WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Iowa Republican Party voted Tuesday to hold its caucus on January 3, 2008.
– CNN's Mark Preston and Chris Welch
FAIRFAX, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Tuesday that when it comes to the challenges facing the United States, "rural America is not the problem, it is the answer."
"This is the lesson of our history," the senator from Illinois said, "and it's the lesson that needs to be learned by Washington, because the American story is built upon the sweat and toil and ingenuity of generations of American farmers."
"America's rural communities feed this nation, and they fuel our growth."
Obama outlined his rural agenda at a news conference on a quiet farm in Fairfax, Iowa, a far cry from the usual rallies that draw hundreds–sometimes thousands–of potential supporters.
VINTON, Iowa (CNN) - Don't worry, it's not his.
It's for his daughter, as he was quick to point out.
While visiting a pharmacy in rural Iowa Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, found two purses with stuffed dogs sticking their heads out of the tops–ala Paris Hilton–that he wanted to bring home to his two girls, nine year-old Malia and six year-old Sasha.
But with the brightly-colored handbags in tow–and before he could make it to the checkout to put them in a plastic bag–Obama was met by a man who wanted to shake his hand.
"I don't always carry these purses around," Obama said after first saying hello.
Jokingly, the man said, "You're just saying that because the cameras are around."
"I didn't want you to think that that's how I travel," Obama continued, grinning.
The man then took it even further by saying, "It's alright to come out [of the closet] if you want to come out."
Watch Jessica Yellin's report about Democratic efforts to override the veto of the SCHIP bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a busy day on Capitol Hill in the political and public relations battle over a bill funding kids' health insurance which President Bush recently vetoed. Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin reports.
Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com
Watch the Best Political Team on TV take a look at the state of the race for the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The race for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations is heating up. Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger discussed recent poll results and third quarter fundraising reports with Wolf Blitzer. Watch this clip about where the presidential race stands now.
Related video: Clinton soars, Thompson stumbles
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republicans on Capitol Hill and around the country engaged Tuesday in a coordinated effort to paint Hillary Clinton as hypocritical on the issue of government surveillance, seizing on an allegation in a recent book that Clinton secretly listened to phone conversations of political opponents in 1992.
The orchestrated attack is part of an evolving GOP strategy to attack Senator Clinton with dual goals: tarnishing her image and rallying the GOP base.
The effort - coordinated by the RNC - resulted in press releases Tuesday from House Republicans, as well as multiple state GOP parties from Michigan to Arkansas to Alabama.
A statement from Michigan's GOP chairman accused Clinton of "the highest form of hypocrisy," and cited this as a "clear example of how the Clintons will stop at nothing to recapture the White House."
Arkansas' Republican Party chairman called on the state attorney general to investigate whether Clinton may have eavesdropped and recorded political opponents' telephone conversations with her husband was governor of Arkansas.
At issue is an allegation in a book by New York Times reporters Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth that staffers for the Clintons in 1992 intercepted cell phone conversations of political rivals discussing the possibility of other women coming forward with allegations of affairs with Bill Clinton.
Watch Sens. Leahy and Specter in the Situation Room.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, were in CNN's Situation Room Tuesday. Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Specter, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke with Wolf Blitzer about the upcoming confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, presidential power, and revising federal wiretapping law.
Will Jeb Bush be the 2008 Republican nominee? CNN analyst James Carville said yes, in a panel discussion Tuesday.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Democratic strategist and CNN analyst James Carville tossed out a provocative idea during a panel discussion on politics Tuesday.
At CNN's America Votes 2008 Breakfast, the chief architect of Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential run predicted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee in 2008. Jeb is a younger brother of President Bush.
Carville bolstered his prediction, highlighting Jeb Bush's career: He was a successful governor of a large state, he enjoys the support of social conservatives, he speaks Spanish, and "he's somebody the party could rally around," Carville said.
"There is nobody in this field who can rally the Republican Party; he's the only person in America that can do it," he added.
But fellow CNN analyst and former Oklahoma GOP Congressman J.C. Watts disagreed with Carville, saying, "The conventional wisdom caucus, the establishment of the Party, pardon my English, but they ain't going to allow that to happen."
There has been high speculation that Jeb Bush might make a run at the White House in 2008, but then, late last year, he said he would not run.
Former President George H.W. Bush suggested to CNN's Larry King last April that "Bush Fatigue" may be one of the reasons the former Florida governor is sitting out the 2008 race.
Grassley's endorsement could prove pivotal in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney met separately Tuesday on Capitol Hill with Sen. Charles Grassley, the veteran Republican senator from Iowa whose endorsement could be pivotal to winning the state's caucuses, CNN has learned.
"Oh, we want all the endorsements we can get but that wasn't the purpose of it," Giuliani told CNN as he was departing Grassley's Hart building office.
"We talked about the campaign. We talked about Iraq. We talked about Iran. We talked about the farm bill. We talked about Iowa. "Gosh, we talked about many, many things."
But later his spokeswoman, Katie Levinson, confirmed to CNN the two men "had some very serious policy discussions, and yes, we asked for his endorsement."
The nearly one-hour meeting came just a few hours after Romney sat down with the fifth-term senator, who is an influential icon of Republican politics in Iowa. The scheduling of the meetings on he same day was a "coincidence," according to the Grassley's spokeswoman, Jill Kozeny.
Both candidates were in town to address the Republican Jewish Coalition.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani attacked the foreign policy positions of two prospective general election rivals — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York — in a speech delivered to the Republican Jewish Coalition Tuesday in Washington.
"You cannot negotiate with someone who is threatening to destroy you and your family... You've got to know with whom to negotiate and with whom you should not negotiate," said the former New York City mayor.
Giuliani, who has highlighted his September 11 experience to bolster his national security credentials, said that he agreed with Clinton’s decision to condemn Obama for saying "that he would invite Ahmadinejad, Assad, Castro and Chavez - did I miss somebody - to Washington in the first year that he's in office to meet with them, without preconditions."
However, he later chided Clinton, saying she "hesitates to answer questions on what she's going to do about Iran."
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron