.
March 4th, 2008
06:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks!!! Big day today in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island...Polls show a tight race in Texas, and Clinton with the edge in Ohio. John McCain appears to have both states locked up, but hey ya never know.... SO stay tuned to CNN for all the results.  A few other headlines to chew over this morning, but politics seems to be dominating the headlines, so grab your coffee and lets get to today's Morning Buzz... 

Top Stories
Suicide blast kills 5 in Pakistan...
A suicide bomber, prevented from entering a naval college in Pakistan, set off explosives that killed at least five people and wounded 15 others Tuesday, an army official told CNN.

Iraqi helicopter missing...
An Iraqi army helicopter with two officers on board went missing north of Baghdad early Tuesday during bad weather, security officials told CNN.

Raw Politics
Clinton hammers Obama...
Sen. Hillary Clinton Monday questioned her Democratic rival's commitment to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, a charge that Sen. Barack Obama's camp called a "blatant distortion."

Geography may decide who wins Ohio...
A campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination that has pivoted on race and gender could be decided here today by another divide, the state's urban north versus the rural south - pitting Ohio's popular governor against a cadre of big-city mayors.

Texas weighs in...
Their race stubbornly tight, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama blitzed Texas on Monday in a final surge of campaigning for Tuesday's primary.

Clinton to continue despite outcome...
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed to press on in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination after critical primary tests in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, even as advisers to Sen. Barack Obama said the latest round of voting would do little to improve her standing in a race in which she has been dealt setback after setback.

As Ohio goes, so does the Nation...
The presidential spotlight shines on this Midwestern state every four years, and for good reason. As Ohio goes, so goes the nation–at least for the past 44 years.

Who has WON what...what is at stake?

Crime & Punishment
Memphis shooting...
Six people were killed, including two children, and another three children wounded in a shooting Monday in Memphis, Tennessee, authorities said.

Teen & boyfriend spents months planning killing...
A high school couple forced to break up spent about a month plotting to kill the girl's parents before her mother and two younger brothers were fatally shot and stabbed in a weekend ambush, according to records released Monday.


Keeping Them Honest
Ecoterrorism...
Fire engulfed five luxury homes Monday morning at a subdivision north of Seattle in what could be a case of ecoterrorism, officials said.

Case against a drug maker...
A 4-to-4 vote on Monday left the Supreme Court unable to decide a pharmaceutical pre-emption case that was argued a week ago.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
None of it is true...
In "Love and Consequences," a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

Avalanche on Mars...
The image, taken last month, reveals at least four avalanches of fine ice and dust breaking off from a steep cliff and settling on the slope below. The cascade kicked up massive debris clouds, with some measuring more than 590 feet across.

March 3rd, 2008
06:17 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Good Morning!! We are 24 hours away from possibly knowing who the democratic front runner will be!!! You can cut the tension on the campaign trail with a knife.  Check out Raw Politics for the skinny... There are new details in the Utah ricin story and just a bizarre killing in Texas...some are calling it a 'Romeo and Juliet' reversal...So take a look at Crime & Punishment.  AND don't let your kid spike his hair, he just might be suspended... NOT kidding!!! So grab your coffee and let's get this headline party started...

Top Stories
Utah home searched in ricin case...
F.B.I. agents on Sunday searched a home and storage space in Utah for evidence that might explain why a man believed to have been exposed to ricin had the deadly substance and what he intended to do with it.

Car bombs in Iraq...
A pair of car bombings targeting Iraqi security forces killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens Monday morning in the Iraqi capital, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

Bush silent on troop cuts...
President Bush declined Saturday to promise more U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq before he leaves office, and underscored the need for a strong military presence during Iraqi provincial elections in October.

Link between Equador and FARC...
Three captured computers from a deceased rebel leader document "tremendously revealing" and "very grave" links between Ecuador and Colombian rebels, the Colombian director of national police said late Sunday.

Russian elections...
Still, though the results were never in doubt, Mr. Medvedev’s future role very much is, given that the man who anointed him..

Raw Politics
Last ditch effort from Obama & Clinton...
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to convince Ohio voters they have what it takes to fix the economy as they campaigned before contests that could decide the Democratic presidential nomination.

McCain record...
Senator John McCain likes to present himself as the candidate of the “Straight Talk Express” who does not pander to voters or change his positions with the political breeze.

Inside the Clinton campaign...
As they mapped out a campaign schedule for Bill Clinton, top aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton kept his time short in South Carolina. They were probably going to lose the state, they figured, and they wanted their most powerful surrogate to move on to Georgia, Alabama and other Southern states.

McCain looking to nail nomination...
John McCain looks to formally nail down the Republican presidential nomination this week, though he is already operating in one fall campaign mode: fending off opposition attacks.

Live from New York...
Like many of his fellow Americans, James Downey was a bit surprised to see Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, satirically protesting the treatment she has received from the news media.

'Super delegates' feel pressure...
Rhine McLin is a woman in demand. Actress Alfre Woodard has phoned McLin, the mayor of Dayton, to chat about Woodard's presidential choice, Barack Obama. So has Obama's wife, Michelle. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband each have tried twice to speak to McLin about the race, but the mayor won't return their calls. So many people want to bend McLin's ear that her phone messages at the office are littered on her chair, while her e-mail account and home answering machine are stuffed with entreaties.

Crime & Punishment
Texas murder...
A teenager has been formally charged in the killings of her mother and two young brothers, a crime that has left the family's tiny Texas town of Alba reeling.

Crack convicts could be free...
New sentencing guidelines were expected to lead Monday to the early release of more than a dozen federal inmates convicted on crack-cocaine charges.

Keeping Them Honest
13K claims of abuse at juvenile facility...
The Columbia Training School — pleasant on the outside, austere on the inside — has been home to 37 of the most troubled young women in Mississippi.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Spiked hair gets kindergartner suspended...
A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.

Chinese youth getting hot and heavy...
The no-tell motels in Beijing's university districts pulsate with sex. Every weekend, lusty college couples make a beeline past greasy spoon restaurants and bootleg video game shops for the dim hotel lobbies to book three-hour blocks of privacy.

February 29th, 2008
07:42 PM ET

Who are you calling liberal?

The RNC likes to call Barack Obama the most liberal (or among the most liberal) member of the US Senate. This could provide more fodder.

Sen. Obama declined an opportunity to co-sponor Sen. Russ Feingold’s latest bill – now before the Senate – to get troops out of Iraq.  Senator Clinton is a co-sponsor.

But an Obama aide explains the Illinois Senator isn’t co-sponsoring because the bill does not include a withdrawal date.  It mandates troops must start drawing down within 120 days –  but doesn’t include a timeline.  That’s consistent with Obama’s stated position, and the bill isn’t going to pass.

But here’s the catch: Moveon.org supports this bill. They’ve been phone banking and e-mailing their members telling them to urge their senator to vote for it.  So Obama is to the left of Moveon.org on this issue.

That might not be a problem for Obama in the primary. Could it become an issue in the general election?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Democrats • Jessica Yellin • Raw Politics • Top Stories
February 29th, 2008
06:38 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks, it is FRIDAY!!! AND only four more days until we know who the Democratic nominee will be...or will we? Polls are close in the two big states, Texas and Ohio, but most show Hillary with and edge in Ohio. So check out Raw Politics for all the latest... In our Top Stories this morning, the United Kingdom has decided to pull Prince Harry out of Afghanistan...how was this kept so secret for so long? And is there more being wasted money in Irag? We are Keeping Them Honest... PLUS, are Victoria Secret models getting TOO sexy? I will take the fifth on that one.... So grab your coffee and take a long at today's headlines....

Top Stories
U.K pulls Harry...
Prince Harry is to be pulled out of Afghanistan immediately amid fears for his safety after news of his deployment was made public, the British defense ministry said Friday.

Media kept Harry assignment quiet, why?
Prince Harry has been fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan for 10 weeks, his presence there kept secret until Thursday in a remarkable deal between the British military and news media.

Chemical Ali to be executed...
The Iraqi presidency has approved the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majeed who earned the nickname "Chemical Ali" for his role in a chemical weapons attack on on Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, a member of the Iraqi parliament told CNN on Friday.

Deadly toxin found...
Police in Las Vegas, Nevada, are investigating the discovery of ricin at a hotel room on Thursday

Raw Politics
GOP decries use of "Hussein"
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced on Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party's use of Barack Obama's full name in a recent news release questioning the Illinois senator's commitment to Israel.

Bush takes swipe at Obama...
Setting aside his stated reluctance to enter the presidential campaign, President Bush on Thursday strongly criticized Barack Obama's expressed readiness to meet with foreign leaders cast as tyrants, warning that such discussions "can be extremely counterproductive" and "send the wrong signal."

McCain's birth place called into question...
Senator John McCain said Thursday that he had no concerns about his meeting the constitutional qualifications for the presidency because of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. A Democratic colleague said she wanted to remove even a trace of doubt.

Campaign cash...
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each had a record-breaking month of fund-raising in February, bringing in more than $80 million combined, but with Mr. Obama again far outraising Mrs. Clinton.

Huge voter turnout expected in Texas...
Anita Dawkins has never voted early. But there she was Wednesday, a 48-year old homemaker, or “domestic engineer,” as Ms. Dawkins called herself, lining up outside the Barbara Bush branch Library in this fast-growing northern Houston suburb “to beat the crowds” and cast her primary ballot for Senator Barack Obama.

Texas Republicans for Obama?
One of Sen. Barack Obama's surest applause lines comes about halfway into his standard stump speech. It goes like this: "They whisper to me. They say, 'Barack, I'm a Republican, but I support you.' And I say, "Thank you. Why are we whispering?"

Crime & Punishment
The softer side of Drew Peterson?
Before appearing on NBC's "Today" show Thursday, Drew Peterson had a conversation with his recently hired publicist: Maybe it was time for the public to see another side of Drew.

International fugitive caught...
An international fugitive accused of killing his wife in New Zealand, stuffing her body into the trunk of a car and then abandoning the couple's 3-year-old daughter at a train station last year has been captured in the U.S. state of Georgia, authorities said.

Keeping Them Honest
Dead police officers still on the payroll...
Iraq's government has spent millions of dollars on "phantom" police officers who left the force or died, but whose names remained on department payrolls while others illegally pocketed their salaries

Blood thinner linked to more deaths...
Amid indications that more people may have died or been harmed after being given a brand of the blood thinner heparin, federal drug regulators said Thursday that they had found “potential deficiencies” at a Chinese plant that supplied much of the active ingredient for the drug.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Victoria Secret TOO sexy?
Maybe it was the lusty mannequins in its stores, the massage oil on its shelves or the overabundance of cleavage on the glittery runway of its annual TV fashion show. But yesterday, Victoria Secret chief executive Sharen J. Turney acknowledged that the chain had gotten "too sexy."

Man dies while rescuing cat from tree...
A 27-year-old man died Wednesday afternoon when he fell 35 to 40 feet from a tree while trying to rescue his neighbor's cat, according to the Orange Fire Department.

Staying in Iraq to help...
The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home." But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

February 28th, 2008
06:28 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Good Morning Folks!!! There are lots of headlines to plow through this morning. SO grab your coffee and lets just get to it...

Top Stories
8 shot at L.A. bus stop...
Five children and three adults were shot Wednesday afternoon by a gunman who opened fire at a busy South Los Angeles bus stop minutes after classes were dismissed at a nearby school.

House approves new taxes on big oil companies...
The House approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies Wednesday as Democrats cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs in a time of economic troubles.

Justices take on oil spill battle...
The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which caused a 3,000-square-mile oil slick and still affects Alaska’s fisheries after nearly 19 years, was a “tragedy,” Exxon’s lawyer told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Virtual fence constructions is delayed...
The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear, federal officials said yesterday.

Sunni forces losing patience...
U.S.-backed Sunni volunteer forces, which have played a vital role in reducing violence in Iraq, are increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support.

Taliban killed in clashes...
A militant ambush of an opium poppy eradication force sparked clashes that killed 25 Taliban fighters and a policeman, a provincial authority said Thursday. Four other militants died when a bomb went off.

Lawmakers to push for apology for slavery...
Five states did something over the past 12 months that no state had done before: expressed regret or apologized for slavery

Raw Politics
Bloomberg ops out...
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has publicly flirted with the idea of a run for the White House as an independent, says he will not run for president

Questions arise about McCain's birthplace...
The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Presidential challenges...
The next U.S. president will face a world fraught with far more foreign policy challenges than President Bush did when he took office.

Obama v. McCain...
Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama engaged in a pointed exchange over al Qaeda in Iraq on Wednesday.

Race is NOW a factor...
When John McCain apologized to Barack Obama this week for the comments of his warm-up act at a rally, it was not the first time–and probably won't be the last–that the most competitive black presidential candidate in U.S. history has heard the words, "I'm sorry."

Longtime Clinton aide returns to the fray...
Harold Ickes may be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's last hope for winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

Crime & Punishment
Ex-cop gets life...
Jurors spared the life of a former Canton, Ohio, police officer who killed his pregnant girlfriend and tearfully asked them for mercy. A judge then sentenced him Wednesday to 57 years to life in prison.

Keeping Them Honest
Mine poses danger...
In a snowswept trailer park, Emily Medina wakes each morning wondering whether she will be washed away by toxic water that local officials fear could burst from a decaying mine tunnel near her home.

Thousands warned of clinic's dirty syringes...
Thousands of patients may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus because of an inappropriate medical practice at an outpatient clinic here over the past four years, state health officials said Wednesday

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
LAPD considers Spears probe...
Los Angeles police say they are looking into allegations that someone drugged Britney Spears but have not decided whether to open a formal investigation.

Spanking study...
Children whose parents spank them or otherwise inflict physical punishment may be more likely to have sexual problems later, according to research to be presented today to the American Psychological Association.

February 27th, 2008
06:50 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning!!! The Morning Buzz is back!!! We may have witnessed the LAST Clinton-Obama match up last night...check out all the reviews in Raw Politics. BUT despite all the democratic bickering, a new poll out shows that no matter who the democratic nominee is, John McCain has the edge... AND just a bizarre and sad story about a surgeon who was charged with hastening a man's death merely to harvest his organs..so we are Keeping HIM Honest. Plus..did Roger Clemens lie? Well, most fans think he did. SOOO grab your coffee and lets get this headline party started....

Top Stories
Power outage still a mystery...
Power was restored Tuesday for most of Florida after a failed switch and fire at an electrical substation outside Miami triggered widespread blackouts across the state.

Army plans to cut combat tour length...
Moving to relieve strain on troops, the Army plans to reduce the length of combat tours from 15 months to one year after the troop buildup in Iraq winds down this summer, top officials told Congress on Tuesday.

American aid worked is feared dead...
An American aid worker and her Afghan driver who were kidnapped in Afghanistan a month ago are feared dead, according to their aid group.

Earthquake in Great Britain?
An earthquake shook Britain early Wednesday, causing damage to buildings and leaving at least one person injured.

Raw Politics
Hillary & Obama clash...
Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sparred with each other over negative campaigning, health care and free trade Tuesday, a week before key primaries in Texas and Ohio.

20th debate...
Everybody wanted to know which Hillary Rodham Clinton would show up to the Cleveland debate on Tuesday night. It turned out to be the Amy Poehler version.

New Polls gives McCain edge over dems...
As he emerges from a sometimes- bitter primary campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain poses a stiff challenge to either of his potential Democratic opponents in the general election, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

Keeping Them Honest
Did a surgeon hasten a man's death to harvest his organs?
On a winter night in 2006, a disabled and brain damaged man named Ruben Navarro was wheeled into an operating room at a hospital here. By most accounts, Mr. Navarro, 25, was near death, and doctors hoped that he might sustain other lives by donating his kidneys and liver.

Fans think Roger Clemens lied...
According to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll, 57% of fans said they think Clemens was lying to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Inquest into Diana's death continues...
More than 10 years after the deaths of Britain's "people's princess" and her lover in a Paris car crash, the few who believe Princess Diana was deliberately killed continue to press their case in a coroner's inquest now in its fifth month.

Crime & Punishment
Father of slain girl files suit...
Attorneys for Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year-old daughter Jessica was abducted, raped and killed by a neighbor in 2005, announced Tuesday in Jacksonville, Florida, that their client is planning to sue the Citrus County sheriff for failing to search the neighbor's home.

Ac360 follow
Warren Jeffs back in court...
The polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was handed over to the authorities to face sex charges stemming from the arranged marriages of two teenage girls to older relatives. He has already been convicted in Utah in connection with one of those cases, involving a 14-year-old girl. Deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office took custody of Mr. Jeffs from Utah officials, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Jackson ranch to be auctioned off...
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch will be put up for sale at a public auction next month unless the pop star pays the more than $24 million he still owes on the property, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Python stalked and killed family dog...
A 16-foot python stalked a family dog for days before swallowing the pet whole in front of horrified children in the Australian tropics, animal experts said Wednesday.

February 25th, 2008
06:47 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Good Morning Folks!!! Happy Monday!! Lots of headlines to chew over this morning...so grab your coffee and lets just get right to it....

Top Stories
Indonesia quake...
A powerful earthquake hit off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island Monday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey's Web site reported.

NY Philharmonic arrives in North Korea...
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra arrived in North Korea Monday to perform a historic concert in the secretive communist nation's capital.

Editor's Note: Christiane Amanpour reports from North Korea tonight on AC360

Cuba gets new President...
Raul Castro, Cuba's first new president in nearly half a century, crushed hopes that a new generation would shape the country's future by promising to defer to his ailing brother Fidel and the Communist Party's old guard on major matters.

Raw Politics
Dean rips McCain...
Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean accused Republican presidential front-runner John McCain of trying to skirt campaign finance laws Sunday by trying to opt out of public financing for his primary campaign.

Obama questioned about his patriotism...
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defended himself and his wife Sunday against suggestions that they are insufficiently patriotic.

Nader is in...
Ralph Nader is entering the presidential race as an independent, he announced Sunday, saying it is time for a "Jeffersonian revolution."

Editor's Note: Ralph Nader is LIVE tonight on Ac360

Clinton looks for ways to attack Obama...
With her White House prospects in jeopardy, Hillary Rodham Clinton has shifted from one tactic to another in trying to overtake rival Barack Obama.

Conservative distrust of John McCain...
Back in 2005, Senator John McCain of Arizona and fellow members of the so-called Gang of 14 were hailed as heroes in some quarters when they fashioned an unusual pact that averted a Senate vote on banning filibusters against judicial nominees.

Hushed worry about Obama safety...
There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama,echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?

V.P. buzz...
Energy policy, health care and highways were the top issues on the agenda of the National Governors Association here Sunday, but many governors were consumed with presidential politics, buzzing about the possibility that the next vice president would come from their ranks.

Who will be ready on DAY ONE?
Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all boast about their preparation and credentials for the Oval Office–and their ability to, as Clinton has called it, be "ready on Day One to solve our problems."

Crime & Punishment
Sean Bell trial begins...
On the morning of her wedding day, Nicole Paultre Bell learned her groom-to-be was dead.

15 year old shot reportedly for being gay...
Two days before a shotgun-wielding shot 21 students inside a lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, taking the lives of five people as well as his own, 15-year-old Lawrence "Larry" King was shot in the head at the E.O. Green School in Oxnard, California, reportedly for being gay. He was in the eighth grade.

Editor's Note: Dan Simon report will have a report on this on AC360 tonight 

Keeping Them Honest
New Runway system could save lives...
As an American Airlines jet readied for takeoff on the runway at this city's airport recently, red lights embedded in the pavement at intersecting taxiways down the field blinked on, warning other aircraft to stay clear.

Impact of beef recall...
The nation's largest meat recall could grow into its largest food recall as companies destroy products with any amount of the 143 million pounds of beef recalled last week.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
And the Oscar goes to...
Oscar said yes to "No Country for Old Men" and to European actors on Sunday night.

And the Oscar didn't go to...
In a series of startling upsets and a few expected triumphs, almost all of the top Oscars were handed to foreigners and iconoclastic show business outsiders.

February 21st, 2008
09:57 PM ET

A Question of Ethics: Does it hurt, or help?

Remember when John McCain ran for president eight years ago? The New York Times story today suggesting that he’s actually part of the problem in Washington has, of course, become a problem for his campaign, but also perhaps a help to it.

With his wife by his side, a subdued McCain issued an unequivocal denial, saying he’s "very disappointed in The New York Times piece. It’s not true." That’s for every allegation in the lengthy article:

First, that he had a romantic relationship with Vicki Iseman. Mccain described his relationship with her this way: "Friends. See her occasionally at fund-raisers and appearances before the committee."

ALT TEXT

And an assist from Mrs. McCain: "My children and I not only trust my husband, but know that that he would never do anything to not only disappoint our family but disappoint the people of America."

Then, McCain took on the charge that he used his powerful position on a Senate committee to help her corporate clients: "At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust nor make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest and would would favor any one, or any organization."

The Times also says eight years ago his advisers were so concerned about his relationship with Iseman that they tried to stop it: He denied that, too.

The one named source to go on the record in the Times story was McCain’s former top political adviser, John Weaver. He confirmed to CNN that he was worried and did confront her. However, he insists now that it wasn’t about a romantic relationship, but about her spreading word around town that McCain helped her lobbying clients.

"My concern wasn’t about anything John had done. It was about her comments. It was about access she claimed to have had," Weaver told us.

McCain insists he knows nothing about that: "I never discussed it with John Weaver. As far as I know, there was no necessity for it. That’s a judgment that he made."

But Iseman’s lobbying firm issued a statement calling the story fantasies of a former disgruntled campaign employee, without merit or foundation.

The irony in all this? The McCain campaign is relishing the controversy, because it allows the candidate trying to appeal to conservatives to pick a fight with what they see as a big enemy, The New York Times.

In fact, the campaign sent out a fund-raiser today calling on donors to send money to fight the "liberal establishment."

–Dana Bash, 360° Correspondent


Filed under: Dana Bash • Raw Politics • Top Stories
February 21st, 2008
07:52 PM ET

McCain, the Times, and the Lobbyist

Some 24 hours after the New York Times posted the McCain story on its web site, here's where I sense that things stand:

The story itself has plenty of smoke but absolutely no evidence of any fire.  Both the Senator and the woman in question have denied the underlying allegations - that (a) they had a romantic relationship and (b) that he did favors for her as a lobbyist.  Several others around the Senator have also issued similar, strong denials.  No one  - not a single source, named or unnamed - has come forward with a shred of evidence to show that their denials are wrong. 

ALT TEXT

Under the circumstances - and given John McCain's long and honorable record of serving his country - I believe that most Americans will more than give him the benefit of the doubt.  Unless someone comes forward soon with something concrete, the Senator emerges from this unscathed with the general voting public.  

Indeed, it is increasingly clear that among conservatives, this episode is actually serving to strengthen him.  Look at the way his detractors like Rush Limbaugh rallied around him today.  Many of them hate the Times, and even though they do not love McCain, the enemy of their enemy is now their friend. 

McCain's team has also been adroit at turning the Times itself into a growing issue.  Personally, I think the criticisms of the Times that it intentionally sat on the story to protect McCain in the early primaries and then dumped it out on him now has no basis in fact - or at least any facts that we know so far.  The Times, like most news organizations on controversial stories, has to work hard to make sure it has enough solid sourcing before it goes with the story. And when that is in hand, it goes. Note that in all the denials today of any fire, there wasn't much of a denial about the smoke - the allegation from unnamed sources that some of his aides became convinced that there was an underlying story; the fact that John Weaver and the woman in question have both said there was a meeting to tell her to get lost actually lends a little credence to the idea that some aides were worried about appearances. 

So, the Times did have something.  It is a much harder question whether, given how little they had, they should have held the story altogether.  I can imagine that was a very tough call within the newsroom - journalists do publish such smoky stories a lot (just ask the Clintons, who were pummeled by such stories, some from the Times).  But it is also very understandable that the Senator and his team were outraged - if there is no evidence of any underlying story, doesn't a story like this seem terribly unfair, even a smear, as they argued?  This is where the world of journalism collides with the world of politics - each has its own values, its own culture, its own set of standards.  Personally, if in the newsroom, I would have voted to spike the story unless and until something concrete appeared.  But I also know that among many outstanding journalists, not just at the Times, the vote would have gone the other way.

For now, unless another shoe drops, John McCain goes forward with a more united base than he had 24 hours ago.

-David Gergen, 360° Contributor


Filed under: David Gergen • John McCain • Raw Politics • Top Stories
February 15th, 2008
07:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks!!! A tragic story still unfolding at Northern Illinois University. The Chicago papers are reporting now a 7th student has died and the gunman has still NOT identified. Take a look at Top Stories for the latest...

In Raw Politics...Obama took the day off yesterday to celebrate Valentine's day, so Hillary took advantage of the air time and began the attacks....AND Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain. I didn't think they liked each other, go figure!!! BUT make sure you tune into AC360 TONIGHT...Anderson hosts a special Uncovering America: Race, Gender & Politics...

PLUS...gorillas in LOVE...is it What YOU will be talking about TODAY...TGIF!!!

Top Stories
7th person dies in NIU shooting...
A seventh person has died in the shooting, according to DeKalb County Coroner Dennis J. Miller. In addition, he released the identities of four of the victims: Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester; Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; and Julianna Gehant, 32, of Meridan.

Professor witness to shooting tells his story...
Northern Illinois University grad student Joseph Peterson was about ten minutes from finishing a geology class he was teaching, lecturing from a stage. Suddenly, a tall white man dressed in dark clothing appeared about 40 feet away from him.

Former student kills five...
A gunman dressed in black stepped from behind a curtain at the front of a large lecture hall at Northern Illinois University on Thursday and shot 21 people, five of them fatally, then shot and killed himself, said university president John Peters.

Al Qaeda recruiting females for suicide missions...
Al Qaeda in Iraq is recruiting female patients at Baghdad's two psychiatric hospitals for suicide missions–with the help of hospital staff–according to the U.S. military.

U.S attempt to shoot down satellite...
The military will try to shoot down a crippled spy satellite in the next two weeks, senior officials said Thursday. The officials laid out a high-tech plan to intercept the satellite over the Pacific just before it tumbles uncontrollably to Earth carrying toxic fuel.

Major immigrant smuggling ring busted...
In a case highlighting this city’s prominent role in the smuggling of illegal immigrants across the border, the authorities conducted a series of raids on Thursday, arresting what they said were the leaders of a ring that helped transport hundreds of people to way stations in Phoenix.

Bush & Congress in spy bill standoff...
With a deadline looming, President Bush and congressional Democrats are locked in a standoff over the government's authority to spy on foreign phone calls and e-mails that pass through the United States.

Raw Politics
Clinton sharpens attacks...
Sen. Hillary Clinton on Thursday sharpened her attacks on Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama as she faces what even her supporters admit are must-win situations in Texas and Ohio in the weeks ahead.

John McCain on Larry King Live...
Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his statement that U.S. troops could spend "maybe 100" years in Iraq - saying he was referring to a military presence similar to what the nation already has in places like Japan, Germany and South Korea.

The man behind the Obama message...
Sen. Barack Obama strode into a hotel ballroom filled with expectation one recent Tuesday and declared that his quest for the Oval Office, which "began as a whisper in Springfield, has swelled to a chorus of millions calling for change."

More signs of Clinton trouble...
In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady's congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

Limbaugh no let up on McCain...
Rush Limbaugh took his show on the road this week, forsaking his main broadcast studio in Palm Beach, Fla., for one in Midtown Manhattan. But the change of scenery did nothing to dampen the Republican-on-Republican smackdown he has been waging from afar against Senator John McCain, the party’s likely presidential nominee, whom Mr. Limbaugh considers too moderate.

Crime & Punishment
Man questioned in therapist shooting...
NYPD investigators on Thursday questioned a man in Pennsylvania in the slaying of a psychologist hacked to death in her office with a meat cleaver, law enforcement officials said.

Keeping Them Honest
Accidental suicides...
There have been at least three accidental drug overdoses and four suicides among soldiers in special units the Army set up last summer to help war-wounded troops, officials said late Thursday.

F.D.A brokes its own rules...
The Food and Drug Administration violated its own policies when it approved for sale a crucial blood-thinning drug without first inspecting a Chinese plant which, along with a plant in Wisconsin, made the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Gorillas in a trist...
Leah and George aren't star-crossed lovers caught in mid-tryst. They're western gorillas in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, observed by primatologists whose interest is far more scientific than it is prurient.

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