Romney said presidential candidates shouldn't get too detailed about their youthful indiscretions.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Saturday presidential candidates shouldn't go into detail about indiscretions in their youth because they may set a bad example for children.
Romney's comments came in response to a question about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's recent comments in Iowa about his past marijuana use.
"I agree with the sentiment that nobody's perfect and most of us, if not all of us, in our youthful years have engaged in various indiscretions we wouldn't want to have paraded in the front of a newspaper," Romney said. "On the other hand, if we're running for president, I think it's important for us not to go into details about the weaknesses and our own failings as young people for the concern that we open kids thinking that it's OK for them.
"And so I think I subscribe to what President Bush said during his campaign," Romney continued. "He said when he was young and irresponsible, he was 'young and irresponsible' and he left it at that."
Earlier Saturday, Obama was asked by an Iowa voter if he ever inhaled while smoking marijuana.
"I did," the senator from Illinois said to light applause. "It's not something I'm proud of. It was a mistake as a young man."
The question was a reference to a line made famous by former President Bill Clinton who, while admitting to trying marijuana, said he did not inhale.
"I never understood that line," Obama added. "The point was to inhale. That was the point."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Norris and Huckabee appear in a campaign ad running in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appears to be milking cult hero Chuck Norris' endorsement for all it's worth.
The former Arkansas governor told reporters on a conference call Monday morning that the “Walker Texas Ranger” star will be joining him at the CNN/YouTube debate this Wednesday night.
"[He] will be part of that experience," Huckabee said. "So it will be fun and hopefully very substantive."
Norris officially endorsed Huckabee last October, hailing him as a "respected and fearless leader" and one who's "not afraid to stand up for a Creator and against secularist beliefs."
Since then Norris has penned a fundraising e-mail on Huckabee's behalf, and even appears alongside the candidate in a television ad running in Iowa.
"When Chuck Norris does a push up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the world down," Huckabee, quoting the now famous "Chuck Norris Facts," says in the ad.
On Monday, Huckabee credited the ad for brining "a lot of attention" to his presidential bid.
"We had a lot of fun with it and it did exactly what we wanted it to do, and that is drive record numbers of people to our Web site," Huckabee said. "And it has made the rounds on YouTube and as people have e-mailed it to their friends, it has had a big impact on the 18-30 year-old market, which we expected it to do."
Huckabee also brushed aside criticism from some for promoting Norris' endorsement, as well as that of professional wrestler Ric Flair, so heavily.
"The only flak I get is from people who wish they had them," he said. "The rest of the time people are enjoying it and having fun with it as I am."
Huckabee's comments come the same day he announced the release of a new TV ad in Iowa. The 30-second spot, called "Believe," touts his conservative stances on social issues.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) - GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani exchanged numerous verbal spars over the weekend - just days before the two will meet face-to-face at the CNN/YouTube debate.
The bulk of the battle stemmed from Romney's decision on Friday to call for the resignation of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman - 20 months after he appointed her.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, learned that Tuttman had released without bail a convicted killer, who has since been charged with killing a married couple in Washington state.
– CNN's Sareena Dalla contributed to this report
Oprah will officially hit the campaign trail for Obama.
(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama dropped the hint last week, but Monday his presidential campaign made it official: talk show host Oprah Winfrey will join him on the campaign trail next month.
The campaign said Oprah will make four appearances with the Democratic presidential candidate in three key early states: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The stops will be the weekend of December 8th and 9th, in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Manchester and Columbia.
Winfrey has made no secret of her support for Obama, who lives in her hometown of Chicago. She officially endorsed the Illinois senator earlier this year and hosted a star-studded fundraiser for him in southern California in September, bringing big bucks and plenty of media exposure.
Her appearance comes as Obama fights with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the critical women's vote. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the two separated by just a point among women in Iowa.
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Here's a quick look at what's making political news in South Carolina this morning:
On Dec. 8 and 9, Barack Obama will put to the ultimate test the theory that a celebrity can influence voters. Oprah Winfrey will campaign with Obama for those two days, making a stop in Columbia on Sunday, Dec. 9. Details here.
Oprah's influence among women - African-American and working class women in particular - could help Obama appeal that vital subset of voters, who are still deciding between Obama and Hillary Clinton in South Carolina.
Mike Huckabee impressed congregations at two Baptist churches on Sunday while lapsing into his former role as minister. Read about it here. It's worth noting that there were a good number of national political reporters and TV cameras in tow.
Dan Hoover says Huckabee is "trying to ignite a surge like the one in first-voting Iowa."
Sen. John McCain, back from his Thanksgiving visit to Iraq, will visit Hudson's Smokehouse in Lexington this afternoon for a "Hometown Heroes Support the Troops BBQ."
After a six-week absence, Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign in South Carolina tomorrow, hitting Spartanburg, Aiken and Bennettsville. Find the events here.
Dr. Ron Paul, who may be winning the South Carolina sign wars, will campaign in Myrtle Beach today and Charleston on Tuesday.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, is serving in his fourth term in the U.S. Senate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, intends to resign by the end of the year and join the private sector, sources tell CNN.
Lott is set to reveal his plans at a 12 p.m. ET news conference in Pascagoula and a 4 p.m. ET news conference in Jackson.
Lott decided to run for a fourth Senate term in 2006 for reasons including representing Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
He now feels he's laid the groundwork in Washington to make sure the region is looked after, according to a source familiar with his announcement.
A senior Republican source close to Lott said one reason for the decision
is the new lobbying restrictions on former lawmakers.
A new law kicks in on January 1, forbidding lawmakers from lobbying for two years after leaving office. Those who leave by the end of 2007 are covered by the previous law, which demands a wait of only one year.
Mississippi's GOP Gov. Haley Barbour will appoint a temporary replacement, who will serve through 2008. A special election will then be held to determine who will serve the remainder of Lott's term.
Reps. Chip Pickering and Roger Wicker are the leading candidates to succeed Lott. But the talk is that Pickering, who announced earlier this year he intends to leave Congress, would turn down the job.
Lott is the Republican Whip in the Senate and his resignation will bring to an end more than three decades in Congress.
Lott won a House seat in 1972 and was elected to the Senate in 1988. He's currently in his fourth term.
He is the first person to be elected whip in both the House and Senate.
– CNN's John King, Mark Preston, and Dana Bash
Obama discussed his past drug use Saturday.
AUDUBON, Iowa (CNN) - Earlier this week in New Hampshire Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke candidly about his past experimentation with drugs and alcohol in high school, and on Saturday—after a question on medicinal marijuana—Obama was prodded a bit further and asked whether or not he had ever inhaled.
"I never understood that line," Obama continued. "The point was to inhale. That was the point."
On the campaign trail on Saturday, GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Obama's earlier comments set a bad example for young people.
"I agree with the sentiment that nobody's perfect and most of us, if not all of us, in our youthful years have engaged in various indiscretions we wouldn't want to have paraded in the front of a newspaper," the former Massachusetts governor said in New Hampshire. "On the other hand if we're running for president, I think it's important for us not to go into details about the weaknesses and our own failings as young people for the concern that we open kids thinking that it's ok for them."
On the issue of medicinal marijuana, Obama said that if the "best way to relieve pain and suffering is through medicinal marijuana," then it's something he's open to.
He added it would concern him much more if people were allowed to grow their own to use whenever they were simply "feeling really tense" and "needed a joint."
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
PERRY, Iowa (CNN) - Just a day after Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said his healthcare plan would keep costs down more than any other presidential candidates' plan, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, came back swinging, calling Obama's plan "confusing."
"If you go back and look, he said it was universal," Clinton told reporters, "[then] he said it was sort of universal, [then] he said it wasn’t universal, [then] he said it covered everybody, [then] he said it didn't cover 15 million. He [said he had] a mandate for kids, now he's against mandates."
She added, "It's been kind of confusing following his description of his own plan."
Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, both support a mandated plan, whereas Obama does not. He says the reason people don't have healthcare is because it's too expensive, not because they don't want it. Obama said that's why a mandated plan won't necessarily solve the problem.
"Sen. Clinton's idea is that we should force everyone to buy insurance," Obama said in a statement released to CNN on Sunday. "She’s not being straight with the American people because she refuses to tell us how much she would fine people if they couldn’t afford insurance."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Watch part of Mike Huckabee's sermon at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, South Carolina.
FOUNTAIN INN, South Carolina (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee stepped into a familiar role on Sunday morning: that of Baptist minister.
Huckabee, who was a minister before he served two and a half terms as governor as Arkansas, took to the stage for about half an hour at two Baptist churches in South Carolina and told the congregations: "I am here today to talk about Jesus and not to talk about me."
"I always try to remind people that there is a place for politics, but when I come to church, it's to worship," he said at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, where he was mistakenly introduced as "Governor Hucklebee."
In Irmo and at First Baptist Church in Fountain Inn, Huckabee weaved jokes and anecdotes from his life in Arkansas into his sermons while also demonstrating a deep familiarity with the New Testament, quoting passages from memory.
"God is still looking for good soldiers, good soldiers for Christ," he told the congregation in Irmo. "Every single person here is a soldier that God needs in his army. He is just waiting on us to say here am I, send me."
Huckabee said he has been confronted by people unsure about his transition from faith to politics.