Watch Huckabee explain his role while Arkansas governor in the parole of a rapist.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The case of a convicted rapist paroled in 1999 has come back to haunt Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, with the mother of a woman the convict later murdered pledging to campaign against the former Arkansas governor.
In an interview with CNN Wednesday, Huckabee said it was "heartbreaking" that the murders had become politicized.
"There are families who are truly, understandably and reasonably, grief stricken," Huckabee said. "And for people to now politicize these deaths and to try to make a political case out of it rather than to simply understand that a system failed and that we ought to extend our grief and heartfelt sorrow to these families, I just regret politics is reduced to that."
Huckabee said he had considered granting DuMond clemency, but he dropped the idea in response to public outcry.
Huckabee also said he did not grant clemency because he wanted to ensure DuMond was supervised when he was released from prison.
"Had I granted his commutation, then there would have been no supervision at all," Huckabee said, "I wasn't comfortable with that."
CNNPolitics.com: Huckabee's role in rapist's parole comes under fresh scrutiny
Watch Richardson in The Situation Room Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson gives his assessment of the NIE report on Iran in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Clinton went to Wall Street Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ventured to Wall Street Wednesday to lay out her mortgage relief plan. How was the speech received? CNN's Mary Snow takes a look.
Earlier: CNNMoney.com: Clinton unveils mortgage plan
Obama is only 6 points behind Clinton in New Hampshire, according to a new poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appear to be separated by only single digits in New Hampshire, according to a just released ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Clinton registers the support of 35 percent of likely Democratic voters in the Granite State, according to the poll - a number that puts the New York senator only six points ahead of Obama, at 29 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards comes in third place in the poll with 17 percent, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is fourth with 10 percent.
But the poll also indicates Clinton's supporters are more committed than Obama's: 43 percent of Clinton supporters say they will definitely vote for her, while only 28 percent of Obama supporters are willing to make that commitment.
While the two frontrunners are separated by a small margin in that poll, another survey released Thursday puts Clinton's lead at 14 percent. According to a Marist University poll, Clinton registers 37 percent compared to Obama's 23 percent. Edwards is at 18 percent in that poll, with no other candidate in double digits.
The Marist poll also surveyed likely Republican voters and found former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to lead the pack with 29 percent. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain are tied at 17 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stands at 11 percent.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted November 29-December 3, interviewed 592 likely Democratic New Hampshire primary voters and carries a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The Marist poll, conducted November 28-December 2, interviewed 604 likely Democratic voters and 505 likely Republican voters, and carries a margin of error of 4 percent for the Democrats and 4.5 percent for the Republicans.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Here's a quick look at what's making political news in South Carolina this Thursday morning:
Mitt Romney will give "The Speech" about his Mormon faith at 10:30 a.m. in Texas. And while Romney is in Aggie country, his speech is aimed right at skeptical Christian voters in Iowa and South Carolina. Watch the speech live on CNN.
And speaking of Mormonism, Cyndi Mosteller, co-chair of Fred Thompson's South Carolina steering committee, told the Palmetto Scoop yesterday that the faith is "inconsistent with so many basic Christian doctrines and it’s very unusual to the point that it’s almost unbelievable." Ouch.
Asked if he agreed with Mosteller's comments yesterday while campaigning in Columbia, Thompson tip-toed around the issue: "I don't know, let's what and see what he has to say without prejudging his comments, and if i have any comments to make, it will be made with full information."
An October poll by CNN showed that 50 percent of Americans see Mormons as Christian, while 41 percent do not. 10 percent were unsure.
Thompson was in Columbia Wednesday picking up the endorsement of South Carolina Citizens for Life, which is an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, which endorsed Thompson last month.
Thompson said he does not have a hunting license.
And he caught flak from some Confederate flag fans for his comments about the flag at the CNN/YouTube debate.
John Edwards will campaign in South Carolina today, stopping in his hometown of Seneca, then Walhalla, and after that heading down to Charleston, where he will appear with actor and outspoken activist Harry Belafonte.
Oprah/Obama-palooza will move from the Colonial Center to Williams-Brice stadium.
Ron Paul will return to South Carolina on Saturday, speaking at the Peace Center in Greenville.
How jammed up is the early primary calendar? The South Carolina Republican Party has chartered a 737 from New Hampshire the day after the Jan. 8 primary to make sure journalists can be shuttled down here for the Republican debate in Myrtle Beach on Jan. 10. There are 189 seats available.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Romney will deliver his speech at 10:30 a.m. ET.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says he'll serve no one religion or cause if he's elected president of the United States.
The Republican presidential hopeful will speak about religion and faith in America in an address Thursday that is being viewed as a way for him to discuss his Mormon religion.
"When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States," Romney will say according to prepared remarks provided by his campaign in advance of the 10:30 a.m. ET address.
The speech comes after several recent polls have suggested that his faith may present a stumbling block in his White House quest. Romney will use the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas as a backdrop.
Earlier this week, Romney told reporters that this speech is not modeled after a similar address given 47 years ago by then-Sen. John F. Kennedy, who spoke about his Catholic faith in his successful White House run. But Romney did say he would talk about being a Mormon.
"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines," Romney will say. "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
An anti-Obama e-mail sent by a Clinton volunteer is causing a stir in Iowa.
(CNN) - One of the recipients of a controversial anti-Barack Obama email forward that put Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign on the defensive Wednesday said the volunteer county coordinator who sent the original message may have been unfairly targeted.
“She thinks people misunderstood her intent,” said Gary Hart, who said he spoke with the volunteer, Judy Rose, a short time ago. The former Clinton volunteer insisted “she was just sending it along so people know what kind of information is out there,” not because she believed the charges herself. He added that Rose is baffled by the uproar.
The controversy began early Wednesday when an Iowa supporter of presidential candidate Chris Dodd posted a comment on the liberal Daily Kos Web site, accusing an unnamed Clinton volunteer of forwarding an anti-Muslim e-mail aimed at the Illinois senator, containing charges that have been widely discredited.
The e-mail - one of several hoaxes that have been circulating since the Illinois senator announced his candidacy - claims that Obama is a Muslim whose campaign is part of a plot to destroy the United States. Obama is not, and never has been, a Muslim.
Within minutes, Clinton Internet Director Peter Daou posted a message from campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle disavowing the remarks. Rose, a Jones County volunteer, was immediately asked to leave the New York senator’s campaign, and did.
The war of words between both candidates, who are running neck and neck in Iowa polls less than a month before Election Day, has reached a fever pitch over the past week. Within the past few days, both have asked supporters to track attacks and “dirty tricks” aimed at their campaigns.
The Obama campaign is not commenting on the incident.
Earlier: Obama camp denies 'dirty tricks' accusation
– CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day at http://www.CNNPolitics.com. All Politics, all the time.
Making news today:
Romney to deliver faith speech
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will speak about religion and faith in America in an address Thursday that is being viewed as a way for him to discuss his Mormon religion.
“I certainly will answer some questions related to how my own faith will inform my presidency,” Romney said.
The speech begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Tune into CNN throughout the day for coverage of this event.
Clinton volunteer's anti-Obama e-mail causes stir
(CNN) - One of the recipients of a controversial anti-Barack Obama email forward that put Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign on the defensive Wednesday said the volunteer county coordinator who sent the original message may have been unfairly targeted. Full Screen
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
New York Times: Crucial Test for Romney in Speech on His Religion
Mitt Romney’s planned speech today at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas to confront suspicions about his Mormon faith is being viewed as the biggest moment of his presidential campaign.
Chicago Tribune: Question Of Faith In '08 Race
The fact that Romney, a Mormon, is coming to Texas on Thursday to articulate his vision of "faith in America" is a measure of just how much sway evangelical Christians still hold in presidential voting, particularly the Republican Party's naming of a nominee.
Washington Post: As N.H. Primary Nears, Clinton Clings to Narrow Lead
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a narrow lead over Sen. Barack Obama among Democratic presidential candidates in New Hampshire, a state whose primary her campaign has viewed as a potential firewall should she stumble in the Iowa caucuses, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
USA Today: Parties Struggle To Control Primaries
For a state that is a key player in presidential politics, the 2008 campaign so far has been strangely lopsided.
Chicago Tribune: Relief In Sight For Besieged Iowa Voters
Pity poor Larry and Phyllis Olson. He's a registered Republican. She's a declared Democrat. Between the two of them, they need to get a bigger mailbox and disconnect their telephone and doorbell.
Wall Street Journal: How Giuliani's Slide in Polls Could Undermine His Plan
The Mike Huckabee boom, combined with a drumbeat of revelations in the media about his personal and business conduct, are threatening to wipe out one of the Republican White House hopeful's most important assets: His lead in the national polls.
New York Times: Pulpit Was the Springboard for Huckabee’s Rise
In August 1980, as the conservative Christian movement was first transforming American politics, Ronald Reagan stood before a Dallas stadium full of 15,000 foot-stomping, hand-clapping evangelicals and pledged his fealty to the Bible. “All the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that single book,” said Mr. Reagan, the Republican presidential nominee.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: NH Educators To Endorse Clinton, Huckabee
The New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association has endorsed Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee in their parties' primaries, sources said yesterday.
Quad City Times: Clinton, Romney Shift Course in Race
Now, locked in unpredictable, tight races in the leadoff Iowa caucuses, both the Democratic senator from New York and the Republican former governor of Massachusetts are shifting course.
Washington Post: Paul's Quixotic, Chaotic Run May Make Its Push in N.H.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has raised more than $10 million for his run for president in the past two months, leaving him well positioned to help swing the outcome of the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, a state well suited to his libertarian, antiwar platform.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Schilling for McCain
THE SOUND SYSTEM piped out "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" and "Sweet Caroline" as World Series champion Curt Schilling delivered his first campaign pitch for Sen. John McCain for president.
Boston Globe: Mccain Voices Guarded Optimism On Iraq But Says Hurdles Are High
Republican presidential contender John McCain said yesterday he was "guardedly optimistic" about the ability of Iraqis to make political, economic, and social progress, thanks to what he described as the "fundamental of a secure environment" brought about by the US troop increase he championed.
CNN.com: Clinton Volunteer's Sending Of Anti-Obama E-Mail Causes Stir
One of the recipients of a controversial anti-Barack Obama email forward that put Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign on the defensive Wednesday said the volunteer county coordinator who sent the original message may have been unfairly targeted.
AP: Clinton Volunteer Quits Over Obama Email
A volunteer Iowa county coordinator for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign has resigned after forwarding a chain e-mail that suggests Barack Obama is a Muslim who wants to destroy the United States by being elected to its highest office.
Des Moines Register: Grassley Makes Presidential Predictions
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa predicted today that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will narrowly win the Jan. 3 Iowa presidential caucuses — and Democratic candidate Barack Obama will as well.
USA Today: Calderón Rebukes U.S. Candidates
Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Wednesday accused U.S. presidential candidates of "anti-Mexican" posturing and asked the U.S. Congress not to impose conditions on a $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package.
LA Times: Clinton, Edwards Up The Ante On Foreclosures
Two leading Democratic presidential contenders raced ahead of the Bush administration Wednesday in calling for more sweeping measures to help struggling homeowners with their mortgages.
New York Times: Lenders Agree to Freeze Rates on Some Loans
The Bush administration reached an agreement with the mortgage industry on Wednesday on a plan to freeze interest rates for up to five years for a portion of the two million homeowners who bought houses in the last few years with subprime loans.
LA Times: 1 In 3 Would Deny Illegal Immigrants Social Services
One-third of Americans want to deny social services, including public schooling and emergency room healthcare, to illegal immigrants, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The Hill: Immigration Roils Dems
House Democratic leaders are being whipsawed on immigration policy by two groups within their caucus — Hispanic lawmakers who want an end to Democratic support of enforcement-only immigration bills and vulnerable Democrats from swing districts who say a “get tough” approach is necessary to keep their seats in 2008.
Boston Globe: In high-tech world, candidates still turn to TV
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama gained early attention and buzz with viral videos, the unsanctioned online ads that seemed to herald a new era for political campaigns.
Quad City Times: Personal Side: Candidates' Worst Jobs
All these years later, Mike Huckabee still avoids touching the glass when he opens a door. He remembers a thankless task at Penney's as a teenager, scrubbing away fingerprints only to have customers smudge the glass all over again. Mitt Romney worked in a sewage pipe on an Idaho ranch when the effluent was still flowing. In Alaska as a post-grad, Hillary Rodham Clinton spooned the guts out of fish.
Politico: Cheney Bashes Top Democrats
Vice President Cheney warned in an interview Wednesday that a premature withdrawal from Iraq would invite “further attacks” against the United States and said he has been surprised by the weakness of the Democratic Congress.
The Hill: Martinez Touts Fla. Gov. As Veep
Florida GOP Sen. Mel Martinez, fresh off his stint as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), is one of the most sought-after endorsements in Florida with its early primary and steady influx of GOP White House hopefuls.
Roll Call: Chairman Race Down to the Wire
While the race continued to narrow Wednesday, Republican Senators still appeared poised to elect Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) over Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) as the next GOP Conference chairman when they meet behind closed doors today to fill holes in their leadership hierarchy.
Washington Post: Larry Craig, Now a Verb in Pop-Culture Lexicon
If they weren't already, sex scandal plagued Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho) are now officially part of the pop-culture mainstream lexicon. The Tuesday night episode of ABC's "Boston Legal" featured the show's leading character, played by William Shatner, getting busted in a men's room sex sting.
Roll Call: Officer Indicted in Fires
A federal grand jury handed down an indictment on Wednesday against a Capitol Police officer for the series of restroom fires that burned in Senate office buildings this fall.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, will hold an Organizing for Change event at Gunstock Ski Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire. Clinton will then receive an endorsement for her presidential run from the NEA at Manchester's Technical Community College. To wrap up the day, Clinton will attend a "Holidays with Hillary" reception with John Grisham at Union Station in Washington, DC.
* Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, will hold campaign events in Cedar Rapids and Pleasant Hill, Iowa.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards attends the opening of the Oconee County Democratic Party headquarters in Seneca, South Carolina. He will also stop by his childhood home in Seneca, and take questions from the press. Edwards then meets with the media after a Generation Next Votes 2008 event at Walhalla High School in Walhalla. In the evening, actor Harry Belafonte joins Edwards for a meet and greet and a speech at the Charleston County Democratic Women's Holiday Party at the College of Charleston.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will hold a press conference at Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota, Florida. The Republican candidate will then attend a local house party in Venice, Florida.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will take questions from the press before he attends a fundraising reception in Greensboro, North Carolina.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, will hold a town hall meeting at Timberland Company and take a tour of the Stratham, New Hampshire business. McCain will then address Portsmouth Rotary Club and hold a press availability in Newington. McCain will then hold an Energy Security and Climate Change forum at Seacost Media Group in Portsmouth. Lastly, McCain will hold a town hall meeting at Raymond High School in Raymond.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will deliver a "Faith in America" speech at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook