Domenici has served in the Senate since 1973.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mexico GOP Sen. Pete Domenici called for a change of policy in Iraq Thursday, making him the third veteran Republican to break ranks with President Bush over the issue in the last two weeks.
In a news conference in Albuquerque, Domenici said his change of heart stems from the Iraqi government's failure "to make even modest progress to help Iraq itself or to merit the sacrifices being made by our men."
“I have carefully studied the Iraq situation, and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward,” the New Mexico Republican said. “I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops. But I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home.”
Responding to Domenici's comments Thursday afternoon, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, “We respect him. He’s an important voice. But it’s also important to note that he does not advocate an arbitrary withdrawal date. And he does support funding for our troops.”
“As we’ve said before, the surge by definition is temporary," Stanzel added. "It’s our belief it’s in place to bring relief and security so Baghdad officials can make progress on political matters. We’ll eventually turn over more control to Iraqi forces. People are talking about what happens after the surge. We’ll continue to have those conversations. The president wants to bring the troops home as soon as possible. But he will do so based on the recommendations of commanders on the ground.”
Domenici did not inform the White House or President Bush of his decision to call for a new course in Iraq, Courtney Sanders, Deputy Press Secretary for Domenici, told CNN.
Sanders said Domenici just “felt it was time to announce his decision."
Republican Sens. Dick Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio have also recently called for a change of policy in Iraq.
- CNN's Kathleen Koch, Andrea Koppel and Alexander Mooney
Libby paid his $250,000 fine Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A quarter-million dollar fine that Lewis "Scooter" Libby paid Thursday was the most substantial element remaining from his conviction in March on federal charges that included perjury and obstruction of justice.
President Bush on Monday commuted Libby's 30-month sentence, and in light of that, the trial judge says he does not know whether Libby must still serve supervised probation. In addition, Libby had been ordered to serve 400 hours of community service, not yet specified, and the status of that also is unclear.
Bush declined to set aside the $250,000 fine imposed by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who had been adamant that Libby serve time for lying to investigators looking into the possible leak of classified material dating back to 2003.
A court document filed Thursday shows Libby obtained a cashier's check Monday, the same day as Bush's decision to keep him out of prison. The check, drawn on a bank near Libby's home in McLean, Va., includes the quarter-million dollar fine and the court's special assessment of $400.
The court's receipt is dated Thursday, and includes a photocopy of the check filed in the public record of the case.
Walton has asked Libby's defense team and prosecutors to file documents by July 9 with their positions on how he should handle the probation matter. In his order, he wrote that the clemency law Bush used in commuting Libby's sentence does not address how to establish post-confinement probation for someone who hasn't been behind bars.
- CNN Producer Paul Courson
Edwards at last week's PBS forum.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Many found John Edwards' $400 haircut earlier in the year a bit on the excessive side, but it turns out he may have actually gotten quite a deal, at least compared to another high-end trim he received three years ago.
Joseph Torrenueva, the stylist responsible for the infamous cut, told the Washington Post he once charged the former North Carolina senator $1,250 for a haircut in 2004 when Edwards was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.
That cut was so expensive because Torrenueva traveled to Atlanta and lost two days of work, according to the Post. Torrenueva said he normally charges $175 for haircuts in his Los Angeles salon.
Torrenueva said he has cut the Democratic presidential hopeful's hair numerous times in the last few years, but didn't charge for the first five haircuts in 2003 and 2004 because he liked Edwards' politics. He only began charging when Edwards joined Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry on the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket.
A campaign spokesman told the Post an assistant handled paying Torrenueva and Edwards was not aware of how much the cuts cost.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Obama spoke at the National Education Association convention Thursday.
(CNN) – It was a speech on education, but Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama ended up wading into the controversy over talk shows and politics Thursday.
The remarks came as Senator Obama addressed the National Education Association convention in Philadelphia. Obama was discussing the impact of education on the economy and America’s standing in the world when he said, “It’s not just about competitiveness, by the way. When we are not educating our children, we are not educating the next generation of citizens.”
In comments that were not on his prepared text released to the media, Obama added, “It’s part of the reason our young people aren’t necessarily involved in politics. Or when they are, they end up watching the wrong talk shows. They watch the wrong cable shows. They get bamboozled and hoodwinked. We need to raise a new generation of citizens.”
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He's never overseen a game of “Plinko” or led a “Showcase Showdown,” but that didn't stop some in Iowa from confusing former President Bill Clinton with legendary "Price is Right" game show host Bob Barker.
When the women realized who it was, they shouted "Ohhhh!" and "seemed just as thrilled," according to the Times.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Giuliani spent $11.2 million in the second quarter.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani spent $11.2 million for his White House bid in the second quarter of 2007, compared to the $15 million he raised for the primary in the same period, his campaign announced Thursday.
Giuliani’s rate of spending, or “burn rate,” more than doubled from 34 percent in the first quarter to 75 percent in the second quarter, largely due to an effort to set up field operations beyond the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign’s overall burn rate for 2007 is 59 percent.
According to Giuliani campaign manager Mike DuHaime, the campaign now has field operations set up in a dozen states, including the delegate-rich states of Florida and California, which will hold their primaries earlier than ever before.
“It’s very important that we do a good job with the money that’s entrusted to us from people all over the country,” said DuHaime in a conference call with reporters. “Even though we are growing right now, we are running a very efficient campaign.”
The campaign also announced that it raised $1.3 million in Internet donations during the first half of the year. At the end of March, the campaign had said it raised “nearly $1 million” since first setting up a campaign committee in December 2006.
All presidential candidates have until July 15 to submit detailed fundraising and spending reports to the Federal Election Commission.
Obama spoke at the National Education Association in Philadelphia on Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama slammed President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy in a speech to the National Education Association in Philadelphia on Thursday, calling it "one of the emptiest slogans in the history of politics."
"For too long, our politics has been stuck in a cycle where we praise our educators in speeches and photo-ops, but then abandon them when it comes time to offer the resources and the support you need to do your jobs," Obama said in prepared remarks.
The Democratic presidential candidate said that, over the next few weeks, he will unveil his plan to reform the country's education system. He promised to increase teachers' wages and further compensate those that mentor children and teach tough subjects like science or math.
"In the face of a global economy where too many children start behind and stay behind, this country doesn’t need more blame or inaction or half-measures on education," Obama said. "What we need is a historic commitment to America’s teachers, and that’s the kind of commitment I intend to make as President."
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
The Clintons are campaigning in Iowa this week.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House spokesman Tony Snow fired back Thursday at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband after former President Bill Clinton charged at a campaign stop that the Bush administration believes the law is a "minor obstacle" in the wake of the commutation controversy.
"I don't know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it," Snow told reporters in an off-camera briefing.
Snow took the shot at the Clintons after again being pressed by reporters about President Bush's decision to commute the 30-month prison sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby and leave the door open to a future pardon.
Asked about House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers' plan to probe the Libby commutation, Snow snapped that the congressman should "knock himself out," but also probe the slew of pardons granted at the end of the Clinton administration.
In an op-ed piece in USA Today Thursday, Snow defended Mr. Bush's action by charging that Mr. Clinton was "in a mad rush to push through pardons with dizzying haste” - 141 grants on Clinton's final day in office, part of 211 in the final nine weeks.
Asked by a reporter if he was asserting that "two wrongs make a right" and thus it was okay for Mr. Bush to abuse his power, Snow said: "Do we feel we've done wrong? Do we feel we cut corners? The answer is no."
Gore again said Thursday he has no plans to run for president.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore repeated Thursday that he is not - and has no intentions to - ever run for a political office again.
"I don't have any plans or intentions to be a candidate again and really the main reason is, I'm involved in a different kind of campaign - to try to raise awareness of what I truly believe is the most serious crisis our civilization has ever faced," Gore told NBC's "Today Show," referring to global warming.
The former vice president and one-time presidential candidate was on the program to discuss Saturday's "Live Earth" concerts that will be broadcast by NBC.
The event is a "24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis," according to the Live Earth Web site.
When asked why he wouldn't run for president again, when presumably a president could shape an agenda to fight global warming, Gore said that even the president and Congress needed the support of the American people to make it work.
"The key players are the American people," he said. "When the American people have the awareness of what this means for their children, and for their grandchildren, that all of civilization is at risk here, then they will demand that whoever is running for office, whoever is elected to serve, will have to respond to this."
"I've kind of fallen out of love with politics. I really want to focus my attention and energy, whatever experience and talents I've gained over the years - I think it may well be that the highest and best use of that is to try to bring enough awareness of the solutions to the climate crisis and enough of a sense of urgency that we come together across party lines on behalf of our children," Gore added.
He refused to endorse any of the current field of candidates, noting that the election is 500 days away.
Albert Gore III, right, is undergoing treatment after his arrest on drug charges Wednesday.
LOS ANGELES (CNN) - Al Gore III, the son of the former vice president, is undergoing treatment after his arrest on drug charges in Los Angeles, a spokesman for his father told CNN Thursday.
Gore, 24, was arrested in Los Angeles early Wednesday after he was stopped for speeding and police found a small amount of marijuana, as well as several prescription drugs, in his Toyota Prius.
In an appearance on NBC's "Today Show" Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore said the family is dealing with the incident "as a private family matter."
"We love him very much," the elder Gore said.
- From CNN's Karan Olson and Traci Tamura