[ 4 ] The number of Democratic candidates--including Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden--who withdrew from the Michigan primary after it was moved up to Jan. 15
ATTACK Not even 12-year-olds are off-limits. After seventh-grader Graeme Frost gave his Sept. 29 Democratic radio address in support of the contentious State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill, conservative bloggers went after him and his family, claiming the Frosts send Graeme and his sister to fancy private schools, own a lavish house and are too wealthy to receive state health coverage.
RESPONSE Dems counter with details of the family's tight finances. They say the Frosts make about $45,000 a year, and their kids have scholarships.
FIREWORKS Those looking for sparks from greenhorn Fred Thompson during the Oct. 9 debate in Dearborn, Mich., were instead treated to a front-runners' spat over--of all things--the line-item veto.
GIULIANI: I controlled taxes. I brought taxes down by 17%. Under him [Romney], taxes went up 11% per capita. I led; he lagged.
ROMNEY: It's a nice line, but it's baloney. Look, we're both guys that are in favor of keeping spending down and keeping taxes down. The place we differ is on the line-item veto. I'd have never gone to the Supreme Court [like Giuliani] and said it's unconstitutional. I'm in favor of the line-item veto to make sure that the President is able to help get out pork and waste.
GIULIANI: You have to be honest with people. And you can't fool all of the people all of the time. The line-item veto is unconstitutional. You don't get to believe about it; the Supreme Court has ruled on it. So I took President Clinton to court, and I beat him. And I don't think it's a bad idea to have a Republican presidential candidate who actually has beat President Clinton at something. Proponents of the line-item veto claim it allows a President to remove congressionalpork projects
In 1998 the Supreme Court ruled (in Clinton v. New York City) that the veto, exercised in 1996 during Bill Clinton's presidency, was unconstitutional
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Obama's Altar Call
Barack Obama is in the midst of a "40 Days of Faith and Family" campaign in South Carolina after completing a "faith tour" of Iowa. Obama spent a recent Sunday at a Greenville megachurch telling the story of how "I accepted Jesus Christ in my life." The sweeping effort could help Obama among the Palmetto State's black citizens, who make up half the Democratic vote in the state's early primary and are overwhelmingly religious. But his targeting of white Evangelicals suggests Obama is casting a wider net. If he deprives Clinton of the nomination (a huge if), it would mark the first time a Democrat owed his victory in the primaries largely to religious voters. SECULARIST  THEOCRAT  7
Campaign Insider. Meet the Mississippi Evangelical who testifies for Hillary Clinton
Southern evangelical preachers aren't prepared when they meet Burns Strider. They hear "director of faith-based operations for Hillary Clinton" and expect a pinch-nosed Yankee, probably of the Unitarian variety, who looks for Job in the New Testament. Then in walks Strider, 41, a former Southern Baptist missionary who calls everyone brother or sister and can tell you exactly when he decided to "give my heart to Jesus." His latest mission: spreading the good news about Clinton to religious audiences.
For that he'll need more than a Southern drawl and an easy laugh. In a May 2007 Time poll, voters found Clinton the least religious candidate. The lifelong Methodist and former Sunday-school teacher faces the challenge of convincing Americans her faith is genuine. That's in part why she's given Strider a senior role, unusual for a Democratic campaign. "I'm not stuck in some corner, just to be pulled out when someone named Reverend calls," he says, in a pointed reference to John Kerry's 2004 campaign. "Religion is fully integrated, from the candidate on down."
The Capitol Hill veteran's outreach isn't about giving Clinton a set of faith-based phrases she can plug into speeches. Strider focuses on connecting with those religious voters--like theologically conservative Roman Catholics and Evangelicals--who have long been ignored by Democrats. He may not win them over, but he can ease their suspicions enough to get a hearing. "If you can round the edges," Strider says, "you don't get as many splinters."