Politics

Mike Huckabee: The clueless conservative

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee isn’t likely to capture the Republican presidential nomination, but as a potential vice presidential nominee, his remarks merit scrutiny. Here are a couple that caught my attention recently:

Did an out-of-control Bill Clinton slap protester?

Democratic political professionals worry that former President Bill Clinton is “out of control” and “destroying his wife’s campaign” after he reportedly slapped a heckler at a rally in Ohio and got into a shouting match with another.

Party insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that the former President’s hair-trigger temper is surfacing more and more as he campaigns for his wife and his actions are “detrimental to the party and the Senator.”

“We’re looking at a man out of control,” says one Clinton adviser. “He won’t stay on message and too often seems like a madman on stage. He has to be stopped or removed from the campaign.”

Sources say an angry and abusive Clinton routinely chews out campaign staffers and even members of his Secret Service detail.

Can Hillary stem Obama’s momentum?

White House Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought to stave off a wave of momentum for rival Barack Obama before a primary contest in Wisconsin that will hinge on a large working class vote.

Obama, on a roll after eight consecutive victories in the nomination race, hopes to extend his winning streak in the Midwestern state as well as in caucuses in Hawaii on Tuesday.

Polls showed a tight race in Wisconsin with the Illinois senator enjoying a narrow five-point lead over the former first lady, according to a new survey by Research 2000, US media reported.

Edwards, Obama meet over potential endorsement

Barack Obama sneaked down to North Carolina Sunday and met with former rival John Edwards, who has yet to make an endorsement in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Officials at North Carolina television station WTVD said they have video taken from a helicopter of Obama leaving Edwards’ home in Chapel Hill. A producer said the station was “tipped off” about the meeting, but said the source was confidential.

The Obama campaign confirmed the meeting. Although reporters normally travel everywhere with Obama, he left them behind to fly down in secret from his hometown.

What Hillary has to do to win

Ask a dozen die-hard Democrats around the country what Hillary Rodham Clinton can do to beat Barack Obama and win the presidential nomination and they have plenty of ideas — some of them contradictory.

The question generates strong sentiment, though, that Clinton simply can’t compete on charisma, that there are forces at play beyond her control. Going negative could backfire, they warn. Laying out nitty-gritty policy details isn’t enough, they say.

McCain’s team charts new course

John McCain’s presidential campaign has been likened to a pirate ship: A feisty captain, rhetorical saber in hand, leading a fiercely loyal crew against his Republican primary opponents.

The five experienced hands who navigated McCain’s candidacy back from the brink of death are now charting the course toward the general election. All volunteers, his top advisers spent the weekend in Arizona plotting the transition.

Hillary acts nice, then goes on the attack

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton smothered Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain with kindness on Friday, then declared her rivals wrong on the issues and vowed to beat both in her quest for the presidency.

She said Obama, her Democratic foe, has run an “extraordinary campaign,” and called McCain, the likely Republican nominee, “a man of great heroism.”

But she said McCain represents “more of the same” in Iraq, and she cast Obama as an obstacle to universal health care. She also unveiled a tough new ad against Obama, accusing him of dodging debates.

Obama picks up key labor endorsement

Gathering strength, Sen. Barack Obama collected a key labor endorsement and coaxed away one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s delegates on Friday, at the same time he criticized his rival for supporting legislation harmful to workers.

“Her supporting NAFTA didn’t give jobs to the American people,” Obama said of the free trade agreement implemented while Bill Clinton was in the White House. “Her supporting a bankruptcy bill made it harder for people to get out of debt that didn’t help them with the bills that were stacking up on their desks.”

McCain: Focus on November

John McCain is wasting no time running a general election campaign as he settles into his newfound role as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee-in-waiting.

“Both of them lack experience,” the Arizona senator said Thursday about Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, now focusing entirely on his Democratic rivals and emphasizing his qualifications to be commander in chief.

Hillary wants to rewrite the rules

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton desperately wants meaningless wins in Florida and Michigan to turn into votes she can count on. It won’t be easy with the Democratic National Committee rules standing in her way.

The DNC is refusing to back down from the tough sanctions it imposed on the two states, which held early contests in violation of party rules. They have been stripped of all their delegates to the national convention in August where either Clinton or rival Barack Obama will be nominated for president.