First Dem debate a bash Bush fest

Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (AP)

Democratic presidential hopefuls flashed their anti-war credentials Thursday night, heaping criticism on President Bush’s Iraq policy in the first debate of the 2008 campaign.

McCain makes the obvious official

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

John McCain was the presumptive Republican front-runner, the next in line for the nomination in a party that historically respects hierarchy.

McCain will try to jump-start campaign

042507mccain.jpgRepublican John McCain — senator, ex-Navy pilot and former Vietnam captive — is casting himself as the most qualified person to lead the country in wartime as he officially opens his second presidential bid and tries to succeed where he once failed.

“We face formidable challenges, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them,” McCain says in prepared remarks.

Immigration: A Republican candidate’s nightmare

042407immigration.jpgAsk the leading Republican presidential candidates about dealing with illegal immigration, and inevitably the answer focuses on tightening border security and building fences.

What voters aren’t hearing a lot about is giving legal status, under certain conditions, to illegal immigrants in the United States, even though each of the top three GOP candidates has supported such a policy.

The reason has a lot to do with a deep fissure in the GOP base: Business and industry are demanding more low-wage workers, while grass-roots conservatives are demanding that those workers be shipped home.

Obama: Bush a failure as world leader

042407obama.jpgDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said Monday that President Bush has fallen short in his role as leader of the free world, and the 2008 election is a chance to change that.

“This president may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it is time to fill that role once more,” Obama said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The Illinois senator was in his hometown to deliver a foreign policy address that was rescheduled last week after the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Dancing the Iowa two-step

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Marvin Smejkal has a problem.

The political season has started so early, he can’t find enough sound and lighting technicians for all the big political rallies his Cedar Rapids company is being hired to run.

It’s nine months until the Iowa caucuses, but Democrats aren’t waiting for the traditional rolling start of the campaign.

Candidates push environment on Earth Day

042307obama.jpgDemocratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama (right) and John Edwards campaigned separately in Iowa Sunday as they urged thousands to make environmental protection a top campaign issue.

Dems erode GOP fundraising edge

National Democrats have nearly eliminated the fundraising advantage that their Republican rivals have had since campaign finance laws were changed five years ago.

Rudy & the enviros

As Earth Day dawns Sunday, Americans should consider the relationship between environmentalists and the former mayor of the capital of Earth. From New York’s City Hall, Rudolph W. Giuliani successfully confronted green zealots while advancing science and technology. Here again, Giuliani stands well right of where his detractors might expect.

Democrats court Sharpton

Democratic presidential contenders are scrambling for support in what’s being dubbed the Al Sharpton primary. The civil rights leader livened up the 2004 Democratic primary with his pompadour hairdo and sharp, witty oratory.