Washington (CNN) - In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN's daily video political podcast, the dynamics of the 2008 presidential race take center stage.
Suzanne Malveaux reports on Sen. John Kerry's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced Thursday that he was ending his presidential bid after disappointing results in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries. Wolf Blitzer speaks with Richardson about his decision to bow out. Dan Lothian also takes a look at the trend of more experienced candidates not faring well as well as their less experienced rivals so far in the 2008 presidential race.
Allan Chernoff reports on the mortgage crisis and how it may impact the White House race.
Will New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg join the presidential race? Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at how Bloomberg's entry might impact the 2008 race and potentially hurt the Democratic Party's chances of retaking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Finally, Wolf Blitzer tells you which headlines on CNN's Political Ticker are drawing the most comments from readers.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Many South Carolinians watching Thursday night’s GOP debate also saw a television ad blasting former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for allowing a convicted rapist to be released on his watch.
The ad features Lois Davidson, whose daughter Carol Sue Shields was raped and murdered by Wayne DuMond, after he was released from an Arkansas prison.
"If not for Mike Huckabee, Wayne DuMond would have been in prison and Carol Sue would be with us," Davidson says in the 30-second spot.
The ad was made by a 29-year-old Arkansas Republican, Keith Emis, who tells CNN he saw Davidson on the news last month and contacted her about making an ad.
When she agreed, Emis says he drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to her Missouri home to film her.
Initially, Emis posted the ad on an anti-Huckabee internet site he started, called “Huckabeefacts.com.” Two weeks ago, he started a called group called “Victims Voices,” a so-called 527 that allows him to raise unlimited money without disclosing donors.
Emis said that he was able to generate enough donations to purchase television time during Thursday night’s South Carolina debate, a decision he made just three days ago.
Emis will not say how much money he has raised, or how much he spent on the ad, only that he purchased time from several local cable stations carrying the Fox debate.
The controversial DuMond case has dogged Huckabee for years. DuMond was a convicted rapist released from prison a few months after Huckabee became governor in 1996.
Huckabee says it was the parole board’s decision, not his, though he had publicly advocated his release.
After DuMond was released, he raped and murdered Shields.
Her mother first spoke out against Huckabee last month, when the former governor began to surge in the polls. She vowed then to do anything she could to stop him from becoming president.
Emis says he worked on Tim Hutchinson’s failed Senate re-election campaign in 2002.
Hutchinson supports and campaigns for Huckabee.
–CNN's Dana Bash
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - If experience were the only qualification, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson would be a shoo-in for president.
But with frustration with the political system running high and candidates who call for "change" enjoying success on the campaign trail, experience scores few points with voters - and, in fact, may be a liability.
Richardson, a former congressman, ambassador and Cabinet member, couldn't get any traction during his presidential run, and he announced Thursday he was dropping out of the Democratic race.
"The time has come to end my quest and come home to tackle the challenges before us in New Mexico," Richardson told cheering supporters in his state capital of Santa Fe.
In his final debate Saturday, Richardson seemed frustrated by the notion that experience was a liability.
"Look, what we need is change. There's no question. But, you know, whatever happened to experience? Is experience kind of a leper?" Richardson asked. "What is wrong with having been, like myself, 14 years in the Congress, two Cabinet positions?"
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican John McCain's comeback win in New Hampshire appears to have given the Arizona senator a boost in the upcoming South Carolina contest, a new poll out Thursday suggests.
McCain now draws 25 percent of likely Republican primary voters in a new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 7 points ahead of Mitt Romney - the second-place finisher in New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee, who is hoping to win over much of the state’s large evangelical population, is statistically tied with Romney at 17 percent.
Fred Thompson, who is looking to the southern state to keep his presidential bid alive, is in fourth place at 9 percent.
In several polls taken before McCain's New Hampshire primary win, the Arizona senator consistently placed third or fourth in the state. In 2000, then-Texas Gov. George Bush beat the Arizona senator by 11 points and essentially dashed his presidential hopes.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A series of newsletters in the name of GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul contain several racist remarks - including one that says order was restored to Los Angeles after the 1992 riots when blacks went "to pick up their welfare checks."
CNN recently obtained the newsletters - written in the 1990s and one from the late 1980s - after a report was published about their existence in the New Republic.
None of the newsletters CNN found says who wrote them, but each was published under Paul's name between his stints as a U.S. congressman from Texas.
Related video: Paul: 'I'm not a racist'
- CNN's Brian Todd
(CNN) - Jack Cafferty’s best-seller is entitled “It’s Getting Ugly Out There.” I suspect the presidential campaign eventually is going to get very ugly.
The bitter back-and-forth between the various Republican candidates, and the similar nastiness among the Democrats, will be child’s play compared to what is likely to happen after the political dust settles and the two major parties have their respective nominees in place.
Indeed, the two parties’ opposition research is already in high gear preparing for the political struggle for the White House.
Former White House political adviser Karl Rove, writing today on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal, seemed to signal this. “Former President Bill Clinton hit a nerve by drawing attention to Mr. Obama’s conflicting statements on Iraq,” Rove writes. “There’s more – and more powerful – material available.” Rove added that Obama “won’t escape criticism on all this easily.”
Drawing distinctions between the presidential candidates is totally appropriate; it’s part of the democratic political process that we cherish. That is what elections are all about – making choices about our leaders.
Having said that, if you think it’s rough out there right now – just wait. No matter who the nominees are, it will get a lot more intense. In recent days, I’ve discussed this with some of the campaigns, and top staffers on both sides assure me they fully understand what’s in store. They insist they’re ready.
- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
It was one of the biggest misses by the polls ever. They all saw Hillary Clinton losing to Barack Obama, and they were all wrong. As late as nine o'clock the night of the New Hampshire Primary, people inside the Clinton campaign were still saying they expected Hillary to lose.
So what happened? Some possible explanations from the pollsters suggest record turnouts produced a different electorate than expected. There's the idea that while the polls accurately showed Obama's support among independents, they didn't reflect the large Democratic turnout helping Clinton.
Others point to the fact that almost 20% of voters made up their minds on primary day and most of the polling had stopped before then.
There are those who suggest race may have played a role. The head of the Pew Research Center says poorer, less-educated New Hampshire voters may not have wanted to admit to pollsters that they wouldn't vote for Obama, a black candidate.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
Richardson officially dropped his presidential bid Thursday. (Photo Credit: AP)
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced Thursday he is quitting the Democratic presidential race after fourth-place finishes in the first two contests of the 2008 election.
"Despite overwhelming financial and political odds, I am proud of the campaign we waged," he told cheering supporters in his state capital of Santa Fe.
Richardson, who served as energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration, drew 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and 2 percent in last week's Iowa caucuses, far behind leading Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
In bowing out, he called the Democratic field "the most promising field in my lifetime" and predicted the party's eventual nominee will win the White House.
Related video: Richardson explains decision
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. John Doolittle, a California Republican under scrutiny for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, announced Thursday he would not seek re-election.
“I plan to complete my term and finish my congressional service at the conclusion of this Congress,” Doolittle said in a speech Thursday, the text of which was posted on his House Web site. “This circumstance reminds me of a passage in the 2nd letter of St. Paul to Timothy; ‘The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.’”
Doolittle was forced to relinquish his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee earlier this year after the FBI raided his Virginia home. He has denied any guilt in the Abramoff scandal.
A former Doolittle colleague, ex-Ohio GOP Rep. Bob Ney, pleaded guilty for taking bribes from Abramoff, and is now serving time in prison.
Doolittle is the 19th Republican to declare he is leaving the House at the close of 110th Congress. Three other GOP House members have resigned, or announced their intention to resign, their congressional seats: Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert retired early, Rep. Bobby Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, and Mississippi Rep. Roger Wicker was appointed to Sen. Trent Lott’s open seat.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston