WASHINGTON (CNN) - Did you miss Wednesday’s afternoon GOP debate in Iowa? No problem, we've got you covered.
Just download the latest episode of The Best Political Podcast and let the Best Political Team on TV catch you up. John King covers the debate, Bill Schneider breaks down the latest CNN poll numbers out of New Hampshire - you may be surprised by the results - Mike Huckabee has an apology to share with Wolf Blitzer, and Candy Crowley looks ahead to Thursday’s Democratic debate in Iowa. Plus, we take a look at the hottest stories percolating on the Political Ticker.
Watch an episode, or better yet, take a load off your mind, and subscribe - then the podcast will automatically get delivered to your iPod every evening.
Click here to subscribe to The Best Political Podcast
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Clinton's campaign chairman denied the campaign was in disarray.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman dismissed newspaper stories that described massive discord among her advisers as “distractions” Wednesday - though he did not address reports that aides are upset with former President Bill Clinton’s recent outspokenness on the campaign trail.
Terry McAuliffe was responding to a story in Wednesday’s New York Daily News that described the campaign in disarray. In the account, the New York senator’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, is described as "very engaged and very agitated,” according to an anonymous Democrat quoted in the piece, who added, that Clinton was yelling at [chief strategist] Mark Penn a lot."
The report quoted other supporters who criticized recent Clinton campaign ads, saying they lacked focus.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, McAuliffe said Clinton had assembled an “outstanding team” that “remains focused on winning votes,” adding that “the President is thrilled to be helping his wife.” He did not address any of the issues raised or incidents described in the piece.
The story follows several similar reports in recent weeks, including an account by Al Hunt of Bloomberg News that described the former president as “bouncing off the walls at the campaign's ineptitude in the past few weeks.”
The same article said that campaign officials were “privately furious” at him for remarks he made about his opposition to the Iraq war.
– CNN Associate Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Bush made some candid comments about his past alcohol problems.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Offering rare public comments on his past problems with alcohol, President Bush told an interviewer Tuesday that he had never been a "knee-walking drunk," but that "I doubt I'd be standing here if I hadn't quit drinking whiskey, and beer, and wine and all that."
Bush has previously said he often drank too much as a young man, and that he quit drinking in 1986 after overindulging on his 40th birthday.
Shortly before the 2000 presidential election, news surfaced he was arrested in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol near his parents' home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
“Alcohol can compete with your affections. It sure did in my case - affections with your family, or affections for exercise,” Bush told the ABC News interviewer Tuesday.
"It was the competition that I decided just wasn't worth it.”
The president also maintained he has not had a drink of alcohol in 21 years since he quit, and said he's a "better man for it."
Huckabee told CNN Wednesday he apologized to Romney for a comment he made to the New York Times about Mormonism.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee told CNN Wednesday he personally apologized to rival Mitt Romney for comments he made in an upcoming New York Times Magazine article that appear to disparage the Mormon faith.
"After the debate today I went to Mitt Romney and apologized to him. I said, I would never try, ever to try to somehow pick out some point of your faith and make it an issue, and I wouldn't," Huckabee told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I've stayed away from talking about Mitt Romney's faith. I told him face-to-face, I said I don't think your being a Mormon ought to make you more or less qualified for being a president."
Asked how Romney responded to the apology, Huckabee said the Massachusetts Republican was “gracious.”
The comments in question come in a New York Times Magazine profile - a preview of which was posted on the paper's Web site Wednesday morning. In the article, reporter Zev Chafets asked Huckabee whether he thought Mormonism was a religion or a cult, and the former Arkansas governor responds with a question: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, said he thought it was the former but conceded he doesn't "know much about it."
Romney, a Huckabee rival for the 2008 GOP nomination, is a member of the Mormon church, officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
In the beginning it was a juggernaut. The caucuses and primaries were seen as little more than an inconvenience on the road to Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman president of the United States. But something bad is happening on the yellow brick road.
At one time Clinton had a 6 point lead over Barack Obama in Iowa. Today, Obama is ahead by 3 points.
In New Hampshire, Clinton had a 19 point lead earlier this fall. As of today, that's gone. In fact, Barack Obama is statistically tied with her according to a new "CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Presidential Primary Poll Conducted by The University of New Hampshire."
It's hard to tell exactly when things began to unravel.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
Alan Keyes is among the Republican presidential candidates on the debate stage.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A familiar campaign figure is on stage in Johnston with the rest of the Republican field for the first time this year.
Former Ambassador Alan Keyes may be making his major debate debut this cycle at the Des Moines Register/Iowa Public Television debate, but this is the third presidential run for the veteran campaigner, who has also made three unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate.
Keyes may barely register in most recent surveys of Iowa primary voters, but he meets the criteria laid out by debate organizers: he registered at least 1 percent in October’s Des Moines Register poll, he has filed an official FEC statement of candidacy, and he hired an Iowa campaign staffer and opened an Iowa campaign office as of October 1.
Keyes did participate in a September Republican debate that was skipped by the leading GOP contenders.
On the Democratic side, underdog contenders like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are both out of luck – they will not be included in Thursday’s Democratic debate. (Kucinich was disqualified because his Iowa field director works out of his home.)
- CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Joe Erwin, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic party, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president on Wednesday.
Erwin said on a conference call with reporters that Obama "can build relationships in Washington and around the country."
"Barack Obama is the person who most gets the eyes and ears and increasingly the hearts of independent voters," he said.
Erwin, from Greenville, was party chairman from 2003 until April of this year.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
JOHNSTON, Iowa (CNN) - As the candidates face off in the debate hall at the Maytag Auditorium in suburban Des Moines, the national political media is watching and reporting on all the action from a media filing center just a few rooms away. And it’s close quarters.
There are far too many reporters, producers, writers and camera operators in a room way too small to hold the crowd. And this media filing center also doubles as a live shot location for our CNN reporters and correspondents from other networks.
The space is also being used as a spin room as well. It’s the smallest debate media filing center space we’ve been in to date, and we’ve been at a record number of presidential debates this year.
It may be cold outside, here in media center, as we sit on top of each other, it’s quite cozy.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Huckabee is taking heat for his comments on Mormonism.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is facing fire Wednesday for comments he makes in an upcoming New York Times Magazine article that appear to disparage the Mormon faith.
In the article, a preview of which is posted on the New York Times Web site, the former Arkansas governor is quoted as asking, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
The comment came after New York Times reporter Zev Chafets asked Huckabee point-blank whether he thought Mormonism was a religion or a cult. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, said he thought it was the former, but conceded he doesn't "know much about it."
Speaking on NBC's Today Show, rival candidate Mitt Romney - himself a Mormon - said, "I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's not the American way."
In a statement released late Tuesday night, Huckabee's campaign said the candidate was taken out of context in the New York Times article and was not bashing the religion but instead was "illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign."
"Gov. Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation, and not focus on questions of religious belief," Dr. Charmaine Yoest, a senior advisor to the campaign said in a statement. "He wants to assure persons of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance and freedom of worship."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making political news in South Carolina today:
John Edwards is up with his fourth TV ad in South Carolina, and the airtime may be helping: Edwards is rising, albeit slightly, in state polls numbers. In the 60-second spot, called "Heroes," he tells Democrats to "have a little backbone" and "stand up for working men and women."
Mitt Romney is out with a new mailer hitting all of his rivals on the illegal immigration issue, except for Sen. John McCain.
As for McCain, he spoke to the Greenville Rotary Club on Tuesday, telling business-minded Upstaters that he would keep Bush's tax cuts permanent. He also said he wasn't surprised by Romney's criticisms of his rivals.
Trying to avoid prison time, Thomas Ravenel's attorneys say he is not a "drug lord."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby