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Gingrich continues to warn of World War III

By Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) painted a grim picture for a group of young conservatives Monday, telling them that unless terrorism is defeated overseas then the United States will be fighting this war on the home front.

"The morning they get nuclear and biological capabilities, the war is not going to be over there," Gingrich said in a speech before the Young America's Foundation.

He told the college-aged students that "we are in an emerging third world war" -- a warning he has been expressing both publicly and privately. On Monday, he cited North Korea, Iran, the various terrorist organizations and Venezuela and Cuba as proof of the "scale" of the threat.

"If our enemies get a nuclear or biological weapon, they are going to use it," he said. "This is not the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a tired, atheist, bureaucracy.

"If you are an atheist and then you become a suicide bomber you don't get to go anywhere," he added, referencing the religious glory some suicide bombers are promised for sacrificing their lives.

Gingrich, who was forced to step down following the 1998 elections, is now considering a run for president in 2008.

"I will think about it, next fall of '07," Gingrich said in an interview with the Grind following his address.

A Republican source familiar with Gingrich, told the Grind that Gingrich is seeking to "create a position for himself as sort of the idea person and see where it is in a year from now.

"If the environment is right then he can decide whether he wants to run for president or not," the source said. "And if he doesn't run, he can still contribute to the dialogue."

Gingrich used his appearance to rally the young Republicans on a range of conservative issues such as health savings accounts, regulatory reform and less taxes. Gingrich offered little criticism of his own party, although he noted his opposition to the White House's failed approach to implementing Social Security reform and he questioned the loyalty of some Republicans serving in the Senate.

"It is amazing we have a handful of Republican senators who are more trial lawyer than they are Republicans," he said.

In the interview after his speech, Gingrich said he was not surprised he didn't get any inquiries from the audience about a possible presidential bid during a question and answer period.

"We are a long way from '08," Gingrich said. "I encourage them to talk about this year's debate, this year's solutions (and) this year's ideas."

Saved from Lebanon

Freshman Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Michigan), who is battling a primary challenge from his right, is running a new television ad featuring a family thanking him for helping them escape the war zone that has become Lebanon. As sounds of artillery and machine gun fire roar in the background and images of destruction and tanks flash across the screen, a young mother cradling a sleeping baby explains that she was "waiting for the final adoption papers when war broke out.

"We were stuck and we didn't know how to get the baby home," the women said. "That's when my husband called Joe Schwarz. Congressman Schwarz made arrangements to bring our baby home safely."

Evan Tracey of TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on television advertising spending, said this is the first ad of its kind that alludes to the ongoing war between Israel and Hezbollah. The primary is August 8.

Schwarz has posted the ad on his websiteexternal link

Walberg's websiteexternal link

McKinney accuses opponent of being cozy with GOP

Another incumbent facing a primary challenge, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia), accused her opponent during a debate Monday night of being indebted to the GOP for accepting financial contributions from Republicans in his bid to defeat her.

"If you take money from Republicans, if you take votes from Republicans, then you have to be one of the Republicans' men in Congress," said McKinney, who also criticized her opponent, former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, for past personal financial problems, including unpaid taxes, as well as for ties to developers when he was a county commissioner.

Johnson dismissed McKinney's attacks on him as "desperate" and sought, as he has throughout the campaign, to put the focus on McKinney, calling her the "candidate of polarization and divisiveness" with a "pitiful" record as a legislator.

"She can't work with people," he said. "If you can't work with people, you can't get anything done in Congress. I'm going to be an effective legislator. I'm not going to be a divisive one who polarizes and divides people and then sits back and does nothing."

He also dismissed McKinney's charge that he is too cozy with Republicans.

"I am a lifelong Democrat. I'm a progressive Democrat," he said.

"Congresswoman McKinney knows that I'm a Democrat. And so this is another desperate attempt by a desperate candidate."

A run-off election was triggered after neither candidate emerged with 50 percent of the vote on July 18. McKinney won 47 percent of the vote, while Johnson took 44 percent. They face voters a second time on August 8 and the winner is expected to win the seat in November.

Surprisingly, there was only one mention of McKinney's much publicized physical altercation in March with a Capitol Hill police officer that forced her to apologize for the incident on the House floor. A District of Columbia grand jury reviewed the case, but did not return an indictment. When asked if she thought the controversy prevented her from winning an outright majority on July 18, she responded, "The fact of the matter is, I was never charged with anything."

Incumbents appear safe but what about evolution?

Kansas voters head to the polls today and Republicans will choose candidates to challenge Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) and Rep. Dennis Moore (D) in November, while Democrats will pick an opponent for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R). These incumbents are expected to win re-election in November, but political observers will still be closely watching today's election results. A battle for control of the state Board of Education is taking place with the issue of teaching evolution front and center. The New York Times has an excellent explainer in today's edition.external link

The Kansas Secretary of State's office will begin posting results starting at 8 p.m. ET on itswebsite.

Dayahead/Events making news today

  • President Bush was scheduled to have his annual physical at 8 a.m. ET at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • The Senate gavels into session at 9:45 a.m. ET and resumes debate on the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security bill. The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybookexternal link.
  • The House is in recess until September 6. The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybookexternal link.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivers what is being billed as a "major policy address" before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council at 3 p.m. ET in Los Angeles.
  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean attends a Delaware Democratic Party fundraiser at 4 p.m. ET in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), a potential presidential candidate, addresses the Iowa State Education Association Summer Conference at 7:30 p.m. ET in Storm Lake, Iowa.
  • Political Hot Topics

    Compiled by CNN's Julie Hofler

    No Cease-Fire Soon, Israeli Leader Says: Ground fighting intensified Tuesday morning along the Israel-Lebanon border, hours after the Israeli cabinet approved a broadening of military operations that officials described as a precursor to the arrival of an international stabilization force. "As of today, we've greatly expanded our front," said Marcus Sheff, a spokesman for the Israeli military forces stationed on the western half of the border. "We're trying to clear an area of Hezbollah to make way for the international forces." Clashes were concentrated in three areas along the border, military officials said: Taibe to the east, and Maroun al-Ras and Aita al-Shaab to the west. Senior Israeli officials said the campaign could eventually stretch to the Litani River, which at some points winds 18 miles north of the border, the Associated Press reported. Washington Post: No Cease-Fire Soon, Israeli Leader Saysexternal link

    Castro Cedes Power: After a night of unexpected news on the health of Cuban president Fidel Castro -- and spontaneous celebration among Cuban exiles in South Florida -- dawn brought quieter reactions and a question in both Miami's Little Havana and the actual Havana: Would the announcement Monday night that Castro, 79, was temporarily stepping down from his presidential powers because of health concerns truly mean the end of his nearly 47-year reign? Answers were slow in coming. Radio Havana offered no new information or commentary in its 7 a.m. broadcast -- merely a re-reading of Monday's announcement that the Cuban leader had undergone surgery to correct ``a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding.''Miami Herald: Castro Cedes Powerexternal link

    Hill Democrats Urge Bush to Begin Iraq Pullout: After months of struggling to forge a unified stance on the Iraq war, top congressional Democrats joined voices yesterday to call on President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of the year and to "transition to a more limited mission" in the war-torn nation. With the midterm elections three months away, and Democrats seeing public discontent over Iraq as their best chance for retaking the House or Senate, a dozen key lawmakers told Bush in a letter: "In the interests of American national security, our troops and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained. . . . We need to take a new direction." Washington Post: Hill Democrats Urge Bush to Begin Iraq Pulloutexternal link

    Senate Wage Drama: Rich Plan, Poor Plan: The Senate is on a collision course this week between backers of a higher minimum wage and supporters of a sharply reduced estate tax. Leaders in both parties were busily taking temperatures and counting votes yesterday, saying the outcome is too close to call. Most Democrats support the minimum-wage hike and oppose the estate tax cut. Most Republicans take the opposite stand. But their choices will not be easy because the House -- with Senate GOP leaders' blessings -- approved both proposals in one bill Saturday and then left town for the summer. The legislation will preoccupy the Senate during a hectic week that also will include action on offshore drilling, military spending and a rewrite of pension law. Washington Post: Senate Wage Drama: Rich Plan, Poor Planexternal link

    Bus filled with Iraqi soldiers bombed: Bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 52 people Tuesday, including 24 people in a bus destroyed by a roadside bomb. The attacks further damage the U.S.-backed government's efforts to establish control over the country. The bus, carrying many Iraqi soldiers, was struck in the northern industrial city of Beiji, killing everyone on board, said Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari. Police earlier said that 20 Iraqi soldiers were killed on the bus. Al-Askari confirmed that many of the passengers were soldiers, but said he did not know how many. He said the bus was not being escorted by U.S. troops, as earlier believed. AP: Bus filled with Iraqi soldiers bombedexternal link

    Bush undergoes annual physical exam: President Bush is getting checked and prodded and poked at his annual physical exam. The 60-year-old president was expected to spend about four hours Tuesday at the National Naval Medical Center in suburban Washington. An avid mountain bike rider, Bush goes out of his way to maintain his fitness. His last exam was on July 30, 2005, when the president was pleased to learn he had lost 8 pounds since his last exam in December, 2004, when he weighed 199.6 pounds, six pounds more than in the summer of 2003. He attributed the weight gain then to munching too many doughnuts during his re-election campaign. AP: Bush undergoes annual physical examexternal link

    Federal Court Posts Moussaoui Trial Evidence Online: Officials at the federal court in Alexandria posted on the Web yesterday nearly all the evidence presented during the sentencing trial of Sept. 11, 2001, conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, marking the first time a federal court has provided such extensive online access in a criminal case. The 1,202 exhibits capture the drama -- and occasional drudgery -- of the death penalty hearing of the only person convicted in the United States on charges stemming from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Although courts nationwide have increasingly put documents online in recent years, it is unclear whether others will follow the Alexandria federal court's example. Washington Post: Federal Court Posts Moussaoui Trial Evidence Onlineexternal link

    Governor, Blair Reach Environmental Accord: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed an agreement on Monday to work together to curb greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean-burning fuels and collaborate on research to fight global warming. Blair and Schwarzenegger announced the agreement at a meeting at the Port of Long Beach with prominent California and European business leaders on climate issues. "California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming," said Schwarzenegger in a statement. At the meeting, Blair called global warming "long term, the single biggest issue we face."L.A. Times: Governor, Blair Reach Environmental Accordexternal link

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