Both Giuliani and McCain announced Wednesday they will not compete in the Iowa straw poll this summer.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Following the news that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will not participate in the Iowa straw poll this summer, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has also decided to skip the event, his campaign announced Wednesday afternoon.
But the McCain campaign said the Arizona senator will compete in the Iowa caucuses in January, the first event of the presidential primary season.
"In light of today's news, it is clear that the Ames Straw Poll will not be a meaningful test of the leading candidates' organizational abilities, so we have decided to forego our participation in the event," Terry Nelson, McCain's campaign manager, said in a statement.
"John McCain has built a solid grassroots organization in Iowa and intends to win the state's caucuses," Nelson added. "He appreciates the unique and critical role the caucuses play in the nomination process and enjoys traveling the state, meeting Iowans, and holding town hall meetings."
Earlier in the day, Giuliani's campaign said it is focusing its Iowa resources on winning the January caucuses instead of the straw poll.
The straw poll, sponsored by the state Republican party and set to be held in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 11, has traditionally been seen as a barometer of a candidate's organizational strength in the Hawkeye State.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Romney campaigned in New Hampshire Wednesday.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney called former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson a "great potential" candidate Wednesday and said the "Law & Order" actor may bring a "Hollywood aura" to the Republican presidential field.
But Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, brushed aside suggestions Thompson would emerge as the most conservative candidate in the race.
"We're not all equal conservatives," he said after a campaign event in Bedford, New Hampshire. "I'm not the most conservative on the stage by any means - I doubt he'll be the most conservative on every issue, either."
Thompson formed a committee last week to begin raising money for a potential White House bid. Aides to Thompson have said he could formally get into the race over the July 4 weekend.
Romney added that Thompson will be a "on TV a welcome feature to add to the mix" and said Thompson will likely increase the amount of viewers who watch the next GOP debate.
– CNN's Steve Brusk and Alexander Mooney
David Iglesias is one of the eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Justice Department.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Several of the eight U.S. attorneys whose firing sparked a controversy have been interviewed recently by Justice Department investigators looking into the 2006 dismissals, CNN has learned.
David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, said he talked with officials for almost three hours Wednesday during a meeting in New Mexico.
Among the topics they asked him about, he told CNN, were phone calls Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, and Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, made to him complaining about the failure to bring a public corruption indictment before the 2006 election and performance issues some critics have raised about him.
"I just told them the reason I was fired was for political reasons," Iglesias said, a view he has maintained for months. He said he did not provide the investigators with any new details and did not hear any new information from them.
Ten GOP candidates squared off Tuesday night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Seen on board the 6 a.m. US Airways flight 1159 from Manchester, New Hampshire to Washington: No less than five GOP presidential candidates: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Four of the five candidates sat in coach.
The lucky candidate who flew first class? Ron Paul.
The candidates were all flying back after facing off Tuesday night in a spirited debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
In tonight's edition of "Raw Politics," is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid making a big "harry" deal on immigration?
Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton makes changes to her campaign staff in Iowa while Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani says he is not participating in the state's straw poll this summer.
And, Fred Thompson posts his new website, bringing with him a "Hollywood aura," according to one GOP presidential candidate who's already on the campaign trail.
Catch it all in tonight's edition of "Raw Politics," 10 p.m. ET on Anderson Cooper 360
A radar image taken as the debate kicked off Tuesday night shows the strength of the storm over Manchester.
A map shows the amount of lightning strikes in Manchester, New Hampshire during the first half hour of the debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - So just how was bad was the weather Tuesday night outside the GOP debate site in Manchester, New Hampshire?
CNN Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers sends along this radar image of the Manchester area just as the debate was kicking off. It indicates the strongest part of the storm happened to be centered right over Manchester just as the Republican hopefuls were making their opening statements.
Watch Video: Giuliani's abortion answer zapped by lightning
Weather Services International, Inc. reported several instances of lightning strikes throughout the debate, the effects of which could be heard a few times when some of the candidates' microphones went in and out as they were speaking.
In a particular case of bad timing, lightning struck just as Giuliani was responding to recent comments from a Catholic bishop likening the former New York City mayor to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to be crucified.
As his microphone buzzed in and out, Giuliani joked, “For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a frightening thing that’s happening right now.”
Check cnn.com/ticker for the latest political news.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The 31-year-old lawyer infected with a rare, often fatal form of tuberculosis told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that he was never told prior to his flight last month to Europe for his wedding that he was contagious, but a health official said he was warned not to travel.
"I've cooperated with anything anyone has asked me to do," Andrew Speaker told the Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.
Talking by telephone from his isolation room at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Speaker said he decided to leave the country after discussing his plans to get married in Greece with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness and his future father-in-law, who is a microbiologist at the CDC involved in tuberculosis research.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romey's aides downplay expectations that he will do well in New Hampshire.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Call it "the Massachusetts factor."
Look on a car with a New Hampshire license plate, and there's a fairly good chance you will see a Boston Red Sox bumper sticker. The Boston newspapers are available at most newsstands and in many coffee shops.
And the Boston TV stations, especially in southern New Hampshire, are a big source of news and other programming - including political ads.
So perhaps it should be no surprise that when it comes to presidential politics, history suggests a Massachusetts factor.
– CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
Sen. John McCain said of the immigration bill in Congress: "If someone else has a better idea, I'd love to have them give it to us."
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Sen. John McCain defended his support of a controversial immigration reform bill from criticism by other Republican presidential hopefuls Tuesday night as the GOP contenders held their first debate in New Hampshire.
"America is still the land of opportunity, and it is a beacon of hope and liberty and, as Ronald Reagan said, a shining city on the hill," McCain said. "And we're not going to erect barriers and fences."
McCain was a lonely voice on the stage at Saint Anselm College in defense of the plan now being debated in the Senate. The front-runner in recent polls, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, called it "a typical Washington mess."