Some things never change: Republican John McCain dislikes farm subsidies.

"I have to give you a little straight talk about the farm bill that is wending its way through Congress," McCain said Thursday at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines. "I do not support it. I would veto it," he said. "I would do that because I believe that the subsidies are unnecessary."

His long-held position against subsidies has cost him in Iowa, which traditionally begins the presidential nominating process. Yet the Arizona senator didn't hesitate to bring up the issue.

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously declared McCain a natural-born citizen, eligible to be president of the United States. That is the good news for the presumptive Republican nominee, who was born in a military hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, then under U.S. jurisdiction.


There was no music, no sea of screaming admirers and only a light dabble of applause when Sen. Barack Obama walked across the green carpet of the Oak Pointe retirement center in Columbia City, Ind., on Thursday at his first campaign stop of the day.

For a presidential candidate, particularly one in the throes of a rigorous political and personal test, such a dearth of energy could be a worrisome sign. For Obama, it was all part of the new script.

"What I want to do is spend more time listening than talking," he told a small clutch of voters. "It's been wonderful to see these big crowds, but the problem is you don't really learn much when you're listening to yourself talk."

As he tries to navigate beyond one of his roughest patches in the long Democratic nominating fight, Obama did not retreat to the comforts of super-size rallies that have defined his presidential bid, with their lofty oratory.

Those events, advisers say, do not convert enough skeptics, which Obama must do if he is to expand his support in Indiana and beyond. So, five days before facing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the next round of Democratic primaries, Obama awoke on Thursday intent on tackling a broader challenge waiting in the wings: assuring Indiana voters that he believes in their same values and shares their patriotism.


Iran has lodged a formal protest at the United Nations about comments by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York that the United States would "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Thursday. Iran's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, sent a letter Wednesday to the U.N. secretary-general and the U.N. Security Council denouncing the remarks from an interview on ABC last week, according to IRNA.