Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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click on each candidate to see today's news stories (caricatures by Linda Eddy)


Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008


The billion-dollar president?

The US presidential candidates are heading towards the $1bn mark in campaign fundraising, shattering records as Wall Street and corporate America pump cash into a race that started ­early and has produced at least eight viable candidates.

The highly competitive field has forced corporate interests to generously spread their contributions to ensure continued good standing with potential future presidents.



World captivated by U.S. presidential race

Germans are gaga over Barack Obama. He's got Japan pretty jazzed, too, along with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Russia's leaders, not so much: They prefer a Republican—as long as it's not Kremlin critic John McCain.

And Mexico's president? He doesn't have much use for any of them.

America's extraordinary presidential campaign has captivated politicians and ordinary people around the globe. With so much at stake in the race for the White House, the world is watching with an intensity that hasn't been seen since the Clinton era began in 1992.


Waiting for Gore...

Obama is now close enough to a big win that Gore’s endorsement could easily put him over the top. Gore is beloved among Democratic primary voters. His staunch denials have been unusually effective in tamping down speculation that he’ll endorse, so an announcement would be earthshaking and guaranteed to dominate the airwaves until the February 5 primaries. Take Tennessee, Gore’s home state, which could wind up making the difference....

... A well-connected Tennesseean told me two things today that got me thinking about this. The first is that Obama and Gore have been speaking regularly, about every two weeks or so. The second is that, despite this, and despite Tennessee’s primary on Tuesday, Obama has not visited the state since June. It may be simply that he does not plan on competing there. Or it may be that he’s been waiting for a special occasion.



Democrats' superdelegate info

Republicans' delegate info


PRIMARIES -  upcoming dates/delegates

Tuesday, February 5 SUPER TUESDAY

Over 20 states: GOP list here; Dems list here






Mike Huckabee... today's headlines with excerpts

Suspicious, Huckabee skips Baptists' meeting

The most famous Democratic Baptist politicians in the United States have flocked to Georgia the week before the state’s primary elections to talk about faith and public policy with thousands of fellow Baptists.

But the top vote-getting Southern Baptist on the Republican side is skipping the event, citing concerns about the organizers’ motivations.

Former President Carter and former Vice President Al Gore have already addressed the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, and former President Clinton is to speak this evening.

Huckabee targets Romney during Tulsa rally

Mike Huckabee took some shots at rival Mitt Romney but left GOP front-runner John McCain almost untouched Friday during a campaign stop at Tulsa International Airport.

Seeking to counter arguments from the Romney camp that "a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain," Huckabee said "a vote for Mitt Romney may be a vote for Hillary Clinton."

Huckabee says president should have a sense of humor

Mike Huckabee joked Mitt Romney didn't hit "political puberty" until he was 60. Romney heard that and said Huckabee is always "good for a good chuckle" but "the presidency’s more serious than that comment suggests."

Huckabee's response to reporters: "[Romney] would have never have liked Ronald Reagan 'cause Ronald Reagan had a great sense of humor and he used it to bring a sense of levity to the seriousness of the job."

"And that's another reason why Mike Huckabee ought to be the nominee. Because if people are looking for somebody in the mold of a true leader, they want somebody who takes God seriously but doesn't take themselves so seriously. That's what a sense of humor does. And maybe that's an affirmation: Mitt Romney said a few years ago that he wasn't part of that Reagan-Bush thing. I guess that means he didn't care a whole lot about Ronald Reagan's humor or his policies, either one."

see also: Huckabee questions Romney's... maturity




Mitt Romney... today's headlines with excerpts

Romney: voting for Huckabee helps McCain

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Friday that evangelicals who are inclined to back rival Mike Huckabee would be wasting their votes and handing the party nomination to a "liberal," John McCain.

Evangelicals can "vote for Mike Huckabee and feel good about their vote," the former governor of Massachusetts told a Missouri TV station. "But they're basically saying, 'We're going to give the conservative vote -- we're going to divide it in half, give some to Mike Huckabee, give some to Mitt Romney.' "

Romney concedes NE to McCain, aims for a split in California

Mitt Romney is conceding the bulk of the Northeast to rival John McCain, counting instead on his home state of Massachusetts, a split in California and wins in a series of caucus states to extend his presidential campaign beyond Super Tuesday.

... If he fails to capture enough delegates to offset McCain's likely wins in other states and strong showing in California, where the Arizona senator has the backing of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Romney could end his campaign in Boston on Wednesday.

During a news conference Friday outside a Ford dealership here, he passed up three opportunities to declare he would carry on if he fails to surpass McCain in the Super Tuesday voting.

Huckabee factor could sap Romney in South

The Huckabee factor may be getting relatively little attention nationally in the Republican nomination battle because the former Arkansas governor has failed to repeat his Iowa victory. But in a region that has equal or greater evangelical strength than Iowa, Huckabee may become the decisive factor - at Romney's expense.

Voters identifying themselves as evangelicals and Christian conservatives could make up more than half of the Republican electorate in the four Southern states voting Tuesday, analysts said. The contests - out of 21 across the country - are being held in Huckabee's home state of Arkansas as well as Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

One of Romney's most prominent supporters in Atlanta said in an interview yesterday Romney must peel away Huckabee backers in order to win in the South.

Romney: McCain weak on economy

Citing his strong business and economic experience, Mitt Romney argued in Denver Friday that John McCain would be wrong for the country in the current climate.

Speaking before an overflow crowd of about a thousand at a Denver Ford dealership, Romney reminded those gathered that McCain had said the economy isn't his strong point.

"I think at this time, we need a president for whom the economy is a strong suit," the former Massachusetts governor and successful businessman said.

Black conservatives rally to urge Huckabee to stay in race

A broad coalition of black conservatives from across the country are holding a press conference on Feb. 4 to urge former Governor Mike Huckabee to stay in the presidential race for the Republican nomination until the Convention.

"Governor Huckabee should not be intimidated to stop his bid for the
republican nomination," states Don Scoggins, veteran GOP activist and among other conservatives hosting the press conference. "The momentum of the grassroots that propelled this party into victory is behind Mike and will not stop fighting for him regardless of his bank account," also states Scoggins, president of Republicans for Black Empowerment, a DC based national grassroots organization."


John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

LA Times endorses McCain

At a different moment in American history, we would hesitate to support a candidate for president whose social views so substantially departed from those we hold. But in this election, nothing less than America's standing in the world turns on the outcome. Given that, our choice for the Republican nominee in 2008 is sure and heartfelt. It is John McCain.


McCain leads rivals 2-1 in Illinois 

McCain had the backing of 43 percent of likely GOP primary voters in the state, compared with 20 percent for former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, 15 percent for former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and 4 percent for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

It's the Rudy and John show

Anyone else wondering why Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to tag along on the campaign trail with John McCain, even though Mr. Giuliani dropped out of the race a couple of days ago?

... it seemed a little odd when Mr. Giuliani showed up for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of Mr. McCain. While Mr. McCain spoke, Mr. Giuliani stood at his side; at one point the Governator was almost eclipsed behind them.

Then it was truly weird Thursday night on the “Tonight Show,” where Mr. McCain was the guest — with Mr. Giuliani still at his side and at one point was perched in the catbird seat next to Jay Leno.


1. Mr. Giuliani doesn’t want to leave the limelight.

2. Mr. Giuliani doesn’t want to go home and face the letdown of no longer being on the trail and/or the potential difficulties in rebuilding his business.

3. Mr. McCain is running a trial balloon of Mr. Giuliani as his running mate.

This last theory seems the most implausible...

Raucous crowd boos McCain at Romney event

A boisterous crowd of several hundred people gathered at a Ford dealership here and gave Mitt Romney the warmest welcome he’s received in some time. But they were not so generous to John McCain.

“Senator McCain is a wonderful person,” Romney said, drawing loud boos from the crowd.

McCain's bumpy ride

That little bit of self-reflection--"I've always kind of relished the fight"--probably better explains John McCain's unusual political life and curious ideological journey than anything an outside observer has ever said or written. McCain has been described as a "maverick" so often that writers consciously avoid the cliché.

Yet it's still true...




Personality driving force in McCain's resurgence

McCain, however, has gotten there less by winning voters over to his policy positions than by investing them in a national cult of personality that has made McCain's greatest political weakness - dissenting with his party on major issues - into a virtue.

"It's about a constellation of attributes more than issues," said Mark McKinnon, McCain's media consultant. "If you think someone has character, you're willing to suspend your disagreements."



Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts

Ron Paul's economic adviser

Ron Paul, the Texas doctor with the libertarian streak who is seeking the Republican nomination, has taken on an economic adviser with very close ties to people who assert that the income tax is illegal.

Dr. Paul announced that his new economic adviser is Peter Schiff, who runs Euro Pacific Capital Inc., a securities brokerage. He is also the author of “Crash Proof,” a book about a coming economic collapse that on Friday was listed as #224 at

Not mentioned by the Paul campaign is that Mr. Schiff is the son of Irwin Schiff of Las Vegas, now serving his third federal prison sentence for tax crimes. He is also the author of such books as “The Federal Mafia,” which asserts that federal judges are paid off by the Internal Revenue Service, and other books describing the federal government as a criminal organization that illegally extracts income taxes.

Peter Schiff was the co-author of “the Great Income Tax Hoax.”

Ron Paul's big chance for a modest splash

This could be a big weekend for Rep. Ron Paul's longshot but determined campaign to acquire some Republican delegates in the race for his party's presidential nomination.

On Friday Republicans started three days of caucusing in Maine, a largely rural state where Paul's brand of independence and smaller government might well fit. He's got several hundred volunteers working the caucuses with the same kind of determination and imagination that drove Paul to a distant second-place finish behind Mitt Romney in Nevada's caucuses last month.





Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary tops Romney, Obama in 4th Q Wall Street cash

Clinton took in $388,391 from employees of the top 10 underwriters of U.S. stock offerings. That topped the biggest Republican fundraiser on Wall Street, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who brought in $293,750 from that group. Democrat Barack Obama followed, with $251,860.

FoxNews poll: Hillary seen as ready, most likely to 'do anything' to win

Clinton is seen as the candidate most prepared to begin leading the country on "day one."

That’s the good news for Clinton. The bad news for the former first lady is she is also seen as the candidate most likely to "do anything — including something unethical — to win," and most likely to embarrass the country.



Clinton advisers see a race through March

All eyes are on Feb. 5, but the Clinton campaign is looking ahead even further: to March 4, when both Ohio and Texas will hold their nominating contests.

Clinton hopes to win the majority of votes in four states next Tuesday: California, New York, New Jersey and Arkansas. But her advisers are already quietly conceding that the delegate count will be close at the end of the day, thanks to Democratic rules that award most delegates proportionally by congressional district.

Hillary Clinton claims health care mantle

Hillary Clinton said Friday she's the last remaining presidential candidate — from either party — who is advocating universal health care coverage.

... Clinton favors mandatory universal coverage, tax credits for working families to make insurance more affordable and requiring businesses to offer insurance to employees or pay into a pool for people without it.

Rival Barack Obama calls for mandatory coverage for children, but not a mandate for all. He aims for universal coverage by requiring employers to share costs of insuring workers and by offering coverage similar to that in plan for federal employees.

Clinton ads feature Robert Kennedy, Chavez kin

KEY IMAGES: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cesar Chavez's grandson, Cesar L. Chavez, speaking directly to camera, intercut with black and white photos of the elder Kennedy and Chavez together. Images of Clinton campaigning, hugging black and Hispanic adults and children.

ANALYSIS: A direct appeal to Hispanic voters who have been among her strongest supporters, Clinton wins a strong endorsement from the grandson of Chavez, the legendary founder of the United Farm Workers union. Clinton has been endorsed by the UFW and by Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the union with Chavez.  video

[Dick Morris] Bill Clinton: rogue co-president in waiting

Make no mistake about it: If Hillary Clinton is elected president, her husband will be her rogue co-president, causing constant chaos, crises and conflicts for her new administration.

And sometimes, that will be exactly what Hillary wants.

Chaos is Bill Clinton’s signature style and he’s not about to suddenly change. No way.

Nor does Hillary necessarily want him to be a new Bill. In many ways, his divisive role in her campaign has been carefully crafted by Hillary and her team. It might come in useful in the White House, too.

Throughout Hillary’s campaign, Bill has given us an unfortunate preview of what we can expect of him in the White House. And, it’s not a pretty picture.

As barriers fall, a black politician sticks with Hillary

Being one of Hillary Clinton’s most visible black supporters has complicated the life of David A. Paterson, the lieutenant governor of New York.

... “I try to always handle all these moments with levity,” Mr. Paterson, a Harlem Democrat, said in an interview this week.

“In Iowa, when we lost, I turned to my assistant, who’s African-American, and I said to him, ‘Look at that, black people finally won and we’re on the other side!’ ”

But Mr. Paterson, 53, has been a stalwart supporter and campaigner for Senator Clinton and is seen as a leading contender to be appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to fill her Senate seat should she win the presidency.




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama says he'd be better against McCain

Barack Obama sees one of the best arguments for his presidential candidacy in the rise of Republican Sen. John McCain. McCain has become Obama's favorite punching bag, an easier mark in front of partisan audiences than the rival Obama will have to beat first to get to the general election - Hillary Clinton.

But he also likes to lump the two of them together as co-supporters of the war in Iraq.

"It is time for new leadership that understands the way to win a debate with John McCain or any Republican who is nominated is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq," Obama said

Obama calls Hillary Clinton's appeal limited

Obama said that Clinton would be unable to attract new voters and that would severely inhibit Democrats if McCain, who has a proven ability to attract independent voters, were atop the Republican ticket.

"We can't start off just with the same playing field and expect to win," he said. "We've got to broaden the playing field. We've got to expand the electoral map."

Obama went on to cite the tremendous surge in Democratic voter participation in the primaries and caucuses to date. He won't take all the credit for that, he said, but he'll take a lot.

"I'm confident I will get her voters if I'm the nominee," Obama said. "It's not clear that she would get the voters I got if she were the nominee."

Oprah, Caroline Kennedy, Michelle to stump for Obama on Sunday in Los Angeles

Barack Obama won't be in California again before the Tuesday primary here--but he is sending in a powerful team of surrogates--Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and wife Michelle, all to appear at a rally here. Oprah hosted a fund-raiser for Obama at her home near Santa Barbara last year and stumped with Obama in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.


Kennedy revels in limelight as he stumps for Obama

“Are you glad to see me, Santa Fe?” Edward M. Kennedy roared.

“Yes!” Santa Fe roared back.

... Mr. Kennedy, 75, is hot, hot, hot on the trail, stumping for Senator Barack Obama, who was 15 months old when Mr. Kennedy began his Senate career in 1962. He is drawing raucous crowds, invoking the family legacy, working the lunch crowd at the Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe and getting the kitchen staff together for a photo.

Arriving at a rally in East Los Angeles on Friday, Mr. Kennedy was swarmed by a couple of dozen reporters and the like, a big, fuzzy boom mike hovering over his head, autograph hounds and cellphone-camera paparazzi at the perimeter.

“It’s like when Tony Bennett suddenly became hip again after the kids discovered him,” observed Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist and former Kennedy aide who attended the rally. “It’s the same thing with Kennedy. He’s MTV now. And instead of jazz clubs, he’s doing the Hollywood Bowl.”

Obama leads Hillary 2-1 in Illinois

The survey found Obama, a first-term Illinois senator from Chicago, with the support of 55 percent of likely Democratic primary voters. Clinton, a two-term New York senator born in Chicago and raised in suburban Park Ridge, had 24 percent.

Calif. service union backs Obama

The largest labor union in California, the Service Employees International Union, with 650,000 members in the state, decided Friday to endorse Barack Obama.

That endorsement, by the California state chapter of the nation’s most political potent union, will help build momentum for Mr. Obama. In addition, because of the union’s large Latino membership, the endorsement could prove important in persuading more Hispanics to vote for Mr. Obama in the California primary next Tuesday.

LA Times endorses Obama

...In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long -- a sense of aspiration. endorses Obama

Barack Obama has won the endorsement today from the membership of MoveOn.

In a vote of the group’s members, Mr. Obama outpaced Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton 70 percent to 30 percent. The political action committee of has 3.2 million members across the country, including 1.7 million members who live in the 22 states with Democratic primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.

Kerry praises Obama in Seattle

Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, urged college students in Seattle today to support Barack Obama, calling him a transformational president who would take the country in a new direction.

"Barack Obama is in a position to unite the people of America, to bring Democrats, Republicans and independents together, to turn a page of history and present a story of America that reaches well beyond our shores," the Massachusetts senator said at speech at the University of Washington.




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