Fred Thompson gave his first official campaign speech Thursday in Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - As Fred Thompson officially hits the campaign trail, he's making a pitch to conservative Republicans nervous that the 2008 presidential race could lead to a Democratic president - and even one named Clinton.
Thompson says he's the candidate who could prevent that from happening by campaigning on true conservative values.
"To my Republican friends, I point out that in 1992, we were down after a Clinton victory," Thompson said in a video announcement posted to his campaign Web site Thursday morning.
"In '94, our conservative principles led us to a comeback and majority control of the Congress. Now, you don't want to have to come back from another Clinton victory. Our country needs us to win next year, and I'm ready to lead that effort," he said.
Full story: Thompson: I can stop Hillary Clinton
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin spoke recently at a memorial service on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, the controversial leader of the Crescent City during Hurricane Katrina, will not seek the governorship of Louisiana.
Nagin, who won re-election to lead New Orleans through its rebuilding efforts after the devastating hurricane, did not file the necessary paperwork to seek the state’s highest office. The deadline to do so has passed.
Had Nagin decided to throw his hat in the ring, he would have faced Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal, whose congressional district includes parts of New Orleans, as well as several other candidates. Nagin, current Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and President Bush all were criticized for poorly preparing the city for the storm and then not acting quickly enough to help residents after it hit.
Nagin was a cable company executive before becoming mayor of New Orleans in 2002. He won re-election in 2006, beating Mitch Landrieu, the brother of current Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
– CNN Political Ticker Producer Xuan Thai
Bloomberg discussed the 2008 presidential race on his Web site Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly said he's not running for president. But for a man who claims he has no interest in the White House, he does not shy away from talk about the 2008 race.
His latest comments sure to arouse speculation came in a personal entry Thursday on the billionaire's personal Web site.
The former Wall Street CEO again denies he has any interest in a presidential run, but wrote, "It's time for something real…that's what this upcoming campaign needs to be about."
Bloomberg also said the question of whether he plans to run for president is misguided.
"'Are you running?' is the wrong question," Bloomberg wrote. "The question should not be about politics, but about leadership. Not who is the best candidate, but who will be the best president."
The New York City Mayor then dolls out what seems to be an early version of a stump speech.
"We need solutions that are innovative and bold, not superficial half-steps that are driven by politics, partisanship, or special interest campaign contributions," he wrote. "We need real solutions that honestly address the big challenges we face as a nation."
In recent months, Bloomberg has taken a series of actions that have raised speculation he may be considering an Independent White House bid. He dropped his affiliation with the Republican Party in June and has given several policy speeches outside of New York this summer.
– CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Katy Byron, and Alexander Mooney
Thompson made his presidential candidate debut in Iowa Thursday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Former Sen. Fred Thompson chose Iowa Thursday to kick-off his bid for the White House, but at least one of his top aides has recently expressed frustration with the Hawkeye State's influence in the presidential nominating process.
"It's time to put America first and make Iowa go last," Karen Hanretty wrote in the Hill's pundits blog on August 10. She recently joined Thompson's presidential campaign as deputy communications director.
Hanretty's primary beef with Iowa lies in the "politics of ethanol," as she puts it.
"Imagine there’s no first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus," she wrote about the state's unique status as being the first to cast a vote in the presidential nominating process. "No need to pander to corn farmers. No politicizing ethanol for votes. No pressure to support hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded ethanol subsidies."
She also goes on to cite two columnists, one from each end of the political spectrum, who criticize ethanol subsidies.
A senior Thompson campaign aide told CNN that political opponents were spreading word of Hanretty’s blog posting, but played down its significance noting that staffers routinely have views different than that of their bosses.
"What matters is that Fred respects Iowa's traditional role,” the senior aide said. “He is the candidate."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – As former Sen. Fred Thompson was preparing to officially launch his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, a senior aide resigned from the campaign.
Mark Corallo, a veteran of the Bush administration who had served as Thompson’s primary spokesman when the Tennessee Republican began exploring a bid earlier this year, has left the campaign, Corallo and several Thompson aides told CNN.
Corallo declined to comment on his departure beyond confirming that he had indeed left the campaign. Two Thompson aides said Corallo and the campaign parted ways, because of disagreements with the new campaign management team.
He is the fourth communications staffer to leave the Thompson campaign. The former Tennessee senator also replaced his campaign manager weeks before officially announcing Wednesday that he would run for the White House.
– CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
Edwards picked up another union endorsement Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Presidential rivals, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Hillary Clinton, each added another union endorsement to their competing presidential campaigns Thursday, another sign that the race for presidential nominations is heading into the stretch run.
Edwards was formally backed by the Transport Workers Union in New York City - one of the largest local unions in the Big Apple with 200,000 members that includes workers who operate the city’s subway system. Clinton was endorsed by the Transportation Communications Union, which is comprised of 65,000 members, mostly from the railroad industry.
“I’m proud to stand in New York with members of the Transport Workers Union, who keep the City moving and help keep New Yorkers safe,” Edwards said in statement released by his campaign. “For too long, these good union men and women and millions of other working families have been ignored by a broken system in Washington.”
“America’s working families will not be invisible in my administration,” Clinton said in a statement released by her campaign.
Edwards currently leads the Democratic White House contenders with four union endorsements and Clinton currently has three union endorsements.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The impact of a prominent presidential endorsement often fails to resonate at the polls, but popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey's backing of Barack Obama could prove to have a more significant effect.
Oprah, who first told CNN's Larry King last year she is backing Obama, may assume a visible role in his presidential bid, a source close to the Illinois senator tells CNN. She is already slated to hold a star-studded fundraiser at her California estate this weekend.
Oprah has repeatedly shown her name can sell nearly anything, but the media magnate has never endorsed a presidential candidate before.
It remains to be seen if the popular talk show host's role may go beyond raising money from her Hollywood friends, but the prospect of seeing Oprah in campaign commercials or on the stump is already causing widespread speculation on the effect she may have.
Thompson's campaign bus arrived in Iowa Thursday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Former Sen. Fred Thompson may dominate the coverage in Iowa over the next 48 hours - after all this is the first state he's visiting since officially announcing Wednesday his bid for the White House. But if Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has anything to do with it, not all eyes will be on the actor-turned-senator-turned presidential candidate.
In a statement, Obama's campaign said a group of the Illinois senator's senior advisers will travel to Iowa Thursday and Friday to meet with people "to get their insight and ideas about the most pressing challenges facing America."
The campaign said the purpose is to further the Illinois senator's policy agenda.
"I want my senior advisers to get advice and insight from people in the Heartland - not Washington special interests," Obama said. "Our campaign is building a grassroots movement for change, and I don't just want Iowans' support - I want their ideas."
The team of eight advisers will include various policy directors and chairs whose areas of focus range from women's issues to foreign policy. They'll be split up, and meetings will be held across the state.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Rep. Cantor's new online 'adventure.'
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A House Ways and Means Committee hearing on America's “carried interest” policy isn't likely to drum up widespread excitement. But GOP Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, who holds a seat on the panel, is hoping to change that.
The Virginia Republican's staff has launched a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive Web video that begins with a Deep Throat-esque parking garage meeting. Three young Cantor staffers are told it's "vital" they figure out who is putting retirement security "at risk."
Viewers are soon prompted to send the intrepid staffers to the Longworth House Office Building, the U.S. Capitol, or the Washington Monument to solve this whodunit caper.
Hint: The perpetrators in question are Democrats.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time anything like this has been done in politics," Cantor Spokeswoman Rachel Bauer said in a statement announcing the video.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Children take the spotlight in a new anti-war ad aimed at Republicans.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A prominent anti-war group launched a new advertisement Thursday showing children in army uniforms. The ad is being used to attack politically vulnerable pro-war Republican senators in their home states.
"How long will Republican Senators keep us stuck in Iraq?" asks an announcer in the ad. "Should we start training our children now?"
By showing children in fatigues, the Campaign to Defend America, associated with the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, is aiming to illustrate the consequences of staying in what it calls "an endless civil war."
The ad is now being used to target Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico - all of whom voted for the war in Iraq and are up for reelection in 2008. The ad will air in both the senators’ home states and in Washington, DC.
"Mitch McConnell needs to put his vote where his mouth is," MoveOn.org Washington Director Tom Matzzie said. "It's September and the surge has failed. No more six-month free passes for Bush. The ad reminds people that McConnell and other Republicans are pushing an endless war in Iraq - somebody else's civil war."
The ads will air for the next ten days. As for the amount of money being spent to air it, the group said it is spending $279,000 to air the ad in Maine, Washington, DC and Kentucky and another $230,000 in Minnesota and New Mexico.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich