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Blames McCain/Feingold law
Q: Just last week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he felt a responsibility to run for president and his supporters were all set to launch a $30 million fund-raising drive tomorrow to make it possible. But late yesterday, Gingrich announced that 2008 would not be his year. Any second thoughts overnight?
A: No. The McCain/Feingold Act criminalizes politics. We learned yesterday morning that this was the decisive moment. I had taken leave from Fox. We had a website set up to launch on Monday and we were informed yesterday morning that if I had any communication with American Solutions after I became a candidate it was a criminal offense.
Q: Explain what American Solutions is and why that would be illegal.
A: American Solutions is technically a 527, which is a form of fund-raising, which allows us to develop ideas. We've said publicly that any polling data we released we're releasing to both parties. We launched a workshop Thursday night and all day Saturday. And I'm very proud of it, and we've had about a year of work going into it. And I thought there was a way that you could continue the momentum of those ideas while I began to prepare a presidential campaign. What we learned yesterday morning was, I mean, it's literally a go to jail criminal activity.
Q: How much did feasibility factor in here? You know, the money wasn't there not at all?
A: None. Without having even set the website up, our estimate was we had several million dollars in pledges, I think we would clearly have been competitive financially within three weeks.
Click for complete Newt Gingrich issue stances.
Will run for Nebraska Senate seat
President Bush and Mike Johanns covered each other in praise Thursday as Johanns stepped down from the top job at the USDA, and both men made clear the former Nebraska governor would run for the U.S. Senate. Johanns, 57, also telegraphed that his campaign for the Republican nomination will not criticize Bush policies. Johanns left the governor’s office to become Secretary of Agriculture in 2005 after being elected to a second term.
Political observers made Johanns, 57, the early, strong favorite. The continuing and most important question now: Will former Nebraska governor, and two-term U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, 64, accept the Democratic nomination?
Senator Chuck Hagel announced on Sept. 10 that he will not ask Nebraskans for a third term. Hagel tsaid he would not seek any office in 2008. He had considered a bid for the presidency. A decorated, twice-wounded veteran of the Vietnam war, Hagel has been the foremost critic of the way President Bush has managed the war in Iraq.
Click for complete Mike Johanns issue stances.
Hosted by Univision (Spanish TV)
Republicans hosted by Fox News, plus ad announcing Fred Thompson's candidacy
Announces on Jay leno show, opposite the GOP debate
Fred Thompson officially entered a wide-open Republican presidential race Thursday, vowing to invigorate a dispirited GOP and promising to thwart another Clinton from capturing the presidency.
The former Tennessee senator harkened to the GOP glory days of 1994 when he and other Republicans seized control of Congress and established an equal counterpoint to Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House. Now an official candidate for the Republican nomination, Thompson promised to return the party to better times.
"In 1992, we were down after a Clinton victory," Thompson said in a 15-minute Webcast that laid out the rationale for the candidacy he also declared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.
"In 1994, our conservative principles led us to a comeback and majority control of the Congress. Now, you don't want to have to come back from another Clinton victory. Our country needs us to win next year, and I am ready to lead that effort," he said.
Thompson, 65, enters an extraordinarily fluid race four months before voting begins. While Giuliani leads in national polls, Romney maintains an edge in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Overall, Republican voters have expressed less satisfaction with their choices than Democrats, and Thompson, who ranks strongly in GOP surveys, is maneuvering to become the favorite of a GOP base that is searching for someone with right-flank bona fides who can win in a general election. His quest won't be easy.
Click for complete Fred Thompson issue stances.
Arrested on June 11 for misdemeanor sexual misconduct charge; insists "I am not gay"
Long dogged by rumors about his sexuality, the married and conservative three-term senator is expected to address the June 11 incident at Minneapolis Airport in which an undercover officer arrested him on charges of lewd conduct in a men's room.
Craig, who has voted against gay marriage and opposes extending special protections to gay and lesbian crime victims, might step down, some of his longtime allies have denounced his behavior and called for his resignation. "If the accusations are true, then we think that he needs to resign," Bryan Fischer, the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, told ABCNews.com. "We believe that character is an important qualification for public service and we believe if these accounts are true, then the senator conduct has fallen short of what we should expect from public officials." Fischer, who is thankful for the senator's anti-abortion policy and his opposition to gay marriage, said that many of his fellow Idahoans were not surprised to hear about the arrest. "I don't think people were shocked because these rumors had circulated for years. But people in Idaho feel tremendous disappointment. You know that they feel they have been let down by another public figure. I've heard from some in our alliance, virtually everyone was aware that the rumors had circulated and they're disappointed that there might have been some fire behind that smoke."
A political science professor in Idaho said Craig's political future was in jeopardy. And a spokesman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, Hannah August, said Craig's guilty plea "has given Americans another reason not to vote Republican" next year. Earlier Tuesday, liberal action group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Craig with the Senate ethics committee, asking the panel to investigate whether the lawmaker violated the Senate Rules of Conduct by pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. "If pleading guilty to charges stemming from an attempt to solicit an undercover officer in a public restroom is not conduct that reflects poorly upon the Senate, what is?" asked CREW's executive director Melanie Sloan.
Click for complete Larry Craig issue stances.
Resigns after months-long uproar
The resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday ended a storybook rise that began in an impoverished neighborhood in the Houston suburbs, reached into the political power centers of Austin and Washington and then unraveled with his stewardship as the nation’s top cop.
Gonzales, the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general and one of George W. Bush’s closest advisers, resigned after enduring a months-long uproar over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys and disclosures that the FBI overstepped the Patriot Act to intrude into the lives of U.S. citizens.
Throughout his political and professional ascent, which also included service as a Texas Supreme Court justice, Gonzales broke through social and cultural barriers and earned the admiration of thousands of Hispanics. After Bush became president in 2001, Gonzales appeared on track to be nominated as the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
But the accolades were all but forgotten after Gonzales confronted accusations that he had politicized the Justice Department and had veered away from his pledge to be bound only "by the rule of law." For months, Democrats and a growing number of Republicans clamored for his resignation. He was also never able to put to rest Democratic criticism over his performance as White House counsel in Bush’s first term, where he participated in administration policies that critics say contributed to torture of detainees and the prison abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Text of Attorney General's resignation:
Click for complete Alberto Gonzales issue stances.
Eight Democrats hosted by George Stephanopoulos
"I have no regrets about running"
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said Sunday he is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination after finishing sixth in an Iowa straw poll.
"I have no regrets about running," he said in a statement released Sunday evening by his campaign. "I felt my record as governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."
The statement said Thompson, 65, intends to take some time off before returning to the private sector and his nonprofit work.
He had said before the Iowa event that he would drop out of the race unless he finished first or second. The statement didn't say whether he would endorse another candidate.
Click for complete Tommy Thompson issue stances.
Eight candidates participate; three opt out
Click for complete debate coverage.
Six Democrats hosted by gay rights organizations
All Republican candidates invited but none accepted invitation.
Seven candidates hosted by AFL-CIO
Nine candidates prepare for Iowa Straw Poll
Six members of Congress introduce resolution
Democratic House members, including several former prosecutors, have introduced a measure directing the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether to impeach Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., a co-sponsor of the measure, said the investigation is warranted given the questions about whether Gonzales misled Congress in testimony about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and about a secret government eavesdropping program. “The resolution isn’t for impeachment, it’s an inquiry,” Moore said. “If the investigation concludes that he mislead Congress and gave false information or otherwise, I would certainly look into whether further action is necessary.”
Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who was a prosecutor in Washington state in the late 1970s and 1980s, is the lead sponsor of the measure. Other sponsors are Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra of California, Michael Arcuri of New York, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Bruce Braley of Iowa and Tom Udall of New Mexico.
Lawmakers from both parties have questioned Gonzales’ truthfulness. Democrats and some Republicans have openly accused him of helping Bush exploit executive power at the expense of civil liberties and possibly beyond the law on an array of matters including secretive surveillance. A spokesman for Gonzales said it was “unfortunate that confusion exists, but not surprising since such discussions in a public forum involve complicated classified activities, where the greatest care must be used not to compromise sensitive intelligence operations.”
Text of the resolution:
Click for complete Alberto Gonzales issue stances.
Part of public corruption investigation
FBI and IRS agents snapped photos and trained video cameras on the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens during a search related to a public corruption investigation. Stevens is under a federal investigation for his relationship with Bill Allen, an oil field services contractor who was convicted this year of bribing state lawmakers. A 2000 renovation project more than doubling the size of Stevens' home in the ski resort community of Girdwood was overseen by Allen, who is founder of VECO Corp. The Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company has reaped tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts.
The Justice Department's probe into Allen's relationships has led to charges against state lawmakers and contractors. Last year, FBI raids on the offices of several Alaska lawmakers included Stevens' son, former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is under scrutiny from the Justice Department for his ties to an Alaska energy services company, Veco, whose chief executive pleaded guilty in early May to a bribery scheme involving state lawmakers.
In Alaska, where an airport is named after him, hStevens has doubled the state's take of federal money to more than $8 billion in the last decade. He's known far and wide as "Uncle Ted." In Washington, Stevens, 83, the longest-serving Republican member of the world's most exclusive club, is more often called the "King of Pork" than Uncle Anything. Though admired for his shameless mining of the public trough, he's generally more feared than loved. One year, Alaska got more homeland security dollars than New York. "I am guilty of asking the Senate for pork, and proud of the Senate for giving it to me," he once said.
Click for complete Sen. Ted Stevens issue stances.
Debate to be postponed or perhaps canceled
Republican Mitt Romney isn't sure yet whether he'll participate in the CNN/YouTube.com Republican debate in September, but he's no fan of the format. "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman," he said in an interview yesterday.
Last Monday's CNN/YouTube debate was widely panned by the right, so it came as little surprise when Gov. Mitt Romney expressed his hesitance at potentially addressing questions from talking snowmen during the proposed GOP YouTube debate set for September 17 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rudy Giuliani avoided criticizing the format but said he would likely be unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts. With the two frontrunners slinking away and only two confirmed participants, the status of the debate was suddenly up in the air.
Since then, however, prominent elements of the right-wing blogosphere have rallied in support of the debate insisting that avoiding the debate would demonstrate a lack of fortitude and continue to present the picture that Republicans are out of touch with the internet and young people.
The candidates appear to have been listening. Gov. Tommy Thompson announced he would be participating in the debates, and the St. Petersburg Times reported that Gov. Mike Huckabee was tentatively scheduled to attend. Gov. Romney also altered his position as spokesman Kevin Madden told the New York Times that it's "not a question of format, it's a question of our travel schedule." With Giuliani and Romney now pinning their inability to make it on what they said was an extremely busy part of the fundraising cycle, Think Progress reported that CNN was shifting the debate to a later date. Ron Paul seemed to confirm this move when his campaign blog announced the debate had been moved to December.
Click for complete Gov. Mitt Romney issue stances, or for Mayor Rudy Giuliani issue stances, or for excerpts from the Dems' YouTube debate.
Eight candidates take video questions from YouTube
A dozen new votes recorded for each Senator
Cites front-loaded primary schedule
I am today withdrawing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. It has been a positive and rewarding experience for me, for my family, and for my supporters.
It has become apparent to me that the combination of my late start, and the front loaded nature of the primary schedule, have made it impractical to continue to pursue this path towards further public service.
I am proud of the fact that my campaign focused on the issues, worked hard to block amnesty for illegal immigrants, brought attention to the need to protect private property rights, and called for a new path in Iraq that would provide our valiant military men and women with a more clearly defined and achievable mission.
However, I have come to believe that it takes more than a positive vision for our nation's future to successfully compete for the Presidency. I believe that it takes years of preparation to put in place both the political and financial infrastructure to contest what now amounts to a one-day national primary in February.
In the coming weeks and months, I intend to remain active in the Republican Party and in the public debate. I will be forming a state political action committee to assist Republican candidates in the Virginia General Assembly races. Additionally, I will be actively looking for other opportunities to continue in public service in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Click for Gov. Jim Gilmore's issue stances.
Eight candidates meet at Howard University
Appointed to fill term of deceased Sen. Craig Thomas
The spirit of Wyoming filled the U.S. Senate chamber on Monday as friends, family and political leaders from the state gathered to watch incoming Sen. John Barrasso raise his right hand and promise to well and faithfully carry out his new duties. "It was just fantastic, and humbling," Barrasso said.
Vice President Dick Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, administered the oath. Current and former Wyoming GOP Sens. Mike Enzi and Malcolm Wallop stood behind Barrasso for the ceremony. And unlike a typical swearing-in day, when supporters of numerous newly elected senators must share limited seats, Wyomingites packed the gallery.
The bittersweet day also brought memories of the late Sen. Craig Thomas, who died June 4 during treatment for leukemia and whose seat Barrasso filled.
* * *
Thomas's passing kicked into gear a bizarre selection process for his seat (thanks to the Wyoming State Constitution), in which the majority party in the state legislature (in this case the Republicans) submits three names to the governor (in this case Democrat David Freudenthal), who chooses one to hold the seat until the end of the current Congress. The seat will be contested in November 2008 (when Wyoming's entire three-seat congressional delegation will be up for grabs). And, of course, the governor would pick the name thought to be most beatable by a Democrat.
Rather than bore the reader with the details of a two-week-long convoluted process that involved a 71-member state GOP central committee (Wyoming's secular smoke-filled-room version of the College of Cardinals) casting multiple rounds of votes in a process of elimination involving 31 declared candidates (many themselves members of the central committee), suffice it to say that Governor Freudenthal ultimately chose John A. Barrasso, MD, 54, Casper orthopedic surgeon and citizen legislator of five years standing.
Click for Sen. John Barrasso's issue stances.
NYC Mayor elected as Republican re-registers as independent
With an increasingly cacophonous buzz that he's contemplating an independent run for president despite public pleas to the contrary, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a clear step toward that third-party bid on Tuesday by changing his party registration from Republican to unaffiliated. "I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our City," Bloomberg said in a statement, referring to how the one-time Democrat famously changed his party registration once before to run for mayor as a Republican. "A nonpartisan approach has worked wonders in New York,"
Asked about a possible Bloomberg/Schwarzenegger ticket -- as their mutual friend, billionaire investor Warren Buffet has urged -- Bloomberg said that "the governor and I never have had that conversation." Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, is prohibited from ever serving as president, though the prohibition on someone not born in America serving as vice president is less definitive.
How credible a Bloomberg candidacy would be is another matter. A former partner at Salomon Brothers and self-made media maven, Bloomberg, 65, spent $73 million of his own money in his race for mayor in 2001. Worth more than $5 billion, he could spend less than a quarter of his net worth and be more than able to compete financially. But if Bloomberg runs, he doesn't want to make a point, as did fellow billionaire Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. He wants to win. Whether or not he ultimately thinks he can will make all the difference in the world.
Click for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's issue stances, or Arnold Schwarzenegger's issue stances.
Click for the full list of 2007 House incumbents
This week we add coverage of the voting records of the incumbents in the U.S. House for major votes that took place from late 2006 through May 2007. Click on the House page for any incumbent member of the House to see how they voted on each of the issues below.
Wyoming Democratic Governor must appoint Republican successor
The Wyoming Republican Party is taking applications from people interested in being nominated to succeed Senator Craig Thomas. The senator died last week while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
The Republican Party Chairman says the party intends to announce on Thursday who the candidates are. The party will hold a candidates forum on Sunday. The state Republican Central Committee will meet next Tuesday to select three nominees.
Governor Dave Freudenthal will choose from the three nominees a person to fill the senate seat. The new senator will be appointed to serve until early 2009. A special election in November 2008 will determine who completes Thomas's term, which runs through 2012.
Click for Craig Thomas's issue stances, or Gov. Dave Freudenthal's issue stances.
Ten candidates meet at St. Anselm College, Manchester N.H.
Eight candidates meet at St. Anselm College, Manchester N.H.
Click here for excerpts from his biography, The Fred Factor
Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties, he told USA Today. Thompson, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, has been coy about his intentions with audiences, but made clear in an interview that he plans to run.
"I can't remember exactly the point that I said, 'I'm going to do this,' " Thompson says, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame sprawled comfortably across a couch in a hotel suite. "But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: 'I'm going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.' " His late start carries some problems but also "certain advantages," he says. "Nobody has maxed out to me" in contributions, he notes, and using the Internet already "has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime."
Thompson could reshape a GOP contest in which each of the three leaders has significant vulnerabilities and none of the seven second-tier contenders has broken through. Without formally joining the race — he's preparing to do that as early as the first week of July — Thompson already is placing third and better among Republican candidates in some national polls. Dissatisfaction among one-third of Republicans with the 2008 field has opened the door for the candidate with Thompson's folksy tone, actor's ease before an audience and conservative credentials which drew comparisons to Ronald Reagan.
Click for complete Sen. Fred Thompson issue stances, or for excerpts from his biography, "The Fred Factor".
Has participated in debates already
With who knows how many TV cameras rolling, Gov. Bill Richardson today will officially announce he's running for president. We can't think of anything more lackluster - we know, we know, we know already he's running. So quit with the announcements.
The event is an opportunity for Richardson to get on TV. Again. And isn't that what it's all about?
His TV blips in recent weeks [he has aired two TV commercials] appear to have helped. Our guv is up to 10 percent in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Sunday. A Zogby poll in New Hampshire also has Richardson at 10. Cool. Just 25 percentage points more and he'll actually be a contender. However, Richardson isn't a high scorer everywhere.
Click for complete Gov. Bill Richardson issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Ten candidates meet at the University of South Carolina
Blogosphere buzz reaches deafening proportions with Chuck Hagel's invitation
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., continues to weigh a 2008 presidential campaign, and he is hinting that he might run as an independent — perhaps in tandem with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In an interview Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Hagel, one of the GOP’s sharpest critics of the war in Iraq, said, “I am not happy with the Republican Party today. It has drifted from the party of Eisenhower, of Goldwater, of Reagan, the party that I joined.”
Hagel said he would decide by late summer whether to get into the presidential race. He voiced support for the notion of a third-party or independent option in 2008, saying, “I think it shakes the system up. The system needs to be shaken up.”
Hagel acknowledged he had dined earlier this month with Bloomberg, who he said “is the kind of individual who should seriously think about this. I think he is.”
Asked whether he could envision himself on a ticket with Bloomberg, Hagel replied: “It’s a great country to think about — a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation.”
After months of speculation that he would enter the GOP presidential primary field, Hagel called a news conference March 12 to announce he had nothing to announce. This time he spoke more enthusiastically about a third-party approach. “I think a credible third ticket, third party, would be good for the system,” he said, adding that both Republicans and Democrats “have been hijacked by the extremes of their two parties.”
Click below for Sen. Chuck Hagel's issue stances, or Mayor Michael Bloomberg's issue stances, or all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Ten candidates meet at the Ronald Reagan library
Eight candidates meet in South Carolina
Starts campaign with online discussion
On the day of the Democratic presidential debate, Republican Jim Gilmore entered the fray, announcing he wanted to be the 44th president of the United States. Gilmore did so just in time to be a part of this week’s GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Ten will share the stage.
If one can judge a politician by his words, Gilmore seemed prepared to be the Howard Dean of the GOP this time around, as far as reaching out online. He made his announcement in Iowa, but simulcast it on the Web at his Web site. Then he talked with voters online immediately afterward. “We also have a way of talking to people that’s a little different. We’re in a position now to talk to hundreds of thousands of people directly.”
Gilmore, 57, is a former Virginia attorney general, as well as being its governor from 1998 to 2002. He pegs himself as the “one, true conservative” running.” Gilmore was chairman of the Republican National Committee Chairman in 2001, and chaired a commission to look into the country’s terror response capabilities.
At a candidates forum in Iowa recently, Gilmore referred to three top contenders at the moment as “Rudy McRomney.”
Click for complete Gov. James Gilmore issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
"I'm not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced"
Today I formally began my campaign for President of the United States. I promised the American people that I would do everything I could to provide the leadership and experience to guide our nation through these difficult times.
We've begun this campaign season earlier than many Americans prefer. So soon after our last contentious election, our differences are again sure to be sharpened and exaggerated. That's the nature of free elections. But even in the heat of a campaign, we shouldn't lose sight that much more defines us than our partisanship; much more unites us than divides us. We have common purposes and common challenges, and we live in momentous times. This election should be about big things, not small ones. Ours are not red state or blue state problems. They are national and global.
We face formidable challenges, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them. I'm not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how Congress works, and how to make it work for the country and not just the re-election of its members. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don't. I know how to fight and how to make peace. I know who I am and what I want to do.
I don't seek the office out of a sense of entitlement. I owe America more than she has ever owed me. Thirty-four years ago, I came home from an extended absence abroad. While I was away, I fell in love with my country. I learned that's what good for America, is good enough for me. I have been an imperfect servant of my country ever since, in uniform and in office, in war and peace. I have never lived a single day, in good times or in bad, that I haven't thanked God for the privilege.
Click for complete Sen. John McCain issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Seven candidates meet online at MoveOn.org
"I am the reliable conservative"
Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he was running to be California's governor on "The Tonight Show" and back in 2004, John Edwards launched his presidential campaign on cable television's "The Daily Show." Today, a Republican candidate went on an Iowa radio station to announce he's running for president.
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said he chose "talk radio" to make his presidential campaign announcement because the medium had given voice to his call for immigration reform. "It's been about eight years that I've been in congress and I have done probably 1800 or more talk radio shows...on the issue of illegal immigration," Tancredo said this morning on WHO Radio. "...It's given me a megaphone that I never would have had. It's allows you to talk directly to the American people. There's no filter in between...and I'm convinced that it is talk radio that has allowed us to get where we are today."
Tancredo calls illegal immigration a "crisis" of enormous proportion. "We are fighting far-flung battles in lands far away from the United States and we're doing that to defend the nation," Tancredo said. "But this battle over immigration is really to define the nation."
Tancredo estimates there are as many as 20 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. today -- about six times the population of the state of Iowa. "I think that this crisis is not only an economic crisis. I think that it threatens the very idea of America," Tancredo said. "...The melting pot is cracked."
Tancredo asserts that none of the other presidential candidates are offering the right answer and too many current leaders have "forgotten" and "ignored" illegal immigration. "It's one of the most serious problems facing the country," Tancredo said. "And therefore because this field does not offer me...that particular characteristic...I am going to run for President of the United States."
Click for complete Rep. Tom Tancredo issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
"I am the reliable conservative"
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson officially announced his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination Sunday, telling ABC's "This Week" he is confident about his chances. "In Iowa, the polls last week came out that I was in fifth place and moving up and at 5 percent," he said, adding that things are starting "to coalesce, and I feel very, very optimistic about my future."
The former four-term governor of Wisconsin set up a presidential exploratory committee in December and filed a statement of candidacy in January. His campaign spokesman said last month that Thompson's formal announcement would come in early April.
Thompson, a senior partner in a law firm, said he is hoping to appeal to Republicans who feel that other GOP candidates are not conservative enough on economic and social issues. "I am the reliable conservative, my record shows that," he said. "All that people have to do is look at my record, and I am one individual that they can count on."
Thompson spoke Sunday about his stance on Iraq, saying he believes a timetable for troop withdrawal, as called for by the Democrat-led Congress, would give the terrorists in Iraq an opportunity to "hunker down" and "outlast the Americans." He said he would pull out U.S. troops only at the Iraqi government's request.
Thompson also said he thinks Iraq should be set up like the United States, with Iraq's 18 territories having elected leaders that would report to a federal government. "The Shiites would elect Shiites, Sunnis would elect Sunnis, Kurds would elect Kurds, and there would be a gravitation of people going to those things, and it would reduce this terrible internecine civil war," he said.
Oil revenues, he said, should be dealt with like the state of Alaska -- one-third should go to the federal government, one-third to the territorial governments, and the remaining third split "to every man, woman and child."
Click for complete Gov. Tommy Thompson issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Local buzz has been deafening (including numerous letters to Massscorecard.org!)
Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson's possible run for the GOP nomination had Nashville talking this week . The local buzz surrounding a possible Thompson presidential bid has been deafening, and the pitch has gotten even more fevered in recent days.
Evangelical leader James Dobson questioned Thompson's Christianity [in the press this week], despite his baptism in the Church of Christ. [One analyst responded that "absent a public profession of atheism or a rebuke of evangelicalism" Fred will do just fine amongst the religious right.
Click for complete Sen. Fred Thompson issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
"Economic vision that embraces supply-side economics"
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gained the endorsement Wednesday of a former GOP candidate billionaire publisher and flat-tax proponent Steve Forbes. Forbes ran for the White House in 1996 and 2000 as a Republican pushing a flat income tax rate. The CEO of Forbes Inc., said Wednesday that Giuliani's record as mayor of New York City "showed how exercising fiscal discipline, including tax cuts, lowers deficits, spurs economic growth, and increases revenue."
Giuliani said he and Forbes share "an economic vision that embraces supply-side economics, tax relief, and spending restraint." Back in 1996 when he was mayor, Giuliani dismissed Forbes' notion of a flat-tax as a "mistake," saying "the flat tax is not for me" because it would give states and cities more authority but less resources.
Click for complete Mayor Rudy Giuliani issue stances, or Steve Forbes issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Sponsored by SEIU and CAP in Las Vegas, Nevada
Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters
"We are going to formally announce it in early April"
Setting aside any doubt, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona announced Wednesday he would seek the presidential nomination. McCain, who had a presidential exploratory committee, made the declaration on the "Late Show with David Letterman." "We are going to formally announce it in early April," a top adviser told CNN.
McCain has been a staunch supporter of Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq. McCain has said several times that he feels the war in Iraq has been mismanaged for years. Recently, the senator said Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one of the "worst" defense secretaries in history. "We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement -- that's the kindest word I can give you -- of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," McCain said in mid-February. "The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously."
McCain recently said the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned and if elected he would appoint judges who "strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench," The Associated Press reported. "I do not support Roe vs. Wade. It should be overturned," the AP quoted him as saying about the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that gave women the right to have an abortion. (Read full story)
Click for complete Sen. John McCain issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
"It is money and only money that is the reason we are leaving today"
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack withdrew as a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination today, saying he could not raise enough money to compete with his nationally known rivals.
"This process has become to a great extent about money, a lot of money," Vilsack said during a late morning news conference at his campaign headquarters in Des Moines.
"And it is clear to me that we would not be able to continue to raise money in the amounts necessary to sustain, not just a campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, but a campaign across this country," he said. "So it is money and only money that is the reason we are leaving today."
The news ends Vilsack's bid less than four months after he launched a federal campaign organization on Nov. 9.
Polls showed Vilsack trailing three better-known candidates in Iowa, scheduled to host the leadoff presidential nominating caucuses in less than 11 months.
Vilsack raised more than $1 million between his campaign launch in November and the end of the year, most of which came in a fund-raiser held in Des Moines during his ceremonial kickoff week.
Click for complete Gov. Tom Vilsack issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
"It's time to do, as well as to dream"
Promising to build "a new American dream," Mitt Romney launched his bid to become the nation's 44th president yesterday by casting himself as an optimistic and forward-thinking Washington outsider with the experience and vision to lead the country into a new age of innovation.
Despite the bloody war in Iraq, a growing nuclear threat from Iran, and the ongoing specter of terrorism, he said, Americans should be bullish about their future. But he warned that the country would overcome its challenges only by adhering to traditional Republican values of limited government, lower taxes, military power, and strong families.
"Our hopes and dreams will inspire us, for Americans are an optimistic people," Romney said to friends, family, and supporters gathered at the Henry Ford Museum, which celebrates the automotive pioneer. "But hope alone is just crossing fingers, when what we need is industrious hands. It's time for hope and action. It's time to do, as well as to dream."
It's been clear for more than two years that Romney was preparing a run for the presidency. He created a political action committee in 2004 to help finance his early politicking around the country, and since then he's showered local GOP candidates and organizations with campaign contributions, carefully crafted his speeches and public appearances to appeal to national GOP audiences, and built deep grass-roots organizations in key primary states.
Click for complete Gov. Mitt Romney issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Acknowledges "audacity" to "build a more hopeful America"
Democrat Barack Obama declared himself a candidate Saturday for the White House in 2008, evoking Abraham Lincoln's ability to unite a nation and promising to lead a new generation as the country's first black president. The first-term senator announced his candidacy from the state capital where he began his elective career just 10 years ago, and in front of the building where in another century, Lincoln served eight years in the Illinois Legislature. "We can build a more hopeful America," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery. "And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States."
Obama did not mention his family background, his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia or that he would make history if elected president. Instead, he focused on his life in Illinois over the past two decades, beginning with a job as a community organizer with a $13,000-a-year salary that strengthened his Christian faith.
He said the struggles he saw people face inspired him to get a law degree and run for the Legislature, where he served eight years before becoming a U.S. senator just two years ago. "I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness, a certain audacity, to this announcement," Obama said. "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change. "Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done," he said. "Today we are called once more - and it is time for our generation to answer that call."
Click for complete Sen. Barack Obama issue stances, or for excerpts from Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, or for excerpts from Obama's biography, Dreams from My Father.
No longer just "testing the waters"
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stepped closer to a formal bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 by filing new paperwork that signals he's moving beyond testing the waters for a run. A campaign spokeswoman confirmed that Giuliani, 62, is filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. He had already formed a committee to explore a White House run, and the change puts him in line with Republican rivals including Arizona Senator John McCain.
Polls show that Giuliani would enter the race as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, helped by the nationwide praise he earned in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Even so, his support for issues such as abortion rights and gun control may hurt him with the Republican activists who dominate the primary-election process.
In his new FEC filing, Giuliani will take out the phrase "testing the waters," a term that allows politicians to explore a candidacy without needing to identify donors, the AP said, citing an unidentified official close to the campaign. Giuliani already has raised $1.4 million and had $1 million in the bank as of the end of the year, according to FEC filings. One of the biggest single sources of funds for the former mayor was the New York-based hedge fund Elliott Associates. Its employees and their spouses contributed at least $50,400, according to the filings.
Giuliani, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, currently is chairman of Giuliani Partners, a security consulting company he started in 2002.
Click for complete Mayor Rudy Giuliani issue stances, or for excerpts from Giuliani's book, Leadership, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Apologizes for insulting Barack Obama
Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. Wednesday officially launched his well-expected candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. It’s a bid predicated on one major assumption: that the race will focus greatly on Iraq and other international trouble spots, putting a high priority on candidates’ foreign policy credentials. And foreign policy experience is something that Biden —chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and scathing critic of how President Bush has handled the war in Iraq — can claim without contradiction.
Though Biden’s October 2002 vote to authorize Bush to launch military action against Iraq could be a sore point among some hardline antiwar Democratic activists, Biden has since declared that his vote was a mistake. He is far better known today for his outspoken criticism of the administration’s handling of the war. Biden is the chief sponsor of a non-binding Senate resolution — approved by the Foreign Relations Committee in a largely party-line vote earlier this month — that criticizes Bush’s plan to deploy additional troops to Iraq. That measure declares that it’s “not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq.” Biden supports restructuring Iraq into a loose federation of autonomous Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni regions in an effort to reduce the fierce sectarian tensions that erupted after the U.S.-driven downfall of dictator Saddam Hussein, have caused widespread and often horrific violence, and have stunted efforts to reconstruct Iraq into a functioning society. “I would respectfully suggest to you that the Democrats out there understand I am the only person with a plan that can get out of Iraq without our interests in the region not falling apart,” Biden said during the conference call.
This is, in fact, Biden’s second venture into presidential politics, though his bid for the 1988 Democratic nomination was troubled-plagued and brief. Biden joined a wide-open race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. He had success raising money, and in the summer of 1987 was moving up in the polls in Iowa, host of the precinct caucuses that traditionally kick off the nominating season. But Biden withdrew from the race in September 1987, as his campaign became consumed by allegations of plagiarism that were disseminated by a campaign aide to a rival contender, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis (who went on to win the nomination but lose the general election to Republican George H.W. Bush). Biden acknowledged that he borrowed material without attribution for a paper he wrote as a law student and that he had quoted some political figures without attribution in some of his presidential campaign speeches. In withdrawing from the contest, Biden said that he had made “mistakes” and that the “exaggerated shadow of those mistakes has begun to obscure the essence of my candidacy and the essence of Joe Biden.” In years since, Biden has drawn defenders who say the plagiarism claim was blown out of proportion and should not be considered a factor on his political resume. “I was very naive the last time I ran,” Biden said in the conference call. “And secondly, it was a very different world in which I was running last time.”
Click for complete Sen. Joe Biden issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Baptist minister seeks support among social conservatives
Blurring the traditional lines of partisanship, conservative Mike Huckabee launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination with a swipe at President Bush and a friendly nod to fellow Arkansan Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The former Arkansas governor assigned Bush some of the blame for failing to deliver on a 2000 campaign promise to be “a uniter, not a divider” and ease polarization in Washington. “I’m not sure that this administration really listened and responded to different points of view,” Huckabee said in a written interview with HOTSOUP.com, a politically minded social networking site. “Republicans were expected to follow without question and Democrats were ignored and therefore felt slighted.”
Huckabee, a Baptist minister who hopes to win support among social conservatives, passed up a chance to take a jab at two favorite targets of the right – Bill and Hillary Clinton. Would she be a good president? “We could do worse,” Huckabee replied, “but the good news is that we could do better and that’s why I’m running. I do think it’s a huge mistake for Republicans to hope she’s the nominee for they will underestimate her at their peril.” Did he ever vote for Bill Clinton as governor or president? “Never did,” replied Huckabee who, like the former president, was born in Hope, Ark. “Regardless of politics, one has to have respect for the fact that Bill Clinton overcame tremendous challenges in his upbringing through a turbulent childhood and yet was able – not once, but twice – to be elected president. He embodies the American dream and we should never take that from him.”
Click for complete Gov. Mike Huckabee issue stances, or excerpts from Huckabee's book From Hope to Higher Ground, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Strong foe of illegal immigration
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, made his presidential bid official Thursday in South Carolina. "My fellow Americans, with the support of our families, with faith in God and with the goodness of the American people let's begin this race for the American presidency and let's win," Hunter said at a breakfast event in Spartanburg.
Hunter has allies with deep pockets in South Carolina. His supporters include textile magnate Roger Milliken, who supports Hunter's promise to protect U-S manufacturers. Hunter also is a strong foe of illegal immigration, an issue that plays well in South Carolina.
Hunter is a 14-term conservative and set up a presidential exploratory committee just last week. He announced his intentions in October and, since then, has been making the rounds in the early primary states that include Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Click for complete Rep. Duncan Hunter issue stances, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
Will run for Senate re-election in 2008
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democrats' losing presidential candidate in 2004, does not intend to run again in 2008. Kerry intends to seek a new six-year term in the Senate.
