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Making News Today…
Congressional sources: Hastert to announce resignation
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will resign his
congressional seat rather than serve out the rest of his term, two GOP
congressional sources told CNN Wednesday evening.
Over the summer the Illinois Republican had said he would not seek
re-election in the state's 14th District. Both sources said Hastert would make
an announcement "soon" but probably not on Thursday.
"I think he is just done with being a member of Congress," a GOP aide
said of Hastert, who has just over a year remaining in his term.
Hastert, 65, is the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history,
holding the post from Jan. 1999 to Nov. 2006.
– CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh
Thompson touts conservative credentials in new Web ad
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is scheduled to release a new Internet advertisement Thursday that calls into question two of his rivals conservative credentials, while proclaiming he is the true conservative in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
The advertisement coincides with the Values Voter Summit, a three day gathering of social conservatives in the nation’s capital, a Republican source tells CNN. Thompson and his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination will address the group.
“I was a proud conservative yesterday, I remain one today, and I will be one tomorrow,” Thompson states in the ad that will be placed on the Human Events Web site. The Republican source said that the advertisement would later be placed on other Web sites.
The advertisement also highlights a past statement made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on abortion and a previous comment made by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on abortion and gay rights. The remarks by Romney and Giuliani were contrary to social conservative views.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Massachusetts governor to back Obama’s ’08 bid
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president at an event next week in Boston, an aide to the Illinois Democrat tells CNN.
Patrick is the first black governor of Massachusetts, and his decision to back Obama comes at a critical time as the Democratic presidential contenders are all competing for the support of African-Americans. The battle for this important voting bloc is particularly competitive between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York. Last week, Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights legend, endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid.
Patrick served in the Justice Department under former President Bill Clinton, the husband of Sen. Clinton. In addition to being prominent black political leaders, Obama and Patrick share a top political strategist. David Axelrod helped Patrick win election last year, and is a senior strategist on the Obama presidential campaign.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Edwards to argue he has greater appeal
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Sen. John Edwards will seek to take the theme of “electability” to a higher level Thursday, by announcing a four day drive aimed at convincing Democrats he is the best positioned candidate to win the general election.
The North Carolina Democrat’s presidential campaign is calling this effort the “True Blue Majority,” and has scheduled events in Georgia, Oklahoma and Wisconsin to advance this idea, according to an Edwards’ aide. While the Edwards campaign did not say it was seeking to compare him with any one specific rival, it is widely assumed they are trying to contrast the North Carolina Democrat with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.
“John Edwards is the only Democratic candidate with the bold ideas and strong leadership needed to campaign in all 50 states and lead Democrats to victory in 2008 general election,” the Edwards aide said in an email to CNN last night.
The aide also wrote, “The stakes are too high in this race – the war in Iraq, the 45 million Americans without health care, the 37 million Americans in poverty – for the Democratic Party to nominate a candidate who may not perform the strongest in a general election.”
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Richardson to tackle disease, climate change and refugees
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will outline what his presidential campaign is describing as a “21st Century Marshall Plan,” to address several issues facing the nation and the international community.
Specifically, Richardson’s campaign said he will talk on Thursday about climate change, pandemic diseases and refugee crises and “will call for doubling our foreign development assistance to 2% of our federal budget.”
“These are not just the problems of individual nations,” Richardson will say in the speech, according to excerpts provided by his campaign. “They are the problems of an independent world. We are the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Yet, we are not immune from such threats. It will take vigilance and bold action now, to preserve our safety for the future.”
Richardson will deliver the speech in Des Moines, Iowa
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
FIRM INDICTED FOR FRAUD STILL GIVING TO DEMS: Over the years, as it became Exhibit A for critics of shareholders’ class action lawsuits, the law firm of Milberg Weiss often enjoyed the support of Democrats who called the suits an invaluable weapon in the universal conflict between big business and the little guy. New York Times: Accused Firm Keeps Giving to Democrats
DETAILS MISSING IN OBAMA'S FINANCIAL REPORT: In his third-quarter financial report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission, Senator Barack Obama did not provide a full accounting for where his campaign had spent money on travel, catering or a variety of other expenses. New York Times: Obama Campaign Spending Report Incomplete
GIULIANI: “A TAX IS A TAX ON WAGES. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU CALL IT”: The Republican candidates addressed ballooning costs of entitlements on Wednesday. New York Times: GOP candidates Address Entitlements
RUDY PICKS UP SUPPORT FROM TEXAS GOVERNOR: Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential race. AP via USA Today: Texas Governor Endorses Giuliani
GIULIANI'S CONSENSUS AMONG PARTY CORE SHAKY: Rudy Giuliani shares the lead among conservative voters in the Republican presidential race, despite the New Yorker's three marriages and moderate views on abortion, guns and gays. Yet a close look suggests his support from the GOP's potent right wing is less than meets the eye, according to recent Associated Press-Ipsos polls. NY Daily News: Giuliani's Conservative Support Tenuous
FRED'S SOCIAL SECURITY PLAN LEAVES SOME DONORS NERVOUS: Congressional supporters of Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) are splitting with him over his proposal to curb the cost of Social Security by cutting projected benefits by as much as 25 percent over the next 33 years, according to the estimate of one conservative think tank. The Hill: Thompson's Plan Spooks GOP backers
OBAMA REACHES OUT TO K STREET FOR HELP IN EARLY PRIMARY STATES: Even as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has intensified his attacks on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for her ties to K Street, he has been reaching out to lobbyists to provide volunteer manpower in early primary states. Roll Call: Obama Bashes, Courts K Street
"I GET CONFUSED SOMETIMES WHEN PEOPLE SAY, 'WELL, HE DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE…SOMETIMES I THINK MAYBE IT'S JUST BECAUSE I LOOK YOUNG. I'VE GOT THESE BIG EARS. I LOOK LIKE OPIE,": Barack Obama told a crowd of about 300 people in Indianola Friday that perhaps some political opponents misjudge his experience because of his youthful looks. Des moines register: Iowa Ear: Chart toppers
"HILLARY IS NOT THE FIRST POLITICIAN IN WASHINGTON TO DECLARE 'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' A LITTLE TOO SOON": Is Barack Obama worried about polls that show Hillary Rodham Clinton leading the Democratic presidential field? "We've got a long way to go," the senator said Wednesday on late night television talk show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. USA Today: Obama Lances Clinton, Jokes About Cheney on Leno
CLINTON DISSED IN CLINTON: A strange "Clinton" motif followed Gov. Mitt Romney through eastern Iowa Wednesday as he campaigned for president. Des moines Register: Romney criticizes Clinton while in Clinton
CLINTON TOUTS EXPERIENCE: In a concerted effort to deflect attacks on her presidential credentials, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y) and her allies repeatedly say she has 35 years of relevant experience. The Hill: Experience- Sen. Clinton Says She Has 35 Years of It
CLINTON RIVALS FLOCK TO IOWA: The two main rivals to Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination are making defiant stands in Iowa, traditionally the first state to pick a candidate. The Times of London: How Wooing Pig Farmers Might Stop Hillary Clinton Hogging the Votes
THE SOFTER SIDE OF HILL: Everywhere she goes, Hillary Clinton asks voters to help her make history as the first woman president. Yet Clinton is increasingly portraying herself more as motherly and traditional than as trailblazing and feminist, sometimes playing up the differences between men and women. Boston Globe: Clinton Shows Femininity to Court Older, married Women
PRIMARY SEASON MEETS THE HOLIDAY SEASON: Oh, the Christmas season: the scent of eggnog, the sounds of sleigh bells, the good cheer — and all those slashing political attack ads, hard-hitting mailings, pre-recorded candidate phone calls and intrusive, get-out-the-vote drives? New York Times: Newest Factor for Primaries: Grinch Effect
SOME DEMS WANT CAUCUS DATE SAME AS GOP TO AVOID CONFUSION: Some county Democratic leaders in Iowa, frustrated by uncertainty over the date for the presidential caucuses, are urging state party officials to schedule the nation's traditional leadoff nominating contest the same day as Iowa Republicans' event. Des Moines Register: Democrats say: Time caucuses with GOP
THE MOST POWERFUL MAN YOU DON'T KNOW: HE'S BEEN featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, and on the ABC News Web site and more. He's been referred to as the most powerful man in America no one knows. New Hampshire Union-Leader: Gardner the guardian
GOP TO ATTACK DEMS AS "STATUS QUO": Confronting a dire outlook for next year’s elections, House Republicans have begun to fight back with a new three-pronged strategy: painting the new Democratic majority as part of an unpopular Washington status quo, forcing Democrats to make unpopular votes on tough issues and locking arms around a new GOP issues agenda. Politico: Republicans Plot Fall Offensive
MARK WARNER: “WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF IRAQ”: U.S. troops should begin withdrawing from Iraq this year, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Warner said Wednesday, but the U.S. government should not set a timetable for removing all of its military presence from the Middle Eastern country. DC Examiner: Mark Warner Calls For Speedy, But Careful Start to U.S. Troop Withdrawal
NRCC MEMBERS NEED TO PAY UP SAYS CHAIRMAN: National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) painted a volatile and uncertain 2008 political landscape on Wednesday and intimated that members of his own Conference need to do more financially to help the party win seats next year. Roll Call: Cole: Conference Needs to Close Cash Gap
BUNDLING "SOURCE OF ABUSE": The bundling of political donations once was an innocuous play in the game book of Washington political operatives. Now, the fund-raising practice has grown so widespread, and some of its practitioners so brazen, that bundling has become the chief source of abuse in the American campaign-finance system. WSJ: Donor Bundling Emerges as Ill
RANGEL TO DIRECT MONEY FOR PROJECTS BEARING HIS NAME: In what may be the ultimate in vanity plates, House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is hoping to steer some $2 million to a building project at the City College of New York that will house — wait for it — not one, not two, but three construction projects bearing the gravelly voiced lawmaker’s name. Roll Call's Heard on the Hill: A Rangel By Any Other Name
MUKASEY TO SHIELD POLITICS FROM JUSTICE: Attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey says he will insulate the Justice Department from politics and rebuff President Bush if he needs to, emphasizing an independent streak that received a warm reception from a Senate panel Wednesday. USA Today: Mukasey Vows to Isolate Justice From Politics
AG NOMINEE ASSAIGLS WHITE HOUSE MEMO ON TORTURE: Michael Mukasey sailed through the first day of Senate hearings on his nomination for attorney general, as Democrats pushed the former district court judge to ensure his tenure would not mirror the rocky leadership of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales. The Hill: Memo "Worse Than a Sin"
BUSH: "I WILL TELL YOU, THOUGH, THAT A FIRM LIKE BLACKWATER PROVIDES A VALUABLE SERVICE": President Bush said yesterday that private security firms like Blackwater USA provide a "valuable service" to U.S. government personnel abroad, a day after Blackwater's top executive complained of a lack of support from top U.S. officials over the company's role in a deadly shooting incident on a Baghdad street. Washington Times: Bush Lauds Security Firm
PLAME WRITES ABOUT BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S "ARROGANCE AND INTOLERANCE": Four years after her Central Intelligence Agency cover was blown in a newspaper column, Valerie Plame is settling scores with the Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and the journalists involved in the White House leak scandal. WSJ: Valerie Plame's Book Criticizes Bush, Journalists For Leak Scandal
MILITARY ADVERTISES ON GAY WEBSITE: The Army, Navy and Air Force unwittingly advertised for recruits on a website for gays, who are barred from military service if they are open about their sexual orientation. USA Today: Military Inadvertently Recruits Gays
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, participates in a health care forum sponsored by Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds an "Ask Mitt Anything" town hall meeting at Applewood Pancake House in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. After, he attends a luncheon in Florence, and talks to the press in Spartanburg. In the evening, Romney hosts another "Ask Mitt Anything" town hall meeting and barbeque at Tega Cay Beach and Swim Club in Fort Mill.
* Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, holds a town hall meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. He then heads to North Las Vegas for a community event at Cheyenne High School.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee campaigns in New Hampshire, starting with two speeches at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge and a meet and greet in Peterborough. In the afternoon, he officially files his candidacy papers to get on the New Hampshire ballot in Concord. Later, Romney stops by his campaign office in Concord and a Republican Party fundraising event in Amherst.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson delivers a major policy address entitled "Facing Down the Threats of the 21st Century" at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines, Iowa. Later, he talks about Iraq in Nevada and Des Moines.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani meets with local residents at Peter's Grill in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later, he heads to Chicago, Illinois for a roundtable discussion at UIC College of Medicine.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, takes a tour of a nursing school and holds a town hall meeting in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Later, he holds another town hall meeting at the Senior Action Center in Greenville.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, stumps through Iowa with morning stops in Sheldon and Cherokee. In the afternoon, he meets with local voters in Storm Lake, Laurena and Lohrville.
* Former Tennessee Gov. Fred Thompson receives an endorsement at Preferred Jet in Kennesaw, Georgia. Later, he fundraises in Atlanta and Powder Springs.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook