Politics

Fred Thompson: What, me lobby?

Fred Thompson, a likely Republican presidential candidate, on Tuesday defended his work as a Washington lobbyist, telling The Associated Press that lobbying is an important part of life because “government’s got their hands in everything.”

The actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee added, “Nobody yet has pointed out any of my clients that didn’t deserve representation.”

Thompson, who likes to cast himself as a political outsider, earned more than $1 million lobbying the federal government for more than 20 years. He lobbied for a savings-and-loan deregulation bill that helped hasten the industry’s collapse and a failed nuclear energy project that cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars.

Edwards turns attacks into campaign cash

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Wednesday encouraged his supporters to donate to his campaign in response to “hateful” comments from conservative author Ann Coulter.

Edwards made his first comments to The Associated Press in response to Coulter’s suggestion that she wished he would be “killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” His campaign cited her remarks in two e-mails and a telephone text message to supporters for donations, with the fundraising deadline on Saturday.

Thompson gets ex-wife, ex-girlfriend vote

Things must be going well for prospective presidential candidate Fred Thompson because even his ex-wife and former girlfriends are endorsing him.

One-by-one they’ve said the Tennessee Republican is their man — at least for president, according to London’s Sunday Times newspaper.

The former senator and Hollywood actor is to hold the first fund-raising event for his potential campaign on Tuesday in Nashville, ahead of stops in early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire this week.

Political anger, invective on the rise

Politics has long been a dirty business but many say the growth of the Internet and increase of web sites that deal with politics have turned political debate into a trash-talking free-for-all.

News web sites, including Capitol Hill Blue, have struggled to find a balance between encouraging open discussion of political issues and controlling the increase in invective that threatens to take over political debate.

Political discussion boards have become hotbeds of insults, threats, anger and hate.

The blogger-in-chief

If Republican Fred Thompson enters the presidential race next month as expected, the actor and former senator will be aiming to add another title to a crowded resume — blogger-in-chief.

Thompson has been contributing frequently to conservative Web sites as he gears up for a 2008 presidential bid, posting thoughts on topics ranging from the French election to the Middle East and the immigration debate.

While the Internet and blogs are a basic cornerstone of any modern campaign communications strategy, Thompson has been notably enthusiastic about expressing his thoughts online.

McCain: What, me worry?

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Monday dismissed polls that show him slipping into single digits, arguing that his campaign is going through the typical ups and downs and will be fine this fall.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Arizona senator also defended his support for a bipartisan immigration bill, a stance that has undercut his bid in early voting South Carolina.

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee acknowledged that his backing for the Iraq war has hurt his candidacy elsewhere in the country.

Obama: Close Gitmo now!

Barack Obama told a Texas crowd on Sunday that he wants the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee facility closed — a step the Bush administration is considering.

The Democratic presidential hopeful pledged to work side-by-side with the rest of the world on issues like nuclear proliferation, poverty, economic development in Latin America and the violence in Darfur.

“While we’re at it,” he said, “we’re going to close Guantanamo. And we’re going to restore habeas corpus. … We’re going to lead by example — by not just word but by deed. That’s our vision for the future.”

Mrs. Edwards supports gay marriage

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, kicked off San Francisco’s annual gay pride parade Sunday by splitting with her husband over support for legalized gay marriage.

“I don’t know why someone else’s marriage has anything to do with me,” Mrs. Edwards said at a news conference before the parade started. “I’m completely comfortable with gay marriage.”

A candidate by any other middle name

What’s in a name? Not much it seems for a U.S. presidential hopeful whose first name is Hillary.

On her U.S. Senate Web site, she is New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. But on her 2008 presidential campaign site, she is Hillary Clinton.

Does she have a preference? “No,” campaign spokesman Phil Singer said on Friday.

It’s not just an Internet thing. The candidate used Rodham on her official campaign forms, but the name is missing from her campaign bumper stickers, and she is often introduced as just Hillary Clinton.

Romney aide may have posed as cop

An ever-present aide to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney took a leave of absence Friday after he became the subject of investigations in two states for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer. His attorney denied the charges.

Jay Garrity, who serves as director of operations and is constantly at the side of the former Massachusetts governor, is accused of leaving a lengthy message with the answering service of a plumbing company on Mother’s Day, identifying himself as “Trooper Garrity” of the Massachusetts State Police and complaining about erratic driving by a company driver.