WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney begins airing a new television ad Monday that features the presidential hopeful and his wife discussing the importance of providing children with a solid moral background.
"It’s just essential to have a home where faith, where love of country, where determination, where all of these features that are so much a part of America’s culture are tied to our kids,” Romney says in the ad. “And without them, I don’t see how a society continues to lead the world.”
The 30-second ad will run in Iowa and New Hampshire.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With Thanksgiving falling exactly six weeks before the lead-off Iowa caucuses, the presidential candidates can’t afford to take this holiday week off.
Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all swing through Iowa, the most competitive early battleground. Polls suggest it's still a three-way contest there .. unlike other states where Clinton is the undisputed leader.
Second-tier democratic candidate Joe Biden apparently hopes to make some headway in Iowa. He’s camped out there all week, including Thanksgiving Day.
On the Republican side, Iowa front-runner Mitt Romney spends part of this week in the Hawkeye state. New polling shows underdog Mike Huckabee may be closing in on Romney's lead there. Even Fred Thompson plans a relatively rare swing through Iowa. But national front-runner Rudy Giuliani sets his sites on other battlegrounds this week, including Florida. It’s another sign that he’s looking beyond Iowa and New Hampshire and counting on wins in later contests.
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–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
McCain spoke at a town hall event Sunday in New Hampshire.
NEW LONDON, New Hampshire (CNN) – At a northern Granite state town hall, Sen. John McCain, a fierce advocate for staying the course in the Iraq war, told voters he would not support reparations for Iraqis.
"I will not support reparations," the Arizona senator said. "I think the American people have already invested enough in American blood and treasure."
When asked to consider the numbers of Iraqis killed and displaced concomitant with the impact of war on Iraq's infrastructure, McCain stood firm.
"You talk about one of the many consequences of the failure to conduct the war correctly for nearly four years," McCain said to the Granite state questioner. "And I'm happy to tell you that exodus has turned around and Iraqis are now coming back from Jordan and other places back to Iraq because we have established an environment in which they can live more peacefully."
McCain, a former prisoner of war, championed the progress of the current Iraq strategy and stated that once a stabilized government was instituted, the oil-rich resources of the Iraqi state would pay for the damages.
"I think that there is very little doubt that if we can restore the Iraqi economy, sitting on the second largest pool of oil in the Middle East, that the Iraqi government will be able to take care of their people," said McCain.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN)– Just two days after the CNN debates in Las Vegas, Elizabeth Edwards encouraged voters to examine their choices in the presidential field and pick a candidate for reasons other than breaking the proverbial "glass ceiling."
"There are a lot of reasons, I think, to support a number of candidates in this race," Elizabeth told the crowd of New Hampshire democrats. "I think we have a lot of ceilings, glass ceilings, to break and I'm confidant that we will in the years to come."
While Elizabeth did not mention the New York Senator by name, her words spoke to her husband's campaign efforts to woo women voters, a key voting block, away from frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.
The New York senator has campaigned aggressively to win support among women voters and has called her presidential bid an opportunity to break the ultimate glass ceiling.
"America is ready for change and I believe women will lead that change," Clinton says on her website. "It¹s up to us to do our part to take back the White House and change this country, and that¹s exactly what we¹re going to do. I say this nation can shatter the highest glass ceiling because that¹s what Americans have been doing for over 200 years."
The Edwards camp has strengthened its women voter outreach in the Granite state. Last weekend, Edwards' daughter, Cate, campaigned with former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kate Michelman, to launch New Hampshire Women for Edwards. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Michelman noted that the women's vote was still up for grabs.
"Women are not a monolithic vote," Michelman told CNN at a Feminist health clinic in Greenland. "Nor are all women going to vote just because we have a woman. We've worked very hard as a women's movement for many decades to get to the point where women are looked at wholly, not just as females, not through the lens of our gender."
Speaking on behalf of her husband Saturday, Elizabeth highlighted what the campaign has described as key "populist" themes: fighting against the influence of money in politics and serving as an advocate for the disenfranchised.
"Once we take the money of the powerful, how good an advocate are we for those people who depend on us to be their champion," Elizabeth questioned.
Said Elizabeth, "Right now we also have a really important ceiling to break and that is the influence in our lives of money," in regards to the influence of lobbyist money in politics. "Right now the ceiling on top of us is not glass, it's made of money. And we need to break it."
Mike Huckabee maintains he is the true conservative in the GOP race.
(CNN)–Following a week when a leading pro-life organization endorsed his competitor, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee insisted he is the only true conservative in the GOP race for the White House.
"Well, I've never switched my positions, for one thing. I have a record that doesn't just talk about what I said I was for," Huckabee said in an interview on 'FOX News Sunday' reacting to the National Right to Life Committee's endorsement this week of former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson. "Fred's never had a 100 percent record on right to life in his
Senate career. The records reflect that. And he doesn't support the human life amendment which is most amazing because that's been a part of the Republican platform since 1980."
Thompson also hit the airwaves on Sunday and burnished his own conservative credentials on the abortion issue.
"All I know is that I've had a pro-life voting record my entire career on every conceivable issue that came up before us for almost a decade," Thomspon said on ABC's 'This Week.' "I have said that nothing would pass my desk that would promote or finance or fund abortion without my veto. But you've got to be within the realm of whatever the law is at the time. And if you don't think the law is correct, the best thing that a president can do is try to get judges who will follow the law and follow the Constitution instead of making it up as they go along."
Huckabee also disagreed with the notion that the endorsement raised doubts about his own electability. "My numbers are far better than his, especially in Iowa. So I think I'm pretty doggone electable." Recent polls have shown Huckabee on the rise in Iowa.
Huckabee also sought to draw a sharp contrast with Thompson, and fellow GOP hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, over Thompson's and McCain's talks of leaving the issues of abortion and gay rights up to individual states to decide.
"If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong," Huckabee said. "But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right."
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Obama reacted Saturday to reports that a smear from the Clinton campaign may be coming.
(CNN)–Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called on his rival for the nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, to put to rest a report that agents of her campaign are spreading word of an alleged scandal involving Obama.
"She of all people, having complained so often about 'the politics of personal destruction,' should move quickly to either stand by or renounce these tactics," Obama said in a statement released by his campaign on Saturday.
Obama's comments stem from a newspaper column by the journalist Robert Novak published Saturday. Novak claimed that surrogates for Clinton have mounted a word of mouth campaign among Democratic circles regarding scandalous information the Clinton campaign has about Obama. Novak said that experienced veterans of Democratic politics believe the Clinton campaign is withholding the release of the information because it wants to avoid a re-play of the 2004 nomination fight, when attacks on each other by Richard Gephardt, and Howard Dean were credited with assisting the rise, and eventual nomination of another candidate, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
" The cause of change in this country will not be deterred or sidetracked by the old 'Swift Boat' politics," the Illinois senator went on to say in the statement. "But in the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Senator Clinton should either make public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none."
"We have no idea what Mr. Novak's item is about and reject it totally," Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer told CNN Saturday. "Instead of pointing fingers at us, Senator Obama should get back to the issues and focus on what this election is really about."
"Once again Senator Obama is echoing Republican talking points, this time from Bob Novak. This is how Republicans work," Singer went on to say. "A Republican leaning journalist runs a blind item designed to set Democrats against one another. Experienced Democrats see this for what it is. Others get distracted and thrown off their games. Voters should be concerned about the readiness of any Democrat inexperienced enough to fall for this. There is a campaign in this race that has engaged in the very practice that Senator Obama is decrying, and it's his."
"The Clinton campaign has admitted that they do not possess the ‘scandalous information’ in question and we take them at their word," said David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager in a statement on Saturday. "But what we don’t accept is their assertion that this is somehow falling for Republican tricks. This is exactly the kind of smear politics, Democrats need to fight back on, regardless of the source or the party. Democrats should know that when Barack Obama is their nominee, he will not allow the ‘Swift boat’ politics of fear and diversion to prevail in this campaign."
Bill Clinton said it was important for young voters to remain engaged in the political process.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN)– Before a crowd of young college democrats Friday, former President Bill Clinton encouraged young people to continue their engagement in the political process.
"That ought to be our mission. Your generation has more to expect in this than anyone else," Clinton said to a crowd of 20 some-things. "Because the 21st century is either going to be the most prosperous, peaceful, interesting time in human history– or one long set of nightmares. And it depends on what we do."
While Clinton spoke affectionately about his wife and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, he also told the crowd the New York Senator would be his top choice despite their relation.
"If we were not married, and she asked me to be here tonight, I would be here for her." Clinton continued by referencing CNN's Democratic debate "because I think as you saw last night, she has the strength, the experience, the ideas and the determination to change this country and to lead us together to reclaim the 21st century for you."
The former President also humorously discussed how outreach to young voters, a key voting block in his 1992 presidential bid, had changed dramatically since his time in the White House.
"When I took office there were only 50 sites on the World Wide Web," Clinton told a crowd of laughing twenty year olds who have grown up online-savvy.
"When I took office, the average weight of the cell phone was five pounds, now I can't even get my big hands on one. So we had to do really rudimentary things like go on MTV. It was unbelievable, young people gave the energy, the drive, the thrust to our campaign."