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GOP rivals defend their conservative credentials at debate
ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) – The leading Republican presidential candidates intensified their fight over who has the true conservative credentials in sometimes contentious debate Sunday night.
Fred Thompson, more aggressive than he's been in some recent appearances, compared Rudy Giuliani’s social positions with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and implied Mitt Romney once held more liberal stands than Senator Ted Kennedy.
Asked if Romney and Giuliani have convinced him they were consistent conservatives, the former Tennessee Senator said, “Well, we've got an hour and a half. Maybe they can work on it.”
Giuliani tried to turn the tables on Thompson, saying, “you know, Fred has his problems, too. I mean, Fred was the single biggest obstacle to tort reform in the United States Senate. He stood with Democrats over and over again. …Fred Thompson, along with very few Republicans, blocked tort reform over and over and over again. That is not a conservative position.” Full Story
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Brownback ties record
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Not a single vote for president has been cast, but the path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is already littered with a record tying number of casualties.
On Friday, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, became the fifth declared Presidential hopeful to abandon his White House bid. Brownback’s decision to drop out of the race tied the record set in 2000, when five candidates bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, traditionally the first test of candidate strength.
Of course, this doesn’t take into account candidates who toyed with the idea of running, but never filed papers with the Federal Election Commission.
So, who has dropped out so far? Brownback; Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh; former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore; former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson; and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.
In 2000, you may remember, the early casualties included former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander; former Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Dole; then-Ohio Rep. John Kasich, former Vice President Dan Quayle; and then-New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith.
– CNN Polling Director Keating Holland
Romney wins straw poll at Values Voters Summit
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney narrowly won a straw poll of mostly Christian conservative voters at the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit held this weekend in the nation's capital. The former Massachusetts governor won almost 28 percent of the 5,776 votes cast, edging out former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who finished 30 votes behind him.
The totals included ballots cast online by people who paid $1 to vote. Voters in the convention hall who had actually heard the candidates’ speeches chose Huckabee over Romney by a margin of better than four-to-one. Full Story
– CNN’s Paul Steinhauser and Xuan Thai
Thompson stumps through the Sunshine State
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After participating in his second Republican debate last night, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson tries to build support for his presidential bid with a two-day campaign swing through Florida.
Thompson, a well known actor who starred in the NBC drama “Law & Order, came in a distant fourth place in a straw poll conducted by the Family Research Council this past weekend. He makes stops in Kissimmee, Tampa and Lakeland.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
GOP CANDIDATES TURN UP THE HEAT IN FLORIDA DEBATE: The Republican presidential candidates sharply escalated their attacks on each other last night, clashing over who is the most conservative, most experienced and most electable in a debate one of them likened to a “demolition derby.” New York Times: At Debate, GOP Race Becomes More Personal
CLINTON, AGAIN IN SPOTLIGHT AT GOP DEBATE: Arguments over who is the most conservative candidate took center stage last night, as the Republican presidential candidates sparred in their ninth and perhaps testiest forum so far. Wall Street Journal: Clinton is Focus of Debate
REPUBLICAN DEBATE TURNS PERSONAL: The leading Republican presidential candidates staged their most contentious and personal debate of the long campaign season here Sunday night, clashing sharply over abortion, immigration, tort reform and their readiness to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a general election. Washington Post: Attacks Sharpen Among Party's Principal Rivals
WHO'S THE REAL CONSERVATIVE?: Republican presidential candidates seeking support in the pivotal state of Florida clashed Sunday over one of their party's most basic questions: Who is the most conservative? USA Today: Republican Hopefuls Spar Over Who's the Real Conservative
FRED'S SHORT SPEECH LEAVES MUCH TO BE DESIRED AT FLORIDA GALA: Rudy fired up the crowd. John had them chuckling. Mitt spun family yarns. And Fred left them wanting more. Miami Herald: GOP hopefuls get fired up
RANGEL BASHES GIULIANI AS "CHEATING GOD**** HUSBAND": Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., the dean of the New York congressional delegation, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, longtime political booster of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and a member of the steering committee for "Veterans and Military Retirees For Hillary" has joined another co-chair of the Clinton campaign, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, in attacking the personal life of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. ABC: Key Clinton Backer Rips Giuliani's Personal Life
SOUTH CAROLINA COULD BE GIULIANI'S BIGGEST CHALLEGE OVER SOCIAL ISSUES: At a recent Republican Party barbecue, Dennis Jones and state Rep. Garry Smith greeted each other like old friends. They chatted about dessert recipes. They joked about being Smith and Jones. They lamented Washington's big-spending ways. But when the conversation turned to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, Messrs. Smith and Jones were more like Messrs. Hatfield and McCoy. Wall Street Journal: Social Issues Dog Giuliani
ROMNEY SAYS HE ISN'T THE ONLY FLIP-FLOPPER: Faced with increasing criticism over his shifts in position on core Republican issues, Mitt Romney is trying to turn the tables on his opponents. NY Sun: Romney, McCain Lock Horns Over Shift in Position
BIDEN RIPPS GOP CANDIDATES, EXCEPT MCCAIN, FOR LACK OF FOREIGN RELATIONS EXPERIENCE: Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the Republican White House contenders, with the exception of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), “know virtually nothing about foreign policy. The Hill: Biden: GOP Candidates, Except McCain, Know "Virtually Nothing" About Foreign Policy
OPRAH TESTING" POLITCAL WATERS WITH OBAMA ENDORSEMENT: Oprah Winfrey can get people to read Tolstoy, sell millions of magazines and turn a mail-order canvas bag into a hot item just by naming it one of her favorite things.
To get Americans to vote for her favorite presidential candidate, Democrat Barack Obama, though, she'll have to twice prove conventional wisdom wrong… USA Today: Oprah Becomes Test of What an Endorsement Means
BARACK BATTLES IMMIGRATION IN PUSH TO ATTRACT LATINOS: Barack Obama dived into California's most contentious policy debates Saturday at an East Los Angeles appearance where he defended immigration reform and affirmative action and criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a measure to extend college scholarships to students in the country illegally. LA Times: Obama Courts Latino Voters in L.A.
CLINTON RIVALS QUESTION HER ELECTABILITY: Steve Valdez, a retired high school history teacher, is keeping an eye on the presidential campaign and wondering about Sen. Hillary Clinton's chances. Chicago Tribune: can Hillary Clinton Win?
CANDIDATES SPEND CAMPAIGN CASH AS SOON AS THEY GET IT: If campaign spending is any measure of political activity, then Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are all in a race to see whose wallet is open the widest. New York Times: As Coffers Expand and Contract, Strategies Emerge
GORGETOWN RESIDENTS GENEROUS WITH POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS: The well-heeled residents of the 20007 Zip code, which encompasses Georgetown and the surrounding neighborhoods, have contributed more to political candidates than any other local Zip code. DC Examiner: G'town tops when it comes to political purchasing power
'08ERS RAISE MORE THAN $1 MILLION ABROAD: London has become a cash cow for US presidential candidates seeking to fund their 2008 White House bids, with almost half of all overseas donations coming from the capital. The Times of London: London Swells War Chests for US Presidential Rivals
OBAMA'S BUNDLE GROWING: A list quietly posted late Saturday or early Sunday shows Sen. Barack Obama's network of big-money fundraisers continues to expand and more than 300 people have now each raised at least $50,000 on his behalf. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Obama now has 300-plus bundlers
RICHARDSON CHALLENGES CONGRESS TO BIPARTISAN COOPERATION ON IRAQ, SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE DEFICIT: Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson wants to link congressional and presidential pay raises to deficit reduction, though he acknowledged Sunday that the idea would never see the light of day. Quad City Times: Richardson Campaigns in New Hampshire
COLBERT: "I DON'T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT. I WANT TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE": Comedian Stephen Colbert insisted on Sunday that his announcement that he's running for president was no joke - then joked he would consider disgraced Republican Sen. Larry Craig as a vice presidential running mate. Reuters: Colbert says his U.S. presidential run is no joke
CLINTON FEELS THE PRESURE IN IOWA: Hillary Clinton, during a three-town swing through Iowa on Saturday, said her strategy is to reach as many Iowa voters as possible in an effort to shatter negative perceptions about her. Des Moines Register: Clinton tries to curb negative perceptions
HILLARY ON IRAN VOTE: "AFTER THE PROBLEMATIC LANGUAGE WAS REMOVED, IT WAS CLEARLY A VOTE FOR STEPPED-UP DIPLOMACY, NOT MILITARY ACTION": With the President and vice president ratcheting up the rhetoric against Iran, a defensive Sen. Hillary Clinton is trying to convince Iowa voters her recent vote on Iran doesn't mean she is backing the administration. NY Daily News: Embattled Hillary defends her vote on Iran
CLINTON MAKES FRIEND OF AN OLD FOE: As Senator Barack Obama prepared to give a major speech on Iraq one morning a few weeks ago, a flashing red-siren alert went up on the Drudge Report Web site. It read, “Queen of the Quarter: Hillary Crushes Obama in Surprise Fund-Raising Surge,” and, “$27 Million, Sources Tell Drudge Report.” New York Times: Clinton Finds Way to Play Along With Drudge
SOCKS DUMPED BY THE CLINTONS: AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today? The Times of London: Ouch! Hillary Clinton's softer image is clawed over dumped cat
"BODY LIKE OBAMA…": Those of you who remember the 1980s and 1990s R&B group Salt-n-Pepa probably recall its hit “Whatta Man.” Now, the duo has a reality show on VH1 that documents its efforts to reunite. In last week’s episode, the two (Cheryl Wray and Sandra Denton) went over the lyrics to “Whatta Man” and tried to bring them more up to speed. DC Examiner: Salt-n-Pepa update lyric for Obama
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES TAKE LESSON FROM DEAN DOWNFALL: There has never been a Democratic national chairman with as much firsthand knowledge about running for president as Howard Dean. Boston Globe: A Cautious Howard Dean Emerges From the Political Ashes of 2004
VALUE VOTERS NANCY'S, HARRY'S AND HILLARY'S "WORST NIGHTMARE": To travel down the escalators of the Hilton Washington this weekend was to enter a secure sanctuary, a world protected from interlopers and would-be haters, from those who would destroy America's Christian culture. Washington Post: Looking For a Candidate to Call Their Own
RICHARDSON, MCCAIN ONLY CANDIDATES TO NOT REFUSE IMUS INVITATION: Only two major presidential hopefuls said Sunday they would go on the air with radio cowboy Don Imus if he returns to the airwaves in December. NY Daily News: McCain, Richardson would go on Imus after his radio return
MICHELLE OBAMA REACHES OUT TO PARENTS: Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, said yesterday life is becoming more difficult for families in America. New Hampshire Union-Leader: Michelle Obama speaks to parents
FIRST LADY OF CALIFORNIA DISHES ADVICE FOR CANDIDATES' SPOUSES: California first lady Maria Shriver is all too familiar with the often terrifying high-wire act that comes with being a political spouse. San Francisco Chronicle: Shriver Gathers Presidential Hopefuls' Spouses for Conference Talk
JINDAL, FIRST INDIAN-AMERICAN GOVERNOR: The first words from Bobby Jindal to his supporters after he won the Louisiana governor’s race on Saturday night were not about his victory, but L.S.U.’s triumph over Auburn the same day. The message could not have been clearer: I’m one of you, a normal, red-blooded football-loving Louisiana guy. New York Times: In a Southern State, Immigrants' Son takes Over
HOEKSTRA: TELECOM COMPANIES DESERVE IMMUNITY: America has not been attacked since 9/11, not because al-Qaeda has not tried, but because we have prevented al-Qaeda from succeeding. Immediately after 9/11, the president prevailed upon people to do everything necessary and legal to keep America safe. USA Today: Opposing View: Shield The Phone Companies By Peter Hoekstra
PLAME DETAILS HER SIDE OF THE STORY: Mothers who are spies, it turns out, face the same juggling act as other working moms. Washington post: Valerie Plame, Telling the (Edited) Inside Story
DEMS SPENDING BILL AIMED AT "AVERAGE AMERICANS": House and Senate Democrats finally have a strategy for dealing with the president’s threats to veto spending bills, and they hope it will serve as an extension of their successful public relations campaign on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Roll Call: Democrats Set Approps Plan
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
* Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson starts a two-day swing through Florida with a roundtable with women that own small businesses at Water Town Florist in Kissimmee. Later, he tours the Port of Tampa and holds a private fundraiser in Lakeland.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, campaigns through Iowa with stops at the public library in Leon and the Junction Cafe in Bedford. Later, Biden meets with local residents at the Depot Deli and Lounge and attends a house party in Shenandoah.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, attends a rally in Fresno, California. In the evening, Clinton addresses the Washington State Democrats' 14th annual Warren G. Magnuson awards ceremony and auction in Seattle, Washington.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, meets with local residents at Hillside Country Store and Deli in Pelham, New Hampshire.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, are guests on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook