Tancredo will drop out of the presidential race Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Tom Tancredo is set to abandon his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday afternoon, a source close to the Colorado Republican tells CNN.
The announcement is expected to come at a 3 p.m. ET press conference in Iowa.
Tancredo is a fierce proponent of stricter illegal immigration laws, but his campaign struggled to gain traction with the Republican base. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out Wednesday night showed the congressman registered less than 1 percent support nationally, and a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll in Iowa Thursday put Tancredo at only 3 percent.
Earlier this week, Iowa Rep. Steve King, a friend of Tancredo's who shares his tough stance on immigration, announced he was backing former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson instead.
- CNN Political Director Sam Feist
Kerrey formally apologized to Obama.
(CNN) - Former Sen. Bob Kerrey sent a letter to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Wednesday in which he apologized for raising the issue of the Illinois senator’s Muslim heritage on the campaign trail several days ago.
Kerrey, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, had earlier told a reporter that he hoped Obama would continue to play a role in public life because he can reach out to Muslims worldwide. He made the remarks following an event at which he officially announced his support for the New York senator’s candidacy.
"It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and his father was a Muslim and this his paternal grandmother is a Muslim,” he said at the time. “There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims and I think that experience is a big deal."
Related video: Kerrey defends comments in CNN interview Monday
Critics said the comments were intended to remind voters of Barack Obama’s Muslim heritage. Kerrey denied the accusation.
In his letter, Kerrey has high praise for the man he didn't endorse:
President Bush says his budget director will review the omnibus spending bill for wasteful spending.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - While praising Congress for "ending on a high note," President Bush Thursday chastised lawmakers for adding billions of dollars in earmarks to an omnibus spending bill.
The president said he had ordered his budget director to review the bill.
Bush's comments come a day after the House gave final approval to a $555 billion omnibus spending bill by a vote of 272-142 Wednesday evening. The bill contains an additional $70 billion in war spending, a move that was bitterly opposed by anti-war Democrats.
Huckabee hit back at Mitt Romney Thursday.
IOWA (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is going on the offensive in response to presidential rival Mitt Romney’s latest attack: that as Arkansas governor, he was too lenient on the state’s criminals.
At Iowa campaign stops Wednesday and Thursday, Huckabee portrayed the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless politician who only had his own political future in mind, not the interest of the people.
Huckabee defended the lengthy list of clemencies critiqued by Romney in a recent attack ad, telling some of their stories, and saying he has no regrets.
“My opponent says there’s something about judgment – I’ll put mine up to his any day, because my judgment is you act in the best interest of the people who elected you, not in your own best interest,” he said Wednesday.
He told a story of Romney denying clemency to an Iraq war vet who wanted to be a policeman, but could not because of a BB gun incident when he was a juvenile.
On Thursday, he told the same story and asked the audience to raise their hands if they would grant parole. The vast majority raised their hands. “My opponent said no,” Huckabee told the crowd. “Now let me ask you, do you believe he acted in the best interest of that young man and his state, or did he act in the best interest of his own future political career? That’s judgment, folks, you’ve just decided whose judgment is better.”
Giuliani and Romney are now tied nationally, a new poll says.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has lost his once-comfortable lead among Republicans nationwide, according to a new poll out Wednesday night - a setback for the former New York City mayor, who has been banking on his national appeal to offset a potentially less-than-stellar performance in the early-voting states.
Giuliani stands at 20 percent in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll - a showing that puts him in a dead heat with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In a similar poll taken six weeks ago, Giuliani held a 22-point lead over Romney.
Three other candidates also register double-digit national support - an indication the Republican presidential race continues to be wide open two weeks ahead of the official kickoff of the presidential primary season.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is at 17 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain stands at 14 percent, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is at 11 percent.
On the Democratic side, the race seems to be less competitive nationally. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is at 45 percent - two points fewer than where she was in a similar survey six weeks ago. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is also down two points from the earlier poll, now at 23 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is at 13 percent, while the rest of field registers in the single digits.
Related video: New CNN Poll shows tight race in Iowa
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro Wednesday, during a campaign stop in Des Moines on her “Every County Counts” tour.
Mauro said there’s a good field of candidates but told the cheering crowd at the South Side Senior Center that “it’s about who can come in on day one and make this work. Sen. Clinton can come in on day one and make this work.”
Clinton said Mauro’s introduction was very valuable and thanked him for his advice and suggestions. She sits atop a new CNN/Opinion Research poll in Iowa with 30 percent, followed by Sen. Barack Obama at 28 percent and former Sen. John Edwards at 26 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.
- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Here's a quick look at what's making news in South Carolina politics this morning:
A new CBS News poll shows a virtual tie for first place in South Carolina among likely Democratic primary voters, with Barack Obama narrowly edging Hillary Clinton by a margin of 35 percent to 34 percent. John Edwards is at 13 percent.
Among Republicans, Mike Huckabee is still on top at 28 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 20 percent. They are followed by Rudy Giuliani (12 percent), John McCain (11 percent) and Fred Thompson (10 percent).
The poll shows one-third of Huckabee's support comes from white evangelicals and churchgoers. But Romney has an advantage on illegal immigration: most GOP primary voters say he most shares their views on the issue.
Edwards will run his fifth South Carolina television ad of the cycle starting Sunday. The 30-second spot, called "Season," is running in Iowa and New Hampshire, and it puts a holiday twist on the issue most important to Edwards in this race.
"Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty," he says in the ad. Who speaks for them? We do. This is the season of miracles, of faith and love." Watch the ad here.
McCain's campaign will unveil their first South Carolina TV ad at 1 p.m. outside their headquarters in Columbia. Former POW Col. Jack Van Loan, USAF (Ret.), Attorney General Henry McMaster and Adjutant General Stan Spears will make the announcement.
The ad comes three days after a new McCain radio spot and a day after the campaign sent out a new piece of direct mail that takes on illegal immigration.
The "Mormon issue" still nips at Romney's heels.
Ted Sorensen, JFK's former speechwriter and a supporter of Obama, will speak at noon in Columbia on the senator's behalf.
Don Fowler, former DNC chairman under Bill Clinton and a South Carolina superdelegate, has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Rudy Giuliani's plane returned to the airport when his condition worsened after takeoff.
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will check out of a St. Louis hospital Thursday after he was admitted overnight for flu-like symptoms, his spokeswoman Katie Levinson said.
"After precautionary tests the doctors found nothing of concern at this time, and Rudy will be going back to New York later today," Comella said. "He is in high spirits and is grateful to the doctors and nurses who checked him out."
Giuliani - who had been campaigning in Missouri on Wednesday for the February 5 Republican primary - became ill and then felt worse after his plane took off to return to New York.
Romney is not happy with Time Magazine's choice.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Count Republican Mitt Romney among those who aren't happy with Time Magazine's choice of Russian President Vladimir Putin for Person of the Year.
In an interview with CNN's Glenn Beck, the presidential candidate called the choice "disgusting."
"You know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders," Romney said on Beck's radio show. "He has squelched public dissent and free press. And to suggest that someone like that is the Man of the Year is really disgusting. I'm just appalled."
"Clearly General Petraeus is the person, or one of a few people, who would certainly merit that designation," the former Massachusetts governor added.
Rival presidential candidate John McCain also said Wednesday he disagreed with the choice.
“I noticed that Time Magazine made President Putin the Time Magazine ‘Man of the Year,’” McCain said, according to NBC. “I understand that probably, but my man of the year is one Gen. David Petraeus, our general who has brought success in Iraq.”
Time Magazine: A Tsar Is Born
Watch: Why Time chose Putin
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Obama is courting Iowa college students, but will they show up?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is heavily courting the support of Iowa college students, who are permitted to participate in the caucus even if they live out of state. But CNN's Candy Crowley reports this year's early caucus date (January 3) means many are going to have to cut their Winter vacations short to do so. Will they?