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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES 2008

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The 2008 presidential field at-a-glance

 

DEMOCRATS

 

      New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

      Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd

 

      Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards

 

      Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel

 

      Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

 

      Illinois Sen. Barack Obama

 

      Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico

 

     Delaware Sen. Joe Biden

          

 REPUBLICANS

 

      Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback

 

      Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore

 

      Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

 

      California Rep. Duncan Hunter

 

      Arizona Sen. John McCain

 

      Texas Rep. Ron Paul

 

      Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

 

      Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo

 

      Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson

  

      Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

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OBAMA AND MCCAIN: THE ISSUES

JOHN MCCAIN - SARAH PALIN

RUDY "MY MIDDLE NAME WAS CHANGED TO MR. 911" GIULIANI

FRED THOMPSON AKA SLEEPY FROM THE SEVEN DWARFS

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INTERNET NATIONAL CAUCUS 2008

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Dear Editor: Enough With the Polls, Already!
By Madeleine Begun Kane

My int’rest in polling is waning:
Who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s gaining.
Tell me where these guys stand—
Who’s a liar? What’s canned?
Give me substance — not horse race-campaigning.

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Nader Announces Run For President

AP

Ralph Nader on Sunday announced a fresh bid for the White House, criticizing the top contenders as too close to big business and dismissing the possibility that his third-party candidacy could tip the election to Republicans.

The longtime consumer advocate is still loathed by many Democrats who accuse him of costing Al Gore the 2000 election.

Nader said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. He also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized, disrespected," he said. "You go from Iraq, to Palestine/Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bungling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts."

Nader, who turns 74 later this week, announced his candidacy on NBC's "Meet the Press."

In a later interview with The Associated Press, he rejected the notion of himself as a spoiler candidate, saying the electorate will not vote for a "pro-war John McCain." He also predicted his campaign would do better than in 2004, when he won just 0.3 percent of the vote as an independent.

"This time we're ready for them," said Nader of the Democratic Party lawsuits that kept him off the ballot in some states.

Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly sought to portray Nader's announcement as having little impact.

"Obviously, it's not helpful to whomever our Democratic nominee is. But it's a free country," said Clinton, who called Nader's announcement a "passing fancy."

Obama dismissed Nader as a perennial presidential campaigner. "He thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and eight years later I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about," Obama added.

Republican Mike Huckabee welcomed Nader into the race.

"I think it always would probably pull votes away from the Democrats, not the Republicans," the former Arkansas governor said on CNN.

Nader said Obama's and Clinton's lukewarm response was not surprising given that both political parties typically treat third-party candidates as "second-class citizens." Nader said he will decide in the coming days whether to run as an independent, Green Party candidate or in some other third party.

Pointing a finger at Republicans, he described McCain as a candidate for "perpetual war" and said he welcomed the support of Republican conservatives "who don't like the war in Iraq, who don't like taxpayer dollars wasted, and who don't like the Patriot Act and who treasure their rights of privacy."

"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up," Nader added.

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Clinton Slams Nader Over Presidential Bid
By: Beth Frerking

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she hoped that Ralph Nader’s bid for the president was “a passing fancy” and blamed him for former Vice President Al Gore’s loss in 2000.

‘“His being on the Green Party prevented Al Gore from being the greenest president we could have had, and I think that’s really unfortunate. I think we paid a big price for it. I’m pretty sad about that,” Clinton told reporters on the campaign plane as she was en route to several appearances in Rhode Island and Boston.

Clinton was unaware, until questioned about by reporters, that Nader had announced Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had decided to enter the 2008 race, and she was clearly surprised at the news.

“Well that’s really unfortunate. I remember when he did this before. It did not turn out very well for anybody, most especially our country,” she said. “This time I hope it doesn’t hurt anybody. I hope it’s kind of a passing fancy that people don’t take too seriously.”

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Romney: It's Not Torture Unless You Admit It
Filed by Nick Langewis and David Edwards


CNN's Wolf Blitzer assails GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney over his lack of a definite opinion on whether the widely debated interrogation method known as "waterboarding" is torture.

Even as competitor and Arizona senator John McCain, along with United States Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, define "waterboarding" as torture, Romney remains strategically undecided.

"I just don't think it's productive for a president of the United States to lay out a list of what is specifically referred to as 'torture,'" he responds.

Citing "ticking time bomb" scenarios, Romney disagrees with the notion of admitting that a particular practice could violate the Geneva Convention, thereby preventing its utilization by the United States in the event of an urgent need to extract information to, for example, prevent a nuclear attack.

Romney touts the element of surprise, which, in addition to the deliberate creation of a legal grey area on what breaches international treaty, leaves a detainee at a disadvantage when it comes to preparing for what acts one can expect an agent acting on behalf of the United States to perform once one is captured.

Says Romney, "We have found it wise in the past not to describe precisely the techniques of interrogation that are used here in this country--also, so that people who are captured don't know what might be used against them."

The President, Romney concludes, is responsible for orders handed down to an interrogator, but also has the right to determine what is an appropriate interrogation technique to order an agent to perform.

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N.H. Debate: The Dems' Turn

 

 

When the going gets tough, the tough get misleading.

 

Summary

 

During the Democratic portion of the Jan. 5 New Hampshire debate:

  • Obama claimed we are "back where we started two years ago" in Iraq. Actually, all indicators of violence show dramatic improvement compared with two years ago.
  • Clinton repeated a misleading claim that the 2005 energy bill was "larded with all kinds of special interest breaks" for the oil industry. Actually, the bill resulted in a net increase in taxes on the oil industry, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
  • Obama stated that U.S. medical care costs "twice as much per capita as any other advanced nation," which is incorrect. U.S. spending is double the average, but not double that of all others.
  • Clinton said there is no reason that U.S. troops should be in Iraq "beyond today," but she has also conceded that she might keep combat troops fighting there for years.
  • Richardson said the price of gasoline in New Hampshire is at a record high. It's close, but lower than he said, and lower than it was a few weeks ago.

In the analysis section we note further misstatements and twisted facts, and we find that Clinton was close to the mark when she criticized Obama for shifting positions on the USA Patriot Act.

Note:
This is a summary only. For the full article, Click Here.

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 N.H. Debate: The GOP Field

 
Republican candidates swing hard, tally some factual strikeouts

 
Summary

 
Republican and Democratic candidates participated in double-header debates in New Hampshire Jan. 5 in advance of the state's first-in-the-nation primary. Republicans were up first, and they got a little wild with their swings: 

 

  Romney claimed that the 47 million Americans who lack health care are not covered because they say "I'm not going to play. I'm just going to get free care paid for by everybody else." Experts say that very few who are offered insurance turn it down and that the uninsured get worse care.

 

  Giuliani falsely blamed President Clinton for cuts in the military that occurred in large part under President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. He said that “the Army had been at 725,000; it’s down to 500,000.” That’s true, but it was down to 572,423 by the time Clinton took office.

 

  McCain recalled that he "strongly disagreed" with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and had "no confidence" in his Iraq strategy "at the time." But he didn't say publicly that he had no confidence in Rumsfeld until December 2004, after Bush was reelected and well after the war began.
.

  Romney falsely denied that an attack ad called McCain’s immigration bill "amnesty," though it does. One of his Web ads also attacks McCain for supporting "amnesty." He conceded during the debate that McCain’s bill "technically" isn’t amnesty.

 

  Giuliani claimed that "economists" say health insurance rates would fall by up to 50 percent if millions more shopped for policies individually. Once again, his campaign was unable to produce a single economist who supports that figure.

 

  Romney claimed his Massachusetts state insurance program had reduced the number of uninsured in Massachusetts by 300,000. That’s the number who have gained coverage under the system, but many were covered previously through other means.

 

Note: There were other false and misleading statements, Click for full story

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TOP TEN CAMPAIGN GAFFE'S FOR 2007
TIME

#1. Rudy to the Rescue

Aug. 9, 2007

"I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was there guiding things. I was the one bringing people there. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."
— Rudy Giuliani, addressing reporters in Cincinnati and inadvertently handing his critics new ammunition regarding his role in the 9/11 recovery

#2. Biden's Mess

Jan. 31, 2007

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man."
— Joe Biden, describing fellow candidate Barack Obama


#3. Romney's Hunting Accident

Apr. 5, 2007

"I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear. I've always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so and have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."
— Mitt Romney, after saying just two days earlier: "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," a comment that drew scorn after his campaign acknowledged that the former Mass. governor had only gone hunting twice in his life


#4. McCain Bombs on Stage

Apr. 18, 2007

"Bomb, bomb, bomb ... Bomb, bomb Iran"
— John McCain, singing along to the Beach Boys tune Barbara Ann in response to the question, "When do we send them an airmail message to Tehran?"


#5. Edwards' Hairy Cut

Apr. 20, 2007

"What happened is embarrassing to me. It was obviously a mistake to have the campaign pay for it."
— John Edwards, on his notorious $400 haircuts, which appeared on the candidates' FEC spending reports and hurt the Democrat's self-declared image as a populist fighting for ordinary Americans


#6. Romney Doubles Down on Gitmo

May 15, 2007

"Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo."
— Mitt Romney, at a South Carolina Republican debate, voicing support for Guantanamo's controversial "enemy combatant" program, just a month before former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested closing Guantanamo "not tomorrow, but this afternoon"


#7. Rudy's Busy Signal

Sept. 21, 2007

"Quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other."
— Rudy Giuliani, explaining why he interrupted a speech to the National Rifle Association to answer a cellphone call from his wife, Judith


#8. Hillary's Oil Slip

Feb. 2, 2007

"The other day, the oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits and I want to put them into a strategic energy fund."
— Hillary Clinton, at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting


#9. Obama's Bad Call

June 14, 2007

"It was a dumb mistake on our campaign's part and I made it clear to my staff in no uncertain terms that it was a mistake."
— Barack Obama, after his campaign released a memo entitled "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)," criticizing the Clintons' financial ties to India, where, the memo said American jobs are being outsourced


#10. Thompson's Schiavo Slip

Sept. 13, 2007

"I can't pass judgment on it. I know that good people were doing what they thought was best...That's going back in history. I don't remember the details of it."
— Fred Thompson, when asked if he thought Congress' intervention to save the life of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead Florida woman, two years ago was appropriate.

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Clinton Campaign Asked for Resignation From Second Iowa Coordinator for Hoax Obama E-Mail
By: NEDRA PICKLER
AP News

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign on Sunday requested the resignation of a second Iowa volunteer coordinator who forwarded a hoax e-mail saying Barack Obama is a Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States.

Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and says he has never been a Muslim, but false rumors attempting to tie him to Islamic jihadists are circulating on the Internet.

"Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential Candidacy," read the e-mail. "Please forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they Plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at The highest level."

The Clinton campaign has decried the rumors as offensive and outrageous, and last week forced volunteer Jones County coordinator Judy Rose to resign after learning that she forwarded a such an e-mail on Nov. 21. But it turns out Rose wasn't the only one.

Linda Olson, a volunteer coordinator in Iowa County, had forwarded a similar version on Oct. 5, without comment, to 11 people. One of the recipients was Ben Young, a regional field director for Democrat Chris Dodd's campaign, who provided a copy to The Associated Press on Sunday.

The Clinton campaign responded by asking for Olson's resignation.

"We've made our position on this crystal clear," said Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee. "Our campaign does not tolerate this kind of activity or campaigning. As soon as it came to our attention, we asked this individual to step down."

Asked to explain why two people connected to the campaign would have forwarded similar e-mails and if the campaign was taking steps to find out if it's more widespread, Elleithee replied, "We communicated to all of our paid staff and volunteer leadership that the senator and the campaign have a zero tolerance policy for this type of activity."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton responded, "Iowans know garbage when they see it and it has no place in this race." Burton said Obama will focus on the debate over issues like health care, education and getting out of Iraq.

Rose has said she did not agree with the e-mail but was sending it to other area Democrats to show them how dirty politics was getting. Olson did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

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Huckabee Stands By AIDS Statement
Filed by Katie Baker


GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday that he stands by the statement he made 15 years ago that AIDS patients should have been isolated.

"I didn't say that we should quarantine," Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, "I simply made the point, and I still believe this today, that in the late '80s and early '90's, when we didn't know as much as we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than ... normal health protocols."

When, Chris Wallace reminded Huckabee that The Centers for Disease Control announced that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact seven years before Huckabee made the statement, Huckabee referred to the case of Kimberly Bergalis, who claimed to contract AIDS from her dentist.

Huckabee admitted that he would "probably" word things differently today, but said that he would not retract his original statement.

"The point was not saying we ought to lock people up who have HIV/AIDS," he said, adding that friends of his have died from the disease, one who was a homosexual.

"Sure, in light of 15 years of additional knowledge and understanding I would [say the statement differently]," said Huckabee. "But what I'm not going to do is go back and now try to change every story I've ever had."

Huckabee failed to address other past issues that Wallace raised, such as the fact that he opposed increased federal funding to find a cure for AIDS, and that he called homosexuality a "sinful lifestyle that posed a dangerous health risk."

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Romney: Iran 'Bombardment' An Option

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney said Thursday he would be willing to use a military blockade or "bombardment of some kind" to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.
The former Massachusetts governor, who has been advocating a hard line against Iran throughout his presidential campaign, said such action would be necessary if severe economic and diplomatic sanctions don't convince Iranian leaders to abandon pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian government contends its program is aimed toward providing nuclear power.

"If for some reasons they continue down their course of folly toward nuclear ambition, then I would take military action if that's available to us," Romney told a crowd of doctors and nurses during a question-and-answer period that followed a health care speech.

He added: "That's an option that's on the table. And it's is not something which we'll spell out specifically. I really can't lay out exactly how that would be done, but we have a number of options from blockade to bombardment of some kind. And that's something we very much have to keep on the table, and we will ready ourselves to be able to take, because, frankly, I think it's unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons."

Romney heralded news Thursday that the Bush administration was announcing new sanctions designed to isolate the government in Tehran.

Last year, while still governor, Romney refused to provide a security escort or any state services in support of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who visited Massachusetts to speak at Harvard University.

In January, Romney traveled to a security conference in Israel, where he called for economic sanctions against Iran similar to those against South Africa during its apartheid period.

Subsequently, he has called for indicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying "Israel's Zionist regime should be wiped off the map." Romney suggested using the U.N.'s Genocide Convention against the leader on charges of inciting genocide.

In September, he also chastised Columbia University for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak on its campus, and railed against the Iranian leader after he asked to visit ground zero.

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Thompson: Iraqi Insurgents 'A Bunch Of Kids' With IEDs

BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) — At a campaign stop in South Carolina Wednesday, Fred Thompson said that the Iraqi insurgency is made up of "a bunch of kids with improvised explosive devices," and suggested that the appearance of losing to such an enemy would harm U.S. national security.

Thompson was confronted about Iraq by a Bluffton resident named Bernhard Steinhouse, who asked Thompson whether he would bring back U.S. forces from the country.

"We will not be a safer country, we will not be a safer America if the whole world watches us being defeated by a bunch of kids with improvised explosive devices," Thompson said.

Roadside bombs are one of the leading causes of U.S. casualties in Iraq.

Thompson's comments drew criticism from Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate and senator from Delaware who has made funding mine-resistant combat vehicles a signature of his Senate efforts over the last year.

"If Sen. Thompson believes that we are fighting 'a bunch of kids,' he is totally divorced from reality," Biden said in a statement Thursday. "He should come back to Iraq with me and talk to our soldiers who are in the middle of a civil war between lethal militias or fighting the Bush-fulfilling prophecy of al Qaeda in Iraq or being blown up by IEDs."

Thompson did not say under what circumstances troops would be able to leave Iraq. He said that as of now, U.S. forces are succeeding in securing the country, a shared sentiment among all of the Republican presidential frontrunners, mainly by Sen. John McCain. He noted that things could change.

"As of right now, and circumstances will be different six months from now, a year from now, but as of right now, we're finally getting good news out of there, we're getting good news," said Thompson, who added that having a U.S.
presence in Iraq is crucial to freezing out the influence of Iran and Iranian-linked Hezbollah.

"They sent General Petraeus down there for a reason," he said. "They shouldn't have sent him down there if it was just a matter of saying, 'OK, you're doing a lot better, but we're going to declare defeat and bring you home.' I don't think that makes us safer."

Thompson told Steinhouse "we didn't know what we were facing" when we went into Iraq.

"Saddam lured everybody into believing he had weapons of mass destruction, which he had had previously, no question about it, he had used them against his own people," Thompson said.

Earlier this month in Iowa, Thompson raised eyebrows by telling a crowd that Saddam "clearly had had WMD" and that "he clearly had had the beginnings of a nuclear program." He later clarified that he was referring to Saddam's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds.

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MSNBC: Leaked Memos Show Giuliani's Ignorance Of Terrorism Before 9/11
Filed by Mike Aivaz and Muriel Kane


David Shuster, substituting for Keith Olbermann as host of Countdown, reported on Thursday that Rudy Giuliani's description of himself as the only candidate who foresaw the danger posed by al Qaeda before 9/11 has now been refuted by a leaked document.

Typical of Giuliani's claims on the campaign trail is a speech he gave last summer in which he said of the pre-9/11 period, "Bin Laden declared war on us. We didn't hear it. ... I thought it was pretty clear at the time -- but a lot of people didn't see it, couldn't see it."

Wayne Barrett, a reporter for New York's Village Voice and author of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, has now obtained leaked memos describing Giuliani's testimony before the 9/11 Commission which directly contradict that claim.

Barrett told Shuster that taken as a whole, Giuliani's testimony "was a confession of ignorance. He basically said, 'I knew nothing about al Qaeda.'"

For example, Giuliani acknowledged that even though he had received information on threats between 1998 and 2001, "At the time I had no idea it was al Qaeda." He further told the commission that after 9/11, "we brought in people to brief us on al Qaeda. ... We had nothing like this pre 9/11, which was a mistake."

Giuliani's testimony, like that of other witnesses describing New York City's response on 9/11, was supposed to remain secret until after the 2008 presidential election.

Barrett also emphasized Giuliani's continuing ignorance of technological systems involved in the fight against terrorism. As late as April 2004, when he testified before the commission, Giuliani admitted that he didn't know much about a New York Police Department system called ComStat -- which he's now saying he'd like to see extended nationwide. He was also unable to answer questions about the malfunctioning radios which caused many deaths among firefighters or about a repeater installed in the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing to amplify radio communications.

"He still wasn't studying the response issues," Barrett said.

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Values voters back Romney, Huckabee
Straw poll of Christians serves as rebuke to Giuliani
By Mark Silva

Washington Bureau

October 21, 2007

WASHINGTON Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and a convert to the anti-abortion cause, claimed a slim victory Saturday in a straw poll of Christian conservative voters thanks largely to organizational efforts to pull in online votes.

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a former Baptist pastor, placed a close second -- with Romney claiming 1,595 votes and Huckabee 1,565. However, among votes cast on-site at the Values Voter Summit, Huckabee, the clear favorite in a hall full of conservative voters, claimed more than half of the total ballots.

More significantly, perhaps, the results of this conference of Christian conservatives serve as a stark rebuke to the Republican Party's front-running candidate for president in national polling, Rudolph Giuliani. The former mayor of New York, alone among his party's candidates, supports abortion rights -- which many among the Christian right consider a deal-breaker for him.

Giuliani, who appeared at the summit Saturday, finished eighth among nine candidates competing, with just 107 votes out of 5,776 cast.

With evangelical Protestants accounting for nearly one in four of all Republican voters, the message coming from the two-day Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council is clear: Many of the party's "social conservatives" are more concerned about aligning with a candidate who advances their causes of abolishing abortion and enshrining marriage as a union of man and woman in the Constitution than in supporting a candidate like Giuliani who may prove more electable.

Yet the results of the straw poll may say less about the actual political prospects for either Romney or Huckabee in a crowded Republican contest.

"I think, clearly, there is a consensus building around one, two or maybe three candidates," said Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president, hoping this straw poll will help social conservatives start to rally around one candidate.

The winner, by the numbers, had faced a polite but relatively unenthusiastic reception here.

"As president," Romney said Friday night, "I will work with the people in this room, as I have for the past four years, to champion a federal marriage amendment to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman."

Romney, pledging to be "a pro-life president," promised to appoint judges who won't legislate from the bench.

While 1,537 people inside the ballroom of the Washington Hilton cast ballots, so did many more people able to join the Family Research Council online and cast votes.

The Romney campaign had waged a concerted effort to enlist online votes from supporters. Indeed, the results in the hall were received with silence Saturday, another clear sign that Huckabee actually had won the house.

That was borne out in the numbers: In the on-site vote, Huckabee collected 488 -- more than half of the 952 cast, and far and away more than any other candidate. Romney collected just 99 on-site. While 1,537 people here voted, some of those votes were done online.

With 5,776 ballots overall cast, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed third, with 865, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson placed fourth, with 564.

Inside the hall, it was Huckabee's message that resonated most clearly.

"There are many who will seek our support," Huckabee said Saturday. "But it's important that people sing from their hearts and don't merely lip synch to our songs. ...

"There were times ... when things amongst us were negotiable," he said. "But some things are not negotiable, the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage. ... Let us never sacrifice our principles for anybody's politics -- not now, not ever."

Huckabee, a former pastor in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Ark., also was president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention before his election as lieutenant governor and then governor.

And before Huckabee arrived at the voters' summit here, supporters handed out leaflets: "Do Not Compromise God's Values."

"I come today as one not who comes to you, but as one who comes from you," Huckabee said. "You are my roots."

Still, Giuliani's appearance Saturday provided the highest drama of a convention-like assembly of voters who opened their sessions with song and prayer and made clear what concerns them most -- in their straw poll, the No. 1 issue: life.

Giuliani, in a quiet, conversational appeal to a crowd that listened, at first, in silence, suggested that there is more that unites them than divides them.

Gradually breaking the ice, Giuliani promised to limit abortion as much as possible and appoint conservative judges "in the mold" of Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Justice John Roberts Jr. By the end, the audience was applauding.

"People of good conscience come to different conclusions about whether abortions should be legal in some circumstances," he said. "But you and I and, I believe, almost all Americans, share the same goal -- a country without abortion, achieved by changing the minds and hearts of people.

"You and I know that I am not a perfect person," Giuliani said. "We lose trust in political leaders not because they are imperfect -- after all, they're human. We lose trust with them when they're not honest with us. ... We may not always agree. ... But I'll give you reason to trust me, and you'll always know where I stand."

Yet, many of these voters consider his position unacceptable.

"I could never vote for him under any circumstance," Chris Carmouche of Lorton, Va., said of Giuliani. "He's a RINO -- Republican in name only. What's unforgivable are his positions on abortion and the family."

Both Joanne and Steve Landman, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., consider Giuliani's stance on abortion a big problem. Yet the candidate did make some headway here, Joanne Landman said: "I appreciate his candor. It endeared me a little to his personality."

And, both said, should Giuliani win the party's nomination in 2008, they will be compelled to vote for the Republican.

- - -

The poll's position

Values Voter Summit results:

Mitt Romney ... 27.6%

Mike Huckabee ... 27.2%

Ron Paul ... 15%

Fred Thompson ... 9.8%

Undecided ... 5.7%

Sam Brownback* ... 5.1%

Duncan Hunter ... 2.4%

Tom Tancredo ... 2.3%

Rudolph Giuliani ... 1.9%

John McCain ... 1.4%

All Democrats

combined ... less than 1%

*Has quit the race

Total doesn't equal 100 percent because of rounding

Source: Associated Press

 

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A FEW WORDS FROM SOME OF THE 2008 CANDIDATES

Hillary Clinton:

"We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

"God bless the America we are trying to create."

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president."

Rudy Giuliani:

"We don't all agree on everything. I don't agree with myself on everything."

"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

"Oh, you dirty boy! Donald, I thought you were a gentleman." --while dressed in drag, after having his "breasts" fondled by Donald Trump
 
John McCain:

"F**k you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room." --to Sen.

John Cornyn (R-TX), during a testy exchange about immigration legislation

"There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today." --prior to visiting a Baghdad market while being flanked by 22 soldiers, 10 armored Humvees, and two Apache attack helicopters

"You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran? Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." (Watch video clip)

"I had something picked out for you, too - a little IED (improvised explosive device) to put on your desk." --to Jon Stewart

"I think I'd just commit suicide." --on the prospects of the Democrats taking back the Senate in the 2006 elections

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

Mitt Romney:

"PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air." --on strapping his dog to the top of the car

"Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will. And what I mean by that -- or a null set." --after being asked during a Republican debate whether is was a mistake to invade Iraq

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life." (Romney's campaign later said he'd been hunting twice, once when he was 15, and once in 2006 at a Republican fundraiser

"I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear. I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will."

"I'm happy to learn that after I speak you're going to hear from Ann Coulter. That's a good thing. I think it's important to get the views of moderates." --right before Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot"

"Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase 'Patria o muerte, venceremos.' It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba." --invoking a phrase that translates to "Fatherland or death, we shall overcome," which Fidel Castro has used to close his speeches for years, and which is associated with Cuban oppression

Barack Obama:

"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." --on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people

Joe Biden:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." --on Barack Obama

"I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS. It's an important thing."

"You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. ... I'm not joking."

Tommy Thompson:

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that. I enjoy that." --speaking to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

"I was very sick the day of the debate. I had all of the problems with the flu and bronchitis that you have, including running to the bathroom. I was just hanging on. I could not wait until the debate got off so I could go to the bathroom." --on why he said at a GOP presidential debate that an employer should be allowed to fire gay workers, after previously having blamed a faulty hearing aid for his answer

Mike Huckabee:

"If a person dresses provocatively, they're calling attention -- maybe not the most desirable kind -- to private parts of their body." --after being asked whether he's against miniskirts

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Third Time 'Round for GOP Hopefuls
Debating once again, Republican candidates miscast some facts and get others flat wrong.
 
Summary
 
Pollsters will inform us whether the third time was the charm for any of these candidates in the eyes of potential voters. All we can do is remind you not to believe everything you hear.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney committed the biggest factual fouls of the night, misleadingly asserting:
  • That we went to war in Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors to come in
  • That there's an ocean of difference between his Massachusetts health plan and those "government takeover" plans of "every Democrat" running for president and
  • That Russia's income from oil exports is vastly larger than it actually is.

Other candidates committed factual trespass, too. Sen. John McCain of Arizona ignored the waste disposal issue when he praised nuclear power for being green, for instance, and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback exaggerated the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Analysis

The June 5 debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., brought the 10 Republican presidential aspirants together once again, two days after a Democratic debate at the same site. Both were sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV and Manchester's Union Leader.

Health Plan Hoodoo

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney tried to distance his state’s universal health insurance plan from the proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates.
Romney: Every Democrat up there’s talking about a form of socialized medicine, government takeover, massive tax increase…. I’m the guy who actually tackled this issue. We get all of our citizens insured. We get people that were uninsured with private health insurance. We have to stand up and say the market works. Personal responsibility works.
    STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
There are two problems with Romney’s characterization: One, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate to propose a single-payer, wholly government-funded health care plan. And two, Romney’s Massachusetts universal insurance system bears a striking resemblance to the health care proposals of the Democratic front-runners.

We first took a look at the Romney-backed health insurance plan after the May 3 Republican presidential debate, when the candidate said it was not a government takeover and juxtaposed his plan with "HillaryCare." We pointed out that while the plan is not government-administered health insurance, it includes government mandates and subsidies, minimum coverage requirements and fines for noncompliance. The Massachusetts plan is clearly not a complete government takeover; it builds on the private insurance industry – as do the proposals of Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards, and the health care initiative spearheaded by Hillary Clinton in the early ’90s.

COMPLETE DEBATE FACT CHECK CLICK HERE

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Arkansas GOP Head: We Need More 'Attacks On American Soil' So People Appreciate Bush
Filed by Josh Catone


In his first interview as the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Dennis Milligan told a reporter that America needs to be attacked by terrorists so that people will appreciate the work that President Bush has done to protect the country.

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001]," Milligan said to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."

Milligan, who was elected as the new chair of the Arkansas Republican Party just two weeks ago, also told the newspaper that he is "150 percent" behind Bush in the war in Iraq.

In his acceptance speech on May 19th, Milligan told his fellow Republicans that it was "time for a rediscovery of our values and our common sense."

The owner of a water treatment company, Milligan was a relative unknown in Arkansas politics until being elected the party chairman. He had previously served as the party's treasurer and the Saline County Republican chair.

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Gingrich Forecasts GOP Losses In 2008
By BEN EVANS
Associated Press Writer

Republican Newt Gingrich, in a jab at President Bush, warned on Friday that the GOP will lose the White House and Congress in 2008 if the nominee is perceived as a continuation of the Bush presidency.

Addressing a conservative organization, the former House Speaker never mentioned the president by name, but his political point was clear.

"If the Republicans run a stand-pat presidential candidate who ends up being on defense for all of September and October and who is seen by the country as representing four more years, the fact is that Republicans are not going to" win, Gingrich told the American Enterprise Institute.

Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman, is considering a White House run, with an announcement likely in the fall.

He has roundly criticized the Bush administration in recent interviews, describing the White House as dysfunctional and saying the president has driven the party into collapse. While he refrained from direct criticism Friday, he cited failures in Iraq, border security and the response to Hurricane Katrina as signs of a broken government.

His comments come just days after a Republican presidential debate in which GOP candidates criticized Bush over his handling of the Iraq war, his diplomatic style and his approach to immigration.

The biting words surprisingly have been uttered while the president is overseas attending an economic summit with other world leaders.

In the speech, Gingrich handicapped the current GOP field - and the prospect of Fred Thompson joining the race.

He praised Rudy Giuliani's handling of crime as New York City mayor, saying that experience and his response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have propelled his candidacy. Gingrich contended that Giuliani's image on national security would offset his more liberal positions on social issues.

"In a world where a nuclear weapon could eliminate an American city in seconds, he has a very strong case," said Gingrich. "He has certainly done better so far than people would guess."

He said Sen. John McCain of Arizona has more to overcome, including explaining his positions on immigration and campaign finance regulation.

"If you were to handicap this race, he has the greatest challenge in a Republican primary," Gingrich said.

Thompson, the former Tennessee senator, is a "very formidable" candidate, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a "very serious person who is working very hard," Gingrich said.

Gingrich, who helped shut down government over spending fights with the Clinton administration in the 1990s, said Republicans must offer a more dramatic platform for remaking government that focuses on private-sector innovation.

In a glimpse of what his candidacy might look like, he said he would shut down public schools that aren't performing and offer a $20 billion reward for the first private company that successfully completes a Mars mission.

"Somebody would be there and back about 40 percent of the way into the NASA process," he said.

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THREE CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SAY THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION:

During last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, a reader of Politico.com asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for a yes or no answer on whether he believed in evolution. McCain paused for a second before answering "Yes."

Politico's Jim VandeHei, one of three moderators for the night, then opened up the question to the other nine candidates. Three candidates -- Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) -- raised their hands to say that they do not believe in evolution.

While the three politicians' lack of belief in evolution is shared by a slim majority of Americans, "outside of the precincts of the religious right, though, the scientific consensus about evolution is very close to unanimous."

The National Academy of Sciences, "the nation's most prestigious scientific organization," declares evolution "one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have." 

President Bush's scientific adviser John Marburger has called it "the cornerstone of modern biology." But for years, conservative activists have been seeking to push evolution out of school classrooms in order to replace it with "intelligent design," a theory that posits extra-natural, non-scientific phenomena as its basis.

Despite McCain's expressed belief in evolution, he appeared recently as the keynote speaker for the most prominent "intelligent design" advocacy group in the country, the Discovery Institute.
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