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:
Giuliani taken to hospital with flu-like symptoms
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was taken to a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, with flu-like symptoms and is spending the night there, a Giuliani spokesman confirmed to CNN early Thursday.
Giuliani - who had been campaigning in Missouri on Wednesday - became ill and then felt worse after his plane took off to return to New York.
He decided to return to the airport, consulted his personal physician, and then went to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where he was admitted. Full Story
Huckabee leads in new CNN Iowa poll
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mike Huckabee stands atop the Republican standings in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll of Iowa voters released Thursday morning.
Huckabee has the support of 33 percent of likely GOP caucus goers polled, followed by Mitt Romney with 25 percent. Rudy Giuliani comes in third with 11 percent, and John McCain and Fred Thompson are tied for fourth with 9 percent.
Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic nomination in Iowa remains neck and neck, with the top three candidates separated by just a handful of percentage points in the new CNN survey. Hillary Clinton has the support of 30 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers, while Barack Obama receives 28 percent, and John Edwards collects 26 percent. In other words: given the poll’s 4 percent margin of error, there’s a dead heat in the Hawkeye State, with two weeks to go until the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Full Story
Back to the Republican contest, we wait to officially hear what presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo has to say about his campaign this afternoon. Keep an eye on CNN and the CNN Political Ticker for the latest on his announcement.
Finally: there’s been a sudden outbreak of holiday cheer among the presidential field, with seasonal campaign spots hitting the airwaves from Dover to Des Moines. Here’s the official Christmas ad count so far:
* Tastefully decorated trees: 4 (Huckabee, Edwards, Obama, and Giuliani)
* Sweater/sweater vests in festive Yuletide red: 2 (Huckabee and Giuliani).
* Candidate wrapping her own gifts: 1 (Clinton)
* Cute kids: 2 (both Obama’s, plus stockings hung by the chimney with care)
* Guest appearance from Santa Claus: 1 (Giuliani)
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: Surging Huckabee Takes Lead in Iowa Over Romney
The race before Iowa's Republican caucuses has narrowed to a two-person contest between former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, with Huckabee now perched atop the field, propelled by a big jump in support among religious women.
Wall Street Journal: Ahead of Iowa, Republican Race Is Wide Open
Two weeks before the Iowa caucus, the race for president, while tightening among Democrats, is wide open on the Republican side, highlighting the unusual fluidity of the first campaign for the White House in over a half-century that doesn't include an incumbent president or vice president.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Polls Show Mccain Gains
Today, McCain is the underdog, but two polls show him gaining ground in the Granite State after a week of endorsements from major media, from former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, and from a former secretary of state to two presidents, Henry Kissinger.
Denver Post: Tancredo Set To Quit Race
Rep. Tom Tancredo plans to withdraw from the GOP presidential field today, ending a campaign in which he failed to gain much attention or traction as rivals largely adopted his long-held immigration positions.
New York Times: In Charity and Politics, Clinton Donors Overlap
Over the last decade, former President Bill Clinton has raised more than $500 million for his foundation, allowing him to build a glass-and-steel presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., and burnish his image as an impresario of global philanthropy. The foundation has closely guarded the identities of its donors — including one who gave $31.3 million last year.
The Hill: Lobbyists On Obama’s ’08 Payroll
Three political aides on Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) payroll were registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations, including Wal-Mart, British Petroleum and Lockheed Martin, while they received payments from his campaign, according to public documents.
USA Today: Outside Groups Seek Inside Track To White House
Since Nov. 1, independent groups have spent nearly $2.2 million on television advertising, polling, direct-mail and turnout efforts, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that detail last-minute political spending.
Gannett News: Tougher Voter ID Laws Fuel Debate
Choosing a 2008 presidential candidate might be confusing enough, but some voters will face an additional challenge next year — remembering to bring the right identification to the polls.
New York Times: Obama’s Vote in Illinois Was Often Just ‘Present’
In 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate.
New York Times: Obama and Clinton Touch On International Matters
Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama waded into international concerns Wednesday, with Mrs. Clinton being less conditional that nearly all American troops in Iraq could be withdrawn “certainly within a year” if she were elected president, and Mr. Obama calling for banning toy imports from China.
AP: Kerrey Apologizes to Obama Over Remark
Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has apologized to Barack Obama for any unintentional insult he committed by raising the Democratic presidential candidate's Muslim heritage while endorsing rival candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
LA Times: Clinton Toeing The Line Of Campaign Negativity
Clinton doesn't tell Iowa voters that in his younger days, her chief rival for the Democratic nomination behaved badly. She never lays out incidents from Sen. Barack Obama's past that could be exploited in a general election contest; doing so might be considered an unseemly personal attack.
Washington Post: Will Enough Men Stand By This Woman?
As the world of politics fixates on the women's vote in this cycle, there looms a question: What about the guys?
