Rep. Ron Paul has surprised pundits and his rivals with his fundraising.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Presidential campaigns and supporters use all sorts of gimmicks to try and raise money, such as celebrating birthdays, winning a chance to dine with a candidate and marking November 5 as an anniversary.
Huh? November 5?
Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential bid are using this date to help boost the Texas Republican’s campaign coffers, in what is being described as a massive grassroots on-line fundraising drive. The significance? Well, in English history a gentleman by the name of Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Houses of Parliament, which was the subject of the recent film “V for Vendetta.”
One of the leaders behind the Paul fundraising drive said the message is not violent, but rather a fundraising idea that spread virally on-line. Paul’s presidential campaign said the idea did not come from the Texas congressman, but they are promoting the progress of this fundraising drive. As of late Monday afternoon, the Paul campaign claims it raised over $2.7 million, a figure that cannot be independently confirmed until Federal Election Commission reports are filed at the end of the year.
Paul, who is registering in the low single digits in most polls, raised $5 million in the third quarter fundraising period.
Related video: Ron Paul's fundraising shocker
Sen. Obama participated in the annual Steak Fry hosted by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s, D-Illinois, presidential campaign announced today that more than 300 former Republican voters from New Hampshire and Iowa are switching their party affiliation to actively support Obama, D-Illinois, in those crucial first two contests.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life, but the challenges we face are too great to choose a candidate based on his party—we need to the choose the candidate who can bring fundamental change to Washington and start getting things done again,” Jerry Spivak said. “Barack Obama is the only candidate who will be able to break the partisan logjam and inspire Americans to come together around real solutions.”
Obama's campaign sent out a list of 268 Iowa Republicans and 68 New Hampshire Republicans who changed their party registration and promised to vote for the Democratic presidential hopeful.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Colbert's presidential bid was short lived.
NEW YORK (CNN) - With his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, Stephen Colbert said he is taking a break from his Comedy Central faux news program to mourn last week’s decision to block him from being on the South Carolina Democratic Party’s primary ballot. Even if he wanted to work, his offices would be empty because his writers are participating in the Writers Guild of America strike.
Colbert’s statement to CNN’s Showbiz Tonight on the South Carolina Democratic Party’s decision:
"I am shocked and saddened by the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council’s 13-to-3 vote to keep me off their presidential primary ballot. Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history - only ten votes - I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle. It is time for this nation to heal.
I want say to my supporters, this is not over. While I may accept the decision of the Council, the fight goes on! The dream endures! ...And I am going off the air until I can talk about this without weeping."
The South Carolina Democratic Executive Council voted 13-to-3 vote last week to keep his name off of the presidential primary ballot.
Comedy Central was scheduled to air a re-run of Colbert’s program Monday night due to the strike.
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Paul Weyrich, a prominent leader in the conservative movement, announced Monday that he was backing Mitt Romney for president, a major endorsement for the former Massachusetts governor less than two months before the Iowa caucuses.
"As he travels across the country, Governor Romney has outlined a blueprint to build a stronger America rooted in our common conservative principles,” Weyrich said in a statement released by Romney’s presidential campaign. “With a clear conservative vision to move America forward, he will strengthen our economy, our military and our families.”
Weyrich serves as chairman of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Sen. Clinton took questions from reporters Sunday along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa.
CLINTON, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, told reporters Sunday that her Democratic rivals are attacking her simply because, as she said, she’s “winning.”
Clinton was asked about an essay written by Kate Michelman, a senior adviser to the campaign of former Sen. John Edwards, that criticized the New York senator for what she called “disingenuously playing the victim card” by bringing up gender in recent stops and emails.
“I don’t think they piled on me the other night because I’m a woman,” Clinton said. “I think they piled on because I’m winning. And that’s what happens.”
Clinton has been using the phrase “piling on” ever since Tuesday night’s Democratic debate where her opponents took various opportunities to draw contrast with her over issues like her vote to authorize the war in Iraq, her vote in support of labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and whether or not she’s stated clearly enough her position on New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Gov. Richardson presented the Purple Heart to the niece of a fallen soldier.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – At a campaign stop in Des Moines Monday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson presented a Purple Heart medal to the niece of Corporal Clem Boody, who was listed as Missing in Action while serving in the U.S. Army in North Korea in 1950.
Richardson said Boody’s niece told him the family was notified back in 1954 that Boody had been posthumously awarded a Purple Heart but that the family had never received it.
“I’m very proud to say that the plea made by the family of Corporal Boody has been answered.”
Richardson thanked a member of his staff who, he said, was vital in securing the award.
Boody, a native of Independence, Iowa, was presumed dead in 1953, but it wasn’t until 2007 that his remains were identified.
The Democratic presidential candidate said he’d been negotiating with the North Koreans “for many years” to collect the remains of nearly 8100 servicemen from the Korean War but that he didn’t want to turn that part of the story into political exploitation.
“I also realized at the time that I was a candidate for president,” Richardson said, “and that it was important that an event like this, the return of remains, should not be politicized.”
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
(CNN) - He's a self-described "regular guy from a very humble background," talking up a crowd of Democrats in a Somerset County, Pa., ward meeting, just days before Tuesday's hotly contested election race. Seamus McCaffery wants their votes, and he has the political and people skills to get it done, along with healthy infusion of campaign cash.
He tells them he is an Irish immigrant, and former Philadelphia beat cop. The bald, burly candidate has a ready smile and he swaps stories with the crowd.
The post McCaffery seeks is on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the nation's oldest appellate body. The idea of judges running for elected office may seem like a strange and unseemly concept, but it is the law in 21 states that have some sort of contested system for top judges. Thirty states - along with the federal system - appoint their judges, often with a merit selection system in which the governor gets the final say.
A top aide to Fred Thompson stepped down Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top advisor to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson announced Monday he was resigning his position with the Republican's presidential campaign, a day after news surfaced he pleaded guilty more than 20 years ago to drug charges.
"The focus of this campaign should be on Fred Thompson's positions on the issues and his outstanding leadership ability, not on mistakes I made some 24 years ago," Phillip Martin said in a statement issued by Thompson's campaign. "I deeply regret any embarrassment this has caused."
It was first reported Sunday in the Washington Post that Martin pleaded guilty in 1979 to selling 11 pounds marijuana and no contest in 1983 to cocaine trafficking charges.
Thompson said yesterday he was unaware of the man’s past, and but he wouldn’t “throw my friend under the bus.”
He did say he would talk to Martin, and acknowledged “I’m running for president, I’ve got to, you know, do the right thing.”
– CNN's Mary Snow contributed to this report
Rudy Giuliani continues to lead the Republican presidential race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the Republican presidential race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to be the leading candidate, with the backing of 28 percent of the Republican primary voters polled. Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee was backed by 19 percent. Sen. John McCain of Arizona was the top pick of 16 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 11 percent.
Of the remaining Republican candidates, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee received 10 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul 5 percent, California Rep. Duncan Hunter 4 percent and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo 3 percent.
The poll involved telephone interviews with 397 Republicans or independents who lean Republican. The poll's margin of error was 5 percentage points.
Sen. Clinton campaigned in Iowa on Sunday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but after coming under pointed attacks from rivals, her lead has shrunk from a month ago, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday.
The New York Democrat is the top choice of 44 percent of the likely Democratic voters interviewed for the poll. Her closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, was the top choice of 25 percent, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina has 14 percent.
All other Democratic candidates were in single digits. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was was backed by 4 percent, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware by 3 percent, Sen. Christopher Dodd by 2 percent, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich by 2 percent and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel was at 1 percent.
The poll involved 467 interviews conducted on November 2-4 with Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.