McCain is targeting Romney in a New Hampshire mailer.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A revitalized McCain campaign has gone negative on a primary rival for the first time this cycle. The target: current New Hampshire front-runner Mitt Romney.
A new flier circulating in the Granite State hits the former Massachusetts governor hard on immigration, slamming him as someone “voters don’t trust” who is “smearing straight-talking John McCain.”
It also recounts the results of a recent Boston Globe investigation that found Romney had re-hired a landscaping company that had previously employed illegal immigrant workers on his property.
John McCain is riding high off a recent string of high-profile primary state endorsements. Romney still leads among Republican voters in New Hampshire by a double-digit margin in most recent surveys, with McCain in second place.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, recently rolled out a new strategy intended to soften her image with voters.
In today's Race to '08 audio podcast, CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley talks with CNN Radio's Dick Uliano about Clinton's new approach and about a new holiday-themed ad GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is airing in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Listen to Crowley discuss the strategy of going positive in the last couple weeks before votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Bill Clinton said former president George H.W. Bush will help fix damage done to America's reputation by his son, George W. Bush.
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton said Monday that the first thing his wife Hillary will do when she reaches the White House is dispatch him and his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, on an around-the-world mission to repair the damage done to America's reputation by the current president - Bush's son, George W. Bush.
"Well, the first thing she intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill, the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again," Clinton said in response to a question from a supporter about what his wife's "number one priority" would be as president.
A spokesman for the George H. W. Bush said Tuesday afternoon the former president supports his son's foreign policy and has "never discussed an ‘around-the-world-mission’ with either former President Bill Clinton or Sen. Clinton." (Click here for the full statement)
Clinton and the elder Bush, rivals in the 1992 presidential election, have grown chummy in recent years, often traveling and appearing at public events together. In 2005, they started a charity to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
UPDATE: The Republican National Committee issued this statement in response to Clinton's comments:
"In 2009, a Republican president will be working with our friends and allies abroad to continue to keep our nation safe," said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. "The American people expect our leaders - both current and former - to present serious solutions to the very real challenges confronting our nation."
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Delaying a vote on an overhaul of federal surveillance laws until after the holiday recess is not the best approach to deal with the matter, Sen. Arlen Specter told CNN Tuesday.
"I'm disappointed," Specter, R-Pennsylvania, told "American Morning."
"We will get back fairly late in January on the current schedule, and that doesn't give us enough time. I think it would have been a better approach to work through it now."
Specter is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided Monday to push back the vote on the matter after the Senate bogged down over granting retroactive immunity to companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program.
"We have tried to work through this process, and it appears quite clear at this stage on this bill that we're not going to be able to do that," said Reid, D-Nevada. "It is in the best interests of the Senate that we take a look at this when we come back after the first of the year."
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Christopher Dodd, who earlier spearheaded an unsuccessful filibuster attempt to keep the bill off the Senate floor, said he appreciated Reid's decision.
"I look forward to coming back in January, maybe with some suggestions on how we might ease the concerns people have and satisfy that without retroactive immunity," Dodd said after Reid's announcement. " ... I promise I will be willing to listen to all the ideas."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee caused a stir last week when he publicly criticized the Bush administration's approach to foreign policy. Bill Schneider takes a look at how that might play with the party's base.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making news in South Carolina politics this morning:
Mitt Romney will zoom around South Carolina in an airplane today, hitting major media markets: Spartanburg, Columbia, Savannah, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Think some of those Confederate flag protesters will show up to say hello?
Bill Clinton was in South Carolina yesterday but made scant mention of Barack Obama, sticking to in-depth policy issues like energy independence and trade agreements rather than talking about the horserace.
He told an audience in Orangeburg that, as president, Hillary will sign up former president George H.W. Bush to help fix America's damaged reputation abroad.
Clinton had also planned a meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton, who was also in South Carolina on Monday, but Sharpton's flight was delayed. However, a Sharpton aide said the two men spoke by phone instead:
"The President was in South Carolina today and mentioned the issue of hate crimes and Rev. Sharpton's leadership on that issue on several campaign stops," said Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger. "President Clinton pledged that Senator Clinton will continue to address the issue of hate crimes and the need for tougher legislation."
Roddie Burris at The State wraps up Clinton's trip here. (Including Katon Dawson's jab that the Clintons "are very out of tune with the people of the state.")
Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe was in the Upstate on Monday defending Hillary: "She's not an ax murderer," he said. "She has not sold drugs to children."
Obama is up with a new television ad today, his second in the state.
Reps. Ray Mabus and Brad Carson, Democratic congressmen from conservative districts who are supporting Obama, were in South Carolina yesterday touting Obama's electability, and making the claim that Hillary Clinton will hurt down-ballot candidates in 2008.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former senator Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska, told CNN Monday that Sen. Barack Obama’s Muslim ancestry would add value in conducting American foreign policy if Obama wins the White House.
Obama is Christian but his father was Muslim as is his paternal grandmother and Obama lived in Indonesia, a Muslim country, early in his childhood.
While Kerrey acknowledged “there is a smear campaign going on,” in an effort to use Obama’s background against him, Kerrey told CNN’s John King “I feel it’s actually a substantial strength.” “That connection to Indonesia and a billion Muslims on this Earth, I think is a real strength,” explained Kerrey.
The former senator, who has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton, also said that “as an African-American,” Obama “can speak in an authentic way to underperforming black youth who I think will follow his example.”
Kerrey spoke with John King Monday on The Situation Room.
Watch Kerrey's entire interview.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
The Clinton campaign is aiming to show a softer side of the New York senator.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton got visibly emotional at an Iowa campaign event Monday morning designed to showcase a softer side of the New York senator.
Flanked by childhood friends and constituents who each offered testimonials on the Democratic presidential candidate, a glassy-eyed Clinton spoke noticeably softer than most past appearances on the stump.
"It is very exciting for me to have so many of my friends from my entire life who have come out here, to talk with Iowans, to answer questions, to give you some insight and information about our relationships, about what I've been trying to do my entire life, and particularly as an adult," Clinton said at a campaign event in Johnston, Iowa Monday.
"What I try to do every day is figure out how to help somebody,” she said later in the event. “You can try to help somebody every single day, and I’ve tried to do that as a public servant, as an activist, and now as a senator."
The event coincides with a new campaign Web site - www.TheHillaryIKnow.com - that includes videos for several friends, colleagues, and constituents of Clinton's speaking on her behalf.
The event and Web site are all part of an effort to convey a softer image of Clinton, as polls continue to indicate Democratic primary voters view her as less likeable and more like a "typical politician" than her chief rival, Barack Obama.
A spokesperson told CNN the site will help round out what caucus-goers don’t know about Clinton. “You want voters to have the fullest portrait of your candidate possible when Election Day comes around and that’s what you’re seeing us doing right now.”
The surrogates from the Web site will be fanning out across Iowa and telling their stories over the next three days on Clinton's "Every Caucus Counts Tour."
- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Alexander Marquardt
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:
Two weeks and counting…
It’s high campaign season, and most of the major presidential candidates are in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina today, but a few familiar faces are missing.
One Big Apple-sized exception is Rudy Giuliani. While most of the field is spending the day looking to pull in votes, the former mayor will be back home, still trying to rake in campaign cash, one of two days this week he’ll spend fundraising, far from the trail, in the wake of news he’s slashed his ad buys in the pricey Boston media market that includes the southern border of the Granite State. Full Story
Meanwhile, a candidate on the rise, Mike Huckabee is hunting Texas cash, now making the pitch as a major candidate.
And the Texas congressman himself may be taking a down day, but ‘The Ron Paul Show’ continues, even without the $6 million man: his campaign tells CNN that it’s already busy spending the massive new fundraising haul, adding staffers in Florida and February 5 states, and buying up airtime in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Full Story
Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Fred Thompson are stumping in the Hawkeye State; John McCain and John Edwards are in New Hampshire. And Mitt Romney is spending the day in South Carolina, where his staffers have spent the past few days hitting Huckabee hard in that state’s first negative campaigning of the cycle. Full Story
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
Washington Post: In N.H., the Swing Voter Is Vanishing
As Sen. John McCain, a Republican running for president, touted the endorsement Monday of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a maverick Democrat-turned-independent, it seemed designed to capture a legendary brand of New Hampshirite, a state icon on par with the moose: the independent voter.
New York Times: McCain Senses Momentum Is Starting to Help Him
Seeking to capitalize on a series of highly sought newspaper endorsements, Senator John McCain is strongly pushing to attract independent voters who helped drive his victory here eight years ago.
LA Times: Mccain Tries To Turn A Corner In N.H.
In an increasingly fractured Republican race, three top presidential hopefuls fanned out across New Hampshire on Monday, with Mitt Romney seeking to downplay expectations, John McCain basking in key endorsements and Rudolph W. Giuliani pressing his case to siphon votes from Romney, the leader here.
USA Today: 'Family Values' Lower On Agenda In 2008 Race
Among the presidential contenders, however, Mitt Romney is virtually alone in stressing family values — a shift that reflects changes in society, the backgrounds of the Republican candidates and the urgency of issues such as war, terrorism and the economy.
Des Moines Register: Loebsack Endorses Obama; King's For Thompson
Two Iowa congressmen issued long-awaited endorsements
today in the race for the presidency, just a little more than two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
New York Times: Obama and Edwards Engage, Gently, on Special Interests
Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards, two Democratic presidential candidates courting many of the same undecided Iowa voters, added to their efforts Monday to distinguish between each other on the issue of reducing special-interest influence in Washington.
AP: Obama Comes Up Short on Union Support
Barack Obama's appeal among Democrats is undeniable. He's near the top of every poll and he packs rooms wherever he goes. But a vital piece of the Democratic power establishment isn't showing him any love: labor unions.
Washington Post: Edwards Seeks the Issue to Win Iowa
John Edwards, vowing to challenge the powerful on behalf of the powerless, rallied supporters Monday at a downtown appearance where he accepted the endorsement of Iowa's first lady, Mari Culver, a women's advocate who called him "the first candidate in my adult life to make it his cause to eliminate poverty in America."
USA Today: Poll: Electability key among Democrats
Democratic voters increasingly are focused on nominating the most electable presidential candidate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fares better than New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton against prospective Republican rivals.
The Times of London: Presidential Campaigners Find Out Who Their Friends Really Are
At least eight viable candidates to be the next president of the United States were preparing yesterday for a frantic final fortnight before the first American voters deliver their verdict in the marathon contest for the White House.
New York Times: For Romney, a Course Set Long Ago
George Romney had big ideas for his youngest child. Mitt Romney had already made millions as the founder of a giant buyout firm. But his father wanted Mitt to follow him into politics, convinced he could unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts.
LA Times: Quietly Excited About Romney
There's not much chitchat about the presidential campaign inside the Mormon church in Aliso Viejo, even though fellow Mormon Mitt Romney is in the hunt for the Republican nomination. At church functions, even a hint of political favoritism is strictly forbidden. At neighborhood potlucks, soccer games and business lunches, however, it's a different story.
Des Moines Register: Richardson Says He Will Bring Troops Home
Democrat Bill Richardson is claiming the mantle of being his party’s strongest peace candidate as the Iowa caucus presidential campaign heads into the home stretch.
LA Times: Supporters Describe Clinton's Softer Side
Eager to present a more likable public face, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is giving herself a multimedia makeover.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: On The Trail: Delaware Senator Sees Iowa Caucus As Momentum-Builder
Joe Biden and the chairman of his presidential campaign in New Hampshire get the same glimmer in their eyes when they talk about the Iowa caucus.
New York Times: More Hiring and Advertising Ahead for Paul Campaign as the Donations Pour In
Flush with cash after another record fund-raising event, the campaign of Ron Paul said Monday that it was hiring more staff members, expanding its ground operations in early primary states, planning more advertising and looking ahead to competing in the contests on Feb. 5.
New York Times Op-Ed: Iowa’s Undemocratic Caucuses
THIS year, a dozen polling organizations have conducted about 70 separate polls about the candidate preferences of Iowa caucus-goers…if a poll does manage to precisely forecast the results of the Jan. 3 caucuses, that is probably more coincidence than polling accuracy.
LA Times: Huckabee Dons The Bull's-Eye That All Contenders Wear
Just a few months ago, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's visit to Southern California barely registered a blip, much like his little-noticed long shot of a campaign.
Washington Post’s The Trail: Turning Out the Youth
It's that time of the campaign season again. Except this time, as with anything to do with Campaign '08, the worry over youth voter turnout started . . . in the primary season.
Washington Post: The Scribe Who Gets The Candidates' Vote
At 57, having covered every campaign here since 1976, David Yepsen is the old-journalism king of the Iowa caucuses. He is also the new-journalism king of the Iowa caucuses.
AP: Clinton '92 Vs. Obama '08
Bill Clinton says Sen. Barack Obama is a highly ambitious, political prodigy who is asking voters to "roll the dice" and elect him president.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Chuck Norris Kicks Up Huckabee Campaign In Granite State
Mike Huckabee is looking pretty tough these days in the race to the Republican nomination, which is why Chuck Norris looks so right by his side on this campaign trip last weekend.
LA Times’ Top of the Ticket: Clintons Pull Magic Out Of Their Hats
Bill Clinton typically generates a fair amount of his own star power as he promotes his wife's presidential hopes. But Tuesday in Iowa, the wattage surrounding him should grow even more intense - he'll be joined on the trail by one of the most charismatic athletes of the last few decades, Magic Johnson.
Reuters: Likeability Is Key In U.S. Presidential Race
John Edwards wears jeans on the stump. Mike Huckabee plays bass guitar with local bands before his speeches and all the main candidates have been accompanied by family or people close to them on the campaign trail. Their aim is to win perhaps the oldest game in a U.S. presidential race - to persuade voters to like them.
USA Today: Americans' Approval Of Congress Sinks To New Low
As President Bush and Congress battle on the budget, homeland security and the war in Iraq, Americans blame both Republicans and Democrats for the impasse.
Roll Call: Coleman, Corker in Line to Head NRSC
Although the job is typically reserved for the party’s more conservative lawmakers, Senate Republicans appear likely to enlist a moderate-minded colleague to head up their campaign committee next cycle — a move that could prove either devastating or brilliant for a party in transition.
The Hill: An earmark Christmas
Congressional negotiators have added scores of new earmarks to a massive 3,565-page spending bill that lawmakers had only a few hours to review before an expected vote Monday evening. Democratic leaders did not make the bill available for public viewing until late on Sunday night.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* Hillary Clinton attends campaign events in Ottumwa and Donnellson, Iowa. Later, she attends a fundraiser in Chicago, Illinois.
* Chris Dodd holds a town hall forum at the Hanford Inn in Mason City, Iowa.
* John Edwards holds town hall meetings with Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne in Lebanon, Keene, and Nashua, New Hampshire.
* John McCain heads to New Hampshire to deliver a speech in Salem and stop by Hollis Pharmacy in Hollis. He then attends a house party in Nashua, and holds a town hall meeting in Hudson.
* Barack Obama holds a foreign policy forum at the Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Bill Richardson meets with local residents at the Urban Grind in Davenport, Iowa. Later, heads to Manchester, New Hampshire for a town hall meeting on Iraq.
* Mitt Romney delivers a speech in Spartanburg, South Carolina on illegal immigration. Later, he heads to West Columbia, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia for press conferences. In the evening, he holds campaign events in North Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
* Fred Thompson continues his bus tour through Iowa with stops in Manchester and Decorah. Later, he meets with local residents in Waterloo.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook