Clinton said Tuesday she is against Mukasey's confirmation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, said Tuesday she will not support Judge Michael Mukasey's confirmation to be then next attorney general, citing the judge's "continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked Executive power."
"When we leave any doubt about our nation’s policy on torture, we send a terrible message to the rest of the world," Clinton said in a statement issued by her Senate office. "Judge Mukasey has been given ample opportunity – both at his confirmation hearings and in his subsequent submission to the Judiciary Committee – to clarify his answers and categorically oppose the unacceptable interrogation techniques employed by this Administration."
Earlier Tuesday, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, also said he was against Mukasey's confirmation.
As for the other Democratic Senate presidential candidates, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd has said he is against the confirmation and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said in a statement he will not vote for Mukasey unless he states "clearly that waterboarding constitutes torture and that the president is bound by the law."
Meanwhile, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards released a statement Tuesday calling on the Senate to deny Mukasey's confirmation.
"The credibility of Justice Department has been badly tarnished, and it is now clear that Mukasey is not the man to restore it," Edwards said.
Responding to the candidates' opposition of Mukasey, Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, said, "You know the Democratic presidential nominees have hit a new low when Chuck Schumer isn't even on their side.
"Judge Mukasey is an honorable, well-qualified nominee for attorney general who doesn't deserve to have his nomination politicized and used for personal gain by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," she added.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, was an early supporter of Mukasey's nomination though he has said he is waiting for Mukasey's written answers on waterboarding before he decides whether to vote for the judge's confirmation.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Bill Clinton made two campaign stops in South Carolina on his wife's behalf.
ROCK HILL, South Carolina (CNN) - At a campaign rally in South Carolina Monday evening, former President Bill Clinton defended his wife Hillary from charges made by other campaigns and some political observers that she is too polarizing to win the presidency.
"They continue to say she's the most unelectable because she's so polarizing," Clinton told the crowd gathered at a community center here. "Well they have dumped on her for 16 years. They'd all be polarizing too if the right wing of the Republican party which controls their politics had been dumping on them for 16 years. I'd like to see how those boys would stand up to it. I think the girl's done pretty well ... The more people know her her positive ratings go up and her negative ratings go down."
Clinton, who spent much of his nearly hour-long speech digging into issues like climate change, health care and the national debt, said his wife is better qualified than any other Democratic contender to step into the White House and lead from day one.
"I like all these other people running for president, and I'm not saying they couldn't restore our standing in the world, I'm just saying that America gets no honeymoon," he said. "We have made too many people mad for too long and we need to get this show on the road, she's the most likely to do that."
Still, Clinton said he liked liked every Democrat running for office, noting that he read Sen. John Edwards' health care plan and Sen. Barack Obama's energy plan with interest.
"I hope any of us can win. One thing I like about this race as a Democrat is I don't have to be against anybody," he said.
Monday marked Clinton's third campaign visit to South Carolina on behalf of his wife's presidential campaign.
UPDATE: The RNC responded to Clinton's comments: "Bill Clinton may not be against any of the Democrat presidential candidates, but the American people will be against their proposals for staggering tax hikes that will feed a growing DC bureaucracy that isn’t getting things done for the American people," said RNC spokesman Brian Walton.
"There is a reason Clinton didn't win South Carolina when he ran for president, and it's the same reason Hillary and the other Democrat candidates won't win it in 2008."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Richardson is out with a new ad in Iowa Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson launched a new ad in Iowa Tuesday that seeks to clarify his differences with his presidential rivals over the war in Iraq.
"I knew there would be differences between the candidates, especially on Iraq," the New Mexico Democrat says in the 60-second ad. "I will get every soldier out. You cannot say you will end the war if you plan to leave thousands of troops behind. The Iraqis sure will not think the war is over."
“If you are wondering if anyone can really do all this, just look at what I have done in my life and how I have done it," Richardson continues. "Not by dividing people, but by earning their trust. And that is really where we need to begin in Iraq. There is a way out."
Richardson calls for an end to negative campaigning
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called on his fellow White House hopefuls Tuesday to cease “negative campaigning” right before he filed for the New Hampshire primary.
“You see how some of the candidates in our own party are starting to get negative,” Richardson said. “We’re not going to do it. We’re going to talk about the issues.”
“To all the Democratic candidates, let’s stay positive,” Richardson said. “Let’s get rid of all this negative stuff that I’m seeing.”
Richardson then singled out Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, for their critical remarks of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.
“I’ve become very concerned about the negative tone of the campaign,” he said. “I think that Senators Obama and Edwards should concentrate on the issues and not on attacking Sen. Clinton.”
“The differences on the issues should be highlighted, but personal attacks I believe should not take place,” he said.
In recent days, Obama and Edwards have spoken out against Clinton’s decision to accept contributions from lobbyists. Richardson defended Clinton and reiterated that calling her “integrity into question,” was unnecessary and “personally negative.”
“There’s going to be plenty of time to get negative with the Republicans but now is not the time to start food fights,” Richardson said.
Related video: Watch Richardson speak and then file his paperwork in New Hampshire Tuesday.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
Richardson files in New Hampshire
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) - Moments after filing for the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson acknowledged he is a “dark horse” to win his party’s nomination, but added that Granite State voters have a history of backing this kind of candidate.
“I feel confident,” Richardson said. “I feel that we’ve got momentum. I like New Hampshire. The fact that it likes dark-horses and underdogs. This race is not over.”
Richardson, who consistently places fourth in national and New Hampshire polls, boasted that he had predicted a Red Sox victory at the last Democratic presidential debate, and he proceeded to make another clairvoyant attempt.
“I’m also going to predict that I’m going to end up in the top three in New Hampshire,” he said to a crowd of cheers.
Richardson said that his momentum could not be “tabulated” by poll numbers and referenced positive recognition from voters, an increase in volunteers, added endorsements and new advertisements as metrics that his campaign is gaining traction.
“I feel that my momentum is increasing, my message is getting across of change and experience, I’m keeping my campaign positive and I can feel the surge,” he said.
Still, Richardson said he hopes to “peak at the end” and noted a January primary date would be more beneficial to his campaign.
“I’m kind of preferring January 8, because I need enough time to move up,” Richardson said. “But either way, I’m ready. We’re ready.”
- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) – The future of troops in Iraq, and the future of a potential U.S. showdown with Iran dominated much of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate - with frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s votes at the center.
Even with Iran a growing issue on the campaign trail in recent weeks, one of the night’s sharper exchanges focused on how to proceed in Iraq.
Clinton and challenger John Edwards clashed over the next step for U.S. troops and their role.
Edwards argued, “If you believe that combat missions should be continued in Iraq over the long term, if you believe that combat troops should remain stationed in Iraq, and if you believe there should be no actual timetable for withdrawal, then Senator Clinton is your candidate.
"I don't. I think that we need to end combat missions; we need to get combat troops out of Iraq. As president of the United States, I will do that. I think it's a requirement of leadership, as president. And I will do it in my first year in office: combat missions ended, combat troops out of Iraq, period."
Clinton claimed Edwards misstated her position, saying any combat role would only in pursuit of terrorists. “My understanding is that we had the same agreement - most of us on this stage - that we would bring out combat troops but we would pursue a mission against al Qaeda in Iraq if they remained a threat. Now, I don't know how you pursue al Qaeda without engaging them in combat. So I think we're having a semantic difference here. I think we should get as many of the combat troops out as quickly as possible.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said Tuesday he will vote against confirming Judge Michael Mukasey as the next attorney general.
In a statement released by the presidential candidate's Senate office, Obama strongly criticized Mukasey's performance during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"His testimony before the Senate was stunning," Obama said in the statement. “While his legal credentials are strong, his views on two critical and related matters are, in my view, disqualifying.
"We don't need another attorney general who believes that the president enjoys an unwritten right to secretly ignore any law or abridge our constitutional freedoms simply by invoking national security," Obama continued. "And we don't need another attorney general who looks the other way on issues as profound as torture."
Watch Sen. Dodd in the Situation Room Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic White House hopeful Christopher Dodd visted the Situation Room Monday and spoke with Wolf Blitzer about Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey.
Dodd said concerns about Mukases views on waterboarding was "a legitimate issue and one that ought to be pursued."
"But Wolf, I have a deeper problem with Michael Mukasey," explained Dodd before summarizing Mukasey's views on the president's authority to engage wiretapping without proper authority under the governing federal statute.
"There's nothing more basic in our Constitution than we are a nation of laws and not men," Dodd said. The Connecticut senator called the President's obligation to obey the law "the major issue here" with Mukasey's nomination.
"If you believe that the President can trump a federal statute, you're violating the most basic, fundamental principle," Dodd emphasized. Dodd told Blitzer that he would vote against Mukasey's nomination because of Mukasey's views on presidential power.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Watch this clip of New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg endorsing Mitt Romney on Monday.
(CNN) - Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, endorsed Mitt Romney Monday. As he began his speech, Gregg made a serious slip of the tongue; he tripped up and almost referred to Romney as Democrat. Watch this clip.
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Watch Obama show off his moves on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a presidential campaign, no detail about a candidate is left unexamined - including his or her dance moves.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday and showed off his moves to Beyonce's "Crazy in Love."
Ellen seemed impressed with the presidential candidate's dance skills, and Obama himself admitted he was pretty good, "for a presidential candidate."
"It's a low bar but I am pretty sure I have better moves than Giuliani," Obama joked, referencing the former New York City mayor and Republican presidential frontrunner.
Obama added that he hopes he's not the last candidate to hit the dance floor with Ellen.
"I do hope I start a trend with the presidential candidate dancing."