Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I have never before written so many letters to one person. Heck, I’ve never even kept a diary or journal for more than a couple of weeks. So, I’m just saying…well, I don’t know what I’m saying except here’s my latest letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dear Mr. President,
Your Vice President, Joe Biden, has undeniably been something of a loose cannon since the day you took the oath; periodically going off-message like Robin Williams on a Late Show tear, flinging the odd profanity over the open mic like an unexpected firework, and generally making your press people twitchy.
Good. You need that. His lack of apparent calculation is refreshing against the backdrop of DC where it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry Reid weighs each public gesture and facial expression as if they are members of a Kabuki theater group. Which, I guess, they are.
In contrast, VP Biden’s visit to Iraq over the holiday weekend seemed to display interest in something more than just a photo op. Oh sure, there was plenty of gripping and grinning, but beyond that; he spoke firmly and passionately about the need for the Iraqis to form a successful government, and about the US commitment to withdraw combat troops while maintaining overall support for the efforts of Iraqis. (Although, I must say that has always been a little disingenuous. “Combat troops” is nothing but a tricky substitute for “some troops;” a slick way of getting around the earlier implication that you intended to get us out of that war altogether. The tens of thousand of troops who remain behind will still be in harm’s way, and will still have to fight if fighting comes around, and frankly to suggest that any American troop is not a “combat” person is an insult to all members of our military.)
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
Vice President Joseph Biden has acknowledged that the $787 billion economic stimulus program has not yet had the impact that the White House was looking for.
"We misread how bad the economy was," Biden said during an interview.
But Biden's account downplays the damaging compromises that the administration made on the stimulus package back in February, as well as the problems that have emerged in implementing the program.
Back in January and February, when the administration and Congress completed their work on the economic stimulus bill, several Democrats and liberal pundits warned that President Barack Obama's stimulus was not going to be enough to revitalize the economy.
While Republicans argued that Congress should do nothing other than cut taxes, Obama's Democratic critics said that another bad scenario was to pass an expensive and highly visible measure that would not actually accomplish the job.
CNN Senior Producer
The State Department carefully steered through new questions Monday over whether the United States would approve an Israeli attack on Iran to disrupt its nuclear program.
Vice President Joe Biden revved up the issue Sunday when he said the United States can’t dictate to Israel. "Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.”
State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly Monday said: “Our goal here is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. When I say ‘our” it is just not the United States –it is the international community.”
“Israel is a sovereign country. We are not going to dictate its actions. We also are committed to Israel’s security and we share Israel’s deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”
Could this be interpreted as the U.S. flashing a green light for Israel, the number-one recipient of U.S. aid, to attack Iran’s nuclear sites? “I certainly would not want to give a green-light to any kind of military action,” Kelly said.
Amy Holmes: 10:40p ET – Palin: A+. The plus is for wildly exceeding expectations. She more than held her own. She was polished, direct, folksy, and on message. She stressed her personal experience both as a mom and as a governor, from the kitchen table to the executive branch, her record as a reformer and bipartisan deal maker. She even got Biden to agree with her. Read more...
Roland Martin: Expectations are high for Palin AND Biden. Many of you read my commentary this week on CNN.com and I haven’t changed my opinion.
I’m tired of Washington journalists continuing to say that the expectations are low, and the bar even lower, for Gov. Sarah Palin.
And the same goes for Sen. Joe Biden. Read more...
Amy Holmes: 9:40p ET – Were those Katie Couric interviews a devious head fake? I've heard Biden say at least twice now that he agrees with Palin. First on the issue of windfall profits, and then on the issue of gay marriage. Regarding the first, he actually said he and Obama would like to do what the Governor did in Alaska. Economic conservatives won't like it. But for debate purposes: advantage Palin.
Candy Crowley: 9:35p ET – Palin veers off course — the question is about helping consumers with crushing debt, and she's responding with energy policy. Politicians frequently change the subject, but this was a pretty obvious 180.
It's the showdown everyone's been waiting for.
Sarah Palin and Joe Biden face off on the issues.
Join the best political team on television for your front row seat!
Debate Night in America: Vice Presidential Debate
Tonight, beginning 8p ET
Suzanne Malveaux | BIO
CNN White House Correspondent
I talked to Obama campaign spokeswoman Linda Douglass who just arrived at debate site. Nothing surprising regarding Joe Biden, just some points:
– Biden is feeling “pretty relaxed.”
– He has lots of family members coming to the debate (he’s got famously big family.)
– “Biden will make a clear convincing case that the Obama-Biden ticket will bring change from the last 8 years of the failed Bush policies.”
– “Will provide a sharp contrast to the McCain-Palin ticket, and argue that the opposing candidate is more of the same.”
– They “expect Palin will deliver strong sharp, pointed attacks.”
– Biden will respond by “trying to stay connected to voters. He’ll do his best to avoid getting drawn into game-playing.”
White House Correspondent
Seeking to head off an ugly confrontation with conservatives, John McCain's campaign has decided to invite Vice President Dick Cheney to give a speech at the Republican National Convention after all.
Conservatives had been grumbling about a potential Cheney snub ever since word leaked Monday about the rare possibility of the sitting Vice President not attending his own party's convention.
A Republican official had told CNN there was a "mutual understanding" between the White House and the convention planners that Cheney was "unlikely" to attend because the McCain camp wants to turn the page on the Bush years.
Allies of the Vice President were trying to soften any talk of embarrassment by noting Cheney's schedule is pretty packed with potential travel anyway, so he might not be able to make the trek to St. Paul anyway. FULL POST
Interest in the "Veepstakes" is heating up as we approach the political conventions. Weigh the pros and cons of some possible running mates for Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.
David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer
News broke this morning that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is quietly beginning his search for a running mate. A veteran Democratic activist in Washington told CNN the process is “at a very early point but that within the campaign itself they have been informally thinking about it for a while."
Meanwhile the presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain is also going to be busy this weekend... some say, with the search for a running mate, though the campaign flatly denies that. Three politicians viewed as possible VP contenders will head out to Arizona, to the home of the senator (although campaign officials said the gather is purely social.') In total 18 guests are expected at the McCain ranch in Sedona.
Among the guests said to be possible running mates: Charlie Christ, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Massachusetts Governor (and former presidential rival) Mitt Romney. Where is Mike Huckabee you ask? The Former Arkansas Governor (and former presidential rival) was invited to attend, but he and his wife already had plans to go on vacation and will skip the event, says a source close to Huckabee.
A senior McCain adviser Charlie Black told CNN, "He is definitely not interviewing anyone, and this weekend is not about that process... I know you all want it to be about the vice presidential process, but that is not what it is about... This is a social weekend, as the senator and Cindy very much enjoy having when they can get a break from campaigning.”
Well while they relax and have a social weekend, I wanted to let YOU think about it –
Whom would you like to see as Vice President to any of the three candidates running for the White House?
Sen. Hillary Clinton & ___________________ (and why?)
Sen. John McCain & _____________________ (and why?)
Sen. Barack Obama & ___________________ (and why?)