Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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


Monday, Feb. 4, 2008


Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll:


GOP -- Romney 40%, McCain 32%

DEM -- Obama 46%, Clinton 40%


GOP -- McCain 35%, Huckabee 27%, Romney 24%

DEM -- Obama 47%, Clinton 42%

New York:

GOP -- McCain double-digit lead over Romney

DEM --

New Jersey:

GOP -- McCain double-digit lead over Romney

DEM -- Obama 43%, Clinton 43%


GOP --

DEM -- Obama has 17 point lead


Novak: Why Super Tuesday won't hand nomination to Hillary

There is no mathematical possibility of Super Tuesday balloting in 22 states for 1,681 delegates -- labeled the first ''national'' primary -- giving either Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama close to the 2,025 delegates necessary for nomination. That unexpected reality is produced by Obama's appeal, Clinton fatigue and extreme proportional representation adopted by the Democratic Party.

Republicans are ready to crown Sen. John McCain as their nominee. Democrats will still be battling.

National Super Tuesday poll shows dramatic Democratic shift

Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton is losing ground to Sen. Barack Obama in a national CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released on the eve of critical Super Tuesday presidential primaries and caucuses.

The two are virtually tied in Monday's survey, which shows the New York senator has lost a comfortable national lead she's held for months over Obama and other rivals.

Hillary may unite Republicans 

Strong anti-Clinton feeling has people in both parties speculating that if the New York senator wins the Democratic nomination she could become a powerful unifying force -- for Republicans.

... "She gets really high negatives among conservatives and the fundamentalist crowd," said Rice University political science professor Paul Brace. "In some states that is going to mobilize them so much so that they may overlook shortcomings of a Republican candidate."

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who has endorsed Obama, is one who has said a Clinton nomination would hurt Democrats. Others in the party agree.

"It is not fair," said Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee. "But the fact is ... she is actually a lightning rod. She will bring people out to vote against her."




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

Romney to Huckabee: "No whining"

Mitt Romney fired back against Mike Huckabee over the former Arkansas governor’s accusation that Mitt Romney has engaged in “voter suppression” in arguing that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for John McCain.

“I don't think he's chosen the right word,” Romney said. “It's not voter suppression. I want people to vote, but I want them to vote for me. That's sort of the nature of politics, as I understand it.”

... “First a couple of rules in politics,” he said. “One: no whining. And number two: you get them to vote for you and so I want them not to vote for Mike Huckabee and not to vote for John McCain and to vote for me … that’s not voter suppression. That’s known as politics.”

Huckabee rejects spoiler role

Facing heat from backers of Mitt Romney, who say his continued presence in the race for the GOP nomination will hand that prize to Sen. John McCain, Mike Huckabee is not standing down.

... "Let me explain something to Mr. Romney and his supporters," Huckabee told a crowd in Huntsville, Ala., on Saturday morning. "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog, and there's a lot of fight left in this dog."

In Macon, Ga., yesterday, Huckabee noted that his poll numbers in Southern states are stronger than Romney's.

"Romney's arrogance is offensive to my supporters and serves only to fire them and me up," Huckabee said. "We're even more determined to fight and win."

Huckabee hits Mitt as "arrogant and presumptuous"

“Arrogant and presumptuous ” are the words Mike Huckabee used in describing Mitt Romney today. Why? Huckabee described his GOP rival in these terms after hearing reports that Romney had called for Huck to drop out of the race, because his campaign presence was helping John McCain, by playing the spoiler. 

” How presumptuous and arrogant must a man be to assume that if I did drop out of the race the people who voted for me, would vote for him,” Huckabee said to a loud crowd of 800 in Macon, GA.”  So I’ve got a suggestion, Mr. Romney, rather than me drop out, why don’t you give it up, and go back to Boston!

Huckabee could impact Tuesday's results

With 21 states holding contests Tuesday and offering more than 1,000 delegates, Huckabee's continued presence could be a major factor in what essentially has become a two-man race between Republican front-runner John McCain and Mitt Romney.

A Southerner and one-time Baptist preacher, Huckabee hopes to perform strongly, if not win, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Missouri to reinvigorate his campaign.

In those states, Huckabee could end up helping McCain — he calls him a friend — by peeling away votes and delegates from Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is competing there after essentially ceding big-prize Northeast battlegrounds.

Huckabee and Romney draw much of their support from the same pool of conservative voters, while McCain tends to attract voters of all ideological stripes. Romney, himself, has raised the possibility that Huckabee might be continuing his bid solely "to try and split that conservative vote."




Mitt Romney... today's headlines with excerpts

Romney's Monday night plans up in the air

Mitt Romney upended his Super Tuesday travel schedule tonight, adding a Monday cross-country trip to California because a new poll shows him neck-and-neck there with Sen. John McCain.

After rallies in Nashville and outside Atlanta on Monday, Romney plans to fly to Long Beach, Calif. for an early-evening rally. He then will immediately fly back east, so to arrive in West Virginia at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Santorum veers from McCain, supports Romney

... former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum conceded that part of his trepidation stems from the fact that many of Romney’s conservative positions were arrived at relatively recently. He says he’s now convinced of Romney’s conservative convictions.

“I think Romney, when he decided to run, he’s a smart business guy, and he sort of got his team together and said, ‘What do I need to do to be the conservative candidate?’ and give me the checklist and see if I can check them off,” Santorum said. “And I think over the course of this campaign, you know, I saw the migration from the checklist to his head and from his head into his heart and I really believe that’s where he is today.”

However, his decision to support Romney is also the result of the fact that he’s more ill at ease than ever with the idea of a President McCain. Santorum says that if an unpredictable, moderate McCain is president it could be worse than if a Democrat were elected.

Romney call raises McCain temper as issue

Mitt Romney's campaign is blasting out automated phone calls that feature a recording of former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania raising questions about John McCain's "temperament" -- a hot-button issue that Romney himself has assiduously avoided.

Santorum said in an interview today that he wrote the script himself, and the campaign deferred to him and approved it.

"John McCain has written about and talked about the issues that he has with respect to his temperament and his ability to work with other people and to do so in a way that's productive," Santorum said in an interview after stumping for Romney at Dave & Buster's restaurant.

"This is not something he hasn't spoken about and talked about and admitted to and I think that to me it is a relevant issue for people to consider…I think it's one without question that factors into his ability to govern, to form coalitions and to get things done."

Romney's counting on Limbaugh

"What I have to do is continue to see what's been happening the last few days, specifically that is conservatives across the country are saying, 'whoa, we have to get behind Mitt Romney,'" Romney claimed on CNN Sunday.

Romney is predicting that the establishment conservative media echo chamber will save him.

"You've got people like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and the list goes on and on and on -- Hugh Hewitt, Lars Larson -- conservative voices, both from radio and from publications, are saying, 'you know what, we've got to get behind Mitt Romney,'" boasted the former Massachusetts governor, whose self-funded campaign lost key primaries in South Carolina and Florida after the conservative vote split and McCain swept moderates. "We really can't afford John McCain as the nominee of our party."

Romney compares McCain with Clinton, Obama

“On a number of other issues he is indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, “ Romney told reporters, “on a whole series of issues from campaign finance reform to global warming and his approach to it which is a unilateral America pays and the rest of the world doesn’t. As well as his view on the Bush tax cuts, originally. His view on drilling in ANWR and also on the McCain-Kennedy bill. “

... “He’s virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton or Obama on a number of major issues our country faces,” Romney said. “I was impressed that yesterday Barack Obama said that Senator McCain’s position on illegal immigration was virtually indistinguishable from his. I think it does make sense to have a candidate representing our party whose positions are distinctly different from the Democratic potential nominees. Mine are. And I’m proud of that.”

Romney warns of 'sharp left turn' under McCain

As GOP presidential front-runner John McCain spent Super Bowl Sunday in former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's home state, Romney came to the Republican bastion of DuPage County to warn voters that McCain would bring "a sharp turn to the left" if elected.

The 'I hate Romney' Club

"The degree to which campaigns' personal dislike for Mitt Romney has played a part in this campaign cannot be underestimated," says an adviser to one of those rival campaigns. While sharp words have been exchanged between practically every Republican candidate at one point or another on the campaign trail, the aversion to Romney seems to go beyond mere policy disagreements. It's also a suspicion of what they see is his hypocrisy and essential phoniness — what one former staffer for Fred Thompson called Romney's "wholesale reinvention."

... To be sure, the candidates' staffs do seem to have bonded in their dislike of Romney. "It was very common for e-mails to be flying around between the Thompson, McCain and Giuliani campaigns," says the former Thompson staffer, "Saying, 'No matter what happens with us, we all need to make sure it's not him.'"

Romney's economic claims challenged

It's part of Mitt Romney's core narrative: Massachusetts, in the throes of a fiscal freefall, fell back on his CEO skills and turnaround wizardry to spark — in his words — "a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion."

It's a rosy opinion of Massachusetts' economy that few in the state share. Instead, observers say, the state's recovery from a disastrous 2001 recession has been tepid at best, and Romney gives himself more credit than deserved on job creation and balancing the state budget.


John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Lack of right punch could cost McCain

Sen. John McCain might more or less wrap up the Republican presidential nomination tomorrow on Super Tuesday but will come up short in November's general election if he does not quickly convince skeptical conservatives that henceforth he will walk with them, some key Republicans say.

Many on the right see him, at 71, as an aging centrist, and argue that every time the Republican Party has nominated a moderate, the Democrats have won the White House as aggrieved conservatives exercised their right not to vote, as they did in 1976, 1992 and 1996.

One way to try to address reservations about the Arizona senator's age and commitment to low taxes and limited government would be to name a young and credentialed conservative as vice presidential running mate.

McCain may seal victory tomorrow

John McCain has a chance to secure his party's presidential nomination on Super Tuesday, the biggest set of same-day primaries in U.S. history.

... ``We may well see McCain effectively wrap up the nomination'' thanks to Republicans' preference for winner-take- all contests, says Charlie Cook, publisher of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington.

So far, McCain has secured 98 delegates and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor has 59, according to The Green Papers, a nonpartisan Web site that tracks delegate counts. Nomination will require 1,191 delegates.

McCain is favored over Romney in five winner-take-all prizes -- New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Arizona and Delaware -- that would give the Arizona senator more than 250 delegates. Buoyed by the endorsement of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, McCain may pick up many of that state's 173 delegates as well.

The result: By Wednesday morning, McCain is likely to have accumulated more than half the delegates needed for nomination, and will be far ahead of Romney and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

McCain looks confident

Senator John McCain, buoyed by new polls and endorsements, appeared in an increasingly commanding position on Sunday as he headed toward coast-to-coast contests that could effectively hand him the Republican presidential nomination, party officials said. In a display of confidence, Mr. McCain campaigned in the backyard of his chief rival, Mitt Romney.

McCain success pits conservatives vs. GOP

If John McCain secures the Republican presidential nomination, his victory would signal a revolution in American politics -- a divorce, after a 28-year marriage, between the Republican and conservative establishments.

McCain would be the first Republican nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976 to win despite opposition from organized conservatism, and also the first whose base in Republican primaries rested on the party's center and its dwindling left. McCain is winning despite conservatives, not because of them.

McCain invokes Reagan at rally

John McCain cast himself Sunday as heir to Ronald Reagan on domestic spending and a strict constructionist on judicial nominations, two messages aimed at reassuring conservative Republicans.

McCain, whose candidacy appeared doomed last summer, now appears poised to take over as the GOP front-runner in Tuesday's primaries if he is not abandoned by conservatives.

In a speech to 2,000 supporters at Sacred Heart University, McCain shared a stage with Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, his soul-mate on the war in Iraq, and shrugged off anti-war protesters and one heckler.

Front-runner McCain faces new challenges

... in enveloping himself in the GOP cloak, McCain, his aides acknowledge, risks the outsider status that appeals to independents and Democrats he might need to win in November.  

... McCain says he will try to win over some conservatives by promising to appoint judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. McCain said he has a history of praising both and expects to emphasize that when addressing a conservative gathering this week



Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts

Young voters backing Ron Paul

Of the more than 420 college and high school chapters of Ron Paul supporters around the U.S., North Dakota State University stands out, an organizer for the Republican congressman and presidential candidate says.

That’s one reason why Paul’s supporters believe they will make a significant showing in the state presidential preference caucuses on Tuesday...





Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary cries... again

Sen. Hillary Clinton teared up this morning at an event at the Yale Child Study Center, where she worked while in law school in the early 1970s.

Penn Rhodeen, who was introducing Clinton, began to choke up, leading Clinton's eyes to fill with tears, which she wiped out of her left eye. At the time, Rhodeen was saying how proud he was that sheepskin-coat, bell-bottom-wearing young woman he met in 1972 was now running for president.

"Well, I said I would not tear up; already we're not exactly on the path," Clinton said with emotion after the introduction.




Woman calls Bush 'the bastard', Hillary smiles

One elderly woman rose and was asking the Democratic candidate about a rumored economic union among the United States, Canada and Mexico that is widely discussed, feared and abhorred among conspiracy fanciers. The woman said the president planned to implement the secret agreement in 2010.

Then the woman called the president "Bush the bastard."

The Democratic crowd immediately roared its approval.

Sen. Clinton nodded her head slightly and smiled.

Hillary's '35 years of change' omits most of her career

To hear Hillary Clinton talk, she's spent her entire career putting her Yale Law School degree to work for the common good.

She routinely tells voters that she's "been working to bring positive change to people's lives for 35 years." She told a voter in New Hampshire: "I've spent so much of my life in the nonprofit sector." Speaking in South Carolina, Bill Clinton said his wife "could have taken a job with a firm ... Instead she went to work with Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund."

The overall portrait is of a lifelong, selfless do-gooder. The whole story is more complicated — and less flattering.

Clinton worked at the Children's Defense Fund for less than a year, and that's the only full-time job in the nonprofit sector she's ever had. She also worked briefly as a law professor.

Clinton spent the bulk of her career — 15 of those 35 years — at one of Arkansas' most prestigious corporate law firms, where she represented big companies and served on corporate boards.

Hillary Clinton revels in NY Giants Super Bowl win

Hillary Rodham Clinton became a super fan of the New York Giants Sunday, reveling in their upset of the New England Patriots — and even seeing an omen for her own political future.

"Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, we've got one down, let's get the other," said Clinton.

Hillary Clinton gears for Super Tuesday

Hillary Clinton went on the offensive as polls showed her White House rival Barack Obama eroding her lead, ahead of the "Super Tuesday" nationwide nominating showdown.

... The New York senator questioned Obama’s capacity to weather Republican attacks in November’s general election. "When the cameras disappear and the lights are gone and the speeches are over, you will elect somebody to the Oval Office to make these tough decisions," she told a rally here.

Pew Research Center survey: fewer want Bill back in WH

The negative coverage of Bill Clinton over the past couple of weeks seems to have hurt his standing with the public. A new survey finds that fewer voters these days like the idea of the former president being back in the White House.

Forty one percent of registered voters told the latest Pew Research Center survey that they disliked the idea of Mr. Clinton back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which could happen if his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, is elected president. In October, 34 percent of voters disliked the idea.




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama says Clinton's positions 'similar' to McCain's

“We expect that John McCain may be the [Republican] nominee and if John McCain is the nominee then the Democratic Party has to ask itself, do you want a candidate who has similar policies to John McCain on the war in Iraq or somebody who offers a stark contrast?” Obama asked the crowd.

He pounced on Clinton for her vote for the Iraq war and for her vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment.

“I can offer a clear and clean break from the failed policies of George W. Bush. I won’t have to explain my votes in the past,” Obama said.

Michelle, Maria, Caroline and Oprah...

LA Times: ...four extraordinary women put on the best campaign rally I’ve seen in 20 years of covering presidential politics...

... by the time this rally ended, Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey and Maria Shriver had crystallized the challenge Senator Hillary Clinton will face if she wins the Democratic nomination. She will have to figure out how to preserve the energy and excitement that Mr. Obama has stirred in his supporters, especially in once-alienated young voters.

... The Times editorial board has endorsed Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, and we are enthusiastic about her ability to be a great president. But candidates have to win in order to serve. Attending the rally here, we hoped Mrs. Clinton and her team were also watching and listening, very attentively.

Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger endorses Obama

First Lady of California Maria Shriver brought up the rear in a special guest appearance, entering to a cheer almost as big as the one that greeted Oprah's grand entrance to Aretha Franklin's "Think."

As she told it, Shriver's enthusiastic endorsement was a surprise even to her.

"I wasn't on the schedule," Shriver said. "I thought to myself when I woke up this morning, there's no place I should be but right here today."

The wife of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said she arrived from a horse show, where her daughter had told her "'Mommy, if you think you can help, if you think you can change just one person, if you think you can make a difference, then go.'

"So I am here today as woman and as a Californian," Shriver said. "And I believe that elections are a lot like love. They're made up of moments."





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