WASHINGTON (CNN) - The campaign of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said Monday it had built up a daunting field advantage in Iowa – a state where, more than most, a candidate’s primary fortunes can rise and fall on the experience level of its volunteers. It also announced the endorsement of Rep. Bruce Braley, the first Iowa Democrat to officially back a primary candidate this cycle.
The Edwards campaign has trained at least two precinct captains each in more than 87 percent of caucus precincts, Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince said in a conference call.
Prince said that result is a “stark contrast to the organization we had last time,” when the relatively resource-poor Edwards managed to place a strong second in Iowa behind Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee. “Unlike all the other campaigns, we have a both deep and broad organization throughout the state,” said Prince.
The campaign also unveiled an ad calling for universal health insurance for children.
Edwards, who began his Iowa campaign with an advantage in that state because of his strong showing last cycle – and a core group of committed supporters who volunteered for him during that bid – has consistently placed near the top of the Democratic field there in most recent surveys, along with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The three were essentially tied within the margin of error in the latest Des Moines Register poll, released this weekend.
Polling is notoriously difficult in Iowa, whose complicated caucus system means that fielding the most experienced set of precinct captains may be more important to a candidate than claiming the top spot in pre-vote surveys.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - The Democratic National Committee continues to try to rein in the chaotic 2008 primary calendar.
Over the weekend, the DNC announced that it will strip the Michigan Democratic Party of all of its delegates to the 2008 nominating convention if Michigan Democrats hold their primary on January 15 as planned.
In Monday's Race to '08 podcast, CNN's Bob Costantini chats with Linda Chavez-Thompson, one of the DNC's Vice-Chairs, about the primary calendar and how the Democratic Party has responded to the primary dates sets by Michigan and Florida.
A new poll out of Iowa Monday shows Clinton ahead of Obama. Another poll released Sunday showed Obama over Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An AP poll released Monday seems to show Hillary Clinton on top of the Democratic primary field in three critical early-voting states.
The survey, which comes less than two days after a similar Des Moines Register poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama leading the pack in that state by a similar slim margin, highlights the fluid nature of the race in Iowa.
The poll finds the New York senator drawing strong support from crucial Democratic constituencies like women and older voters, who tend to turn out in greater numbers on Election Day than other voters.
Meanwhile, Obama's biggest support - particularly in Iowa - comes from younger and better-educated voters, liberals and Democratic-leaning independents. John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who is fighting for a share of the lead in Iowa, has yet to lay claim to any major primary voting bloc.
In Iowa, Clinton is essentially tied with Obama, 31 percent to 26 percent, with Edwards at 19 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 10 percent. Clinton leads Obama by a larger margin in New Hampshire, 38 to 19 percent, with Edwards at 15 percent and Richardson at 10 percent. In South Carolina, Clinton appears to dominate the field with 45 percent of the vote. Obama is preferred by 31 percent and Edwards10 percent.
But the AP poll also appears to reveal some potential landmines for the New York senator.
McCain won the New Hampshire Union-Leader's endorsement Sunday.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Sen. John McCain thanked the New Hampshire Union-Leader for endorsing him for president in a quick campaign stop at the newspaper's offices Monday morning in snowy Manchester.
The Arizona Republican said he thought the nod from the conservative newspaper was vital to his White House run, though he added it would not guarantee votes.
The endorsement of the state’s largest daily is a serious boon to any Republican presidential candidate, although the editorial board has had a spotty win-loss record over the past few cycles – it backed Pat Buchanan over George H.W. Bush, and supported Steve Forbes in his 2000 presidential run. On Monday, Union Leader publisher Joseph McQuaid compared that decision to its choice this cycle: Forbes, said McQuaid, was the most conservative candidate running in that race – this time, it's McCain.
The newspaper announced the highly coveted endorsement in a front-page story Sunday.
– CNN Katy Byron and Sareena Dalla
Obama's campaign has launched a new Web site designed to track and respond to attacks by Clinton’s campaign
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After a tense weekend that saw a marked escalation in an already brutal war of words between the two Democratic frontrunners, Barack Obama’s campaign launched a new salvo Monday with a Web site designed to track and respond to attacks by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“We're asking all of you to be vigilant and notify us immediately of any attacks from Sen. Clinton or her supporters as soon as you see them so that we can respond with the truth swiftly and forcefully,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton wrote supporters. “[These] attacks could be phone calls, literature drops, blog posts, mail pieces as well as radio and TV ads. Some could even be anonymous or designed to be.”
The New York senator’s campaign has been ramping up its assault on Obama’s record over the past few weeks, but stepped up attacks this weekend after new polls seemed to show the Illinois senator had dramatically narrowed his deficit in New Hampshire, and even grabbed the lead in Iowa in a survey released Saturday. Just a few months ago, Obama trailed Clinton by double-digit margins in both states.
“Less than twelve hours after that poll came out, the Clinton campaign launched a series of baseless attacks against Senator Obama,” wrote Burton, referring to a Clinton campaign release that accused the Illinois senator of hiding early presidential ambitions. “Panicked by the poll numbers, they even attacked Barack for telling his kindergarten teacher what he wanted to be when he grew up. I wish I were joking.”
Responding to the new Web site, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "It's rather disingenuous of Sen. Obama to complain about questions being raised about his record - which remains unknown to voters - considering that he has spent the last three months impugning Sen. Clinton’s character. When it comes to changing our politics, Sen. Obama talks a good game but clearly lacks the courage of his convictions."
On Sunday, Clinton aide Howard Wolfson also renewed criticism of Obama for allegedly mishandling political action committee donations, telling viewers of CBS’s Face the Nation that "there's a lot that voters don't know about Barack Obama." Later that day, Clinton directly assailed Obama’s veracity for the first time, telling reporters at a New Hampshire campaign stop that "you can't get a straight answer" from Obama on health care.
Obama responds to accusations about his political action committee Hopefund.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denied allegations from rival Hillary Clinton's campaign Sunday that his political action committee Hopefund was used to bribe public officials in early voting states.
"Everything that we've done is in exact accordance with the law," said the Illinois senator at a press conference. "Unless they can show that it hasn't been, I suggest they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa."
Earlier in the day, Clinton's communications director Howard Wolfson called Obama's PAC a 'slush fund.' Obama fired back, adding that some of Hopefund's contributions even went to supporters of Clinton's campaign.
"I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations," he said.
Romney plans an address on his faith later this week.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make a much anticipated speech on his Mormon faith this week.
Romney's campaign says that the address, entitled "Faith In America," will take place Thursday, December 6 at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station Texas at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden, in a statement, says, "This speech is an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor's own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected. Governor Romney understands that faith is an important issue to many Americans, and he personally feels this moment is the right moment for him to share his views with the nation."
As for the decision-making process, Madden says that "Governor Romney personally made the decision to deliver this speech sometime last week."
A senior Romney Campaign official tells CNN the speech has been on the table for some time and that there were lots of pros and cons to giving such an address. The official says that Romney believed that the speech was important and that once he "became comfortable with the construct of the speech" he gave the go ahead.
– CNN's John King and Paul Steinhauser
Giuliani went stumping for votes in a Southern Super Tuesday State this weekend
MARIETTA, Georgia (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, banking on a strong showing in this Super Tuesday state, picked up words of praise but no endorsement from Sen. Johnny Isakson during a southern campaign trip Sunday.
Isakson, R-Georgia, joined Giuliani during a photo op in suburban Atlanta. The two greeted each other warmly, with pats on the back, before a row of cameras. Isakson told reporters, "This gentleman came down to Georgia and campaigned for me in 2004. I'm happy to welcome him to this county. He'd be a great president of the United States.”
But Isakson stopped short of backing him, saying, “We've got great candidates and I'm for the Republican candidate."’ After the event, Isakson spokesman Joan Kirchner said the Senator is not backing any candidate, and has indicated he will not make an endorsement. “He wants to keep his powder dry,” she told CNN.
The former New York mayor’s visit to the historic square began in Brumby’s Chair Company. Owner Otis Brumby told Giuliani the store, opened 1875, sent four of the chairs to the White House when Jimmy Carter was in office. Pronouncing the chairs “very comfortable,” Giuliani said, “we’ll do six.”
Giuliani backers on hand had to compete with a vocal group of Ron Paul supporters gathered in a nearby park. As the Paul supporters moved closer, chanting and holding signs, Giuliani backers tried to drown them out with chants of “Rudy.” Giuliani told one well-wisher as he made his way through the crowd, “that’s all right. That’s what democracy is all about.”
The demonstrators appeared to change the campaign’s plans. Giuliani was scheduled to walk through Glover Park, making his way to a large Christmas tree display. But as the Paul supporters held signs and yelled, Giuliani instead stopped at stores and never went to the park.
–CNN's Steve Brusk
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:
Romney to give Mormon Speech
WASHINGTON (CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make a much anticipated speech on his Mormon faith this week. Romney's campaign says that the address, entitled "Faith In America," will take place Thursday, December 6 at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station Texas at 10:30 a.m. ET. Full Story
Obama denies new Clinton attack, calls her 'stressed' by polls
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denied allegations from rival Hillary Clinton's campaign Sunday that his political action committee Hopefund was used to bribe public officials in early voting states. "Everything that we've done is in exact accordance with the law," said the Illinois senator at a press conference. "Unless they can show that it hasn't been, I suggest they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa." Full Story
McCain receives major New Hampshire endorsement
(CNN) – GOP presidential hopeful John McCain received a major endorsement of his candidacy Sunday, from the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest and most influential newspaper. Full Story
Presidential primary calendar set
VIENNA, Virginia (CNN) – The presidential primary calendar was finalized Saturday, after months of uncertainty and just 33 days before the first votes are cast in Iowa. (31 days as of Monday)
The Democratic National Committee approved requests by Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to reschedule their nominating contests to earlier dates in January, while denying Michigan the right to hold its primary January 15. Michigan Democratic leaders vowed to move forward with the primary, even though none of its delegates will count towards the nominating convention and several Democratic contenders will not appear on the state ballot.
The votes by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee were the final dominos to drop in what has been a contentious battle pitting state political parties against national party leaders over control of the presidential nominating calendar. Full Story
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
NY Daily News: John Mccain, James Carville To Appear On 1st Don Imus Show
Shock jock Don Imus returns to the airwaves Monday morning – and he already has heavyweight GOP presidential hopefuls lining up to chat.
AP: ANALYSIS: Both Iowa Contests Tight
Call it a brave new world in Iowa presidential politics. The races for both the Republican and Democratic nominations here are toss ups as voting approaches, a double-dose of fluidity unseen in decades. At the same time, the effect of winning - or losing - the leadoff Iowa caucuses in 2008 is anyone's guess.
LA Times’ Top of the Ticket: Hey, Iowa and New Hampshire! Read this!
Thanks to quiet changes in how busy Americans choose to vote - namely the explosion of early absentee voting as a convenience, not a necessity caused by travel - Florida's absentee voters will actually be the first Americans to start voting in the primary process for the 2008 election.
Wall Street Journal: Obama's Gains Show Volatility Of Iowa Contest
A month before Iowa holds the first contest of the 2008 presidential campaign, a newly energized Sen. Barack Obama has opened a narrow lead here, but many Iowans in both parties say they could change their minds in the next 30 days about which candidate to support.
New York Times: Lonely No More, Huckabee Faces Hurdles
Mike Huckabee spent the weekend in New Hampshire, where he saw something he had rarely seen in his two years as a Republican candidate for president: People. Lots of them.
USA Today: In Unsettled GOP Field, Huckabee Finds Footing
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the Republican long shot who in a new Des Moines Register poll has surged to the lead for the Iowa caucuses, could hardly be more different from the candidate who has led the GOP field nationally all year.
San Francisco Chronicle: Ads Paint Huckabee As Taxer, But Record More Complicated
As Mike Huckabee rises in the Republican presidential polls, fiscal conservatives have been raising alarms about a series of tax increases he spearheaded while governor of Arkansas – new taxes on gasoline, nursing home beds and even pet groomers.
Boston Globe: Money Keeps Almost All Hopes Alive In 2008
Campaign strategists in both parties say the unprecedented amount of money flowing to presidential candidates – and their ability to raise more cash quickly via the Internet – could give longer life to those contenders who lose the early contests, and would in past elections have been too strapped for money to continue their campaigns.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Giuliani Takes Aim At Dems' Tax Plans
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani is trying to make up for lost time in New Hampshire by cutting to the chase with low-tax talk likely to resonate in a state whose lack of income tax speaks to the political leanings of its GOP primary voters.
LA Times: Romney, Clinton Shake Up Tactics
Facing fresh polls showing their leads in Iowa disappearing, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney rolled out new campaign tactics Sunday in an aggressive push to regain lost momentum.
NY Daily News: N.H., Iowa Republicans Care More About Terror Than Rudy Giuliani's Trysts
Many voters shrugged off the renewed spotlight on Rudy Giuliani's extramarital affair – but one of his campaign officials Saturday warned the issue could "haunt" his presidential bid. h
USA Today: Clinton Urges Foreclosures Moratorium
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday will call for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures on homes with subprime mortgages and a five-year freeze on the interest rates those borrowers must pay.
LA Times: Hsu Associates Touted His Connections
Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu reveled in his role as friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton. As Hsu raised more than $800,000 for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, the couple praised him at star-studded events and showered him with thank-you notes.
Washington Post: Stung by Politico Report, Giuliani Puts Up His Dukes
Rudy Giuliani, who made his name prosecuting bad guys, has always taken a two-fisted approach toward what he brands "the liberal media." That pugilistic style was on display last week when the Politico got under Hizzoner's skin.
Des Moines Register: Illegal-Immigration Answer Starts In Mexico, Biden Says
Delaware Sen. Joe Biden passionately declared Sunday that the key solution to illegal immigration begins with Mexican government officials who must expand their economies to provide good jobs for those living south of the border.
LA Times: Heavy Doubt For Edwards' Big Promises
John Edwards, who has pledged that as president he would strip health coverage from congressional members if they did not adopt universal healthcare, faced sharp voter skepticism Sunday over whether he could achieve that and other campaign goals.
Des Moines Register: Edwards: Democrats Can Attract Christians
Committed Christians can be attracted to the Democratic side if the party's presidential nominee projects an honest interest in tackling moral issues, candidate John Edwards said here Sunday.
Washington Times: Presidential Race Revives Painful Workplace Debate
A Democratic victory in the 2008 presidential election would reignite the fight between big labor and big business over a contentious workplace-safety issue.
DC Examiner: Paul Expects Over $12M in 4th Quarter
Republican Ron Paul said Sunday his upstart presidential campaign is on track to raise more than $12 million this quarter, boldly predicting the Iowa polls "are going to continue to shift" once he's finished spending it all.
Politico: DCCC spends money for ad in Ohio special election
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has purchased over $148,000 in television air time in Ohio for a negative campaign advertisement in next week’s special election to replace the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio), indicating the cash-flush committee is eyeing its sights on scoring an upset in a conservative northwest Ohio district.
Washington Post: Campaign Soldiers on the 'Front Lines'
They are the foot soldiers of the presidential race, the young field workers who toil long hours for little pay to man the storefront outposts in small cities and towns like this one, far from the state headquarters where the campaign colonels sit.
LA Times: A Voter Walks Into A Bar . . .
Long neglected by political campaigns, young professionals are being wooed through such groups as "Generation Obama," Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Hillblazers" and John McCain's "YP4McCain" - that's Young Professionals for McCain, in the abbreviated style favored by text messagers.
Des Moines Register: Iowa Students Cram For Caucuses
High school teachers in Iowa are pulling out all the stops to encourage – and in some cases, require – students to cast their votes in the upcoming caucuses.
Roll Call: December Subpoena Fight Possible
Facing a crowded December calendar, House Democratic leaders say they are “hopeful” that the full House will consider a motion of contempt against senior Bush administration officials before the end of the year.
Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp: Webb, Back From Iraq, Questions Impact Of 'Surge'
One day after returning from his first visit to Iraq, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb called again for "robust regional diplomacy” and suggested the impact of President Bush’s troop surge has been overstated.
Roll Call: Lott Move Will Leave GOP Void
While Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) impending departure will remove one of the chamber’s few bipartisan dealmakers, his resignation also will leave a gaping hole within the often fractious Republican Conference.
The Hill: Dems Plan To Focus On The Economy This Week
House Democrats will host an economic forum on Friday, signaling their intent to refocus the political debate on President Bush’s handling of the economy and away from the situation in Iraq.
CNN: Idaho Senator Denies New Sex Allegations
Embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig emphatically denied new allegations of homosexual encounters published in his home state's largest newspaper Sunday, calling the statements of four new accusers "completely false."