BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) - After months of "Ron Paul Revolution" signs blanketed debate sites and political events, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said he doesn't think the attention is really about him but about his political message after a debate in Baltimore, Maryland on Thursday night.
"I don't think it's about me," Paul said. "I think my message of liberty and personal responsibility struck a nerve with people and they just responded well."
Paul supporters constantly bombard web sites with comments praising the GOP candidate and hang signs all over cities and towns. But Paul said his campaign doesn't hire the supporters and that they act on their own.
"The organizations just sprung up," Paul said. "I'm glad they invited me to the revolution."
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) - In the spin room, after the PBS All-American Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, Mike Huckabee, R-Arkansas, was asked who was his favorite Democratic candidate in the 2008 presidential race.
"Well, I'd like for all of them to quit," Huckabee initially responded to laughter.
Then, Huckabee explained that when Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, appeared on "the Daily Show," the popular Democrat said he thought Huckabee was the most interesting Republican in the 2008 White House race.
"So let me return the favor and say that since he's been so gracious to me, I will say, you know, I find him to be the most interesting Democrat and maybe we'll end up on the stage together one day," Huckabee said.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Barack and Michelle Obama in Iowa last month.
Michelle Obama: 'If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream'
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Michelle Obama told a crowd in eastern Iowa Wednesday night that if her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, doesn't place first in the Hawkeye State then "it is just a dream."
"Iowa will make the difference," Mrs. Obama said. "If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream. If we win Iowa, then we can move to the world as it should be."
Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, told CNN, "Let's not make too much of this. She was just firing up the troops in Iowa, which she is excellent at doing."
"Everybody wants to do well in Iowa," Burton continued, "but the fact is we have a large and growing grassroots organization in all of the early primary states and are beginning to build strong organizations in the February 5th states."
Polls among the top three Democrats in Iowa have shown a tight race. A recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll had Clinton at 28 percent, Edwards at 23 percent, and Obama at 19 percent. The poll of 462 likely caucus-goers had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
- CNN's Peter Hamby, Candy Crowley, and Chris Welch contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson will also miss a debate on Thursday night where the focus will be on issues of interest to minority communities and where all of the questions will be posed by minority journalists.
CNN's John King has a report on what missing this debate and similar events might mean for the Republican Party's ability to win the votes of minorities in 2008.
ONBOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS, New Hampshire (CNN) – Former Sen. John Edwards will accept public financing for his presidential campaign, and he challenged New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to follow his lead.
“This is not about a money calculation,” Edwards told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley Thursday on his way to an event in Durham. “This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing.”
Edwards is battling Clinton, Obama and a handful of other Democrats contending for their party’s presidential nomination.
With the third quarter fundraising deadline just days away, Edwards emphasized he did not arrive at this decision because his Federal Election Commission report will show a drop-off in contributions from donors. (Check out the CNN Election Center to see where the candidates stand in the money race)
From CNN Des Moines affiliate KCCI:
DES MOINES, Iowa - There is still no firm date set for the Iowa Caucus. Gov. Chet Culver said it will be in 2008 after the first of the year. Right now it's scheduled for Jan. 14.
The uncertainty is causing a big problem for many hotels and caterers.
The Renaissance Savery Hotel is booked for the first half January, but those wanting a room in December could be out of luck because every room is being held, just in case the caucus moves into December.
Has Clinton shifted her position on torture policy?
(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, seems to have changed her position on whether a presidential exception should be allowed to use torture to prevent an imminent terror attack.
There was a difference between her answer Wednesday night in the New Hampshire debate where she said “it cannot be American policy, period,” and comments she made in an interview last October.
The campaign said the change is not significant. Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, said, “Upon reflection and after meeting with former generals and others, Sen. Clinton does not believe that we should be making narrow exceptions to this policy based on hypothetical scenarios.”
In the debate Wednesday night, moderator Tim Russert asked Clinton, "This is the number three man in al Qaeda. We know there's a bomb about to go off, and we have three days, and we know this guy knows where it is. Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?"
She answered, “As a matter of policy, it cannot be American policy, period. I met with those same three- and four-star retired generals, and their principal point - in addition to the values that are so important for our country to exhibit - is that there is very little evidence that it works.”
Edwards said he embraces his "wife speaking her mind."
ONBOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS, New Hampshire (CNN) – Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards on Thursday vigorously defended his wife, who has come under fire for her sharp criticisms of one of his chief rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Edwards dismissed speculation that Elizabeth Edward’s high profile role in the campaign is hurting his candidacy, during a wide ranging interview with CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
“First of all, I embrace my wife speaking her mind,” Edwards said. “She is a strong woman, got her own opinions. She doesn’t and should not ask me whether she can express her opinion.”
He added, “Does she say some things that are different than what I say? Yeah, of course. We are two different people. We are not the same person. There is nothing unexpected about that. I hope she’ll keep speaking her mind.”
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Reiner is lending his star-power to Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As a movie director, he put Michael Douglas in the White House in the 1995 hit movie, "The American President." But as a real life political activist, Hollywood mogul Rob Reiner has his sights set on making sure it’s Sen. Hillary Clinton who inhabits Washington’s top address come January 2009.
According to the Los Angeles Times and Variety, the noted director, producer and actor has decided to throw his star power behind the New York Democrat's White House bid and will throw a star-studded fundraiser for her in October.
"Every one of the Democratic candidates is strong, but Hillary is head and shoulders above the rest," he told the Times.
Reiner did not come to his decision lightly, Variety reports. He met with every other candidate running for the Democratic nomination except for former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.
"Based on the experience I have had in politics, and I have been on the front lines in a lot of these fights, I came around to realizing that we do need the most experienced and most qualified person to run the country," he told Variety.
Clinton's campaign has not returned CNN's request for comment on the endorsement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to capitalize on a recent surge in polls, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, announced he will release his first campaign ads in New Hampshire starting Sunday.
A CNN/WMUR poll released earlier this week showed the GOP hopeful gaining traction in the Granite State, with support rising from 12 percent in July to 18 percent in September. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said he thought this week was a good time to "relaunch his campaign."
"We sensed this progress was occurring," Davis said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. "We wanted to capitalize on that by putting ads up now."
One ad shows McCain as a young prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"Stand up. We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will," McCain said in the ad.
McCain is releasing two television commercials and one radio ad. His campaign said it is a statewide ad buy that will run for at least the next two weeks.
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich