August 1st, 2007
03:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Rude e-mail causes battle in Iowa

Brownback demanded an apology from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback demanded an apology from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Wednesday for an e-mail sent to religious leaders in Iowa as part of what Brownback called an "effort to demoralize his supporters."

Rev. Tim Rude, a volunteer for Huckabee's campaign, sent an e-mail to evangelicals in Iowa, trying to persuade them to choose Huckabee over Brownback. Rude, a self-proclaimed "recovering Catholic," criticized Brownback for converting to Catholicism and said that's all he needs to "know about his discernment" to choose Huckabee over him.

Huckabee said he had nothing to do with Rude's letter. “We are glad that Rev. Rude issued an apology and clarification for his comments. They were not authorized by, disseminated by, approved by, or condoned by the campaign," Huckabee said in a statement.

But Brownback's campaign still slammed Huckabee for not directly apologizing for the letter.

"Why is Governor Huckabee hesitating to denounce the anti-Catholic comments from his supporter, Pastor Tim Rude? It is hard to imagine that Governor Huckabee thinks Pastor Tim Rude's prejudiced tactics are acceptable," Brownback spokesman John Rankin said.

Brownback and Huckabee are two of the candidates planning to participate in Iowa's straw poll in less than two weeks.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Sam Brownback
August 1st, 2007
03:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Gonzales tries to set record straight

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With a potential perjury threat hanging over him, embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales late Wednesday sent a letter to Senate leaders acknowledging he "may have created confusion" in his previous testimony but insisted he did not mean to mislead Senators and was "determined to address any such impression."

In a two-page letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales defended his testimony while conceding his language in describing highly classified National Security Agency surveillance activities had not been clear.

"I am deeply concerned with suggestions that my testimony was misleading, and am determined to address any such impression," Gonzales told Leahy.

"I recognize that the use of the term 'Terrorist Surveillance Program' and my shorthand reference to the 'program' publicly 'described by the President' may have created confusion, particularly for those who are knowledgeable about the NSA activities authorized in the presidential order described by the DNI, and who may be accustomed to thinking of them or
referring to them together as a single NSA 'program.'"


Filed under: Alberto Gonzales
August 1st, 2007
03:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton fires back at Cheney

Clinton took issue with comments by Vice President Cheney.

(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton Wednesday struck back at Vice President Dick Cheney, after he said that he supported Defense Department officials who chided the New York Democrat for requesting a withdrawal plan from Iraq.

In May, Clinton sent a letter to the Pentagon asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to brief Congress on contingency plans for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Defense Undersecretary Eric Edelman responded in a letter to Clinton that public discussion of troop withdrawals "reinforces enemy propoganda." Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a follow up letter to Clinton expressing resentment regret that "this important discussion went astray." Gates reaffirmed his belief in congressional oversight of government.

In an interview with CNN's Larry King Tuesday, Cheney said "I agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote. I thought it was a good letter."

Clinton fired back with a letter to Cheney, saying "Your comments agreeing with Under Secretary Edelman, not Secretary Gates, have left me wondering about the true position of the Administration," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "Therefore I am writing to President Bush asking that he set the record straight about the Administration's position regarding the role of Congress in oversight of the war."

Also on Wednesday, Clinton urged supporters to sign a letter from her calling for clarification on Bush administration Iraq policy. "Its time to find out exactly where the Bush administration stands on this issue," Clinton said. "I'm going to send a letter to President Bush, and I want your name to be on it," she said in an e-mail to supporters.

"I couldn't care less what Dick Cheney says about me," she said in her e-mail to supporters. "But when he plays politics with the lives of our troops, you had better be sure I'm going to respond."

Megan McGinn, Vice President Cheney's spokeswoman, said Cheney had nothing to add beyond his comments with King Tuesday night.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Hillary Clinton • Iraq • President Bush
August 1st, 2007
03:04 PM ET
9 years ago

Watch out, here comes Brownback girl

Brownback girl debuted in Kansas on Wednesday/Courtesy: Richard Crowson, The Wichita Eagle.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Obama Girl and Giuliani Girl just got new competition. The new Brownback Girl made "her" debut Wednesday in a Church Lady meets Madonna music video on The Wichita Eagle's Web site.

"Cause we are living in a sinful world and I am a Brownback girl," the new Brownback girl sings to the tune of Madonna's "Material Girl."

But Brownback Girl is no, well, girl. The star of the video is Bucky Walters, a local hairstylist in Wichita and actor known for playing women. In the video, Walters struts around a church, clad in a black suit, a gray curly wig, gold hoop earrings and knee-high stockings.

"Sam loves stem cells, wants gays in jail, isn't that special to me? He'll appoint more right wing judges and overturn Roe V," Walters sings. "Candidates pry, and some just lie, but Sam's just not that way. No way. He would never use religion to win on election day."

After seeing videos posted by young women on YouTube for some of the other candidates, the Wichita Eagle's Opinion page staff imagined what their senator's "girl" would look like. They decided to produce the video. "It's a spoof of other candidates' videos, not of Sen. Brownback," opinion editor Phillip Brownlee said. "We're just having some fun. At his expense, perhaps."

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Sam Brownback
August 1st, 2007
03:03 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden campaign calls Obama 'Johnny-come-lately'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A few hours after Sen. Barack Obama unveiled his plan to combat terrorism worldwide on Wednesday, Sen. Joe Biden's campaign criticized him for saying too little, too late.

“We find it a little disingenuous that Sen. Obama is hailing this as a new bold initiative when he has neglected to join his colleagues in the Senate when the opportunities have been there to redirect our forces into Afghanistan,” Biden's campaign manager, Luis Navarro, said in a statement. “It’s good to see Sen. Obama has finally arrived at the right position, but this can hardly be considered bold leadership.”

In a press release, Biden's campaign called Obama's speech a "Johnny-come-lately position." The release stated that Biden has "already initiated or accomplished" most of the propositions listed in Obama's speech. Biden’s campaign also said Obama didn't ask tough enough questions during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the troop surge in Iraq.

"While we respect Senator Biden’s very long career in Washington, it’s no surprise that Obama’s bold, new vision to take on terrorists has shaken up the status quo in our nation’s capitol," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden • Race to '08
August 1st, 2007
01:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Shift fight to Afghanistan, Pakistan

Obama discussed his ideas for fighting terrorism on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –Sen. Barack Obama says he would shift the war on terror to Afghanistan and Pakistan in a speech he delivered Wednesday.

In his speech, Obama, D-Illinois, said things would look different in an Obama administration: “When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland."

Obama says the war in Iraq has left Americans more in danger than before 9/11.

"The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war," Obama will say. "He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq - which didn't exist before our invasion - and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training recruits in Pakistan."

Despite the challenges, and potentially destabilizing effect U.S. military action inside Pakistan could create, Obama said it was important to remain enagaged there. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again," he will say. "It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Obama also reiterated his disagreement with the Bush administration's diplomatic posture. "It’s time to turn the page on the diplomacy of tough talk and no action," he said. "It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s conventional wisdom that agreement must be reached before you meet, that talking to other countries is some kind of reward, and that Presidents can only meet with people who will tell them what they want to hear."

Obama also said he would create an international intelligence and law enforcement infrastructure to address terrorist threats from Indonesia to Africa.

Obama delivered his remarks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iraq • Race to '08
August 1st, 2007
01:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Rumsfeld: I don't recall news of Tillman death

Rumsfeld appeared before a House committee Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a House committee Wednesday that he doesn't recall when he learned that there was a chance that the death of Army Ranger Cpl. Pat Tillman was the result of friendly fire.

"I don't recall when I was told. I don't remember who told me," Rumsfeld said under questioning by Rep. Tom Davis, the committee's ranking Republican. However, he said that because investigations were ongoing, he didn't make anything public.

"I have a great deal of heartbreak for the Tillman family and the way it was handled, adding to their grief. ... We certainly owe the young men and women better than that."

Filed under: Uncategorized
August 1st, 2007
01:35 PM ET
9 years ago

Senator blasts latest media transaction

(CNN)–Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, Wednesday objected to the pending purchase of Dow Jones and Company, the parent company of the "Wall Street Journal", by News Corp.

News Corp. owns the FOX network, the FOX NEWS cable channel, the New York Post and hundreds of other media entities.

"I am deeply troubled by the incredible amount of consolidation occurring across the American media landscape," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "The power of the media is swiftly being limited to a few controlling hands, which poses a serious threat to our democracy. The foundation of our democracy rests in our ability to hear from a diverse array of sources so that we can make informed decisions. The Wall Street Journal has provided a valuable and important news choice to the American public for years."

After three months, News Corp. chief executive and media tycoon Rupert Murdoch finally succeeded in his efforts to purchase Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones and Company
in a deal the companies valued at $5.6 billion. In a joint statement, News Corp. and Dow Jones announced early Wednesday that enough members of the Bancroft family, which own a controlling stake in the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, agreed to approve the takeover.

Dodd, who represents Connecticut in the Senate, said he was concerned about the paper's ability to maintain editorial independence under News Corporation ownership.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Chris Dodd
August 1st, 2007
01:34 PM ET
9 years ago

Race to '08

Listen to the latest Race to '08 podcast.

CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley dissects a get tough speech on terrorism by Senator Barack Obama along with CNN's John Lisk.

Filed under: Race to '08 podcast
August 1st, 2007
10:43 AM ET
9 years ago

Political bed time stories

(CNN)–CNN's Ted Rowlands takes a look at children's books that promote left- and right-wing agendas.

Filed under: Uncategorized
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