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For Huckabee, success means criticism and questions
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new CNN poll out this morning finds the candidates most likely to win the general election are barely clinging to top-tier status as primary season winds down: John McCain is the most successful GOP candidate in many of the hypothetical general election match-ups, and John Edwards far outpaces his Democratic rivals.
The survey is the first to include Mike Huckabee in potential head-to-head pairings, and the news isn’t good for the former Arkansas governor – he’s trounced by the three top Democratic candidates. But CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes that America’s still getting to know Huckabee. As his name recognition increases, poll numbers may rise in stride. That’s assuming his competitors – who’ve launched a wave of free-and paid-media attacks this week – don’t define him first. Full Story
The newly-ascendant – and freshly-targeted – Huckabee is campaigning on friendly turf in solidly-red Western Iowa this morning before making his way to Des Moines, where his new trail nemesis, Mitt Romney, will meet with local residents at Kaleidoscope at the Hub.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffett link up for a major San Francisco fundraiser. So far, the Nebraska billionaire hasn’t taken sides in the race, throwing his financial support behind both Clinton and Barack Obama. He’s previously paired up with the Illinois senator for a similar event.
Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reports that Obama may be able to boast a major campaign season coup today: an endorsement by New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter – who had vowed to stay neutral through the primary. The nod would give him a sweep of the state’s two-member congressional delegation.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
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Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
Compiled by Lindsey Pope
CNN Washington Bureau
New York Times: Poll Finds G.O.P. Field Isn’t Touching Voters
Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Republican voters across the country appear uninspired by their field of presidential candidates, with a vast majority saying they have not made a final decision about whom to support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
New York Times: In New Ad, Romney Attacks Huckabee on Immigration
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign plans to begin running a negative television advertisement today in Iowa highlighting Mike Huckabee’s record on immigration, escalating the warfare between the two Republican candidates as they scramble for support in the nation’s first nominating state.
LA Times: Huckabee Does A Flip-Flop On Cuba
As governor of Arkansas five years ago, Mike Huckabee joined a bipartisan chorus of politicians who concluded that the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba was bad for businesses. Now that he's a top-tier candidate for president, Huckabee has decided he favors the embargo…
Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp: Giuliani TV Ad Questioned
Rudy Giuliani’s newest television ad brims with some of his favorite campaign themes: the threat of Muslim extremism, the brilliance of Ronald Reagan and Rudy's own tough guy approach to fighting terrorism. It also seems to get its history confused.
San Francisco Chronicle: Giuliani Has Advice For S.F. On Dealing With The Homeless
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani – who touts the cleanup of his city's chronic homeless problem as a key accomplishment in his administration – had some tough-love advice for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Monday, saying cities cannot encourage the impression that the homeless "have the right to live on the street."
Boston Globe: Independent Groups Poised To Play Big Role In Election
Threatened by Mike Huckabee's rocket like rise to the top of Iowa polls, a Washington antitax group launched attack ads against him yesterday, the latest onslaught by outside groups hoping to exert outsized influence on the presidential campaign.
New York Times: Obama, Under the Clinton Microscope
Presidential campaigns have unlimited appetites for information about their rivals. They track their whereabouts, they study their records and they obsessively follow nearly every movement. By this point in the race, though, it would seem a candidate’s work history would have already been sufficiently combed through.
LA Times: Hillary Clinton, According To Bill
Many voters see Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as coldly ambitious, a perception that could ultimately doom her presidential campaign. So on Monday her husband made a swing through Iowa in hopes of convincing voters that she is a sympathetic figure who gave up money and power for love and marriage.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Clinton's Office In Rochester Reopens
Sen. Hillary Clinton's local campaign office has reopened following a two-week closure because of the hostage standoff there on Nov. 30.
Des Moines Register: Holidays Could Make Campaign More Positive
Iowans bombarded with presidential campaigns can expect at most a partial break this month during what was once viewed as a political no-man's-land: Christmas week.
ABC News: Dropping Oppo
Circulating among Iowa labor circles, I am told, is this leaflet, which looks to be a standard opposition-research paper against former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC. The shocker? It's from Mr. Positive, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.
Austin American-Statesman: Paul Turns Down Invitation to Seek Libertarian Party Nomination
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul turned down a Libertarian Party invitation on Sunday that could have kept him in the 2008 presidential race even if his long-shot bid for the GOP nomination fails.
Washington Post: That's Dr. Paul to You
Ron Paul is airing a new TV ad in Iowa and New Hampshire that discusses his idea on health care reform. The ad also reminds viewers that the Texas congressman is also a doctor.
Chicago Tribune: The Ron Paul Revolution: It Has Just Begun To Fight
Cheese pizza powers the Ron Paul revolution. So do Doritos, Cheerios and beer. Junk food in general dominates the menu at this rented house, full of young people who’ve moved in from Seattle, South Florida and points in between to push for the Texas Republican’s long-shot presidential bid in the Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: Questions Remain About Rapist-Turned-Murderer
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a hand in twice as many pardons and commutations as his three predecessors combined.
Washington Post: Analyzing the Dance of the GOP Debaters
A man of confident gestures and lively demeanor, Huckabee just might be this cycle's Great Communicator in the quadrennial contest that Bradley claims always comes down to the candidate with the greatest "shaping" ability - the subtle body language that conveys warmth, strength, energy, whatever it is that makes people think they like and trust you.
Chicago Tribune: Analysis: Turning Oprah Fans Into Voters
Even before Oprah Winfrey had left the building during the weekend's big campaign rallies for Barack Obama, the candidate's team had begun an intensive follow-up effort - trying to turn tens of thousands of Oprah fans into Obama voters.
Washington Post: Beyond the Run of the Mill
Early in the morning, the young boy would wake up to find his dad bathed in the light from the television, a notepad on the table in front of him. John Edwards's father, Wallace, a small-town millworker with a high school education, would be taking math courses on instructional TV before reporting to work. He was always trying to better himself, to get ahead at a company that did not seem to respect, or advance, anyone without a college degree.
Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp: Edwards: Iowans The 'Guardians' Of The White House
Democratic candidate John Edwards kicked off an eight-day Iowa bus tour today by telling caucus-goers that by living in the nation's leadoff presidential state, they have a great deal of responsibility in choosing a contender.
AP: Edwards Tells Americans To Rise Up To Country's Challenges
Democrat John Edwards on Monday encouraged Americans to rise up to the challenges the country is facing, just as they have in the past.
New Hampshire Union-Leader: It's Iowa, Not NH, For Thompson
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has no plans to return to first-primary state New Hampshire to campaign before the end of the year, a spokesman said yesterday.
Boston Globe: Without Late-Night, Candidates Get A Pass
The news broke in straitlaced political circles last week, but seemed to beg for satire: Rudy Giuliani, as mayor of New York, used taxpayer-funded security for trysts with his girlfriend in the Hamptons. The late-night-TV-monologue jokes could have practically written themselves.
Boston Globe: Path To White House Can Be Humbling
Journalist Richard Ben Cramer's landmark tome about presidential campaigns, "What it Takes," expends 1,097 pages showing what it takes for someone to win the presidency, and the answer is: It takes everything, and then some.
Chicago Tribune: Presidential Hopefuls and First Cars
These days, luxury cars and SUVs carry presidential candidates in their nearly ceaseless travels. Not like the old days. AP asked candidates to name their first cars. Here are their answers, and a look at some of their personal vehicles now:
Iowa Independent: Cynthia McKinney Brings Green Campaign to Iowa City
Strictly speaking, the Green Party doesn't participate in the Iowa caucuses. Nevertheless, their most likely candidate was in Iowa City Sunday, meeting supporters and making the ritual Hamburg Inn visit - where she saw a former congressional colleague.
DC Examiner: Bloomberg: a Bachelor President?
For all of his billions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lacks one thing all the current presidential candidates proudly display: a spouse.
Roll Call: Allen Contemplating ’09 Gubernatorial Run
Although a recent Roll Call/Survey USA poll showed him to be at least competitive in a hypothetical match-up against the juggernaut that is ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D), former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) said last week that he is “definitely not interested” in a Senate run in 2008.
Politico: Mccrery Exit Lightens GOP Coffers
The once-daunting Republican money machine has suffered yet another blow with the stunning retirement announcement by Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana.
Roll Call: Ways and Means Battle Kicks Off
Rep. Jim McCrery’s (R-La.) announcement late last week that he will not seek re-election in 2008 immediately touched off a yearlong race for one of the most powerful posts in Congress — the top Republican slot on the Ways and Means Committee.
On the Trail:
Compiled by Lauren Kornreich and Katy Byron
CNN Washington Bureau
* Hillary Clinton holds a major fundraiser with Warren Buffett at the Hilton in San Francisco, California.
* Rudy Giuliani meets with local supporters at The Counter in Santa Monica, California.
* John Edwards holds town hall meetings in Clinton and Muscatine, Iowa. Edwards also joins Iowa mothers in Davenport at a "Safe Home Session" sponsored by the United Steelworkers' "Get the Lead Out" campaign to test toys for lead and help draw attention to trade policies that allow dangerous products into the United States.
* Mike Huckabee holds a meet and greet in Council Bluffs, Red Oak, Creston and Osceola, Iowa. Later, he attends a "My Prez" student forum at Drake University in Des Moines.
* John McCain heads to South Carolina, where he eats breakfast at the Skillet Restaurant in Inman and addresses a Rotary luncheon in Greenville. Later, he participates in the Spartanburg Christmas Parade.
* Barack Obama holds a "Generation Barack Obama" fundraiser at Showbox SoDo in Seattle, Washington.
* Mitt Romney meets with local residents at Kaleidoscope at the Hub in Des Moines, Iowa.
* Ron Paul delivers speeches in Sioux Center and Sioux City, Iowa. Later, he attends the grand opening of his Council Bluffs campaign office and holds a rally at the Council Bluffs Holiday Inn.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook