GINGRICH: First Read has confirmed that Gingrich gave $17,500 to the Iowa GOP to purchase a box at the Ames straw poll. Officially, this is part of Gingrich's series of workshops on "transformation, how to reach out to all elected officials, not just presidential," according to Rick Tyler, a Gingrich spokesman. "It's a solutions-based approach to government and politics."
As far as whether or not this should be interpreted as Gingrich keeping his hat in the presidential ring, Tyler said, "Newt's been consistent and clear. He won't think about running until after September 29th. He's focusing on the early caucus and primary states, trying to shape the debate, and Ames is a great place to do it."
GIULIANI: One of the targets in Giuliani's speech at Regent University yesterday was Bill Clinton. Giuliani said "Clinton made a 'big mistake' when he failed to see the first World Trade Center attack as an act of terror rather than mere crime -- one that set the stage for even bigger and bolder attacks culminating with 9/11." At a later event yesterday, "Giuliani reiterated his criticism of Clinton over the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and said Clinton's reaction was emblematic of a "decade of denial." But he also seemed to soften his criticism of Clinton, saying, "I'm not blaming anybody back then. What I am saying is, I do blame people after Sept. 11. Now you have to get it."
We received multiple copies of the following quotes from current and potential opponents of Giuliani. This is what Giuliani said in the fall of 2006: "The idea of trying to cast blame on President Clinton is just wrong for many, many reasons, not the least of which is I don't think he deserves it," Giuliani said in response to a question after an appearance with fellow Republican Charlie Crist, who is running for governor. "I don't think President Bush deserves it. The people who deserve blame for Sept. 11, I think we should remind ourselves, are the terrorists - the Islamic fanatics - who came here and killed us and want to come here again and do it."
The New York Daily News notes that Robertson was full of praise for Giuliani, stopping just short of endorsing.
The New York Sun: "The warm reception from a Christian conservative crowd signals an important benchmark for the Giuliani campaign, but, as the former mayor's critics are eager to point out, it does not necessarily translate into votes or indicate that social issues are receding in importance in the Republican primary."
NBC's Carrie Dann notes that during remarks at a Jewish temple in Rockville, MD later in the day, Giuliani criticized the inadequate international response to terrorism in the pre-9/11 world, saying that sluggish and soft responses to attacks around the world "reinforced the terrorist movement" through the 1990s. He again warned of a potential regional war in the Middle East if US troops draw down their presence in Iraq too soon, and he issued perhaps his gravest warning to date to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "You are not going to be allowed to become a nuclear power. No how, no way," he said, adding that he would not fail to take the renegade leader's threats seriously.
Giuliani also sat down with CBN's David Brody for an interview that will appear on the "700 Club." Brody played a '93 clip for Giuliani from an interview he did with NBC's Tim Russert on Meet the Press.
RUSSERT: "Mayor-elect Giuliani will you press your party to change its platform to allow abortion rights and gay rights?"
GIULIANI: "Sure. I have already. (cut to ) I'd like to see the Republican Party have a broad base, reach out to everyone on the basis of equal rights."
Giuliani replied to Brody: "Right now, my view is the platform is the platform. A majority of the party gets to decide on that. I'm not going to interfere with that."
PAUL: NBC's Lauren Appelbaum says the Texas congressman appeared on G4 TV's "Attack of the Show" with host Kevin Piera on "The Loop" last night, taking live questions from the host and viewers -- who asked their questions via webcams. Paul addressed the impact the internet has had on his campaign, stating his lack of funds won't doom his presidential bid. "They say I don't have as much money but nobody has the spontaneity of the supporters that I have, which doesn't cost me very much."
Also yesterday, Paul compared two convicted New Hampshire tax evaders to Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The individuals are "holed up in their Plainfield, New Hampshire home and have threatened violence against federal officials if marshals come to arrest them," the AP reports. "They were convicted of an elaborate scheme to hide millions of dollars in income. Their protest has become a rallying cry for anti-tax activists and militia members."
ROMNEY: Today's installment of the Romney series in the Boston Globe focuses on Romney the family man. The piece opens with Romney as Chevy Chase, sort of. A sidebar focuses on the relationship Romney's father had with Nixon. Meanwhile, the campaign is sending out hints that instead of Romney authoring a presidential book, it may be his wife, Ann, who writes the campaign trail book.
There's a new YouTube floating around of Romney from '94, in which he apparently calls for the end of the U.S. Agriculture Department. Not surprisingly, this is something be spread around Iowa.
And the Florida Democratic Party passed around this email to reporters with Romney being in Florida yesterday. "The Florida Democratic Party today urges the state's political reporters who are covering former Governor Mitt Romney, Republican of Massachusetts, to be on the look out for paid campaign staff impersonating law enforcement officials who may try to inhibit your ability to cover Romney's frequent flip-flops."
F. THOMPSON: Did Thompson not act like enough of a candidate? Or is he simply trying to buy time? The New York Times writes, "Thompson, the potential candidate who lives in the Washington area, was characteristically coy as he touched down [in Nashville] for the first stop on a three-day tour that includes the critical early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire. Even as he looked every part the candidate — shaking hands, posing for pictures and signing autographs — he did not say as much, despite the day's agenda of scouting sites for a possible campaign headquarters and meeting privately with fund-raisers.
A who's who of Tennessee GOP politics showed up at the Thompson Nashville fundraiser yesterday. The goal of $5 million by the end of the month is repeated in this clip.