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Making News Today:
All quiet on the campaign trail
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s the day before Christmas, and the only candidate stirring is Chris Dodd; the rest of the presidential field has abandoned the trail until Wednesday.
The seasonal endorsement derby took a few interesting turns Sunday. The Sioux City Journal – which serves the rural Iowa voters Barack Obama is making a special effort to reach – gave him their backing in the Democratic contest, while the state’s Quad City Times backed Hillary Clinton.
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney received the Sioux City Journal’s nod, and John McCain was the choice of the Quad City Times. But the big GOP endorsement news this weekend was back east in New Hampshire, where McCain nabbed the backing of the Nashua Telegraph – and Romney was on the receiving end of a rare, and brutal, anti-endorsement (headline: ‘Romney should not be the next president’) from the Concord Monitor.
More head-turning news out of the Granite State: a Boston Globe/University of New Hampshire survey of Granite State voters released Sunday found the Democratic and Republican races all tied at the top, statistically speaking: Obama is at 30 percent to Clinton’s 28 percent, and Mitt Romney is at 28 percent to John McCain’s 25.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
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Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope and Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
New York Times: With Nod to Holidays, Candidates Keep a Vigorous Pace Before the Break
If there were any doubts how competitive the presidential race remained, fresh proof could be found Sunday in the itineraries of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who risked testing the holiday patience of voters as they campaigned across Iowa before suspending politicking for a Christmas break.
CNN: New Hampshire Paper: Romney 'Must Be Stopped'
In unusually stark language, the newspaper in New Hampshire's capital calls former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney "a phony" and tells its readers Sunday that he "most surely must be stopped" in next month's first-in-the-nation primary.
AP: Romney Lashes Out at McCain in N.H.
With John McCain on vacation and Rudy Giuliani occupied elsewhere in the state, Mitt Romney sought this weekend to close the deal with New Hampshire Republicans who remain undecided about his presidential candidacy.
LA Times: Romney's Lead Slipping In N.H. Too
As recently as last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seemed to be holding a secure lead in New Hampshire, even as he was losing ground to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in Iowa.
Washington Post: Romney Strategy in Peril With Huckabee's Ascent
A year ago, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney gathered his campaign team for the first time at his suburban Boston home. There were PowerPoint presentations, and Ann Romney made sandwiches. "It was like the first day of school," said one senior-level participant.
USA Today: Pragmatism Has Paid Off For Huckabee
During Mike Huckabee's decade as governor, Arkansas got new roads, a revamped state school system, a children's health care program and other items forged with a Democratic-dominated Legislature.
LA Times: Huckabee Campaigning For 23% Sales Tax
Mike Huckabee, one of the most conservative Republicans in the 2008 presidential race, has embraced one of the most radical ideas on the campaign trail: a plan to abolish all federal income and payroll taxes and replace them with a single 23% national sales tax.
USA Today: Subdued GOP Activity In Iowa Reflects Uncertainty
The level of Republican enthusiasm surrounding the 2008 campaign has not approached the level of eight years ago or the Democrats' race this year, reflecting a struggle among voters to find the right candidate, Iowa GOP leaders say.
Des Moines Register: Democrats Ratchet Up Message Of Electability
For the past 11 months, Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa have heard two words – "change" and "experience" – over and over. For the next 11 days, they will hear this one the most: "electability."
Wall Street Journal: GOP Contest Heats Up in New Hampshire
The Republican primary in New Hampshire next month is shaping up to be as frantic and unpredictable as the race in Iowa, though focusing on a different set of issues and cast of characters.
NY Daily News: Rudy Giuliani And Hillary Clinton Rub New Hampshire Voters The Wrong Way
Giuliani, like Hillary Clinton, came to New Hampshire draped in celebrity and expectation. Each, in their own way, began their effort behaving like incumbents instead of job applicants.
Reuters: Clinton Urges Iowa Voters to Caucus on Wrong Day
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton may have shot herself in the foot trying to get Iowa voters to pledge support to her - she is encouraging them to caucus on January 14, 11 days too late.
Washington Times: In Iowa, Women Cool To Hillary
Not far from where the famed "Field of Dreams" lies under a white ice blanket, Iowa voters are wondering whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's hopes of winning here are as desolate as the hibernating movie-set ballpark-turned-tourist attraction.
Washington Post: Christmas Cheer, Campaigns an Awkward Mix For Iowa Voters
Chris Dodd, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, has been rolling across Iowa in what he calls the "Twelve Days of Results" tour. It's like the 12 Days of Christmas - only with themes such as "Results To Protect Homeowners" replacing all that "10 Lords a-Leaping" business.
USA Today: Iowans Gather 'Round For Holiday Politicking
The head-on collision of holiday festivities and high-stakes politics is extreme this year even for Iowa, where every four winters people pretty much expect to run into presidential hopefuls at the diner or even their neighbor's house.
USA Today: Some Voters Don't Have To Wait For Election Year
In less than two weeks, Iowans will caucus to make their choice for the next president. Under media klieg lights and political scrutiny, they're proud to be the first voters in the nation to do so. Make that second-in-the-nation. Florida is already voting.
Washington Post: As Holiday Break Nears, Obama and Edwards Spar Over Outside Groups
In a final day of campaigning before suspending their campaigns for Christmas, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) encouraged voters here Sunday to view the holiday as a time to become "instruments of peace and change," while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accused former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) of using outside groups to shape an intense three-way race.
Boston Globe: In Shifting Race, Edwards Aims For The Gut
John Edwards, who long has found common cause with Barack Obama in portraying Hillary Clinton as a defender of the Washington status quo, is now trying to distinguish himself from Obama by saying the Illinois senator lacks the toughness to upend the Washington order.
USA Today: Democrats Hustle To Get Iowa Voters To Polls
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson said he had campaigned in 98 of the state's 99 counties when his staff informed him he hadn't been to Keokuk.
New York Times: Giuliani Hits a Rocky Stretch as Voting Approaches
Rudolph W. Giuliani has entered a turbulent period in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, marked by what his aides acknowledge are missteps, sharp shifts in strategy and evidence that reports about his personal life have hurt his national standing.
AP: Giuliani's Loss Set Stage For Success
Rudy Giuliani revels in a reputation for being unstoppable – the bold prosecutor of mobsters and crooked politicians, the dauntless mayor at the World Trade Center. And now a Republican presidential contender.
Politico: Ron Paul Won't Rule Out Third-Party Run
Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) refused to rule out the possibility he may run as a third-party candidate during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Opposition To Iraq War A Campaign Theme
Outside Riley's Gun Shop, there are several signs supporting Republican presidential candidates, but the largest one belongs to Ron Paul's campaign.
Chicago Tribune: When It Comes To The Issues, It's Still Red Vs. Blue
Your typical Mitt Romney crowd is as curious about ending the Iraq war as your typical Bill Richardson crowd is about killing the estate tax - which is to say, hardly at all.
New York Times: Democrats Make Bush School Act an Election Issue
Teachers cheered Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton when she stepped before them last month at an elementary school in Waterloo, Iowa, and said she would “end” the No Child Left Behind Act because it was “just not working.”
Chicago Tribune: In South Carolina, Blacks Savor Electoral Clout
Jesse Jackson Jr. was bound and determined to get some unregistered voters on the rolls. If only he could find them.
AP: Report: Hoover Had Arrest Plan For Disloyals
Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, according to a newly declassified document.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
*Democrat Chris Dodd will talk about the importance of service to both the community and the country, and assemble care packages to send to Iowa National Guardsmen that have been deployed overseas, at a Shelter House at the Main and Bluff South Side Park in Carroll, Iowa.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook