(CNN) – Republicans seeking their party's presidential nomination will have four separate ways to qualify for the Southern Republican Presidential Debate, CNN announced Tuesday.
The debate will take place in Charleston on January 19, two days before the crucial South Carolina primary. The event is being co-hosted by the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, the umbrella organization of the Republican National Committee's Southern Region. The region consists of 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
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Washington (CNN) – Well, that didn’t take long.
As quickly as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced Monday that she was moving the state’s 2012 presidential primary to February 28, the South Carolina Republican Party said on Tuesday that they will leapfrog any state that tries to move ahead of the Palmetto State.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Much has been written about the strength of Barack Obama's ground organization in South Carolina, largely driven by volunteers. Some observers considered it his best among the early-voting states.
It paid overwhelming dividends for Obama tonight in precincts across the state, some of which were largely ignored in the 2004 primary.
Take, for instance, the tiny town of Estill, located in Hampton County in the southern part of the state.
In the 2004 presidential primary, just 264 total votes were cast in Estill.
In this primary race, the Obama campaign made sure to send staff and volunteers to the town. Tonight, amid unprecedented Democratic turnout across the state, 575 votes were cast in Estill, with 459 of them going to Obama, 92 to Hillary Clinton and 24 to John Edwards.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – During the last six months, each of the three Democratic frontrunners made campaign pilgrimages to a series of dilapidated schools along Interstate 95 that make up the so-called "Corridor of Shame."
That strip of run-down, rural schools gained national attention in a 2005 documentary that angered many South Carolinians, who saw the schools as a residual symbol of racial discrimination in rural parts of the state.
Though John Edwards and Hillary Clinton made those schools a focus of many speeches throughout their campaigns, Barack Obama won the counties that encompass them by wide margins.
Marlboro, Dillon, Clarendon, Florence and Darlington Counties all went big for Obama on Saturday.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Today’s the Super Bowl of Democratic politics in South Carolina – and this afternoon, the top teams found themselves in some pretty close quarters.
This afternoon, Barack Obama staffers and reporters following the Illinois senator’s campaign made a stop at the Liberty Tap Room & Grill, a Columbia watering hole and dining establishment, where several CNN-ers, including myself, were having a peaceful lunch.
About halfway through my bowl of chili, men in earpieces began sweeping the restaurant. Then Hillary Clinton’s press pool showed up, followed by her handlers and finally, the candidate herself along with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton. They worked the room, shaking hands and encouraging diners to vote.
Finally, Hillary Clinton herself stopped to greet our table - our first encounter with the New York senator since we were berated by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, at a campaign stop earlier this week. (It was a brief, pleasant exchange - so brief, in fact, we didn't get a chance to ask her to pass a message on to her husband: We swear, we don't live to "hurt the people of South Carolina.")
The surprise Clinton-Obama campaign meeting had the two sides shoulder-to-shoulder in the suddenly-cramped restaurant - but unlike Monday night's CNN showdown, there were no fireworks.
–CNN’s Carey Bodenheimer
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As South Carolina Democrats headed to the polls, the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each sought to raise the expectations of their rival while lowering their own, in dueling memos circulated to reporters Saturday.
Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson all but declared the New York senator will lose the state, and he said the Democratic race will shift to Florida afterwards - a state where Clinton holds a wide lead but whose primary has been rendered essentially meaningless by party sanctions.
"Regardless of today’s outcome, the race quickly shifts to Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Democrats will turn out to vote on Tuesday," Wolfson wrote. "Despite efforts by the Obama campaign to ignore Floridians, their voices will be heard loud and clear across the country, as the last state to vote before Super Tuesday on February 5th."
(CNN) - If Hillary Clinton and John McCain become their party's presidential nominees, the general election race is likely to be a love-fest.
At least according to Bill Clinton.
Campaigning in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Friday, the former president brushed aside suggestions his wife would prove to be a divisive nominee for the Democratic Party, pointing out how she has successfully worked with Republicans in the Senate - including one of the current GOP presidential candidates.
"She and John McCain are very close," Clinton said. "They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other."
The comments may not be welcome by the McCain camp - which yesterday faced fire from several of its rivals for winning the backing of the New York Times - a longtime archenemy of conservatives.
Sens. McCain and Clinton last met publicly at an ABC debate earlier January, when presidential candidates of both parties shared the same stage. The two were seen exchanging pleasantries, and a Clinton side said she told the Arizona senator he’d done a “good job” staging a comeback in New Hampshire. He asked that she say hello to Bill Clinton for him.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(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.
The ad highlights Obama's recent interview with a Nevada newspaper in which he said, "The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years.”
"Really? Aren’t those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we’re in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street," the ad's narrator asked. "Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama’s talking about?"
The ad immediately drew sharp criticism from the Illinois senator's campaign. Obama spokesman Bill Burton denounced the spot as a "negative, dishonest attack," and later said they were planning on running a response ad that said Clinton "will say anything to get elected."
Clinton's campaign maintained its ad was "straightforward."
Clinton's South Carolina spokesman did not provide a reason why the ad was pulled, saying only, "we are on schedule with our "Closer" ads starting."
UPDATE: Clinton's campaign has announced the release of a new radio ad, called "Closer," that features Bill Clinton touting his wife's ability to battle the country's economic problems.
– CNN's Peter Hamby and Alex Mooney