Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. John McCain was first of the Republican candidates to address the so–called Value Voters summit – and his appeals for social conservative support included this:
"I have been pro-life my entire public career. I believe I am the only major candidate in either party who can make that claim."
But McCain's remarks as delivered were missing some of the words in the prepared remarks distributed by his campaign.
In discussing his opposition to abortion, McCain told the gathering: "You need only examine my public record to know that I won't ever change my position."
In the prepared remarks, that line went on to include the phrase "to fit the politics of the day" — a clear swipe at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who has changed his position and now opposes abortion rights.
McCain also opted against delivering these lines that were at the end of his prepared text: "This is not the time to turn our back on the progress we've made on the issues that matter most. The voters who have offered their support to the Republican Party for decades deserve the chance to unify around a candidate who has demonstrated a consistent commitment to the values that are the reason for that support. I would like to be that candidate. I have a record that can be trusted."
Related video: Watch a clip from the Value Voters Summit
– CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the backing from a prominent social conservative Friday, the same day the Republican presidential candidate is set to address the Values Voters summit in Washington.
Dr. Don Wilton, the former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, said of Romney in a statement, “While we may not agree on theology, Gov. Romney and I agree that this election is about our country heading in the right direction.
“Gov. Romney is the best candidate to stand for conservative values in Washington,” Wilton added.
The endorsement comes shortly after Bob Jones III, president of the socially conservative university in South Carolina that bears the same name, also announced he was supporting the Massachusetts Republican.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans continue to oppose the war in Iraq, but the number who say that things are getting worse in that country has dropped 15 points since June, according to a new CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll out Friday morning.
Close to 65 percent of those questioned oppose the war, up slightly from the last time we polled in September. Meanwhile, 34 percent favor the Iraq conflict, which is the exact same as last month.
Only a quarter say the situation in Iraq is improving and two-thirds say things are going badly for the U.S. in the country - but the poll suggests that the public mood on the war is slightly better than it was in June.
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says “opposition to the war in Iraq may also be affecting views of what the U.S. should do in Iran.”
More than three-quarters of the public thinks that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons and providing weapons and aid to Iraqi insurgents. Nonetheless, 68 percent oppose military action against Iran.
We also asked if the government of Iran is or is not providing weapons and other support to the insurgents who are fighting the U.S. troops in Iraq. 82 percent of those polled said yes.
1,212 adult Americans were questioned for the survey. It was conducted by telephone on October 12-14, and has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
WASHINGTON (CNN) - How do Americans feel about abortion and gay marriage - two of the major "values" issues of the day?
According to a new CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll out Friday morning, only about one in five Americans want to prevent abortions from happening under any circumstances. An equal number think abortions should be allowed under any circumstances. That leaves most Americans squarely in the middle, although a plurality would like to see abortions be legal in only a few circumstances. Although they may not want to ban all abortions, most Americans agree that abortion is wrong.
Americans also disapprove of gay marriages. 56 percent of the public says that marriages between homosexuals should not be recognized as valid by law.
The poll comes as thousands of Christian conservatives gather in the nation’s capitol Friday and Saturday for a Value Voters Summit. All of the Republican GOP presidential candidates will attend and speak to the audience.
Republicans quickly condemned Stark's comments Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Pete Stark, D-California, is facing fire from Republicans for comments on the House floor Thursday suggesting Americans are dying in Iraq for President Bush's amusement.
Sharply critical of Bush’s veto of the children's health insurance legislation, Stark said Republicans are spending money "to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough … to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan quickly condemned the comments, saying in a statement they are "an insult to every American, Democrat or Republican."
"The leaders of the Democrat Party, including Nancy Pelosi and their presidential candidates, need to stand up and make it clear that this kind of attack is unacceptable from any elected official," Duncan added.
Stark later issued a statement saying, "I have nothing but respect for our brave men and women in uniform and wish them the very best,” said Stark. “But I respect neither the Commander-in-Chief who keeps them in harms way nor the chickenhawks in Congress who vote to deny children health care."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
For the latest and best breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day on the CNN Political Ticker http://www.cnn.com/ticker. All politics, all the time.
Making News Today…
Brownback set to drop ’08 bid Friday
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who was hoping his social conservative credentials would help him win the Republican presidential nomination, will announce Friday he is dropping his White House bid, well-placed Republican sources tell CNN.
Brownback has scheduled a 4:45 p.m. ET news conference at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. Full Story
– CNN Chief National Correspondent John King and CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
RNC claims ‘Hillary Hypocrisy’
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican Party is going back to the well and they are using the Clinton name as a bucket.
In an e-mail to potential donors, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan highlights a recent allegation that Sen. Hillary Clinton eavesdropped on political opponents in 1992 and suggests the New York Democrat is being hypercritical for not in turn supporting certain terrorist surveillance practices. Full Story
Huckabee not ready to join Brownback
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is often mentioned in the same sentence as Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, but Huckabee made clear Thursday he has no immediate plans to join his rival in abandoning a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Huckabee, who competed fiercely with Brownback for support from social conservatives, has had a difficult time competing with the frontrunners in both raising money and registering in the polls.
"It's not about the money, it's about the message," Huckabee said in an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King in New Hampshire. "Our message is resonating and the more the message resonates, the more the money comes in. We are in a position where we have only seen one direction, we've gone up. And I am confident that will continue to happen as we approach the Iowa caucuses." Full Story
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
EVANGELICALS SEARCHING FOR GOP CANDIDATE TO BACK: For months, Republican presidential candidates…have courted evangelical Christians…Today, thousands of Christian conservatives will gather in Washington to confront the fact that none of the candidates has won them over. Washington Post: Evangelicals Lukewarm Toward GOP Field
RUDY'S SUCCESS A CHALLENGE TO CONSERVATIVE RIGHT: Rudy Giuliani will address thousands of Christian conservatives tomorrow whose grip over the Republican party for the past generation is being steadily loosened by the success of his presidential attempt.
The Times of London: Divided Religious Right fears it may have to do deal with Rudy Giuliani
ROMNEY: "SOME THINK WE CAN BEST BEAT THE DEMOCRATS NEXY YEAR BY BECOMING MORE LIKE THEM. I DON'T,": Speaking to Christian conservatives at the second annual "Values Voters Summit" tomorrow, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will assail former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with a new line of attack, saying, "We're not going to beat Hillary Clinton by acting like Hillary Clinton." ABC News: Romney: Rudy "Like Hillary"
SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS ADD UP TO SERIOUS CASH FOR '08ERS: Democrat John Edwards and Republican Fred Thompson are political opposites, but their presidential campaigns share at least one trait: About $1 out of every $3 they have each raised for the primaries came from donors who contributed in small amounts. USA Today: Small Donors Can Be Big Deal For Candidates
“IT’S CLEAR THE MONEY WAS TRACKING WITH CLINTON’S POLLS, GIVING CREDENCE TO THE NOTION THAT PEOPLE WERE WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO TAKE THE LEAD,”: New fundraising data shows that Beltway insiders who had been on the fence are flocking to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign as she has maintained her strong lead in the polls, performed well in debates and made few mistakes. The Hill: Sen. Clinton digs deep into D.C. donor pockets
MCCAIN BACK IN SOUTH CAROLINA AFTER 2000 "SMEAR CAMPAIGN": When Senator John McCain and his wife campaign in South Carolina these days, people pull them aside to apologize for what happened during the presidential primary here in 2000…the South Carolina primary is a proving ground for any Republican who longs to be president. New York Times: Confronting Ghosts of 2000 in South Carolina
"TRUE BLUE MAJORITY": Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards today kicked off his "True Blue Majority" campaign aimed at showing the country that he has the best chance of defeating the Republican candidate in the 2008 general election - even in the red, GOP-friendly states. Boston Globe: Edwards Focuses On Electability Argument
RICHARDSON: "INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY WILL NOT ALWAYS SUCCEED ... BUT COWBOY DIPLOMACY WILL ALMOST ALWAYS FAIL,": Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson today called for an international partnership to create a “Marshall Plan for the 21st Century” to eliminate global poverty and illness, protect the environment, and stimulate economic development. Des Moines Register: Richardson: Ditch Cowboy Diplomacy
CLINTON EXCLUDES ILLEGALS FROM HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that immigrants living in the U.S. illegally would not be covered by her proposed universal health care plan. AP via USA Today: Clinton: Health Plan Wouldn't Cover Illegal Immigrants
HILLARY ENDORSES SPITZER'S DRIVERS LICENSE PLAN: Democratic White House front-runner Hillary Clinton stood up for New York Gov. Spitzer's efforts to pull illegal immigrants "out of the shadows" – but stopped short of backing his controversial plan to grant them driver's licenses. New York Daily News: Hillary cheers, but doesn't back Spitzer license plan
CLINTON'S UNLIKELY CASH COW: some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate - Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. LA Times: An unlikely treasure-trove of donors for Clinton
MCCAIN WON'T RUN AS INDEPENDENT: Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday he would support the GOP nominee and not launch an independent bid, no matter who wins. AP via Boston Globe: Mccain Rules Out Independent Bid
PHYSICAL FITNESS FROM THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton recalled her humbling childhood experience with Washington-mandated exercise today as she discussed how the White House could be a bully pulpit from which a president encourages children toward healthier habits. Chicago Tribune
PRESIDENT SAYS CAMPAIGN SEASON KICKS OFF TOO SOON: Even President Bush is worried that the presidential nominating contests are starting a bit too early, what with Iowa Republicans moving their caucuses to Jan. 3. Des Moines Register: BUSH SAYS CAMPAIGN IS RUNNING TOO EARLY
HOLLYWOOD SPENDS MILLIONS ON 2008: The entertainment industry, long a major lobbying force in Washington, has spent at least $6 million on the 2008 presidential campaign, the bulk of it going to Democrats. LA Times: Tinseltown filling campaign coffers
BUSINESSES HOPE TO PROFIT FROM PRIMARIES: Hospitality businesses hoping to profit from the first-in-the-nation caucuses are waiting for Democrats to finalize a date for their political confab. Des Moines Register: BUSINESSES ON HOLD AWAITING CAUCUS DATE
GORE PRODDED ABOUT '08 RUN IN CHICAGO: Less than a week after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his crusade against global warming, former Vice President Al Gore lauded Chicago Wednesday as a leader in the fight for the environment. Chicago Tribune: Gore lauds Chicago; his fans push for '08 run
DEMS OUTRAISING GOP IN VIRGINIA RACES: In a trend that portends the possibility of a change in power at the GOP-dominated General Assembly, Democratic legislative candidates raised more money than Republicans last month. Richmond Times-Dispatch Dems Get Money, Momentum
MORE GOP VETS SET TO RETIRE: Thirteen years ago, Rep. Ray LaHood won a congressional seat in a Republican tidal wave…LaHood is one of a dozen House Republicans, many of them veterans able to hold swing districts by the force of their personality, who have announced they will not seek re-election next year. USA Today: GOP veterans to leave battleground
LAWMAKERS TO INVESTIGATE MEXICAN TB CASE: Capitol Hill lawmakers yesterday called for an investigation into why federal officials knowingly allowed a Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis to repeatedly board planes and cross U.S. borders. Washington Times: Congress Orders Probe Of TB Case
HOUSE STAFFER REFUSES TO COMPLY TO SUBPEONA: A House Appropriations Committee staffer who worked on the panel for former Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) announced Thursday that he would not cooperate with a subpoena that apparently was issued in an ongoing investigation of his former boss. Roll Call: Former Lewis Staffer Served With Subpoena Says He Will Refuse to Comply
MUKASEY SAYS SOME INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES MAY BE LEGAL: President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey, declined Thursday to say if he considered harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to constitute torture or to be illegal if used on terrorism suspects. New York Times: Senators Clash With Nominee About Torture
SUPREME COURT STAYS ANOTHER DEATH PENALTY: Is there a death penalty moratorium now in place, and how would we know? New York Times: Trying to Decipher the State of the Death Penalty
LIBBY PROSECUTOR TO BE MARRIED: Sorry ladies, Chicago's ranking crime fighter is off the market. Less than two years after making People magazine's list of the sexiest men alive, it was revealed Thursday that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald is engaged to be married. Chicago Tribune: Fitzgerald Closes Case Of Unmarried Prosecutor
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, holds a news conference to announce he is dropping his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
* Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, California Rep. Duncan Hunter and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo participate in a forum sponsored by FRC Action, Focus on the Family Action, American Values, and the Alliance Defense Fund in Washington, D.C.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson speak to Polk County Democrats at their annual fall dinner and auction in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, has coffee with supporters at Mars Coffee and visits seniors at South Side Senior Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, officially files papers to put his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot in Concord. Later, he has a meeting with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph and participates in the AARP's "Divided We Fail" Issues Forum in Concord.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is formally endorsed by the California State Council of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in downtown Los Angeles. Later, he appears on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani visits with local residents at Versailles Restaurant in Miami, Florida.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee campaigns in New Hampshire, stopping by Bedford's "Politics and Eggs" breakfast. Later, he plays guitar with Concord High School's jazz band and participates in the WMUR Commitment 2008 Candidate Cafe in Manchester. In the evening, Huckabee speaks at a Ronald Reagan Dinner in Whitefield.
* Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, hold a rally at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson holds “Presidential Job Interviews” event in Guthrie Center, Greenfield and Corning, Iowa.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds an "Ask Mitt Anything" breakfast event in Shenandoah, Iowa. He later stops by Treynor High School in Treynor, Iowa and then holds another "Ask Mitt Anything" event in Council Bluffs, IA
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
Huckabee makes it official.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) –- In the state that plans to hold the nation's first presidential primary, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is now official.
On Thursday, the 2008 candidate from Hope, Arkansas, became the second mainstream presidential hopeful to file for a spot on the New Hampshire primary ballot. Representative Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, filed on Tuesday.
Surrounded by supporters and cameras, Huckabee made his way to the second floor of the New Hampshire statehouse, before entering the secretary of state’s office.
There, he continued in the tradition of past candidates, and sat before the historic primary desk, the only piece of furniture that remains from New Hampshire’s original statehouse. After signing Huckabee said playfully, “I think we should retire this desk after today.”
Along with his signature, Huckabee handed state officials a $1,000 filing fee and
signed on his application, “Thanks for being first in the nation and giving America hope.”
Following the ceremony, Huckabee made his way to his Concord campaign office
to celebrate with his staff and supporters.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla