Fred Thompson on "Fox News Sunday."
(CNN) – Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson accused FOX News of being unfairly critical of his White House bid, after anchor Chris Wallace asked the Tennessee Republican Sunday to respond to criticism that he has run a lackluster campaign.
“This has been a constant mantra of Fox, to tell you the truth,” Thompson responded to Wallace on “FOX New Sunday.”
The former Tennessee senator accused FOX of highlighting only the negative analysis offered by the network’s commentators and its own poll to support its conclusion that he is not running a successful campaign.
"For you to highlight nothing but the negative in terms of these polls, and then put on your own guys, who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn't do it, you know, kind of skews things a little bit," Thompson said.
The GOP hopeful was speaking directly to conservative commentators Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes criticism.
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– CNN Political Assignment Editor Marissa Muller
Huckabee says Romney has been "all over the board."
(CNN) - Mike Huckabee questioned GOP rival Mitt Romney’s social conservative credentials Sunday in an interview on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."
“Mitt has changed his position,” the former Arkansas governor said. “He’s been all over the board. But my conservatism has been consistent. When he was pro-abortion, I was still pro-life and always have been. When he was for gun control, I was against it. When he was against the Bush tax cuts, I was for them. When he was against Ronald Reagan's legacy and said he wasn't part of that Bush-Reagan thing, I was a part of that Bush-Reagan thing.”
Romney has long been the frontrunner in most Republican polls in Iowa, but surveys in the past two weeks indicate that Huckabee has closed the gap with the former Massachusetts governor. Huckabee told Blitzer that Romney’s changing views were a major reason why the polls have tightened in the Hawkeye State, which is the first state to vote in the presidential primary season.
Romney has been under attack from his Republican rivals for what they consider a shift on his stance on such conservative issues as abortion, gay marriage, taxes, illegal immigration and gun control.
Huckabee, who’s the only minister among the presidential candidates, added to that chorus today, saying that it’s “not just about where we are now, it’s where we have been and can be expected to be if elected president. It’s not just authenticity, but consistency.”
The Romney campaign fired back, saying “Governor Romney is only being attacked by other campaigns because of his growing support from Republican voters who believe he has the vision, the experience and the values to lead the nation.”
The campaign went on to say, “There are big differences between Governor Romney and Mike Huckabee on taxes, spending and immigration. Mike Huckabee has a very troubling record of raising taxes, increasing spending and advocating that taxpayer dollars for in-state tuition be provided to illegal immigrants. Mike Huckabee is wrong on those issues and he has found himself entirely at odds with many Republican voters as a result.”
With three days to go before the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate, it appears the race for the GOP nomination is getting even testier.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
A CNN satellite truck up early Sunday for reporter live shots.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN)– Sure, we’d rather be sleeping in on a Sunday morning, but we’re up early and on the job down here in Florida. We’re just outside the Mahaffey Theater along Bayshore Drive. The theater is where the Republican presidential candidates will face off Wednesday night in a CNN YouTube debate.
Inside the theater stage hands and production workers will spend all day building the stage and hanging lights and cables, in advance of the debate.
Outside, we’ll be doing live reports all day on the race for the White House. It’s an early start for us, but it’s nice and warm out, a lot warmer than Iowa or New Hampshire right now.
Fred Thompson unveiled his tax plan on Sunday.
(CNN)–GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson released a seven point tax plan Sunday, that he says will encourage new economic growth, and move the country toward a reform of the federal tax code.
"The solutions to challenges in our economy are found in the homes and small businesses of ordinary Americans, not in the halls of Washington," Thompson said in a press release from his campaign. "My plan allows Americans to have greater control of their own money."
Among the ideas his plan calls for, Thompson would permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, signed into law by President Bush that are due to expire in 2010. He would also repeal the estate tax, and the Alternative Minimum Tax, while also reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to no more than 27 percent, and permanently extending small business expensing.
In addition, Thompson's plan also calls for allowing a choice for American taxpayers by allowing them to decide whether they remain under the current tax code, or opting for a flat tax code. The flat tax plan would contain two tax rates: 10% for joint filers on income of up to $100,000 ($50,000 for singles) and 25% on income above those amounts.
Thompson, along with his other rivals for the GOP nomination, is scheduled to be in St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday night for the CNN/You Tube debate.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Romney with his grandson, Parker in New Hampshire.
NASHUA, New Hampshire (CNN)– Parker Romney is a natural. Campaigning with "Grandpa Mitt" Saturday, grandson Parker, who is only 18 months old, greeted hundreds of voters at a Granite state winter parade.
Parker, who is still learning how to speak, mimicked his grandfather–shaking hands and chirping in his tiny voice "Hi!" to each person that approached the former Massachusetts Governor.
Parker's father, Craig Romney (Mitt Romney's youngest son), called his son a "future politician in waiting."
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
Thompson said Romney "was one of the most adamant pro-choice advocates that I had ever seen."
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Two Republican presidential candidates slammed rival Mitt Romney's record on abortion Saturday, claiming Romney cannot be trusted on the issue because of his past support for abortion rights.
The attacks, some of the most pointed to date from his Republican opponents Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee, come one week after Romney's campaign sent out a mailer in South Carolina calling him "the only major presidential candidate who supports the Republican party's pro-life platform: a constitutional amendment banning abortion nationwide."
The mail piece touts Romney as "the Governor who sided with life … every single time," referring specifically to legislation Romney supported while in office in Massachusetts.
Thompson, the former Tennessee senator who opposes an abortion amendment and says the issue should be decided by individual states, grinned when asked about the mail piece and said that before Romney decided to run for president, he "was one of the most adamant pro-choice advocates that I had ever seen."
Mike Huckabee said he would strike Pakistan in the case of an 'imminent threat'.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Saturday he would take military action inside Pakistan's borders if there were an "imminent" terrorist threat within the country.
"We need to make sure we are clear that if we have an actionable target in Pakistan, that we will take action on that target because if that helps save and preserve American people, that's the foremost thing we need to be worried about," Huckabee said at a campaign event in Columbia.
"We need to remember that the next terrorist attack will most likely be postmarked Pakistan," he said. "I mean, that's where we will likely see the origins of a terrorist attack, given Osama bin Laden's whereabouts."
Huckabee's comments are similar to those of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who came under fire in August for saying at a speech, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."
Several of Obama's Democratic rivals, as well as Republican candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, criticized Obama's Pakistan comments at the time, suggesting that using force within Pakistan could jeopardize the United States' relationship with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who remains a key U.S. ally in the Middle East despite the recent turmoil in the country.
Asked by CNN if such actions might violate Pakistan's sovereignty under international law, Huckabee said U.S. national security would take precedent.
"The sovereignty of the United States is the single most important sovereignty the American president has to deal with, and the safety of the American people," Huckabee said. "And certainly we would like to have the cooperation of Pakistan, and I think we should have it and will have it."
"But if there is an imminent threat to the American people, then I think it is the responsibility of a president of this country to do whatever he has to do to protect you me and the rest of us standing here today."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Obama campaigned in Iowa on Saturday.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that his healthcare plan would bring costs down more than any of his opponents' plans would.
"Cost is the number one reason that 47 million Americans do not have health insurance," Obama said. "This is wrong, and it’s why my plan does more to cut the cost of health care than any other proposal in this race."
Obama said it would save the "typical family" $2,500 a year in healthcare premiums.
He added that the reason people don't have healthcare is because it's too expensive, not because they don't want it. He said that's why a mandated plan–what rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are offering–won't necessarily solve the problem.
The Clinton campaign was quick to fire back.
"[Senator Obama] wrote a plan that leaves 15 million Americans without coverage," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in a statement. "That is unacceptable and Senator Obama should explain why he chose to leave so many people uninsured. When it comes to cutting costs, Senator Clinton's plan is just as aggressive, if not more so. The real difference is that her plan covers every American."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Wrestling star Ric Flair has announced his support of Mike Huckabee.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Wrestling star Ric Flair riled up a crowd of tailgating Mike Huckabee supporters on Saturday evening with his trademark "Wooooo!" war cry and said he was proud to announce his support for the former Arkansas governor's presidential bid.
"[Huckabee] is a quality person, self-made, a great family man and he has a great vision for our country," Flair said. "And I'm here to excite the crowd."
Flair was in Columbia with Huckabee at a "campaign tailgate" outside the college football showdown between South Carolina and Clemson, a yearly ritual in the Palmetto State that manages to dwarf politics, even just months before the state votes in a presidential primary.
Huckabee joked about college football with Flair and welcomed the wrestler's support.
"It means something to me that he has had a chance to look at every candidate and he has chosen to support me, and I appreciate it very much," he said. "And he'll get you in a choke hold if you don't agree with it."
Asked by a reporter if endorsements from celebrities like Flair and actor Chuck Norris trivialized his campaign, Huckabee said he has maintained "a serious focus on the issues" but predicted: "We're going to have some fun throughout the campaign and I think that's what's going to help us to win when it's all over."