Edwards, Clinton, and Obama have invested millions in Iowa televsion ads.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Less than one month before the Iowa caucuses, several presidential candidates are opening up their wallets and targeting Hawkeye State voters in a television ad blitz that so far has cost more than $13 million.
Most of the money is being spent by the three Democratic frontrunners, who view a win in Iowa as important in the march to their party’s presidential nomination.
Leading the pack is Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who has run nearly 8,000 television ads this year at a cost of more than $4 million, according to an analysis conducted by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN’s consultant on television ad spending. Meanwhile, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has spent $3 million on 5,100-plus ads, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has devoted $1.3 million to air more than 2,000 ads.
In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, new polling shows that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is leading in Iowa even though former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has saturated the airwaves with campaign ads. Romney has invested $4.1 million to run more than 7,000 ads in the Hawkeye State, while Huckabee’s television advertising buys has been negligible. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson trails a distant second to Romney in Iowa in terms of ad buys with around 1,050 campaign commercials aired at a cost of $600,000.
Sen. Obama has made up ground against Sen. Clinton in New Hampshire, according to a CNN/WMUR poll released Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama has chipped away at Hillary Clinton’s lead in New Hampshire, and the two Democratic presidential hopefuls are now locked in a statistical tie less than one month before the first-in-the-nation primary, a CNN/WMUR Poll released Wednesday shows.
Clinton has dropped 5 percentage points since the CNN/WMUR November survey, while Obama has gained 8 percentage points, according to the poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Clinton is now at 31 percent to Obama’s 30 percent.
In the Republican contest, the new poll also reveals that despite Mike Huckabee’s meteoric rise in some Iowa and national surveys, he has yet to catch fire in New Hampshire. Huckabee remains in single digits at 9 percent, up 4 percentage points from November. But he still trails Mitt Romney by 23 percentage points.
Romney remains in the lead with 32 percent of the vote, followed by Rudy Giuliani and John McCain who are tied with 19 percent.
Despite Romney’s double-digit edge over his nearest competitors, and the seemingly two-way battle between Clinton and Obama on the Democratic side, the Granite State contests are far from over.
“This race is not over by a long shot,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Forty-three percent of Democratic primary voters, and a whopping 55 percent of GOP voters, say they are still trying to make up their minds.”
–CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
Romney is expanding an ad that bashes Clinton into Michigan.
The Republican presidential candidate mocks Clinton’s White House ambitions in the spot, which debuted in New Hampshire last month, saying the New York senator has never been in charge of any enterprise, even “a corner store.”
"She has never run anything. And the idea that she could learn to be president as an internship just doesn't make any sense,” says the former Massachusetts governor.
The campaign said the buy is their second in the Michigan market, and their first since early spring.
The Republican party there has lost half its delegate strength as a penalty from national party leadership for scheduling its vote for January 15, just one week after New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - In an effort to preserve his front-runner status in Iowa's Republican presidential nomination race, Mitt Romney is using the hot-button issue of immigration against his rivals.
Chief National Correspondent John King was on the campaign trail with Romney in Iowa and filed this report.
Related video: Watch Romney's new ad
Romney won a key conservative endorsement Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mitt Romney won the backing of the National Review Tuesday, an endorsement that is likely to give the former Massachusetts governor a boost in conservative circles heading into the first round of presidential primary contests.
In an editorial posted on the conservative publication's Web site Tuesday afternoon, the magazine's editors praised Romney for his executive experience and called him a "full-spectrum Republican."
"Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill," the editors wrote. "He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception."
The magazine's editors also brushed aside doubts about the former Massachusetts governor’s conservative sincerity, calling him a "natural ally of social conservatives."
"He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism," the editorial states. "No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
The Democratic White House race is getting nastier.
In New Hampshire, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign released its toughest mailer to date. The piece took aim at Obama’s health care plan, excerpting critics who called him “wrong on policy” and his plan “incomplete.” (Read the mailer[PDF])
The Clinton campaign also sent out a press release that questioned the Illinois senator’s electability. The e-mail pointed to both a newly-released New York Times/CBS poll and a Politico report on a 1996 candidate questionnaire that stated Obama was against capital punishment ,and in favor of banning handguns.
Obama’s campaign said that he does not hold those views, and that the survey had been filled out by a staffer, not the senator himself.
Recent polls have found Obama and Clinton essentially tied for the lead in the Granite State’s Democratic primary.
The Hawkeye State was also the scene of some tough campaign sparring. Obama attacked Edwards with an Iowa mailer that accuses the former North Carolina senator – who has aggressively courted local unions – of being insufficiently pro-labor, citing some of his congressional votes. (Read the mailer [PDF])
Second-tier candidates got in on the act as well, with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign announcing plans to draw a “sharp contrast with opponents” on economic policy in a Wednesday speech.
And Delaware Sen. Joe Biden released an ad in Iowa – his first of the campaign – in which he took a swipe at fellow candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Invoking the campaign mantras of both candidates, Biden said that "when this campaign is over, political slogans like experience and change will mean absolutely nothing."
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand, Chris Welch and Sareena Dalla
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Best Political Team on TV is now portable and available on your iPod.
In the latest Best Political Podcast, Bill Schneider reports on new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll numbers that show voters are more concerned about the economy than the war in Iraq.
You can also watch John King and Dana Bash report on the battle over immigration being waged between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee to win over Republican caucus goers in Iowa and CNN has the results of the first national poll to test Mike Huckabee's support in head-to-head match-ups against the top three Democratic front-runners.
Plus, Wolf Blitzer tells you which three posts on CNN's Political Ticker are drawing the most comments from readers.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
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:
Good news for Obama and Romney in New Hampshire
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Huge news out of the new CNN/WMUR poll this morning: Barack Obama’s recent surge has reached the Granite State in a big way. Obama has gained 8 percentage points, while Hillary Clinton has dropped 5 percentage points in the latest survey putting the two Democrats in a statistical dead heat a month before the primary. Just one month ago, Clinton led Obama 36 percent to 22 percent; today, she’s ahead by a single point, 31 percent to 30 percent. John Edwards is a distant third, rising 3 points to 16 percent.
The Democratic race may be upended, but GOP results seem to be frozen in place in the new survey that was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Despite increasing momentum for Mike Huckabee in Iowa and nationally, Mitt Romney is showing hints of a Granite State firewall: He’s holding steady at 32 percent, followed by Giuliani and McCain at 19 percent. Huckabee is in fourth place with 9 percent – barely ahead of Ron Paul’s 7 percent showing. Full Story
After a week of shooting at each other from a distance, the Republicans will wind up on the same Iowa stage today for the Des Moines Register debate. (The Democrats will have their turn on Thursday.) Tune into CNN at 2 p.m. ET to watch the fireworks between Romney and … pretty much everyone else, but especially Huckabee. He told reporters yesterday that the former Massachusetts governor as “desperate.” Romney has the distinction of being the only GOP candidate – so far – to take aim at all of the top-tier Iowa contenders.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton herself may be out of the spotlight for the day, look for her campaign to continue to laser in on Obama’s “electability” deficit.
And Bill Richardson will try to match the sharp elbows of his top-tier counterparts with a speech his campaign describes as a counterpoint to the “meaningless bickering of his opponents in the Democratic primary.”
After months of squirreling away millions of dollars in campaign donations, the candidates are now opening their wallets to buy television advertising time - especially in Iowa. Full Story
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Now you can take the Best Political Team with you anytime, anywhere. Subscribe to the “Best Political Podcast” for extensive coverage of the 2008 election. Best Political Podcast
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: CNN N.H. Poll: Obama, Clinton Tied; Romney Remains Strong
Barack Obama has chipped away at Hillary Clinton’s lead in New Hampshire, and the two Democratic presidential hopefuls are now locked in a statistical tie less than one month before the first-in-the-nation primary, a CNN/WMUR Poll released Wednesday shows.
Washington Post: In Poll, Huckabee Closes on Giuliani
Three weeks before the first contest of the 2008 campaign, Republicans remain sharply divided over whom to choose as their presidential nominee and which of the five leading candidates best embodies the core values of a fractured GOP, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
National Review: Romney for President
Many conservatives are finding it difficult to pick a presidential candidate. Each of the men running for the Republican nomination has strengths, and none has everything — all the traits, all the positions — we are looking for. Equally conservative analysts can reach, and have reached, different judgments in this matter. There are fine conservatives supporting each of these Republicans.
AP: Dems, GOP Prep For Final Pre-Iowa Caucus Debates
It's crunch time. Nine Republican and six Democratic candidates will meet this week in their final debates before the lead off Iowa caucuses, and lively exchanges are all but certain.
Des Moines Register: Last Debates Could Have 'Seismic Impact'
The Des Moines Register's presidential debates, set for today and Thursday, are the last meetings of the candidates before the leadoff Iowa caucuses and most meaningful of the dozens already held this year, campaign strategists agree.
New York Times: Feeling Heat, Clinton Tries Iowa Up Close
Though Hillary Clinton maintains a solid lead among Democrats in most national polls, Mrs. Clinton is showing signs of vulnerability, with her margins narrowing in the early voting states and her main rival for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama, taking her on more aggressively.
Des Moines Register: Edwards Cancels 3 Eastern Iowa Functions
Tuesday's icy weather, which canceled political events across Iowa, caused some presidential candidates to consider what similar weather might mean on Jan. 3.
NY Daily News: Bill Clinton To Aid Hillary's Campaign
Bubba to the rescue! Alarmed by his wife's slide in the polls and disarray within her backbiting campaign, a beside-himself Bill Clinton has leaped atop the barricades and is furiously plotting a cure – or coup.
AP: If Clinton Loses Iowa: Her 'Plan B'
Hillary Rodham Clinton's backup plan if she falters in Iowa can be summed up in two words: New Hampshire.
Politico: Hillary Can Do No Wrong On Mystery Site
Pro-Clinton site confounds efforts to identify who's behind it, but it echoes HRC talking points closely.
Chicago Tribune: In N.H., Iraq War Fading As Key Issue
Not long ago it was the issue that dominated every campaign event and speech. Now the war in Iraq has dramatically receded as a campaign topic, giving way to preoccupations closer to home…
Washington Post: Obama's Cheering Section Ups The Volume
Change. The word on which Sen. Barack Obama has staked his candidacy. A word that's peppered in all of his speeches and plastered around any Obama event. A word that attracts and enthralls and, in some cases, challenges. Change? What's going to change? Are voters going to change?
Wall Street Journal: Clinton Basks in Buffett Glow
Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are vying for the affections of legendary investor Warren Buffett, as the economy eclipses Iraq as a key election issue. Mr. Buffett has said he won't endorse a candidate but that he is willing to throw his substantial fund-raising capabilities behind both Sens. Clinton and Obama.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Obama, Giuliani Lead In UNH Hall Mock Voting
Sen. Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are the early frontrunners in a mock primary at the University of New Hampshire that kicked off yesterday just after midnight.
USA Today: Candidates Split On Cutting Higher Education Costs
It's a cry increasingly heard among several Democrats in Iowa aspiring to the presidency: Community college should essentially be free.
Boston Globe: Huckabee's Views On Gays Under Greater Scrutiny
…as Huckabee seeks to solidify his front-runner status in Iowa and his climb in national polls, the former Arkansas governor is coming under greater scrutiny for his views about gays and lesbians.
Boston Globe: Moderator Comes To Iowa Debates Armed With Questions
Many voters may not have heard of Carolyn Washburn, but she's familiar, and critically important, to the presidential candidates in town this week for back-to-back debates.
Washington Post: Bigger Than Life
Freddie Thompson hit full height in the 10th grade, some 6 feet, 5 3/4 inches. His buddies called him "Stick." He was a nice-looking kid, played football and basketball, chased girls, horsed around in class, rarely cracked a book. "Basically, just a carefree, underachieving kid," he says today.
Washington Post: Romney Seeks a Neighborly Reception
Wes Burke does not really know Mitt Romney as the multimillionaire corporate turnaround whiz or savior of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics or presidential candidate with the reputation for changing his mind. He knows him as the guy who, on a visit to Burke's home here one Sunday, noticed water running high behind the dam on the property and then offered to go with Burke to fix the broken pump.
USA Today: Ron Paul's Youtube Rants About Bernanke Grab Attention
Texas Congressman Ron Paul is getting help from an improbable source in his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Huffington Post: ABC Exiles Ron Paul Interview to Web
Congressman Ron Paul and 20/20 host John Stossel have more than a few things in common. Specifically, they both think a lot of libertarian thoughts, and unlike a lot of libertarians, they've both learned to communicate these thoughts so effectively that they have earned the respect of their peers.
Boston Globe: For Biden, It's The Résumé Over The Rallying Cry
As Joe Biden lingered after his speech at Northern Iowa Area Community College, a man leaned in and asked for Biden's ultimate sales pitch – the one thing he could say on caucus night to lure friends from better-funded, more famous candidates to support the senator from Delaware.
Des Moines Register: Roboprofessor Heckles Former President
A University of Iowa associate professor dressed as a robot interrupted Bill Clinton at a campaign stop here late Monday, screaming for an apology before security escorted him from the building.
DC Examiner: Book Excerpt: In New York, Illegal Immigration Took A Back Seat To Making The City Safe
Rudy Giuliani says he wanted to deport all 400,000 illegal immigrants from New York City when he was mayor, but ended up welcoming most of those who were “causing me no trouble.”
AP: AP Interview: Edwards on Iraq and Dems
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who has fiercely debated the U.S. military presence in Iraq with his rivals, said Tuesday that he believes Iowa voters don't find much disagreement among Democrats on how to bring the war to an end.
DC Examiner: Book Excerpt: Five Years Later, Senator Still Struggles With Her Vote For The Iraq War
Sen. Hillary Clinton denounces President Bush and the Iraq war so frequently on the campaign trail that it’s easy to forget just how ardently she once supported both.
USA Today: Study: Provisional Ballots Count More In Some States
The use of provisional ballots in the 2006 election by voters whose eligibility was questioned at the polls varied greatly among states, and more than half of them were cast in California and Ohio, a new government report shows.
AP: Republicans Keep Two House Seats
Republicans retained control of two Congressional seats Tuesday in special elections in Ohio and Virginia, thwarting Democratic efforts to expand their control in the House. The elections were held to complete the terms of members of the House who had died.
USA Today: 'Earmark' Cash Aids Democrat Freshmen
A year ago, Democrats won control of Congress in part by criticizing billions of dollars spent on pet projects. Now, freshmen Democrats are benefiting from the same kind of spending, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Roll Call: Omnibus Plans Face Resistance
Democrats struggled to hash out a new spending strategy on Tuesday amid resistance in both parties to an earmark-free spending plan floated by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and a new proposal by Senate Republicans for an across-the-board cut.
Reuters: Bush Issues 29 Pardons But Libby Not Among Them
President George W. Bush granted pardons to 29 people on Tuesday but Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was not among them.
AP: Redneck Spoofs Spice Up 2008 Campaign
From behind an anchor desk ringed with empty Budweiser cans and Jack Daniel's bottles, the pundits of "Red State Update" dissect election politics from the good ol' boy point of view.
AP: 2008 Candidates and Their Nicknames
Meet the presidential candidates by another name - Barry, Bird Legs, Coyote Bill. Such are their childhood nicknames.
LA Times’ Top of the Ticket: The Actress Who Stalked Rudy Giuliani
Actress Kerry Washington’s been popping up at campaign events for many of the presidential candidates these days - using them as a living props while she models the latest fashions for an upcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine. The candidates don't seem to mind the free exposure.
The Hill: Pelosi Buys $16K Worth Of Flowers
Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent a little more than $3 million in the first nine months of 2007, records show, compared to the $1.8 million Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) spent during the same period in 2006. The spending patterns indicate Pelosi is seeking to restore the Speaker’s role as a counterweight to the president and reclaim some of the responsibilities Hastert had ceded to his aggressive majority leader, Tom DeLay ===============================================================
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* The Republican presidential candidates participate in a debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television in Johnston, Iowa.
* Mitt Romney attends a post-debate house party in Johnston. In the evening, he’ll attend the Christmas party at Linn-Mar High School in Marion.
* Rudy Giuliani meets with local supporters at Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa. Later, he participates in a town hall meeting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.
* Mike Huckabee participates in "A Healthy Discussion" on health care policy at Des Moines University in Iowa.
* John McCain holds a campaign event at Bennigan's Restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa. Later, he stops by the Bull Moose Club in Des Moines before going to a house party in Waukee.
* Ron Paul delivers a speech at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
* Bill Richardson talks about education and jobs at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. Later, he holds campaign events in Storm Lake and Fort Dodge.
* John Edwards holds town hall meetings in Iowa City, Grinnell and Des Moines, Iowa.
* Fred Thompson drops by a debate watch party at North End Diner in Johnston, Iowa.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook