July 31st, 2008
05:52 AM ET
15 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, July 31, 2008



Telegraph: US election: Senator Barack Obama faces backlash in American media
The increasingly presidential posture of the first-term Illinois senator and his campaign staff is beginning to stick in the throats of commentators, particularly given the narrowness of his lead over Senator John McCain.

Politico: Romney could lift McCain in West
As Republican presidential candidate John McCain weighs his running-mate options, political experts say Mitt Romney would energize fundraising and generate the most enthusiasm in the Rocky Mountain West.

WSJ: Revisions Haunt Debate on Recession
Hold your noses. It is time again to exhume the recession debate. The Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday offers its first reading of second-quarter gross domestic product, the U.S. economy's broadest measure. Economists think it grew at a 2.3% annualized pace, up from 1% in the first quarter.

LA Times: In Congress, no anti-corruption legislation in sight
Congress has been awash in corruption scandals, the latest being the indictment of long-serving Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, but prospects for legislation to make questionable practices like Stevens' alleged acceptance of gifts illegal in their own right appear grim.

CNN Radio: Obama and Paris and Britney, oh my!
So just what is a celebrity? Sen. John McCain’s campaign has a theory. Also, Sen. Ted Stevens tries to smile in a swarm of reporters and, in what is sure to be an awkward encounter, it seems that two former presidential candidates may be making up. Lisa Desjardins has today's CNN Radio Political Ticker.

NY Times: A New Generation of Republicans in Alaska
For the first time in four decades, politics in Alaska is a brand-new game for both Republicans and Democrats because of the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens, the state’s longtime Republican patriarch.

WSJ: Roles Are Set, as Are the Perils
Presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain both appear to be seizing the roles in which they have been cast: Sen. Obama as front-runner and Sen. McCain as underdog. The approach carries perils for both men.

CNN: Clinton to speak Tuesday at Democratic convention, sources say
Sen. Hillary Clinton has agreed to speak on the second night of next month's Democratic convention, headlining on the 88th anniversary of the day women earned the right to vote, sources say.

San Francisco Chronicle: Political ads hit MTV, Comedy Central
A national political ad appeared on Comedy Central TV for the first time Wednesday night. Why hasn't that happened before? Because nobody thought voters were watching.

New York Sun: Rivals Ready To Attack V.P. Nominee
Democrats are preparing to pounce on Senator McCain's running mate, whoever it is.

LA Times: Obama emerges as major campaign issue - for both candidates
A McCain ad likening Obama to pop culture stars illustrates the rivals' focus on defining the Democrat, a relative newcomer. Experts say both campaigns' tactics pose risks.

NY Times: McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch
After spending much of the summer searching for an effective line of attack against Senator Barack Obama, Senator John McCain is beginning a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency.

USA Today: In fundraising ranks, a gender gap is showing
In a historic election in which a woman almost won the Democratic nomination, men dominate the ranks of elite fundraisers in the presidential race, a USA TODAY analysis shows. Women account for 59 out of more than 500 top fundraisers in Republican John McCain's campaign. Democrat Barack Obama has 148 female fundraisers out of more than 500.

Washington Times: Obama supports union organizing
Legislation that would make it more difficult for workers to hold a private ballot vote in unionization drives, which critics say would lead to harassment and intimidation, has spurred a pitched battle between powerful labor unions supportive of Sen. Barack Obama and big business in the presidential campaign.

Politico: McCain’s cacophonous Cabinet
Republican faithful have grumbled in recent weeks about the lack of a consistent message from John McCain’s campaign on key issues, leading observers to wonder what McCain’s top advisers are thinking.

Washington Post: As Aides Map Aggressive Race, McCain Often Steers Off Course
Sen. John McCain last week delivered one of his sharpest critiques yet of Sen. Barack Obama's Iraq policies, carefully reading a prepared speech that accused his Democratic rival of failing the commander-in-chief test and promoting ideas that would force American troops to "retreat under fire."

Washington Post: Alaskans Fret About a Future Without Help From 'Uncle Ted'
Alaska's vast landscape is littered with federally funded tributes to Sen. Ted Stevens's single-minded promotion of the state, from the brushed steel of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to the $187 million that subsidizes air mail for the one-third of residents who live beyond the reach of roads.

WSJ: Stevens May Aid Democrats' Odds
The indictment of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens strengthened forecasts that Democrats will gain Senate seats on Election Day.

WSJ: Alaska's Palin Faces Probe
When Sarah Palin was elected governor as a Republican outsider in 2006, she didn't just take on an incumbent from her own party. She took on Alaska's Republican establishment.

WSJ: Democratic Ally Mobilizes In Housing Crunch
The housing bill signed Wednesday by President George W. Bush will provide a stream of billions of dollars for distressed homeowners and communities and the nonprofit groups that serve them. One of the biggest likely beneficiaries, despite Republican objections: Acorn, a housing advocacy group that also helps lead ambitious voter-registration efforts benefiting Democrats.

Washington Post: Vote on Journalist Shield Stalled
Senate Republicans yesterday blocked a vote on a controversial law that would protect reporters from having to testify about their confidential sources, refusing to begin debate until the chamber addresses a bill that would promote more domestic oil and gas production.

AP: House panel votes to cite Rove for contempt
A House panel voted Wednesday to cite Karl Rove, formerly President Bush's top aide, for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart explored punishment for alleged misdeeds by other administration officials.

Washington Post: Patterson and O’Malley: Leading by Example
The Bush administration announced this week that the federal deficit could reach an unprecedented high, $482 billion, next year, even as all 50 states work to balance their budgets amid an economic recession and a national mortgage crisis.

Politico: In tough race, Cohen lacks DCCC support
Democratic insiders say House Democratic leaders have refused a request from Tennessee Rep. Stephen I. Cohen — a white man in a majority-black district — for money to fend off a primary challenge from a black woman.

CNN: Roads to Ruin: Interview with Gov. Schwarzenegger
CNN's Campbell Brown spoke with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about Tuesday's magnitude-5.4 earthquake that hit Los Angeles. She asked the Republican governor if his state was ready for the "Big One," and Schwarzenegger spoke about his state's infrastructure and what he wants to do to fix it.

USA Today: Analysis: Bush's foreign focus emphasizes alliances
Gas costs $4, credit is tight, housing is in a slump. What's a president to do? For President Bush, the answer is to focus much of his attention on foreign policy — an area, analysts say, in which he has stashed his predilection for saber-rattling and turned to quiet diplomacy.

Washington Post: Bush Criticized for Interviews With State-Run Chinese Media
President Bush sat down yesterday for interviews with foreign journalists, including two unusual media outlets: the People's Daily newspaper and the Central China Television network, both controlled by China's ruling Communist Party.

CNN: Senator: China orders hotels to help spy on Internet users
A senior U.S. lawmaker says China is ordering foreign-owned hotels there to install government software and hardware that would let authorities spy on guests' Internet activities during the Beijing Olympics.

CNN: China fires back after U.S. criticism
The Chinese government blasted U.S. legislators Thursday for calling on the communist nation to end human rights abuses. The criticism came in response to a resolution the U.S. House of Representatives passed Wednesday by vote of 419-1.

WSJ: You Know Gas Prices Are High When Texans Start Driving Golf Carts
In the garage where chiropractor Rick Peters once parked his Dodge pickup, two tiny electric cars now sit back-to-back next to his wife's small SUV.

Washington Post: Workers' Religious Freedom vs. Patients' Rights
A Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting health-care workers who object to abortion, and to birth-control methods they consider tantamount to abortion, has escalated a bitter debate over the balance between religious freedom and patients' rights.

CNN: Wiring warning came months before soldier electrocuted
An Army sergeant complained about faulty wiring in Iraq months before another soldier was fatally electrocuted in a shower in the same quarters, according to documents released Wednesday by a congressional committee.

Washington Post: House Votes to Let FDA Regulate Tobacco Industry
The House approved legislation yesterday that would for the first time empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the tobacco industry, a measure long sought by anti-smoking advocates.

Washington Post: Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the "Long War" against violent extremism and that the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists should be the nation's top military priority over coming decades, according to a new National Defense Strategy he approved last month.

Washington Post: Al-Qaeda in Iraq Leader May Be in Afghanistan
The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan, according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and U.S. officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization.

CNN: U.S. to urge 'fugitive aliens' to surrender
U.S. immigration officials, taking a new tack to solve an old, intractable problem, say they will give "fugitive aliens" in certain cities incentives to surrender during a three-week period in August.

NY Times: At a Fork in the Road, Cuba Follows Two Paths
When President Raúl Castro spoke last week at the old military garrison where he and his older brother Fidel began the Cuban revolution 55 years ago, the younger Mr. Castro looked minuscule compared with the outsize banner looming over him of his bearded predecessor.

USA Today: Thanksgiving travelers will find fewer flight options
Planned your Thanksgiving trip yet? Be warned: Fewer nonstop flights are scheduled on many routes because airlines are cutting their schedules due to high fuel prices.

USA Today: Airlines may face fines over mistaken terrorist IDs
The Transportation Security Administration is threatening to fine airlines up to $25,000 when they erroneously tell passengers they are on a terrorist watch list.

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