The CNN Election Express has arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ON BOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - We’ve made it Las Vegas and we’ve set up shop in front of the Excalibur Hotel and Casino along the Strip.
We started the day in St. George, Utah. After packing up the bus, we headed southwest from there, along Interstate 15, passing through some beautiful desert canyons along the way in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
Now we’re in Las Vegas, where CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party will put on Thursday night’s presidential debate.
The national party made Nevada more of player in the presidential primary calendar, moving the state’s caucuses up to mid January. Nevada’s growing Latino population and its large union workforce are two reasons why the Democrats made the move.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
McCain is up with a new ad in New Hampshire.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Presidential hopeful John McCain criticizes wasteful spending in Washington, blaming both Republicans and Democrats for squandering away millions of taxpayers' dollars on pet projects, in a new television ad released Monday.
The Arizona senator promises to stand up to this "outrageous" government spending, in the 30 second ad that is running in New Hampshire.
In the commercial, an announcer calls earmarks such as the bridge to nowhere in Alaska "outrageous" and "unbelievable, " and he takes a swipe at Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, for favoring a proposed $1 million Woodstock museum, calling it "predictable."
Clinton is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and the bridge to nowhere is a direct shot at former Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
"I’ll stop wasteful spending by Congress and restore Americans’ trust in their government," McCain says in the ad.
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's a busy campaign week despite Monday being a national holiday. The first contest of the presidential primary season is a mere 52 days away in Iowa, and the candidates are using every opportunity to campaign.
Republicans are taking to the East Coast, using Veterans Day to send a clear message: Strong-on-the military. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in New Hampshire and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in Missouri.
Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, heads to the first southern primary state, South Carolina, as the competition there heats up. A new poll suggests Romney may now be the Republican to beat in the Palmetto State, thanks in part to his new costly ad campaign.
The Democrats set their sights out west this week, where they hope to gain ground in the one-time red states Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
Expect Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, to try to clarify her views on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.
All of the Democrats will square off in Las Vegas, Nevada Thursday, for CNN's two-hour Democratic presidential debate, set to kick-off at 8 p.m. ET. The Debate is also sponsored by the Nevada Democratic Party and the University of Las Vegas.
I will address questions along with CNN anchors John Roberts and Campbell Brown. Suzanne Malveaux will facilitate audience participation.
You can expect tough questions, particularly on immigration.
– CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
Romney campaigned in New Hampshire over the weekend.
LACONIA, New Hampshire (CNN) - At a campaign stop near former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Granite State vacation home, Romney dismissed comments made by Arizona Sen. John McCain's mother on his faith.
"Mrs. McCain's comments? Oh I give a pass to anybody that's over 90. They can say whatever they want," Romney told reporters with a smile.
On the show "Hardball," McCain's 95-year-old mother, Roberta, criticized Romney's religion and experience.
McCain's mother told host Chris Matthews "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 following allegations of bribery and scandal within the organization.
While McCain's mother received a pass from Romney, his campaign has worked hard to court the evangelical Christian constituency by alleviating concerns over his Mormon faith.
When asked if he would start to discuss his faith more openly on the campaign trail, Romney said he didn't feel it was the right time, but was "open to the idea."
Related video: Watch a short clip of Mitt Romney reacting to Mrs. McCain's comments.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man who revealed that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA said that he was "extraordinarily foolish" to leak her name.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview broadcast Sunday that he did not realize Plame was a covert agent when he discussed her with syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
Novak, a former CNN contributor, wrote the July 2003 column in which Plame was named as a CIA employee. He later cited his sources as Armitage and Karl Rove, then President Bush's top political adviser.
Clinton's lead over Obama in New Hampshire has grown tighter according to the latest poll.
In the latest poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters from the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, the New York senator had 36 percent support, to Obama's 25 percent. Last month, Clinton led Obama by 21 percentage points according to Marist.
In a poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters in October, Romney had a 6 percentage point lead. That number has increased to 11 percent according to Marist's latest poll.
In the latest poll, Romney got 33 percent support, to Giuliani's 22 percent. Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, had 13 percent support in the latest poll, with Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee both registering 7 percent support. Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson had 5 percent support in the latest poll.
The poll involved telephone telephone interviews conducted November 2-6, with 458 likely Democratic voters and 372 likely Republican voters in New Hampshire. The margins of sampling error were 5 percentage points for Democrats, and 5.5 points for Republicans.
ONBOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - We’re in Southwestern Utah, on the road to Las Vegas.
Utah is considered the most Republican state in the country. President Bush grabbed 72 percent of the vote here in 2004. The governor and both senators and two of the state’s three house members are Republicans. The last time the Democrats won this state in a presidential election was 1964.
We started this morning in Grand Junction, Colorado. After a couple of live reports by CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider for our domestic and international networks, we packed up and headed west.
We crossed over the border into Utah and soon set up shop in the middle of the rugged desert. The gang in the control room asked for our location. I couldn’t give a town as a locator, because there was no town for miles around. Grand County was the best I could do.
We moved on and drove some through some beautiful yet desolate landscapes, as we made our way west through the Beehive state.
We’re on the road to Las Vegas, where CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party will put on Thursday night’s presidential debate. The national party made Nevada more of player in the presidential primary calendar, moving the state’s caucuses up to mid January. Nevada’s growing Latino population and its large union workforce are two reasons why the Democrats made the move.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Edwards attacked Clinton Sunday for lacking clarity on a variety of positions.
"I mean, she says she's for ending the war, but she'll continue combat missions in Iraq," Edwards said. "She says she's for standing up to Bush on Iran, and she votes with Bush on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard."
"[She] said that she was not for doing anything with the taxes for social security, and then apparently she told somebody in private that she was. I mean I don’t know."
Edwards was asked by reporters to respond to what Clinton said Saturday night at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner.
"There are some who will say they don't know where I stand," Clinton told the audience when it was her turn in front of the crowd of about 9,000 Iowa Democrats. "Well I think you know better than that. I stand where I have stood for 35 years. I stand with you and with your children and with every American who needs a fighter in their corner for a better life."
Clinton has come under attack from opponents in recent days over her answer to a question at a debate on whether or not she supports giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
At the time Clinton said the plan “makes a lot of sense" but stopped short of endorsing it.
In his speech in Des Moines Sunday, Edwards also unveiled what he's calling the "Plan to Build One America" book, a printed pamphlet that outlines his various policy proposals.
Related video: 'People expect an honest process'
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
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…
Viva Las Vegas
The seven Democratic presidential candidates head to Las Vegas Thursday for the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party Presidential Debate. This is the first event in the West to be sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. Tune into CNN and keep checking back to http://www.CNNPolitics.com and http://www.cnn.com/ticker throughout the week for the latest on this historic event, as the Democratic candidates head into the homestretch in the race for their party’s presidential nomination.
Democratic presidential candidates will debate on MLK Day
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education & Leadership Institute will announce Monday that its Democratic Presidential Debate will be held January 21, the nationally recognized holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event will be broadcast live from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, by CNN, CNN International, CNN Radio, and the network’s other platforms. Full Story
Mountain west battleground for '08 vote
ON BOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - We’re on the road to Las Vegas. That’s where CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party will hold a presidential debate this Thursday.
We’re riding the CNN Election Express, stopping along the way as we pass through the Rocky Mountains towards Las Vegas. We started this trip in Denver, along side the state capitol. The Democrats are holding their presidential convention in the Mile High City next summer. Setting aside California, it’s been 80 years since the Democrats held a convention west of Chicago, and they are coming here for good reason. Full Story
The Best Political Team wants you
CNN is looking for an associate political editor with strong editing and reporting skills to help the network cover the historic 2008 elections. Primary responsibilities will be to edit and write for the CNN Political Ticker, as well as serve as an off-air reporter. Previous television experience is not required, but strong newswriting ability and experience covering politics are a must. Full Story
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
New York Times: A New Channel for Soft Money Starts Flowing
The so-called Wounded Warriors Act, legislation intended to improve health care for veterans, has attracted nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in Congress. So why would the newly formed Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America begin running a television commercial urging the citizens of South Carolina to tell Congress to pass it?
Washington Post: Democrats' Provocative Iowa Dinner Conversation
In the space of an hour this weekend, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), using some of their most pointed and forceful rhetoric of the campaign, framed in stark terms the choice for Democrats deciding their party's presidential nomination.
AP: N.H. Poll: Romney, Clinton Lead, Obama Gaining
The Democratic race in the key early primary state of New Hampshire has tightened with Barack Obama gaining ground on front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a new poll released Sunday.
New York Times: A Weekend of Skirmishing for Obama and Clinton
Senator Barack Obama kept on the attack against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, accusing her of running a “poll-driven campaign” that avoided tough questions.
DC Examiner: Clinton: Go Slow on Social Security
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton marked Veterans Day by calling for new assistance programs, but said she would move more carefully than her rivals on dealing with looming shortfalls facing the Social Security system.
Wall Street Journal: In Iowa, Party Rivals Sharpen Jabs at Clinton
As the campaign heats up for the Democratic presidential nomination, a race within a race appears to be taking shape in the effort to win over the people who will lead off the balloting with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.
Boston Globe: Edwards, Obama Vie For Anti-Clinton Vote
Only a half hour after an impassioned John Edwards made his pitch to a standing-room-only crowd squeezed into a community college function room, a cheerful Barack Obama took the microphone amid a sea of voters on a middle school basketball court.
USA Today: Moved-Up Iowa Caucuses Could Hinder Youth Vote
Democrat Barack Obama is generating palpable excitement on Iowa campuses. But he's up against both history and new challenges as he tries to turn that energy into votes in the state's leadoff presidential caucuses.
LA Times: Thompson's Scarlet 'L'
Campaigning in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson raised his voice and shook his fists as he described his vision of an America true to conservative values.
Roll Call: Thompson Lags on Hill Support
Even though he spent eight years in the Senate, GOP presidential hopeful Fred Thompson (Tenn.) has failed to corral significant support from his one-time colleagues on Capitol Hill — a reality his backers argue is immaterial and detractors say adds to questions about his electability.
Boston Globe: Acting Fame Hasn't Eased The Campaign For Fred Thompson
As Fred Thompson admired rifles at a gun factory this week, some of the workers eyed him with a mixture of curiosity and bafflement. One employee, asked when he had learned that the actor and former US senator from Tennessee was running for president, responded, "Fifteen minutes ago."
Politico: Obama Records Requests Prove Fruitless
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) dodged questions Sunday about releasing papers from his eight years as an Illinois state senator, and his campaign has not answered records requests from the state’s two largest newspapers.
Des Moines Register: Edwards Equates Clinton, Bush
Hillary Clinton's campaign was acting like President Bush's when it recently planted a softball question from an Iowa audience member, rival Democratic candidate John Edwards said Sunday.
LA Times: Clinton No Open Book On Healthcare
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presents herself as the candidate best able to give the nation better healthcare at lower prices, thanks in part to the searing experience she gained in trying to overhaul the healthcare system during her husband's presidency.
Washington Post: The Myth of the Iron Lady
If you consult the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which is democratically created by Internet users, you will see a pattern emerge in the phrases used to describe the first female leaders of many countries. England's Margaret Thatcher, you will learn, was called "Attila the Hen." Golda Meir, Israel's first female prime minister, was "the only man in the Cabinet." Richard Nixon called Indira Gandhi, India's first female prime minister, "the old witch." And Angela Merkel, the current chancellor of Germany, has been dubbed "The Iron Frau."
Boston Globe: The Kitchen Strategy Won't Cut It
As first lady-to-be, Clinton once said, "I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession." The same woman, now running for president, is telling voters, "I'm very much at home in the kitchen."
The Times of London: Fear Of A Dynasty Denies Hillary Clinton Votes
BILL CLINTON is finding it difficult to transfer voters’ affections for him to his wife as opponents exploit concerns that two dynasties – the Bush and Clinton families – could dominate American politics for 28 years.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Huckabee Convinvced He Can Beat Hillary
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee believes Sen. Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination is a near certainty, and, he said, he's the only Republican candidate who can be effective against her. As evidence, he cites his experience of beating back the "headwinds" of the Clinton's Arkansas influence in the 1990s.
Boston Globe: Running For President, On A First-Name Basis
Republicans who have not already declared that "I'm with Fred" might be enticed to "ask Mitt anything" at a town hall meeting or to explore a webpage devoted to answering the question, "Why Rudy?"
The Hill: Udall To Run For Domenici’s Senate Seat
Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) will run for the Senate seat being vacated by New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici, the Associated Press reported on Saturday, citing the congressman’s chief of staff.
Roll Call: D.C. Democrats Launch Big 527
Prominent liberal activists last week laid the cornerstone for a network of unregulated Democratic-leaning political groups that are expected to dump perhaps $100 million or more into media buys and voter outreach in the run-up to the 2008 elections.
The Hill: Senate GOP Coordinates AMT Attack
Senate Republicans will launch a coordinated campaign next week to attack Democrats for dithering on legislation to shield millions of middle-class families from an unexpected tax hike and to convey stiff GOP resistance to raising taxes to pay for the relief, Senate GOP aides said.
Roll Call: CHC Revolts Over Leadership Snubs
Long-simmering frustrations within the Congressional Hispanic Caucus reached a crescendo on the House floor Friday, as Members staged a fiery confrontation with Democratic leaders and threatened to sink key tax legislation.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, address the United Auto Workers conference at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa.
* Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tennessee, meets with the Ottumwa Courier Editorial Board in Ottumwa, Iowa. Later, Thompson drops by Smokey Row in Oskaloosa and meets with local residents at Uncommon Grounds in Indianola.
* Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, delivers a major policy speech at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Later, Edwards holds a town hall meeting at Dartmouth College in Hanover.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani holds town hall meetings in St. Charles and Mt. Vernon, Missouri.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, attends a parade and ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day in Beaufort, South Carolina. Later, McCain meets with local residents at Trinity Restaurant in Hilton Head Island and attends the Lexington County Republican Party Bronze Elephant Dinner in Columbia.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, delivers remarks via satellite to the National Congress of American Indians 64th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Denver, Colorado.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney meets with Gentex employees in Manchester, New Hampshire. Later, Romney visits veterans at the Harris Hill Retirement Home in Concord.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, meets with Allamekee County Democrats in Lansing, Iowa.
* Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, holds a press conference to introduce a new campaign commercial in Des Moines, Iowa.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson campaigns in Iowa.
* Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, talks about Middle Eastern issues and holds a fundraiser at the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook