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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

Clinton attacks Katrina response, vows to funnel aid to the Gulf Coast Huckabee run evolving

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina and pledged yesterday to funnel more federal aid to the Gulf Coast if elected president. Speaking to the National Conference of Black Mayors, the New York Democrat said she was angered when she saw images of New Orleans residents on their rooftops, begging to be rescued from the flood waters that followed the August 2005 hurricane.

President Bush's response was a display of "incompetence," Clinton said. "It is a great injustice that you would deny the resources to your own people, but that shouldn't surprise us, because many people are invisible to this president," she said in a speech punctuated with applause.

CONCORD, N.H. -- Republican Mike Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution -- unless it involves his presidential campaign hopes. The former Arkansas governor and Baptist pastor repeated his position endorsing intelligent design yesterday, but joked that he would allow for his own evolution if it gives him a better shot at winning his party's nomination. "For once I believe in evolution. I think I'll get stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger, and the other guys will get weaker and weaker and weaker," Huckabee said with a laugh during an interview. "It's the process of natural selection. I'll be naturally selected to be the nominee for president." Huckabee was one of three GOP candidates who raised their hands during Thursday's debate when asked if they don't believe in evolution -- the development of organisms and species from a primitive state. Since then, he's sought to explain his views on evolution. (AP)

Biden speaks up on war
ANKENY, Iowa -- The field of Democratic presidential candidates has been too timid in expressing their opposition to the war in Iraq, Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, said yesterday. Although polls show the war is unpopular with most voters, the Democratic candidates have been reluctant to aggressively oppose the war because of fear they will be seen as abandoning the troops.

That is changing, said Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. "I think they are beginning to realize that their extreme caution was seen as a lack of leadership," he said. "Incredible pressure has been placed on them." Biden spoke at a town hall-style meeting in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny . (AP)

Thompson urges tax cut
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Evoking the legacy of Ronald Reagan, potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson told fellow Republicans that smaller government and lower taxes are the way to a prosperous future.

The former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" star spoke for about 35 minutes Friday night to the Lincoln Club of Orange County, sketching a broad agenda that hewed to Reaganesque themes -- a strong military, a limited federal government, and robust free markets. Thompson also warned that people in the United States must be prepared to sacrifice. "Every generation has made sure that it did its part to make sure that it did endure, with the sacrifices they made. And now it's our turn," Thompson said. (AP)

Giuliani says to boost Army
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani yesterday called for boosting the Army by another 35,000 troops, saying the nation must project strength and better handle the aftermath of war. "President Bush has increased our military strength and further increases are planned, but we need to do more -- much more. We need a force that can both deter aggression and meet many challenges that may come our way," the former New York City mayor told a class of 438 cadets during a commencement speech at The Citadel, a public military college. "I believe America needs at least 10 new combat brigades above the additions that are already proposed by President Bush and are already in the budget," Giuliani said. Brigades typically have about 3,500 troops. The Army now has almost 512,000 troops, the limit set by Congress. (AP)

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