Edwards said staging questions in an audience is "what George Bush does.".
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Saturday that staging questions in an audience is something he doesn't do and that it's "what George Bush does."
"That's what George Bush does," the former senator from North Carolina said. "George Bush goes to events that are staged, where people are screened, where the'yre only allowed to ask questions if the questions are favorable to George Bush and set up in his favor."
On Friday, the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, issued a statement to CNN in response to an article written by a college newspaper that included the accusation that the campaign suggested a student ask a certain question.
“On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said in the statement. “However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”
"That's not the way democracy works in Iowa," Edwards said in response to questions on the topic, "and it's not the way it works in New Hampshire. I mean if you actually want to be president of the United States, you go out, you face people–which I've done–in every one of the 99 counties in Iowa and answer their questions."
"We don't stage questions. We go in and answer the questions that are asked, and that's the way it's supposed to work in the caucus process."
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, responding to the same question, simply said, "It's not a terribly wise thing to do."
Related: Watch Clinton's controversial question
Related: Obama: We don't plant questions
Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Supporters rally for Rep. Ron Paul in Philadelphia on Saturday.
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) – Despite the chilly weather, about 1,500 supporters for Ron Paul for President gathered Saturday afternoon for a rally in Philadelphia.
In his speech at Independence Mall, the GOP congressman from Texas spoke off-the-cuff about the growing momentum of his campaign and touched upon familiar topics such as abolishing the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Service and ending the war in Iraq.
The rally was held to honor some 250 veterans present, ahead of the Veterans Day holiday on Monday, as well as to spread Dr. Paul's gospel to the Philadelphia area.
The event kicked off to the music of country music star and veteran himself, Rockie Lynn, and closed with the chants and cheers from the crowd of all ages after Paul gave his colorful speech.
The Ron Paul Revolution raised a few eyebrows in Washington earlier in the week when it announced Monday that it raised $4.3 million in just 24 hours.
Related video: Ron Paul gaining momentum
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
The CNN Election Express stops at the Vail Pass for live reports.
ON BOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN)– We’re on the road to Las Vegas. And we’re two miles high. We set up shop and CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider did live reports for CNN Domestic and CNN International at the Vail Pass, nearly 11,000 feet in altitude.
We started the morning in Denver, outside the state capitol. The Democrats are holding their presidential convention in the Mile High City next summer. The party’s made major gains in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain states. They’ve picked up four House seats, two Senate seats and three Governorships over the past two elections.
Here in Colorado, Democrats control the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 40 years. A region that was once reliably red is now up for grabs and Democrats hope to continue that trend in next year’s Presidential election. That’s one reason their holding their convention in Denver.
But Republicans say that they’ll hold on to the region, especially if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination.
Bill Schneider’s first live shot this morning was in front of the state capitol. But just as we were finishing up, we had to move. The city was setting up for Denver’s Veterans Day parade, and the CNN Election Express was in the way. So we quickly packed up, brought down the satellite dish atop the bus, and drove over to Mile High Stadium to set up shop again. Schneider was back at it, going live for CNN and CNN International.
After a few more live reports for CNN Domestic and our international network, we were on our way, up into the Rocky Mountains, and on the road to Las Vegas, where CNN will host Thursday’s Democratic Presidential Debate.
Related video: Watch Bill Schneider report from Vail Pass on the way to Las Vegas
Related video: Watch Paul Steinhauser report on Western politics
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Sen. McCain and his mother, Roberta, prepare for their interview with Chris Matthews from a New Hampshire hotel room.
(CNN) - The mother of Sen. John McCain criticized the religion of one of her son’s competitors for the Republican presidential nomination Friday night.
When asked about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s experience by Hardball host Chris Matthews, Roberta McCain, who’s campaigning in New Hampshire with her son at the age of 95, said "as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he's a Mormon and the Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, it's not a subject."
Romney was selected to head up the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games after a bribery scandal tarnished the Games.
Sen. McCain, who was seated next to her, raised his eyebrows and flashed a polite grin during her comments.
"The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine," McCain chimed in.
“Well, that’s my view. You asked me,” Mrs. McCain followed.
After a commercial break, Sen. McCain further tried to distance himself from his mother’s comments.
“Could I just reemphasize one point? I think Mormons are great people. I think it should in no way be a factor in consideration or lack of consideration for Governor Romney,” he said. “I think it should never be a consideration and I know he will be judged on his record. He’s a fine and decent man and a family man.”
– CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman
Mitt Romney campaigns at the EdVenture Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, Wednesday.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Three front-runners for the Republican nomination brought three very different campaign styles to South Carolina this week, ping-ponging around the Palmetto State trying to win over the crucial mass of primary voters still unsure about which Republican is the "real" conservative in the race.
One candidate with a gravelly, Southern drawl talked about grits and accused his Massachusetts rival of trying to "buy South Carolina."
That rival was also in the state, managing to work in five campaign stops in just over 24 hours, including a speech in front of a 40-foot indoor plastic sculpture named Eddie, a giant interactive children's museum exhibit touted as the "world's largest child."
And a former mayor from New York City jetted in at the last minute for about an hour, shook some hands, then turned around and left.
It began Tuesday morning in Columbia, when Fred Thompson was nearly 30 minutes late to an event at the State House, where he was to announce a "Vets for Fred" coalition with several decorated military veterans who were not, apparently, supporting decorated military veteran Sen. John McCain.
A dedicated South Carolina field organizer for the "Divided We Fail" campaign looked at his watch and mulled over going back to the office.
"Some of us got work to do," he said.
Click here to read the rest of this story.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) – Whoever said presidential politics and football didn't mix?
Sports enthusiasts attending the University of Texas vs Texas Tech football game were treated to a low-tech 2008 advertising campaign of sorts. A plane pulling a banner that read "Ron Paul for President Everyone Wins!" circled the stadium as fans entered the stadium on this hot November day.
Paul is a Texas congressman and a Republican presidential candidate. No word on whether Paul is rooting for the Longhorns or the Red Raiders.
– CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson
Thompson and Romney will both officially be running TV ads in South Carolina. McCain wants an ad with his image pulled.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Starting Monday, former Sen. Fred Thompson will become the second Republican presidential candidate to officially run television ads in South Carolina, his campaign said Friday.
Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain's name and image showed up in another television ad running in South Carolina unrelated to his presidential campaign, and McCain has called for the ad to be removed.
Both advertisements, official or not, follow several TV spots from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been running ads across the state since Labor Day. Lacking the same kind of name recognition as his more well-known Republican rivals, Romney has devoted significant resources toward developing a reputation in the Palmetto State.
On Tuesday, Thompson accused Romney of trying to "buy South Carolina" with his large personal fortune.
The Thompson campaign did not provide details about size of their ad buy, but confirmed that the 60-second ad "Consistent Conservative" will begin running on Monday "throughout South Carolina."
That ad started running in Iowa this week.
President Bush has called on the Pakistani president to lift an emergency decree.
CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) - President Bush on Saturday called for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to lift an emergency decree that has plunged the nation into chaos, while noting that pledges by Musharraf to step down as army chief and hold elections next year are "positive steps."
Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his side, told reporters he has not spoken to the Pakistani leader since earlier this week. But "he knows my position, and he knows the position of the U.S. government," he said. "Our message is consistent and clear."
The United States and Pakistan share a common goal in their efforts to eradicate al Qaeda, Bush said. But he said he is concerned about Pakistan straying from the path of democracy. Holding scheduled elections will ensure the nation stays on that path, the president added.
The office of Pakistani Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told CNN on Saturday that the emergency declaration will be lifted within one month, but would not say when a formal announcement might come.
Bush said he believes lifting the declaration would "make it easier for democracy to flourish."
But he continued to stand behind Musharraf, saying, "I take a person at their word until otherwise" and that he deserves time to keep his promises.
Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com
Sen. Hillary Clinton discusses her energy plan in Newton, Iowa on Tuesday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign admitted late Friday that a staffer spoke to potential questioners at a recent event, but denied that the New York Democrat had any knowledge about what she would be asked by the audience.
Grinnell College’s “Scarlet and Black” newspaper reported a student’s account of being pulled aside before a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa and asked to pose a specific question.
“They were canned,” Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff claimed in an interview with the newspaper. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask].”
Gallo-Chasanoff said she was told that the campaign wanted the question, about what Clinton would do for the environment, to be asked by a college student. She said Clinton was prompted to call on her as well as another student seen in conversation with staffers prior to the event.
The Clinton campaign did not dispute talking to the student, but dismissed suggestions the senator was following a script that would ensure she only received friendly questions.
“On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said in a statement. “However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”
Several of Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination contacted news organizations, including CNN, to bring attention to the college newspaper's story.
Related: Watch Clinton's controversial question
Related: Democratic rivals respond to Clinton's planted question
– CNN's Mark Norman in Atlanta and Chris Welch in Iowa.
John Edwards and John Mellencamp on stage Friday night in Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards took the stage Friday night–John Mellencamp's stage that is. But when he did, the reaction certainly wasn't all positive.
Mellencamp introduced the former senator from North Carolina about 30 minutes into his concert in Des Moines during the song "Small Town," which was a staple of Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign.
"I've got a friend that I've had for about the last seven or eight years," Mellencamp said, "and this guy's from a small town and just so happens to be running for president of the United States. Is John back there? Come on up here."
"Ladies and gentlemen," Mellencamp continued, "John Edwards has come to see the show!"
Edwards' appearance was met with a significant number of booes, as well as cheers.
Mellencamp gestured for Edwards to say a few words, at which point Edwards shrugged as if to say 'why not?'
"The good news is," Edwards began, "I've been in your small towns, born and raised in a small town. I've been all over your state in small towns."
"And you didn't come to listen to me," Edwards continued, "so I'm not singing. Thank you for being here. Have a wonderful night. Thank you all very much."
With that, he bent over to shake a few hands and then stood on stage in the dark listening to Mellencamp finish the song for another minute or two before heading out.
The performance was not originally on Edwards' public schedule Friday, but the campaign alerted certain members of the media via phone calls late in the day.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch