CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (CNN) – Just days before the Iowa caucuses, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter criticized the state’s privileged role in the presidential nominating process, forcing her campaign to declare that she did not agree with the assessment.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was quoted in Sunday’s edition of The Columbus Dispatch as saying that it “makes no sense” to grant Iowa the right to hold the first contest of the 2008 race for the White House.
"I'd like to see both parties say, 'We're going to bring this to an end,'" Strickland told the newspaper.
Competing campaigns seized on the article and emailed it around to reporters to highlight Strickland’s comments late Sunday night. The Clinton campaign moved quickly, and issued a statement shortly after midnight distancing the New York senator from the governor’s remarks.
“Senator Clinton has worked her heart out campaigning in Iowa because she knows it plays a unique and special role in the nominating process and that process must be protected,” read the statement. “As she has said many times she is glad Iowans are entrusted with this responsibility because they take it so seriously. On this issue Hillary and Gov. Strickland strongly disagree.”
Strickland’s comments came on the same day that WHO TV reporter Dave Price reported that Clinton’s Midwest co-chair Jerry Crawford told him that she would “not be here caucus night.”
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch and Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley
CNN's Candy Crowley goes one-on-one with John Edwards. (Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)
BOONE, Iowa (CNN) - Democrat John Edwards told CNN Sunday that if critics who said he doesn’t have the infrastructure or campaign war chest to win the presidential nomination were right, then “Sen. [Barack] Obama wouldn’t be out every day criticizing me and attacking me.”
“Whoever comes out of Iowa with momentum is gonna have more money than they know what to do with. I mean, John Kerry raised millions and millions of dollars in just a period of a few hours and days after the Iowa caucus when he won in 2004,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “Money will become irrelevant once somebody wins the Iowa caucuses.”
(Click above for the full interview)
Making news today:The gloves are (still) off
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just how brutal has the presidential campaign gotten? Here's one sign: John Edwards - who has been on the receiving end of a week's worth of verbal blows from rival Barack Obama - is now suggesting the Illinois senator of being too "nice" to be president.
Here's another: Mike Huckabee is demanding an apology from rival Mitt Romney after weeks of being on the receiving end of negative attacks. Huckabee is also insisting that the former Massachusetts governor admit he lied about his own record, too.
And John McCain may have said publicly he's "moving on" from his weekend of dueling attack ads with Romney – but his new Granite State spot, which calls his fellow New Hampshire rival out by name, seems to say something else entirely.
Even Rudy Giuliani, who has called for an end to the worst of the back-and-forth from his perch above the fray (and out of the running in Iowa) is signaling his willingness to wade into the mud if necessary. On Sunday, he invoked the now universally-observed amendment to Ronald Reagan's eleventh commandment: "Don't criticize other Republicans, comma, unless they criticize me."
The former New York City mayor is spending Monday in the safety of his hometown, and McCain is off riding his new surge back east in New Hampshire, but the rest of the presidential field is spending the day on the main battlefield here in the Hawkeye State.
– - CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
The Rothenberg Political Report: In Iowa, Will Edwards Divide And Conquer?
While the Democratic race has often, and quite accurately, been described as a choice between change (Barack Obama and John Edwards) and experience (Hillary Rodham Clinton), it has, in the final days before Iowa, become another kind of choice as well.
CNN: Prominent Clinton Supporter Criticizes Iowa
Just days before the Iowa caucuses, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter criticized the state’s privileged role in the presidential nominating process, forcing her campaign to declare that she did not agree with the assessment.
Washington Post: Huckabee, Romney Make Sunday Push For Evangelicals
Republican rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney took their battle over Christian voters to the pews as both attended services while their campaigns spanned Iowa in a final Sunday pitch to evangelicals.
NY Times: Democrats Try Various Styles, And Pronouns
As Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards try — ever so politely — to eviscerate one another in the final few days before the Iowa caucuses on Thursday, the flavor and substance of their competing performances reveal a basic cultural, thematic and stylistic divide in their campaigns, their supporters and themselves.
Washington Post: Obama Tries New Tactics To Get Out Vote In Iowa
In Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa headquarters, young staff members sit at computers, analyzing online voter data and targeting potential backers. Depending on the voter, they follow with Facebook reminders, telephone calls, text messages and, most important, house visits. The effort will culminate in what state director Steve Hildebrand calls "the largest grass-roots volunteer operation that Iowa has ever seen."
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich, CNN Washington Bureau
* Joe Biden speaks at caucus countdown events in Fort Dodge, Ames, and Newton, Iowa.
* Hillary Clinton attends "Picks A President" events in Keokuk, Fort Madison, Muscatine, Waterloo, and Des Moines, Iowa.
* Chris Dodd attends "Caucus for Results" celebrations in Oelwein, Waverly, Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa.
* John Edwards appears on CNN’s American Morning. Later, he holds roundtable discussions with undecided caucus goers in Storm Lake and Spencer, Iowa, drops by the Pizza Ranch diner in Emmetsburg, holds a "Countdown to Caucus" event in Algona, and attends a New Year's Eve Party at his campaign headquarters in Mason City, Iowa.
*Rudy Giuliani is in New York, and has announced no public events.
* Mike Huckabee appears on CNN’s American Morning. Later, he goes for a run with several state campaign officials, holds a press conference, stops at his campaign office to visit with volunteers, and gets a haircut with barber Scott Sales, all in Des Moines. In the evening, he attends a New Year’s Eve event in Des Moines.
* John McCain attends a house party and holds a media availability in Hancock, New Hampshire, then attends another house party in Londonderry, and attends a house party and hosts a media availability in Rye, New Hampshire. In the evening, he attends a house party in Concord.
* Barack Obama attends New Year’s Eve events in Perry, Jefferson, Boone, Iowa Falls, and Ames, Iowa.
* Bill Richardson attends “Final Presidential Job Interviews” in Ames, Perry, Winterset, Indianola, Knoxville, and Des Moines, Iowa.
* Mitt Romney holds "Strong America" Bus Stops in Clinton, Bellevue, Dubuque, Manchester, Independence, and Waterloo, Iowa. Later, his family joins him for a "GuideOne ImaginEve!" New Year's Eve event in Des Moines.
* Fred Thompson does several radio interviews in the morning, including a Radio Town Hall at the Charles City Library in Charles City, Iowa. In the afternoon, he tours Downtown Allison and drops by Butler County Tribune-Journal in Allison, and attends a Meet Fred Thompson event in Tama, Iowa.
* Bill Clinton attends “New Year, New Beginnings” celebrations in Missouri Valley, Ottumwa, and Des Moines, Iowa.
* Michelle Obama drops by a canvassing location in Fort Dodge, and meets with voters in Marshalltown and Grinnell, Iowa. Later, she attends a house party in Pella, Iowa.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook:
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook:
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.
View entire card [PDF]
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