(CNN) - It's wasn't exactly a "Dewey Defeats Truman" mistake, but Michigan Republican Party officials were scrambling Tuesday night after they inadvertently sent out a press release congratulating John McCain for winning the state.
All the major media networks called the state for Mitt Romney at about 9 p.m. ET, just after the last polling stations in the state closed.
But CNN affiliate WNEM reports that minutes after the state was called, the party sent out a press release congratulating the Arizona Republican.
With recent polls showing McCain and Romney in a dead heat, party spokesman Bill Nowling said congratulations statements were readied for both candidates and they "simply pushed the wrong button."
A correct statement went out five minutes later.
Read more here from CNN affiliate WNEM
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
ABBEVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) -– Fred Thompson continued his attacks on all three of his main Republican rivals in South Carolina Wednesday.
The former Tennessee senator, running behind John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in recent surveys in the state, has staked his candidacy on a strong showing in the GOP primary there this Saturday.
Asked by a voter Wednesday how his record on "conservative Christian values" stacked up against those of Huckabee and John McCain, he immediately criticized the former Arkansas governor.
"Just to cut through the baloney, it was me and not him who received the National Right to Life endorsement," he said. "Who do you think knows my record better? They've been following me since 1994."
Thompson repeated the criticisms he made against Huckabee at last weekend's GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, especially on the issue of illegal immigration.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Move over Michael Bloomberg. Another famous figure is the subject of a presidential draft movement: CNN's own Lou Dobbs.
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC - a group, according to its Web site, that supports candidates "who make illegal immigration reduction a top priority" - launched a campaign Wednesday designed to convince the CNN anchor to enter the presidential race if a so-called "pro-amnesty" candidate wins the Republican presidential nomination. According to the group, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani all fall into that category.
William Gheen, the president of ALIPAC, said the group has over 25,000 active supporters spread across all 50 states and an overwhelming majority of them are ready to support a Dobbs presidential bid. Gheen also expressed confidence in Dobbs' wide electoral appeal.
"Lou Dobbs could run and win because he could easily raise the funds and grassroots support he needs to be a historic and viable candidate quickly," he said. The public is eager to rebuke the DC status quo and would quickly rally to Dobbs."
The group has launched an official Web site and is already using it to solicit fundraising pledges for the potential run and showcase Dobbs anti-illegal immigration stance.
Buzz has long surrounded a Lou Dobbs presidential bid in the blogosphere - even more so after Dobbs wrote a column for CNN.com last November in which he hypothesized an "Independent populist" would win the White House. (The Wall Street Journal published a piece soon after that claimed Dobbs was "seriously contemplating" a bid.)
"I can't imagine any one of the current candidates for their party's nomination being chosen by the American people to lead this nation for the next four years," Dobbs wrote in his column. "I believe the person elected a year from now will be an Independent populist, a man or woman who understands the genius of this country lies in the hearts and minds of its people and not in the prerogatives and power of its elites."
"I believe next November's surprise will be the election of a man or woman of great character, vision and accomplishment, a candidate who has not yet entered the race," he wrote.
"You never say never, but the fact of the matter is, my commitment, my interest lies in being - doing what I do, which is that of an advocacy journalist on this great network," he said, adding "I'm very flattered by the thoughts."
Gheen acknowledged Dobbs' entrance into the race was unlikely, but said his group is ready to "camp outside his office" should McCain, Huckabee, or Guilaini win the GOP nomination.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - The Clinton campaign continued its new line of attack on Barack Obama Wednesday, based on his recent campaign trail admissions that he isn't a details-oriented "chief operating officer."
At an event in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton warned a group of Nevada voters that if a president does not manage the government bureacracy then "it will manage you."
Obama has made several recent statements highlighting his inexperience in running a bureaucracy, and his lack of organizational skills.
"I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it," he said in the Democratic debate Tuesday night. "And my desk in my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff.”
The Illinois senator added that those qualities were not as important in a president as the ability to bring Americans together to make progress on issues stymied for years by partisan struggles.
Clinton challenged Obama's view of the role of a president in last night's debate, and her campaign continues to push the issue in e-mails.
In her comments today, she argued that the Bush era through a "mismanaged war" and the failure to react quickly to Hurricane Katrina has proved that "government by advisor" doesnt work. The country needs, said Clinton, "a hands-on manager."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s amazing how quickly things can change. It wasn’t that long ago when the war in Iraq and terrorism were the number one issues on the minds of Americans. Now, according to the latest polls, it’s back to the economy.
I suppose that’s the result of serious recession fears and the reduction in casualties in Iraq in recent months. New government numbers show that inflation last year in the United States was at a 17-year high. That’s disturbing enough. But when coupled with the other recent economic woes – loss of jobs, mortgage failures and home foreclosures – the news is even worse.
Economists have a technical definition for a recession – two successive quarters showing negative economic growth. That definition has not been met, since there has not yet been even one three-month period showing negative economic growth.
But many economists believe we already are in a recession, even if the technical numbers have not yet caught up with it. And they say all this talk of a recession makes matters even worse: people begin to act as if the country already is in a recession – meaning they may limit their purchases. That, in turn, can further slow down the economy.
There is now plenty of talk here in Washington about the urgent need for a new economic stimulus package. President Bush is said to be considering some options to unveil during his State of the Union address to Congress on January 28. And House and Senate leaders from both parties are talking to each other about possible steps.
Let’s see if they can actually get their act together and do something constructive. There are many people out there who are having trouble paying for their energy needs, staying in their homes, and even putting food on the table.
– CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
Three major primaries, three different winners, and the Republican party is not a single step closer to a clear front-runner.
With Nevada and South Carolina caucuses this weekend, candidates are scrambling for votes.
Mitt Romney, fresh off last night's victory, is pushing his business experience hoping to hit home with the growing number of voters concerned about the economy. It seemed to work for him in Michigan.
John McCain is trying to regain momentum after a setback there. He's already predicted a win in South Carolina.
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In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the New York Democrat said she was "taken aback" by Obama's admission that he wouldn't act like a "Chief Operating Officer" if he was elected president.
"I think it’s important that we have a president who understands that you have to run the government," she said.
Obama told an editorial meeting with the Reno Gazette-Journal Monday that he has a "pretty good sense of my strengths and my weaknesses."
“I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can, and I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can bridge differences ... better than I can," he said. “But I’m not an operating officer. Some in this debate around experience seem to think the job of the president is to go in and run some bureaucracy. Well, that’s not my job. My job is to set a vision of 'here's where the bureaucracy needs to go.'"
Then, at the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Obama seemed to suggest he tends to be disorganized.
"I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it. And my desk in my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff,” said Obama.
Speaking Wednesday, Clinton said the presidency requires someone who is "hands on."
"We all need to be inspirational and set goals, and I’ve been doing that throughout this campaign. We need to set big goals for our standing in the world, for our economy, to deal with energy and health care and so much else that is really on the minds of the people who talk to me as I go in and out of their homes, Peter. That’s what they’re talking to me about,” she said.
"After you set the goals and you give the speeches, you go back to the White House and you start holding people accountable and you want to know what they’ve done today to help the American people," added Clinton. "You’ve got to take on this government, you’ve got to run this government, you can’t leave it to others.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) - The morning after his first major primary victory, Republican Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of wins, saying the GOP contest this year was a delegate race.
“I’m not looking for gold stars on my forehead like I was in first grade. I want delegates. I’m pleased that I’ve been able to get delegates,” he said.
“The fact that I came in second in a couple of primaries, I know some people think that’s a devastating thing. Actually, I got delegates,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “And I’m looking to rack up the delegates I need to win the convention.”
The former Massachusetts governor said John McCain was the “clear frontrunner” in South Carolina, and that it would be a big surprise if the Arizona senator failed to win – despite recent polls that show him running just a few points ahead of second-place Mike Huckabee in the state. “This is a state I expect Sen. McCain has pretty well wrapped up,” said Romney.
He also said his campaign – which has spent record sums on television advertising in several early contests – would base its ad decisions on those of his opponents: “if somebody else is spending massively it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put a few drops in that bucket.”
The Romney campaign briefly went dark in South Carolina, as he focused his efforts almost entirely on winning the vote in his home state of Michigan. “I’m going to spend time here to try to strengthen my position,” Romney told reporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, but said Nevada and Florida would also be priorities.
Romney will be spending time later this week in Nevada, whose significant Mormon minority may give him a bit of an edge heading into the Republican caucuses this Saturday, with 31 delegates at stake, not counting the state’s three superdelegates.
– CNN’s Shirley Zilberstein and Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - From about 30,000 feet, here's what the political landscape looks like to me today, just after Michigan and the Democratic debate in Nevada:
- The terrain for the general election is moving even more strongly in the Democrats' favor. With results in from four states, Republicans have at least four - arguably five - candidates bunched together at the top - each one of whom can win the nomination but no one of whom inspires all the party faithful. That's not a promising scenario for a party whose strength on election day has depended heavily upon an army of excited volunteers. Meanwhile, Democrats are choosing between two candidates, each of whom can win and can also rally the party in November.
Read Gergen's complete analysis over at the AC 360 Blog!
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Rudy Giuliani is launching a new ad in Florida Wednesday that touts his fiscal record as mayor.
The former New York mayor has said he is committed to his strategy of focusing most of his efforts on winning that state’s Republican primary.
In the new 30-second spot, an announcer declares Giuliani knows how to fix "taxes, insurance, housing, and wasteful spending."
The ad is part of his continued plan to base his candidacy on winning the Florida's GOP primary on January 29 - a strategy that has come under criticism following Giuliani's poor performances in all of the early nominating contests to date.
But following a sixth-place showing in Michigan Tuesday night - he garnered half as many votes as Texas Rep. Ron Paul and only seven thousand more votes than "uncommitted" - the Giuliani campaign insisted their strategy is working as planned, considering the front-runner mantle is up for grabs.
“The race remains fluid and competitive, [and] our strategy remains on track," Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said. "Rudy is going to continue to campaign aggressively in Florida and after the energy we’ve seen on the trail this past week, we’re confident that we’ll be successful on the 29th.”
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney