(CNN) - A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday is the first national poll to match up surging Republican White House hopeful Mike Huckabee against the top three Democratic presidential candidates.
Who is that Republican? Watch Mary Snow's report and find out.
CNN's Dana Bash was on the campaign trail with Huckabee in Iowa and filed this report about Huckabee's response to Romney's ad and about an endorsement Huckabee received Tuesday.
Related Video: Watch Romney's new ad.
(CNN) - For the first time in more than four years, a majority of Americans believe the country is in a recession, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday. Twenty-nine percent of the poll's respondents also said the economy was the top issue for them in the 2008 election.
Watch Bill Schneider's report about the poll and the political implications of the economy in the 2008 presidential race.
Huckabee had some tough talk for Mitt Romney Wednesday.
“We didn’t like it when we were in the third grade, I don’t think we like it running for president either,” the former Arkansas governor said during an Iowa press conference. “The more desperate and frantic campaigns get when they see how much money they’ve spent and we’re winning, that causes people to do some sometimes desperate things.” (Watch Romney's new TV ad attacking Huckabee)
Huckabee also denied that his subtle digs at opponents amounted to negative campaigning. “I’m just telling you, I’m not overtly campaigning against anybody,” said Huckabee. “…I just don’t do it. I’ve got plenty of things to talk about, and I don’t need to use them as the filler for my speech.”
The former Massachusetts governor has continued to pound Huckabee on his previous statements on immigration, a top issue for Iowa Republicans. Huckabee said Tuesday that the negative campaigning would backfire, and that he still stands by his push for tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants.
Tuesday, Huckabee appeared with Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist, who has endorsed his campaign – an event that seemed designed to rebut Romney’s criticism. The Minutemen have been criticized for their tough rhetoric on immigration, and their unilateral patrols of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“For months I’ve been searching,” said Gilchrist, looking for a plan that would “end the illegal alien invasion problem… I found the Secure America plan put together by Mike Huckabee to fit right in with what I feel would help at least begin to solve this problem.”
–CNN’s Dana Bash and Rebecca Sinderbrand
GREENVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that he's "not surprised" Mitt Romney has a new television ad in Iowa attacking Mike Huckabee's record on illegal immigration.
McCain was asked about the ad by reporters after speaking to the Greenville Rotary Club.
"I didn't know, but I'm not surprised," he said. "I wish we could talk about our own qualifications and vision rather than attacking other candidates, which apparently the Romney campaign is now seems to be doing quite frequently. I don't think it helps. I think the ultimate result is that we get low voter turnout and that's the opposite of what we all want."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
The Republican candidates are taking the gloves off.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican presidential race continued its brutal turn Tuesday in key early primary states, with Mitt Romney's campaign leading the pack.
The former Massachusetts governor’s campaign kept up its assault on Mike Huckabee’s immigration record, following on its Monday release of a negative Iowa ad with a new mailer in South Carolina that took aim at the rest of the major GOP contenders.
The Romney mailer was the first negative drop from any presidential campaign in that state.
The literature blasts former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for allegedly turning a blind eye on immigration enforcement during his tenure, and accuses former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson of inaction on the issue.
Huckabee comes in for special criticism, receiving a big red stamp of disapproval reading, "Supports De Facto Amnesty."
Recent polls have shown that immigration is a top concern for Republicans in both Iowa and South Carolina. Much of the information in the mailer was also sent to national reporters covering the presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, Thompson – who yesterday attacked Huckabee for his past support for lifting the embargo on Cuba – again criticized the new top-tier candidate, with a release that managed to take a swipe at Romney as well. Titled “Huckabee Takes a Page From the Romney Playbook,” it accused Huckabee of reversing his position on the embargo.
Recent polls have shown Huckabee surging to the front of the presidential primary field.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Oprah and Obama campaigned in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire over the weekend.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Oprah Winfrey's campaign swing last weekend with Democrat Barack Obama was greeted with record-breaking crowds and an equal amount of speculation over how much impact the media mogul might have on the White House race.
After all, Oprah has sent several books to the top of the bestseller list. Why couldn’t that magic touch take a candidate to the top of the polls?
But a new survey out Monday night shows Winfrey's endorsement is unlikely to nudge Obama higher in the polls -– and could potentially hurt the Illinois senator.
According a New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday, only 1 percent of Democrats polled reported that Winfrey's endorsement would make them more likely to support Obama, while 14 percent said they would be less likely to vote for the candidate because of Winfrey's support.
Meanwhile, rival Hillary Clinton's biggest celebrity endorser - her husband Bill Clinton - is likely to have more of an impact. The poll suggests 44 percent of Democrats are more likely to support the New York senator because of her famous husband, while only 7 percent are less likely to do so.
In fact, the former president is such a campaign asset that according to the poll, roughly as many Democrats are supporting the New York senator because of her husband as are supporting her because of her experience. Twenty-six percent of Hillary Clinton's supporters name Bill Clinton as the top reason they are backing her, while 23 percent say her own experience is the biggest factor.
–CNN’s Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand
A new poll indicates voters are more worried about the economy than the Iraq war.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – More than half the American public - 57 percent - now believe the nation is in a recession, compared to 42 percent who do not, according to new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday. (Full poll results [PDF])
That number is up significantly from the October survey, when only 46 percent believed the U.S. economy was in recession.
On the question of whether the nation is in recession, the poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percent.
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes, "Economic optimism has dropped 12 points since the fall - in September 62% thought economic conditions would get better in 2008 but only 50% feel that way now."
Thanks to that unease, the economy has now topped the war in Iraq as the issue most poll respondents identified as the most important in helping them decide which presidential candidate to support.
Twenty-nine percent of poll respondents said the economy was their top issue, compared with 23 percent who listed the Iraq war – a reversal from October’s results, when 28 percent listed the war and 22 percent pointed to the economy.
On the issues question, the poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll, conducted December 6-9, involved telephone interviews with 1,002 adults.
– CNN.com Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bill Clinton has dealt with his fair share of hecklers over the years, but on Monday night he faced off with his first robot.
Or, more specifically, a man dressed like a robot.
In the middle of a speech on behalf of wife Hillary Clinton in Iowa City, Iowa, a young man clad in a dark metallic-like suit - with a helmet to boot - stood on a chair and interrupted the former president’s remarks.
"Bill Clinton, I want you to apologize to Sister Souljah," the man yelled in a robot-like voice. "Robots of the world want you to apologize to Sister Souljah. We want you to apologize."
The would-be robot’s act didn't end there. He started throwing colored pieces of paper around the room, prompting the former president to respond, "You need to find more environmentally responsible ways to protest than throwing grafiiti around."
The heckler's comment was referring to then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton's 1992 public criticism of black rapper Sister Souljah for saying "If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people." In a now-famous campaign moment, Clinton called the comments racist during a speech before the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.