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Campaign Notebook

Clinton, Obama, Edwards join Mukasey opposition

The campaign of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois rallied at the State hHouse in Columbia, S.C., yesterday. It was the filing day for candidates to be on the ballot for the 2008 Democratic primary election there Jan. 26, 2008. The campaign of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois rallied at the State hHouse in Columbia, S.C., yesterday. It was the filing day for candidates to be on the ballot for the 2008 Democratic primary election there Jan. 26, 2008. (Mary Ann Chastain/associated press)

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who would get a vote, and John Edwards, who wouldn't because he's no longer in the US Senate, yesterday joined rival Chris Dodd in announcing their opposition to Michael Mukasey as attorney general.

Mukasey's nomination once appeared headed for smooth sailing, as US senators of both parties praised his professionalism and record as a federal judge. But his nomination has hit a couple of rocks lately over his refusal to specifically say whether an interrogation technique that simulates drowning amounts to torture and over his statements about extending presidential authority.

"The credibility of the Justice Department has been badly tarnished, and it is now clear that Mukasey is not the man to restore it," Edwards said in a statement.

Obama's statement said, "We are a nation of laws, and those laws apply equally to the President of the United States and common citizens. We need an attorney general who understands and appreciates that inviolable principle."

Clinton said, "We cannot send a signal that the next attorney general in any way condones torture or believes that the president is unconstrained by law."

Mukasey told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that while waterboarding is "repugnant to me," he does not know whether it is illegal. He pledged to study the matter and to reverse any Justice Department finding that endorses a practice that violates the law or the Constitution.

GLOBE STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Paul airs new N.H. TV ads
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, flush with cash and already an Internet sensation, is trying to translate those pluses into voter support with two new TV ads in New Hampshire.

In one of the 30-second spots, a series of voters mention Paul's policy principles and praise his honesty. The final voter says the Texas congressman is "catching on."

In the second spot, Paul discusses bringing US troops home immediately from Iraq and balancing the budget - and argues that by stopping spending so much money abroad, the country can cut spending and still provide for people's needs.

Paul is only Republican candidate who opposes the Iraq war and has built a passionate following online. He plans to spend $1.1 million of the $5.4 million he had available at the end of September on five ads over the next six weeks.

FOON RHEE

Clinton, Romney lead in poll
Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney can both take heart from the latest poll results. They're leading in all three crucial early voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

On the Democratic side, Clinton has jumped ahead of Barack Obama and John Edwards in Iowa, where they are trying to stop her momentum, according to the new American Research Group survey. Clinton gets support from 32 percent of likely caucus-goers in Iowa, 40 percent of likely primary voters in New Hampshire, and 41 percent in South Carolina. Obama is second and Edwards third in all three states.

On the Republican side, Romney continues to lead in Iowa with 27 percent of likely caucus-goers, while Mike Huckabee has jumped to second with 19 percent, according to the survey.

Romney now also leads in South Carolina with 29 percent and in New Hampshire with 30 percent. Rudy Giuliani is second in those two states.

Each state poll was conducted Oct. 26-29 among 600 likely voters on both the Democratic and Republican sides and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

FOON RHEE

Kucinich assails Bush
PHILADELPHIA - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush's mental health because of comments Bush made about a nuclear Iran precipitating World War III.

"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview yesterday with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."

At a news conference this month, Bush said: "I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

In response, Republican National Committee spokesman Dan Ronayne said it was hard to take Kucinich seriously.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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