July 11th, 2007
10:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Flynt says he is motivated by hypocrisy

Larry Flynt said Wednesday he doesn’t want Vitter, above, “legislating for me.”

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hustler publisher Larry Flynt took credit Wednesday for exposing Sen. David Vitter as a client of a D.C. prostitute, saying he did so to uncover the Louisiana Republican’s hypocrisy.

“I very seldom get a chance to get a big one, and sometimes I have to go bottom feeding,” Flynt said at a late afternoon news conference. “We have a criteria, and that is if someone is living a life contrary to the way they are advocating - their personal life - than they become fair game.”

Vitter admitted Monday that his telephone number turned up in the phone records of an escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, though he did not say he had sex with a prostitute. The records date from before he won his Senate seat in 2004.

On Tuesday, Hustler magazine claimed credit for exposing Vitter's connection to the "D.C. Madam,” saying he confessed after a journalist reported finding the senator's number in the escort service's phone records.

In Wednesday’s press conference, Flynt said, “I don’t want a man like that legislating for me, especially in the areas of morality.”

Vitter heavily campaigned on social values in his 2004 Senate race and was one of the top backers of a failed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

The Louisiana Republican issued a statement Monday night calling his contact with Palfrey a “very serious sin,” but has since not been seen in public.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: D.C. Madam • David Vitter
July 11th, 2007
09:51 PM ET
12 years ago

Richardson aims for bleachers, hits photographer

(CNN) – Presidential candidate Bill Richardson fulfilled a “childhood dream” Wednesday. He took a different type of campaign swing in Dyersville, Iowa at the site of the 1989 film “Field of Dreams.”

The Democratic New Mexico governor and avid baseball fan stepped into the batter’s box and accidentally took a crack at a photographer while swinging at a few pitches.

“I hit a photographer. I am a pull hitter. He should have gotten out of the way,” said Richardson, a former left-handed pitcher for Tufts University, to a group of supporters at a stop in Waterloo, Iowa.

A casual Richardson sporting tennis shoes and blue jeans said that as a result of his visit to the “Field of Dreams” earlier in the day, “I am seriously considering pardoning Shoeless Joe Jackson.”

“Field of Dreams” centered on an Iowa farmer who hears a voice and interprets the message to plow through a corn field and build a baseball diamond.

Shoeless Joe Jackson appears as a ghost, along with seven other members of the so-called "Black Sox," who were banned from baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series. Some baseball historians believe Shoeless Joe Jackson was innocent.

- CNN Political Assignment Editor Marissa Muller

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iowa • Presidential Candidates
July 11th, 2007
05:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson dies

AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) - "Lady Bird" Johnson, the woman who became first lady during the one of the darkest days in United States' history, died Thursday, family spokesman Tom Johnson said. She was 94.

Filed under: Uncategorized
July 11th, 2007
05:17 PM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee focusing on Iowa straw poll

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will place his complete focus on the Iowa GOP straw poll next month, he told reporters Wednesday, saying he will “pretty much” stay in the Hawkeye state from now through the August 11 event.

The poll is a state GOP party fundraiser and has traditionally been viewed as a key test of strength five months before the Iowa caucuses. But Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain both announced in June they would skip the event, putting its relevancy this year in doubt.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads several polls in Iowa and is expected to win the August vote easily. But Huckabee said he won’t be disappointed with a second or third place finish.

“We’ve never said we have to win the straw poll in order to be considered credible,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the ideal goal. We’ve got to do well, that’s what the goal is. And well is not really a place because - for example - if the separation between first, second, and third place is very tight, it may not be perceived that third place is all that distant from second.”

Huckabee also declined to indicated how much his presidential campaign had raised in the second quarter - which ended June 30 - but said it was better than his first quarter $544,000 fundraising haul.

“We’ve got enough money to go through the straw poll and get through that next major milestone for us,” he added.

All presidential candidates are required to disclose their second quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission by July 15.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee
July 11th, 2007
04:50 PM ET
12 years ago

'Hott 4 Hill' counters 'Obama Girl'

Watch CNN's Jeanne Moos report on the latest online political video making waves.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on a new online music video spoofing a spoof - it's 'Obama Girl' vs. 'Hott 4 Hill'.

July 11th, 2007
04:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Thompson eyes August kick-off

Thompson is likely to launch his presidential bid in August.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is now likely to announce his presidential campaign in August, not mid-July as previously envisioned and will skip the Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa, people familiar with Thompson's thinking tell CNN.

The campaign-in-waiting is still being put together, and Thompson supporters say they want to have "100 percent" of the staff in place by the time of the announcement.

"Expectations are through the roof," said one source. "We have to match those at every level. . . . We have to be more ready than any of these other guys.”

Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain both announced in June they would skip the Iowa Republican party’s presidential straw poll, scheduled for August 11.

Thompson created a state-level presidential exploratory committee in Tennessee in June.

- CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley

Filed under: Fred Thompson • John McCain • Rudy Giuliani
July 11th, 2007
03:57 PM ET
12 years ago

Davis: McCain 2000 is back

McCain leaves the White House Wednesday after a discussion on Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Newly installed McCain campaign manager Rick Davis is out with his first e-mail fundraising solicitation Wednesday, writing that Sen. John McCain is embracing the themes of his 2000 presidential campaign “louder than ever.”

“When I last held this post in 2000, our campaign for honest reform, better government and a stronger America had resonated with voters across the country, and our message today is stronger and louder than ever,” Davis wrote in the e-mail. “America is at an important crossroad, and I have accepted this position because I firmly believe that John McCain is the right man with the right message at the right time for America.”

Davis, who ran the Arizona Republican’s insurgent presidential bid in 2000, returned to the post Tuesday after former campaign manager Terry Nelson was forced out following bleak fundraising totals and excessive spending.

Clearly hoping to combat talk of a campaign in crisis, Davis also asks supporters to “send this email to five of your friends and let them know that our campaign for honest reform, better government and a stronger America is moving forward.”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain
July 11th, 2007
02:58 PM ET
12 years ago

Crowley’s Politics 411: McCain identity crisis?

Watch the latest Politics 411

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley weighs in on whether Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign is undergoing an identity crisis, following the departure of several top-level aides.

And on the Democratic side, will former President Bill Clinton lend his wife the charisma she needs to win?

Filed under: Uncategorized
July 11th, 2007
02:55 PM ET
12 years ago

MoveOn.org members warm to Edwards

Edwards is the winner of a MoveOn.org straw poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards tops a recent straw poll of MoveOn.org members on climate-change policy, the liberal political action committee announced Wednesday.

Asked which Democratic "presidential candidate's position on dealing with the climate crisis” is most preferable, Edwards topped the list with 33 percent - more than double the support received by the second place finisher, Dennis Kucinich (16 percent).

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton comes in a close third with just under 16 percent, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (15 percent), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (13 percent), Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (3 percent), Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (3 percent) and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel (2 percent).

A total of 95,284 people voted in the poll, according to MoveOn.org spokesman Trevor Fitzgibbon. That number is nearly the amount of Democrats who participated in the 2004 Iowa Caucus.

The poll followed a virtual town hall Saturday night on the issue. All of the candidates participated. It was the largest event sponsored by MoveOn.org since 2004, according to the organization, with over 100,000 people either watching online or attending one of 1,300 house parties.

“The enormous response we got from our members on this issue emphasizes how important it will be for our next president to make solving the climate crisis a top priority in 2008,” said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, in a statement.

The group plans to run ads in Iowa and New Hampshire newspapers next week announcing the results.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

July 11th, 2007
12:34 PM ET
12 years ago

Senators prevent vote on U.S. troop rotation changes

Watch CNN's Wolf Blitzer talk with Sen. Jim Webb Tuesday about troop deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senators lacked the four votes needed Wednesday to bring to the floor a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would have set restrictions on U.S. troop rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to give troops more time at home.

The tally for the procedural motion was 56 to 41. Sixty votes were required to cut off debate on the amendment so a vote could be held.

Under the proposal by Jim Webb, D-Virginia, military personnel who return from deployments would have had to remain stateside for at least as long as they spent overseas, before they could be sent back.

The vote was being seen as a test of whether Democrats have gained enough momentum from disaffected Republican senators to begin forcing changes in the U.S. strategy in Iraq.

President Bush vetoed a Democratic-led effort to set a date for withdrawal from Iraq in May. That push is being renewed this week in Congress, with proposed changes to the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2008 budget year.

There are increasing calls from Republican lawmakers to begin a drawdown of U.S. troops.

The Senate vote comes one day before the White House is to deliver an interim report to Congress on how well the Iraqi government is meeting political benchmarks.

Filed under: Iraq
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