August 20th, 2007
05:26 PM ET
15 years ago

'Hollywood Madam' 'big fan' of Clinton

Fleiss, above, is the latest supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House hopeful Hillary Clinton has raked in several high profile endorsements as she campaigns for president, but the latest may not be greeted with open arms.

Heidi Lynne Fleiss, the former "Hollywood Madam" who was convicted on charges connected to her prostitution ring, is a big supporter of the New York Democrat's White House bid, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

"I'm a big fan of Hillary's. Any woman who's smart, how can you not be?" Fleiss told the paper. "Even if you're a Republican, if you're a woman and you're smart, you have to respect her."

Fleiss currently resides in Nevada - now a early primary state - and runs a laundromat, called "Dirty Laundry."

The paper reports Fleiss actually tried to attend a Clinton campaign rally in Pahrump, Nevada last week, but was turned away because the building was filled to capacity.

According to Las Vegas' KLAS, Fleiss is trying to make it to the White House herself - or at least a replica of it. She's currently seeking to open a brothel in Nevada that is an exact recreation of the first family's home.

Full story

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
August 20th, 2007
04:53 PM ET
15 years ago

Leahy: 'Time's up' for White House

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House asked for more time to produce documents regarding the legality of the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program Monday, but the chairman of the Senate committee that demanded them said "Time is up."

Sen. Patrick Leahy said the Senate Judiciary Committee has given White House officials more than a month to turn over the documents and granted previous extensions of a subpoena it issued in June. That delay "goes way beyond what anyone expected," he said.

"Time is up," Leahy, D-Vermont, told reporters. "We've waited long enough."

Leahy said that unless the administration complies with the subpoena, "The full Judiciary
Committee will have to sit down and determine whether to seek contempt from the full Senate." He added, "Right now there's no question they're in contempt of a valid order of the Congress."


Filed under: Patrick Leahy
August 20th, 2007
03:42 PM ET
12 years ago

Levin wants Iraqis to oust current government

Levin recently visited Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is calling for a new government in Iraq, saying his trip there last week convinced him that Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is too sectarian and cannot create a stable Iraq.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, was blunt in a Monday conference call with reporters. “I hope the Iraqi Assembly, when it reconvenes in two weeks will vote the Maliki government out of office,” he said.

Levin credited American troops with a visible decrease in violence in Iraq. But the Armed Services chairman insisted military force alone cannot stabilize the country. Levin said Iraq could erupt into more internal bloodshed, with its army dividing against itself, unless leaders in Baghdad reach tough political compromise. And he insisted Maliki can’t do that.

“The Maliki government is non-functional,” the Michigan Democrat said, “and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.”


Filed under: Carl Levin • Iraq
August 20th, 2007
03:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton, McCain offer different views on Iraq

Watch Clinton address the VFW convention Monday.

(CNN) - On the first day of the national Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain offered widely differing views on the Iraq War.

The two presidential candidates addressed the same audience of veterans - and both received applause.

“I think that it’s unacceptable for our troops to be caught in the crossfire of a sectarian civil war while the Iraqi government is on vacation,” said Clinton, a New York Democrat. She said that the best way to honor the service of U.S. troops would be to bring them home.

McCain, whom Clinton honored for his service in Vietnam and noted their travels in Iraq and Afghanistan, cautioned against such a withdrawal. (Watch McCain address the VFW forum)

“To concede defeat now would strengthen al Qaeda, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, and unleash a full-scaled civil war in Iraq,” said McCain, an Arizona Republican. “Our defeat in Iraq would be catastrophic, not for Iraq, but for us. And I can not be complicit in it…We need to show greater patience.”

Full story

- CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John McCain
August 20th, 2007
11:11 AM ET
15 years ago

Reporter disputes Rove's account of CIA leak

Watch CNN's Suzanne Malveaux report how Rove is defending his White House record.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House political adviser Karl Rove denied Sunday he confirmed the identity of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson for a 2003 newspaper column, but a reporter who testified in the leak probe called that "nonsense."

In comments to two Sunday talk shows, Rove disputed columnist and former CNN host Robert Novak's account of the leak. Novak, who disclosed Mrs. Wilson's identity in a July 2003 column, has said Rove confirmed her identity after another Bush administration official, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, first told him she worked for the CIA.

Rove told NBC's "Meet the Press" that, when Novak asked him about Mrs. Wilson, he told the columnist, "I've heard that, too." But he insisted that did not mean he had confirmed her identity.

"If a journalist had said to me, 'I'd like you to confirm this,' my answer would have been, 'I can't. I don't know. I've heard that, too,' " he said.

Mrs. Wilson's identity was disclosed shortly after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, challenged one of the claims underpinning the Bush administration's case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq - that Iraq had sought uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Wilson wrote that he had investigated the claim at the request of CIA officials and found it "highly doubtful" that any such transaction could have occurred, and he accused the Bush administration of having "twisted" the evidence for war.


Filed under: Karl Rove
August 20th, 2007
09:52 AM ET
15 years ago

Clinton: Karl Rove 'obsessed with me'

Senator Hillary Clinton, D-New York

(CNN)-Senator Hillary Clinton said she does not expect any support of her candidacy from outgoing White House political adviser Karl Rove, despite his recent public discussion of her campaign.

"Well, I don't think Karl Rove's going to endorse me," the Democrat from New York joked Sunday, during a debate with the other Democratic candidates in Des Moines. "That becomes more and more obvious. But I find it interesting he's so obsessed with me."

On Sunday, Rove expanded on his recent comments regarding Clinton's candidacy. He says voters' opinion of Senator Hillary Clinton are a problem for her.

"She enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup poll," Rove said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It just says people have made an opinion about her. It's hard to change opinions once you've been a high-profile person in the public eye, as she has for 16 or 17 years."

Rove would not say whether the GOP was hoping to ultimately face Clinton in the general election. "It's going to be what it's going to be," he said. "The Democrats are going to choose the Democratic nominee and the Republicans are going to choose the Republican nominee."

When asked for his opinions on Illinois Senator Barack Obama, another Democratic front runner for the nomination, Rove was less vocal, "I've said enough," he said.

Rove, President Bush's political strategist, adviser, and the man Bush called the architect of his 2004 re-election bid - announced his resignation from his White House position Monday and will leave his post at the end of August.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa • Race to '08
August 20th, 2007
09:10 AM ET
15 years ago

Democrats face off in debate

The candidates on stage in Des Moines

(CNN) - At a debate Sunday in the critical showdown state of Iowa, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama worked to counter suggestions that he is too inexperienced for the job, while Sen. Hillary Clinton fended off attacks from outgoing White House political adviser Karl Rove that voters perceive her too negatively.

"Is Barack Obama ready to be president, experienced enough to be president?" moderator George Stephanopoulos asked, presenting the first question of the debate hosted by ABC's "This Week" in Des Moines, Iowa - the first state in the nation to choose party nominees.

Clinton was asked about criticisms from outgoing White House political adviser Karl Rove that her negative ratings could hurt her in a general election.

The eight Democrats generally avoided outright attacks on each other, though they took the opportunity to note disagreements, particularly on issues of foreign policy.

The question about Obama triggered a renewed discussion of his vow, made during a previous debate, that he would meet with dictators - without preconditions - during his first year in office. Clinton and others have said that such a commitment would remove a critical bargaining chip in dealing with problematic foreign governments.

Clinton answered the question Sunday by discussing her own campaign goals and experience - though, when pressed, noted that she did have a "specific disagreement" with Obama on that front. "I think the next president will face some of the most difficult international dangerous threats and challenges that any president has faced in a very long time," she said.

The senator from New York added, "When you've got that big an agenda facing you, you should not telegraph to our adversaries that you're willing to meet with them without preconditions during the first year in office."


August 20th, 2007
08:55 AM ET
15 years ago

CNN Political Ticker AM

Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...

* Democrats faced off Sunday at their first major debate in the critical showdown state of Iowa. Sen. Barack Obama worked to counter suggestions that he is too inexperienced for the job, while Sen. Hillary Clinton fended off attacks from outgoing White House political adviser Karl Rove that voters perceive her too negatively.

Full story on The Ticker

The debate "came as the climax of an intense summer campaign season and featured the most marked attempts by Edwards and [Obama] to distinguish themselves from Clinton as the more credible agents of change." (Des Moines Register)

However, "[w]hether it was the early hour - the local starting time was 8 a.m. - or the churchly sanctity of a Sunday morning, the session was among the tamest of the campaign season." (Los Angeles Times)

* Barack Obama will limit the number of debates and forums he will attend and instead focus more of his time campaigning in key presidential primary and caucus states, the Illinois Democrat's campaign manager announced on Saturday.

Full story on The Ticker

Campaign manager David Plouffe explained the decision on the blog:

"Unfortunately, we simply cannot run the kind of campaign we want and need to, engaging with voters in the early states and February 5 states, if our schedule is dictated by dozens of forums and debates."

* It's not just WH '08 that has gotten off to an early start: "The opening salvo of television and radio advertisements, automated calls and fundraising appeals" for 2008 congressional races "is unusually intense this early in the election cycle." (Washington Post)

* "And there, sitting among everybody else like anybody else was a man who would be leader of the free world." (LA Times blog)

Was that John McCain running late like everyone else on a cramped flight from DC to South Carolina?

Check out the story in Hot Topics below!

President's Schedule:

* President Bush travels to Montebello, Quebec, for the two-day North American Leaders' summit with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. 

Also on the Political Radar:

* Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) addresses the 108th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention at 11:15 am ET in Kansas City, MO. She later heads to Little Rock, AR, to meet local Dem leaders at 2:30 pm ET. At 4:30 pm ET, Clinton addresses supporters in Little Rock's County Plaza.

* Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to the VFW convention at 12 pm ET.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) holds a 1 pm ET "Firehouse Chat" on foreign policy Old Firehouse #4 in Des Moines, IA.

Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)

BUSH TO HUDDLE WITH CANADIAN, MEXICAN LEADERS IN QUEBEC: President George W. Bush travels today to Quebec for talks with Canadian and Mexican leaders that will be dominated by two increasingly conflicting goals: tightening border security and speeding commercial traffic between the trading partners. In two days of meetings in Montebello with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Bush will discuss ways to reduce waiting times for trucks at the borders with new technology and coordinated inspection hours, David Bohigian, an assistant secretary of commerce, said. The leaders will also discuss cooperation on protecting intellectual property and expanding airline services, as well as issues such as Afghanistan and the Middle East. Bloomberg: Bush to Tackle Border Delays, Security in Canada-Mexico Talks 

THE ARCHITECT, "LIONIZED AND VILIFIED" IN THE PRESS: From the moment he leaked word of his departure to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Karl Rove has been lionized and vilified by the media hordes. He is either a political giant, shrewdly plotting a series of victories during the Bush presidency, or a nation-wrecker, sowing the seeds of division to boost the GOP. The nicknames - "Bush's Brain," "The Architect" - match the portrayal of an important historical figure. But what if journalists are part of an unspoken conspiracy to inflate Rove's importance - not for ideological reasons but because it makes for a better narrative? Washington Post: Karl Rove, Insider With an Outsize Reputation 

"MOBY DICK" ROVE TAKES SUNDAY TV TOUR: Karl Rove says he feels like Moby Dick. In a television tour of three Sunday morning shows as his departure from the White House nears, Mr. Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, complained that Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were Captain Ahabs relentlessly pursuing him as the big white whale. “Let’s face it, I mean, I’m a myth,” Mr. Rove told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about his critics. “You know, I’m Beowulf, you know, I’m Grendel. I don’t know who I am. But they’re after me.” New York Times: Rove Talks: If Mistakes Were Made, They Weren’t His 

FEW PROTESTERS LEFT AT CRAWFORD'S "CAMP CASEY": Camp Casey has become a lonely place. Bush has been back at his ranch on vacation for the past week, but few protesters have followed. On Friday, reporters spotted only two or three demonstrators as Bush traveled to a nearby ranch to thank GOP donors for past contributions. Perhaps that was to be expected. [Cindy] Sheehan has turned her attention from protesting in Texas to seeking the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Cheney. She is also vowing to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her Bay Area congressional seat. Washington Post: Keeping a Lonely Vigil at Camp Casey 

"HOW WOULD A WHITE HOUSE WEDDING GO OVER?" The sands may be running out on the Bush administration, but there is still time for a June wedding in the White House. Jenna Bush, the more rambunctious of President Bush’s 25-year-old twin daughters, got engaged last week. The family has been short on further details. But it stands to reason that the wedding could take place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where Miss Bush’s fiancé, Henry Hager, 29, once worked as an aide to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s soon-to-be-ex top political strategist. It would be the first White House wedding in 36 years, since Tricia Nixon tossed her bouquet from the grand staircase. The country is at war, of course, and Mr. Bush’s popularity is low. So surely the White House itself is asking the logical question: How would a White House wedding go over? New York Times: It May Not Be Easy to Say ‘I Do’ at the White House 

KS RESIDENTS CRITICIZE PLAN TO MOVE GITMO PRISONERS TO FT. LEAVENWORTH: As high-profile Republicans increasingly join Democrats and civil rights groups in denouncing the U.S. holding of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, a proposal to move detainees to this historic Army post in the geographic heart of America is gaining widespread political support. Under the plan, several hundred foreign detainees could be transported from the U.S. detention facility in Cuba, a prison that has evoked worldwide outrage amid allegations of strong-arm interrogation tactics, to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks here, the Department of Defense's only maximum-security prison on U.S. soil. The plan has drawn criticism from many residents around Ft. Leavenworth. Chicago Tribune: Gitmo plan has Kansans uneasy 

EARLY AD CAMPAIGNS FOR '08 CONGRESSIONAL RACES "UNUSUALLY INTENSE": Democrats and Republicans are mounting a fierce battle to shape voter impressions of Congress during August's political lull, convinced that they must define the story line of the 2008 congressional election before voters are swamped by the presidential campaign. The opening salvo of television and radio advertisements, automated calls and fundraising appeals is unusually intense this early in the election cycle, and it comes just seven months after the Democrats took control of Congress. Washington Post: A Rush To Frame Views on Congress 

BOOK DEALS GIVE CANDIDATES A BOO$T: The top-tier presidential candidates have some personal finance numbers in common — six- or seven-figure book deals. Writing a book has become a prerequisite to running for president — a means to explain views in depth, to set the record straight and to add a bit of gravitas. But while nearly all the candidates put pen to paper, it is mainly those ranked high in the polls who make any real money out of it. Hillary Rodham Clinton made an $8 million book deal for "Living History," published in 2003. In the last two years, the New York senator chalked up about $1.2 million in book royalties. Though his campaign may be in a financial rut, Sen. John McCain's book sales are consistently profitable. AP via Yahoo! News: Top candidates profit from book deals 

BOWING AT THE "ETHANAL ALTAR": Backing ethanol is a political necessity in the state that is the traditionally the first to choose its presidential candidates. Iowa boasts the greatest number of ethanol plants in the country, producing about 30 percent of the U.S. supply. Ethanol is Iowa’s golden, corn-fed goose. “It would be a mistake for a candidate to come to Iowa and not address renewable energy,” says Carrie Giddins, communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party... All of the major candidates bow at the ethanol altar in Iowa, supporting some form of increased subsidies or development. The Politico: Politicians love ethanol despite doubters 

LAWRENCEBURG, TN, CAN'T WAIT FOR THOMPSON ANNOUNCEMENT: Truth be told, Lawrenceburg has been ready for months for its favorite son, former Sen. Fred D. Thompson, to announce his candidacy for president. And in this middle Tennessee town near the Alabama line, it's considered as certain as Wednesday night Bible study that Thompson will launch his run in the public square, a block from the David Crockett Theater. Rumors - all unconfirmed - about the timing of a Thompson announcement spread faster here than news of catfish biting in Shoal Creek. And while the political world has been waiting and waiting for Thompson's oft-delayed announcement - once planned for the Fourth of July, and now expected next month - Lawrenceburg and its 10,911 souls seem more impatient than most. Los Angeles Times: Thompson's hometown is getting ready for Freddie 

BIG CITY MAYOR FACES "CULTURAL CHALLENGES" IN RURAL IA: [Rudy] Giuliani left no doubt that he intends to compete in the Republican caucuses that start the presidential nomination process [in IA] next January, and asked that no conclusions be drawn from his decision to skip the recent Iowa Straw Poll, where he got just 1 percent of the vote. But Mr. Giuliani’s unconventional tour through tiny farming communities in the rolling hills of western Iowa this week displayed the cultural challenges he faces as he tries to win over a part of the country that could not be more different from the city that he calls home. New York Times: In Small Towns, Iowans Check for Dirt Under Giuliani’s Fingernails 

McCAIN: IMMIGRATION STANCE CAUSED "SOME DIFFICULTIES" WITH BASE: Sen. John McCain said Sunday his support for immigration changes hurt his presidential candidacy because people were not convinced that it would secure the border. "The immigration issue has caused me some difficulties with our base," the Arizona Republican said. The failed immigration bill supported by McCain included border security measures and a guest worker program and would have legalized many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. McCain has since endorsed a plan that would tighten the borders, but not include a guest worker provision. But he said his campaign, which has been weakened by multiple resignations and poor fundraising, is regaining its footing. The Ticker: McCain: Immigration stand hurt my candidacy 

McCAIN RIDES WITH THE MASSES: Not many folks seemed to notice the other morning as passengers - vacationers and business people - clambered on board U.S. Airways Flight 3027, in a people-packing, overhead-bin-stuffing, seatbelt-fastening ritual repeated thousands of times a day across the country. The flight from Washington to Columbia, S.C. was half an hour late; aren't they all these days? It was cramped in there; aren't they all these days? And there, sitting among everybody else like anybody else was a man who would be leader of the free world, a would-be president of the United States, Republican candidate John McCain. He was beginning yet another two-day campaign swing. Los Angeles Times: Late and cramped, the airplane had a familiar face sitting in the rear 

EDWARDS, OBAMA TAKE AIM AT FRONTRUNNER: John Edwards worked carefully during Sunday's Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines to paint Hillary Clinton as a Washington, D.C., insider, while he expressed confidence that any Democratic candidate would make ending the war in Iraq a priority... It was the fourth Democratic presidential debate of this year, but the first in Iowa. It came as the climax of an intense summer campaign season and featured the most marked attempts by Edwards and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to distinguish themselves from Clinton as the more credible agents of change... Obama continued his summer-long questioning of whether Clinton could change the political climate in Washington. Des Moines Register: Obama, Edwards pounce at Clinton 

CLINTON SNAPS BACK AT "OBSESSED" ROVE: Outgoing Bush guru Karl Rove yesterday delivered the latest in a round of shots at Hillary Clinton, prompting the Democratic candidate to fire back that the president's alter ego is "obsessed" with her. "She enters the general-election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll," said Rove, who last week said he's quitting as a top Bush adviser. Rove predicted that Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. Asked if he was hoping she would, he responded, "It is what it is." Clinton shot back during yesterday's debate in Iowa, "I don't think Karl Rove is going to endorse me, but I find it interesting that he's obsessed with me." New York Post: 'OBSESSED' ROVE HITS HILL 

OBAMA TO LIMIT DEBATE APPEARANCES, FOCUS ON CAMPAIGNING: Sen. Barack Obama will limit the number of debates and forums he will attend and instead focus more of his time campaigning in key presidential primary and caucus states, the Illinois Democrat's campaign manager announced on Saturday. In a statement posted on Obama's website, "Debates and forums going forward," campaign manager David Plouffe notes that Obama has already participated in seven debates and 19 forums. With just a little more than four months before the Iowa caucuses, the Obama campaign has decided to take more control of the senator's schedule. The Ticker: Obama to limit future debate appearances 

OBAMA BEGINS GRANITE STATE SWING: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was back in New Hampshire yesterday to begin a three-day campaign swing. He offered his views on domestic policy and world events during an afternoon waterfront patio party at One Harbor Place. More than 100 people attended; the event, hosted by the Citizens Funds investment firm, was by invitation only. Earlier, Obama sought to quiet questions about whether he has sufficient experience as a first-term senator to win his party's nomination. New Hampshire Union Leader: Obama kicks off three-day NH campaign swing 

BIDEN HITS AIRWAVES IN IA: Senator Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign's first television ads in Iowa on Sunday. In an ad entitled "Cathedral," Biden recounts a story from one of his several trips to Iraq, during which he was on an Air Force transport plane with a flag-draped coffin. Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, says that moment was pivotal in his effort earlier this year to secure funding for new mine resistant vehicles for troops in Iraq. In an ad entitled "Security," Biden lays out the case for why his leadership qualities and life experiences prepare him to be Commander-In-Chief. The Ticker: Biden launches first TV ads in Iowa

Filed under: AM Political Ticker