As explained in this article, front-runner status comes with a price. Increased media attention brings more criticism. And both the Republican and Democratic leaders recently have felt the heat.
Hillary Clinton, considered the Democratic front-runner, has had a tough time since her performance at the last Democratic debate, where she was attacked on her record and accused of waffling on the issue of whether illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for driver’s licenses.
Now Clinton faces criticisms about whether members of her staff plant questions at campaign events after a November 6 Iowa event at which a Grinnell University student said a Clinton staffer requested that she ask Clinton a specific question about climate change.
"It was news to me and neither I nor my campaign approve of that," the Democratic candidate said, "it will certainly not be tolerated." Recent polls show the New York Senator's lead over Senator Barack Obama is slipping.
On the Republican side, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faces his own troubles. Although national polls show him as the front-runner, state polls show Giuliani in a much tighter race. (See November 5 entry below.) Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, a close friend of Giuliani, has been indicted on 14 charges, including criminal conspiracy and tax evasion. Kerik was appointed commissioner by Giuliani and once was considered for the job of Homeland Security secretary on Giuliani's recommendation.
Giuliani's opponents are trying to use the incident to their benefit. "Rudy Giuliani's history with Bernie Kerik is a story of poor judgment," said John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "A president's judgment matters and Rudy Giuliani has repeatedly placed personal loyalty over regard for the facts." More trouble could potentially be in store for Giuliani on this topic – Kerik's pretrial hearing is scheduled for January 13, just as the primaries get under way.
Will these troubles Clinton and Giuliani face affect voters' decisions? Only time will tell. With the first primaries less than two months away, no candidate is likely to have an easy road ahead.
12 November 2007
The issues that matter to candidates, according to their Web sites
Two professors at Bentley College in Massachusetts have been studying candidates' Web sites to see how they use the Internet to define their campaign platforms. Findings released last week show that even though there are distinct differences between Republicans and Democrats, within each party the candidates' messages are quite similar.
The study looked at the candidates' "issues" Web pages and found that about 75 percent of the issues addressed are domestic. Top concerns overall were Iraq, health care and terrorism. Democrats most often identified energy, the United States' standing in the world and middle and working class families as their other top concerns. For Republicans, taxes, immigration and spending were major topics.
Want to know where the candidates stand on the issues? Check out the Candidates on the Issues Web site.
07 November 2007
Republicans get key endorsements
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who dropped out of the presidential race in October, announced November 7 that he would support Arizona Senator John McCain in his bid for the Republican nomination. "If you want a guy to change Washington, John McCain's the guy to do it," Brownback said in a speech in Iowa.
Brownback will be making some campaign stops with McCain, who was once considered a frontrunner but has lagged in recent months. McCain supporters hope that Brownback’s endorsement will encourage the Kansas senator’s supporters to cast their votes for the Arizona senator.
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