MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - John McCain’s campaign is sending a mailing to South Carolina Republicans which shows a picture of his wife Cindy McCain cradling the baby they adopted in Bangladesh in 1993.
The mailing touts McCain's commitment to adoption as proof of his pro-life record.
It comes as both McCains are suddenly talking about their adoption of a baby from Bangladesh on the stump.
“When a mother comes home with a new child, and doesn’t even tell him she’s coming home with a new baby, and surprises him with a new baby from Bangladesh - and not only does he open his arms, he loves her just like I do,” said Cindy McCain, introducing her husband in Greenville, South Carolina Thursday, “that’s something that says something about the character of a man.”
One of the attacks used by unnamed McCain opponents in 2000 was robo-calls suggesting she was his illegitimate daughter.
Though McCain is vowing to beat back any dirty tricks in this year's South Carolina primary with a "truth squad," his campaign insists the adoption mailing is not a pre-emptive strike,
"This is about Sen. McCain's 25-year consistent pro-life record, not negative push-polling calls in South Carolina," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.
–CNN's Dana Bash
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Karl Rove is getting tough on Barack Obama.
The man behind President Bush's two successful presidential bids, who once offered advice to Obama on how he could defeat Hillary Clinton, is now taking direct aim at him - calling the Illinois senator "lazy" and "given to misstatements and exaggerations."
"Mr. Obama has failed to rise to leadership on a single major issue in the Senate," Rove writes in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. "In the Illinois legislature, he had a habit of ducking major issues, voting 'present' on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates.
And in a rare move, Rove praises Clinton for her "humanizing" moments on the campaign trail, and calls Obama just "as calculating" as the New York Democrat.
"For someone who talks about a new, positive style of politics and pledges to be true to his word, Mr. Obama too often practices the old style of politics, saying one thing and doing another," he said.
The comments are the latest musings from the man often refereed to as "Bush's brain" on the Democratic race for the White House. In an "open letter" to Obama last month, Rove suggested he "Blow the whistle on Clinton when she tries to become a victim."
"Find a way to gently belittle her whenever she tries to use disagreements among Democrats as an excuse to complain about being picked on," he said then. "The toughest candidate in the field should not be able to complain when others disagree with her. This is not a coronation."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Making news today
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With last night’s South Carolina face-off behind them, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are once again fighting over an early-voting Midwestern state.
This time, it’s Michigan, where both men are spending the day – and where post-New Hampshire surveys have found the GOP primary has turned into a three-way race, between Romney, Huckabee, and John McCain.
Thanks to overwhelming evangelical support, Huckabee’s bare-bones campaign trumped Romney’s cash-rich effort in Iowa. Romney’s vowed to make his next stand in Michigan, and has poured millions into the state.
But pro-Huckabee organizer Gary Glenn says he has a “top-tier” email list of 600 activists working on the former Arkansas governor’s behalf in the state, and putting their rolodexes to work for him, too. Is the lowly address book mightier than the major ad buy? The answer comes in less than a week.
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
Washington Post: Hopefuls Clash in Debate as First Southern Primary Draws Near
The leading Republican presidential candidates used a Fox News debate Thursday night to draw contrasts with their rivals on the economy, U.S. relations with Iran, immigration and political change in advance of two primaries next week that are expected to winnow the field.
NY Times: Thompson Attacks Huckabee in Debates
Fred D. Thompson tried to salvage his faltering presidential campaign at a South Carolina debate Thursday night with a barrage of sharp attacks on the “liberal” policies of Mike Huckabee, the fellow Southerner whom he clearly sees as a rival in the South Carolina primary.
WSJ: Debate Tests McCain's New Status
The jumbled Republican presidential field debated for the first time since John McCain's New Hampshire primary win, elbowing each other in hopes of gaining an edge before the next round of state primaries.
Politico: McCain Emerges Unscathed
Largely untouched after 90 minutes, John McCain left the stage here Thursday night with the same designation he had upon arrival: frontrunner.
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich , CNN Washington Bureau
* Hillary Clinton delivers a speech on the economy in Los Angeles.
* John Edwards holds "Bringing it Home" town halls in Summerville, and St. Helena Island, South Carolina.
* Rudy Giuliani holds a town hall meeting in Coral Springs, Florida.
* Mike Huckabee addresses the Detroit Economic Club, and speaks at a rally in Birch Run, Michigan.
* John McCain holds meet and greets and media availabilities in Pawleys Island and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and a meet and greet in Summerville, South Carolina.
* Barack Obama speaks at a Culinary Workers Union Local rally and attends a “Stand for Change” town hall meeting, both in Las Vegas.
* Mitt Romney holds "Change Begins With Us" tour stops in Warren and Lansing, Michigan, and speaks at a Republican Party Lincoln Day in Hudsonville, Michigan.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook