WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said if elected president he would decline the position of Honorary Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America because of that organization’s policy barring participation by openly gay males, he said at a Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night.
When asked if he would accept the position, Richardson said, “No, I wouldn’t, because I think as president I would commit myself, number one, that I will be a leader that prevents discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation.”
Last month, Richardson angered gay rights supporters by saying at a presidential forum that he believed being gay was a "choice," but he later clarified that he misspoke.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, offered a moment of light-heartedness at Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate when he offered the audience two choices for president.
Kucinich told the audience at Dartmouth College that they could have a president who was in favor of health care reform, ending the war in Iraq, and against the Patriot Act, or “you can have a president who is tall.”
The comment caused the audience to erupt in laughter and fellow White House hopeful John Edwards, who was standing next to Kucinich, to come over and compare heights.
Various news reports have placed Kucinich at 5 feet, 7 inches tall.
– CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The majority of the Democratic presidential candidates said in Wednesday's New Hampshire presidential debate they would support a national smoking ban in public places.
When asked the question, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama only said they supported efforts at local levels to prevent smoking in public places. The rest of the candidates indicated they would seek a national ban to do so.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the drinking age, only former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich said they were in favor of lowering it to 18 - an answer that was well received by the Dartmouth College crowd. Kucinich added that he supports lowering the voting age to 16.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Mike Gravel had some harsh words for Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel scolded fellow Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton during Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate for supporting a Senate resolution that acknowledged the potential danger Iran poses.
“I am ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it,” said Gravel.
When given the opportunity to respond, Clinton began by saying, “I don’t know where to start.”
Gravel also reprimanded Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for not voting at all.
(CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a broad swipe at GOP White House hopeful Rudy Giuliani at a debate Wednesday night in Hanover, New Hampshire.
In response to a question on illegal immigration and so-called "sanctuary cities," Biden said the following: "Rudy Giuliani doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. He's the most uninformed person on American foreign policy now running for president."
HANOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - By tomorrow morning, hundreds of campaign supporters and political activists are likely to have lost their voices - victims of non-stop throat-tearing support for their individual candidates and causes.
The competition outside the debate hall, on the campus of Dartmouth College, was as fierce as the back and forth between the eight Democratic president candidates. Each camp strove to not only to be the most visible, but also - the loudest.
"V-O-T-E, Hill-ary! Hill-ary!" supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, shouted in unison and rhyme.
"Obama-08, be a part of something great!" supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, answered back.
Candidates who were not as well represented in the pack, tried simpler cheers to bolster their volume. Backers of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, repeatedly shouted out "Dodd! Dodd! Dodd!"
Supporters of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson tried a more melodious approach. A student a cappella group - from his alma mater, Tufts University in Massachusetts, performed in front of their signs to draw attention.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
HANOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Politics for Cary Lerner has become a family affair.
"This is new. Since it's new for me, they haven't grown up with it," said Lerner, referring to her two children, ages 11 and 21, who have accompanied her at the site of Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate. "It's new for all of us. So we're learning about this together."
A newcomer to politics, Lerner, a resident of Chester, New Hampshire, is backing Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.
"The last six years have been such a disaster that I just felt that I couldn't hold back any longer. I needed to become involved in the process because you can't complain if you don't at least try to do something."
Lerner says her political opinion has been shaped in part by her husband's experience at work.
"We need someone who's going to lead this country in a better direction, Who's going to regain our credibility in the world. My husband travels Internationally, and our standing across the world with the regular people in other countries is at an all-time low right now."
A top aide to Giuliani has departed the campaign.
HANOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Less than one week before presidential campaigns report their 3rd quarter fundraising totals, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is parting ways with his top finance staffer.
Anne Dunsmore, deputy campaign manager for finance, has left the Giuliani campaign, Giuliani's spokesman said in a prepared statement.
"Anne Dunsmore is no longer working on our campaign," said Katie Levinson, Giuliani's communications director. "We thank Anne for her service and the departure is amicable."
A campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN's John King that Dunsmore's departure was a mutual decision and that it "just wasn't the right fit." The former deputy campaign manager for finance released her own statement saying that "I continue to believe Rudy Giuliani is the strongest candidate in the race and I strongly support him for president."
Republican fundraiser Jim Lee will now serve as national co-chairman and head Giuliani's finance machine.
Giuliani, asked if the staff shakeup was a sign of fundraising troubles, said, "I don't think so. I think we'll have a pretty good quarter; one of the best of the Republicans."
The former mayor made the comments, while fundraising Wednesday in New Jersey.
As for Lee, Giuliani said, "We thought Jim Lee would be able to spread us out even more nationally. He’s been an enormously successful fundraiser for us."
Sunday is the filing deadline for the presidential campaigns to report their campaign cash totals. Giuliani and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are battling for the top spot when it comes to fundraising. They are both far ahead of the rest of the Republican field.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
HANOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Just outside the site of Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate on Dartmouth University's "Big Green," two familiar faces came out to plug the global warming issue. George Washington, sporting a Revolutionary War costume and wig, and Frosty the Snowman, wearing a white body suit and carrot nose, held signs reading "Make Global Warming a Priority."
"I was former President of the United States, and I'm here to call for some leadership on global warming. I showed a lot of leadership on the challenges of my time - the Revolutionary War for example. I think it's time the presidential candidates show leadership on the challenges of our time, which is global warming," Washington said.
Pointing to the snowman, the Washington impersonator said, "He's the one I'm fighting for. I'm just trying to get some other people to talk about his rights as a snowman."
Neither Frosty nor President Washington has endorsed a candidate.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
Watch Bill Schneider's report about CNN's new poll on the New Hampshire GOP presidential race.
HANOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - It's a dead heat in New Hampshire, according to our new poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters.
Mitt Romney's lead in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination in the all important Granite State has evaporated, according to the results of a CNN/WMUR poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire.
The survey, released Wednesday, shows the former Massachusetts Governor drawing support from 25 percent of Republican primary voters to 24 percent for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
That statistically-insignificant, 1 point margin is a major change from CNN/WMUR's last New Hampshire poll, taken in July, when Romney held a comfortable 14 point lead over Giuliani.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser