On the trail

The Associated PressDecember 10, 2007 

GOP jostles over New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- New Hampshire has become the hot spot for action in the Republican presidential race, just as Iowa is for the Democrats.

GOP candidates Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are battling hard for supremacy in New Hampshire, while Mike Huckabee is moving up in the polls and long-shot Ron Paul is maintaining a core of support in the final month before the nation's leadoff primary.

"I think all five of those candidates will end up in double digits on the Republican side," predicted Fergus Cullen, the state GOP chairman, underscoring the high level of activity in New Hampshire and the scrambled nature of the contest.

Adding to the uncertainty is the outcome of the Democratic race in Iowa, which could influence New Hampshire's independents; they can vote in either party's primary. In 2000, they flocked to the Republican matchup and helped McCain defeat President Bush, but they might be more attracted to the Democratic contest this time around, given its celebrity field.

Huckabee stands by 1992 AIDS remark

WASHINGTON -- GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday that he will not run from his statement 15 years ago that AIDS patients should have been isolated.

Huckabee acknowledged the prevailing scientific view then, and since, that the virus that causes AIDS is not spread through casual contact, but he said that is not certain. He cited revelations in 1991 that a dentist had infected a patient in a case that highlighted the risk of infection through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

"I still believe this today," he said in a broadcast interview. "We were acting more out of political correctness" in responding to the AIDS crisis. "I don't run from it, I don't recant it," he said of his position in 1992.

But he said in retrospect that he would state his view differently.

Huckabee, as a Senate candidate that year, told The Associated Press that "we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague" if the federal government was going to deal with the spread of the disease effectively.

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents," he said.

'It's your time,' Winfrey tells crowd

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Media mogul Oprah Winfrey on Sunday told about 30,000 people in a football stadium in this early voting state to shrug off Barack Obama's detractors and help him "seize the opportunity" in his bid for the White House.

"South Carolina, January 26th is your moment," Winfrey said, referring to the state Democratic primary date during a campaign stop alongside the Illinois senator.

Obama's campaign said more than 29,000 attended the event at the University of South Carolina's football stadium. It had the feel of a rock concert, with bands playing for early arrivals and campaign supporters yelling "Fire it up!" to the crowd.

Clinton staffer axed over e-mail hoax

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign Sunday requested the resignation of a second Iowa volunteer coordinator who forwarded a hoax e-mail message saying Barack Obama is a Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States.

Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and says he has never been a Muslim, but rumors attempting to tie him to Islamic jihadists are circulating on the Internet.

The Clinton campaign has decried the rumors as offensive and outrageous, and last week it forced volunteer Jones County coordinator Judy Rose to resign after learning that she forwarded such an e-mail message Nov. 21.

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