(CNN) – Mitt Romney provided a moment of political humor Saturday, regarding the possible entrance of another competitor to the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
"It looks like there is a Senator from Tennessee that you may have heard of that may be coming in late, but not one person in this room is going to vote for Senator Al Gore I promise." Romney's quip was met with laughter before a lunch time audience in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Former Tennessee Senator, and actor Fred Thompson's possible entrance into the race has been the subject of recent speculation. He has established a presidential exploratory committee, and is widely expected to join the race later this summer. Thompson, a Republican, was elected to his senate seat, after Gore stepped down to become vice president under Bill Clinton.
Romney is the former Republican governor of Massachusetts. He and his wife Ann, are campaigning in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
John and Elizabeth Edwards
(CNN) – Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards made clear Saturday what he thinks the eventual Democratic nominee for president will need in order to win the nomination.
"I know there are people in this room who are for me and there are people who are shopping," the Democratic presidential hopeful said to an audience in Grinnell, Iowa. "This is democracy. This is the way it is supposed to work."
First, he advised looking for a candidate whom the voter feels has the personal qualities to lead the country at this moment in time. Second, he said a candidate should go beyond simple rhetoric, and have specific ideas to address large issues such as the war in Iraq, and health care. Finally, he said "we need a candidate who can win" the general election, in addition to increasing a democratic majority in Congress.
He added he hoped the crowd would find him to be the strongest candidate in those categories.
Edwards appeared with his wife, Elizabeth, for a community gathering at the Grinnell College student union. They are spending the weekend campaigning all over Iowa.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Ann and Mitt Romney
DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNN)–At an "Ask Mitt anything" event at the Best Western in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday, Ann Romney fell to the floor as she stepped off a small stage she was sharing with her husband. She recovered quickly, quipping that she was bucked off a horse earlier in the week and that this fall didn't compare to that. The stage was only a few inches high.
She later made light of the tumble, joking to me "I fell on da butt in Dubuque".
The campaign said that she fell because of "stage failure". One of the legs of the riser folded up as she stepped toward the edge.
Ann Romney suffers from multiple sclerosis, which is in remission.
- CNN "American Morning" anchor John Roberts
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, delivered the Democratic response Saturday
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Democratic senator said a new energy plan backed by both Democrats and Republicans is sorely needed in the United States, where motorists face a summer of dramatic hikes in gas prices.
"All it takes is one trip to the gas station to know Americans face an energy crisis," said Maria Cantwell of Washington state in the weekly Democratic radio address.
"Congress needs to take America's hope about a clean energy plan and turn it into a reality."
Cantwell, who decried American dependence on foreign oil, supports a more centralized energy plan that would reduce the cost of fuel. Such a plan, she believes, would preserve thousands of U.S. jobs and support small businesses hurt by rising fuel costs.
Congressional lawmakers began debating energy legislation this week.
Senate Democrats are working on what they call a "bipartisan" energy measure with positive environmental and economic benefits. The Senate bill, and a similar measure in the House, would force automakers to increase the fuel economy of their cars and light trucks.
Cantwell voiced her party's support for President Bush's call for a better energy policy, and urged the public to influence Bush and members of the Republican Party to vote for a bipartisan bill.
President Bush says he is ready to wield veto pen.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With Congress preparing to debate more agency spending bills in the coming week, President Bush on Saturday touted his economic plan and lambasted the Democrats' strategy.
The American people "expect accountability and fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C.," Bush said. "And I will use my veto to stop tax increases and runaway spending that threaten the strength of our economy and the prosperity of our people."
In his weekly radio address, Bush cited what he characterized as his administration's successes in handling the national economy.
He proposed to "reduce the federal deficit through strict fiscal discipline" and work toward reducing entitlement spending, which he called "our most serious long-term fiscal challenge."
Most of the federal budget is devoted to entitlement spending for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Instead of being regulated by Congress, the spending levels now fluctuate according to how many people are eligible for the funding.
Bush accused Democrats of "trying to take us in a different direction" by passing a fiscal year 2008 budget that would increase taxes and government spending, as well as ignore the need to entitlement reform. The federal fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
Bush vowed to veto any bill that includes what he considers unnecessary spending, and maintained he has at least 147 Republicans in the House standing behind him.
Bush also cited "earmark reform" as "another key area of difference between my administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress."
Earmarks, or home-district spending projects, are promoted by individual members of Congress, often make it into bills undetected, and lead to unnecessary federal spending, Bush said. He promised to make these provisions, also known as "pork barrel spending," more difficult to set into motion.