McCain campaigned in Iowa Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Wednesday that the issue of illegal immigration angered people unlike no other, including the unpopular war in Iraq, and sparked unprecedented death threats against him.
"It is unbelievable how this has inflamed the passions of the American people," the Arizona senator said in remarks at The Aspen Institute, a public policy forum. In an interview, he declined to elaborate on the threats he had received.
Still, McCain said, he continued to support a temporary worker program for the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Derided by critics as amnesty, the program was one of the most controversial elements of the failed immigration bill supported by President Bush and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate.
McCain acknowledged that the immigration issue, along with his support for the war in Iraq, had cost him politically. (Watch McCain try to discuss Iraq while competing with the Iowa State Fair)
"Look, I've got to do what I know is right for this country. These issues I have to take head-on," he said.
McCain said the United States is making progress in Iraq, and he recommended that the U.S. take a hard line against Iran. He said an alternative is needed to the United Nations, where Iran's supporters have blocked sanctions, and that the U.S. should set up another coalition with democratic nations.
Rove sharply criticized Clinton Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He may plan to take a break from presidential politics, but soon-to-be ex-White House aide Karl Rove isn't holding back when it comes to his critique of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
On conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh's show Wednesday, Rove predicted the New York Democrat would win her party's nomination but said she was "fatally flawed" and would ultimately lose the race for the White House.
"There is no frontrunner who has entered the primary season with negatives as high as she has in the history of modern polling," said Rove, who announced Tuesday he was resigning his White House post. (Listen to Rove's comments on Bush, Clinton)
"She is going into the general election, depending on what poll you look at, with high forties on the negative side and just below that on the positive side. There is nobody who has ever won the presidency who has started out in that position," the man also known as "Bush's brain" added. (Related: Clinton happy to give Rove 'heartburn')
Rove also fired back at Clinton's recent campaign ad in which the former First Lady states, "If you're a family that is struggling and you don't have health care, you are invisible to this president."
"I am a little surprised she jumped out there and made such an accusation when she has a record so spotty and poor on health care issues," he said.
Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, brushed aside Rove's critique of her favorability numbers, saying, "It sounds like Karl Rove is writing Sen. Obama's talking points."
"The reality is that as the campaign now gets under way, Sen. Clinton's ratings are improving because Americans are seeing that she has the strength and experience to deliver change," he added.
TIME.com: Rove's final retreat
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Thompson will visit Iowa on Friday.
(CNN) – Likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson says September 5th is “in the neighborhood” for the announcement of his official bid, and says he doesn’t believe he’s too late to the dance.
Thompson told a Nashville radio station Wednesday, “I can't give you a particular date, but sounds like you're in the neighborhood." On “The Steve Gill show on WLAC Radio, Thompson said, “I'm taking the time that I've got allotted to me to get my team together, to get my act together.’
Despite the potential for the primary race being almost over before it starts, with South Carolina’s GOP pushing its primary date forward, Thompson said September is not too late to enter the field.
“People who write about those sorts of things love it and promote it, and say that’s the new rule," he told the show, “It gives us something to sell newspapers about, so that’s been the deal. I just don’t buy into it. I’m the one taking the chance, if it’s a chance.”
Thompson, who makes his first trip to Iowa Friday, said, “Here you are earlier than a normal candidacy's declared with all the means of communications we have these days – the internet to the earned media to all the cable networks - to get your message out. And still people say it’s got to be earlier instead of later.”
The former Tennessee Senator said he will bring his wife, Jeri, and children with him on the visit to the Iowa state fairgrounds in Des Moines.
–CNN's Steve Brusk
Listen to the entire interview provided courtesy of "The Steve Gill Show"/Newsradio 1510 WLAC
Bush announces Rumsfeld's resignation November 8, 2006, the day after the midterm elections.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN Pentagon Producer Mike Mount has obtained a copy of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter. (View letter [PDF])
The letter is actually dated November 6, 2006 - the day before the midterm elections - even though the resignation was not announced until November 8.
President Bush has previously acknowledged the decision for Rumseld to leave was made before the midterm elections.
"The reason why [Rumsfeld didn't resign before Tuesday] is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign," Bush said the day of the resignation announcement.
The word "Iraq" does not appear anywhere in the letter.
Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "resigned as secretary of defense one day before last fall's elections, although President Bush did not announce the move until the day after the elections." (Washington Post)
Rumsfeld's resignation letter (pdf)
* Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) "will not seek re-election in 2008, potentially setting up a nationally watched contest between former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democrat." (Columbus Dispatch)
Pryce is expected to make the announcement at an 11 am ET press conference in Columbus, OH. (Release)
* PROGRAMMING NOTE: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appears tonight on CNN'S Larry King Live at 9 pm ET.
* "John Edwards' presidential campaign in Nevada took a beating Wednesday with news that it was moving a few staffers to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
* "I hope by September he'll say, 'Hmm, my time has come and gone. This other guy has already got a couple of laps on the track on me'" – Mike Huckabee, on yet-to-announce Fred Thompson.
Huckabee says "his Iowa showing proves he can rally so-called values voters as well or better than Thompson." (Bloomberg)
* "She was not, in short, the average visitor standing in line for pork on a stick." – Washington Post, on Hillary Clinton at the Iowa State Fair.
* And, as the New York Daily News reports, "the battle for votes may be fought on daytime talk shows. Well, sort of."
Which show scored a big interview with Barack Obama to counter Ellen's Hillary get? Find out in Hot Topics below!
* The president is in Crawford, TX, with no public events.
Also on the Political Radar:
* The Illinois GOP Straw Poll is held at the IL State Fair in Springfield.
* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) holds meet and greets at 7:45 am ET in Greenville, SC, and at 10 am ET in Spartanburg, SC.
* Mitt Romney speaks to the Greer (SC) Chamber of Commerce at 9 am ET. He later stops by the West Virginia State Fair at 12 pm ET in Fairlea, WV, then heads to the Granite State for an "Ask Mitt Anything" event at 6 pm ET in Londonderry.
* Rudy Giuliani holds a 9:15 am ET town hall in Derry, NH, then meets with residents in Pelham (12:30 am ET), Hudson (1:30 pm ET), and Nashua (2:30 pm ET).
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) hosts a 10:15 am ET foreign policy discussion at Kirn Junior High in Council Bluffs, IA. At 2 pm ET, Obama and his family attend a potluck at the Cass County Fairgrounds Show Barn in Atlantic, IA. Finally, he attends the IA State Fair in Des Moines at 5 pm ET.
* White House Press Secretary Tony Snow gives an 11 am ET address to the Hudson Institute at the Union League Club in New York City.
* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) visits a veterans home at 11:15 am ET in Marshalltown, IA, then gives a major policy address on education at 3 pm ET at Des Moines Area Community College.
* John Edwards continues his "Fighting for One America" Iowa bus tour with an 11:15 am ET community meeting in Grundy Center, a 1:30 pm ET town hall in Ames, a 4 pm ET visit to the IA State Fair, a 6 pm ET community meeting in Oskaloosa, and another community meeting at 8 pm ET in Ottumwa, IA.
* Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is on LKL at 9 pm ET, but he also appears on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Comedy Central, 11 pm ET.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
WILL PETRAEUS AND CROCKER APPEAR PUBLICLY ON THE HILL? Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense. White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. Washington Post: An Early Clash Over Iraq Report
GILLESPIE STEPS IN "TO HELP FILL THE VOID": When George W. Bush needed a communications adviser during the 2000 Florida recount, which determined whether he would be president, he turned to Ed Gillespie. When Bush needed someone to shepherd two of his Supreme Court nominees, he again called on Gillespie. And when longtime confidant and counselor Dan Bartlett stepped down this summer, Bush brought Gillespie to the White House. Now, with the departure of Karl Rove, the president's closest adviser, Gillespie, 46, a former lobbyist and Republican National Committee chairman, has once again been asked to help fill the void. Washington Post: As Rove Departs, President Again Turns to Gillespie
WILL BUSH VISIT GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE BEFORE TERM'S END? Maybe President Bush doesn't like Birkenstocks, or antiquing, or socialists. It could simply be that the health-conscious president just doesn't dig Ben & Jerry's high-fat ice cream. Whatever the reason, Mr. Bush has not visited the state of Vermont. He has been to 49 other states and stopped off in more than 60 countries, including Albania, Uganda, Qatar — even Mongolia — but still no trip to Vermont. Unlike the president's first-ever visit to Rhode Island in June — when he made an appearance at the Naval War College in Newport that both of the state's U.S. senators skipped — Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, a vocal administration critic, yesterday made a solemn pledge to be a hospitable host. Washington Times: Vermont to Bush: Saved best for last
McCONNELL SAYS DEMS "LOOKING TO OLD EUROPE FOR ANSWERS": Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) mocked congressional Democrats Wednesday, attacking the new leadership of the 110th Congress for attempting to ram through proposals that would turn the American government into "Old Europe." In a speech at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., he said Democratic leaders have been pushing through bills on health care, federal spending and taxes that would substantial grow the government and lead to the economic stagnation that has dogged some European countries. The Hill: McConnell slams 'Old Europe' Democrats
DNI AND DHS TO ALLOW LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO TAP INTO SPY SATELLITES: The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers. A program approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery beginning as early as this fall, with the expectation that state and local law enforcement officials will eventually be able to tap into technology once largely restricted to foreign surveillance. Washington Post: Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To Widen
RUMSFELD RESIGNATION CAME DAY BEFORE ELECTION: Donald H. Rumsfeld, who came to symbolize the Bush administration's problems in the war in Iraq, resigned as secretary of defense one day before last fall's elections, although President Bush did not announce the move until the day after the elections. The White House confirmed on Wednesday that Rumsfeld's letter of resignation was dated Nov. 6, 2006, the day before voters - many of them furious about the war in Iraq - evicted Republicans from the leadership of the House and Senate. Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said that Bush received the letter and accepted Rumsfeld's resignation on Election Day. The president waited until the next day to announce that he was replacing Rumsfeld with former CIA chief Robert M. Gates. Washington Post: Rumsfeld Resigned as Defense Secretary on Day Before Elections
PRYCE WON'T RUN IN '08: Rep. Deborah Pryce will not seek re-election in 2008, potentially setting up a nationally watched contest between former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democrat. Pryce, R-Upper Arlington, is scheduled to announce her decision today at an 11 a.m. news conference. Although Pryce did not return phone calls seeking comment, and her aides declined to confirm that she will forgo re-election, she privately has told Republicans in the past few days that it has become too difficult to raise her daughter, Mia, in Columbus while commuting to Washington. Columbus Dispatch: Pryce to pull out of House campaign
BARBOUR'S FRIENDS AND FAMILY BENEFITED FROM KATRINA RECOVERY: Many Mississippians have benefited from Governor Haley Barbour's efforts to rebuild the state's devastated Gulf Coast in the two years since Hurricane Katrina. The $15 billion or more in federal aid the former Republican national chairman attracted has reopened casinos and helped residents move to new or repaired homes. Among the beneficiaries are Barbour's own family and friends, who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from hurricane-related business. A nephew, one of two who are lobbyists, saw his fees more than double in the year after his uncle appointed him to a special reconstruction panel. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in June raided a company owned by the wife of a third nephew, which maintained federal emergency- management trailers. Bloomberg: Mississippi Governor's Associates Profit From Katrina Recovery
'07 DEM FUNDRAISING FROM RICH ZIPS OUTPACES '03 BY A LOT: Democrats seeking the White House have received more than four times as much money from some of the nation's wealthiest enclaves as party contenders did in 2003, an analysis of campaign-finance records shows. The major Democratic presidential candidates have raised nearly $32 million from the 50 ZIP codes that were the top sources of campaign money in the first six months of the year, the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics found. In contrast, Republicans received $13.8 million. The analysis for USA TODAY shows Democrats raised the most money in 43 of the 50 postal codes. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the top recipient in 28 areas. In the first half of 2003, John Kerry, Howard Dean and other Democrats who ran for president raised about $7.7 million from the top 50 donor ZIP codes. USA Today: Biggest donor areas go for Dems
TWO NEW YORKERS, "FAR FROM THE STREETS OF MANHATTAN": Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived at the Iowa State Fair in a motorcade, flanked by Secret Service agents, half a dozen assistants and a former governor. Aides to the New York Democrat and presidential candidate unfurled a yellow rope to keep back the crowds. She was not, in short, the average visitor standing in line for pork on a stick. Neither was former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican candidate who made a similar splash at the fairgrounds when he showed up four hours later. Washington Post: Two New Yorkers at the Iowa State Fair
ROVE, ON RUSH, SAYS HILLARY IS A "FATALLY FLAWED" CANDIDATE: He may plan to take a break from presidential politics, but soon-to-be ex-White House aide Karl Rove isn't holding back when it comes to his critique of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. On conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh's show Wednesday, Rove predicted the New York Democrat would win her party's nomination but said she was "fatally flawed" and would ultimately lose the race for the White House. "There is no frontrunner who has entered the primary season with negatives as high as she has in the history of modern polling," said Rove, who announced Tuesday he was resigning his White House post. The Ticker: Rove slams 'fatally flawed' Clinton
ORACLE OF OMAHA THROWS A PARTY FOR OBAMA: For $2,300 each, about 35 Nebraskans and Iowans snacked on chicken-mango skewers and chatted with Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. An additional 165 paid $500 for the same eats and a chance to listen to Obama and Buffett exchange compliments and their views of the world. In all, about 200 people gathered Wednesday night at the Ironwood Golf and Country Club to attend a fund-raiser hosted by Buffett for Obama. The Illinois senator was accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters: 9-year-old Malia and a very sleepy 6-year-old Sasha. Omaha World Herald: A who's who of Nebraska Democrats turns out for Obama
OBAMA TO APPEAR ON TYRA: The battle for votes may be fought on daytime talk shows. Well, sort of. A day after it was announced that "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" would start the season with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton as guest, "The Tyra Banks Show" said it will feature an interview with Democratic hopeful Sen. Barack Obama. The segment with the Illinois Democrat will be taped Sept. 27 here in New York. The airdate has yet to be revealed, but a spokeswoman said it's targeted for about a week after the interview. DeGeneres' sitdown with Clinton will be taped Aug. 31 and air Sept. 4 at 11 a.m. on WNBC/Ch. 4. New York Daily News: Tyra banks on Obama for taping
SOME NV EDWARDS STAFFERS SENT TO IA, NH, AND SC: John Edwards' presidential campaign in Nevada took a beating Wednesday with news that it was moving a few staffers to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., responded with a stern warning not to "ignore" his state. Other candidates rushed to declare their continued commitment to Nevada. The Republican National Committee even took the opportunity to ridicule the former North Carolina senator. "LEAVING LAS VEGAS," the Republican statement crowed. "John Edwards' Staff Packing Their Bags And Moving Out Of Nevada." Edwards' campaign, however, said reports of a total pullout from Nevada were greatly exaggerated. Las Vegas Review-Journal: Edwards pulling out some Nevada staffers
GIULIANI LEADS IN CA FIELD POLL: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains a favorite among California Republicans in the presidential contest while Arizona Sen. John McCain has seen his support plummet, a Field Poll released today shows. Giuliani, who also leads in national polls of Republican voters, is backed by 35 percent of likely GOP primary voters in California, giving him an early edge six months before the state's earlier-than-usual Feb. 5 presidential primary. But two challengers – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson – have made major gains. Romney has doubled his support since a Field Poll in March, jumping from 7 to 14 percent support among likely GOP voters. San Francisco Chronicle: Californians give Giuliani an early edge in bid for GOP nomination
WITH STRAW POLL MOMENTUM, HUCKABEE AIMS TO GET A LEG UP ON THOMPSON: Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is racing to convince donors and party leaders that he, not Fred Thompson, is the true social conservative in the race. Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, had been an also-ran in the Republican field and was given an opening with a surprise second-place finish in last weekend's Iowa straw poll, behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Thompson was regarded as the Republican who could galvanize Southerners and the party's core supporters who view a candidate's stances on abortion, gay marriage and religion as defining issues. Huckabee says his Iowa showing proves he can rally so-called values voters as well or better than Thompson, who may formally announce his candidacy in a few weeks. "I hope by September he'll say, 'Hmm, my time has come and gone. This other guy has already got a couple of laps on the track on me,'" Huckabee said in an interview. Bloomberg: Huckabee Says Iowa Showing Gives Chance to Keep Thompson at Bay