August 5th, 2008
05:53 AM ET
13 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, August 5, 2008



CNN: Presidential vote could help Dems get 'magic' Senate majority
As if Sen. Ted Stevens didn't have enough problems, Sen. Barack Obama might add to them.

Houston Chronicle: McCain's contributions from energy interests spike
John McCain received prolonged applause from the oil executives who gathered June 17 in Houston to hear the Republican presidential candidate's speech on energy policy. Now it appears that McCain received something else: Lots of campaign contributions.

NY Times: Forging Perceptions
If the campaign consultants have their way, 90 days from now roughly half of the electorate will think that John McCain is an angry, nasty and bitter old man. The other half will think that Barack Obama is an egotistical, feckless and immature dilettante.

CNN: Cheney not expected to attend GOP convention
Will Vice President Cheney be a no-show at the Republican convention in Minnesota? Republican officials say yes, citing a desire by Sen. John McCain's campaign to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney years.

CNN Radio: Reps Gone Wild
GOP lawmakers shout, shout, and let it all out – these are the things House Democrats can do without. Meanwhile, John McCain says he also wants Congress back in session, but his staff indicates his own schedule is a problem and, missing: one Barack Obama birthday present. Lisa Desjardins has today's CNN Radio Political Ticker.

TIME: The Tire-Gauge Solution: No Joke
Efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.

NY Times: G.O.P. Drops in Voting Rolls in Many States
Well before Senators Barack Obama and John McCain rose to the top of their parties, a partisan shift was under way at the local and state level. For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among voters who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine, Cantor: modest to millions
When they first stepped from their Richmond-area political bases to bigger stages, both of Virginia's would-be vice presidents looked like modest five-figure-a-year lawyers.

Politico: Book says White House ordered forgery
A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. Suskind writes in “The Way of the World,” to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery – adamantly denied by the White House – was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.

Washington Post: U.S. May Have Taped Visits to Detainees; Foreign Countries Sent Interrogators
The Bush administration informed all foreign intelligence and law enforcement teams visiting their citizens held at Guantanamo Bay that video and sound from their interrogation sessions would be recorded, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. The policy suggests that the United States could possess hundreds or thousands of hours of secret taped conversations between detainees and representatives from nearly three dozen countries.

NY Times: Denver Police Brace for Convention
Federal and local authorities are girding for huge protests, mammoth traffic tie-ups and civil disturbances at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this month, fearing that the convention will become a magnet for militant protest groups.

Financial Times: Doctors oppose US health plan
The Massachusetts healthcare programme widely seen as a test case for universal health coverage in the US faces mounting opposition from doctors who say the reform is failing. More than 250 physicians in the state have signed an open letter warning that the healthcare plan, which was signed into law in April 2006 by Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, is “already proving fiscally unsustainable”.

Washington Post: Obama Urges Opening Up Oil Reserves
Sen. Barack Obama called Monday for using oil from the nation's strategic reserves to lower gasoline prices, the second time in less than a week that he has modified a position on energy issues, as he and Sen. John McCain seek to find solutions to a topic that is increasingly dominating the presidential race.

Washington Post: Answering McCain's Attacks
As a week of name-calling and rapid responses faded into history, political practitioners seemed to agree that John McCain had diminished himself and his straight-talk brand with negative ads and petty misrepresentations. Yet, surprisingly, a consensus also seemed to be forming that Barack Obama, at least tactically, had not come out on top. Which raises the question: How should Obama respond?

USA Today: Obama ad alleges McCain is in oil companies' 'pocket'
Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign released a TV ad Monday that says Republican John McCain could end up in the "pocket of big oil" if he wins the White House. The McCain campaign responded that it's Obama who once supported a "sweetheart deal for oil companies." Parts of both sides' claims have run afoul of independent fact checkers.

Washington Post: At Recess, a Little One-Sided Dodgeball
House Republicans can't seem to make up their minds. Eighteen times over the past 90 days, the minority tried, unsuccessfully, to force the House to adjourn. Now the House has finally adjourned - for a five-week recess, no less - and Republicans are demanding that the chamber be called back into session.

Houston Chronicle: Plenty of plans but no action on energy
There was a gusher of energy talk Monday as presidential contenders Barack Obama and John McCain clashed over plans to reduce oil prices and congressional Republicans occupied a darkened House chamber and demanded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi cut short an August break to vote on their energy proposals.

CNN: Analysis: Will voters punish Congress for coming up empty?
Congress adjourned Friday for a five-week summer recess with little-to-nothing to show on lowering high energy prices for consumers. This comes despite a vow by legislators following its last long break to deliver some relief to outraged constituents.

NY Times: Pickens Plan Stirs Debate, and Qualms
California automobile dealers report long waiting lists for a Honda Civic that runs on natural gas. In Utah, where natural gas is especially cheap, drivers are scouring the Internet for vehicles that burn it. In Washington, members of Congress are eagerly filing bills favoring natural gas cars.

LA Times: John McCain, Senate absentee extraordinaire, touts need for special session
As part of parrying Barack Obama's spotlight on energy policy today, John McCain invited his fellow senator to join him in taking leave from the presidential campaign trail to return to Washington forthwith and, with other lawmakers, grapple with the nation's energy problems.

CNN: Bush, indicted senator attend troop rally
President Bush noted the presence of an indicted U.S. senator in the audience in brief remarks to the troops during a refueling stop at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

Washington Post: Alaskans for Obama: A Rare Democratic Push in the Last Frontier
In what might be the fullest realization of Barack Obama's pledge to run hard in parts of the country largely untouched by presidential campaigning, the Democrat's Alaska operation is making plans for organizers to hopscotch the state's vast and sparsely populated interior by bush plane, knocking on doors in remote outposts for their candidate.

Boston Herald: Bay Staters dish out $4M to dine with Barack Obama
Hundreds of well-heeled Barack Obama supporters jammed into the ballroom of a downtown Boston skyscraper yesterday to sing “Happy Birthday” to the expected Democratic presidential nominee – many of them paying as much as $15,000 for the honor.

NPR: Candidates Mum On Gay Marriage Debate
For all of the countless times the presidential candidates have laid out their positions on the war, the economy and health care, there is one issue that they haven't talked about much: gay marriage.

WSJ: What Obama Values in Kansas
For a sparsely populated state that's often a political afterthought, Kansas has something close to a starring role in this year's presidential drama. Consider: Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback ran for the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential contender, Sen. Barack Obama, makes much of the fact that his mother and grandparents hailed from Kansas, and he lauds the Kansas "values" they gave him.

CNN: Facing 'dire' tumor, Novak announces retirement
Conservative columnist and former CNN host Robert Novak said Monday that he will retire immediately to focus on treatment of a malignant brain tumor.

Washington Post: House Democrats Seek Less-Rigid D.C. Gun Laws
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have agreed to allow a vote next month on a bill that would end local handgun control in the District, making it easier for D.C. residents to acquire pistols, including semiautomatics, while eliminating the strict handgun-storage requirements imposed by the city.

Washington Post: Anthrax Dryer a Key To Probe; Suspect Borrowed Device From Lab
Bruce E. Ivins, the government's leading suspect in the 2001 anthrax killings, borrowed from a bioweapons lab that fall freeze-drying equipment that allows scientists to quickly convert wet germ cultures into dry spores, according to sources briefed on the case.

CNN: 1,200 Marines get tour extension in Afghanistan
Approximately 1,200 Marines serving in southwestern Afghanistan will have their tours of duty extended by 30 days, Pentagon and Marine officials said.

USA Today: Pentagon spends $300M to study troops' stress, trauma
The Pentagon is spending an unprecedented $300 million this summer on research for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, offering hope not only for troops but hundreds of thousands of civilians.

CNN: Pakistani accused of shooting at U.S. officers extradited to U.S.
A Pakistani scientist accused of shooting at U.S. officers while in Afghan custody last month has been extradited to the United States, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Times Online: Secret deal kept British Army out of battle for Basra
A secret deal between Britain and the notorious al-Mahdi militia prevented British Forces from coming to the aid of their US and Iraqi allies for nearly a week during the battle for Basra this year, The Times has learnt.

USA Today: U.S. releases some detainees in Iraq back to home countries
The U.S. military has started to send some foreign fighters captured in Iraq back to their home countries as part of an effort to reduce the number of security detainees held by U.S. forces.

Washington Post: Clinton: Widen AIDS Effort in U.S.
Fresh off a whirlwind tour of AIDS programs across Africa, former president Bill Clinton said Monday that new U.S. figures highlight the need for fresh attention to the disease at home, particularly among African Americans.

New York Daily News: Bill Clinton refuses to say Barack Obama is 'ready' for White House
Bill Clinton regrets some things he said – and didn't say – on the campaign trail. But there's one thing he still can't utter: Barack Obama is ready to be President.

San Francisco Chronicle: Governor proposes one-cent sales tax increase
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a temporary, one-cent increase in the state sales tax along with long-term budget reforms in an effort to break the stalemate in budget negotiations that have been stalled for more than a month, legislative sources close to the talks said Monday.

Washington Post: The Race for Comedian In Chief
Casting about for more low-rated television shows to shill for, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain have shot "funny" campaign ads for this Thursday's season finale of "Last Comic Standing," NBC announced yesterday.

NY Times: Millions With Chronic Disease Get Little to No Treatment
Millions of Americans with chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure are not getting adequate treatment because they are among the nation’s growing ranks of uninsured. That is the central finding of a new study to be published Tuesday in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

AP: Green homes a growing trend
The bathroom tiles are recycled wine bottles. The hardwood floors are sustainable bamboo. And the sprawling garden gets sprinkled with rainwater collected in 300-gallon (1,135-liter) barrels.

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