WASHINGTON (CNN) - He may be a former president, but Democrat Hillary Clinton says husband Bill won't take part in sensitive national security briefings if she wins the White House.
In an interview with ABC News set to air Sunday, the New York Democrat says her husband will assume the traditional responsibilities of the president's spouse, and it "wouldn't be appropriate" for him to sit in on National Security Council meetings.
"I think he would play the role that spouses have always played for presidents," she said in the interview, according to ABCNews.com. "He will not have a formal, official role, but just as presidents rely on wives, husbands, fathers, friends of long years, he will be my close confidante and adviser as I was with him."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - A holiday card that falsely claims to be from "the Romney family" and highlights Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was anonymously sent to Republican mailboxes across South Carolina earlier this week.
The source of the card is unknown.
The mailer, which says it is "Paid for by the Boston Massachusetts Temple," displays a quote from Mormon apostle Orson Pratt saying that God had multiple wives:
"We have now clearly shown that God the father had a plurality of wives, one or more being eternity by whom he begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus, his first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world," the quote reads.
A copy of the glossy brochure obtained by CNN offers holiday wishes from "the Romney family": "We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year," it says.
The card focuses on the Republican presidential candidate's home state of Massachusetts, displaying a photo of the Mormon Temple in Boston as well as a snowy photo of the Public Garden in Boston.
The mailing also quotes from the first Book of Nephi, part of the book of Mormon, in which the Virgin Mary is described as "exceedingly fair and white."
Romney spokesman Will Holley condemned the card.
"It is sad and unfortunate that this kind of deception and trickery has been employed," Holley said. "There is absolutely no place for it in American politics."
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards said Sunday that he would like Bill Clinton to play a role in his administration, and called it a “complete fantasy” that the former president would not play a part in his wife’s administration if she were to win.
Edwards is battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"I think it's unrealistic to think that President Clinton wouldn't play a major role,” Edwards said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ “You know, as a matter of fact, I think that President Clinton may play some role in my administration in providing help around the world and with leaders around the world."
Edwards also repeated recent claims that he could not directly contact an independent group run by a former aide to ask that it stop advertising on his behalf, saying that any direct communication with the group would be against campaign finance laws. Edwards has said publicly that he would prefer if the ads did not air, but cannot stop them from running.
(CNN) - A new poll suggests that the Democratic and Republican presidential contests both appear to be dead heats - tied at the top with just over a week to go until the New Hampshire primary.
Among likely Republican primary voters, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain of Arizona are tied at 30 percent in the American Research Group survey released Sunday. Romney had long been the frontrunner in most surveys of New Hampshire Republicans, but McCain has made a steady climb in the polls in there the past few weeks.
McCain, the early national frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, but he was left for dead by much of the political establishment in August, after a money shortage forced his campaign to trim staff. But times have changed for McCain, thanks in part to positive debate performances and some key major media endorsements in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is in third place among likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, at 11 percent, with Rudy Giuliani two points back. Most other recent polls in the Granite State put the former New York City mayor in third place, in double digits. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas follows with 7 percent, with support for the remaining Republican White House hopefuls all in the lower single digits.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee said Sunday he would not back down from a 1998 statement in which he said he hoped Baptists would "answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."
The ordained Baptist minister made that remark at a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention nearly a decade ago. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Huckabee said that "it was a speech made to a Christian gathering, and certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists."
Evangelicals have been a driving force behind his rise in the polls. But with Huckabee’s ascending fortunes has come greater scrutiny of the role of religion in his campaign.
On Sunday, Huckabee tried to address those concerns, saying a person’s faith, or lack of faith, would not keep them from serving in his administration.
"The key issue of real faith is that it never can be forced on someone,” Huckabee said. “And never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else's faith or to restrict."
The presidential hopeful said he does not believe that women should face legal penalties for having abortions, but that the doctors who perform the procedure should.
"I don't know that you'd put him in prison, but there's something to me untoward about a person who has committed himself to healing people and to making people alive who would take money to take an innocent life and to make that life dead," Huckabee said.
The former governor also defended a 1998 book excerpt in which he said that “homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle."
“I don't know whether people are born that way,” Huckabee said. “People who are gay say that they're born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. ...”
"But the most important thing is to find out, does our faith influence our public policy and how? I've never tried to rewrite science textbooks. I've never tried to come out with some way of imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution. I've never done that," he added.
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton responded to Democratic rivals who continue to question her claims of White House experience during her husband’s administration, repeating Sunday that she “was intimately involved in so much that went on in the White House, here at home and around the world.”
The New York senator said on ABC’s “This Week” that she had played a role in the Northern Ireland peace process, which had prompted the new leaders of the government there to call on her recently.
“I was entrusted with a lot of missions in both paving the way and dealing with very specific challenges our country faced,” said Clinton.
She added that “I believe that our government failed” in Rwanda when husband, then-President Bill Clinton, did not take her advice that the United States should intervene to try to stop genocide in that country in 1994.
“We obviously didn't have a lot of good options,” she said. “It moved very quickly. It was a difficult, terrible genocide to try to get our arms around and to do something to try to stem or prevent. It didn't happen, and that is something that the president has apologized for.”
Clinton’s comments, similar to ones she has made on the campaign trail recently, follow newspaper reports that the former first lady had not attended National Security Council meetings, did not receive the president's daily briefing, and did not have a security clearance during her husband’s administration. Several of her fellow Democratic presidential contenders also raised the issue on the trail this week.
“You know, I can imagine what the stories would have been had I attended a National Security Council meeting,” said Clinton. But she added that she had “direct access to all of the decision-makers.”
“I was briefed on a range of issues, often provided classified information. And often when I traveled on behalf of our country, I traveled with representatives from the DOD, the CIA, the State Department,” she said. “I think that my experience is unique, having been eight years in the White House, having, yes, been part of making history, and also been part of learning how to best present our country's case.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic and Republican races in Iowa have both become statistical dead heats in a new poll released Sunday.
The battle for first place on the Republican side is, at the moment, a toss-up between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in the new MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon survey of likely caucus goers. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama appear to have virtually identical levels of support with four days to go before the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
The poll mirrors the results of other recent surveys, many of which have found Republican and Democratic races in Iowa too close to call. One out of every three likely Republican voters surveyed, and one of every five Democrats, say they may still change their minds.
The phone poll of 400 likely Democratic caucus attendees and 400 likely Republican caucus attendees in Iowa was conducted December 26-28, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. (Full results after the jump)
An American Research Group poll released Saturday had a different view of the race. It found Mitt Romney had regained his lead over Mike Huckabee in Iowa — the first Hawkeye State survey in over a month to show the former Massachusetts governor in the top spot there.
On the Democratic side, the ARG survey found Hillary Clinton held a narrow lead over rivals Barack Obama and John Edwards. Other recent polls, including Mason-Dixon, have shown the Democratic race in a statistical dead heat. (Full MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon results after the jump)
Thompson campaigns in Iowa Saturday. (Photo Credit: AP)
(CNN) – Republican Fred Thompson Sunday dismissed reports that he had told voters at a weekend campaign event he was “not particularly interested” in running for president, saying his remarks had been taken out of context.
The former Tennessee senator told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "some in the media take bits and pieces, not you, but some have taken one sentence out of the middle of that and make it sound like something that wasn't intended."
"And if you notice, I put the emphasis on running. I said I'm not particularly interested in running for president," Thompson said in an interview on CNN's Late Edition.
"But then I gave all the reasons why I thought I'd make a good president and what I was sacrificing to be president and my family was doing so and I was concerned about the future of our country and the future of our children and so forth. So when you put it in context, it makes sense."
Thompson has long faced criticism he lacks motivation to be President of the United States, and Saturday’s comments seemed to spark new speculation on that front.
"I'm not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator told voters at a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa when challenged by an audience member over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
"But I think I'd make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I'm doing it for the right reasons."
Thompson took heat for not officially jumping into the White House race until September — significantly later than every other candidate — and has since been criticized for his laid-back campaign style and often-times light schedule.
But the former actor has criticized his rivals for launching their presidential bids months ahead of his, and continually touts the fact he hasn't harbored presidential ambitions his whole career.
"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson also said Saturday. "I'm offering myself up."
"I'm only consumed by a few things and politics is not one of them."
But Thompson added the sacrifices he has made to run for president proves he wants the top job.
“To be clean, I had to cut everything off," he said. "I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC Radio, like I was talking about earlier, and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn't want to do it."
– CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand and Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned Sunday that nominating any of the three Democratic frontrunners would “spark a very bitter, bitter fight” in the general election.
The Delaware senator told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sunday that “John Edwards and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama [are] all really good people, but everyone knows that [their nomination is] going to spark a really spirited, spirited fight that's not likely to change in tone from the last election.”
The bitterness could be avoided, said Biden, if he or Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd were nominated. “You would see the boiling point lower a great deal. … I think you would see the temperature [of the campaign] go way, way down,” Biden said on CNN’s Late Edition.
–CNN’s Ted Metzger and Jessica Rummel
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Hillary Clinton started her day Sunday appearing at a black church in the state capital, before heading out for a full day of campaigning four days before the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Speaking of the caucuses, Clinton said she knows “Iowans take it seriously,” and later added the “American people need a president to be their champion.” The New York Democrat spoke from a side lectern, not the pulpit.
The former first lady also talked about her work at the Children’s Defense Fund, and noted that her book “It Takes A Village” was based on an African proverb. She left the church shortly after speaking and before the services ended.
- CNN’s Kathleen Cerniglia