Politics

Rudy, Hillary locked in a dead heat

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton still holds a 20-point lead over her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination but she and Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani are in a dead heat, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday.

Among Democrats, Clinton leads with 47 percent, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 25 percent and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 11 percent, NBC reported.

Clinton’s 22-point advantage over Obama in the poll is virtually unchanged since this summer.

Suddenly, Ron Paul is a contender

Pumped up by a record day of online fundraising, Republican presidential contender Ron Paul said Wednesday he hopes to do well in a New Hampshire campaign in which he’s emerging as a potential spoiler — or more.

In an Associated Press interview, he said people startled by the $4.3 million take from his volunteer-led fundraising blitz Monday might be surprised on Election Day as well.

“They said if the candidate doesn’t call and pander to special interests you can’t raise enough money. But here, we found out the campaign is very spontaneous and volunteers are coming,” he said.

A fly in the GOP’s ointment

New Hampshire is known for turning Republican presidential primaries upside down.

It could happen again this year.

“We’re a little tiny state, but we get to go out and rub shoulders with all of the candidates, and be a big part of the big decision,” says Cindy Horvath, 46, an undecided Republican voter from Somersworth.

And, she added, have a big impact.

Polls show a tight race for the GOP nomination in the state. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are in strong contention. Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul could complicate an already muddled contest.

Christian right comes apart

The splintering of prominent Christian conservatives over the Republican presidential contenders reflects a schism — between the dogma of God, guns and gays and the desire to beat Hillary Clinton.

Months of disagreement within this important GOP voting bloc culminated this week in a flurry of endorsements:

Televangelist Pat Robertson is backing Rudy Giuliani. Conservative Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is supporting fellow Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich is going for Mitt Romney.

So much for female ethics

Any smidgen of hope I managed to harbor that women politicians have a keener sense of ethics or honesty than their male counterparts was smashed to scintillas after listening to a radio interview with Acting Consumer Product Safety Commission Nancy Nord.

Brownback endorses McCain

Sam Brownback, a Kansas conservative and favorite of evangelical Christians, on Wednesday endorsed former Republican presidential rival John McCain, calling the Arizona senator “the best pro-life candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.”

The nod could provide a much-needed boost, particularly in Iowa, for the Arizona senator and one-time presumed GOP front-runner whose bid faltered and who now is looking for a comeback.

Pat Robertson endorses Rudy

Pat Robertson, a prominent Christian leader and social conservative, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday.

“It is my pleasure to announce my support for America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans,” Robertson said in a statement issued by the Giuliani campaign.

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.