[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.bidenstlouis0912.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Biden campaigned in St. Louis earlier this week."]
(CNN) - Joe Biden's newly released tax returns appear to confirm what the Democratic VP candidate has long contended - he is among the poorest U.S. senators currently serving.
At least half the nation’s senators are millionaires. But Biden and his wife Jill earned a relatively small $320,000 in 2006, paying about $66,000 in taxes. Over the last 10 years Biden and his wife earned just shy of $2.5 million - an average income of roughly $245,000 per year.
The Obama campaign released the 10 years worth of documents earlier Friday, in part to pressure the McCain campaign to do the same with Sarah Palin and her husband Todd's returns.
“The last eight years have brought Americans' faith in their government to its lowest point in over thirty years," Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said. "The only answer is to change the way we do business in Washington. That starts with something as simple as transparency. That's why Senator Biden is releasing his tax returns for the last 10 years."
A McCain aide told CNN Friday the campaign would release Palin's documents, but on their "own timeframe."
The Bidens' returns do not specify the various sources of the income, but the Delaware Democrat earns $165,000 per year as a senator and draws roughly $20,000 annually from his visiting law professorship at Widener University. Jill Biden is a teacher in Delaware and draws a salary of about $66,000. The 2007 tax returns also indicate Biden earned $71,000 in royalties for his book "Promises to Keep."
Biden, who does not hold a second residence in Washington and commutes back to Delaware daily via Amtrak train, often jokes about his relatively poor financial standing on the campaign trail. His modes net worth is also touted by the Obama campaign as a sign Biden has not become a creature of Washington or a fixture on its cocktail circuit.
"I make a good salary, although I am listed as the second-poorest man in this Congress," Biden said in Missouri last week. "I’m not proud of it. I’m not proud of it. But that’s what happens when you get elected when you’re 29 years old."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/06/art.palin.closeup.jpg caption="Palin's position on stem cell research is at odds with McCain's."]WASILLA, Alaska (CNN) - Sarah Palin is putting her opposition to stem cell research on the back burner for the sake of the Republican ticket.
John McCain's campaign released a radio ad Friday that calls he and Palin "mavericks" who will, if elected, back stem cell research "to help free families from the fear and devastation of illness."
"Medical breakthroughs to help you get better, faster," says the radio ad, which according to the campaign is running in key battleground states. "Change is coming. McCain, Palin and congressional allies. The leadership and experience to really change Washington and improve your health."
McCain and his campaign have said the senator supports research that uses stem cells, including the embyronic variety. But Palin does not.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.bomacgroundzero0912.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Obama trails Sen. McCain by two points in Friday's CNN poll of polls."] (CNN) – Sen. John McCain continues to have a slight advantage over rival Sen. Barack Obama in the latest CNN poll of polls released Friday afternoon. McCain is now ahead by 2 percentage points – 46 percent to Obama’s 44 percent - with 10 percent unsure about their choice for president. In Thursday’s CNN poll of polls, McCain was ahead by one point – 46 percent to 45 percent.
“The race for the White House has essentially been a dead heat since the Republican Convention,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “Barring something dramatic and unexpected, the horserace numbers are not likely to change very much at least until the debates. As we inch closer to Election Day, the pool of truly undecided voters continues to shrink.”
Friday’s CNN poll of polls is comprised of the following three surveys: Fox News/Opinion Dynamics (September 8-9), Gallup (September 9-11), and Diageo/Hotline (September 9-11). The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.toddpalin0912.ap.jpg caption="Todd Palin sat with his wife, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, during the final night of the Republican convention."]
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - A special counsel has asked Alaskan lawmakers to subpoena Gov. Sarah Palin's husband and a dozen aides as part of the investigation into Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner.
Todd Palin has been a "principal critic" of his wife's ex-brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten, and had "many contacts" with Department of Public Safety officials about his status, said Steve Branchflower, the former prosecutor hired by the state Legislature to investigate the firing.
Sarah Palin, now the Republican nominee for vice president, is battling allegations that she and her advisers pressured then-Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire Wooten - and that Monegan was canned when he refused.
Palin has said she fired Monegan over budget issues and denies any wrongdoing.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.obamanh.gi.jpg caption="Obama is sharpening attacks against McCain and the GOP."]
DOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) – On the first day of what his campaign called the “final stretch,” Barack Obama hammered at John McCain, and repeatedly linked him to President Bush’s policies.
“We can’t afford four more years of what George Bush and John McCain consider progress,” he said at a town hall not far from Portsmouth. “We can’t afford another President who is so out of touch that they think the economy is strong right now and promises to the exact same thing we’ve been doing for the last eight years.”
The Obama campaign seized on a comment from Thursday night’s forum in New York where McCain said it was “easy” for him to become “somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have” while in Washington.
“Maybe from where he and George Bush sit, maybe things do look fundamentally sound,” Obama said after repeating McCain’s quote and eliciting some groans from the audience. “Maybe they don’t see what’s taking place. Maybe they’re that out of touch. But I do see what’s going on and so do you.”
Even as Obama goes on the offensive against McCain in these final weeks, he has spent time defending his own campaign, reassuring voters that the recent “lipstick” story, spike in enthusiasm for the GOP ticket, and serious up-tick in negative ads does not mean his presidential effort is off-message or floundering.
At a New Hampshire town hall Friday, a man stood and asked Obama, “when and how” was he “going to start fighting back against attack ads and smear campaigns.”
“I know there are a lot of Democrats, and some Independents and some Republicans who really want change who start getting nervous because they’ve seen this movie before every four years. Right? You have ads that are being just fabricated, they’re just made up. And lies – that’s the word I was looking for,” said Obama.
“Here’s what I can guarantee you: that we are going to be hitting back hard – we have been hitting back hard but …I’m not going to start making up lies about John McCain … we’re going to make sure that anything that is out there that we are immediately responding to. But this election is too important, it’s too serious to be playing silly games.”
The Democratic nominee also pledged that families making less than $250,000 a year would not see any type of tax increase should he become president.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.viewabc.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain was a guest on 'The View' Friday."]
(CNN) - When John McCain agreed to appear on the day-time talk fest known as The View, he may not have been expecting too many hard-hitting questions.
But the Arizona senator was aggressively pressed on VP candidate Sarah Palin's qualifications to be vice president, as well as his new negative campaign ads that several independent fact-checks have called downright misleading.
Co-host Barbara Walters immediately asked McCain about a remark he’d made that Palin might just be the most "marvelous running mate" ever, asking, "that's not a little strong?"
"We politicians are never given to exaggerations or hyperbole, as you know," McCain joked, before praising Palin as the most "popular governor in America" and one who has united a "spark in America."
Walters went on to press Palin's reformist credentials, noting McCain has served in Washington for more than two decades and asking repeatedly, "who's she going to reform, you?"
McCain began to answer by saying Democrats have held control of Congress for two years, before Walters quickly interrupted: “But tell me who she is going to reform - we aren't talking about the economy, we're not talking about housing, she was chosen to reform, who is she going to reform?"
"The Democrat Party, the Republican Party, even an independent," McCain said, appearing somewhat frustrated, "She'll reform all of Washington."
"How? What will she do," Walters appearing somewhat exasperated said. "What is she going to reform specifically, senator?"
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.hillary.ap.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton's SNL appearance last year may have changed the dynamic of the primary race."](CNN) - Barack Obama may appear with Sarah Palin Saturday night - a look-alike of the Alaska governor, that is.
Obama is set to make a cameo appearance on the season premiere of NBC's Saturday Night Live, his second appearance on the sketch comedy show.
The surprise appearance was first reported by People Magazine. It remains unclear exactly what Obama will do on the show — but there’s a chance it could have something to do with the political world's latest superstar and headline-grabber.
Meanwhile, SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels is staying mum on who will portray Palin, but he told reporters in a conference call Thursday discussions are ongoing with Tina Fey, the SNL alum who some say bears a striking resemblance to the Alaska governor.
He also said he's hoping to tap former SNL cast member Maya Rudolph to play Michelle Obama.
The show has already left a mark on this election season, widely crediting with helping soften Hillary Clinton’s image during the New York senator's cameo last February. A series of sketches last season portraying members of the media in love with Obama were also credited with raising a general perception of unfair coverage of the two Democratic presidential contenders.
(CNN) - The Obama campaign posted the past 10 years of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill's tax returns on its Web site Friday.
UPDATE: Asked if the McCain campaign will release Sarah Palin's taxes, an aide said, "of course we'll release them...on our timetable."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/08/07/preston.energy/art.cash.credit.gi.jpg caption="Voters are focused on the continuing pain at the pump."]
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The high price of gasoline is voters' top economic concern, according to a poll released Friday.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 35% said price of gasoline was their highest concern. That was followed by availability of good jobs (28%), high taxes (18%) and mortgages or home values (18%).
The poll was taken on Sept. 5-7 and surveyed 1,022 adults. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.
While energy concerns led the list, the percentage of respondents who said that high gas prices were causing them "financial hardship" fell to 63% from 75% in July.
Indeed, gas was selling at $3.67 on Friday – more than 80 cents higher than it was a year ago – but 40 cents below its high point in July.
Commodity investors have been worried that the high price of gasoline and other petroleum-derived fuels have been cutting into demand.
Volatile gas prices ticked upward Friday as Hurricane Ike threatened the north Texas coast
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/08/art.cnnpoll.gi.jpg caption="McCain, Obama campaigns released a string of ads Friday."]
(CNN) - The temperature in an already-heated race rose a few degrees Friday in a flurry of overnight ads and memos from the McCain and Obama campaigns accusing each other of unfair attacks, desperation, lies, and gutter politics.
The McCain team called the Obama campaign’s charges "disrespectful." The Obama campaign again said McCain is “out of touch,” and seemed to imply the number of years McCain has been in Washington might be partly to blame, in what could be interpreted as an indirect reference to the Arizona senator’s age - as the Democrat’s campaign manager vowed to respond to attacks with “speed and ferocity.”
Two days after releasing an ad that portrayed Democrats as a pack of wolves hunting down Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, the McCain team launched a 30-second spot aimed at what they called “the Obama campaign's desperate efforts to attack and smear Governor Sarah Palin.”
“He was the world's biggest celebrity, but his star's fading,” says the announcer. “So they lashed out at Sarah Palin. Dismissed her as ‘good looking.’ That backfired, so they said she was doing, ‘what she was told.’ Then desperately called Sarah Palin a liar.
“How disrespectful. And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong, every day.”
But the ad’s implication that Obama, who is shown as the “good looking” quote is relayed, is incorrect. Obama's running mate Sen. Joe Biden offered the remark not as an attack, but as a compliment, joking to a campaign crowd that the "obvious" difference between Palin and himself is that "she's good looking" – a toned-down version of the message sported on buttons worn by Republican delegates at their convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, which described the Alaska governor as “hot.”