WASHINGTON (CNN) – For the second time in the past two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background.
In the campaign ad, Huckabee is addressing members of the Iowa Christian Alliance, an organization whose symbol is the ichthys which appears on a banner that is shown prominently at the open and close of the 30 second spot. The ICA is an influential social conservative organization in Iowa, and Huckabee can be seen speaking about his opposition to abortion before the group.
The ichthys, which resembles a fish, is well-known in evangelical circles as the symbol used by early Christians to secretly identify one another without attracting persecution.
The Huckabee campaign unveiled this ad as well as another on its campaign Web site Monday afternoon, hours after the former Arkansas governor reversed course and decided against airing a negative campaign commercial targeting rival Mitt Romney.“Our Values” is currently airing in Iowa, while "Tax Cuts Matter" is airing in New Hampshire, according to a campaign spokeswoman.
"The purpose of these ads is to highlight the things that truly matter – while underscoring my conservative record of leadership and my vision for America moving forward," Huckabee said in a news release Tuesday announcing the ads. "As we enter the closing days of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, there are a lot of things being said on television and sent to mailboxes across the Hawkeye state. I urge Iowans to look beyond the rhetoric and seek the truth about my record and optimistic plans for our nation's future.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The sharpened rhetoric between Democrats John Edwards and Barack Obama isn't just limited to the candidates themselves - the two hopefuls' wives are also getting in on the action.
Elizabeth Edwards isn't happy with what Michelle Obama is saying on the campaign trail about the effects of John Edwards' decision to accept federal matching funds for his presidential campaign.
"I'm surprised and disappointed in Michelle," Mrs. Edwards said at a campaign event Monday night.
Mrs. Edwards comments were spurred by a voter recounting a conversation Mrs. Obama had with his 17 year-old daughter, claiming the Illinois senator's wife told his daughter not to support Edwards because the spending caps he is subjected to for accepting federal campaign money will seriously hinder his chances in a general election.
For his part, John Edwards discounted the argument that his limited campaign funds are hurting his presidential bid.
"It scares them to death, because what they know is, what this candidate and this campaign stands for is working," he said. "Can I ask you a question? If they have more money, and money's what matters, then why are they worrying about me?"
– CNN's Kevin Bohn and Alexander Mooney
Clinton campaigns in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)
DES MOINES (CNN) - Just 48 hours before the Iowa caucuses, there are still enough undecided voters left to hand the race to any of the top candidates.
Democratic and Republican White House hopefuls are spending their days crisscrossing the state to visit rallies, house parties, restaurants - wherever voters can be found. And campaigns and independent groups working here are making aggressive outreach efforts through phone banks and canvassing.
Still, some Iowans just can’t seem to make up their minds. In the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 17 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers said they are have not yet decided who to vote for, and 11 percent said they were leaning but not definitely decided. More than a quarter of Republican caucus goers said they were still trying to decide, and 21 percent said they were leaning.
So the candidates and their operations are focused on shoring up the commitment of those supporters already in their camp, figuring out how to sway those still trying to decide – and gathering detailed information on individuals in both groups.
Iowa voters are notorious for wanting detailed information of their own: the campaigns distribute detailed position papers at events, and the candidates often answer voters' questions. John Edwards has gone a step further - setting up a special website where voters can submit questions they were not able to ask in person, which he is pledging to get them answered before Thursday night.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Dennis Kucinich urged supporters Tuesday to make Barack Obama their second choice in the Iowa caucuses, an unexpected boost in the closing days of this wide open race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Kucinich told backers to vote for him on the first ballot Thursday, but instructed them to support Obama if he did not reach the 15 percent threshold needed to be viable in the caucuses.
“I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign. “This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn't reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.”
With Obama competing with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for every vote, Kucinich’s support could potentially be critical in Thursday night’s caucuses.
Kucinich did not fully endorse Obama, and said this statement only pertains to the Iowa caucuses, and only if he does not reach viability on the first ballot Thursday.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
(CNN) - Bill Richardson told CNN Tuesday that his Democratic presidential opponents had more “charisma,” but that once voters start to weigh in “I’m gonna shock the world.”
“People who are voting, they want someone to bring them together they’re inspired by. Somebody that can resolve problems,” said Richardson. “And I’m gonna do well, you watch. I’m gonna shock the world as we move into these early primaries.”
The New Mexico governor is running well behind Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in most early-voting states, registering the single digits in most surveys.
“I think this race is about who can bring this country together, who has the most experience,” Richardson told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux. He said he’d asked voters to “not look at the candidates on not who has the most money, or the most charisma, or who was the best political pedigree, but who can change this country and give it hope. You need experience, you need a record and that is why I'm running.”
(CNN) – Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware speaks with Suzanne Malveaux in this clip from CNN’s Ballot Bowl.
“I don’t think people know much about me personally,” said Biden. “Where I live, I’m married, my kids, my background in terms of my personal life.”
“I’d like people to know all the years I’ve been in politics, my Republican colleagues and my Democratic colleagues have never questioned my word,” Biden told Malveaux. “I decided when I ran this time to say exactly what I would do,” if elected president, added Biden.
The Delaware senator also talked about his family, their role in his political career, and how they supported him when his first wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident 35 years ago.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat turned-Independent Joe Lieberman is set to hit the campaign trail in New Hampshire with Republican John McCain Wednesday, six days before the Granite State holds the nation's first 2008 presidential primary.
Both men will appear together in Derry for a meet-and-greet before Lieberman attends events on the Arizona senator's behalf in Keene, Nashua, Concord, Dover, and Portsmouth.
The Connecticut senator officially endorsed McCain two weeks ago, saying then, "no one should let party lines be a barrier to choosing the person we believe is best qualified to lead our nation forward."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
While most of the presidential field has spent the week barnstorming in Iowa, John McCain has been mostly on his own in New Hampshire. The Arizona senator – who won the state’s GOP primary back during his 2000 presidential run - is seeing some late momentum there, thanks in part to a near-sweep of New Hampshire newspaper endorsements. Watch him woo a Granite State crowd at a recent appearance in Dover.
Democrat Barack Obama prepares for an interview with CNN's Jessica Yellin on board the CNN Election Express. (Photo Credit: Carey Bodenheimer)
(CNN) - With just days for Thursday's Iowa caucuses, CNN takes an unfiltered look at each of the presidential candidates in the first New Year's Day Ballot Bowl.
Starting this week, the candidates are entering a five-week spring that will likely decide the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.
After the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire will hold the the nation's first primary just five days later on January 8. Michigan will hold it's primaries on January 15.