Thursday, November 08, 2007

China a "great challenge": US presidential candidate Giuliani

AMES, United States (AFP) — US 2008 Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani on Thursday warned that emerging China was a "great challenge" to the United States, and backed continued engagement with Beijing.

But the former New York mayor also called for an increase in US military strength to deter China from ever mounting a security challenge to America, and said he would push Beijing faster on introducing political freedoms.

"China is a great challenge to the United States, and maybe one of the most important challenges," Giuliani told an audience of mainly students at Iowa State University.

"We will be the two great economies in the world. The more we make sure China's rise is peaceful, the better it is going to help the United States," Giuliani said in response to a question from a Chinese student.

"We should remain substantially engaged with China."

Giuliani's comments marked one of his first significant discussions of China policy during his campaign, and signalled he would continue the engagement strategy favored by recent US administrations if elected president.

GOP punishes 5 early voting states

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer 30 minutes ago

The Republican Party announced Thursday that it will punish five states for scheduling early nominating contests.

New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming will lose half of their delegates to the national convention, said Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

RNC rules require the punishment for states that hold their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5. Iowa, which plans to hold Republican caucuses on Jan. 3, would not be penalized because, technically, the caucuses are not binding on convention delegates. Nevada, which plans to hold its caucuses on Jan. 19, would not be penalized for the same reason.

The RNC voted 121-9 Thursday to impose the penalties. Duncan, who has final say over the matter, said he will abide by the vote.

Nevertheless, state party leaders expressed optimism that their entire delegations will be seated, perhaps hoping that the eventual nominee will restore them.

"While not surprised, I was disappointed that the full committee did not recognize the validity of Florida's position that it is not in violation of the rule," Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer said in a statement. "This is a long process and I continue to be confident that Florida will ultimately seat its full delegation."

Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said, "I remain confident that all of Michigan's 60 national delegates will be seated next year in Minneapolis-St. Paul. ... There will be much discussion in the coming months about the makeup of the national convention, including the credentialing of delegates."

Wyoming is scheduled to hold its nominating conventions on Jan. 5. Michigan is to hold its Republican primary on Jan. 15, pending the outcome of a lawsuit. South Carolina Republicans vote on Jan. 19 and Florida on Jan. 29.

New Hampshire has not yet set a primary date, though it is required by state law to hold its primary at least seven days before any other, raising the possibility of a December vote.

Clinton, Giuliani Lead in Connecticut

THE RACE: The presidential race for the Republican, Democratic nominations in Connecticut.



Hillary Rodham Clinton, 45 percent

Barack Obama, 19 percent

John Edwards, 7 percent

Chris Dodd, 5 percent



Rudy Giuliani, 41 percent

Mitt Romney, 13 percent

John McCain, 12 percent

Fred Thompson, 7 percent



The poll shows that Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd doesn't have much support in his home state, with 55 percent of those surveyed saying the state's senior senator is spending too much time on the campaign trail and not enough time serving as senator. Seventy percent of Connecticut voters surveyed say Dodd should drop out of the presidential race. Among Democrats, 68 percent want him to call it quits, while 26 percent say he should stay in the race.

In head-to-head general election matchups, the poll shows New York Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton with support from 45 percent of those surveyed to 44 percent for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The survey of 1,029 registered voters was conducted by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Nov. 1-5. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The poll includes 291 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points, and 385 Democrats with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The Four Horsemen of Vouchers Apocalypse

Urquhart, Bramble, Stephenson, Hughes

From todays Tribune

Payback time?
The UEA's Kuziak said the education community is fearful of repercussions for campaigning against vouchers.
"I had one of our elected legislators tell me specifically that education funding would suffer," she said, declining to name the lawmaker.
She also suggested there could be anti-union legislation introduced in the attempt to punish the UEA.
Other educators say they expect legislation to change the referendum law, to make it more difficult for the public to oppose the will of the Legislature.
A bill to make the selection of the state School Board a partisan election also may emerge again, they say.
Bramble says the anti-voucher side will label any education reform proposed by Republicans retaliation. "I think you will see several reforms introduced. And when they are introduced, those who oppose vouchers will simply come forward and they will try to pigeonhole them as retribution."
Stephenson said GOP lawmakers' relationship with the UEA will not change, adding that it had soured long ago.
The small band of renegade Republicans who broke with leadership and opposed vouchers were reluctant to discuss possible retaliation for their independence.
"I assume people will be professional. That's the only thing I can assume," said Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield. "If you worry about that when you take a stand, you probably ought not to be in public service."
Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, a former House speaker who knows the power of party leaders to stop legislation, said, "If a person is going to serve, you hope they are mature enough to accept people with different opinions. The whole issue boils down to the majority of the leaders. If they believe in the process, our opposition won't make any difference in how they act."
State School Board Chairman Kim Burningham says he doesn't regret his passionate opposition to vouchers that angered many lawmakers.
"When you're in a position like state school board member or legislator," Burningham said, "you must stand up for what you believe in or you're a chicken."

Flip-Flop - McCain shifts on immigration

Tougher stance a nod to conservatives

Daniel González and Dan Nowicki
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 8, 2007 12:00 AM

Sen. John McCain has hardened his position on immigration reform, hoping the new stand will make his presidential campaign more appealing to conservative Republican voters.

The comprehensive approach he championed for years, one that emphasized a guest-worker program and legalization for those here illegally, has taken a back seat to a plan that puts a priority on tightening border security and beefing up enforcement.

The enforcement-first approach marks a dramatic shift for McCain, R-Ariz., who used his border-state credentials and maverick persona to become the leading Republican proponent in Congress of comprehensive immigration reform. But the comprehensive plan, which failed to move through Congress again this summer, divided the GOP and unleashed an anti-amnesty grass-roots movement vehemently opposed to letting undocumented immigrants gain legal status, even if they had to earn it.

OOOPS Right State, Wrong Town for Obama

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: November 8, 2007

WAPELLO, Iowa, Nov. 7 — As presidential hopefuls go, Senator Barack Obama is generally one of the more punctual politicians of the election season.

So the other night, it was all the more curious when Mr. Obama kept several hundred Iowans waiting for nearly an hour at a dinnertime rally — absent the dinner — in Cedar Rapids. A local Democratic official apologized and implored the audience to be patient, saying, “He will be here soon.”

What the crowd gathered inside the gymnasium at Kirkland Community College did not know, however, was that Mr. Obama had already buzzed over Cedar Rapids and had landed at the airport in Des Moines.

When Mr. Obama and his aides glanced out the windows of their chartered G-2 jet, they realized something was wrong.

“We just seemed to overshoot the runway by about 150 miles,” Mr. Obama explained to reporters here on Wednesday, grinning at the mishap. “Usually, the Secret Service pulls their cars up real quickly. We looked around, and no one was there.”

After a few frantic phone calls were made, pilots fired up the plane and set off for Cedar Rapids. Back at the rally, supporters were growing restless.

Tom and Kay Lammers were among those heading for the doors. As they did, a young campaign worker approached them, saying: “We would love for you to stick around for five more minutes. He’s on his way!”

Despite the panicked look on the faces of some Obama aides, the vast majority of people waited. As for the Lammers, will the delay influence their decision at the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3?

“Oh, no,” Mrs. Lammers said. “I really think he’s one of the few people who can actually turn this country around.”

About 15 minutes after the Lammers left, Mr. Obama appeared on stage and apologized. On Wednesday, he traded his plane for a black motor coach. As he chugged along southeastern Iowa, there were no reports of getting lost.

Giuliani embraces tough love

Rudolph Giuliani
From the Associated Press
Rudolph Giuliani
He has broadened his image, vowing to keep America safe while defending religious rights and families. His combative style appears to be working as he leads in the GOP race.
By Peter Wallsten, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 8, 2007
DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. -- Next to a crackling fire in a picturesque mountain lodge, in the wooded and lightly populated north country, Rudolph W. Giuliani met some of the people who might help him become the next president.

What he gave them was a dose of New York.

When one woman fretted that a local paper mill had eliminated 300 jobs, Giuliani cut her off and advised that she focus on something "positive," like recruiting a new employer to town.

When a woman worried about rising property taxes, he told her to elect smarter local officials.

A 9-year-old girl, afraid of another attack like the one on Sept. 11, sparked a finger-waving lecture at another point in the day from Giuliani, who said that Democrats were afraid to use the term "Islamic terrorism." "You have to face your enemy," he told the third-grader, Kailey Lemieux.

Other politicians might have expressed empathy, or drawn voters into deeper conversation, or lightened the talk of violence around elementary school children. But not the former New York mayor. With his intense demeanor and aggressive policy stances -- such as pledging to "prevent" Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon or to "set them back five or 10 years" -- Giuliani has methodically built an image as the toughest guy on the block, unafraid of looking belligerent in the cause of keeping America safe.

Though it isn't always pretty up close, Giuliani's demeanor seems to be working. He leads the national polls for a Republican nomination that many believed he could never win because of his relatively liberal views on abortion and other social issues.