Politics

Hillary vows crackdown on Blackwater

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton Tuesday vowed to rein in huge private security contractors like Blackwater in Iraq if she is elected president next year.

Clinton slammed the Bush administration for pushing “billions of dollars out of the door to these contractors” during a meeting with supporters in rural Iowa.

“We have got to rein them in,” Clinton said. “They have no accountability, we have seen that with Blackwater.”

“It is a disgrace that they have got all that money, they are not answerable to anybody.”

Hillary’s favor

Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to have it both ways on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens — yes, they should have them; and no, they should not, and that’s final, understand?

Paul’s fundraising turns heads

Ron Paul’s head-snapping fundraising puts a new face on a campaign that the media, politicians and much of the public had relegated to the sidelines.

The Texas congressman is now the presidential candidate tugging at the establishment’s coat.

Funneled through the Internet, Paul’s one-day loot totaled $4.3 million from about 37,000 donors, considered the largest sum ever collected online in a single day by a GOP candidate.

Mixed reviews on Thompson

The returns are mixed on Fred Thompson’s first two months in the presidential race. The Republican candidate has battled criticism for his light campaign schedule, laid-back style and rambling speeches. He’s flubbed questions. He’s slipped some in national and early-primary polls.

Yet, he’s still competitive with Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain in many surveys. He turned in a pair of decent debate performances. And he raised $12.5 million over four months from 80,000 donors.

Independents swinging towards Dems

Trisha Swonger, part of the remarkable 43 percent of New Hampshire voters who call themselves independents, remembers the balloons and euphoria in 2000 when her man, John McCain, won the state’s leadoff Republican primary.

He’d better not be counting on her this year.

In fact, come primary day, the Republicans shouldn’t be counting on very many of the independents at all.

In 2000, Swonger joined McCain and other supporters in a hotel ballroom cheering his big New Hampshire victory over George W. Bush. But times have changed.

Ron Paul raises $3.5 million in 20 hours

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $3.5 million in 20 hours.

Paul, the Texas congressman with a Libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day.

Hillary’s gender gap

The bleachers told the tale of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s gender gap.

Women outnumbered men by more than 3-to-1 as she stood on a simple stage inside a farm shed and brushed aside the male rivals who have been attacking her of late.

“Now, with two months left, 60 days left until the caucus, things are going to get a little hotter,” Clinton said here Saturday.

“Harry Truman said, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,’” Clinton said. “Well, I feel real comfortable in the kitchen …”

Feminists lukewarm towards Hillary

Many American women are excited about Democrat Hillary Clinton’s ground-breaking bid for the White House, but feminists warn she can’t count on them just because she’s a woman.

They said tens of millions of women are more concerned about selecting a candidate who best addresses their top issues and are scrutinizing the former first lady in this light.

“Being a woman in and of itself is not sufficient to gain broad-based support,” Faye Wattleton, head of the Center for the Advancement of Women, said. “We’re not doing affirmative action in terms of the presidency.”

Fred’s drug-dealer quits campaign

An adviser to Republican Fred Thompson quit the presidential candidate’s campaign Monday, one day after a report about his decades-old criminal record for drug dealing.

“I have decided to resign my position as chair of ‘First Day Founders’ of ‘The Friends of Fred Thompson,’” Philip Martin said in a statement. “The focus of this campaign should be on Fred Thompson’s positions on the issues and his outstanding leadership ability, not on mistakes I made some 24 years ago. I deeply regret any embarrassment this has caused.”

The campaign issued the statement.

Unions ready to cash in on Dem win

If the Democrats hold both houses of the U.S. Congress and take the White House in the 2008 elections, America’s struggling unions plan to trade their political support for a raft of labor-friendly bills.

“It’s early to say but if the Democrats were to take the presidency,” as well as Congress, said Bill Samuel, legislation director of the AFL-CIO labor federation, “this could be an opportunity for historic change.”

Analysts say Big Labor will push for legislation to make forming unions easier, restrict free-trade pacts, raise corporate taxes and reform the creaking health-care system.