Clinton and Villa promote Green living on Wednesday.
PETERBOROUGH, New Hampshire (CNN) – Even though she had all but lost her
voice, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton managed to advance her "Go Green" campaign platform.
Speaking to a crowded room of voters with TV home improvement guru Bob Villa by her side, the second-term Senator from New York declared that the nation urgently needs to decrease its energy dependence and create new environmentally friendly sources of energy.
"We are more dependent on foreign oil today than we were on 9-11," she said. "I think it's time for the Bush administration to pay attention to the costs that are being imposed on Americans every single day because of these high gas prices."
Clinton's message struck a chord in a week that has seen record highs in the global oil market and higher gasoline prices at the pump.
"Not only are we doing nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but the President and the Vice President are using very belligerent language, talking about World War Three which has clearly sent a signal in the opposite direction," Clinton said.
Clinton said exploiting alternative energy sources and making more efficient use of existing fuels would help the Earth as well as the economy by creating five million "green collar jobs" in a decade.
"Those are jobs that can't be outsourced," said Clinton. "Those are good jobs."
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
The staff moves signal that Richardson is counting on a strong showing in Iowa.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - CNN has learned that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will be moving several members of his South Carolina staff to Iowa in the coming days, another signal that Richardson is counting on a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses to boost his bid for the Democratic nomination.
The move comes on the heels of Tuesday's news that Richardson is also redirecting campaign staff to Iowa from another early caucus state, Nevada.
Richardson spokeswoman Katie Roberts confirmed the personnel shift, which will include Richardson's South Carolina state director Lachlan McIntosh. The campaign will leave some field organizers in place in South Carolina.
"We will be sending some members or our South Carolina staff to Iowa to help," Roberts said in an email. "But the Richardson for President Campaign will maintain and support a strong organization in the state of South Carolina, continuing to build and grow support throughout the state. Governor Richardson is fully committed to competing in all the early primary states."
Richardson is currently in fourth place in Iowa state polls, behind Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. Richardson has failed to gain similar traction in South Carolina, where most polls show Clinton and Obama with significant leads.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
FEMA Administrator David Paulison has received the resignation of the agency's press secretary.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Aaron Walker, press secretary for FEMA, submitted his resignation to FEMA administrator David Paulison this afternoon, according to a FEMA official. The official will not say whether Walker was asked to resign or did so voluntarily. His resignation becomes effective in early December.
Walker is the second FEMA press official to suffer the repercussions of a staged FEMA news conference during the California wildfires.
John (Pat) Philbin, FEMA's director of external affairs, left his job two days after the news conference to become head of public affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell. That job offer, however, was rescinded as Philbin's role in the press conference became clearer.
The FEMA said that Philbin and Walker bore the "greatest degree of responsibility for the planning and execution" of the press conference. "They had the greatest ability to stop that train from going down the track, and they didn't," said the official.
- CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Election 2007 is in the record books. But did the election that was overshadowed by the early start to next year’s presidential contest tell us anything about the 2008 contests?
The answer is yes and no.
It was a split decision when it comes to the two gubernatorial contests decided Tuesday. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher was voted out of office. He acknowledged his defeat, saying “the voters have made up their minds and I accept their decision.”
The incumbent Republican was ousted by Democrat and former Lt. Governor Steve Beshear. Fletcher was dogged by an investigation into political interference in state hirings that led to his indictment. The charges were dropped after Fletcher admitted to wrongdoing in his administration, but the damage was done and Fletcher was damaged goods.
It was a different story for another Republican Governor - Mississippi's Haley Barbour. He easily won a second term - thanks in part to praise of his handling of recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Barbour beat Democrat John Arthur Eaves Jr. by nearly 20 percentage points. Eaves, an attorney, ran as a conservative evangelical Democrat.
While both races were interesting, neither should have any national impact. “The Kentucky and Mississippi contests were so state specific that I don’t think that there were any national lessons,” says non-partisan Political Analyst Stuart Rothenberg, who’s editor-in-chief of the Rothenberg Political Report.
Virginia could be a different story. Democrats there made major gains, winning control of the state senate for the first time in twelve years. And while Republicans retained control of Virginia’s state house, Democrats won back a couple of seats.
If you couple yesterday’s results with victories by Virginia Democrats in the 2001 and 2005 gubernatorial elections and last year’s U.S. senate battle, where Democrat James Webb ousted incumbent Senator George Allen, it’s another sign that the once reliably red state is now up for grabs.
(CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suggested Wednesday that a desire to back a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination is being calculated into the decision making process by some social conservatives even if the presidential candidate does not have solid socially conservative credentials.
Huckabee said in an interview Wednesday that Pat Robertson’s endorsement of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was “somewhat of a surprise” to him. The former Arkansas governor added, “But, politics is all about surprises.”
In addition to Robertson’s endorsement of Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was recently endorsed by Paul Weyrich, founder of the Free Congress Foundation. Despite a solid conservative record on social issues like abortion, the social conservative movement has not moved en masse behind Huckabee’s candidacy.
“Some people have become more process-focused than they are principle-focused,” Huckabee said when asked about the endorsements by Weyrich and Robertson. “So they look at it from the stance of who does it look like might be ahead of the game.”
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- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - Presidential hopeful, Democrat John Edwards said Wednesday he sent a letter to President Bush calling for the resignation of Nancy Nord, the acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The former senator from North Carolina revealed his disapproval for Nord's performance during a town hall meeting at a middle school in Amherst, New Hampshire, when he announced his import safety plan.
Nord has come under fire from both Congress and the Bush administration over the flurry of product recalls over the past year. It was discovered last week that Nord had accepted travel expenses from toy industry leaders.
Part of Edwards' food, toy and medicine imports protection plan includes doubling the funding for CPSC, stationing FDA inspectors in China and India, and banning industry gifts and travel to U.S. regulators. Similar measures to improve import safety were proposed by President Bush this week.
Other Democrats have called for Nord's resignation, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- CNN Political Desk Assignment Editor Katy Byron
The French president shook Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hand after addressing Congress Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged Wednesday a renewed alliance and friendship between his country and the United States, and promised to stand firm with Washington on the war in Afghanistan and against Iran's nuclear program.
In a speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Sarkozy - facing problems back home as he tries to implement his campaign promises on immigration and economic reforms - recalled the long history of friendship between the two countries.
"In times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped one another, fought for each other's freedom," he said.
Lawmakers greeted Sarkozy's entrance into the chamber with a standing ovation and lengthy applause; evidence of the renewed hopes for Franco-American relations that were chilled in recent years under former President Jacques Chirac over differences of opinion on the Iraq war.
While he never mentioned Iraq, Sarkozy vowed to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States on the war in Afghanistan.
"Let me tell you solemnly today: France will remain engaged in Afghanistan as long as it takes, because what's at stake in that country is the future of our values and that of the Atlantic Alliance," he said. "For me, failure is not an option. Terrorism will not win because democracies are not weak, because we are not afraid of this barbarism. America can count on France."
Sarkozy also promised to help in the fight against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, citing Iran's nuclear program, in particular.
"Let me say it here before all of you: The prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unacceptable," he said.
"The Iranian people is a great people. It deserves better than the increased sanctions and growing isolation to which its leaders condemn it. Iran must be convinced to choose cooperation, dialogue and openness. No one must doubt our determination."
Brownback endorsed McCain Wednesday in Iowa.
DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain won the backing of Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback Wednesday, an endorsement that could help the Arizona senator draw support among social conservatives .
"I am endorsing the best pro-life candidate to beat Hillary Clinton," Brownback, who abandoned his own White House bid last month, said in a press conference in Dubuque.
"Here is a pro-life leader who will appoint strict-constructionist judges so that I believe we can end this night of wrong and have Roe v. Wade overturned," Brownback continued.
McCain, who hovers around fourth place in many recent polls in this crucial early-caucus state, hailed the endorsement as "significant"
"There are endorsements and then there are endorsements, support and different kinds of support," he said. "This time the support comes from one of the most respected men in America."
The endorsement comes nearly a month after Brownback ended his own presidential bid after lackluster fundraising and poor showings in both the national and crucial early primary and caucus state polls.
The battle for the GOP presidential nomination is, in part, a fight to define the post-Bush party.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - One year to Election Day, and the struggling Republican Party is looking for much more than a new leader.
"It takes time to damage a brand," says South Carolina's Republican governor, Mark Sanford. "It takes even longer to rebuild it."
Sanford is a low-taxes, low-spending type who believes the GOP has lost its credibility as the party of fiscal conservatism.
"The Republican Party, I think, has really been hurt with regard to its brand on the degree to which it will walk the walk on government spending and government taxes," Sanford told CNN in a recent interview at his State Capital office in Columbia.
Others, though, see a threat to the party's brand as the home of social conservatives at risk as well, in part because of what they view as "lip service" by the Bush White House and other leaders in Washington, and, in part, because of the continued strength of Rudy Giuliani in the GOP nomination race.
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- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The state of the economy is the number-one issue on the minds of Americans as the presidential election approaches, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning.
Eighty-two percent of Americans said the economy will be extremely or very important to their vote for president. Economic conditions edged out Iraq by two points, with 80 percent of those surveyed saying that the war is 'extremely or very important' to their vote.
Also, among the top five issues on the public's mind when contemplating their next vote for president are health care (76 percent), terrorism (76 percent), and Iran (73 percent).
The state of the overall economy weighed more heavily on the minds of voters than specific economic issues such as gas prices (67 percent), poverty (65 percent), taxes (63 percent) and immigration (61 percent).
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation telephone poll of 1,024 American adults was conducted over the weekend and had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
- CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron