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Edwards and Spratt call on DCCC to pull down web video

By Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic Reps. Chet Edwards (Texas) and John Spratt (S.C.) have called on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull down a controversial web video that uses images of flag-draped coffins and a grave of a fallen soldier.

The two Democrats sent letters to DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Illinois) asking him to remove the video, "America Needs a New Direction,"external linkfrom its website after Republicans accused Democrats of trying to gain politically from the pictures. Emanuel urged political supporters in a fundraising e-mail sent Tuesday to view the video on the DCCC's website.

"I would not have included the clip showing the flag-draped caskets or the clip showing a soldier standing at the grave of a fallen comrade," Spratt wrote Thursday in his letter to Emanuel. "I strongly recommend that you pull this ad and delete both of these clips before running it again."

Chris Turner, Edwards' campaign manager, told the Grind that the Texas Democrat wrote a similar letter to the DCCC chairman.

A DCCC spokesman told the Grind this morning they had no comment on the letters. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended the video yesterday and pointed out that President Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove has spoken about how the GOP needs to capitalize politically on the war.

"I don't know why they are making an issue of this except that, again, it speaks truth to power about what is happening in Iraq," she said.

The video has raised new questions about how the Iraq war can be discussed in the November elections. Privately, Democrats acknowledge that Spratt and Edwards must condemn the video because they represent Republican districts.

In Edwards Waco-based district, Bush soundly defeated Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) 70 percent to 30 percent in the 2004 presidential contest, while Edwards won re-election that same year by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin. Edwards is favored to win re-election again this year, but his GOP opponent Van Taylor is an Iraq war veteran and he is trying to capitalize on the DCCC video. In South Carolina, Spratt is also coming under fire from his GOP opponent, state Rep. Ralph Norman. Bush received 57 percent of the vote in Spratt's Rock Hill based-district in 2004 compared to Kerry's 42 percent. Spratt sailed to re-election that same year with 63 percent of the vote, but he is expected to face a tougher challenge from Norman.

House Republican leaders have urged candidates to speak out against the video this weekend as they travel throughout their districts. For example, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Virginia) is holding a news conference with veterans in Virginia Beach this afternoon to condemn it.

Avoiding 'advice' overload

First Lady Laura Bush told a German journalist in an interview that, of course, she gives President Bush advice but does so in small doses. And she noted that it is impossible not to discuss politics, after all they live "above the shop."

Excerpted from a transcript provided by the White House:

Q. Do you actually give advice to your husband, even critical or controversial advice?

MRS. BUSH: Sure, doesn't every wife give their husband some advice? But I also am aware that I don't want him to give me a lot of advice or criticism, so I refrain from criticizing too much.

Q. Do you actually discuss politics in your marriage at all?

MRS. BUSH: Sure, of course. I mean, we live politics. We live in the White House. We live above the shop, so to speak, because the Oval Office is right there where we both live and work. So we constantly discuss issues and politics. That's what we think about all day and that's what the President is faced with every day in his office, of course.

Q. Is it sometimes controversial? Do you have a different point of view sometimes?

MRS. BUSH: Sometimes we have a different point of view.

Q. What about?

MRS. BUSH: We also have been married for a long time; we have a real understanding of each other. So even when we might differ on an issue, I understand where he comes from on that issue and I think he understands my point of view, as well.

Hastert hospitalized

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) was hospitalized Thursday for a skin infection that is expected to keep him off his feet for a few days. Doctors are treating Hastert for cellulitis, a bacterial infection that first appeared on his lower left leg a few days ago. If left untreated, it can spread quickly and be life threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. But Hastert is expected to be back to work next week.

DAYAHEAD/Events making news today and this weekend

  • President Bush arrived in St. Petersburg and meets with Russia's Vladimir Putin before the G8 Summit.
  • The House is not in session. It returns on Monday, July 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Senate gaveled into session at 9:45 a.m. ET and turns to Morning Business.
  • Valerie Plame and former Ambassador Joe Wilson announce a lawsuit against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove at 10 a.m. ET in the National Press Club.
  • The Senate subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development holds a 10:30 a.m. ET hearing on "A fresh start for New Orleans' children: Improving education after Katrina" at 400 Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • The Senate subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness holds a 1:45 p.m. ET hearing on "Lessons learned from Katrina in Public Healthcare" at 400 Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Vice President Cheney attends a 6 p.m. ET fundraiser for GOP House candidate Ray Meier in Utica, New York.
  • Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman keynotes the Alabama Republican Party's Annual Summer Dinner at 8 p.m. ET in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a potential presidential nominee, attends a fundraiser tonight for GOP House candidate Mike Whalen in Cedar Falls, Iowa. On Saturday, McCain attends a fundraiser for GOP House candidate David McSweeney in Barrington Hills, Illinois. And he campaigns for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pennsylvania) in Malvern, Pennsylvania on Sunday.
  • Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia), a potential presidential nominee, speaks at the "Soul of Virginia Magazine's Know your history ... know your story" program at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), a potential presidential candidate, appears in Iowa at the Dubuque County Democratic Party headquarters at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. At 6 p.m. ET, Feingold attends a fundraiser for the Iowa State House Caucus in Dubuque. On Sunday, Feingold makes stops in Maquoketa, Clinton and Davenport, Iowa to meet with local officials and Iowa Democrats.
  • POLITICAL HOT TOPICS

    Compiled by CNN's Stephen Bach

    PLAME, WILSON SUE CHENEY LIBBY AND ROVE: Former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, filed a lawsuit yesterday against Vice President Cheney, presidential adviser Karl Rove and former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, accusing the three of violating their constitutional rights in retaliation for Wilson's criticism of President Bush. Plame and Wilson say that, after Wilson accused Bush of twisting intelligence about Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Cheney, Rove and Libby conspired to "discredit, punish and seek revenge against the plaintiffs that included, among other things, disclosing to members of the press Plaintiff Valerie Plame Wilson's classified CIA employment." Washington Post: Vice President Sued by Plame And Husbandexternal link

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    61 PERCENT SAY YASSKY'S RACE SHOULDN'T DISQUALIFY HIM: Most voters don't think black politicians in a predominately black Brooklyn district should try to keep a white candidate out of the race, according to a poll released yesterday. The race to fill Rep. Major Owens' 11th District seat has been overshadowed by efforts by some black leaders to oppose the candidacy of Councilman David Yassky, who is white. But a Quinnipiac poll of voters across the city shows that 61 percent don't think Yassky should be discouraged from running just because he is white. New York Post: Poll: White Candidate Has Right to Runexternal link

    "JOE'S DEAD INTERN" AND THE HARRIS EXODUS: Katherine Harris' floundering U.S. Senate campaign lost its high-level staff again this week and is groping for a message -- which doesn't surprise Republican insiders who trace the seeds of her trouble to the story of "Joe's dead intern." This wasn't any old Joe. It was Joe Scarborough, host of the prime-time MSNBC show Scarborough Country and a former Pensacola Republican congressman who was courted last summer by national Republicans to run against Harris. But before he could announce he wouldn't, Harris called major donors and suggested Scarborough would have to answer questions about the strange death of a former staff member in 2001, according to two former high-level Harris staff members, a GOP donor and Scarborough. "That was the first clue that something wasn't right with Katherine Harris," Scarborough told The Miami Herald in a recent interview, noting that a medical examiner found his staff member's death was natural and not the result of foul play. Miami Herald: Story of 'Joe's dead intern' began Harris' slide, insiders sayexternal link

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