Politics

Obama, Thompson lead in South Carolina

South Carolina appears poised to shake up the 2008 presidential race, with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Fred Thompson the frontrunners in a new state survey by Mason-Dixon.

With strong support from the African American community, Illinois Senator Obama has assumed a strong lead over New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. On the Republican side, Thompson zoomed to the top spot, slightly ahead of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, even though he hasn’t yet announced his bid for the GOP nomination.

Big mouth means big bucks

Former President Clinton, who might someday be the first spouse, traveled the globe last year, making more than $10 million giving speeches at corporate retreats, trade group gatherings and motivational venues.

Factoring in the women’s vote

The women’s vote plays an increasingly important role in elections. In past contests, candidates vied for the “Soccer Moms” but the vote of women is more than just suburban housewives. Increasingly, women are a factor that can determine the outcome of elections — particularly races for President.

Which is why the 2008 Presidential contest, with a woman as the current front runner for the Democratic nomination, looms so large.

If it sounds like a candidate…

Fred Thompson didn’t enter the 2008 presidential race Tuesday, but he talked like he was getting close to jumping in.

Asked by Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” if he’d like the nation’s top job, the former Tennessee senator said, “I’ve never craved the job of president, but I want to do some things that only a president can do.”

“So,” Thompson added, “the answer is yes.”

Derailing the Straight Talk Express

Sen. John McCain was wrapping up his last campaign speech in Iowa on Friday when an audience member turned the tables.

Don’t listen to the “screwballs” in the media and the voices “on the left,” the man lectured. He told the Arizona Republican to stick to his guns, particularly in defending the unpopular war in Iraq.

Ohmigod! Democrats find religion!

After baring their souls in a live television confessional, top Democratic White House hopefuls have put Republicans on notice that religious voters are up for grabs.

Senator Hillary Clinton, the party's 2008 front-runner, candidly revealed at a forum on religion and politics Monday that but for her faith, she might not have made it through ex-president Bill Clinton's infidelity.

Her rival, ex-senator John Edwards told how the searing anguish of losing a teenaged son in a car accident brought his lapsed faith "roaring back."

And Senator Barack Obama declared "I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper," testifying that his politics were grounded in faith.

Iraq war divides Democrats too

The Democratic presidential race is starting to hinge on the question of who really is in the driver's seat when it comes to setting a new course in Iraq.

On the surface, there wouldn't appear to be much disagreement about what Democratic contenders think should happen next.

All of them, from the "top tier" on down, say they want U.S. troops to start coming home — and soon — so the next president isn't saddled with the predecessor's quagmire.

But there's a growing rift between current congressional office-holders and the candidates from outside Washington, D.C., about whether the Democratically controlled Congress is doing enough to force President Bush's hand.

GOP candidates fault Bush’s failed war

President Bush drew sporadic, startling criticism Tuesday night from Republican White House hopefuls unhappy with his handling of the Iraq war, his diplomatic style and his approach to immigration.

"I would certainly not send him to the United Nations" to represent the United States, said Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor and one-time member of Bush's Cabinet, midway through a spirited campaign debate.

Longshot candidates ignore the obvious

Duncan Hunter says he starts his daily quests for media exposure doing interviews at "Oh-dark thirty." Joe Biden says his one disadvantage is being unable to hire his own plane. And Mike Gravel says he's relying on a proverb, "Work hard and be lucky."

The three men and a cluster of others have a common tie — all are running for president but are mired in the low, single-digit depths of early national surveys of public support. Yet all are stubbornly sticking to it, at least for now, as they await something — anything — that might vault them into contention.

Hillary plays the God card

In a rare public discussion of her husband's infidelity, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that she probably could not have gotten through her marital troubles without relying on her faith in God.

Clinton stood by her actions in the aftermath of former President Clinton's admission that he had an affair, including presumably her decision to stay in the marriage.