Starting Gate: One More Day
3673306Campaign 2008 may be all about change but there was very little of that coming out of a weekend which saw four and a half hours worth of candidate debates in terms of altering the current dynamics of the race. Voters in Dixville Notch kick off the voting at midnight tonight so let's get right to the latest:© 2008 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
A flurry of polls indicate a growing lead for Barack Obama bouncing out of Iowa. A USA Today/Gallup has Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 13 points, 41 percent to 28 percent and John McCain holding a narrow lead over Mitt Romney 34 percent to 30 percent. But a Suffolk University poll found narrow leads for Clinton and Romney. Amid speculation of some major changes in the Clinton campaign should she fail to win in New Hampshire, the candidate herself signaled such alterations may be on the very near horizon. "If the campaign doesn't evolve, it probably is dead," she told reporters. "And I don't intend for it to be anything other than a winning campaign."
The Clinton campaign has charged that last-minute phone calls on behalf of Obama accusing Clinton of "smears" runs afoul of laws. The Clinton campaign charges that the calls are going to votes on no-call lists and does not follow disclosure rules. New Hampshire Obama co-chair Ned Helms said, "This call was in direct response to one of many 11th-hour false attacks Clinton has made at the end of the New Hampshire campaign. Our disclaimer absolutely complies with the federal law and our vendor has assured us that he scrubbed the list for people on the do-not-call registry." John Edwards was joined on the campaign trail by the parents of Nataline Sarkisyan, the 17-year old leukemia patient who died last month after her insurance company refused to pay for a liver transplant. Edwards has taken up the family's experience to highlight his fight against powerful entities. When a Clinton campaign aide was quoted intimating that Edwards was exploiting something he had read about in the newspapers, Edwards shot back, saying of the Clinton camp, "it's an indication that they have no conscience about what's at stake here." Edwards says the Sarkisyan family contacted him. CBS News' Aaron Lewis has all the details in From the Road. Mitt Romney is playing down his expectations for winning New Hampshire, a state he has led in polls in recent months, and building up expectations for John McCain. "This is a must-win state for him," Romney tells the Politico. "If he doesn't win here, I don't know where he is going to win. So for me it's can I catch John McCain — can I keep him from getting this?" The New York Times looks at the growing pressure on black leaders who have not yet publicly backed a candidate to endorse and contains an interesting comment from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who says he is waiting to hear more "specific commitments" on issues like criminal justice reforms before deciding who to support. "At the end of the day," Sharpton says, "if you just go with making a statement of history and not deal with the problems, what happens the next time you ask the troops to rally?" The bipartisan meeting hosted by former Oklahoma Senator David Boren convenes today in Norman, Oklahoma, where signs of a possible independent presidential bid by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be closely watched. The meeting of mostly former Republican and Democratic office-holders is being touted as a discussion on how to break through partisan politics and achieve national unity. But at least one of those attending the meeting sounds a skeptical note about third-party bids. Former Florida Senator Bob Graham tells the AP, " "Frankly, what I think is best for the country is to have a strong viable two-party system. We have enough problems getting consensus with the two parties - our goal is to make suggestions on how to make the current system work." Jack Kemp, the GOP's 1996 vice presidential nominee, has endorsed McCain. "I am proud to support John McCain for president," Kemp said in a statement released by the campaign. "John McCain is the only candidate who can be trusted to cut taxes, eliminate wasteful spending and enact conservative pro-growth policies to expand the economy. John McCain is the best choice to lead America to a more prosperous and secure future." Obama received the backing of former Senator and 2000 presidential candidate Bill Bradley. In a statement from the campaign, Bradley says: "Barack Obama is building a broad new coalition that brings together Democrats, Independents, and Republicans by once again making idealism a central focus of our politics. Because of his enormous appeal to Americans of all ages and backgrounds, Obama is the candidate best positioned to win in November." Democratic candidate Mike Gravel may not be getting invited to the debates anymore but he's still bringing his, shall we say, unique approach to the campaign trail. Speaking to high school students at Phillips Exeter Academy, according to the Swamp blog, Gravel gave his position on alcohol. "I'm sure a lot of you have tripped out on alcohol," Gravel said to the students. "It's a lot safer to do it on marijuana."
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