The New York Daily News notes that Rudy Giuliani and McCain plan to skip an upcoming debate in New Hampshire in early April. "McCain is expected to be in the Middle East on April 4 and Giuliani has an unspecified scheduling conflict, sources said." The first GOP presidential primary debate including the two frontrunners will take place at the Reagan presidential library in California on May 3, brought to you by MSNBC and The Politico.
USA Today, covering GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel's criticisms of the Administration on Iraq, has Hagel saying in an interview "that if he ran" for president, "he would seek the Republican nomination. Yet he's also talking up Unity08," which is "a plan by a bipartisan group of political operatives to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket on the Internet and offer voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates next year."
Per The State, McCain is leading his GOP rivals in polls in South Carolina, but his numbers lag behind what he had in 2000. Since he has "almost universal name identification among S.C. Republican primary voters," it may be "more difficult to find voters who haven't formed an opinion of him."
Romney "condemns" polygamy, the AP notes, but his "great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12. Polygamy was not just a historical footnote, but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first Mormon president." The story notes Romney's efforts to downplay this part of his history: "An introductory film played at his fundraisers and campaign appearances features his wife, Ann, talking about their 37-year marriage. Romney himself notes they started as high school sweethearts."
Rep. Ron Paul (R) was in New Hampshire over the weekend, where the Manchester Union Leader said he "found himself treated like a rock star" at some of his events.
Giuliani campaigns in Virginia and gives a speech in DC. The latest in the stream of Republican candidates who are campaigning on (read: against) abortion in South Carolina is Brownback, who will visits a pregnancy center and make other stops in the state today. The Politico looks at how, "[t]o many on the right, the top three candidates are failing it because they're faking it... Many conservatives consider [McCain] a less-than-passionate abortion foe, [Romney] a flip-flopper and [Giuliani] as downright hostile to the pro-life movement."