The new Bill Clinton?

A long-serving, smooth-talking Arkansas governor with a checkered record and no foreign policy experience defies expectations to climb into the top tier of a presidential race.

Haven’t we seen this movie before?

You bet: Mike Huckabee’s rise in the Republican nomination fight is rekindling memories of Democrat Bill Clinton, circa 1992.

Democrats blame themselves for losses

Democratic presidential candidates faulted their own party as well as assailing Republicans as they pitched their candidacies to the staunchest of Democrats on Friday.

Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich addressed officials who make up the Democratic National Committee, their last opportunity to speak to such a gathering before the first presidential voting begins in January. Hillary Rodham Clinton was scheduled to speak, too, but canceled after a man took hostages at her office in Rochester, N.H.

Obama, Huckabee now lead in Iowa

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee have taken the lead in pre-caucus polls in Iowa, shaking up an already-uncertain primary season that starts next month.

Both candidates surged ahead in the Des Moines Register polls that tracks the crucial Iowa caucus that often sets the pace for the Presidential race.

The new polls suggest problems for Iowa front-runners Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney. Four years ago, Democrat Howard Dean was considered the pre-emptive front runner but his campaign melted down after he lost to John Kerry, who went on to capture the Presidential nomination.

But the race remains wide open in both parties with large blocks of caucus voters telling pollsters they are undecided and could change their minds before the caucus day.

Democrats: ‘We’re electable’

The Democratic presidential contenders appealed to party leaders for support on Friday, with Barack Obama touting his ability to attract new voters and John Edwards promising to reclaim Washington from special interests.

Barely a month before Iowa kicks off the state-by-state battle to pick candidates in the November 2008 general election, the Democratic contenders emphasized their ability to beat the Republicans and win the White House.

Obama and the lobbyists

Barack Obama played poker and basketball with lobbyists when he was a state senator. He took their campaign donations and worked with them to write legislation. But he also helped pass ethics laws to reduce sharply their influence.

A look at Obama’s seven years in the Illinois Legislature reveals a complicated relationship with lobbyists — particularly for someone who now makes criticism of lobbyists a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

The impact of YouPolitics

It started with a singer lampooning all the candidates, eliciting some winces. There was an animated cartoon that looked like Dick Cheney. A gay ex-general bared his soul. There were people with props and questioners with passion. There was humor, drama and poignancy. It was great!

For two hours this past Wednesday CNN and YouTube joined forces to bring the eight Republican white men in suits vying to be president together for a debate that was actually worth watching!

The fireworks! The digs! The mocking aspersions flying around the auditorium!

Did Bill sell out Hillary on Iraq?

Ex-president Bill Clinton’s latest campaign trail appearance for his wife Hillary’s Democratic White House bid threw an unwelcome spotlight Wednesday back on her vote to authorize the Iraq war.

Clinton said in the key state of Iowa Tuesday he had been against the Iraq war “from the beginning” in comments which appeared more robust than his public statements before the 2003 invasion.

Hillary Clinton’s top Democratic rival Senator Barack Obama, who spoke out against the war before the invasion, said he didn’t recall hearing such talk from the former president in 2003.

Fight night with the GOP

Welcome to fight night.

With the final round of a yearlong campaign approaching, the Republican presidential race grew remarkably bitter as the top contenders jockeyed for the upper hand — and sought it by tearing down one another.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Republican candidates’ favorite target in a debate just a month ago, no longer was their preferred punching bag.

“It’s now become personal. It doesn’t look like any of these guys like each other,” said Scott Reed, campaign manager for Republican Bob Dole’s 1996 bid.

Republicans get testy with each other

Republican presidential rivals Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney scornfully debated immigration in a provocative, no-holds-barred CNN/YouTube debate just over a month before the first votes are cast.

Giuliani, the front-runner in national polls, accused Romney Wednesday of employing illegal immigrants at his home and running a “sanctuary mansion.” The testy personal exchange came after Romney said Giuliani had retained New York’s status as a sanctuary city while he was mayor.

Big business steps up political giving

Big business is shoveling more money than ever into U.S. political campaigns, with Wall Street donations way up, a watchdog group said on Tuesday.

The securities and investment industry — which includes brokerages, hedge funds and private equity firms — registered the sharpest increase in giving since 2004 among all industry sectors studied by the Center for Responsive Politics.