Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008


Sunday Talk Shows:

CBS 'Face the Nation': John McCain, Barack Obama

ABC 'This Week': Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney

CNN 'Late Edition': Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ralph Nader

FoxNews 'Fox News Sunday': John McCain, Hillary Clinton

NBC 'Meet the Press': spurned by McCain's refusal to debate one on one with Romney, Russert hosts a roundtable of political consultants


WashingtonPost/ABC News national poll:

Clinton 47%, Obama 43%

McCain 48%, Romney 24%, Huckabee 16%

Calif. poll shows huge gains by Obama, McCain

... the Democratic numbers are the shocker. Clinton, a longtime California favorite, saw her once-commanding lead slip to two percentage points, 36 to 34 percent, in the new survey. That's down from her 12 percentage point lead in mid-January and a 25 percentage point margin over Obama in October.

John McCain lengthened his lead in the state Republican primary, grabbing a 32 to 24 percent edge among likely voters over Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee was at 13 percent and Ron Paul at 10 percent.

Georgia poll results

McCain 31%, Romney 29%, Huckabee 28%

Obama 552%, Clinton 37%

Obama, Clinton flood states with ads as Tuesday nears

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have unleashed advertisements in nearly all the 22 states that have Democratic presidential nominating contests on Tuesday, a combined $19 million expenditure that is the most ambitious and geographically expansive television effort in a presidential primary.

On the Republican side, Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney have a far more restrained advertising effort that started just this weekend and is focusing on a handful of states and national cable television.

Call it Super Complicated Tuesday: delegate math

Call it Super Complicated Tuesday: a virtual national primary that may not yield a clear winner in the high-stakes showdown between Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, even if one grabs most of California's 370-delegate mother lode.

Of the 2,025 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination at the party convention in August, 1,681 will be awarded by voters on Tuesday. Republicans will pick 1,023 of the 1,191 delegates their winner needs, but their selection process is more clear cut.

Never before has such a vast primary contest been held. And while the big popular vote will look good on television, it's the number of delegates that counts...

Hillary, Huckabee take no chances in Arkansas

They should own this state's primary on Tuesday, but Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee have turned up to campaign among old friends in Arkansas in recent days, returning out of political caution and a recognition that even local favorites have enemies.

Arkansas' prizes -- 35 Democratic delegates and 31 Republican delegates are at stake this week -- hardly compare with the riches of New York or California or other Super Tuesday states. But for Clinton and Huckabee, the state offers real and symbolic lucre.

Obama, Clinton, Huckabee, Paul answer MTV'ers questions

Democrats and Republicans participated in the same forum Saturday night, MTV/MySpace's "Closing Arguments: A Presidential Super Dialogue."

Democratic rivals Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Republican candidates Congressman Ron Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee beamed in to take live questions and make their final pitches to an MTV audience at the station's Times Square studio.

(Invitations were also extended to Republican front-runners Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, but they were unable to participate.)



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

Huckabee: a vote for Romney may be a vote for Hillary

 Mike Huckabee, frustrated with the argument brought by his rival Mitt Romney , and some conservative commentators, that a vote for Huckabee would split votes from Romney, and help front runner John McCain,  fired back, hitting Romney’s record head on.

 ”Actually a vote for me is a vote for me. A vote for Mitt Romney may be a vote for Hillary Clinton, because the fact is I’ve got a far more conservative record than Mitt Romney ever dreamed of having,” Huckabee said.” Where people can come up with branding him a conservative is really, I think, tantamount to requiring an extraordinary amount of imagination.”

Huckabee vs. "them"

Mike Huckabee's got a new campaign sign but he's not taking credit for it. On one side, the usual: "I like Mike." The other: "Us versus Them."

"Can you tell me who 'them' is?" I asked at a press conference.

"I don't know," he said. He speculated the signs had been printed by the local Huckabee hub. "I've seen a few of them for the first time this week myself."

Huckabee signs Sen. Sessions' immigration pledge

Mike Huckabee has changed his mind and will sign an Alabama senator’s immigration pledge for presidential candidates - an effort to defeat the McCain-Kennedy proposal in the U.S. Senate.

... Regarding the seemingly quick manner in which he decided to sign the pledge, he said, "We've been looking at it for about a week…I looked at it last night and today and decided when we got here that this would be a great time to sign the pledge."



Mitt Romney... today's headlines with excerpts

Romney leads McCain 37 to 34 in California

Romney leads McCain by 37 percent to 34 percent in California. The poll's margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

"California could be Romney's last stand," Zogby said. "If he wins there, it may not be a whole new ballgame, but it can give those Republicans who oppose McCain hope they still have a chance to stop him."

Romney wins Maine caucuses

Mitt Romney won the presidential preference voting context by Maine Republicans on Saturday in the party's municipal caucuses, which were heavily attended across the state.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had a little over half of the vote with about two-thirds of the towns holding caucuses reporting. John McCain worked to keep his vote above 20 percent, trailed by Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.

Romney vows to push on past Tuesday

Romney sounded resolved to carry on his presidential bid past this coming Tuesday.... “Looking at the numbers of delegates and the numbers of states, I don’t think somebody is going to walk away with the needed number, so I think this thing goes on well beyond Tuesday,” he said.

Most GOP governors shun Romney

Romney appears to have inadvertently alienated a good many of his fellow governors as Republican Governors Association chairman.

“Right or wrong, the general impression was that he spent way too much time on himself and building his presidential organization,” said a top Republican strategist who has worked closely with the RGA in recent years. “I don’t think anyone ever questioned Romney’s commitment to the organization or the work he put in. They questioned his goals or his motives. Was it to elect Republican governors, or to tee up his presidential campaign?”

A campaign manager for an unsuccessful 2006 Republican gubernatorial campaign echoed the sentiments. “We definitely got the vibe from the staff that our state was never a national player when it came to the strategy that the RGA was putting together,” he said. “Everything they were telling me was about Michigan. They were dumping everything into Michigan.”


John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Immigration battle divides Ariz. GOP, many activists despise McCain - 'Forked-Tongue Express'...

The party is controlled at the district level by activists who detest McCain for his sponsorship, with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), of a comprehensive immigration bill that among other things would have provided illegal immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. They think McCain is a traitor to conservative causes and an advocate for amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"We do not consider him a conservative at all," says Rob Haney, a Republican Party chairman in McCain's home district. The candidate's bus, the Straight Talk Express, should be renamed, Haney says: "We call it the Forked Tongue Express around here. He'll lie about anything."

McCain: Super Tuesday may end the GOP race

“From what we see in the polls, there is a very good chance it could be over on Tuesday,” said the Arizona senator, adding: “The sooner we get that done, the sooner I can go to work on uniting the party."

Despite his complicated history with the party’s base, he said, pragmatic Republicans will back him when faced with the Democratic alternative.

The senator also dismissed a Drudge Report story that he had met with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and weighed joining the Democratic Party. McCain told reporters Friday that he had met with Daschle at the Democrat’s request, but had just laughed and reaffirmed his GOP loyalties when asked about the prospect of switching parties.

McCain: "I assume that I will get the nomination"

“I assume that I will get the nomination of the party. I assume unifying our party is a very critical item and I believe we can do that and get everybody together and working together. And I’m confident I can do that,” said McCain.

McCain picks up John Edwards' song

At a rally in the Montgomery Bell Academy's Brownlee O. Currey Gymnasium, the speakers blasted "Our Country," the John Mellencamp song that had served as the hallmark of Edwards's campaign events.

Jamie Hindmon, a senior at the University of Memphis who backs McCain, said it makes all the sense in the world to appropriate a Democratic populist's tune.

"If Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can steal his ideas after he dropped out of the race, John McCain can steal his song," she quipped.

Steve Forbes endorses McCain

Steve Forbes, the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine and himself a former presidential candidate, announced his endorsement Saturday of Sen. John McCain for president.

Forbes had campaigned hard in Florida for former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who dropped out after Tuesday’s primary.

Two other high-profile Giuliani backers — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Solicitor General Theodore Olson — also have switched to McCain.

McCain tries to assuage conservatives

John McCain is trying to ease long-standing distrust among the party's powerful conservatives. It will be a slow process.

... McCain has bucked the party over the years on high-profile issues and, in doing so, made his share of enemies on the right.

... To assuage conservatives, McCain has rolled out endorsements from leading conservatives and aired a new television ad that mentions Ronald Reagan. He plans to attend a major gathering of conservatives later this month.

McCain endorsed by largest Spanish newspaper in country

from LaOpinion: "Senator John McCain has an independent character free from ideological constraints, which will improve the divisive national political climate. Over the course of his career he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the immigration issue and a desire to provide comprehensive immigration reform. We are not in agreement with many of his positions, such as on Irak, but his inclusive spirit and his pragmatism make him the best candidate among his Republican rivals."

McCain thanks evangelicals Tony Perkins, Richard Land for support

“I was very pleased to see comments made by people like Tony Perkins and Dr. Richard Land,” McCain told reporters after a rally in Nashville, Tenn. “I appreciate the words that they have been using.”

Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, a conservative public policy group, and Land, a leader in the 16- million member Southern Baptist Convention, have criticized McCain in the past. Perkins told the New York Times that he has “no residual issue with John McCain,” while Land told the newspaper McCain “is strongly pro-life.”

Cindy McCain's grudge list

... Cindy recently admitted that she keeps a “grudge list”.

Cindy McCain, now 53, claims she has no interest in policy making - “I am not the legislator in this family. He is” - and that she intends to keep busy running her charities and her family’s company. As first lady, it is clear that she would play a key role. Acknowledging that McCain had made many enemies in Republican ranks, she added: “The only person my husband can trust is me.”



Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts

Ron Paul draws big Denver crowd

The crowd for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was so large it surprised his own organizers. They were forced to hurriedly open partitions to double the size of the ballroom space minutes before Paul's scheduled appearance in the Four Seasons Ballroom. When that wasn't enough hundreds of people stood rimming the hall that sits 1,536.

"I'm just totally dumbfounded," Paul said as he began his speech before a raucous sign-waving crowd. "The enthusiasm seems to be growing. Freedom is popular."




Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Overarching message eludes Clinton campaign

... with so much on the line as 22 states go to the polls Tuesday, the passion that has gotten her through all those years in Washington, all those months on the campaign trail, has not yet come across in the form of a clear message to voters.

... up on a stage, even in a sea of thousands of cheering voters, Clinton continues to seem emotionally far away. She promises to get up every day in the White House and go to work for the American people, yet in place of soaring rhetoric or quiet inspiration, her most urgent, feverish applause lines remain small-bore, even disjointed promises, like "high-speed Internet access across our country!" or "enforce the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act!"



Hillary: Obama would be Bush-like 'lead of faith'

Hillary Clinton likened rival Barack Obama to President George W. Bush, arguing he was an untested neophyte who would be a "leap of faith" for voters.

... "We cannot afford to elect someone as we did with George Bush and then be somewhat surprised by the decisions that are made, the direction that he leads the country," Clinton said.



Hillary criticizes Obama on universal health care, gun control

"It would be a big mistake for Democrats to nominate someone who's already conceded on the issue of universal health care,'' she told reporters on her campaign plane while traveling to Arizona from California yesterday. "My strong advocacy for universal health care puts me in a much better position to take on John McCain.''

... Clinton, responding to an Associated Press article that said Obama has shifted positions on gun control, said that the Illinois senator should speak to his own record.

``My understanding is that really, within the space of four or five years, he's had several positions on a number of really challenging issues and you'll have to ask him why he has so rapidly changed positions,'' she said.

Bill Clinton's legacy

How Democrats define his legacy could determine which presidential candidate they choose: Hillary Clinton, to extend it, or Obama, to make a clean break...

Bill Clinton woos NM Governor Richardson

Former President Clinton will watch the Super Bowl Sunday with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential contest and whose backing Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have actively sought.

The former president and Richardson planned to watch the game together at a private residence

Hillary 2 hours late for Tucson rally

Clinton arrived at Bear Down Gym at about 6 p.m. and wrapped up her appearance about 40 minutes later. She stayed another 15-20 minutes to sign autographs and speak with audience members.

... People started lining up at about 11 a.m. to attend the town hall that was scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

NY Daily News endorses Hillary Clinton

... Where Clinton and Obama differ most is on the critical questions of how they would approach the presidency and who is readier for the Oval Office at a time when the nation and world face increasingly complex challenges.

There Clinton is the stronger candidate, and The News endorses her in this Democratic matchup.



Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama and the tipping point

... what's the tipping point going to be on Feb. 5, when Democrats in 22 states go to the polls?

Is it about making history by voting for a woman for president or making history by voting for an African-American man?

Is it about resurrecting the Kennedy legacy or reviving the Clinton legacy?

Is it about the power of uplifting speech? Or, is it about the power that comes from knowledge of the White House and all its pressures?

... Can the thrill of insurgency overtake the comfort of the familiar? For Obama, that's the tipping point.

Obama draws 13,000 to early am Boise, Idaho rally

Even Barack Obama was surprised by the Idaho crowd.

“They told me there weren’t any Democrats in Idaho — that’s what they told me,” he said. “But I didn’t believe them.”

About 13,000 Idahoans crammed Taco Bell Arena to see and hear the Democratic presidential candidate this morning — and organizers said many more people were turned away at the door.

“I can’t believe it — can you believe it?” Obama said. “It’s unbelievable. … What a remarkable crowd.”

... Idahoans from at least as far away as Grangeville converged on Boise State University before sunrise.



Ethel Kennedy endorses Obama

Ethel Kennedy, the widow of slain Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, has just endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic party's presidential nomination.

She joins Ted, Caroline and Patrick Kennedy in choosing primary political sides while some of her children have gone another way in their party and endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton. And the influential Spanish-language daily newspaper La Opinion also came out for Obama.

In an unusually enthusiastic statement that calls Obama "a magnetic force" and compares the freshman Illinois senator favorably to her husband, a senator from New York when he was gunned down in Los Angeles campaigning for the California Democratic primary in 1968

Obama endorsed by largest Spanish newspaper in country

from LaOpinion: "Senator Barack Obama has the qualities to change the bitter tone that dominates in Washington and to take the actions that are needed for our country at this time. No one doubts the skill and experience of Senator Hillary Clinton, but these are not sufficient to revitalize our nation. With his multicultural sensibilities and humble origins, Obama demonstrates deep conviction as he has done in the area of immigration. He is the best option for truly visionary change."

Obama: I'm still the underdog on Super Tuesday

Chatting with reporters on his plane, he said Hillary Clinton is "still the favorite" on Super Tuesday when 22 states hold presidential nomination contests...

Obama's grassroots New York campaign

New York may be Sen. Hillary Clinton's home turf, but the Obama campaign is targeting four heavily African American congressional districts in New York City, says State Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem, an Obama supporter, as well as ethnically mixed and majority-white areas throughout the state.

The African American city neighborhoods include Harlem in Manhattan, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Brownsville in Brooklyn, and the middle-class, high home-ownership communities of southeast Queens.

"Those are districts where there's strong, strong support," said Perkins. "But we're also able to qualify delegates throughout the state."




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