Politics

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.

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.