June 1st, 2009
09:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama refutes Cheney: He's 'wrong'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/21/art.cheneyobama.gi.jpg caption="Obama hit back at Cheney's comments in an interview on NPR Monday."](CNN) - President Obama is hitting back at Dick Cheney's string of recent statements declaring the new president has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, flatly telling NPR Monday the former vice president is "wrong."

"He…happens to be wrong, right?" Obama said laughing. "And last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact-check on his speech that didn't get a very good grade."

Obama's comments come 10 days after both he and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.

But Obama said Monday Cheney's vigorous criticisms do not complicate his administration’s efforts to chart its own course when it comes to conducting the war on terror.

"Does it make it more complicated? No, because I think these are complicated issues and there is a legitimate debate to be had about national security," he said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the former vice president or the previous administration in wanting to protect the American people. And these are very difficult decisions."

Obama also said he doesn't find it unusual Cheney has become so outspoken in his criticism of the new administration, citing former vice president Al Gore as an example.

"As I remember, there were some speeches given by Vice President Gore that differed with President Bush's policies and I think that's healthy; that's part of the debate," he said. "And I don't in any way begrudge, I think, anybody in debating sometimes ferociously these issues that are of preeminent importance to the United States."

But Gore himself may take issue with that statement. Appearing on CNN last month, the former vice president said Cheney is speaking out too early.

"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical,” Gore said. (Some have noted Gore actually began to criticize the run-up to the Iraq war in September 2002 - about a year-and-a-half after Bush took office.)

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Extra • President Obama
June 1st, 2009
08:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Gibbs declines to give cost for Obamas' NYC trip

(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday would not disclose the total cost of President and Mrs. Obama's weekend foray to New York City, but said the first couple would have taken a commercial flight to the Big Apple if the Secret Service allowed.

"I think the president, would, could he have, based on the Secret Service, he would have taken the shuttle," Gibbs said. "But I would say that the costs are proportionate with travel for presidents and I would encourage you to look up previous coverage on travel costs because they are analogous."

Some Republicans, including the Republican National Committee, have criticized Obama over the trip, arguing that it was improper for the president to enjoy a weekend of leisure in New York City - which included taking in a Broadway show - as General Motors was prepared to file bankruptcy papers Monday.

Republicans have also questioned the cost to tax-payers for the brief excursion - which included three Gulfstream-size planes to transport the presidet's security detail, staff, and White House reporters.

"If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn't the presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?" RNC Press Secretary Gail Gitcho said Saturday.

Asked in the White House briefing if there was any "precedent for the president and first lady to take an out of town date night..not connected to a…previous planned event," Gibbs responded: "You've got probably more researchers than I do."

Filed under: President Obama • Robert Gibbs
June 1st, 2009
08:53 PM ET
14 years ago

Showdown in New Jersey GOP primary

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/01/art.corzine.gi.jpg caption="New Jersey Republicans are battling to take on Democrat Jon Corzine."](CNN) -  No Republican candidate was won statewide in New Jersey in 12 years. But with Gov. Jon Corzine - the Democratic incumbent - struggling in the polls, the GOP hopes this year their losing streak will end.

Voters in the Garden State head to the polls Tuesday and in the gubernatorial battle, two very different Republican candidates are fighting to face off this November against Corzine.

Since the GOP gubernatorial showdown in New Jersey is the only statewide Republican primary this year, the race has also, to some extent, become a proxy in the nationwide battle between conservatives and moderates for the heart of the Republican party.

All recent polls in New Jersey suggest that former federal prosecutor Chris Christie has a wide lead in the contest. The moderate Republican candidate also has the backing of the state party's establishment. He's facing off against the much more conservative Steve Lonegan, a former three term mayor and small business owner who's running as the candidate of the right and against what he calls the "party bosses."


Filed under: Extra • New Jersey
June 1st, 2009
07:18 PM ET
9 years ago

Kaine: Texas is the next Virginia

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/29/art.dnc.gi.jpg caption="The DNC has its eyes on Texas ."](CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appears to have his eyes set on Texas, announcing Monday the organization's fall meeting will be held in the Lone Star state.

"Not only is Texas a great, beautiful and diverse state, it represents a tremendous growth opportunity for the Democratic Party," Kaine wrote in an e-mail to DNC supporters.

Now, some might find that notion odd given Texas's traditionally conservative bent and its recent history of supporting Republican candidates for elective office," Kaine continued. "But I don't find it odd at all - and in fact, I am more convinced than ever that Texas is trending our way and will continue to do so."

Obama lost to Republican presidential candidate John McCain by 11 percentage points and close to 1 million votes. Still, that margin is less than more than half of what it was when the state's favored son George W. Bush was on the presidential ballot.

In his letter Monday, Kaine specifically cited Texas' large Hispanic organization and the grassroots infrastructure put in place by the Obama campaign in 2008 as reasons the traditionally-considered red state may turn blue.

"In so many ways, I believe Texas is poised to move towards our column, just as Virginia has," Kaine said.

Full letter after the jump:


Filed under: DNC
June 1st, 2009
06:25 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton pledges to fight for gay rights worldwide

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged Monday to fight for gay rights and called on the world to stop discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation.

"As secretary of state, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Clinton said in a written statement.

President Barack Obama has proclaimed June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

Clinton's statement marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, often considered the launch of the U.S. gay rights movement.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
June 1st, 2009
06:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Minnesota high court grills Coleman, Franken lawyers

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/13/art.colemanfranken1.gi.jpg caption="Lawyers for both Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken were grilled by the Minnesota state supreme court Monday."](CNN) - Lawyers for both Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken were grilled by the Minnesota state supreme court Monday, in a crucial hearing in the nearly seven month long post-election Senate seat battle between the candidates.

The justices on the state's highest court heard arguments on whether problems counting absentee ballots justify the reversal of a lower state court ruling that declared Franken, the former comedian and progressive radio talk show host, the winner by 312 votes over Coleman, the freshman senator whose term expired at the beginning of the year.

The court focused on claims by the Coleman camp that flaws in the counting over votes are serious enough to prevent Franken from winning the Senate seat. Coleman's asking for some 4,000 rejected absentee ballots to be counted.

The court has two options. They can confirm the lower court ruling that declared Franken the winner, or they can order more ballots to be counted, as Coleman argues. A ruling in favor of Coleman won't put him back in the Senate seat he used to hold, but it would extend his battle.


Filed under: Al Franken • Norm Coleman
June 1st, 2009
06:15 PM ET
14 years ago

White House: Add Queen Elizabeth to D-Day ceremony

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama believes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II should be included in the upcoming D-Day commemoration ceremonies, the White House said Monday.

"We are working with those involved to see if we can make that happen," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The apparent decision not to invite the 83-year-old monarch has caused a diplomatic uproar in both Britain and France. The French government has continued to insist that while the queen was not explicitly invited, it is up to Britain to decide who should represent the U.K. during the ceremonies.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown currently is slated to head the delegation.

During World War II, then-Princess Elizabeth worked as a mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service - the women's branch of the British Army.

Filed under: Obama administration
June 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Carville weighs in for McAuliffe in Virginia race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/18/art.maccaullife.gi.jpg caption="Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - James Carville is offering some last minute help to his longtime friend Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race.

With just over a week until the Democratic primary, Bill Clinton's former strategist sent out a fundraising e-mail on Monday on behalf of Bill Clinton's former money man, telling supporters that McAuliffe is "the strongest possible nominee" out of the three Democrats seeking the nomination. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran are also on the Democratic ballot.

The winner of next Tuesday's vote will face Republican Bob McDonnell, and both candidates will see a flood of national money as both parties seek to put their stamp on the newly-christened swing state.

"Republicans are desperate to end their losing streak, and they're bettin' the farm on the Old Dominion," Carville wrote in the e-mail. Carville noted that he knows "thing or two about electing Democrats in Southern states."

Carville also promised that McAuliffe, who has 14 offices throughout Virginia and more paid staffers than any of his rivals, "will have the biggest, baddest Get-Out-the-Vote operation a Virginia governor's race has ever seen."

Clinton himself has campaigned several times for McAuliffe across the commonwealth.

Filed under: Terry McAuliffe
June 1st, 2009
04:04 PM ET
14 years ago

Carter sounds off on Obama

(CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter tells CNN he believes photos showing detainee abuse should be released to the public - putting him at odds with President Obama, who has said the release of those pictures could endanger U.S. troops.

In an interview set to air Monday night, Carter told CNN's Campbell Brown some of President Obama's supporters are disappointed in him. "Most of his supporters were hoping that he would be much more open in the revelation of what we've done in the past," said the former president, although he added that he still respects Obama's judgment on the issue: "I don't agree with him, but I certainly don't criticize him for making that decision."

Earlier this month, Obama asked government lawyers to stop the release of photos showing prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, a reversal of an earlier White House position. Hundreds of photos were set for release after a Freedom of Information Act request was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Carter also seemed to disagree with Obama on what should happen to Bush Justice Department officials who signed off on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics. Carter stopped short of calling for immediate prosecutions, but did suggest they might be appropriate in the future.

"What I would like to see is a complete examination of what did happen, the identification of any perpetrators of crimes against our own laws or against international law," he told Brown. "And then after all that's done, decide whether or not there should be any prosecutions."

The new administration has not definitely ruled out any prosecutions, but President Obama said on several occasions that "we need to focus on the future."

Campbell Brown's full interview with Former President Carter will air Monday night on CNN at 8 pm ET.

Filed under: Jimmy Carter • Popular Posts • President Obama
June 1st, 2009
04:03 PM ET
14 years ago

DCCC targets six Republicans over stimulus vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/01/art.peterking0601.gi.jpg caption="New York Rep. Peter King is one of six House Republicans targeted in a new DCCC ad campaign."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is taking aim at six House Republicans for their votes earlier this year against President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package.

The committee is launching radio ads Monday against Rep. Brian Bilbray of California's 50th congressional district; Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district; Rep. Peter King, New York's 3rd congressional district; Rep. Thad McCotter, Michigan's 11th congressional district; Rep. Tom Rooney, Florida's 16th congressional district, and Alaska's Rep. Don Young. The ads will run for a week, according to the DCCC.

E-mails and automated calls about the six Republicans' stimulus votes are also part of the DCCC latest ad campaign.

(Read the script of a radio ad and of an automated call after the jump)

Filed under: DCCC
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