Des Moines Register: Clinton Pledges To Stand Up To Oil-Rich Nations
Hillary Clinton promised Tuesday morning, in the town of Independence, that she will send a defiant message to oil-producing countries during her inaugural address, if she’s elected president.
Quad City Times: Edwards' Ad Draws Criticism In Iowa
A new ad praising Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards for his positions on behalf of American workers is coming under fire by rival Bill Richardson’s campaign, which says Edwards invested in a fund they allege has a role in the shutdown of Newton-based manufacturer Maytag.
Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp: Huckabee Tells Iowans: Show You Can't Be Bought
Republican Mike Huckabee challenged Iowans to back him over rival Mitt Romney to show that money can't buy support and to help save the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses in the future.
AP: Romney Aligns Himself With Bush in Iowa
Republican Mitt Romney aligned himself squarely with President Bush and his national security policies Wednesday, reaching out to GOP loyalists who hold the president in high regard, back the Iraq war and could sway the high-stakes nomination race.
LA Times: Falling Polls Lead Giuliani To Retool His Campaign Plans
With Rudy Giuliani’s lead shrinking in national polls, and even in Florida, according to some measures, Giuliani is retooling.
Wall Street Journal: Giuliani Still Leads in Florida, But Not by Very Much Now
After a poll last week showed Mike Huckabee overtaking Rudy Giuliani in the Republican contest in Florida - the state on which Mr. Giuliani has banked his candidacy - two more polls this week put the former New York mayor in the lead, but not by much.
Boston Globe: Mccain Embraces Laid-Back Approach To Office
Asked on a visit to a corporate headquarters which president best represented the United States, John McCain whisked through the pantheon of Republican heroes – Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan – before settling on a Democrat he saluted for being a "gutsy old guy."
New York Times: Thompson Picks Up the Pace Across Iowa
At a campaign event here on Wednesday, a supporter of Fred D. Thompson started to ask a question, but didn’t get very far. “If you’re the nominee,” the questioner began, “I’ll have no problem voting for you.”
Politico: Fred Thompson: Lazy As Charged
When is retail politics not retail politics? When candidates refuse to get off their big buses and go do it.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Clinton Launching New Hampshire Campaign Blitz
'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the state, presidential candidates were stirring... trying to create one last impression before the holiday break.
LA Times: She Only Has Ayes For Biden
Teri Hawks Goodmann is a longtime foot soldier for Biden on Iowa's eastern frontier. She was there when he sought the presidency in 1987. Two decades later, she campaigns for him again in her hometown.
Wall Street Journal: The Endless Campaign By KARL ROVE
The Iowa caucuses are 14 days away, with the New Hampshire primary five days later. And what follows from there won't be pretty. The way Americans are selecting our
AP: Former Rep. Mckinney Seeks Presidency
Former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who was ousted from office last year after a headline-grabbing scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer, has decided to seek the presidency — as a Green Party candidate.
Roll Call: DCCC Targets 40 GOP Seats
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, convinced that its vulnerable incumbents are now well-positioned for re-election, is shifting its focus to the growing list of Republican open seats, DCCC Chairman, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in an interview Wednesday.
Washington Post: Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats' Year
The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments, from the first increase in fuel-efficiency standards in a generation to the first minimum-wage hike in a decade.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* Fred Thompson continues his bus tour through Iowa with stops in Carroll and Denison. Later, he participates in a radio town hall meeting in Atlantic, and drops by the Missouri Valley Times-News in Missouri Valley. In the evening, he meets with local residents in Council Bluffs.
* Hillary Clinton continues to hold Every Caucus Counts events in Grundy Center, Tipton, Centerville and Burlington, Iowa.
* John Edwards holds "Countdown to Caucus" events in Council Bluffs, Le Mars and Sioux City, Iowa.
* Mike Huckabee meets with locals in Marshalltown, Dike, Waterloo and Manchester. Later, he attends a dinner with the Iowa Christian Alliance in Cedar Rapids.
* Barack Obama attends campaign events in Exeter, Portsmouth and Rochester, New Hampshire.
* Ron Paul heads to Plymouth, New Hampshire, for a walk, a lunch with residents and a discussion with local doctors. Later, he holds a town hall meeting in Berlin, New Hampshire.
* Bill Richardson talks about Iraq in Waverly, Oelwein, Independence and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also delivers a speech on veterans, and their families in Waterloo.
* Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting at the Indianola Country Club in Indianola, Iowa. Later, he holds "Strategy for a Stronger America: National Security" events in Fort Dodge, Orange City and Council Bluffs.
* Chris Dodd campaigns in Iowa, with stops in Council Bluffs and Des Moines.
* Tom Tancredo makes a major announcement about his campaign at the Marriott in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Joe Biden speaks at a Java with Joe event at the Woodbury County Truman Club in Sioux City, Iowa. Later, he speaks at Caucus Countdown events in Mason City, Webster City and Marion.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook