(CNN) - Talk show host Oprah Winfrey ventured into presidential politics over the weekend. The media mogul made campaign stops in three key early primary states and rallied crowds on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama who is in a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Watch Candy Crowley's report about Winfrey's 'Oprah-bama' tour.
Related video: Jeanne Moos on Obama-Oprah soul
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore denied again that there were any campaign plans in his immediate future, but told CNN Monday that he hadn't "ruled out getting back into the political process at some point" - and that if he did return to political life, it would be to take another shot at the White House.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, speaking from the Oslo site of Monday's awards ceremony, told CNN's Jonathan Mann that he didn't expect to ever get back in the political process, but that "if I did get back, it would be as a candidate for president."
He did not endorse any of the current Democratic candidates for president, and did not respond directly to a question about his view of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's environmental policy proposals.
He added that "the political system as it now operates makes it very difficult" for any of the current crop of candidates to make climate change issues a top priority.
Gore's political future has been the object of intense speculation since he was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Another White House bid would be the third for the former vice president, who also ran in 1988 and 2000.
– CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand
Clinton and Obama will both debut ads in Nevada on Tuesday.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -– These days, every Obama action seems to have an equal and opposite Clinton reaction.
On the eve of Barack Obama’s first ad on Nevada television, Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced Monday that she would also debut an ad in the Silver State Tuesday, titled “New Beginnings.” The spot is already airing in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
While the Illinois senator’s 30-second ad focuses on reform and a refusal to take campaign contributions from lobbyists and political action committees, Clinton’s 60-second spot features a broader message, calling for “a new beginning” for issues like health care, education and foreign policy. In the ad, she points to “a very clear record of 35 years fighting for children and families, fighting for working people, fighting for our future.”
The message comes on the heels of recent polls that show Iowa Democrats say they are looking for change this campaign season, and believe Obama is more likely to provide it than Clinton.
The latest poll numbers in Nevada reflect the recent early primary state trend of Obama closing the gap on the New York senator. A Mason-Dixon poll released Sunday showed Clinton seems to have lost a solid double-digit lead in the state, although she remains ahead of Obama, 34 percent to 26 percent. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Obama and Clinton’s ads will be the first presidential spots in Nevada this cycle for both parties.
– CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt
Huckabee and Giuliani are in a virtual dead heat, a new poll shows.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Mike Huckabee’s dramatic jump in the polls is going nationwide. The former Arkansas governor is in a virtual tie with Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll out Monday.
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, is backed by 24 percent of Republican voters nationally while Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is at 22 percent.
With the two-point difference well within the survey’s sampling error of 5 percentage points, Huckabee is in a virtual tie with Giuliani.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is at 16 percent in the new poll, followed by Sen. John McCain of Arizona at 12 percent, Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee at 10 percent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 6 percent, Congressman Duncan Hunter of California at 2 percent and Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado at 1 percent. Complete poll results (pdf)
The poll, conducted December 6-9, involved nationwide telephone interviews with 377 registered voters, including Republicans and independent voters who lean Republican.
Huckabee is now the front-runner in the polls in Iowa, the first state to vote in the presidential primary process, taking the top spot from Romney, and he's also jumped dramatically in South Carolina, the first southern state to vote.
Now he appears to be on the rise in national surveys as well. Two countrywide polls last week, Gallup/USA Today and Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, put him in second place, a prelude to the results in the new CNN survey.
Huckabee doubled his support in October and doubled it again in November, going from 5 percent in October to double digits last month to over 20 percent this month, in the CNN poll.
"Huckabee's strength so far may be a positive, values-oriented message," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "He ranks first when GOP voters are asked who shares their Republican values and who has spent the least time criticizing his opponents. He also scores well on likeability and believability, although Giuliani beats him on those measures.
Huckabee's Achilles' heel?
"Experience," Holland said. "Huckabee places fourth, behind Giuliani, McCain and Romney, when Republicans are asked to rate the GOP candidates on experience."
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham is an ardent backer of McCain.
NORTH AUGUSTA, South Carolina (CNN) - Since this summer, with almost robotic consistency, Sen. Lindsey Graham has introduced his friend John McCain on the campaign trail in South Carolina as "the only candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton next November."
Reporters covering McCain's presidential campaign could probably recite Graham's stump speech in their sleep.
But on Monday, the day after a new poll showed Clinton's lead slipping in South Carolina, another name crept into Graham's warm-up act:
"Our party needs a nominee who can be competitive all over the country, just not here in Aiken County. If we're going to beat Hillary Clinton … or Obama … we're going to have a candidate that the independent voter will be drawn to."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
MIAMI (CNN) – Campaigning in Miami Monday with powerful Cuban American leaders, Mike Huckabee made this promise:
"As president, I commit that we would veto any legislation that would lift the embargo that is currently in place, because we must keep that pressure on."
But that hard-line position on Cuba is an about-face for the former Arkansas governor.
Poet Maya Angelou is the star of a new radio ad for Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the heels of media mogul Oprah Winfrey's high profile Sunday visit to the crucial primary state of South Carolina for Democrat Barack Obama, rival Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is launching a new radio ad there featuring noted African American poet and Winfrey pal Maya Angelou.
Angelou, who first announced she was backing the New York senator's presidential bid earlier this year, calls Clinton a "strong woman and a protector of families," in the 60-second spot running on stations across the Palmetto State.
"Each generation of African Americans stands on the shoulders of those who came before," Angelou also says in the ad. "Today, the challenges facing us threaten the dreams we have had for our children. We need a president with the experience and strength to meet those challenges."
The ad comes in the wake of Winfrey's wildly popular tour of early-voting states with Obama over the weekend. The pair drew the biggest turnout in South Carolina, where African Americans make up more than 50 percent of Democratic primary voters.
While Clinton once held a double digit lead in South Carolina, a Mason-Dixon poll released Sunday seems to show Clinton beating the Illinois senator by only 3 percentage points, 28 percent to 25 percent.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
A new poll shows Huckabee winning in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – It's official: Huck-mentum has arrived in the Palmetto State.
In the course of just a few weeks, Mike Huckabee has capitalized on his Iowa surge and roared to the front of the Republican pack in South Carolina, largely on the strength of social conservatives frustrated with the current crop of candidates.
"We've been on the stove simmering for about 11 months," Huckabee said at a rally in Greenville on Saturday. "Somehow in the last two weeks, the lid blew off and the pot started boiling."
A month ago, Huckabee was fifth in South Carolina polls. Now, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll conducted in the state, Huckabee comes in at 20 percent, putting him in first place with a narrow lead over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who comes in at 17 percent.
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– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) - Talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey told a crowd of nearly 30,000 gathered in Columbia, South Carolina Sunday that she was “stepping out” of her normal setting because she’d been “inspired” by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.
"I've never done this before," Winfrey told the crowd, as she introduced the Democratic White House hopeful. "I've never done it before because in the past I've been disappointed by politicians."
Watch Winfrey's entire 20-minute stadium address.
Related video: Obama: 'We're doing it'
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart