(CNN) - Two White House-bound turkeys can thank good looks and personality for saving their lives.
The 45-pound birds endured months of rigorous training and rose to the head of a class of 20,000 feathered friends vying for a pardon from the dreaded Thanksgiving Day buffet.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.king.obama.cnn.jpg caption="Obama sat down with CNN's John King Friday."](CNN) - After two years of traveling around the country criticizing President Bush, President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that he “always thought [Bush] was a good guy.”
“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country,” Obama said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s John King.
During the election season, Obama frequently campaigned against what he called Bush's "failed policies" and promised a “clean break” from the past eight years.
Asked if there was anything he wanted to take back, now that he has spent more time with the president, Obama praised Bush’s team for helping with a smooth transition and said part of what America is about is being able to have “disagreements politically and yet treat each other civilly.”
Obama also said he thought Bush made “the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/24/huckabee.future/art.huckabee.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee is slated to speak at next year’s CPAC."] (CNN) - If the Republican Party wants to get back on track, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says GOP leaders must first restore voters' confidence in the government.
"People will forgive you for being a little left or a little right, but they won't forgive you for not taking them up instead of down," he told CNN in between appearances on his 56-city tour to promote his new book, "Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America."
Huckabee said Republicans have lost their reputation as people who believe in curtailing spending and attempting to balance the budget and have a new label: the "budget busters," who spend more than they can pay back while priding themselves on not raising taxes.
"But it's not that they do it by curbing spending, they just kick the can down the road and put the burden on our grandchildren," he said, adding that he considers it "morally wrong" to indebt future generations.
Following big losses in the 2008 elections, the former Arkansas governor is urging Republican leaders to get back to the party's core values and "govern well" if they hope to win back the trust of voters.
Those in office, he said, "have to show that they are competent to lead," whether at the governors' level or city council. That way, Republicans can point to those people as examples to justify why they should be given a chance in the future.
Related: I'm not settling scores, says Huckabee
"If we don't live up to our own principles, then we can hardly criticize the other party for not living up to our principles either," he said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.obama.israel.wed.cnn.jpg caption="Obama held a press conference in Israel Tuesday."](CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday said the terror in Sderot is “intolerable,” and praised the residents for their courage and resilience.
“I’m here to say that - as an American and as a friend of Israel - that we stand with the people of Sderot and with all the people of Israel,” Obama said.
Sderot is a southern Israeli town that has come under rocket attack from Palestinian militants in Gaza. Obama earlier toured a home that was damaged in one of the attacks.
“Israelis should not have to live endangered in their homes and schools. I’m hopeful that the recent understanding to end the attacks will provide some relief, but America must always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself against those who threaten its people,” he said.
Obama said he was “deeply committed” to helping Israelis achieve a lasting peace with Palestinians who are prepared to accept the state of Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by agreements.
“We must support Palestinian leaders who share this vision,” Obama said, calling attention to President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayad, both of whom he met with earlier.
Obama was joined in Sderot by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, also toured the war-torn city when he visited the region in March.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/28/art.wrightnpc.ap.jpg caption=" Wright gave a speech at the National Press Club Monday morning."](CNN) - Barack Obama’s former pastor on Monday said it was not him, but the black church that has been the subject of recent attacks.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, speaking before an audience of 300 at the National Press Club, sought to explain the black religious experience. He said the theology of the black church is a “theology of liberation, it is a theology of transformation and it is ultimately a theology of reconciliation.”
Wright said the black religious tradition, despite its long history, is in some ways “invisible to the dominant culture.”
His remarks came one day after he addressed an audience of 10,000 at the NAACP dinner in Detroit.
Reiterating some of the same points from that dinner, Wright on Monday said “being different does not mean one is deficient – it simply means one is different, like snow flakes.”
Wright said reconciliation means “we embrace our individual rich histories.”
He said this means rooting out “any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred or prejudice” and recognizing that each person “is one of God’s children ... no better, no worse.”
“Only then will liberation, transformation and reconciliation become realities and cease being ever-elusive ideals,” he said.
Wright is a retired pastor from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, where Obama worships.