The Clintons in New Hampshire Sunday
(CNN)–Returning to the state where he was dubbed the 'Comeback Kid' in 1992, former President Bill Clinton began a Labor Day weekend campaign swing through New Hampshire with his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton as she campaigned for her White House bid.
Standing before a crowd on the lawn of the state capitol in Concord, the former president said the 2008 election was consequential. "We have to elect the best President this time. This is not about politics, this is about the future."
He declined to criticize any of his wife's competitors for the Democratic nomination. "I like being a Democrat in this election because I like all the people running. So if you came here expecting me to say something bad about the others, you might as well go home now," he said to a comment greeted by laughter from the crowd.
But he left no real doubt for whom he would cast his vote. "In the forty years I have been voting in presidential elections," he said, "Hillary is the best prepared to be president of any non-incumbent I ever had a chance to vote for in my life."
"Ultimately, to bring change, you have to know when to stand your ground, and when to find common ground," Senator Clinton said after taking the stage. "You need to know when to stick to principles and fight, and know when to make principled compromises."
Under fire from other candidates for appearing too cozy with special interest groups, she said no other candidate had more experience fighting them like she did. "I've been standing up to special interests and taking all their incoming fire for 15 years," the Democrat from New York said. "And guess what, I'm still standing, and proud to fight every step of the way."
The Clintons were also scheduled to visit the Hopkinton state fair in Contoocook, New Hampshire on Sunday, as well as an evening rally in Portsmouth. They are scheduled to campaign together in Iowa on Monday.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Edwards campaigned in Iowa on Sunday.
TIPTON, Iowa (CNN) - Responding to questions Sunday on why he agreed to pledge to skip states that are disobeying party rules by moving their primaries up, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said this election "should be based on substance, real ideas and who can actually change the country and who has the personal characteristics to be president. [It is] not a fundraising contest."
On Friday, the four states allowed by the DNC to hold their nominating contests before February 5, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, asked the Democratic field to sign a pledge not to campaign or compete in Florida if it violates party rules.
At a stop in Tipton, Iowa Edwards continued, "Every candidate now will have to come to Iowa and do what I did today and what I've done hundreds of times before, which is stand in front of an audience and answer their questions–in many cases hard tough questions... If you're not ready to answer questions in Iowa, you're not ready to be president of the United States."
Obama, Clinton and Edwards all said Saturday they would sign the pledge.
They joined Senators Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson–all of whom signed on Friday.
– CNN's Chris Welch and Jamie Crawford
Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho
(CNN)–The ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says Idaho Senator Larry Craig should seek to withdraw his guilty plea, and possibly his resignation from the Senate.
"I'd like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case," Senator Arlen Specter said on 'Fox News Sunday'. Drawing on his earlier experience as District Attorney of Philadelphia, Specter said, "On the evidence Senator Craig wouldn't be convicted of anything. And he's got his life on the line and 27 years in the House and Senate, and I'd like to see him fight the case because I think he could be vindicated."
Specter also said it was not too late for Craig to change the status of his resignation.
"He said he intends to resign. When you have a statement of intent to resign that intent could change," he said. "And if he could change the underlying sense of the case, feel of the case."
"Listen you can go to court and withdraw a guilty plea, of course disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude," Specter said. If he went to trial "he wouldn't be convicted of anything. And if he went to court, was acquitted, all of this hullabaloo would have no basis."
Speaking on the same show, Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Specter raised a good point. "From a legal point of view he makes a very good point," Leahy said. "Now from a political point of view I don't pretend to know what Idaho politics are or how they might be, but Senator Specter has laid out as strong a legal case as I've heard."
Craig announced his resignation from the Senate on Saturday effective September 30, following the disclosure of his arrest in June for disorderly conduct in a restroom at the Minneapolis airport.
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
(CNN)–Senator Larry Craig is hiring some big guns from the legal world, including Michael Vick's lawyer, to represent him in his upcoming legal proceedings.Craig said he has retained Vick's attorney, Billy Martin, to handle most of his legal affairs. He said he has retained Stan Brand, who represented Major League Baseball in connection with the congressional investigation into Major League Baseball’s steroid policies, to handle issues pertaining to an investigation by the Senate Ethics committee.
The comments came in a question and answer session with Craig that his office released following his announcement he would resign his Senate seat effective September 30.
Watch Sen. Craig's resignation speech
Craig says pending issues, and assuring an orderly transition were some of the reasons he will not step down immediately.
Questions for and Answers From U.S. Senator Larry Craig released by his office Saturday:
Q: Why September 30?
A: Thousands of Idahoans come to me every year for assistance in resolving issues with federal agencies, like obtaining passports, resolving Social Security or pension problems, and I want to make sure as many of these are resolved as possible. What can’t be resolved will be transferred to my successor in an orderly way. I want to make as smooth a transition as possible for Idaho.
Q: Will you return to Washington, D.C.? When?
A: That has not been determined.
Q: Will you continue to vote and attend hearings during this time?
A: See above.
Q: Who is your legal counsel?
A: Stan Brand with Brand Law Group has been retained to handle issues pertaining to the Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Billy Martin with Southerland, Asbil & Brennan has been retained to handle all other legal affairs.
Q: Have you filed papers in Minnesota to begin your legal defense?
A: You’ll have to speak with Mr. Martin or Mr. Brand on any questions pertaining to legal affairs.
Q: Have you spoken with Governor Otter about a replacement?
Q: Have you had any conversations with Lieutenant Governor Risch?
Obama signed a pledge not to campaign or compete in Florida if the state breaks DNC rules.
(CNN)–Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and former Senator John Edwards joined three other Democratic candidates for president by promising to skip states that break party rules and hold early primaries.
On Friday, the four states allowed by the DNC to hold their nominating contests before February 5 — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — asked the Democratic field to sign a pledge not to campaign or compete in Florida if it violates party rules. Obama, Clinton and Edwards all said Saturday they would sign the pledge.
“As I have campaigned across America over the last six months, it’s become clear that Governor Dean and the Democratic National Committee have put together a presidential nomination process that’s in the best interests of our party and our nation,” Obama said in a statement released Saturday. “I look forward to continuing the dialogue with voters and building the kind of grassroots movement in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the rest of the country that will send a clear signal to Washington that the American people are ready for change.”
"We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process," Clinton's campaign manager said in a statement Saturday. "And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar."
“This election, more than any other, is about real change and choosing the candidate who is going to fight for that change,” Edwards said in a statement released by his campaign Saturday. “Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina need to be first because in these states ideas count, not just money. These are places where voters get to look the candidate in the eye and measure their policies, ideas, and integrity. That’s why I am signing this pledge. This tried-and-true nominating system is the only way for voters to judge the field based on the quality of the candidate, not the depth of their war chest."
On Friday, Senators Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed the pledge.
Also on Friday, Gov. Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, called on his party’s White House hopefuls to support a DNC decision to strip the state of Florida of its say in the nomination process if it proceeds with plans to hold its presidential primary on January 29, eight days earlier than party rules allow.
"No matter which cards we're dealt, Florida Democrats are going to win the state's 27 electoral votes and elect a Democratic President in 2008," said Leonard Joseph, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director. "The country needs us."
The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee ruled in a meeting in Washington last Saturday that Florida Democrats would lose all of their delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver unless they modified their primary plans within 30 days.