Politics

First time voters may hold key to 2008

Hattie Irving, an 81-year old Iowan, has never participated in her state’s presidential caucuses, but she plans to this time — to support Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I was very impressed with her as first lady. I think it’s important to take part,” Irving said at a Clinton campaign event at a senior center here.

Brad Smith, a 27-year old engineer who moved to the state in 2005, plans to attend his first precinct caucus, too — and stand up for Barack Obama.

Iowa conservatives still undecided

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee would seem to be the answer to their prayers, yet for many Christian conservatives in Iowa, he has not closed the deal for the Republican caucuses.

Do they still like Mitt Romney? Are they intrigued by Fred Thompson? As always, voter uncertainty comes with the Jan. 3 caucuses, now just a week away.

Huckabee, the former Baptist minister, is leading in the Republican polls here, though his advantage has narrowed. Perhaps, that’s due in part to the negative TV commercials Romney is airing.

Skeletons in Hillary’s closet

Hillary Clinton, instead of running as a Democrat for president, ought to be a full-time investor, because, you see, she once put $1,000 in cattle futures and, nine months later, had made $l00,000. It’s not precisely comparable to making a hole-in-one on every hole in an 18-hole golf course, but her feat brings that feat to mind. The lady’s a whiz.

Rudy learned to win by losing

Rudy Giuliani revels in a reputation for being unstoppable — the bold prosecutor of mobsters and crooked politicians, the dauntless mayor at the World Trade Center. And now a Republican presidential contender.

But Giuliani does know failure. He lost his first campaign, a 1989 run for New York mayor.

Paper: Romney ‘must be stopped’

The Concord Monitor broke with political tradition Sunday, telling readers in the state with the first presidential primary why they should not vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instead of whom they should support.

In a scathing anti-endorsement that called Romney a “disquieting figure,” the New Hampshire newspaper’s editorial board said he looks and acts like a presidential contender but “surely must be stopped” because he lacks the core philosophical beliefs to be a trustworthy president.

Romney goes after McCain

With John McCain on vacation and Rudy Giuliani occupied elsewhere in the state, Mitt Romney sought this weekend to close the deal with New Hampshire Republicans who remain undecided about his presidential candidacy.

Romney fired away at McCain, repeatedly accusing the Arizona senator of failing “Reagan 101″ by voting twice against Bush administration tax cuts. Romney also said McCain’s past support for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States and work toward legal status amounted to amnesty.

Just another Bill Clinton?

To hear Mitt Romney tell it, Republican Mike Huckabee shares more with Democrat Bill Clinton than a hometown in Hope, Ark., and a stint as Arkansas governor.

Both men, Romney suggests, have left-leaning governing philosophies, particularly on taxes and spending.

“Governor Huckabee’s record is more liberal than our nation needs right now,” the former Massachusetts governor said in Iowa last week, seeking to link his GOP presidential rival to the former Democratic president who is loathed by many Republican loyalists.

Campaigns refocus on Iraq

The Iraq war dominated the presidential campaign on Friday, with Hillary Clinton facing charges she flip-flopped on withdrawing forces and the White House rebuffing Mike Huckabee’s criticism of its foreign policy.

As the violence in Iraq has fallen in recent months in response to the deployment of additional U.S. troops, the war has become less of a daily issue among candidates for the November 2008 election.

One upmanship on advisors

Barack Obama suggested Friday that he has more foreign policy experts from the Clinton administration backing his candidacy over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s, but lists provided by both campaigns show hers is nearly twice as long.

Clinton’s campaign provided more than 80 names of her husband’s former foreign policy advisers who are publicly backing her, while Obama’s campaign provided 47.

Something naughty, something nice

While Republican Mike Huckabee wishes voters Merry Christmas in a television ad, a group organized by his supporters makes automated phone calls slipping the knife into his opponents.

John Edwards, lagging behind his Democratic rivals in cash, gets more than a million dollars in help from labor unions running parallel campaigns.

And Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is locked in a tight race in Iowa, has well-organized and highly strategic assistance from labor backers and EMILY’s List, the pro-abortion rights fundraising group that aims to help female candidates.