[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.giulianiad.cnn.jpg caption="Image from the new Giuliani ad airing in Florida."](CNN) - Rudy Giuliani’s campaign released a new ad in Florida Friday that uses footage and photographs of 9/11 and the ruins of the World Trade Center to emphasize his leadership as New York City mayor.
“When corruption ruled, he challenged it. When welfare failed, he changed it. When crime thrived, he fought it. When government broke, he fixed it,” says the announcer in “It Matters,” over images of criminals in handcuffs and the exteriors of porn shops.
“And when the world wavered, and history hesitated, he never did,” he continues, over images and footage of people running from the site of the Trade Center attacks, and the former New York mayor embracing rescue workers. “Rudy Giuliani. Leadership. When it matters most.”
The campaign said the ad is airing in West Palm Beach, an area that is home to a large population of transplanted New Yorkers. Florida voters head to the polls January 29.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.mccainad.cnn.jpg caption="New McCain Web ad uses Huckabee footage."](CNN) - Mike Huckabee has largely avoided criticizing Republican rival John McCain this primary season. On Friday, the Arizona senator’s campaign used that cordial campaign trail language in a Web ad promoting McCain’s White House bid.
“Supporters of Mike Huckabee are attacking John McCain,” reads the screen at the start of the 30-second spot. “What does Mike Huckabee say about John McCain?”
Then footage of Mike Huckabee himself is shown: “Sen. McCain, no matter what anyone may say, is a genuine conservative. … John McCain is a hero in this country. He's a hero to me.
"If you look at his record, he's got a solid record on things that really matter. He's pro-life, he's strong for our country's defense and security…. John McCain is a true, honest-to-God American hero.”
“If you want the truth about John McCain,” reads the screen, “just ask Mike Huckabee.”
The campaign says “Trust Huckabee” is a response to the wave of robo-calls from pro-Huckabee group Common Sense Issues, which says it is planning to make a million calls to South Carolina voters before Saturday’s primary that attack McCain on abortion and immigration.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - An independent group that supports the public display of the Confederate flag is running ads in South Carolina through Saturday’s Republican primary that praise Mike Huckabee for his stand on the issue and attack his main rivals in the state, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
“Gov. Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner,” says the announcer in one of the one-minute spots, paid for by Americans for the Preservation of American Culture.
“Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He says it’s up to us to decide how. Sen. McCain may have decided that his ancestors, as he puts it, ‘were on the wrong side of history when they wore gray.’ But in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/17/art.huckabeecom.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee is campaigning in South Carolina ahead of Saturday's primary there."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is taking heat from some members of the gay community over recent comments that appeared to equate gay marriage with bestiality.
In an interview with the religious Web site beliefnet.com, Huckabee pushes back on recent critics who have called some of his positions "radical."
"I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal," he said in the interview, published on the Web site Wednesday. "Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again."
David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign told CNN Huckabee's comments make clear the former Arkansas governor stance is "out of the mainstream of American thought."
"I think he's equating a loving marriage between two people of the same sex with some form of bestiality," he said. " I think that's really out of the mainstream of American thought, and most people will find that offensive."
Huckabee has previously come under fire for past comments on homosexuality. In his 1998 book "Kids Who Kill," the onetime Baptist minister seemed to link homosexuality with sexually deviant and criminal behavior.
"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations - from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia," he wrote.
Responding to that passage, Huckabee said on ‘Meet the Press’ last month he was not linking the three, but rather pointing out all are deviations from the "traditional concept of sexual behavior."
Huckabee's campaign told CNN the candidate is not equating gay marriage with bestiality, but rather he simply saying that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. The campaign also said gay rights groups are trying to pick a fight.
- CNN’s Brian Todd contributed to this report
Bill and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - While Sen. Hillary Clinton is trying to soften her image on the campaign, she is allowing her pit bull - Bill Clinton - to go on the attack.
In a version of "good cop/bad cop" the couple has gone after the senator's closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama.
The former president aggressively interjected himself into a debate Wednesday when he became visibly combative with a reporter after being questioned about a lawsuit in Nevada that sought to ban caucus meetings in nine casinos on the Las Vegas strip.
The Sun's editorial praised Clinton for being strong on issues important to Nevadans, such as the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository and the economy. It sounded a nostalgic note, saying, “We need someone in the White House who can get our economy back to the way it was when Hillary’s husband, Bill, was president.”
Last year, the paper disclosed to readers that president and editor Brian Greenspun held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton and is "a close friend of President Bill Clinton, the senator's husband." This week the longtime Democratic donor, who has also given to other candidates, wrote an op-ed in the paper personally endorsing Clinton’s candidacy.“Although Obama is likable, so was the inexperienced George W. Bush before he became president,” said the Sun's editorial board Friday, “and we know where that got us.”
“Clinton has a long and substantial record of leadership fighting on behalf of working Americans and children, and it is this experience and her passion for creating a better country that would serve this nation so well," they added. “Our country needs someone who can be president from Day One after taking the oath of office.”
Obama and Clinton are neck-and-neck in most recent surveys in Nevada, the third state in the Democrats’ presidential nomination process, after splitting the first two contests.
- CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt
Edwards is taking aim at the media for acting as if there are only two Democratic candidates running. (Photo Credit: Getty Images.)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards' campaign is launching a full-on assault on the media for what they claim is inadequate and unfair press coverage of the former North Carolina senator's presidential bid.
"For the better part of a year the media has focused on two celebrity candidates,” Edwards Communications Director Chris Kofinis said Thursday. “And they continue to act as if there were only two candidates in the race, even after John Edwards beat Senator Clinton in Iowa and poll after poll show competitive races in Nevada, South Carolina and other key states."
On Thursday, the campaign went live with a Web site that sites several recent news headlines that only include Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It also includes recent statistics from the Project for Excellence in Journalism that indicate that from January 6-11, Edwards received just a fraction of the news coverage allotted to his two rivals.
The campaign has even produced a Web video, "What about John Edwards?", that scrolls through several clips of media pundits discussing only Clinton and Obama, and ends with the results of a focus group that suggested Edwards won the most recent debate in Las Vegas.
And on Wednesday, Edwards' spokesman Eric Schultz sent out an e-mail that suggested the senator's low poll numbers nationally are directly linked to his limited media coverage.
The candidate himself has brought up the issue repeatedly on the trail of late, and on Thursday one town-hall supporter urged the crowd to directly complain to media outlets about the lack of coverage. Edwards said he agreed, and that it was time to speak out.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The presidential candidates and their surrogates took a brief break from attacking each other Thursday to beat up on the media instead.
Bill Clinton, campaigning on his wife’s behalf in California, had a testy San Francisco face-off with a reporter he barely knew. Mitt Romney tangled with a reporter – the AP’s Glen Johnson, late of the Boston Globe – he knows all too well. And John Edwards’ campaign took on the entire press corps, blasting the media for allegedly ignoring the former North Carolina senator this cycle in favor of the flashier Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama duel (and prompting a reprise of the eternal chicken-or-the-egg dilemma of trail reporting: which comes first, the poll numbers or the press coverage?)
It’s roughly an East-West divide again today – Democrats trying their luck in and around Las Vegas, Republicans stumping in South Carolina – with the exception of Mitt Romney, who may benefit from Nevada’s sizeable Mormon minority in the state’s mostly-neglected GOP caucuses this Saturday.
Meanwhile: the “Common Sense Issues” robo-call marathon on his behalf may be winding down in South Carolina, but Mike Huckabee has even more intimidating allies on his side there this week.
The former Arkansas governor seems to be running neck-and-neck with John McCain in the state as that race draws to a close, but if 12-year-old boys could vote, it wouldn’t even be close: martial arts star Chuck Norris, who has spent much of the primary season stumping for the former Arkansas governor, has been joined on the Huckabee campaign trail this week by WWE star Ric Flair.
That combination of push poll madness and high-profile muscle backing Huckabee should be enough to strike fear in the heart of any Republican rival. But none of them may be much help when it comes to battling the man who looks, at least this week, to be Huckabee’s biggest enemy: the candidate himself.
So far this week, the former governor has: said the Constitution should be amended to comply with divine mandates; created a stir when his damage control involved telling FOX he wasn’t “suggesting that we re-write the constitution to reflect tithing or Sunday school attendance”; become the first presidential candidate to sign a controversial, headline-grabbing anti-immigration pledge; and told a Southern crowd that when it came to the Stars and Bars, if outsiders “want to come tell us what to do with the flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole.”
Those comments might play well with some of South Carolina's Republicans – but what are they going to say when he gets to L.A.? Saturday’s vote may dominate the conversation this week, but the February 5 contests loom ever larger.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
USA Today: S.C. Primary May Yield GOP Front-Runner, Answers
After three different winners in three major contests, Republicans look south this weekend in search of a presidential front-runner.
USA Today: Democrats Skirmish For Support In Nevada
The three top Democratic presidential candidates have competed full-out to win the Nevada caucuses here Saturday in a tumultuous atmosphere marked by legal challenges and uncertainty about an untested process.
Washington Times: McCain Rallies S.C. Supporters
It was almost as if Sen. John McCain wanted to overwhelm his supporters with firepower: 40 minutes of endorsement speeches here yesterday from the Republican Party's top spending-cuts advocate, a leading tax-cuts advocate and a who's who of South Carolina leaders.
NY Times: Romney Leaves South Carolina to Focus on Nevada Caucus
The next big Republican presidential contest is Saturday in South Carolina. So what did Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the winner of the Michigan primary this week, do on Thursday morning? He hopped a plane from South Carolina to Nevada, with no plans to return.
NY Times: Southern Blacks Are Split on Clinton vs. Obama
Across the South, a fierce competition is afoot for black voters, who are expected to constitute 20 percent to 50 percent of voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Jan. 26 and in the four Southern states with primaries on Feb. 5: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee.