(CNN) – With voting just two days away, it’s down to the wire for the Republican White House hopefuls contesting Michigan’s GOP presidential primary. Out West, Nevada’s caucuses are now less than a week away and South Carolina’s Republican primary will be held on the same day – January 19.
In CNN’s Sunday Ballot Bowl programming, CNN’s correspondents and producers were with the presidential candidates out on the campaign trail in the states who are up next to vet the field of White House hopefuls. If you missed any of Sunday's Ballot Bowl, you can get the highlights here:
Video: Giuliani on change
Video: Romney one-on-one
Video: Edwards in Florence, S.C.
Video: Clinton on health care
Video: Clinton on Dr. King
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) – As evangelicals mobilize for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor is bristling at suggestions his political success in South Carolina depends on people of faith.
"I don't think it’s just evangelicals. I think there is a strong support for me among evangelicals - at least I hope so - but I think there is also a strong support for me for people who want immigration to be addressed," he said Sunday, a day in which he addressed three church services in two states.
But he didn’t deny the potential political influence of the state’s ministers. Does he hope they’ll mobilize on his behalf? "Well, I just hope they don't mobilize against me, that's the first thing. Kind of like the Hippocratic oath, first do no harm,” he told reporters.
“The second thing, I mean, we would love for pastors... they can't mobilize, for example, from the pulpit, say ‘everybody, the bus leaves the church 8 a.m. on Saturday,’” he added. “It's a matter of urging them to use the influence they have to get their people out to vote. And I hope they will. Why wouldn't they?”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton accused Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign Sunday of distorting remarks that she and her husband have made in recent days which touched off concerns among some African-American voters.
Clinton and Obama are in a heated fight for the support of black voters, particularly in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Jan. 26.
Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton accused the Obama camp of "putting out talking points" about the recent remarks.
Obama rejected Clinton's complaints as "ludicrous."
Sen. John Edwards, also in the running for the Democratic nomination, stepped in with his own fresh criticism of Clinton. Speaking at a church in South Carolina, he accused Clinton of suggesting "that real change came not through the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician."
In an interview with Fox News last week, Clinton said, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done." She has argued repeatedly that her experience shows she can get more done as president than Obama.
Some African-American leaders criticized the remarks as denigrating the civil rights movement and Dr. King. Both Clintons have long been popular among African-American leaders, and have extolled the civil rights movement. On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Clinton referred to King as "one of the people I admire most in the world."
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused rival Mike Huckabee of “channeling John Edwards” in his economic stump speech as the two men tangled over taxes again Sunday.
“This kind of divisive, populist approach is like he's channeling John Edwards. It is not working for [Democratic candidate] John Edwards. It's not going to work for Mike Huckabee,” Romney told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Late Edition. “He said he’s cut taxes. How disingenuous can that be?”
The former Massachusetts governor was reacting to a Huckabee campaign ad running in Romney’s home state of Michigan in which the former Arkansas governor says, “I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off” – what some have interpreted as a veiled jab at Romney, a former businessman.
Huckabee defended his fiscal record, and fired back at Romney. “I hate to say ‘poor Mitt,’ because a man with that much wealth is hardly ‘poor anything,’” Huckabee told Blitzer in a later interview Sunday.
“But you know, it's almost sad to watch him make these kinds of claims. He raised over half a billion dollars of fees in his own state,” he said. He also repeated claims that Romney had attacked Ronald Reagan.
Shortly after Huckabee’s CNN appearance, Romney’s campaign sent reporters another release criticizing his Arkansas record on taxes and government spending.
Romney and Huckabee have waged an increasingly brutal war of words since the closing days of the Iowa campaign. Two new polls show Romney in first place and Huckabee in third in Michigan’s Tuesday primary.
– CNN's Peter Lanier
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Hours after Democrat Hillary Clinton was sharply critical of rival Barack Obama in an interview on NBC's Meet The Press, the New York senator struck a different tone on his candidacy in a predominantly African-American church in South Carolina.
"Probably many of us thought we would never see the day when an African-American and a woman were competing for the presidency of the United States," Clinton said at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia. "I am so proud of my party I am so proud of my country and I am so proud of Sen. Barack Obama, because together we have presented our cases to the people."
"I am standing here, Senator Obama stands before you as a result of the generations of men and women who protested and picketed, faced dogs and tear gas," she continued. "Who were beaten and jailed who had night sticks crush their skulls. Some who lost their very lives. They risked their lives because they looked into the eyes of their children and saw the promise of a better future. We stand here today because of their sacrifice."
Clinton's comments followed her hour-long appearance on Meet The Press, in which she accused Obama's campaign of distorting remarks that she and her husband have made in recent days which touched off concerns among some African-American voters. Obama later rejected Clinton's complaints as "ludicrous."
Both Democrats are in a heated fight for the support of black voters, particularly in the South Carolina Democratic primary on January 26.
– CNN's Sasha Johnson and Alexander Mooney
Romney talks at a house party in Michigan Saturday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mitt Romney told CNN Sunday he will continue his presidential campaign through February even if he fails to score a much-needed win in Tuesday's Michigan primary.
"It's not do or die," Romney said on CNN's Late Edition of a Michigan win. "We are going all the way through February. But I can tell you, it is very important to me…I would like to see Michigan in the win column."
Romney placed second in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month, despite heavily outspending his opponents on television advertising there.
And according to a new analysis from TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s consultant on campaign ad spending, the former Massachusetts governor is also on track to dwarf his chief rivals on television advertising in Michigan.
He has spent more than $2 million on ads in that state, compared to John McCain's $360,000 and Mike Huckabee's $40,000.
Two new polls out of Michigan Sunday continue to show Romney and McCain are locked in a tight race for the top spot, while Huckabee is in a close third. A McClatchy/MSNBC poll puts Romney 8 points ahead of McCain, while a Detroit Free Press survey has Romney up by 5. Meanwhile, a Detroit News poll released Saturday showed McCain with a statistically-insignificant 1-point edge over Romney.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - John McCain netted the endorsement of the Greenville News on Sunday, his second major newspaper endorsement of the day in South Carolina.
McCain's other endorsement today, by South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State, was not unexpected among political observers in Columbia.
The Greenville News endorsement, however, will be read over by thousands of Upstate conservatives, many of them weekly churchgoers, who dominate the Republican primary electorate in this state.
The Arizona senator was badly beaten in the Greenville-Spartanburg metro area by George W. Bush in the 2000 primary, largely due to evangelicals who rallied behind Bush. Business has boomed in Greenville in the last eight years, bringing economic and fiscal concerns to the fore there.
The newspaper criticized McCain's early opposition to President Bush's tax cuts, but said McCain's military experience was the deciding factor in their decision.
"No issue is more important than this nation's security, and no Republican on Saturday's ballot is better qualified to offer steady, tested, reassuring leadership than Arizona Sen. John McCain," the paper wrote.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that victory in the Florida primary is "critical" to his campaign - but he stopped short of saying a loss in that contest would be a death knell to his campaign.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the former New York mayor was asked whether he needs to win in Florida to stay in the race.
"It's fair to say that it's a critical state for us, an important state for us. I don't think any candidate would ever say 'have to,' but... it's real important."
Giuliani had once planned to campaign heavily in other early states, but pulled his ads and paid staff.
"The reality is as these primaries played out, certain people were very strong in some, and you had to look for the opportunity where you had the best chance to demonstrate your strength," he said Sunday. "And it turned out that the analysis was that Florida was the best place for us to do it."
Giuliani - once considered a national front-runner - called the Florida contest "kind of a gate opener to the February 5th primaries." On Feb. 5, known as "Super Tuesday," more than 20 states will hold their nominating contests.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Freshman Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will endorse Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid Sunday morning, according to her spokeswomen Adrianne Marsh.
McCaskill, who considers herself a moderate, won a very tight race in 2006 against incumbent Sen. Jim Talent, helping Democrats take control of the Senate.
Missouri is one of more than two dozen states to hold its presidential primaries February 5.
UPDATE: On a conference call with reporters announcing her endorsement of Obama, McCaskill said the decision between Obama and Hillary Clinton was a difficult one.
"This is not an easy decision for me. I have deep respect for Hillary Clinton," she said. "She’s a smart woman and a strong leader, but at this moment in history it is very important that we look forward with optimism and hope that we’ve not been able to gin up in this country for awhile.”
– CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett
(CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton said news reports that a key black lawmaker in the early-voting state of South Carolina had criticized her campaign for recent comments were inaccurate – and blamed the stories and much of the recent controversy on rival Barack Obama’s campaign.
"Well you'll have to look at the sources of some of it, but it is something I was disturbed by… I think it clearly came from Sen. Obama's campaign, and I don't think that it's the kind of debate we should be having in our campaign," Clinton told reporters Saturday after a campaign stop.
Clinton had faced criticism over comments she made in Fox News interview in which she tried to make a point about presidential leadership by comparing the legacies of President John Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done,” Clinton said, in a claim that her experience was more important than Obama’s soaring rhetoric.
Several African-American leaders objected to the comparison. On Friday, Democrat Rep. Jim Clyburn, a powerful member of congressional leadership, signaled his displeasure with her remarks in comments published in the New York Times.
“We have to be very, very careful about how we speak about that era in American politics. It is one thing to run a campaign and be respectful of everyone’s motives and actions, and it is something else to denigrate those. That bothered me a great deal,” said Clyburn.