Bloomberg could seriously alter the race for the White House, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who left the Republican Party last week - could have a serious impact on the 2008 presidential race, rivaling billionaire Ross Perot's influence in 1992, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests.
In the new poll's three-way matchups among registered voters, Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton would hold a slight edge in an all-New York race with 41 percent, compared to Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's 38 percent and Bloomberg's 17.
In a two-way matchup, Clinton and Giuliani are effectively tied, 49-48 percent, with a sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.
In a race pitting Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, against Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Bloomberg, Obama drew 40 percent; McCain, 34 percent; and Bloomberg, 21. Without the New York mayor, Obama would edge McCain 48-44 percent, according to the poll.
The poll showed a possible Giuliani-Obama race a statistical dead heat, with Giuliani at 48 percent and Obama at 46 percent. But Obama led Fred Thompson by a wide margin, 52 percent to 40 percent, the survey found.
About a third of Americans - 33 percent - said they would be very or fairly likely to consider voting for an independent presidential candidate. That is considerably less than in June 1992, when 47 percent said they were likely to consider an independent. Ross Perot ended up taking 19 percent of the popular vote with an independent bid that year.
Bloomberg's decision to abandon the GOP last week has fueled speculation that the two-term billionaire mayor will mount an independent presidential bid. Bloomberg called that talk "very flattering" Wednesday, but said he has no intention of seeking the White House.
The poll, conducted for CNN by Opinion Research Corp., surveyed 1,029 adults between Friday and Sunday. It had a sampling error of 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is hopeful that the Senate will have the requisite 60 votes to begin the process of debating the immigration bill.
“We’re optimistic the 60 votes will be there,” said Assistant to the president and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Joel Kaplan. “Our intelligence suggests there will be the votes to move onto the bill to start considering amendments.”
Tuesday’s cloture vote would prevent a filibuster of the immigration bill and clear the way for debate on the 20-plus amendments that are part of it.
President Bush has been pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill and made a “bunch” of calls to Capitol Hill to rally support for the bill, according to Kaplan. Bush also dedicated his weekly radio address to the subject of immigration and has an immigration related event on Tuesday.
– CNN Congressional Correspondent Andrea Koppel
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation announced Monday that it has joined with CNN, the Los Angeles Times and Politico.com to host the final GOP presidential debate before the February 5, 2008 "Super-Tuesday" elections when California, Florida and as many as 20 other states hold primaries.
Nancy Reagan has extended invitations to the GOP frontrunners seeking their party's presidential nomination to participate in this final debate, which will take place at the Reagan Library on January 30, 2008. More specific details about this historic event will be announced at a later date.
"We are very pleased to be a host of the final Republican presidential debate before Super Tuesday," said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. "Given the timing, this debate should play an important role in the outcome of the presidential election and it is extremely fitting that it will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library."
"The Reagan Presidential Library is delighted to be able to host this important debate on the eve of these crucial primary votes," said Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., chairman of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation. "It was President Reagan's dream that his Library play a meaningful role in our democratic process and this event will be another milestone toward fulfilling that goal."
Watch Richardson's Iraq comments on CNN's American Morning.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson defended his previous calls to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, telling CNN Monday that diplomacy in the region cannot work until all U.S. troops are out.
"I believe the solution is the diplomatic work that cannot begin until our troops are out," the presidential hopeful said on CNN's American Morning.
Richardson explained that such work entailed “a reconciliation conference - led by the United States - of the three groups in Iraq to have a coalition government [and] to divide the country into three entities.” He also called for “an all-Muslim peacekeeping force involving Iran and Syria to bring stability to the region and then, at the same time, trying to diffuse the Middle East crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Hamas, Fatah, [and] the breakdown there of any potential negotiations."
In the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, Richardson registers at 5 percent, behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.
Jay Garrity, left, rides a Blue Line commuter train with then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in this December 2003 photo.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Monday that he is giving Jay Garrity, the aide currently under investigation for impersonating a police officer, the "benefit of the doubt" until an investigation into the matter is concluded.
"I give him the benefit of the doubt. I hope other people do, too," Romney said Monday. "With regards to an investigation going on, of course we'll let that run its course."
"He's a good guy and I wish him the very best," Romney added. "But this is now in his hands. He's got his own counsel, and I am hoping things come out real well for him."
Garrity temporarily stepped down from the campaign on Friday after Police accused him of trying to impersonate a police officer on two separate occasions - once on the voicemail of a plumbing company, and a second time with a New York Times reporter in New Hampshire.
Garrity has denied the charges.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Romney said Monday will give money to his campaign for a second time.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is estimated to be worth at least $250 million, said Monday he will make a second contribution to his presidential effort. He called the move a "nightmare."
Romney, who loaned his campaign over $2 million in January, said he was forced to make a second loan in order to continue to get his message out and finance advertising in crucial campaign states. The Massachusetts Republican declined to say how much he will give his campaign this quarter.
"It would be nice not to have to loan or contribute to your own campaign," he told reporters during an all day national fundraising call event on Boston. "But the reality is if you want to have a strong campaign that gets out there and can talk across the nation, you’re going to have to do what's necessary. If other people are making sacrifices, I sure have to as well."
"It's not a dream come true. In some respects, it’s kind of a nightmare to write checks from your own bank account," he added.
Romney, who was little known beyond his home state when he launched his presidential bid, has steadily aired commercials in Iowa and New Hampshire since February. He said Monday that his campaign has already spent $3 million on television advertising. His chief rivals for the GOP nomination, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have yet to run television ads.
Including his own donation in the first quarter of 2007, Romney raised $23 million - a total well ahead of the other Republican presidential candidates. He predicted Monday that he would raise less in the second quarter, which ends Saturday, but said the campaign has more than doubled the number of contributors.
McCain said Monday he finds the Supreme Court decision on a McCain-Feingold provision "regrettable."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, expressed disappointment Monday over a Supreme Court ruling that stuck down a key provision in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.
McCain's statement, issued by his presidential campaign, came shortly after his GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney applauded the ruling.
"While I respect their decision in this matter, it is regrettable that a split Supreme Court has carved out a narrow exception by which some corporate and labor expenditures can be used to target a federal candidate in the days and weeks before an election," McCain said.
"It is important to recognize, however, that the Court's decision does not affect the principal provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which bans federal officeholders from soliciting soft money contributions for their parties to spend on their campaigns," he added. "I am grateful to the Bush Administration and all those lawmakers, both past and present, who have joined us in our efforts to put an end to the corruption bred by soft money. Fortunately, that central reform still stands as the law."
In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the court’s majority concluded that the specific guidelines of the bill relating to issue ads — aired mainly on television — were overly restrictive. Under McCain-Feingold, such ads can be banned 60 days before a general election, and 30 days before a primary.
Listen to the latest Race to '08 podcast.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN's Bill Caiacco talks with CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley about Mitt Romney's presidential campaign finances, in the latest Race to '08 podcast.
Romney quickly applauded a Supreme Court ruling against a provision of McCain-Feingold.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney jumped at the chance Monday to show his support for a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key provision of a campaign finance law authored in part by fellow GOP presidential hopeful John McCain.
"Score one for free speech," Romney said in a statement. "The law trampled the basic right of the American people to participate in their democracy. It also purported to reduce the influence of money in politics, but we now know that influence is greater than ever. "
"McCain-Feingold was a poorly-crafted bill," he added. The bill, sponsored by the Arizona senator and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, was signed into law by President Bush in 2002.
In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the court's majority concluded that the specific guidelines of the McCain-Feingold bill relating to issue ads - aired mainly on television - were overly restrictive. Under McCain-Feingold, such ads can be banned 60 days before a general election, and 30 days before a primary.
The issue ads ban proved to be extremely unpopular with many conservative groups currently being courted by McCain in the GOP nomination contest.
Obama is launching his first television ads in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is launching his first television ads of the 2008 cycle, his campaign announced Monday. The ads highlight the Democratic presidential candidate's biography and career.
The ads will start running Tuesday on local cable and network television in Iowa. Obama’s campaign called the ads part of a "low-level television advertising campaign," but wouldn't disclose how much it is planning to spend.
The first ad, "Choices," talks about Obama's time as a community organizer in Chicago. "It was inspiring, absolutely inspiring to see someone as brilliant as Barack Obama, as successful, someone who could’ve written his ticket on Wall Street, take all of the talent and all of the learning and decide to devote it to the community and to making people’s lives better," says Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe in the ad.
The second ad, "Carry," highlights Obama's eight years as an Illinois state senator. The ad quotes Illinois Republican State Sen. Kirk Dillard praising Obama for working with members across the aisle. "Republicans legislators respected Senator Obama. His negotiation skills and an ability to understand both sides would serve the country very well," says Dillard.
The campaign is holding a conference call Monday afternoon with Tribe and Dillard to discuss the ads in detail.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich