Republican Lugar Rejects Lieberman Criticism of Obama

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Senator Obama got a boost yesterday from Senator Lugar, a Republican of Indiana. Appearing on CNN’s “Late Edition,” Mr. Lugar pointedly distanced himself from comments by Senator Lieberman, a staunch ally of Senator McCain who implicitly criticized Mr. Obama’s devotion to America and his claims of bipartisanship last week. While introducing Mr. McCain at a rally, Mr. Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, characterized the coming election as “between one candidate, John McCain, who’s always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.” Asked if he agreed with Mr. Lieberman’s statement, Mr. Lugar said he did not. “No. I think that was clearly a partisan statement at a rally,” he said on CNN. “I respect everybody their opinions in a political campaign, but that’s all that was.” A former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Lugar supports Mr. McCain but has worked closely with Mr. Obama in the Senate. The presumptive Democratic nominee often cites him as one of his favorite Republicans and highlights their partnership on a bill to secure loose nuclear weapons around the world.


Senator Obama is endorsing a space mission that would send American astronauts back to the moon by 2020 and possibly to Mars afterward. The Obama campaign unveiled a comprehensive space policy to four Florida newspapers yesterday and plans to roll it out nationally this week, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He is promising funding for future missions and exploration beyond the planned retirement of the space shuttle in 2010. NASA has not finished developing a new rocket and anticipates a gap of several years between space flights in the next decade. “Human exploration beyond low-earth orbit should be a long-term goal and investment for all space-faring countries, with America in the lead,” a campaign policy paper says, according to the Sentinel. The paper reported that this marks Mr. Obama first commitment to President Bush’s plan for future missions to the moon and Mars. The McCain campaign pounced on the announcement yesterday, saying Mr. Obama had backed off an earlier plan to scale back NASA funding to pay for his education proposals.


Governor Schwarzenegger underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Saturday night after a nagging injury prompted him to clear his schedule and cancel a weekend appearance in Lake Tahoe. A Schwarzenegger spokesman, Aaron McLear, said the surgery was needed after the governor tore the shock-absorbing cartilage in his knee a couple of weeks ago while working out. Mr. Schwarzenegger, 61, was under general anesthesia during the hourlong procedure. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi temporarily took over the duties of governor for that hour. Mr. McLear said the recovery process would not interfere with the governor’s job.


Senator Obama returned to the campaign trail yesterday after a weeklong vacation in Hawaii and claimed that he is the presidential candidate who can fix the nation’s economic woes. “I’ve got news for John McCain: My plan’s not going to bring about economic disaster. We already have economic disaster from John McCain’s president, George W. Bush,” the Democratic candidate said as a union-heavy crowd roared support. Mr. Obama spoke to about 250 supporters at Earl Wooster High School in Reno, Nev. Top McCain campaign officials “represent foreign governments, they represent special interests from every corner of industry, so this notion that he is somehow fighting for the little guy is just nonsense,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not who he’s been fighting for — he’s been fighting for the same folks making out like bandits for years now.”


Senator Obama met with billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens yesterday and said the two will address how the country can look past political differences to unify around a comprehensive energy policy. Mr. Pickens contributed $3 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that challenged Senator Kerry’s war record in the 2004 presidential race. “He’s got a lot longer track record than that,” Mr. Obama said when asked about Mr. Pickens’s involvement in tearing down Mr. Kerry’s war record. “He’s a legendary entrepreneur and one of the things that I think we have to unify the country around is having an intelligent energy policy.” Mr. Pickens met with Senator McCain last week in Aspen, Colo.

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