(CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appears to be settling scores with two Republicans he battled during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
According to Time Magazine, Huckabee takes shots at onetime rivals Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson in his new book hitting stores Tuesday, a move that is likely to fuel speculation that the former Arkansas governor still harbors White House ambitions.
On Romney, Huckabee sharply criticizes the former Massachusetts governor for shifting positions on key conservative issues shortly before he decided to run for the White House, saying his record was "anything but conservative until he changed the light bulbs in his chandelier in time to run for president."
Huckabee also lashes out at Romney for what he said was the former governor's refusal to offer congratulations when Huckabee was the surprise winner of the crucial Iowa caucuses in January. Many political observers say it was that loss that ultimately derailed Romney's bid for the Oval office.
“It’s hard to imagine Romney losing the GOP nomination after winning the Iowa caucuses,” notes CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “Combine Romney’s deep pockets with the momentum of an Iowa win and a campaign shifting back to Romney’s home turf for the New Hampshire primary, and the most likely scenario is a Romney nomination by Super Tuesday.”
On Fred Thompson, the former senator and television actor who jumped into the Republican presidential race significantly later than the other candidates, Huckabee calls his campaign "amazingly lackluster."
"Fred Thompson never did grasp the dynamics of the race or the country, and his amazingly lackluster campaign reflected just how disconnected he was with the people, despite the anticipation and expectation that greeted his candidacy," Huckabee writes.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken's campaign made yet another attempt Monday to have certain rejected absentee ballots thrown into the mix when the recount officially commences Wednesday. They've now taken their argument straight to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's canvassing board.
Last week, Franken attorney Mark Elias said the campaign filed a lawsuit with Ramsey County asking for data on rejected ballots. However, the county has set this Wednesday to hear the case - in other words, too late for their decision to make a difference since the statewide hand recount will have begun that morning.
When first laid out last Thursday, Elias gave the example of an elderly woman who's absentee ballot was rejected because, according to the Franken campaign, her signature did not match the one on file merely because she had had a stroke. It was the only example given to reporters after numerous prodding.
That story turned out to be inaccurate, and its taken the campaign four days to offer any other reasons as to why, in their minds, a rejected ballot should ever be counted.
(CNN) - Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby scolded fellow Republican Sen. Jim DeMint Monday over his recent criticisms of John McCain.
"I think my friend Sen. Jim DeMint should keep this stuff in the caucus and not be out beating up on fellow republicans," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
The comments refer to DeMint's recent statement - first reported by CNN - to a gathering of conservatives in South Carolina, during which he said the Republican party has strayed from its own "brand," and directly faulted McCain for the GOP's across-the-board defeat on Election Day.
"We have to be honest, and there's a lot of blame to go around, but I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I'm afraid I even have to mention John McCain," he said Friday night.
"McCain, who is a proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint added. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."
In the interview Monday, Shelby suggested the blame does not rest with McCain but instead with President Bush.
"I wouldn't blame John McCain. John McCain has not been president of the United States. He ran a spirited campaign. We lost. I hated to see us lose but there were a lot of things working against us," Shelby said.
"I think the GOP, the Grand Old Party, the republicans, they will regroup," Shelby also said. "This reminds me 16 years ago when you had the big history by president Clinton and they said that the GOP was finished. We were back in a few years, we will be back again."
- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team met with key officials in the Defense and State Departments Monday, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Rice met with Tom Donilon and Wendy Sherman, Obama's State Department transition team leaders, and promised a smooth hand-over, according to State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood.
In the half hour meeting, held at Rice's request, Rice "expressed her desire to work closely with the team on a smooth and professional transition," Wood said.
Across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, Obama's Defense Department transition team leaders, John White and Michele Flournoy, made office calls to four senior officials and requested more meetings for later this week, senior Pentagon officials said.
White and Flournoy met with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel David Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition John Young and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper, according to senior Pentagon officials.
(CNN) - Senate Democrats appear willing to let Sen. Joe Lieberman keep his powerful Homeland Security Committee chairmanship, even though the Connecticut independent campaigned vigorously for John McCain's White House bid, two congressional sources told CNN Monday.
Instead, Senate Democrats will likely strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of an environmental subcommittee - a considerably less prominent position than his homeland security post.
That outcome would be at odds with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's initial intentions. Sources told CNN last week that Reid had informed Lieberman it was likely he would lose his chairmanship of the committee and instead assume a leadership post on a less prominent panel. Lieberman told
Reid that offer was "not acceptable," according to sources.
The Democratic caucus will formally meet Tuesday morning to hold a secret ballot vote on Lieberman's future, but the sources suggested the outcome of that vote may already be a foregone conclusion.
Obama officials are looking into the former president's finances. (Getty Images)
CHICAGO (CNN) - Two Obama transition officials confirm they have begun taking a look at former President Bill Clinton’s finances and post-presidential dealings as part of the early vetting process into whether or not there’s any negative information to wave President-elect Barack Obama off from consideration of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
The officials said the transition team is seeking unspecified records from the former president to get a better handle on issues related to his foundation work and presidential library to try and deal with potential conflicts of interest if Sen. Clinton is nominated for the post.
While the officials refused to say how quickly the information is being turned over, they are refuting a Politico report suggesting transition officials are exasperated by slow cooperation from the Clintons.
“That is just not true,” said one of the Obama transition officials.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma wants to put a “freeze” on the remaining cash in the big government bailout of the financial industry. In this week’s lame duck session, Inhofe plans to push for legislation that will require Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan for the remaining $350 billion in the bailout package to be voted on in Congress.
Despite promises from Congressional leaders that there would be both, there is absolutely no transparency or congressional oversight on where the first $290 billion has gone. Senator Inhofe suggests Paulson “may have given the money to his friends.”
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on a mission during the current lame duck session of Congress that isn’t focused solely on the words ‘bailout’ or ‘economy.’
On Monday, the Democrat from California introduced legislation to ban the “sale and counterfeiting” of tickets to President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration January 20.
While some tickets are being offered up on Internet sites for reportedly as high as $40,000, in actuality the tickets are free. Members of Congress and the Obama-Biden transition team hand out the tickets.
The government has printed 250,000 tickets so far, holding them in a secure location. For information on how to get one, click here.
“No Web sites or other ticket outlets have inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, despite what they may claim,” according to a press release from Feinstein’s office.
Feinstein – chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies - said that the inauguration should “not be bought and sold like tickets to a football game.”
(CNN) – The man once referred to by a rival campaign as “the biggest celebrity in the world” has intentionally been keeping a very low profile in the awkward limbo period between Election Day and his inauguration on January 20.
But on Monday President-Elect Barack Obama stepped out a little and acted decidedly presidential in the middle of a disaster in California.
Obama called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villraigosa “to express his concern over the wildfires and to receive an update on the situation,” according to a statement released by the Obama transition team Monday.
In the nearly two weeks since Election Day, Obama has taken great pains to make it clear that President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in two months. At his first press conference as president-elect, Obama stressed that the country only has one president at a time and, Obama did not participate in the recent economic summit of world leaders convened to discuss a coordinated response to the financial crisis that has roiled global securities and credit markets.
Update 3:15 p.m.: The Web site of President-elect Obama's presidential campaign, barackobama.com, was altered after Obama's calls to Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa in order to encourage visitors to the site to donate to relief efforts for the victims of the Southern California wildfires. Click here to read a blog post on the Web site.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton's international business dealings, global foundation and penchant for going off script could present a significant obstacle to Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state, observers say.
On the one hand, his established relationships with world leaders could instantly make the New York senator a welcome face in embassies around the world.
On the other, his complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief.
"These are issues that I'm sure are being discussed, and they will have to be worked out, and it's legitimate to ask these questions," said James Carville, a former aide to the Clintons and CNN contributor.