[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/13/art.mccain.6.13.jpg caption=" Sen. McCain challenged Sen. Obama to town hall debates Friday."]
(CNN) - John McCain's presidential campaign is challenging Barack Obama to join it in accepting invitations from both the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential libraries to appear at joint town hall meetings there in July.
"The American people deserve a great debate about the future of our country, and we hope that Barack Obama will join us for these important events at these historic venues," Jill Hazelbaker, the McCain campaign's communications director, said in a statement.
McCain campaign manager Rick Davis also sent a letter Friday to his counterpart at the Obama campaign, David Plouffe, urging again that the two candidates hold several joint town hall meetings this summer.
"We remain committed to this idea because joint town hall meetings offer the best format for presenting both candidates' visions for our country's future in a substantive way," Davis wrote. "We have a chance to change the way presidential elections are run and elevate the political dialogue. Americans deserve this kind of opportunity, and we hope that Senator Obama will join us at town hall meetings throughout the summer months."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/08/art.obama.ap.jpg
caption="Sen. Barack Obama goes for a bike ride in Chicago, Illinois, last Sunday."]
(CNN) – As Barack Obama relaxed last weekend following his 15-month fight for the Democratic nomination, he struggled with an internal debate before going on a bike ride with his family – should he wear a helmet?
“I knew that the [Associated Press] was going to take a picture, and they were trying to portray it like Dukakis wearing that tank helmet,” Obama told donors at a $2,300-a-plate fundraiser in Chicago hosted by F.K Day, the president of World Bicycle Relief. “But I wanted to make sure that the children who saw that picture knew that even the Democratic nominee for president wears a helmet when he goes biking,” he said to hearty applause.
1988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis infamously donned a helmet for a photo-op in an M1 Abrams tank. It backfired and the picture was used by opponent George H.W. Bush in ads mocking Dukakis.
But despite scoring points from the bicycle-friendly crowd that included former Tour de France winner Greg Lemond, Obama acknowledged that the helmet didn’t make up for his stylishly-questionable get-up that included a polo shirt tucked into his jeans and sneakers.
“Now, obviously the rest of my apparel was apparently not up to snuff, because I got a hard time from all sorts of blogs,” he said, “Who said I looked like Urkel.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.megmc.ap.jpg caption="Meghan McCain gave her father an early Father's Day gift."]
(CNN)—Meghan McCain gave her father an early Father’s Day gift Friday when she changed her political party affiliation from an Independent to a Republican.
Joined by her mother, Cindy McCain, the younger McCain re-registered at the State Capitol Executive Building in Phoenix, Arizona.
In a statement on the aspiring first daughter’s blog, Meghan McCain explained she made the decision as a symbol of commitment to her father.
Meghan McCain, who was registered as an Independent since she was old enough to vote, said in a statement the choice represents her faith in her father’s “ability to be an effective leader for our country and to grow and strengthen the Republican Party when he is elected President of the United States.
“Happy Father's Day, Dad!” she also said.
(CNN) - Is ardent Barack Obama supporter Claire McCaskill interested in the No. 2 spot on the Illinois senator's presidential ticket?
The Missouri Democrat, who has long been an outspoken backer of Obama's presidential bid, didn't exactly shoot down that notion in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, though she did say she expected to be staying put in the Senate.
"I have complete trust in Senator Obama's judgment in this regard," McCaskill said when asked if she thinks she may be on his shortlist of potential running mates.
"And I can't wait to help president Obama swing some really strong punches for change as a senator from Missouri in the United States Senate," she added with a smile.
Winning Missouri has long been considered as an important component to capturing the White House. In all but one election since 1904 the state has voted for the winner of the presidential race.
McCaskill's comments come a day after Obama told McCaskill's hometown newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that there are "very few people" who he is closer to.
"There are very few people who are closer to me, who I have relied on more for counsel or advice," he told the paper. "Should I be successful in this campaign, she will be somebody who has the utmost access to the Obama administration."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.obama.5.19.jpg caption="Many countries thing U.S. foreign policy will improve with Obama as President."]
(CNN)—Despite increasing economic concerns and an on-going war in Iraq, a new international poll finds a widespread belief in many countries that United States foreign policy “will change for the better" once a new administration is sworn into office, particularly if Sen. Barack Obama is elected president.
The international poll conducted by Pew Research of more than 24,000 people in 24 countries found people who have been following the U.S. elections feel more confident Obama “will do the right thing,” with regards to foreign relations than John McCain.
McCain has lower ratings than Obama in every country surveyed except the U.S., where the two presumptive nominees run neck and neck.
Obama’s advantage over McCain is enormous particularly in France, Germany, and Australia, where the Illinois senator leads McCain by up to 51 percentage points.
Overall, there is little confidence in the United States in general among those surveyed in the Middle Eastern countries of Pakistan and Jordan. McCain has a confidence rating of 6 percent in Pakistan, while Obama garners 10 percent. “In Jordan and Egypt, more people who are following the election say they expect new leadership to change U.S. foreign policy for the worse than say they expect a change for the better,” according to the survey.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.paul.gi.jpg caption="Ron Paul is suspending his presidential campaign."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced Thursday he is suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination to focus his time on building an organization to help recruit and elect “limited government Republicans.”
“We want to elect constitutionalists, limited government Republicans across the country at the state and federal level,” said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton.
The congressman will speak about his political plans at the Texas Republican State Convention being held in Houston. Late Thursday afternoon, Paul launched a Web site for his new organization where he explained the decision to suspend his presidential campaign and form “Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty.”
“With the primary season now over, the presidential campaign is at an end,” Paul said in the letter. “But the larger campaign for freedom is just getting started.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain locked up the GOP nomination back in March, but unlike his fellow Republicans running for president, Paul never abandoned his White House bid.
Paul’s decision to leave the race is an acknowledgment he had no chance of winning the GOP nomination. But even in loss, Paul is one of a handful of candidates who walked away from this presidential contest a winner. His presidential campaign had a broad base of support that included traditionally fiscal and socially conservative Republicans to young people who were angry about the U.S. decision to wage war against Iraq.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau
Washington Post: Obama Campaign Dispatching Thousands
Moving to harness the grass-roots energy that helped win the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign will deploy 3,600 volunteers in 17 states this weekend, each committed to six consecutive weeks of full-time political work.
New York Sun: McCain on Wall Street: 'Angry' About Oil
Speaking on Wall Street last night, Senator McCain of Arizona sounded more like an economic populist than a proponent of the kind of unbridled free-market capitalism promoted by many who work on the trading floors nearby.
CNN: For lobbyists, a bum rap?
Lobbyist. It's a word that's making people and politicians cringe. But even though lobbyists are a target of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, many people can't do without them.
NY Times: Will the Real Tax-and-Spender Please ’Fess Up?
With the general election in full gear, Senator John McCain has stepped up efforts to paint his rival, Senator Barack Obama, as what he calls a traditional Democratic tax-and-spend liberal. On Tuesday, for instance, Mr. McCain, addressing a business gathering, accused Mr. Obama of wanting to enact “the largest single tax increase since World War II.”
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas,
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. John McCain holds a town hall in Pemberton, New Jersey
* Sen. Barack Obama holds a town hall for seniors in Columbus, Ohio, along with his wife and Gov. Ted Strickland.