WASHINGTON (CNN) - All eyes are on Iowa as caucus-goers in the Hawkeye State prepare to cast the first ballots in a tight race for the White House.
In Thursday's The Best Political Podcast, Bill Schneider reports on a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers and digs deep into the issues that are driving support for particular candidates.
Suzanne Malveaux speaks with former senator John Edwards, D-North Carolina, about his fight against poverty and what he would do as president to battle special interests.
White House Correspondent Ed Henry also has a report about the Pundit-in-Chief.
Plus, the 2008 presidential election dominates the hottest posts on the Political Ticker blog - one candidate drops out, another joins the race, and yet another gets an apology from a prominent supporter of rival.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
According to a Fox News Poll, John McCain does better with Democrats than any other Republican. 40% of Democrats find him Favorable over 39% finding him Unfavorable.
No other candidate enjoys this cross party approval.
AND if the election was held today, McCain easily wins in all scenarios.
However: Of Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, McCain and Huckabee…
McCain is viewed as more Authentic, Honest and Trustworthy, is A Real Conservative, has a Strong Moral Character, Has the Right Experience, and Has a Clearer Stand On the Issues than any other candidate. Yet Giuliani is viewed as a Stronger Leader, Would Do Anything To Win and Has Been Practicing Dirty Politics in this campaign.
Is anyone beginning to see the pattern of the tea leaves yet? McCain's strength has continued to build in the past TEN years and now has a 53% Favorable rating over a 29% Unfavorable rating in these recent pollings. McCain, Giuliani and Huckabee all tie for first in a today election, but Clinton wins hands down over Obama 49-20.
Clinton will be the next Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party, and I believe it will be a McCain/Giuliani ticket at the GOP.
CNN, give the independents equal treatment with a televised debate.
Independents... organize an independent state by state caucus and include the third parties.
What must always be remembered is that the mainstream media amplifies her campaign's errors and diminishes her strengths in ways that are misleading. Foaming expressions of hostility to Sen. Clinton are considered normal among the Beltway pundits, especially on cable television and talk radio. Such constant emotional outbursts tend to distort political news and analysis. In that environment, her opponents are not held accountable by the same standard that is applied to Clinton. For many months, both Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards have been tossing out attack lines that they hoped would bring down her formidable numbers. Obama has not hesitated to use harsh language to question her character, her sincerity, her fitness to serve and her capacity to govern if elected. He has reserved his toughest rhetoric for the Democratic front-runner, while suggesting that he will find common ground with the Republicans. That may explain why Obama has won endorsements from a panoply of Republican operatives and spokespersons, including former White House political boss Karl Rove and David Brooks, the neo-conservative voice on the New York Times Op-Ed page. It is hard to imagine that the Clinton campaign conspired with Bill Shaheen to introduce the subject of Obama's youthful drug use, or urged Bob Kerrey to blather on about the Sen.'s middle name and Muslim heritage. It is much more likely that both men were simply opening their mouths without thinking too hard about the consequences, which is to say, simply being themselves. Expecting Clinton to control every blurted stupidity of her supporters is unfair. These disputes that have lately monopolized so much news coverage and commentary have not dented her national appeal significantly. Although Clinton faces difficulties in Iowa and New Hampshire, the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that she has started to recover the commanding lead that began to diminish in late November, after her poor debate performance. Conducted over the weekend of Dec. 14-16, the Gallup survey shows Clinton gaining six points and moving up from 39 percent two weeks earlier to 45 percent among registered Democratic voters.
Shame on Mike Huckabee. It was Mike Huckabee who raised the issues of a religious test for office, Romney's faith was a cult, and promoting himself as the "Christian Candidate".
Huckabee stands back and acts like an innocent, all the while framing questions about Romney's faith to be questions of his character and integrity. Shame on Mike Huckabee.
Paragraph 3, Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution reads, “. . . all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” – emphasis added.
Well, so much for the Constitution in Huckabee‘s mind. On the campaign trail to the 2008 presidential election, religious bigotry has reared its ugly head. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon. As his poll numbers continue to rise there is a sudden, alarming amazement, a dread resulting in utter confusion and dismay led by Mike Huckabee!
In many denominations pastors rely on the church as their source of income. They are good, moral people whom, I believe, earnestly minister to their respective flocks. Yet, it is also their livelihood. Mormons do not pay their leaders and, doctrine aside, evangelical leaders have problems with that. Too, the rapid growth and retention rates of the Mormon Church, coupled with its superlative welfare system have only added grief to the evangelical leadership. So, from the evangelical seminaries to the smallest southern pulpit the Mormon doctrine is attacked.
Never mind that one would be hard pressed to find a more humble, clean-living, patriotic, law-abiding and civic-minded group of people than a Mormon congregation. Never mind that the church’s name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Never mind that two major articles of their faith are: We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Mormons just cannot be Christians! But they are.
Pastor turned candidate Mike Huckabee, while speaking (preaching) to the choir at the Values Summit said, “Faith is also threatened, and let me share with you how. I believe that there are many who will seek our support. But let me say that it’s important that people sing from their hearts, and don’t merely lip-synch the lyrics to our songs. I think it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue, and not a recently acquired second language. It’s important that a person doesn’t have more positions on issues that Elvis had waist sizes.” Oh, that was subtle, and hateful. It is just pure religious bigotry; “you can only believe what we say you believe.” And it is offensive to the principle of religious freedom. Where do these ideas come from? Well, just ask Noah Crowe, a Southern Baptist pastor from North Carolina, there's nothing Romney can do to overcome their distrust of Mormonism. "he studied Mormonism at his evangelical college in a course called Cults and False Religions. He claims there's nothing Romney can do to overcome their ideas on Mormonism.
Unfortunately in the evangelical south, such rhetoric has marginalized the most qualified presidential candidate, the one who most shares their value system. Moreover, this consternation is unwarranted.
More than a few members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have served in our Federal Government. Democrat Senator Harry Reid is the current senate majority leader. Ezra Taft Benson, Republican, served as Secretary of Agriculture in Eisenhower’s administration. J. Reuben Clark, Republican, was appointed U.S. State Department Solicitor. In 1928, he was appointed Undersecretary of State. In 1930, ambassador to Mexico. Most in the Republican party know of Paula Hawkins of Florida, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Ron Packard and Ivy Baker Priest of California, and, of course, Orrin Hatch. Democrats know Stewart Udall of Arizona, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Ralph Harding of Idaho
Indeed, on famousmormons.net Stephen M. Studdert, Special Assistant to President Reagan says, "Ronald Reagan truly admired the Latter-day Saints. His administration included more members of the Church than any other American president, ever. Three of us, David Fischer, Gregory Newell and I, served on his personal White House staff. Richard Wirthlin was his chief strategist. Terrel Bell served as Secretary of Education, Bay Buchanan was Treasurer, Rex Lee was Solicitor General. His White House included Roger Porter, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Beal, Blake Parish, Jon Huntsman, Dodie Borup and Rocky Kuonen, and there were many other Latter-day Saints throughout his Administration.
The list goes on and on. Many more members have served in high and trusted positions throughout the world in business, medicine, law, education, media, sports, and entertainment. Thank goodness. After all, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”