(CNN) - Republican Rudy Giuliani raised the issue of a national catastrophic fund during Thursday's presidential debate, a proposal that does not enjoy major support nationwide, but is very popular among the Florida voters the former New York City mayor is targeting.
Giuliani specifically pointed out John McCain is against such a fund - he's said FEMA is already in place to bear such costs - and pressed Mitt Romney on where he stood on the issue.
Romney said he supports "some kind of national catastrophic effort" to ensure people can afford insurance, though he seemed to indicate he was not in favor of national solution (like Giuliani supports).
"I am not in favor of saying the people in Iowa should have to subsidize the people in Massachusetts or the people in Florida, that doesn't make a lot of sense,” he said. “But to have the states in high risk areas come together and say, "How do we organize an effort on a national basis that actually deals with the different states and the different risks they face?"
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Politicians make a lot of ambitious election-year promises, but Thursday night, Barack Obama is making a few he might have some trouble keeping: if elected president, he’ll rename the tenth month of the year "Barack-tober" and choose Oprah Winfrey as his vice president.
The Illinois senator floats these and eight other "campaign promises" tonight as he counts down the daily Top Ten list on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
The most recent in a series of candidates to yuck it up on a late-night talk show, Sen. Obama will also propose putting Regis on the nickel and appointing Mitt Romney "secretary of lookin' good."
In the pre-taped segment of The Late Show, Obama warned Letterman not to try to "muss [his] hair," like the talk show host did to John Edwards when he appeared on the show Tuesday.
–CNN Associate Producer Rachel Streitfeld
Full list after the jump
The GOP presidential hopefuls debated in Florida prior to the state's primary. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) – The Republican presidential candidates seemed to distance themselves from the Bush administration's economic policies just hours after the president gave his approval to a stimulus package meant to boost the fragile U.S. economy.
During their Thursday debate, the Republican White House hopefuls faulted the president for unrestrained government spending over the last seven years.
Bush "signed into law two years in a row pork-laden bills...which are outrageous," said John McCain, who said he'd restore "fiscal discipline" to Washington.
Mitt Romney said he would "run away" from the high-spending, high-deficit record of Washington.
"They said they'd rein in spending," he said. "But somehow, every year more and more money goes in."
Mike Huckabee chimed in with a populist theme, saying the government should to pay more attention to Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
"I think people need in the president, is somebody who understands the totality of the American family, and not just the folks at the top," Huckabee said.
Rep. Ron Paul said what the country needed was a return to the "old-fashioned Republican program" of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government.
"I can't be identified with this," Paul said of the economic troubles plaguing the country. "I was waving the flag the whole time, saying, 'Slow up, slow up.'"
(CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee, who has been critical of some of President Bush’s policies this campaign season, took aim at the president's stimulus plan during Thursday night's presidential debate.
"One of the concerns that I have is that we'll probably end up borrowing this $150 billion from the Chinese," he said. "And when we get those rebate checks, most people are going to go out and buy stuff that's been imported from China. I have to wonder whose economy is going to be stimulated the most by the package. "
The former Arkansas governor then proposed a major public works project as an alternative to the stimulus package.
"If we are going to spend a $150 billion, I'd like to suggest we add two lanes of highway from Bangor all the way to Miami on I-95," he said. "A third of the U.S. population lives within a hundred miles of that. This nation's infrastructure is falling apart, and if we built those lanes of highway, with American labor, American steal, American concrete, I believe it would do more to stimulate the economy. "
(CNN) – He may be the leader of the Republican Party, but President Bush’s name has seldom been uttered during a recent GOP presidential debate.
When asked Thursday if he’d run on the Bush record, Mitt Romney demurred, saying he’d instead run against Washington because the government is "fundamentally broken."
"When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses," he said.
(CNN) - Republican John McCain brushed aside suggestions the emergence of the economy as an issue on voters' minds could harm his presidential chances.
"I am very well versed in economics," he said during Thursday's presidential debate. “I was there at the Reagan revolution. I was there just after we enacted the first tax cuts and restraints on spending. I was chairman of the commerce committee in the United States Senate, which addresses virtually every economic issues that affects the United States."
Long viewed as a respected voice on national security, McCain has not made economic issues as much of a driving force in his presidential bid. Political observers have questioned whether the issue's new prominence in the campaign may shift votes towards successful businessman Mitt Romney - who has made economic policy a centerpiece of his run.
The two national frontrunners won the endorsement of the New York Times (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - The New York Times is endorsing hometown senator Hillary Clinton, but picked Republican John McCain over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for their party's presidential nominations in editorials published on the paper's Web site Thursday night, moments before the Republican presidential debate in Florida began.
The editorial board - which frequently clashed with Giuliani during his two mayoral terms - devoted the heart of its endorsement of McCain to a brutal repudiation of the New York Republican. "The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. ...Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking.
"The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign."
The paper said it disagreed with McCain over many issues but that "with a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field."
On the Democratic side, the Times called Clinton "the best choice for the Democratic Party as it tries to regain the White House."
It said Barack Obama had built an "exciting campaign around the notion of change, but holds no monopoly on ideas that would repair the governing of America."
Clinton, wrote the editorial board, "sometimes overstates the importance of résumé," but "hearing her talk about the presidency, her policies and answers for America’s big problems, we are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience.
"We know that she is capable of both uniting and leading."
The Times, which backed Clinton in both her 2000 and 2006 Senate bids, also urged her to "take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign."
New York's voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday, February 5.
UPDATE: Shortly after the endorsement was posted, several opposing campaigns, including Rudy Giuliani's, issued releases highlighting it - since the support of the paper's liberal editorial board is not necessarily a helpful one for a GOP presidential candidate.
The Giuliani campaign even included a link to the article - despite the piece's attacks on the former mayor and his record.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Dennis Kucinich will announce he is abandoning his long shot bid for the White House in a news conference Friday, his campaign confirms to CNN.
In an interview with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer earlier Thursday, the Ohio Democrat said he plans on “transitioning out of the Democratic Presidential primary race" to focus on a "new direction."
His spokesman tells CNN the former presidential candidate is now gearing up for his congressional re-election campaign. Kucinich faces four candidates in a Democratic primary for his seat on March 4, and has faced criticism for devoting much of his attention to running for president.
In his interview with the Plain-Dealer, Kucinich said he will give a much lengthier statement Friday.
This was Kucinich's second bid for the White House - he first ran in 2004. The latest CNN Poll showed him drawing 3 percent of support among registered Democrats nationally.
BOCA RATON, Florida (CNN) – Less than two hours before he was set to take the stage for the Republican debate Thursday night, Mitt Romney said he thought he'd be the main target.
"Tonight I predict that most of the guns will be aimed at me. I predict they’re going to be shooting shots one after the other and they’re going miss,” Romney told a Florida crowd packed into a local restaurant. “They’re going to shoot time and time again but you know, if they’re shooting at me that means I’m the guy they’re worried about and for good reason, because we are going to win Florida!”
The former Massachusetts governor appeared with some of his family. Eldest son Tagg told the audience they wouldn’t let him talk too long, so he could keep his voice for the debate.
Romney kept up his recent "change" theme, and continued his jabs at chief rival John McCain, “the only way [Washington] is going to change is by sending someone there who hasn't lived the last 25 years there."
Romney and the Arizona senator are locked in a tight race for first place in most recent Florida polls.
Riling up the crowd, Romney slipped into boxing metaphors – a favorite of politicians and pundits – saying he was going to adopt Muhammad Ali’s “rope-a-dope” strategy. “Go ahead and just hit, hit, hit and I’ll just keep on talking, talking, talking, and the more they hit me, the more I’m able to talk and describe my vision for the future.”
– CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt
(CNN) – Hillary Clinton has returned to South Carolina to make her final push before the state's Saturday primary.
The New York senator spent the last two days looking ahead to the "Super Tuesday" states while her husband made the rounds in South Carolina.
Her absence led some to question whether she was conceding the state to rival Barack Obama, but she's stepping up her campaigning in the final hours.
Clinton on Thursday was delivering a speech on the economy in Greenville before heading to Anderson. Obama was attending an event in Kingstree, a roundtable discussion in Beaufort and rallies in Beaufort and North Charleston. Clinton and Obama were to appear separately on African-American radio host Michael Baisden's nationally syndicated show.
Clinton and Obama are leading the race in South Carolina, ahead of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who was holding events in Greenwood and Seneca Thursday.
The Saturday primary wraps up a week marked by tense rhetoric regarding the role of race in the presidential election.
The candidates have been trying to win the support of South Carolina's African-American voters, who make up roughly 50 percent of the state's Democratic primary electorate. Obama is leading that group in most recent surveys.