COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making news this morning in South Carolina politics:
Sen. Barack Obama has added a gay minister to his Gospel concert bill to tamp down the criticism over inviting Donnie McClurkin to perform on Sunday in Columbia.
Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who made his first campaign visit to the Lowcountry yesterday, literally laughed off the internal poll released Tuesday by the Mitt Romney campaign.
Thompson also called the ole ballcoach a "college football genius."
You'll soon be seeing even more of Romney on television in South Carolina.
Basic training over at Fort Jackson will now be extended one week, to better prepare soldiers for the realities of war.
Disgraced former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel's co-defendant, Michael Miller, whose nicknames include "Hashmere" and "Hash," has also agreed to plead guilty to drug charges.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Clinton joked Wednesday night that if she couldn't wear pantsuits, she wouldn't survive.
AMES, Iowa (CNN) - Stressing her point that the "norms are changing" for women in the workplace, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that if she were a member of Congress in the mid-1980s–back when she says women weren't allowed to wear pantsuits–it wouldn't have worked out so well.
"Clearly I would not have survived back then," the senator from New York said to some laughter.
As an example of how far women have come since, she pointed to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
"During my time in the Senate I have cherished the opportunity to work with my women colleagues in both houses and on both sides of the aisle," she said. "Now we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we get together and we trade those very important bits of advice like what kind of shoes to wear on marble floors when you're on your feet all day."
Clinton–the Democratic frontrunner in recent national polls–delivered a lecture to the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics on the campus of Iowa State University.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An especially aggressive protester confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Wednesday as she got set to testify before the House Foreign Relations Committee on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A protester with blood-colored paint on her hands rushed toward Rice as she entered the hearing room, charging repeatedly that the Secretary of State was a "war criminal." The individual was later identified as Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz.
Fairooz, a member of the anti-war group Code Pink, got within inches of Rice before security officials struggled to remove her from the hearing room. Rep. Tom Lantos, the chairman of the committee, repeatedly yelled, "Out!" as police forced Fairooz from the room.
Lantos ordered other members of Code Pink to be removed from the hearing as well.
The Capitol Police press office could not be reached for comment, but Reuters reports five people were arrested at the event, including Fairooz. She was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer, the news agency reports.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Clinton answers questions Wednesday night after speaking at Iowa State University.
AMES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, further emphasized her position when it comes to federal lobbyists Wednesday night by saying that it's "artificial for someone to say that they don't take money from lobbyists or PACs but they take money from the individuals who employ the lobbyists and who set up the PACs."
Clinton has been criticized by fellow Democratic opponents in recent months for saying that she will continue to accept donations from federal lobbyists. Both Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, have both made not taking that money a staple of their campaigns.
"I ask people to look at what I've done, what I advocate, and what I've voted for. I know that some of my opponents make this as an issue, but...it is more important what you stand for."
"If you do take money from the people that employ the lobbyists, what's the difference?"
The comments came in response to a question from an audience member after Clinton's speech to the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics on the campus of Iowa State University.
Before asking the question, the woman–who said she was a supporter of Clinton's campaign–said she hoped it wouldn't "come across as negative."
"Don't worry, honey. I've been asked nearly everything in my life," Clinton said laughing.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain released a new campaign ad in New Hampshire Thursday. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at how the ad is part of McCain's effort to highlight his military service and time as a POW during the Vietnam War as the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination heats up.
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For the latest, 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…
Happy birthday, Hillary
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the eve of her 60th birthday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, attends a star-studded birthday bash in New York City.
At an event hosted by former President Bill Clinton and Billy Crystal at the Beacon Theatre, the Democratic presidential frontrunner will listen to music by Elvis Costello and The Wallflowers. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, are also scheduled to join in the festivities.
Clinton's birthday is on Friday.
–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
CLINTON HOLDS STEADY IN NEW POLL: A new poll conducted by SRBI Research of New York City for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College shows New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton holding a commanding 21-point lead in the state’s Democratic primary and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with a smaller, but still considerable, 10-point lead in the GOP race. The Rothenberg Political Report: It's Still Clinton and Romney in New Saint Anselm Report
IRAN SHAPING UP TO BE MAJOR FOREIGN POLICY HURDLE FOR 2008: In the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Iran has become the new Iraq. Iran is now the front line in a foreign policy debate that has found Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) defending a vote that her rivals said could embolden President Bush to once again launch unilateral military action against a Middle Eastern nation. Washington Post: Iran Becomes an Issue In Democratic Contest
RUDY REACHES OUT TO THE NEOCONS: Rudolph W. Giuliani’s approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations. New York Times: Mideast Hawks Help to Develop Giuliani Policy
GIULIANI, FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA: Rudy Giuliani, once discounted as an improbable presidential nominee for the GOP, is trying to boost his case with an unlikely ally: Hillary Rodham Clinton. USA Today: Giuliani says he's a 'coast-to-coast candidate'
RICHARDSON LASHES OUT AT BUSH'S LATIN AMERICAN DIPLOMACY: Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson on Wednesday called for a mix of diplomacy and economic intervention to try to improve relations with Latin American nations "alienated" by current Bush administration policies. LA Times: Richardson pitches Latin American plan
HILLARY ATTACKED BY UNLIKELY SOURCE: A newly formed political action committee is aiming to stop Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary by calling into question her progressive credentials. Politico: Stopping Hillary from the left
“IT’S ARTIFICIAL FOR SOMEONE TO SAY THAT THEY DON’T TAKE MONEY FROM LOBBYISTS OR PACS, BUT TAKE UP MONEY FROM THE INDIVIDUALS WHO EMPLOY THE LOBBYISTS AND SET UP THE PACS”: Hillary Clinton defended her choice to accept campaign money from lobbyists and political action committees, answering a question Wednesday from a college student who apologized for “coming across as negative.” Des Moines Register: Clinton defends taking money from lobbyists
“ELIZABETH WANTS TO SAY SOMETHING,”: At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, John Edwards spoke about the need for a political solution in Iraq and a withdrawal of American troops. Then he turned the microphone over to his wife, who was sitting in the audience. New York Times: Almost Stealing the Show but Selling Her Husband
THOMPSON STAFFER DEFECTS TO MCCAIN CAMP: Republican Fred Thompson played down a staff member's departure and a New Hampshire supporter's defection Wednesday, saying it's not up to him to know what's going on at every level of his presidential campaign. USA Today: Thompson downplays staff departure
BROWNBACK TO SUPPORT RUDY?: Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is considering endorsing Rudy Giuliani for the GOP presidential nomination and will meet with him Thursday in Washington to hear his views on abortion. The Hill: Brownback to meet Rudy
FOR A "SECOND-TIER" CANDIDATE, HUCKABEE GAINING GROUND: Outrunning one's companions has long been the challenge for the second-tier presidential candidates in this large Republican field. It's a challenge Huckabee has steadily met. Boston Globe: Huckabee outrunning his GOP companions
“UNITED STATES OF COLBERTICA”: Once Stephen Colbert threw his hat in the ring last week, it was only a matter of time before America got served up a steaming hot slice of Colbert Girl. The Stranger: Colbert Girl
MCCAIN'S NEW AD TARGETS HILLARY'S WOODSTOCK EARMARK: Sen. John McCain got a funny attack line off at the recent Republican presidential debate in which he mocked Sen. Hillary Clinton's support of an earmark of $1.2 million in taxpayer money for an upstate New York museum to tell the story of the 1969 Woodstock concert. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: McCain turns debate dig at Clinton into TV ad
MCCAIN: "THE FIRST GOAL MUST BE TO CREATE A NEW REGIONAL BALANCE OF POWER TO ADDRESS THE RISE OF IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY, HEGEMONIC CHALLENGE": Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Wednesday that isolating Iran and strengthening Arab allies are keys to stabilizing the Middle East. Quad City Times: McCain Suggests Boosting Arab Ties
AFTER BACKLASH, OBAMA INVITES GAY MINISTER TO EVENT: Senator Barack Obama is trying to tamp down a growing uproar over his plans to include a controversial gospel singer at a campaign concert this weekend in South Carolina and says he will feature an openly gay minister before the concert. New York Times: Obama Adds Openly Gay Minister to Concert
GIULIANI WINS OVER CROWD IN DAVENPORT: Joyce Williamson of Davenport went to see former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani more at the behest of her husband, David. Quad City Times: Visit to Davenport: Giuliani pleases crowd with his views on Iraq, taxes, health care
RUDY THE TARGET OF THE MAFIA: The heads of New York's five Mafia families debated whacking Rudy Giuliani at a 1986 sitdown, according to bombshell testimony Wednesday at the trial of a disgraced FBI agent. NY Daily News: Court told mob bosses voted on whacking Giuliani in '86
HILLARY TELLS PAPER SHE HAS GROWN MORE PATIENT WITH AGE: Hillary Clinton knows who she won't get a 60th birthday gift from – her arch-nemesis Rudy Giuliani. NY Sun: Hillary Clinton: My life at 60
GOP CANDIDATES BASH CONGRESS' ROLE IN SCHIAVO CASE: Two and a half years after Terri Schiavo became a celebrated cause among Republican leaders, the party's leading presidential candidates have expressed opposition to the way Congress intervened in the case, a sharp departure from past Republican strategy. Boston Globe: Candidates rap Congress on Schiavo
"WE HAVE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THEY HAVE SOMEONE WATCHING THEM AFTER SIX YEARS WITH NO OVERSIGHT AT ALL,": For months, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the House oversight committee, has been threatening, subpoenaing and just plain badgering Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to come before his panel to answer questions about the run-up to the Iraq war, corruption and State Department contracting. Washington Post: White House Feels Waxman's Oversight Gaze
WHITE HOUSE INTENSIFIES STANDOFF WITH IRAN: The Bush administration plans to roll out an unprecedented package of unilateral sanctions against Iran today, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, according to senior administration officials. Washington Post: U.S. to Impose New Sanctions Targeting Iran's Military
AMERICANS THINK DEMS ON TRACK WITH HEALTH CARE, ACCORDING TO NEW POLL: Democratic ideas for fixing the healthcare system to cover the uninsured enjoy more support among Americans than proposals coming from Republicans, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows. LA Times: Voters favor Democratic ideas to mend healthcare
MCCAIN NOT PRESENT FOR DREAM ACT VOTE: The latest legislative attempt to give illegal immigrants a path to American citizenship is foundering, its fate symbolized by the fact that Senator McCain, whose name was once synonymous with such immigration legislation, skipped a vote on the bill. NY Sun: McCain Skips a Key Vote on Immigration
TRANSGENDERED PEOPLE LEFT OUT OF GAY RIGHTS PROPOSAL: Democrats delayed moving forward with landmark gay rights legislation on Wednesday amid a continuing dispute within their Caucus over the exclusion of workplace protections for transgendered people. Roll Call: Gay Rights Bill Stalls in House http://www.rollcall.com/issues/53_49/news/20682-1.html
110TH RECORDS IT'S 1,000TH VOTE: The 110th Congress under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been called lots of things: Historic, do-nothing, ethical, overbearing and much more, based on one's political views. But now Pelosi can add one more moniker to the list: record-setting. Washington Post: 110th Congress Eclipses Voting Pace
THE ACTION HERO COMES OUT IN ARNOLD: Crisscrossing the region on foot and by air to handle the most overwhelming challenge of his administration, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week has been the optimistic and omnipresent face of the wildfire response: consoler to the evacuees, debriefer to the media, cheerleader to the firefighters and personal liaison to the federal government. LA Times: Fire crisis plays to the governor's strengths
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, celebrates her birthday with her husband and a few special guests at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Arizona Sen. John McCain participate in an AARP "Divided We Fail" town hall forum at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a health care town hall at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire. Later, he holds "Ask Mitt Anything" events in Hooksett and Exeter.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards holds town hall meetings in Corning, Bedford and Indianola, Iowa.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, holds a town hall meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Later, he meets with local residents at J & J Cafe in Le Mars.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson holds a Road Runner Rally at the IBEW Union Hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, participates in a presidential health care forum at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook