Mitt Romney campaigned in New Hampshire on Labor Day
ASHLAND, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent his Labor Day sharing his views on illegal immigration with prospective voters at a campaign stop in Ashland, the Granite State's geographical center.
The former Massachusetts governor drew a significant crowd in this small town nestled between mountains and nearby Squam Lakes. The crowd of mostly older voters dressed in their Sunday best peppered the presidential hopeful on national security issues and his stance on how to deal with the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.
"The wrong answer is amnesty. We tried it twice before," said Romney. "Amnesty only led to more people coming into the country 'cause they say, 'Oh gosh, look if you get in illegally, ultimately they'll let you stay.' That's the wrong message."
"Amnesty, in my opinion, is the wrong way to go, and I believe the other candidates in this race are planning on amnesty, which I think is a mistake," he continued. "Their view is that if [they] come here illegally we've got to create a special pathway so that they can stay here. My view is that in fact people who come here illegally should get in line with everybody else, and there should be no special pathway to citizenship or permanent residency for those who have come here illegally."
Romney also railed against employers and businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, as well as so-called "sanctuary cities," where local officials flout federal immigration laws.
"We are going to end the practice of sanctuary cities in this country and stop welcoming people that are here illegally," Romney said.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
Arizona Sen. John McCain was "glad" that President Bush visited Iraq on Labor Day
NEOLA, Iowa (CNN) - Speaking with reporters at a parade in Iowa on Monday, Republican presidential candidate John McCain reiterated his belief that the current strategy in Iraq is working, saying that to withdraw is to surrender.
"I will fight against a date for surrender," said the Arizona senator. "I will fight against what the Democrats are trying to do. And I think it will be a seminal debate that will determine the history of this country for the rest of this century, because if we set a date for withdrawal we will see chaos, we will see genocide, and they will follow us home."
McCain continued, "To set a date for withdrawal is to set a date for surrender."
He stressed that he never said the road wouldn't be long and hard, but said things are "much tougher because of [former Secretary of Defense] Rumsfeld's absolute strategic failures."
Sen. Sam Brownback is trying to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican '08 field in the eyes of conservative voters
CHAPIN, South Carolina (CNN) - Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, in South Carolina for the town of Chapin's annual Labor Day parade, said in an interview with CNN that his foreign policy experience will help him separate him from other Republican candidates vying to win over Christian conservative voters.
Along with Brownback, Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and soon-to-be candidate Fred Thompson are all working to position themselves as true conservatives on matters important to so-called "values voters," including the issues of abortion, gay marriage and judicial nominations.
"The pro-life issue [and others], I've carried those issues," said Brownback. But the Kansas senator then went on to explain that his experience on the Senate Foreign Relations committee gives him an edge that other Republicans lack.
"I really think we can do some separation on foreign policy, and that people are much more in tune [with the fact] that the next president needs to have foreign policy experience and not learn it on the job," he said.
Brownback also said that the current frontrunner in the race, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, doesn't have the staying power to win the state's primary in January.
"I think a lot of the mayor's support - he's a wonderful man - but I think it's built on name ID, and I think it's very soft," said Brownback, who added that his stance on issues such as abortion, an optional flat tax, and a three-state political solution in Iraq will resonate with Palmetto State voters.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Gen. Peter Pace has about a month left as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(CNN) – Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs don’t usually find themselves as warm-up acts, but that’s the role General Peter Pace found himself in Monday during President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq.
The retiring chairman showed a far more animated side than the formal, serious one usually seen in Washington in full dress uniform. Wearing desert fatigues, General Pace held court before the troops while waiting for the president’s belated appearance.
“This is a 3-act performance”, Pace told the crowd while filling unexpected time. “I’m act one. Now I’m act two.”
The general said he wanted to take questions and hear comments from the forces, reminding them, “I’ve only got 30 days left, so it’s a free shot.” To laughter, he said, “If I know the answer, I’ll tell you. If I don’t, I’ll make something up. By the time you figure it out, I’ll be gone.”
Turning serious, he then said, “All kidding aside, if it’s something I should know, by all means tell me. If you want to tell me something, I’m all ears.”
Asked his plans after retiring next month, Pace told the troops, “I have a day job. I’m going to run to the finish line in 1 October because you deserve to have me still focused on my responsibilities. On 2 October, I’ll start thinking about what I’ll do next.”
Pace said that while he may have some idea what he may want, “I do know any time I spend thinking about what happens next is time I’m taking away from you, and I’m not going to do that.”
–CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned in Sioux City, Iowa with her husband at her side.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s Labor Day, the traditional kick off for race for the White House. In the old days, this is when then campaigning actually began. But that’s been history for quite some time, and in this hectic fast paced 2008 campaign season, it’s been full speed ahead since the beginning of the year. But while some people across the country have been paying attention to the candidates up until now, more and more Americans will begin to tune in to what’s happening.
“Think of this as prime time. It’s sort of been off-Broadway. Now, this is the real thing,” says CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
"In the past, Labor Day has been the traditional kick off to the campaign, but the 2008 race for the White House really began the day after the 2004 presidential election,” chimes in CNN Political Editor Mark Preston, adding that “now each and every campaign stop counts and most of the candidates will be spending their time in the key early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina."
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
John Edwards has garnered three union endorsements so far during the 2008 presidential race
(CNN) – Democratic White House hopeful John Edwards, who has made a strong push for union support on the campaign trail, picked up two major endorsements Monday, making him the leading candidate for labor endorsements in the presidential field.
The United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America announced their support of Edwards at a rally in downtown Pittsburgh this Labor Day. In a statement, Steelworkers president Leo Gerard said, "All of the Democratic candidates in the field share our values, and any one of them would be a major improvement over the current administration. But none of them is a more forceful advocate for those values than John Edwards. Senator Edwards is committed, as he has been throughout his life, to going to bat for everyday Americans and to changing a broken political system that leaves millions of Americans without a voice in their government."
Edwards told the boisterous rally, “America was not built on Wall Street. America was built by steelworkers and mine workers.”
The Steelworkers in endorsement called Edwards the most electable Democrat in the general election. The candidate said on stage, “I am proud of the fact that these great unions are supporting and endorsing me, and that they said, in the endorsement, that John Edwards is the candidate for president who can campaign and win, in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in West Virginia, all the places in America where we have to be able to compete and win. I will campaign everywhere”
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
The "Mitt Mobile" was in Chapin, South Carolina on Labor Day.
CHAPIN, South Carolina (CNN) - Sam Brownback, the Republican senator from Kansas, was the only presidential candidate to show up at the annual Labor Day parade here on Monday, but the lack of national politicians didn't overshadow the fact that this political ritual is alive and well in South Carolina.
Along with Brownback, the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani were out in full force distributing stickers and candy, mostly to children under the age of 10.
Romney's son Craig was here representing his father's campaign, walking down Columbia Avenue shaking hands as the "Mitt Mobile" lumbered along behind him. Giuliani supporters in the parade struck up a "Rudy! Rudy!" chant, taking a cue from the popular football movie. Ron Paul also had a small but very vocal group of supporters who told the crowd that Paul is the only presidential candidate who "understands the Constitution."
Martin Meehan (left) recently introduced the Republican candidates running for his vacated U.S. House of Representatives seat. Tom Tierney (right) looks on as Meehan does the introductions.
(CNN) – It’s Labor Day in Massachusetts, which means it’s probably time to hit the beach on the Cape or head over to Fenway Park as the Sox try to extend their division lead.
If you live in the Merrimack River Valley, it’s also time for a true rarity in Bay State politics: a competitive U.S. House primary. Voters in the fifth congressional district are preparing to head to the polls Tuesday to choose the Democratic and Republican nominees in the race to succeed recently retired Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Lowell.
Five Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the honor. On the Democratic side, voters will see a familiar last name on the ballot, as Niki Tsongas tries to recapture the seat once held by her late husband, Paul Tsongas, the former senator and 1992 presidential candidate. Tsongas, currently a dean at Middlesex Community College, is facing stiff competition from Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue, as well as state reps. Jamie Eldridge, Barry Finegold and Jim Miceli.
The GOP race is a showdown between Air Force retiree Jim Ogonowski and Marine Corps veteran/consumer activist Tom Tierney. Ogonowski’s brother, John, was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter stood behind his friend Sen. Larry Craig Saturday as Craig announced his intent to resign
WASHINGTON (CNN) - So Sen. Larry Craig says he intends to step down from his office as of September 30. The Republican from Idaho says he’ll resign amid a controversy over his arrest in June in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of making sexual advances to an undercover police officer.
Craig said Saturday that he hopes “to allow a smooth and orderly transition of my local staff and for the person appointed to take my place.” The man who will appoint that successor, Idaho’s Republican governor, C.L. "Butch" Otter, stood behind Craig at the announcement in Boise.
Otter, a Republican, will almost certainly name a Republican to fill the seat, and that interim person will serve until next year’s election. That person will also most likely have a major edge in the 2008 contest.
And here’s why: Idaho is a very red state. As mentioned, the governor is a Republican, as is Craig and the other U.S. senator, Mike Crapo. Both U.S. representatives are Republican, and President Bush cruised to victory in Idaho in 2004, winning 69% of the vote.
President Bush made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Labor Day and was greeted by Gen. David Petraeus, left, and Adm. William Fallon, right
BAGHDAD (CNN) - President Bush arrived Monday at a U.S. military base in Iraq's Anbar province on an unannounced visit, less than two weeks before his administration is scheduled to report to Congress on progress in Iraq.
Among those accompanying Bush Monday were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
It is Bush's third visit to Iraq, and the first time he landed outside the Iraqi capital.
Bush chose to land at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar because the administration believes the Sunni province west of Baghdad is symbolic of what can be done elsewhere in Iraq.
Bush has repeatedly hailed the U.S. military's alliance with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar as the reason that fighting against al Qaeda militants has lessened there.
White House advisers said Bush also came to Al Asad to gauge firsthand the challenges faced by the 7,000 Marines and 3,000 soldiers stationed at the base between Baghdad and the Syrian border, prior to the release of the White House's report on Iraq