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  Florida Democrats To Defy Party On PrimarySeptember 23, 2007 18:56 Florida Democratic leaders today will throw down the gauntlet to the Democratic National Committee, pledging to move ahead with the state's Jan. 29 presidential primary even if it means losing all delegates to the nominating convention.

The action comes with the support of more than 75 percent of the state's executive committee members, who were polled twice over the past two days, and after talks between the state and national party broke down Saturday.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman is scheduled to make the formal announcement this afternoon in Pembroke Pines, party officials said.
  Thompson Doesn'T Rule Out Drilling In EvergladesSeptember 18, 2007 19:45 Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson has not ruled out oil drilling in the Everglades.

Campaigning in Florida Tuesday, Thompson said he wouldn't take the matter off the table.

Drilling in the Everglades has been a major Florida issue.

Thompson previously called for seeking U.S. oil resources wherever they exist.

The presidential candidate said today oil drilling in the Everglades would be a pretty drastic situation.

Thompson is a former actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee.
  Retired General Clark Backs 'Smart, Decisive, Strong' HillarySeptember 16, 2007 09:46 Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of retired four-star general and one-time presidential candidate Wesley Clark yesterday before proceeding to skirt questions about ads attacking both her and the current commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Clark praised Clinton as "a remarkable person" who would be "a great leader [and] a great commander in chief."

"She's smart, she does her homework, she's decisive, she's strong," said Clark, a decorated former NATO supreme allied commander and sharp critic of the Iraq war.

Clinton said the endorsement from Clark was a "sign of confidence" in her ability to oversee U.S. forces as President.

In a press conference call, she refused to support or condemn a liberal group's full-page newspaper ad attacking current Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.

Republican Rudy Giuliani has tried to negatively link Clinton with the ad from Political Action, which accused Petraeus of shilling for the White House and deceiving Americans about Iraq.

After Petraeus testified last week, Clinton thanked him for his service but told him his reports "really require the willing suspension of disbelief."

Asked if she approved of the ad or thought it went too far, Clinton replied: "I have repeatedly not only expressed my strong admiration and support for our men and women in uniform, but with respect to Gen. Petraeus, I have also made my respect for him abundantly clear, and I think that speaks for itself."
  Reid: "Ted Olson Will Not Be Confirmed By The Senate."September 12, 2007 15:33 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made a pre-emptive strike against one of President Bush's potential nominees for attorney general, vowing that the Senate will not confirm Ted Olson.

Olson is perhaps best known by the general public as the attorney who represented George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the Supreme Court case that decided the contested 2000 election, and that does not rest well with Democrats.

"Ted Olson will not be be confirmed by the Senate," Reid said after a Capitol news conference. "I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general."

Reid's comments were provided by his office to the Politico on Wednesday afternoon and first reported by Reuters.

If the Senate majority leader has declared a potential nominee as a nonstarter, Bush may have to look at the other potential nominees because Reid controls the Senate calendar.
  Sen. Hagel Officially Calls It QuitsSeptember 10, 2007 18:14 United States Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) announced this morning that he will not seek a third term in the United States Senate and does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008. Below is a text of Hagel's remarks delivered at the Omaha Press Club:

"I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate, nor do I intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008. It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve my country and represent my fellow Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate. My family and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and the trust placed in me by the people of Nebraska. It has enriched all of us.

"I have always tried to live up to the promise I made to the people of Nebraska the day I announced my intention to seek this Senate seat. On March 30, 1995 I said, "I intend to be a Senator all Nebraskans can be proud of." I hope I've done that, and made some contributions to our state and country along the way. History will sort that out.

I am proud of my Senate record and deeply grateful to all those who helped get me there and keep me there, and those who have worked so hard for the people of Nebraska-my staff. I would like to particularly thank Mike McCarthy, Ken Stinson and Lou Ann Linehan. I owe a great deal to these three individuals."

I would have been unable to do my job without the love, wise perspective and constant encouragement of my wife Lilibet, my daughter Allyn and my son Ziller. My appreciation for their support is immeasurable. I would also like to thank my brothers, Tom and Mike, for their constant support and occasional brotherly constructive evaluations.
  Anti-War Republican And Presidential Hopeful Hagel To RetireSeptember 10, 2007 11:04 Leading Republican senator and Iraq war critic Chuck Hagel, who was considered a potential contender in the race for the presidency, announced plans to retire from politics Monday.

"I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate, nor do I intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," the Nebraska senator said in remarks prepared for the Omaha Press Club.

"Public service has always been a big part of my life, and I hope to have another opportunity to serve my country in some new capacity down the road."

Hagel, a decorated combat veteran who has branded President George W. Bush's Iraq troop surge strategy as the worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam, said he was proud of his record in the Senate but that 12 years was enough.

"I have always believed that democracies work best when there is a constant cycle of new energy and ideas, and fresh leadership," he said.

"I will leave the Senate with the same enthusiasm, sense of purpose and love of my country that I started with," he said, adding that he looks forward to the remaining 16 months of his term.

"I leave maybe a little wiser, surely a little more experienced and with a very respectable amount of humility."

Hagel, 61,was the president of a Nebraska investment banking firm prior to his election to the senate in 1996.
  Dems Already Give Petraeus Bad GradeSeptember 09, 2007 21:33 Even before the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, delivers his report to Congress, Democrats appearing on the Sunday talk shows delivered their report card on him.

Sen. Joe Biden on NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think he's dead, flat wrong."

Sen. John Kerry on ABC's "This Week": "None of us should be fooled — not the American people, not you in the media, not us in Congress."

Sen. Edward Kennedy on CBS's "Face the Nation": "It looks like Gen. Petraeus is going to ask for six more months. And it's clear that this administration is trying to delay the ultimate judgment until the next president gets into office."

In a new ABC News-Washington Post poll, 53 percent of Americans think Petraeus will try and make things look better than they really are. Only 39 percent believe his report will honestly reflect the situation.

A new ad from the liberal group slams the general: "Before Congress and the American people, Gen. Petraeus is likely to become Gen. Betray Us."
  Thompson Announces Candidacy On LenoSeptember 05, 2007 21:58 Fred Thompson officially entered a wide-open Republican presidential race Thursday, vowing to invigorate a dispirited GOP and promising to thwart another Clinton from capturing the presidency.

The former Tennessee senator harkened to the GOP glory days of 1994 when he and other Republicans seized control of Congress and established an equal counterpoint to Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House. Now an official candidate for the Republican nomination, Thompson promised to return the party to better times.

"In 1992, we were down after a Clinton victory," Thompson said in a 15-minute Webcast that laid out the rationale for the candidacy he also declared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

"In 1994, our conservative principles led us to a comeback and majority control of the Congress. Now, you don't want to have to come back from another Clinton victory. Our country needs us to win next year, and I am ready to lead that effort," he said.

Thompson also swiped at his leading Republican rivals, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, without naming them, saying: "In 1994, when I first ran, I advocated the same commonsense conservative positions that I hold today."