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April 7th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

1 in 8 Army recruits needs conduct waiver

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U.S. Stryker Brigade Combat Team. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The war in Iraq comes to Washington this week. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are set to give two days of testimony to Congress on the progress of the war starting tomorrow. President Bush is then expected to address the nation on Thursday, and talk about the future of Iraq as well as the administration's decision to reduce combat tours of duty from 15 months to 12 months.

The highlight of the two days of testimony will no doubt be the questioning of Petraeus and Crocker by the three candidates for president, all senators. Out on the campaign trail, you have John McCain, who has said the U.S. could be in Iraq for 100 years... versus Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who insist the war hasn't made the U.S. safer and want to pull our troops out.

As the war grinds on, our military forces continue to be stretched thinner. Consider this: one out of every eight new soldiers now requires a waiver to join the Army either because of a criminal record or other past misconduct. That's a number that has more than doubled since 2004. One top military official told USA Today it's because of the difficulties the Army faces attracting young people to join during a time of war. Officials insist that the military has granted waivers without hurting the quality of recruits.

Another depressing sign of the state of our military is this: the percentage of high school graduates among Army recruits is down from 91% in 2001 to 79% last year.

Here’s my question to you: What’s the future of the U.S. military if one in every eight new Army recruits requires a conduct waiver?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Military
April 7th, 2008
04:53 PM ET

Condoleezza Rice as V.P.?

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might be interested in being John McCain's vice president after all... despite her numerous claims in recent years that she has no plans to run for office.

Republican strategist and former Bush aide Dan Senor stirred the pot yesterday, when he told ABC news that Rice has been "actively" campaigning for the number two slot in recent weeks. Senor says that she's been cozying up to the Republican elite, like an appearance before Grover Norquist's group of economic conservatives. Senor suggests Rice's experience would make her a prime candidate and the McCain campaign wouldn't need to waste time introducing her to the American people.

When asked about Rice's lobbying for the job, McCain said he "missed those signals”, but went on to compliment Rice, calling her a "great American" and adding that there's very little but "utmost praise" he can give for someone who served as a role model to millions of people around the world. Right.

One little problem: McCain has been critical of the way the Bush administration has handled the war in Iraq and said Rice, who was national security adviser for the first year and half, bears some responsibility for that.

Some would suggest McCain would have to be crazy to put anyone associated with the Bush administration on his ticket, that it will only lend to the Democrats' argument against a third Bush term. But having an African-American woman on the ticket could make things really interesting in the general election against either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

The State Department today denied Rice is interested in the job,saying that if she's actively seeking the position, "she's the last one to know about it."

Here’s my question to you: Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if Condoleezza Rice is his running mate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: GOP • John McCain
April 7th, 2008
02:05 PM ET

How can Clinton turn it around in time for Pennsylvania?

 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigns at Missoula County Airport in Missoula, Mont., Sunday.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigns at Missoula County Airport in Missoula, Mont., Sunday.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Probably wasn't the best weekend ever for Hillary Clinton.

Her campaign demoted one of her top aides yesterday, Mark Penn, after it was revealed that he was working on behalf of a trade deal with Colombia that she's against.

Penn's demotion comes as Clinton trails her rival Barack Obama in pledged delegates and the popular vote and as Obama continues to cut into her lead among superdelegates. Obama is also closing in on Clinton in the ever-important state of Pennsylvania; he's narrowed her onetime lead of more than 30 points to an average of just 7. One poll even shows the two tied.

But there's more: On Friday, the campaign made public Hillary and Bill's tax returns for the 7 years since they left the White House. Turns out, the former first couple has made a killing of almost $109 million in that time, mostly through speeches and book deals. Clinton says she has "absolutely nothing against rich people"... but it could be a tough sell with some of those essential working-class voters in Pennsylvania.

Also, it turns out the claims Clinton has often made about an uninsured pregnant woman in Ohio, who died after being denied hospital treatment, aren't true. The hospital raised questions about the accuracy of the story, saying the woman did have insurance and was not denied treatment. Clinton's campaign says even though it has no reason to doubt the story, it can't confirm the details so she has dropped it from her stump speech.

Doesn't look so good coming on the heels of her "sniper fire" story at the Bosnian airport.

Here’s my question to you: How can Hillary Clinton turn things around in the next couple of weeks?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton