The Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada’s second-largest newspaper, announced on its Web site Thursday night that it was endorsing Republican Romney and Democrat Obama in a pair of editorials that focused on electability in November.
The paper's editorial board complimented Romney for getting voters to cross party lines to elect a Republican governor in heavily Democratic Massachusetts.
“Romney’s most remarkable feat,” the board writes, “was his stewardship of the Salt Lake City Olympics. He showed that he could bring disparate groups together, clean up a mess left by his predecessor, and to put on possibly the most successful games ever.”
Obama, the editorial board believes, “embodies the political and ideological perspectives that the party projects. He represents the platform of political unity and workable populist economics that he and party members believe will reinvigorate the economy and solve many of the other problems the nation is facing.”
The article describes Hillary Clinton as “struggling under the cloud of her husband,” and says John Edwards does not connect with the Democratic Party’s base.
It's the third contest for Democratic candidates, who are locked in a fierce battle for Nevada. Republicans, however, are paying little attention to the state. The Gazette-Journal blames this development on state GOP officials, who it says have “[made] a mess of the process.”
- CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt
The spot, running on Spanish-language radio in the state, criticizes Clinton for a lawsuit filed by some of her Nevada supporters that sought new restrictions workplace caucus sites this Saturday. The buy is allegedly being funded by the Unite Here Campaign Committee on behalf of the Culinary Workers Union, which has endorsed Obama.
“Hillary Clinton does not respect our people. Hillary Clinton supporters went to court to prevent working people to vote this Saturday – that is an embarrassment,” says the announcer, according to a translation of the script sent to reporters by the Clinton campaign.
“Hillary Clinton supporters want to prevent people from voting in their workplace on Saturday. This is unforgivable. Hillary Clinton is shameless. Hillary Clinton should not allow her friends to attack our people’s right to vote this Saturday. This is unforgivable, there’s no respect.
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told South Carolina voters Thursday that the government had no business making decisions over the Confederate flag.
"You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee said at a Myrtle Beach campaign event. "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do."
Later, in Florence, he repeated the remarks. "I know what would happen if somebody comes to my state in Arkansas and tells us what to do, it doesn't matter what it is, tell us how to run our schools, tell us how to raise our kids, tell us what to do with our flag - you want to come tell us what to do with the flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole."
The Confederate flag has long been the third rail of South Carolina presidential politics - offensive to some, a symbol of Southern heritage to others. The flag is currently displayed on state capitol grounds.
Huckabee is currently barnstorming South Carolina with former Gov. David Beasley, who has called for the flag’s removal.
–CNN Senior Producer Eric Fiegel
(CNN) - In the latest edition of America Votes 2008, all eyes and ears are on the campaign trail as the candidates work to rally votes in Nevada and South Carolina.
Related: Listen to CNN’s Bill Caiaccio and Emory University professor of politics Merle Black analyze the uncertainty in the GOP race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some congressional Democrats are criticizing President Bush for his decision to deliver remarks Friday outlining his principles regarding a stimulus package, saying the president should wait until lawmakers and the White House reach a compromise on what will be in the package before anything is unveiled.
One source went so far as to say a conference call between congressional leaders and the White House Thursday afternoon on the stimulus “didn’t go well” because of the president’s insistence on delivering the speech despite direct pleas from Democratic leaders to hold off.
Bush’s decision to go forward is unlikely to stall talks on the bill, one source said, but does detract from the bipartisan spirit that has marked talks this week on the proposal.
Shortly after the call, White House officials called back to congressional participants to ensure them the president’s remarks Friday would be general, according to two sources, including a Democratic leadership source.
The conference call was light on specifics of what should be in an economic stimulus package but “there seems to continue to be a consensus to try and do something together and that we should do it quickly,” the Democratic leadership source said.
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson mentioned accelerating depreciation and the concept of rebates and said “there seems to be an agreement on rebates” the source said.
The White House did not push the notion of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts which the Democratic leadership source described as “hugely helpful.”
(CNN) - Bill Clinton became visibly combative with a reporter Wednesday after being questioned about a lawsuit in Nevada that is seeking to ban caucus meetings in nine casinos on the Las Vegas strip.
The lawsuit, filed by the state teacher's union - an organization that has backed Hillary Clinton's White House bid - came Friday, shortly after Barack Obama was officially endorsed by the Culinary Union. Culinary Union members primarily work in casinos, and could constitute the majority of participants at caucuses held at those locations.
The teacher's union is claiming the at-large caucus sites would unfairly have more weight in terms of delegate allotment than caucuses throughout the rest of the state. The lawsuit also takes issue with caucuses being held midday at those sites – which could make it easier for culinary workers to caucus than it will be for other Nevadans.
Critics of the lawsuit say it is a clear attempt to suppress Obama’s support, a notion with which the former president sharply disagreed.
"Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody who voted in a casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct? Did you know that?" the former president said, growing visibly upset. (Watch Clinton's back and forth with the reporter)
"What happened is nobody understood what had happened. Now everybody's saying, 'Oh, they don't want us to vote.' What they really tried to do was to set up a deal where their votes counted five times, maybe even more."
Clinton also maintained that his wife’s campaign had "nothing to do" with the lawsuit," and claimed the reporter was taking an "accusatory tone."
"Get on your television station and say, 'I don't care about the home mortgage crisis, all I care about is making sure that some voters have it easier than others should count five times, and when they do vote, when its already easier for them, their vote should count five times as much as others," Clinton said in a raised voice.
"If you want to take that your position, get on the television and take it," he added, as aides pulled him away. "Don't be accusatory with me, I had nothing to do with this lawsuit."
UPDATE: A federal judge has ruled that the Democratic Party can go ahead with the 9 at-large caucuses on the strip. The ruling could have a decisive effect on the result in the state given that recent polls show a dead heat between Clinton, Obama, and John Edwards.
- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand
"Americans are revved up... and ready to vote."
That's according to a front page story in "USA Today." We saw it with record turnouts in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary... and now this: by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans are pumped up for the upcoming election.
A new USA Today-Gallup poll shows that compared to previous elections, 62% of those surveyed say they're "more enthusiastic" about voting this time around.
So what's getting people so fueled up for this election? The reasons are many… including opposition to the war in Iraq, anxiety about a possible recession, dissatisfaction with President Bush and disgust with gridlock in Washington.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
LAS VEGAS (CNN) - The Democratic Party can go ahead with a plan to let casino workers take part in Saturday's Nevada caucuses in "at-large" precincts set up in their workplaces, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The state teacher's union went to court to challenge the plan, arguing that the casino caucus sites Saturday night will give the roughly 200,000 workers on the Las Vegas strip an unfair advantage over other voters who have to work that night. But U.S. District Judge James Mahan rejected that argument after a Thursday morning hearing.
The lawsuit sparked a battle between the 28,000-member Nevada State Education Association and the state's biggest labor organization, the 60,000-member Nevada Culinary Workers Union, which supports the casino caucuses. The culinary workers endorsed Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in Saturday's contest and accused the teachers union of trying to tilt the race in favor of his leading rival, senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton of New York.
Recent published polls show Clinton and Obama in a statistical dead heat going into the Nevada contest. Saturday's results could give the winner the upper hand going into the first contest in the South, the January 26 primary in South Carolina.
"When you're trying to change the rules a week before that were approved 10 months before, that's just not right, and I think people see through it as just crass politics," D. Taylor, secretary-treasurer of the Nevada Culinary Workers Union, said Wednesday.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson said Thursday that Mitt Romney's decision to downplay expectations in the state and look ahead to other primaries may be a mistake.
"If you can't win that Southern firewall, and any states bleed off of you in the general election, then you're going to have a Democrat president," Dawson said in a phone interview.
"The base of the Republican party is the Southern firewall," he continued. "Every president who has won the nomination has won a solid bloc of the South."
Romney is leaving South Carolina for Nevada tonight, and will spend Saturday evening in Florida as polls close here.
Dawson said that's a curious shift, considering how long and hard Romney's team has worked to win over South Carolina voters.
"I think certain campaigns are setting expectation levels that are different than what they were doing a month ago," Dawson said.
Over the last year, the Romney campaign has spent vast sums on their organization and media strategy in the state, only to pull their TV ads last week following Romney's disappointing second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
At one point, before Mike Huckabee's spectacular rise, some polls had Romney in a tie for first place.
Now, said Romney spokesman Will Holley: "According to the polls, we're in a dogfight for third or sitting in fourth, so anything higher than that is icing on the cake."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mitt Romney launched a new ad in Florida Thursday that showcases the former Massachusetts governor's newly-embraced change theme.
Rudy Giuliani also put up a new ad in the state Thursday that touts praise from several conservatives on his tax record. The 30-second spot, “Quotes”, even includes a line from Romney praising the former New York City mayor: "Mayor Giuliani has a great record on cutting taxes."
In Romney’s new 30-second spot, “Chairs”, he tells viewers that "I keep hearing the same thing, that Washington is broken."
"If you send the same people back to Washington just to sit in different chairs, nothing will happen," he continues. "I will change Washington. I will take it apart and put it back together. I know how to bring change."
The new ad is a clear sign Romney plans to fight for Florida - a state where rival Giuliani has focused most of his campaign resources. In an interview over the weekend, the former mayor said a win in the state was critical to his presidential chances.
Although Giuliani has staked his White House bid almost entirely on Florida's January 29 primary, Romney has significantly outspent him in television advertising there.
According to an analysis from TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN's consultant on television campaign advertising, Romney has spent close to $3 million on 3,500 spots in Florida while Giuliani has spent roughly $2 million on 2,100 spots. No other candidate has gone up with advertising there.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney