GIULIANI SLIPS IN FLORIDA, CALIFORNIA POLLS
Mayor Giuliani's Florida firewall may be melting away. A new poll from Quinnipiac University finds him falling out of the lead in the state where he has banked on resurrecting his presidential campaign. The poll shows Senator McCain of Arizona with 22%, Mr. Giuliani with 20%, and Michael Huckabee and Mitt Romney with 19%. Because the margin of error is plus or minus six percentage points, the race is a statistical four-way tie. Other surveys in recent days also show Mr. Giuliani trailing Mr. McCain by one or two points in the state. The former mayor got more bad news from California, where a CNN/Los Angeles Times/Politico poll showed him losing to Mr. McCain by six points in a key February 5 state where he had held a comfortable lead all last year. Mr. Giuliani has dropped sharply in national polls following his distant finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, as the momentum as swung to Mr. McCain, who won the Granite State primary last week. Mr. Giuliani has been campaigning hard in Florida, which votes January 29, while his rivals compete in Michigan and South Carolina, which hold primaries this week.
JUDGE SAYS MSNBC MUST INCLUDE KUCINICH IN DEBATE
A Nevada judge said that a long shot Democratic presidential hopeful, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, must be included in tonight's candidate debate, the Associated Press reported.
Mr. Kucinich had sued for inclusion after MSNBC rescinded an invitation following his distant finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month. Calling it a matter of fairness, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson said if Mr. Kucinich is excluded, he'll issue an injunction to halt the debate.
The other candidates participating are Senators Clinton and Obama, as well as a former North Carolina senator, John Edwards. The Ohio congressman was conducting a live phone interview with Fox News when he heard the news, Time's thepage.com reported. "Holy smokes!," he said upon hearing. "I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada."
Senator McCain picked up the backing of Senator Domenici of New Mexico, who cited the Arizona senator's leadership on military affairs, national security, and fiscal restraint. Mr. Domenici was first elected in 1972 and is retiring this year due to illness. Mr. McCain also picked up the endorsements of a slew of newspapers in Michigan and Florida. Papers in Kalamazoo and Port Huron were among four to back the senator in Michigan, while publications in Daytona Beach, Bradenton, and Pensacola also endorsed him.
In a sign of his faltering campaign, Mr. Giuliani had to turn to Hollywood for support, championing the endorsement yesterday of Academy Award-winner Jon Voigt.
Mr. Voigt, who won an Oscar for his role as a disabled Vietnam veteran in the 1978 film, "Coming Home," will campaign for Mr. Giuliani in Florida and California, aides said. "His commitment to keeping our military strong and his track record of transforming New York makes him the right man at the right time for our country," Mr. Voigt, a Yonkers native, said in a statement.