Clinton said Friday she did not authorize an advisor to raise Obama's drug use.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Hillary Clinton publicly denounced a former top advisor's comments on Barack Obama's admission of past drug use Friday, the New York senator's first public remarks on the matter since the advisor announced he was resigning from the campaign.
"As soon as I found out that one of my supporters and co-chairs in New Hampshire made a statement, asked a series of questions, I made it clear it was not authorized, it was in no way condoned, I didn't know about it, and he stepped down," Clinton said while campaigning in Iowa.
Clinton was referring to her campaign’s New Hampshire co-chairman, Bill Shaheen, who told a Washington Post reporter Wednesday that Obama's chances of winning a general election would likely be hindered by his use of drugs as a young man.
An Obama spokesman immediately called the comments "desperate," and Clinton's campaign soon issued a statement saying they had not authorized, and did not condone, the remarks. On Thursday afternoon, Shaheen announced he was resigning his post.
Speaking Friday on Iowa Public Television, Clinton noted she personally apologized to Obama for the remarks, and said the "gentleman in question has stepped down."
Clinton also emphasized that she did not intend to make Obama's onetime use of drugs an issue in the campaign.
"There are a lot of differences between us, and those are the contrasts that should be drawn," she said. "I'm running a campaign about who I am, what I've done and that's what I'm going to stay focused on."
Related video: Clinton aide resigns
Earlier: Clinton adviser steps down after drug use comments
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd said Friday he will follow through on threats to filibuster the FISA bill next week – and the Democratic contender is calling on three of his fellow presidential candidates to come back to Capitol Hill to support him, as promised.
Dodd announced in October that he would oppose the measure over a provision that contained legal protection for the telecom industry from lawsuits over invasion of privacy if they allow the government access to individuals’ phone records.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor Friday that the FISA renewal bill, which contains the controversial immunity provision, will be taken up this Monday.
Dodd’s campaign immediately sent out an e-mail message to supporters in which they called on the other senators in the presidential hunt - Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, and Joe Biden of Delaware – to leave Iowa behind to support Dodd’s filibuster effort, as they’d promised to do.
“Remember when this all started playing out? A lot of people rushed to send out strongly worded press releases about how committed they were to "supporting a filibuster."
They'll have a chance to show they are true to their word,” said Dodd staffer Tim Tagaris.
“Call or email the Senators that pledged their opposition to this bill to support the Dodd Amendment and a filibuster if necessary. And ask them to be there with Dodd when it counts.”
Biden, Clinton and Obama are all currently scheduled to be on the trail Monday, with less than three weeks to go until the Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
– CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand
Obama is striking an upbeat tone.
MANCHESTER, Iowa (CNN) - Speaking to supporters in Iowa Friday, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama told supporters that “we might just win this thing.”
Hillary Clinton had enjoyed an autumn lead in the Hawkeye State, but recent polls have shown she and Obama are now neck-and-neck among Democratic voters, with less than three weeks to go until the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
"I have to say that although there were some doubters early on, it turns out that we might just win this thing,” said Obama. “We have the possibility of winning this thing."
– CNN’s Mike Roselli
Maybe President Bush should have turned Saddam Hussein into a pen pal. It looks like his recent letter to North Korea's Kim Jong Il might have been a strike of diplomacy.
In that letter, addressed to "Mr. Chairman", the president said a "critical juncture" had been reached in the 6-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. He urged Pyongyang to follow through on the agreement and to declare and dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
Well, North Korea came back with a verbal response today to Mr. Bush's letter.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
Edwards is out with a new ad on healthcare.
(CNN) - John Edwards took a familiar element of his stump speech to the Iowa airwaves Friday.
In the ad, titled “Voice”, the former North Carolina senator repeats the story of James Lowe, a man with a cleft palate who “had no voice for 50 years,” because he could not afford to pay for the operation that would allow him to speak, and did not have health insurance.
“This is wrong. It is immoral,” says Edwards in the ad. “When are we going to stop letting drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists run this country?”
The campaign began airing a similar spot in New Hampshire earlier this month.
Watch Rollins explain why he joined the Huckabee campaign.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee announced Friday that veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins will serve as his national campaign chairman and senior advisor.
Rollins, considered by many the architect of Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide election victory, said in a New Hampshire press conference Friday that Huckabee reminds him of the former Republican president more than any other current candidate.
"There's a lot of people going around talking about the Reagan days, who's the next Reagan," he said. "I was with the old Reagan and I can promise you this man comes as close to anyone in filling those shoes."
The longtime GOP strategist who worked in the Reagan White House, ran former Rep. Jack Kemp's 1988 White House run, and played a key role in Ross Perot's 1992 presidential bid also joked Huckabee's campaign is a "unique" one for him.
"It's the only campaign I've ever been in where there's no donuts and no booze, so it's going to be a real struggle for me," he said. "But one of the good things is [Huckabee] can look at me every day and he can say, I am not going back to being a fat old guy like him, I am going to stay slim and keep jogging."
Earlier: Veteran GOP strategist signs on with Huckabee
Obama has a 1 point lead over Clint in New Hampshire, according to a new poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton has lost her once-comfortable lead over rival Barack Obama in the crucial primary state of New Hampshire, according to a poll released Friday.
In the new poll conducted by the Concord Monitor, Obama surpasses the New York senator by 1 percentage point: 32 percent to 31 percent. Meanwhile, John Edwards comes in a distant third with 15 percent support among likely Democratic voters, while Bill Richardson is fourth with 7 percent.
Speaking to reporters in Iowa Friday, Clinton commented on several recent polls both in Iowa and New Hampshire that show she is tied with Obama.
"I guess I've been in enough campaigns over a lot of years to know that there is no predictability and there certainly is no inevitability," she said. "You have to get out and work for every single vote. That's what I have always done. I don't know any other way to do it."
Meanwhile, at a separate event in Iowa, Obama commented on his rise in the polls, saying, "people are receptive to this message of change."
"I am confident in my ability to lead this country," he said. "And increasingly we are doing well. Not just here in Iowa but across the country."
Obama's chances of success in the Granite State will likely hinge on how many independents show up at the polls. Unlike many states, New Hampshire allows unaffiliated voters to vote in either the Republican primary or the Democratic primary - an allowance that often can give a boost to candidates who are viewed as outside their party establishment.
Of independent voters who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary, the poll shows Obama has a wide lead over Clinton, 40 percent to 23 percent. Meanwhile Clinton holds the lead over Obama when it comes to registered Democrats in the state, 36 percent to 27 percent.
The poll also shows Obama is making inroads with women in the Granite State. The Illinois senator now edges out Clinton in that demographic, 34 percent to 32 percent.
The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Listen to Friday's Race to '08 audio podcast.
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee leads a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of South Carolina Republican primary voters released Friday.
In today's Race to '08 audio podcast, CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley talks with CNN Radio's John Lisk about Huckabee's rise to front-runner status in the key southern state.
Listen to Crowley explain Huckabee's South Carolina surge, the role of Christian conservative voters in the state's Republican primary, the addition of a high-level Republican operative to Huckabee's presidential campaign, and whether Huckabee can continue his rise against a well-financed rival like Mitt Romney.
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced Friday that she had picked up the support of Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell, who pointed to her “strength and experience.”
“The country cannot afford for the Democrats to lose another election. There’s too much at stake,” the six-term congressman said in a statement. “She’s the most qualified candidate and has the best chance at winning back the White House.”
Half of Iowa’s Democratic congressional delegation has now publicly endorsed a candidate. Freshman Rep. Bruce Braley endorsed John Edwards earlier this month. Fellow freshman Rep. Dave Loebsack and Sen. Tom Harkin have yet to come out in favor of a presidential contender.
Harkin’s wife Ruth announced earlier this year that she is supporting Clinton.
Ed Rollins is a veteran Republican strategist.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A veteran Republican strategist considered by many the architect of Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide election victory is set to take the helm of Mike Huckabee's surging presidential bid, CNN has learned.
Ed Rollins - the longtime GOP strategist who worked in the Reagan White House, ran former Sen. Jack Kemp's 1988 White House run, and played a key role in Ross Perot's 1992 presidential bid - will be formally named Huckabee's national campaign chairman later Friday at an event in New Hampshire.
Rollins told CNN's John King that over the last several months he has become "more and more impressed by the day" with Huckabee.
"I had given up the profession and felt this was probably my last campaign and I wanted to help," Rollins said. "Mike is someone with great communications skills and a very approachable message and that is why you see his support growing not just in Iowa but across the country."
Asked if he thought Huckabee - who currently holds leads in key early voting states in several recent polls - has the chance to win the nomination over more well-known and better funded candidates, Rollins said "the skill factor is certainly there."
"There is a great outpouring of support by people who have seen him, and more and more by people who see him from afar and are impressed," he said.
"The struggle now is to take it beyond Iowa and go nationally, and what you have is a growing candidacy, and I think I can help."
Rollins also said his job will include building a broader campaign structure and recruiting more seasoned advisors with experience in running a national presidential campaign.
Rollins is currently a regular contributor to CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight.
– CNN's John King and Dana Bash