The Romney campaign is going after three of its rivals on immigration.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - On the same day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went on the airwaves in Iowa attacking Republican rival Mike Huckabee's record on illegal immigration, his campaign in South Carolina sent out a new mailer hitting three of Romney's fellow presidential contenders on the issue.
The mail piece, obtained by CNN, is the first from any presidential hopeful in the state to draw a direct contrast with a rival on an issue. Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul have so far sent out more mail this cycle than any candidate in the state.
"Compare the records on illegal immigration" is the headline of the mailer, which blasts Huckabee ("Special Benefits for Illegals"), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ("A Sanctuary City") and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson ("A Do Nothing Record"). Meanwhile, Romney has a "record of results" and provides "strong leadership on illegal immigration."
[Click here to read the mail piece.]
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has suffered political damage because of his past immigration positions, is not mentioned. McCain is currently running fifth in South Carolina, behind Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani and Thompson.
The Romney campaign, which has seen Mike Huckabee sap their support from social conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina, took special aim at the former Arkansas governor: he is the only candidate featured on the mailer who receives a big red stamp of disapproval reading, "Supports De Facto Amnesty."
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
It looks like Republicans are searching for a little inspiration.
A new poll shows that with just three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, an overwhelming majority of Republican voters across the country say they haven't made a final decision yet about who to support.
It's ugly out there. The New York Times/CBS News poll suggests that none of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half of Republican voters.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
Shea-Porter endorsed Obama Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said Tuesday that she is backing fellow Democrat Barack Obama in her state’s presidential primary. The announcement gives the Illinois senator a clean sweep of the Granite State’s two-member congressional delegation.
“For the past year I’ve had the privilege to stand beside most of the Democratic candidates for president," she said in a conference call with reporters. "I respect and admire them all,” but, she added, “the winds of change are in Barack Obama’s sails.”
While New York Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to lead Obama in most national polls, the two candidates are statistically tied in the most recent Mason-Dixon poll of New Hampshire voters.
Shea-Porter’s announcement Tuesday came despite an earlier vow from the congresswoman that she would remain neutral through the January 8 vote.
In July, New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes became the first Democratic congressman from an early-voting state to endorse a presidential candidate when he announced his support for Obama’s White House bid.
Also during Tuesday's call, Obama would not condemn a new negative flier distributed by Clinton’s campaign that attacks his health care plan.
“I think it’s entirely legitimate to talk about the issues,” he said.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mike Huckabee said Tuesday he would be “very willing” to meet with the mother of AIDS victim Ryan White to discuss his 1992 comments on AIDS patients.
At an event this morning, Huckabee said, “I’d be very willing to meet with her. I would tell them that we’ve come a long way in research and treatment and I certainly never would want to say anything that would be hurtful to them or anybody else.”
He added that he would “have great regret and anxiety” if his comments added to any family’s pain “regardless of how they contracted AIDS.”
Earlier, activist groups the Human Rights Campaign and the AIDS Institute sent a letter to Huckabee asking him to personally meet with Jeanne White-Ginder. In the letter, the groups said that “this was not and is not an issue of political correctness. Rather, this is an issue of valuing science-based evidence over unfounded fear or prejudice.”
- CNN’s Dana Bash, Evan Glass and Steve Brusk
Despite Huckabee's surge to the front of the GOP pack, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday shows that Huckabee would lose in a head-to-head match up with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards.
In today's Race to '08 audio podcast, CNN Political Editor Mark Preston chats with CNN Radio's John Lisk about Tuesday's poll results, former senator John Edwards, and the upcoming Iowa caucuses.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - In a new ad up in Iowa, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden takes a swipe at fellow candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying that "when this campaign is over, political slogans like experience and change will mean absolutely nothing."
Clinton and Obama have been in a back-and-forth over which quality is most important, experience or change.
"The next president has to act," the Delaware senator continues in the ad, which began airing Tuesday in the Hawkeye State.
Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also touts his plan on Iraq, and mentions that "when Pakistan erupted in crisis" he spoke with President Pervez Musharraf before President Bush.
"You don't have to guess what I'll do as president," Biden concludes. "Just look at what I've done."
The spot is his second in Iowa this year. The first went up in August.
On Monday, Biden said he plans on finishing in the top three in Iowa, which will pave his path to the nomination.
Biden was in fifth place in the most recent Mason-Dixon poll, released Sunday, with the support of 5 percent of Democratic caucus voters in Iowa.
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Thompson has no events scheduled in New Hampshire through the end of the year.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fred Thompson has decided to abandon the Granite State, and will campaign in Iowa full-time until the January 3 caucuses.
The former Tennessee senator is planning to begin a bus tour of the Hawkeye State next week that will run through the end of the year, with a brief break for the Christmas holiday, campaign spokesman Jeff Sadosky tells CNN.
A "strong finish" in Iowa "will allow us to springboard into South Carolina, Florida and the rest of the February 5 states in a very strong position," said Sadosky.
The move represents an about-face from Thompson's position as recently as last month, when the New York Times reported that he responded to complaints from New Hampshire voters that he hadn’t spent enough time there with promises to visit "early and often."
Thompson is running fifth in New Hampshire in the latest Mason-Dixon poll of GOP primary voters, released Sunday. That same survey showed him in third place in Iowa, with 11 percent of the vote, and fourth in a very competitive South Carolina race, with 14 percent.
- CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand
Romney is launching a new ad in Iowa attacking Huckabee's immigration stances.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee found himself under fire from rival Republicans Monday, in the wake of a weekend of new polls that showed the former Arkansas governor surging in early primary states.
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign kept up a steady stream of attack, criticizing Huckabee for everything from past support for ending the Cuban embargo to allegedly allowing state hard drives and servers to be destroyed while he was governor.
And CNN’s John King reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that it plans to run a television ad in Iowa that targets Huckabee’s record on illegal immigration. The spot, which attacks him by name, hits the airwaves Tuesday.
“The Record” compares the candidates’ conservative stands on social issues, but draws a sharp contrast on their track records on immigration policy: “Mitt Romney stood up, and vetoed in-state tuition for illegal aliens…opposed driver’s licenses for illegals,” says the announcer. “Mike Huckabee? Supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants. Huckabee even supported taxpayer-funded scholarships for illegal aliens.
“On immigration, the choice matters.”
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said the ad was intended to highlight the difference between the former Massachusetts governor’s “pro-enforcement record” – under assault after recent revelations that he employed illegal immigrants on his property – and Huckabee’s somewhat softer stance in the past.
Surveys have found that illegal immigration consistently ranks as one of the most important issues among likely Republican voters in Iowa.
The new ad follows a Huckabee spot running in Iowa in which he highlights his new get-tough plan on illegal immigration. In "Secure Our Borders," Huckabee calls for "no amnesty" and says, "It ought to be at least as difficult to get across an international border as it is to get on an airplane in our own hometown."
–CNN's John King, Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand
All planes have been grounded at the Des Moines airport, causing havoc on the campaign trail.
(CNN) –– Snow and ice shut down campaign season in Iowa Tuesday, as politics took a back seat to safety concerns and travel headaches.
On the Democratic side, former President Bill Clinton has canceled planned stops on behalf of his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. The events were to take him to In West Branch, Wapello, and Burlington, Iowa.
John Edwards canceled his first event of the day in Clinton, though the campaign hoped the former North Carolina senator would be able to make it to planned evening in events the eastern part of the state.
As for Republicans, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – the leader in recent Hawkeye State polls – has canceled two appearances. But the weather couldn’t stop the latest round of an increasingly bitter between Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over immigration.
On a day when both campaigns are on the air with new ads attacking his past stands on immigration policy, Huckabee went ahead with a Council Bluffs event where he received an endorsement from Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the anti-immigration group Minuteman Project.
Romney is planning to go forward with a midday event in Des Moines, but his wife Ann has canceled her campaign appearances.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul has several stops in Iowa planned starting Tuesday afternoon. His campaign said the events will go forward as scheduled, though they are continuing to assess the travel situation.
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has doubled his support nationally among GOP voters, a poll says.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - While presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new polls of GOP candidates, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday shows he would lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in hypothetical contests.
In head-to-head matchups - the first to include Huckabee - the former Arkansas governor loses to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina by 25 points (60 percent to 35 percent).
The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday that showed Huckabee doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and is in a statistical dead heat with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. (Full poll results [PDF])
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney