Politics

Will the real John Edwards stand up?

John Edwards’ presidential campaign is not so much about the “two Americas” as it is about the two John Edwardses.

One image of Edwards is that he’s a champion of the embattled middle class and poor, an up-from-his-bootstraps populist waging war against special interests who favor the rich and established.

The other take: He’s a phony.

Which is it? Is the Democratic presidential candidate a man of the people, as he says, or the fake his rivals call him?

Hillary trots out socialized medicine

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton called for universal health care on Monday, plunging back into the bruising political battle she famously waged and lost as first lady on an issue that looms large in the 2008 presidential race.

“This is not government-run,” the party’s front-runner said of her plan to extend coverage to an estimated 47 million Americans who now go without.

Democrats court activists

Six Democratic presidential candidates took aim at President Bush as they made their case Sunday to thousands of activists scattered across an Iowa field.

“Everybody is sick and tired of being sick and tired of George Bush,” said Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. “All you have to do is take a look at the president pretending that going around in circles was making progress. If that doesn’t get you ready to get rid of George Bush I don’t know what will.”

Hillary pushes civil rights agenda

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, unveiling her agenda to promote civil rights, told an NAACP banquet Saturday that the “scales of justice are seriously out of balance” for black Americans.

“We have had an attorney general who doesn’t respect the rule of law or enforce the civil rights laws on the books,” she told about 900 people at the annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Charleston National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

GOP Presidential race a toss-up

White men, conservatives, evangelicals and other pivotal blocs are divided among the Republican Party’s leading contenders for president, leaving the race for the 2008 GOP nomination highly fluid, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are each attracting significant support from core GOP groups, based on the poll conducted this week. Even Sen. John McCain of Arizona, whose campaign has been staggered by money problems and staff shake-ups, is backed by solid shares of suburban, college-educated and Midwestern Republican voters.

Rudy goes on the attack

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in a full-page ad in Friday’s New York Times, accusing her of assailing Iraq war commander Gen. David Petraeus’ character.

In response, a liberal anti-war group is running a $50,000 ad campaign against Giuliani in Iowa, which begins the presidential nominating process. The television ad from MoveOn.org Political Action, which will start airing next week, accuses Giuliani of a “betrayal of trust” for abandoning the Iraq Study Group.

Hillary’s fundraiser problem

Norman Hsu was politician’s dream who became a nightmare. He knew people, hosted fundraisers, solicited donations. And he was an unabashed fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now in disgrace, his role as one of Clinton’s top money bundlers will dog him and her presidential campaign while law enforcement authorities investigate his business and political dealings.

Why Republican candidates live in fear

If the GOP presidential slate of candidates were a Chinese menu, Republicans would be a lot happier.

If only GOP primary voters could have, on one plate, Mitt Romney’s business acumen, Rudy Giuliani’s name recognition, John McCain’s experience, Fred Thompson’s self confidence, Sam Brownback’s appeal to the conservative base, Ron Paul’s feistiness, Tom Tancredo’s passion and Duncan Hunter’s, well, resilience.

McCain gets a bump

Gen. David Petraeus’ high-profile report on Iraq is pumping new life into Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid, his backers say, making the Arizona Republican appear prescient and courageous on the campaign’s most vital issue.

Whether the new dynamic in Iraq can salvage McCain’s troubled campaign is far from certain. But he is wooing voters with a sense of momentum not seen since he drastically reduced his staff and spending two months ago.

A conversation with Hillary Clinton

Sen. Hillary Clinton sees the human factor as topmost in confronting hemispheric trade and immigration issues.

In an exclusive interview with this correspondent the morning after she participated in the Univision-sponsored Democratic Party presidential primary debate here, Clinton took the opportunity to expand on these two issues of major interest to 49 million U.S. Hispanics and nearly 400 million more in some two dozen countries south of our border.