October 24th, 2007
09:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Affleck: I'm backing Obama

Watch Ben Affleck talk politics with Larry King.

(CNN) - Actor and activist Ben Affleck talks politics with CNN's Larry King. The Hollywood star tells King he's supporting Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in the Democratic presidential primary race.  Affleck also says he's no fan of the rough-and-tumble of politics and he shares his feelings about the Bush administration. Watch this clip from CNN's Larry King Live and find out exactly why Obama is Affleck's choice.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

October 24th, 2007
08:45 PM ET
15 years ago

In response to wildfires, Bush trying to avoid another Katrina

President Bush was criticized for his detached response to Hurricane Katrina.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina became a defining moment in President Bush's administration.  The wildfires blazing in Southern California may give Bush another opportunity to demonstrate that his administration can respond appropriately to a major disaster.   Watch Ed Henry's report.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

Filed under: Katrina • President Bush
October 24th, 2007
08:30 PM ET
15 years ago

The governator takes charge

Watch Bill Schneider's report about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(CNN) - He's been an action hero in blockbuster Hollywood movies.  But, how's he doing now as California battles raging wildfires?  Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on how Gov. Schwarzenegger, R-California, is handling the fires and has handled similar crises in the Golden State in the past.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

Filed under: Arnold Schwarzenegger
October 24th, 2007
06:39 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama questions Romney's slip of tongue

Obama on Romney's "slip of tongue"

DOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - At a "meet the candidate" event, a prospective voter jokingly asked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, if he could describe the differences between himself and Osama bin Laden - a name he was mistakenly called Tuesday by Mitt Romney.

The Democratic presidential candidate took the opportunity to light-heartedly respond to the slip of tongue by the former Massachusetts Governor.

"Oh well, Mitt Romney's been very confused about this." Obama said.

"I have a lot of trouble growing a beard, I don't have a lot of facial hair so that's a good place to start." Obama continued, "He lives in a cave."

Later, Obama was asked if he could avoid being "swift-boated" and if he could stand up to Republican attacks. This time, the Illinois senator took a more serious tone towards Romney's gaffe.

"I don't worry about getting swift-boated. I guarantee you they will go after me...We've already seen this and I think you know when Romney starts saying this stuff sometimes it may be honest mistakes, sometimes not. You don't know," said Obama.

"I have no doubt that there will be some of that trying to make into this foreign, you know odd, clearly black person and to scare people."

Obama reiterated he was "prepared" for whatever was thrown at him and that he would "come right back at them."

- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla


October 24th, 2007
06:14 PM ET
15 years ago

Thompson dismisses Romney's South Carolina poll

Thompson joked: "We're doing well based on our internal polling, too."

BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) - Fred Thompson laughed off an internal poll released by the campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney that showed Romney gaining ground among South Carolina Republican voters at Thompson's expense.

"We're doing well based on our internal polling, too," the former senator from Tennessee said with a laugh after a campaign stop here.

The internal poll, which was reported Tuesday by The State newspaper in Columbia, showed Romney surging to 20 percent, putting him at second place among GOP primary voters. Thompson maintained the lead at 24 percent but had dropped eight points since August.

Thompson had not seen The State report, but dismissed any notion the poll numbers were valid.

"I don't think I need to tell you what the polls are showing in terms of South Carolina," he said, referring to his consistent lead in most independent state polls.

In those polls, Thompson is narrowly leading former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Romney and Sen. John McCain are battling for third place.

Asked by CNN if he was planning to buy television ads soon to compete with Romney's current South Carolina airtime, Thompson wouldn't say. He acknowledged Romney has spent significant money on advertising here, but Thompson also said he would be "competitive" with advertising dollars in the near future.

"We know that others have spent millions and millions of dollars in their efforts," Thompson said. "They've spent money on television, they've spent money on radio, all of that. And we're busy raising money instead of spending money right now. But that situation will change as we get down the road a little bit."

[For more campaign news from South Carolina, check out the South Carolina Political Ticker.]

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
October 24th, 2007
06:10 PM ET
15 years ago

Thompson tests the college football waters

Watch Thompson on the stump in South Carolina Wednesday.

BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) - SEC Football. This crucial issue has dogged former Senator Fred Thompson in his quest win over voters in Florida and South Carolina, two early voting states that happen to be crazy about college football.

As a Tennessee native and a fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Thompson is predisposed to rooting against the Gators and Gamecocks, two die-hard conference foes.

He's tip-toed around the issue before.

According to The Politico, during a September campaign stop in Florida, Thompson told Gator fans "we can both do our best to beat the ole ballcoach." The "ole ballcoach," of course, is former Florida coach and current South Carolina play-caller Steve Spurrier, who is leading the South Carolina team to their best season in years.

Thompson walked into SEC enemy territory again on Wednesday, making three campaign stops along the South Carolina coast. This time, he sang Spurrier's praises.

"I'm a big fan of the ole ball coach," Thompson told a football fan outside the Sippin' Cow Café in Bluffton. "I got a chance to meet him when he was coaching the Washington Redskins, and things didn't go too well there, but the guy's a college football genius. And I'm always intrigued by what kind of formations he's going to come up with."

But Thompson was up front about yet another football allegiance that South Carolinians won't be too happy about.

After bringing up South Carolina's 17-6 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday, which dropped South Carolina out of the top ten in national rankings, he caught himself.

"I heard myself say that and I decided I really ought to keep my mouth shut, because I went to Vanderbilt law school, so I couldn't help but to smile a bit when I saw the score," he said.

Later in the day, Thompson was asked the most important question of all: Who does he want to win this weekend's match-up between South Carolina and Tennessee?

Thompson jokingly avoided an answer: "OK, I think we're out of time!"

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Florida • Fred Thompson • South Carolina
October 24th, 2007
06:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama and Gore in 2008?

Granite Stater asks Obama to join up with Gore

DOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Although it is usually not until after the primaries that nominees announce their running mates, one Granite stater hoped Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, might reveal his preference sooner.

A prospective voter asked Obama if he would consider former Vice President Al Gore as a running mate and even offered his own campaign slogan: “Obama and Gore experience and youth, Obama and Gore wisdom and truth.”

“He’s really thought this through,” Obama said with a smile. “He’s like my campaign manager here.”

Obama noted he had the “utmost respect” for the former vice president but that, after “having won the Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar, being vice president again would probably be a step down for him.”

“It might not be something he’s willing to do,” said Obama.

- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

October 24th, 2007
05:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney loses prominent evangelical endorsement

Romney lost the support of a prominent South Carolina minister.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Dr. Don Wilton, the former head of the South Carolina Baptist convention, recanted his endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney Wednesday, just days after announcing his support.

The Romney campaign has touted Wilton's endorsement, along with that of Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III, as signs that evangelical leaders in South Carolina were putting aside reservations over Romney's Mormon faith and siding with the candidate based on his family values.

In a statement released by Baptist News, a Southern Baptist publication, Wilton said he made a "personal mistake" and that, until now, he had never endorsed a presidential candidate.

"While I did give my consent to the local campaign to use my affirmation of the governor's stance on family values in my capacity as an individual citizen, I made the mistake of not realizing the extent to which it would be used on a national basis," Wilton said in the statement.

He added that: "I will continue to use my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the only standard by which I determine who to vote for in any election."

When Wilton endorsed Romney on October 19, the campaign issued a statement from Wilton saying, "While we may not agree on theology, Gov. Romney and I agree that this election is about our country heading in the right direction."

On Wednesday, Romney spokesperson Kevin Madden said he respects the decision.

"Rev. Wilton is a great leader in the community and we respect any decision he makes regarding his involvement with the campaign," Madden said.


Filed under: Mitt Romney • South Carolina
October 24th, 2007
05:23 PM ET
15 years ago

Senators say fire response an improvement from Katrina

California Sen. Barbara Boxer praised Schwarzenegger's response to the fires.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Key senators Wednesday praised the federal government's emergency response to the Southern California fires - in sharp contrast to their negative reaction to its slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

"To this stage, I am satisfied with the response," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was a vocal critic of the White House's response to Katrina.

"I believe lessons were learned from Hurricane Katrina," said Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate's second-ranking Republican who lost his own Gulf Coast home to Katrina.

"What I see happening long-distance, just looking at the media, it looks to me like the administration is responding aggressively and appropriately in trying to help the people of California with this fire," he said.

Even Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who in the past has raised concerns about having so many National Guard troops serving in Iraq and not available to respond to a natural disaster in California, said she is pleased.

"Because of the governor's swift action," Boxer said, "we have enough personnel at our disposal."


Filed under: Senate
October 24th, 2007
03:25 PM ET
15 years ago

Why is Chris Dodd's hair so white?

Dodd says his white hair is the product of his experience.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - According to a new campaign ad out Wednesday in Iowa, it's due in part to his 26 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The commercial–set in a barbershop in Winterset, Iowa–features two men discussing why they think Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd's hair is the color it is.

"No, I didn't get the white hair from the Peace Corps or the military," the senator from Connecticut says walking down the street.

"It was Dodd who passed the Family and Medical Leave Act," a barber says back inside the shop. "You know it took getting Democrats and Republicans together to get that done."

"I got a lot of white hairs from that one," Dodd adds.

But it's not just his experience the ad focuses on, it also tries to speak to his electability.

"And if he got nominated," the barber continues, "we'd have a Democrat who could win."

In addition to running in the Hawkeye State, the 60-second advertisement will play nationally on various cable networks.

Dodd, who recently rented a house in Des Moines for his family, has consistently polled in the single digits in Iowa.

Click here to watch

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Iowa • Race to '08
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