Kerry, 64, who lost the White House when Ohio voted for President Bush by 118,601 votes on election night in November 2004, was attending a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting and unavailable for comment. His decision leaves a field of nine Democrats running or signaling their intention to do so, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, and Kerry's 2004 running mate John Edwards. The Republican field has a similar number with Bush constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.
Kerry's 2004 campaign drew widespread criticism from fellow Democrats after his defeat. His critics said he had failed to make a forceful enough response to Republican criticism as well as charges by conservative groups that he did not deserve the medals he won for combat in the Vietnam War.
The Massachusetts senator stirred unhappy memories for Democrats last fall, when he botched a joke and led Republicans to accuse him of attacking U.S. troops in Iraq. He apologized, then hastily scrapped several days of campaigning for fellow Democrats as party leaders urged him to avoid becoming an unwanted issue in a campaign they were on the way to winning.
Polls showed Kerry trailing his Democratic rivals. Last October, an Associated Press-AOL News poll had Kerry at just 1 percent and recent surveys indicated he had gained little among Democrats. In a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday, 51 percent of Democrats said they would not like to see Kerry run in 2008. When asked who they would support, only 5 percent said Kerry, placing him fifth and far behind leader Clinton at 33 percent.
Click for complete Sen. John Kerry issue stances, or excerpts from Kerry's 2003 book A Call to Service, or for all presidential contenders' issue stances.
|State of the Union: Jan. 23, 2007|
|Sen. Sam Brownback (R, KS) announces presidential campaign: Jan. 20, 2007|
Sen. Sam Brownback began a long-shot bid for president on Saturday, hoping his reputation as a favorite son of the religious right can help him outdistance better known Republican rivals. "I am a conservative and I'm proud of being a conservative," he proclaimed.
"My family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House. It's a great journey," Brownback said, returning to his home state to declare his intention to seek his party's nomination in 2008. The "yellow brick road" was the fictional Dorothy's path back home to Kansas in "The Wizard of Oz" film.
The two-term senator said he will fight to renew America's cultural values and pledged to focus on rebuilding families. "Search the record of history. To walk away from the Almighty is to embrace decline for a nation," Brownback said. "To embrace Him leads to renewal, for individuals and for nations."
Brownback laced his speech with the themes that have made him a leader of the Republican Party's conservative wing and a strong spokesman in Congress for socially conservative Christians. A fierce foe of abortion, he planned to return to Washington to participate in an anti-abortion rally Monday marking the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right to the procedure. Brownback also opposes embryonic stem-cell research and gay marriage. After his speech, he told reporters: "My positions are at the heart of where the Republican Party is. I'm willing to take those positions with all comers."
|Hillary Clinton forms exploratory committee: Jan. 20, 2007|
Senator Clinton's bid, while long expected, is historic. She is the first former First Lady – her husband having served from 1993 until 2001 - seeking to become the nation's first female President. "I'm in and I'm in to win," she said in a statement posted on her website Saturday morning. Addressing voters, she said: "I'm not just starting a campaign, though, I'm beginning a conversation with America. Let's talk. Let's chat. The conversation in Washington has been a little one-sided lately, don't you think?"
With her star power, network of supporters and donors, and team of political advisers, the 59-year-old Mrs. Clinton long has topped every national poll of potential Democratic contenders. But her tenure as first lady left her a polarizing figure among voters, according to recent polls, leading many Democrats to doubt Clinton's viability in a general election. In a statement posted on her Web site, Mrs. Clinton sought to acknowledge and bat away such doubts. "I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine," she wrote. "After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate and how to beat them."
Recently, Clinton has clashed with many in her own party over the Iraq war. Clinton supported the 2002 resolution authorizing military intervention in Iraq. She has refused to recant her vote or call for a deadline for the removal of troops. She has announced her opposition to President Bush's troop increase in Iraq and has introduced legislation capping troop levels.
|Bill Richardson< forms exploratory committee: Jan. 19, 2007|
Richardson plans to announce on Sunday that he will soon file the papers to create a presidential exploratory committee, the officials told the AP. The governor is scheduled to appear on ABC's "This Week."
His entry would make the Democratic race the most diverse presidential contest in history. Beside Richardson's bid to be the first Hispanic chief executive, Sen. Barack Obama would be the first black president and likely candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the first female president.
Richardson, 59, is a former congressman, U.N. ambassador and Energy Department secretary. He brings a wealth of experience in international affairs that has extended even into his governorship of a small but politically important swing state.
He has hosted talks on North Korea's nuclear program in New Mexico and most recently traveled to Sudan to meet with the country's president to press him for an end to the bloodshed in Darfur.
|Barack Obama forms exploratory committee: Jan. 16, 2007|
In an announcement weighted with history and moment, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who less than three years ago was serving in the Illinois Senate, declared today his intention to run for president. Obama said in a statement on his presidential exploratory committee Web site:
As many of you know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision--a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone--and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.Obama's move dramatically punctuates the extraordinary arc of a political career for a man who said he had trouble even renting a car to attend the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 2000. But his stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 catapulted him to a hybrid status of politician as celebrity that continued with his election to the Senate and his status now as the first African-American candidate considered a leading contender for his party's presidential nomination.
I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.
I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.
He is expected to face two daunting challenges, one to raise up to $100 million for his campaign and the other, to compete with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, among many others, in what would be the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in history.
His announcement today was the filing of a presidential exploratory committee, a step that allows him to immediately start to raise money in advance of a more formal announcement of his candidacy, which Obama said would come next month.
|Tom Tancredo forms exploratory committee: Jan. 16, 2007|
Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo took the first steps toward running for president Tuesday, building himself a new platform to denounce illegal immigration and pressure fellow Republicans to address the divisive issue.
The anti-immigration firebrand from suburban Denver promised to make immigration a central issue. He said he will position himself as the choice for conservatives unhappy with the positions of other potential GOP hopefuls. Tancredo realizes he's a longshot for president; he is not giving up his House seat.
Voters "believe that there is a void in this race that none of the other candidates are willing or able to fill," Tancredo said in a statement.
Tancredo, who has led a group of anti-immigration House Republicans for years, could become a thorn in the sides of the other presidential candidates. Tancredo has suggested that his campaign would hound Arizona Sen. John McCain, another likely presidential candidate, who last year co-sponsored a bill creating a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country now. Many conservatives, especially in heartland states such as Iowa, resent the nation's changing economy and strongly believe in the need for tougher border enforcement.
Less than 24 hours before Tancredo announced his exploratory committee, Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard revealed he would not run for a third term in 2008. Tancredo had expressed interest in Allard's seat, but Monday, said he would back former Rep. Scott McInnis to succeed Allard. The race for Allard's seat is expected to be one of the toughest in the country, especially since Colorado voters have become increasingly open to electing Democrats.
|Wayne Allard (R, CO) announces Senate retirement: Jan. 15, 2007|
When Senator Wayne Allard, Republican of Colorado, announced that he would not seek re-election, the uphill battle for his party to reclaim the Senate in 2008 became an even steeper climb.
By the numbers, Republicans were already at a disadvantage. Twenty-one Republican seats will be open, compared with 12 Democratic seats. And not having a Republican incumbent on the ballot in a competitive state like Colorado complicates matters for Republicans.
Already, campaign politics is infusing substantive debates on Capitol Hill. Many of the incumbent Republican senators who have stepped forward to oppose President Bush’s Iraq policy face re-election. (Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon started the trend late last year, followed by others, including Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota last week.)
Even before Mr. Allard’s announcement, Colorado was emerging as a gateway to the West for Democrats, who have won the governor’s office, two House districts and a Senate seat in the last four years.
|Rep. Ron Paul (R, TX) forms presidential exploratory committee: Jan. 12, 2007|
Maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul is eyeing a bigger office. Paul, whose district includes Galveston County, has formed an exploratory committee to run for president. Paul, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988, plans to seek the Republican nomination in 2008. Paul filed incorporation papers in Texas on Thursday to create a presidential exploratory committee that allows him and his supporters to collect money on behalf of his bid.
The one-time medical doctor and nine-term Congressman from southeast Texas last ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian ticket, and received over 400,000 votes. This time around, he will be running as a Republican, which means going head-to-head against much better known (and better supported) figures such as John McCain.
|Chris Dodd forms exploratory committee: Jan. 11, 2007|
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd announced he will run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, saying problems at home and abroad meant it was time for him to "get out of the bleachers and onto the arena floor." Dodd, a 26-year Senate veteran, told the "Imus in the Morning" radio show he will file paperwork to establish a campaign committee later in the day. "I know how to do this. I know what has to be done. I'm going to get out and make my case," Dodd said. He described himself as a dark horse in a Democratic field dominated by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois -- neither of whom have yet entered the race.
"There's a heightened sense of urgency about the condition of the country. But it isn't just Iraq -- there are problems here at home that are huge," Dodd said. He said he planned to focus on issues like education, energy policy and health care in his campaign.
Several other Democrats have already entered the race or are expected to do so soon. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who leaves office Friday, has announced his presidential candidacy, as have former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also probably will run.
Dodd's career in Washington began in 1974 when he was elected to the House in the wake of the Watergate scandal. His father, Thomas J. Dodd, served two terms in the Senate; the younger Dodd won a Senate seat in 1980. Dodd has forged strong ties with labor unions, advocated fiscal accountability for corporations and championed education and other children's issues. This month, he became chairman of the influential Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Dodd voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq, but has become an outspoken critic of the war and now calls his vote a mistake. He has said he would oppose an escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq and has said Congress should consider withholding funding for such a troop increase.
Dodd was the chief Senate sponsor of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to tend to a personal or family illness. He also helped rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, worked to create after-school initiatives and has introduced legislation to reform the 2002 No Child Left Behind law.
Dodd was a driving force behind the 2002 law that toughened disclosure and conflict-of-interest rules for accounting firms in the wake of securities fraud scandals. He also helped write a terrorism insurance bill, an issue important to his state's insurance industry.
A fluent speaker of Spanish, Dodd served in the Peace Corps in a rural village in Dominican Republic from 1966-68 and has had a strong interest in Latin American affairs throughout his career. As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's western hemisphere subcommittee, he's been able to wield a heavy influence on U.S. involvement in the region.
Although he is firmly positioned in his party's liberal wing, Dodd is noted for a willingness to compromise that has made him capable for forging coalitions with members of both parties.
|Al Sharpton mulls presidential campaign: Jan. 10, 2007|
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton said Monday he is seriously considering a run for president. "I don't hear any reason not to," Sharpton, 52, said in an interview during an urban affairs conference sponsored by another civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. "If we're talking about the urban agenda, can you tell me anybody else in the field who's representing that right now?" Sharpton asked. "We clearly have a reason to run, and whether we do it or not we'll see over the next couple of months."
Sharpton mounted a long-shot bid for the White House in 2004, in which his wit and fiery denunciation of President Bush often enlivened Democratic primary debates. He dropped out of the race after losing several state primaries and endorsed the eventual nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
Despite widespread interest in the likely candidacy of another influential black Democrat, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Sharpton said he's heard little substantive discussion of issues that might influence his decision about running. "Right now we're hearing a lot of media razzle dazzle," Sharpton said. "I'm not hearing a lot of meat, or a lot of content. I think when the meat hits the fire, we'll find out if it's just fat or if there's some real meat there."
Sharpton said the candidate who impressed him most so far was former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who has made poverty the central issue of his campaign. Sharpton ran for the Senate from New York in 1988, 1992 and 1994, and ran for New York City mayor in 1997.
|Gilmore announces presidential campaign: Jan. 9, 2007|
Today, I filed the papers necessary to explore a candidacy for President because I believe that this nation needs conservative leadership. Alone among those considering a candidacy for the Republican nomination, I have a record of real leadership as a tax cutter and job creator, as a leader on national security issues, and as a national leader in our party. I intend to move quickly to form a national campaign team and to make my decision on moving to a formal candidacy.
|Giuliani campaign strategy leaked: Jan. 2, 2007|
It's clearly laid out in 140 pages of printed text, handwriting and spreadsheets: The top-secret plan for Rudy Giuliani's bid for the White House.
The remarkably detailed dossier sets out the budgets, schedules and fund-raising plans that will underpin the former New York mayor's presidential campaign - as well as his aides' worries that personal and political baggage could scuttle his run.
At the center of his efforts: a massive fund-raising push to bring in at least $100 million this year, with a scramble for at least $25 million in the next three months alone.
The loss of the battle plan is a remarkable breach in the high-stakes game of presidential politics and a potentially disastrous blunder for Giuliani in the early stages of his campaign.
The document was obtained by the Daily News from a source sympathetic to one of Giuliani's rivals for the White House. The source said it was left behind in one of the cities Giuliani visited as he campaigned for dozens of Republican candidates in the weeks leading up to the November 2006 elections.
Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel suggested there were political dirty tricks behind the loss of the documents and called the timing suspicious.
"I wonder why such suspicious activity is occurring and can only guess it is because of Rudy's poll numbers in New Hampshire and Iowa," Mindel said.
Giuliani leads most public opinion polls of Republican primary voters though he has not announced his candidacy for President. But the dossier, which envisions spending more than $21 million this year alone, shows that Giuliani began meeting with potential supporters last April and that by October, his staff had put in place a detailed plan for a serious bid for the presidency. But they also depict a candidate torn between his prosperous business and a political future full of both promise and risk.
|Gerald Ford dies: Dec. 28, 2006|
Former US President Gerald Ford secretly questioned the Bush administration's justifications for invading Iraq, in interviews he granted under the condition they not be released until after his death. In an embargoed July 2004 interview with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, Ford said the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," said Ford, about a year after George W. Bush launched the invasion.
He said Dick Cheney--who served as Ford's White House chief of staff--and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who also served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief, made a "big mistake." Ford told Woodward, "Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction. And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."
Ford said he would have done things differently in Iraq if he were president. "I don't think I would have ordered the Iraq war. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer," he told The Washington Post's Bob Woodward.
|John Edwards announces for presidency: Dec. 27, 2006|
Edwards is calling for cuts in troops in Iraq. He said he made a mistake in voting for a resolution to go to war with Iraq, but also noted that he didn't conduct the war. He said the Bush administration's leadership in Iraq has been a disaster and that it would be a mistake to send in more troops. "The biggest responsibility of the next president of the United States is to re-establish America's leadership role in the world, starting with Iraq," Edwards said. "We need to make it clear that we intend to leave Iraq and turn over the responsibility of Iraq to the Iraqi people. The best way to make that clear is to actually start leaving."
Edwards said it's not just Iraq that is in chaos and in need of moral leadership from the United States. He said the United States should be leading an end to genocide in Sudan and to atrocities in northern Uganda.
Edwards' campaign got a little ahead of itself Wednesday and announced his intentions online a day early. His Web site briefly featured the logo "John Edwards 08" and its slogan, "Tomorrow begins today"--literally, in this case-- before aides quickly removed them.
In his message to supporters, Edwards listed his priorities to change America. Among them:
|Virgil Goode warns against Koran use: Dec. 22, 2006|
The first Muslim elected to Congress says he looks forward to meeting Rep. Virgil Goode. In a letter, Goode decried Keith Ellison's plan to use a Koran in his ceremonial swearing-in. Goode also said unless the US gets a handle on illegal immigration, there will be many more Muslim members of Congress. Keith Ellison points out that he is a US citizen. He was born in the US. He says diversity should be embraced, not feared. Ellison said Rep. Goode has a lot to learn about Islam. [Goode's letter said:]
When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.
|Iraq Study Group: Dec. 6, 2006|
|Presidential Speculation: Dec. 2, 2006|
|Incoming Congressional leadership: Nov. 26, 2006|
(click for issues stances)
|House of Representatives|
|Nancy Pelosi||Speaker of the House (Democrat, California 8th district)|
|Steny Hoyer||Majority Leader (Democrat, Maryland 5th district)|
|James Clyburn||Majority Whip (Democrat, South Carolina 6th district)|
|John Boehner||Minority Leader (Republican, Ohio 8th district)|
|Roy Blunt||Minority Whip (Republican, Missouri 7th district)|
|Dick Cheney||President of the Senate (Republican, Vice President)|
|Robert Byrd||President Pro Tempore (Democrat, West Virginia)|
|Harry Reid||Majority Leader (Democrat, Nevada)|
|Dick Durbin||Majority Whip (Democrat, Illinois)|
|Mitch McConnell||Minority Leader (Republican, Kentucky)|
|Trent Lott||Minority Whip (Republican, Mississippi)|
|House seats still contested: Nov. 22, 2006|
|FL-13||Vern Buchanan (R)||Christine L. Jennings (D)|
|On Nov. 7, the race was close enough to warrant a recount. On Nov. 21, Buchanan was declared the winner, and Jennings filed a lawsuit for alleged under-counting of votes in the district's most Democratic county. The lawsuit will likely be resolved in December or January.|
|LA-2||William Jefferson (R, incumbent)||State Rep. Karen Carter (D)|
|On Nov. 7, Rep. Jefferson won 30% of the vote, and St. Rep. Karen Carter won 22%, with three other candidates in double-digits. The top two vote-getters will participate in a runoff election on Dec. 9, 2006.|
|NC-8||Robin Hayes (R, incumbent)||Larry Kissell (D)|
|On Nov. 7, the two candidates both polled 50%, with Hayes ahead by 346 votes out of 121,090 cast. A canvas and recount began on Friday. Nov. 17, resulting in Kissell losing by 339 votes. A provisional ballot count began on Nov. 20.|
|OH-2||Jean Schmidt (R, incumbent)||Dr. Victoria W. Wulsin (D)|
|On Nov. 7, Dr. Wulsin disputed the election results; provisional ballot count began Nov. 21; results still pending.|
|OH-15||Deborah Pryce (R, incumbent)||County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D)|
|On Nov. 7, Kilroy disputed the election results; provisional ballot count began Nov. 21; results still pending.|
|TX-22||Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R)||Former US Rep. Nick Lampson (D)|
|Shelley Sekula-Gibbs won on Nov. 7 for the interim term until Jan. 2007. Nick Lampson won on Nov. 7 for the 2-year term beginning Jan. 2007.|
|TX-23||Henry Bonilla (R, incumbent)||Former US Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D)|
|On Nov. 7, a multi-candidate election resulted in Bonilla with 48% and Rodriguez with 21%. They face each other in a runoff on Dec. 12.|
|New Governors and Members of Congress: Nov. 15, 2006|
|Election Results: Nov. 8, 2006|
|Election Prediction: Senate 2006 : Oct. 31, 2006|
Massscorecard.org and Speakout.com predict that the Republicans will lose their House majority but retain their Senate majority, in both cases by narrow margins.
We base this prediction on the results of our Votematch quizzes and on viewership preferences -- where we see a strong anti-incumbent attitude.
We see the same attitude as in 1994 –- widespread dissatisfaction with Congress, based on an unrealistic policy in Iraq, and moral alienation over Mark Foley.
Dissatisfaction at the current high level translates to poll losses for the party in power.
As in 1994, we believe this has much more to do with anti-incumbency than with any partisan preference -- although the Democratic Party will claim victory, they most assuredly have not earned it.
The primary reason for our House prediction is that all House seats are up for election.
Only 33 Senate seats out of 100 are up for election; if all 100 were up, the Republicans would likely lose the Senate also.
Our specific predictions for all Senate seats likely to change hands follow (with links to our SenateMatch quizzes and our debate coverage):
Winners marked (we predicted 12 right and 3 wrong!)
|AZ: Kyl re-elected (R)||AZ Quiz||AZ Debate|
|CT: Lieberman survives (D -> I)||CT Quiz||CT Debate|
|FL: Nelson re-elected (D)||FL Quiz||FL Debate|
|MD: Steele beats Cardin (D -> R)||MD Quiz||MD Debate|
|MI: Stabenow survives (D)||MI Quiz||MI Debate|
|MN: Klobuchar beats Kennedy (D -> D)||MN Quiz||MN Debate|
|MO: McCaskill unseats Talent (R -> D)||MO Quiz||MO Debate|
|MT: Tester unseats Burns (R -> D)||MT Quiz||MT Debate|
|NJ: Kean unseats Menendez (D -> R)||NJ Quiz||NJ Debate|
|OH: Brown unseats DeWine (R -> D)||OH Quiz||OH Debate|
|PA: Casey unseats Santorum (R -> D)||PA Quiz||PA Debate|
|RI: Whitehouse unseats Chafee (R -> D)||RI Quiz||RI Debate|
|TN: Ford beats Corker (R -> D)||TN Quiz||TN Debate|
|VA: Webb unseats Allen (R -> D)||VA Quiz||VA Debate|
|WA: Cantwell survives (D)||WA Quiz||WA Debate|
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Reprinting by permission only.
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