COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making political news in South Carolina this Tuesday morning:
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson meets with local voters in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Later, he stops by Blue Ridge Shooting Sport Store in Greer and then holds a "Meet Fred" event in Greenville.
An AP-Pew poll of likely Democratic primary voters in South Carolina shows Hillary Clinton at 45 percent, Barack Obama at 31 percent and John Edwards at 10 percent. No other candidate came in over two percent.
If you want tickets see see Oprah rally for Obama in Columbia, you'll have to get on the waiting list.
The State does "sidewalk politics" - what's the mood on the street in heavily Democratic Orangeburg County? Read it here.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Don Imus returned to radio this week, eight months after he was taken off the air.
(CNN) - As Don Imus ended his exile from the airwaves Monday, presidential candidates rushed to welcome him back - contenders Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, both called in to his first show. Tuesday morning, Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Bill Richardson will both be guests by phone.
Earlier this year, McCain and Huckabee both called for forgiveness in the wake of the Imus scandal.
"He's continued to have me on his show when I said stupid things," the former Arkansas governor told USA Today. "What Imus said was wrong, but he seems genuinely sorry. He's certainly not the first celebrity to put his foot in his mouth - and he won't be the last."
On Monday, presidential contenders seemed ready to forgive and forget. McCain ended his interview by telling Imus, “Welcome back, old friend.” Later, Dodd echoed the sentiment: “Welcome home.”
A Richardson spokesman told CNN Monday that while “the governor was upset” over Imus’ comments, he believes “this is a country of second chances.”
Richardson was a frequent guest and occasional sparring partner of Imus on his previous show. The radio host has a ranch in New Mexico, where Richardson is governor.
Oprah's appearance could help raise Obama's profile in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Citing "overwhelming excitement," Barack Obama's campaign in South Carolina is out of free tickets for this weekend's rally with Oprah Winfrey, a signal that Oprah's impact could be significant in this state where Obama is still trying to introduce himself to primary voters.
Though Oprah's appeal certainly transcends race and class, black women are proving to be a key subset of voters in South Carolina, and Oprah's presence on Sunday could help raise Obama's profile in a state where Sen. Hillary Clinton is still more well-known.
"What this does, is it takes somebody who ten months ago most people in South Carolina had no clue who he was, and with the media attention surrounding Oprah, it puts him front and center," said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon.
"Oprah is not going to change people's minds on her own, but Oprah makes Obama salient. So if he pulls off an upset in Iowa, suddenly he is the forefront of everyone's mind and he has the momentum. And he can use it to springboard him through in South Carolina. That's what it can do."
The Obama campaign wants this to be a huge event: The rally will take place at the Colonial Center, an arena here that seats 18,000 people. Oprah and/or Obama fans were camping out in sleeping bags outside Obama headquarters in Columbia on Saturday morning, waiting for tickets.
Assuming every ticket-holder shows up, there will be more people at the arena for a political rally than for an average University of South Carolina basketball game, which aren't usually sell-outs.
For those that didn't get tickets in time, the campaign says there is a waiting list. Obama and Oprah will also campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day at http://www.CNNPolitics.com. All Politics, all the time.
Making news today:
Iowa caucuses get more attention than ever
(CNN) - With states moving their caucuses and primaries earlier, what does that mean for Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus? Full Story
No more tickets for Oprah in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Citing "overwhelming excitement," Barack Obama's campaign in South Carolina is out of free tickets for this weekend's rally with Oprah Winfrey, a signal that Oprah's impact could be significant in this state where Obama is still trying to introduce himself to primary voters. Full Story
Giuliani gets praise from Norquist
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He still won’t sign the pledge – but Republican Rudy Giuliani is on the receiving end of some very kind words from a conservative activist prominent in GOP battles over taxes and spending. Full Story
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
USA Today: Poll: Giuliani, Clinton Support Slips A Month From First Votes
National support for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani significantly eroded during the past month, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. The sign of volatility in both parties comes a month before the Iowa caucuses open the presidential primary season.
CNN: Pro-Huckabee 'push polls' irk GOP field in Iowa
On the stump, Mike Huckabee boasts about running a clean campaign that steers clear of smearing his GOP rivals. But now a group founded by some of Huckabee's supporters appears to be doing just that.
New York Times: Huckabee Repudiates Group’s Effort
Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate, distanced his campaign yesterday from an independent group’s efforts to promote his candidacy through calls to the homes of caucusgoers in Iowa and through mailings.
Chicago Tribune: 'Now The Fun Part Starts' In Iowa
A Democratic presidential contest that had focused on high-minded qualities of leadership, experience and change has whiplashed into sharp attacks between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over courage, character and kindergarten writings amid ever-tightening polls and the ever-closer Iowa caucuses.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Mccain Explains What He Would Have Done
Were John McCain president over the last seven years, Donald Rumsfeld wouldn't have had the president's ear, federal spending wouldn't have mushroomed, and China would be shamed for not doing enough to stop genocide, the Arizona senator said last night.
Quad City Times: McCain: I'm Old, But Best Candidate
Republican Sen. John McCain, his spirits better than his comic timing, told students Monday he's the best presidential candidate for youth despite his age.
New York Times: Vulnerable Democrats See Fates Tied to Clinton
…the possibility that she [Hillary Clinton] will be the nominee is already generating concern among some Democrats in Republican-leaning states and Congressional districts, who fear that sharing the ticket with her could subject them to attack as too liberal and out of step with the values of their constituents.
Washington Post: As Iowa Race Tightens, Clinton Decides the Best Defense Is a Good Offense
Just two months ago, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York appeared to have turned a corner in Iowa. Now, as the race here enters its final month, she is once again fighting to fend off concerns that have dogged her from the start of her campaign in the state.
USA Today: Poll: Clinton Has Edge In Early Contests
Health care and Iraq dominate Democrats' concerns in the three pivotal early voting states of the 2008 presidential race. Advantage: Hillary Rodham Clinton, a poll shows.
Boston Globe: Obama Says Democrats Need Decisive Win To Make Wide Changes
The Democratic presidential nominee will have to earn a decisive victory next November to bring about the sweeping change America needs, Senator Barack Obama said yesterday.
Quad City Times: Richardson Won't Settle For VP In Caucus Campaign
The conventional thinking is that Bill Richardson is running a great campaign — for vice president. So during a quick phone interview while he was on the campaign trail in Iowa, I asked the New Mexico governor if he was really auditioning for the No. 2 spot.
LA Times: Mormonism Not Focus Of Romney Speech
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Monday that he would not focus on his Mormon beliefs in a major speech on religion this week and instead would discuss his concern that "faith has disappeared from the public square."
Washington Post: Huckabee Chafes at 'Front-Runner' Label
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, for months cast as a "second-tier" candidate, now finds himself with another label he is not eager to have: "front-runner."
Boston Globe: Clinton Scandals' Effects Still Unfolding
The death last week of former Illinois representative Henry Hyde, the patriarchal Republican who led the impeachment of President Clinton, brought back memories of what Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama calls "the battles of the '90s."
New York Times: Giuliani’s Firm Lobbied for Bill Considered Threat
Although Rudolph W. Giuliani is campaigning as President Bush’s staunch ally in the war on terror, his law office has lobbied Congress on behalf of legislation that the Bush administration calls a threat to antiterrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa.
NY Daily News: Mike Huckabee Rise In Iowa Great News For...Rudy Giuliani?
Rudy Giuliani could use some good news, and Mike Huckabee's amazing surge in Iowa from long shot to first place this week could be an early Christmas gift.
Chicago Tribune: An Urgent Agenda
Every two weeks from November 2004 to February 2005, John Edwards kept a chemotherapy vigil that stretched from morning to late afternoon. His wife says his job was to be there when she woke. He says her slumbering hours gave him what a frantic national campaign had not: "a lot of time to reflect on what I wanted to do as president."
Boston Globe: Citizens Become Part Of Campaign Narratives
The presidential candidates meet dozens of voters every day, hundreds every month. Only a few of their stories hold special appeal to the campaigns, and become part of the candidates' carefully crafted narratives…
Wall Street Journal: Economy Moves To Fore as Issue For 2008 Voters
With the parties just weeks away from the first presidential nominating contests, economic concerns are seizing a top spot in many voters' minds. Falling housing prices, rising gasoline prices and health-insurance worries are supplanting the war in Iraq and concern over terrorism.
Washington Times: Bush Still A Factor, Rove Warns
President Bush, down and all but counted out by friend and foe alike just three months ago, is rising like a bloodied but unbowed prizefighter, and Karl Rove predicts peril for Republicans and their presidential nominee if they shun the lame-duck president on the campaign trail.
New York Times: Magazine Voices Doubt Over ‘Diary’ From Iraq
After months of accusations that reports written in The New Republic by “The Baghdad Diarist,” an American Army private, about the cruelty of ordinary soldiers in Iraq were false, the magazine says that as a result of its own investigation it can no longer stand by the articles.
Washington Post: New Allegations Test Craig's New Boldness
Three months after Senator Larry Craig told the nation he would resign after the uproar over his arrest in a sex sting in an airport men's room, Craig returns to Congress in the wake of the most lurid allegations about his conduct to date, vowing yet again to finish out his term, having long since abandoned his promise to step down quietly for the good of his constituents and his party.
Roll Call: Hutchison May Drop From Race
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is expected to decide today whether to remain in the three-way race for GOP Conference chairman, with sources speculating she will opt to forgo the candidacy and keep her job as head of the Republican Policy Committee.
The Hill: Sens. Cochran, Stevens Lead In Earmark Tally
Senior Republican appropriators in the Senate have collected more money in earmarks than any other members of Congress, even though President Bush and GOP leaders have forcefully criticized “pork-barrel spending.”
Roll Call: Missouri Gubernatorial Race Still Cash-Rich
A state Supreme Court decision requiring incumbent Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (R) and attorney general Jay Nixon, his Democratic challenger, to return $5.8 million in now-banned campaign gifts largely is expected to become a symbolic gesture, as party insiders already are scheming to dust off tried-and-true end runs around state campaign finance laws.
LA Times: Rogan May Be Denied Seat On Federal Bench
Former Rep. James E. Rogan, a Republican from Glendale, CA, lost his House seat not long after he helped lead the GOP's drive to impeach President Clinton. Now Rogan faces the prospect of being denied a coveted seat as a federal judge in Los Angeles.
New York Times: Phoenix Mayor Shifts on Officers’ Asking for Immigration Status
Under pressure from advocates for stricter immigration laws, the mayor of Phoenix said on Monday that he no longer backed a Police Department order barring officers from routinely asking the immigration status of people it arrested and announced a panel to study a policy change.
Roll Call: CODEPINK: Upping the Protest Ante
The mostly women’s anti-war group has moved from a fringe protest group into the mainstream, getting noticed by the White House and others as a political force du jour. ===============================================================
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* The Democratic presidential candidates participate in a debate sponsored by NPR and Iowa Public Radio at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson meets with local voters in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Later, he stops by Blue Ridge Shooting Sport Store in Greer.
* Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, attends a town hall meeting at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney meets with local voters in Windham, New Hampshire. Later, he holds town hall meetings in Raymond and Concord and meets with local residents in Meredith.
* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards holds a town hall meeting at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee calls into Don Imus' radio show. Later, Huckabee meets with local residents and hosts an open house at his campaign headquarters, holds a press conference and speaks at a media dinner in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, meets with local residents at the Union Street Grille Milford, New Hampshire and at the Peterborough Diner in Peterborough. Later, he holds town hall meetings in Keene and Hooksett.
* Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, holds rallies at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa and the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson calls into the Don Imus' radio show. Later, he attends the funeral of Corporal Clem Boody in Independence, Iowa and holds a "Call Back Job Interview" event in Waterloo.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook