams told CNN.
"It's going to be very difficult in a three person race for anyone to get over 50 percent," she said. "I am hopeful for that because I want the down-ballot races to get more attention as we go from here into November, not just for economic reasons but also to draw more attention to other candidates."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Capping off a day of conservative soul-searching, strategizing and navel-gazing at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele announced Thursday that the Grand Old Party is “alive and well.”
Steele, addressing CPAC’s Presidential Banquet, told the audience that “the conservative movement must become a revolution,” and the goal “must be nothing less than the transformation of America.”
“Tonight, we tell America that Republican values, conservative values, are right for America,” he said, admitting that the party has made some mistakes. “Tonight, we tell America: we know the past, we know we did wrong. My bad. But we go forward in appreciation of the values that brought us to this point.”
To much applause, Steele attacked the Obama administration’s recently-passed stimulus package, calling it “nothing short of frightening.” He said conservatives must use the political moment to re-assert their belief in a set of basic principles: limited government, freedom, opportunity and the ability of the free market to “create, innovate and prosper.”
SEDONA, Arizona (CNN) – In a Tuesday interview on CNN’s American Morning, John McCain dismissed news reports about Sarah Palin’s pronouncement that the United States should “absolutely” attack terrorists within Pakistan as nothing more than “sound bite politics.”
But McCain refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden’s recent criticisms of clean coal - comments used by the McCain campaign in a radio ad and Web video - occurred under similar off-the-cuff circumstances.
John Roberts asked McCain about his joint interview with Palin on Monday’s CBS Evening News, in which both candidates asserted that Palin’s caught-on-camera remarks constituted “gotcha journalism.”
“But at the same time you have gone after Senator Biden for a comment that he made under similar circumstances about clean coal technology,” Roberts asked. “Your campaign even released a video of part of his comments. Was that gotcha politics?”
“Well, I believe it was at a town hall meeting that he said it,” McCain said of Biden. “This was - hers was in an encounter in a pizza parlor where the question was framed so that of course we're going to go after terrorists.”
NEW YORK (CNN) – Before heading out for a trio of well-publicized meetings with foreign dignitaries on Tuesday, Sarah Palin received a national security briefing from the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Michael McConnell, who met with the governor this morning in her New York hotel.
Palin’s top foreign policy adviser informed reporters of the meeting at a small briefing following Palin’s visits with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The adviser, Stephen Biegun, formerly a senior official on the National Security Council under President Bush, characterized the intelligence briefing as “routine” and said it was the sort of meeting that “is standard for candidates for the vice president and president.” Biegun said several officials were present to brief Palin.
Palin then departed her hotel for a series of motorcade trips around Manhattan, visiting with foreign leaders for the first time in her career.
“These are relationships that she intuitively understands are very important for the next President and Vice President of the United States,” Biegun said of the meetings.
LEBANON, Ohio (CNN) – The rock band "Heart" may have asked John McCain and Sarah Palin stop playing their song "Barracuda" at their rallies, but the campaign is apparently paying no heed.
The track - played at the Republican National Convention in honor of the Vice Presidential nominee, who earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" playing high school basketball in Alaska - was pumped through the streets of Lebanon, Ohio on Tuesday morning at an outdoor rally before the GOP ticket showed up.
When the song was played after Palin's convention speech last week, the band members quickly requested that McCain and Palin pull the plug.
"Sarah Palin's views and values in no way represent us as American women," Ann and Nancy Wilson told Entertainment Weekly. "We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image."
But the McCain camp said last week that it had paid for and obtained all necessary licenses before using the song.
LEBANON, Ohio (CNN) – Sarah Palin refuses to yield on her claim that she opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere earmark, despite charges by the Obama campaign that her assertion is a "lie."
"I told Congress thanks but no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere," Palin said Tuesday in Lebanon, Ohio.
Though Palin recently came out against the completion of the Gravina Island Bridge, she initially supported the project as governor before it became a national symbol of wasteful pork barrel spending. In 2007, Palin’s office cancelled work on the bridge, but Alaska still kept the federal funds that were allocated for state transportation projects.
In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in earmarks, and in a Fairbanks newspaper column earlier this year, she wrote that federal monies, including earmarks, are “incredibly important” to the state. Palin also helped secure millions of dollars in federal money for her hometown of Wasilla while she was mayor.
Nevertheless, Palin told the outdoor audience in Ohio - many of whom came out in spite of the rain – that she was a champion of earmark reform in Alaska.
LEE’S SUMMIT, Missouri (CNN) –John McCain is launching a new line of attack against Barack Obama, criticizing his rival for saying Sunday that he would buck his own party by calling for an increase in the size of the U.S. military.
“Of course, now he wants to increase it,” McCain told an audience in Lee’s Summit, Missouri Monday. “But during the primary he told a liberal advocacy group that he’d cut defense spending by tens of billions of dollars. He promised them he would, quote, ‘slow our development of future combat systems.’”
McCain was referring to a YouTube clip from last October that features Obama promising the non-profit group “Caucus for Priorities” that he would reduce wasteful military spending.
“I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending,” Obama said in the video. “I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
In the video, Obama also said: “As president, my sole priority for defense spending will be protecting the American people.”
Obama, now the Democratic nominee, was asked on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to cite examples of where he would be willing to break with his own party.
“I’ve said that we need to increase the size of our military,” Obama answered, noting that such legislation might anger some on the left.
McCain, who claimed in his remarks that the world is simply too dangerous to reduce military spending, said Obama is guilty of general election pandering.
“Sen. Obama told the extreme left what they wanted to hear during the primary, now he’s trying to tell you what he thinks you want to hear,” McCain responded in Missouri. “My friends, you may not always agree with me but you will always know where I stand.”