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Daily Archives: December 28, 2007

US election calendar, one week before Iowa caucuses

Here is a calendar of key dates in the US White House race, eight days before the first presidential nominating contest. January 3: Iowa Republican and Democratic caucuses January 5: Wyoming Republican primary January 8: New Hampshire primaries January 15: Michigan primaries January 19: Nevada caucuses, South Carolina Republican primary January 26: South Carolina Democratic primary January 29: Florida primaries February 1: Maine Republican primary February 5: "Super Tuesday" potentially decisive day as primaries are held in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho (Democrats), Illinois, Kansas (Democrats), Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico (Democrats), New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah March 4: Five states including Texas and Ohio hold primaries June 3: Montana and South Dakota hold last Democratic primaries June 28: Nebraska holds last Republican caucus August 25-28: Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado September 1-4: Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota November 4: Presidential and congressional elections 

January 20, 2009: Inauguration of 44th President of the United States

The major issues of the US presidential campaign

IRAQDemocratic candidates promise to bring an end to the war in Iraq and to begin withdrawing troops "immediately." New York Senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton's 2002 vote authorizing the war is frequently criticized by her rivals, including Illinois Senator Barack Obama and 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Long-shot candidate Joseph Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advocates a federal system for Iraq.Most Republican candidates say the US engagement in Iraq will eventually succeed and reject all calls for a timetable for withdrawal. Libertarian candidate Ron Paul sets himself apart by proposing an immediate end to the war. Senator John McCain, a sharp critic of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, has long advocated sending more soldiers to Iraq, and praises the apparent success of the troop "surge" begun one year ago. THE ECONOMYPolls show that health insurance is a top concern among voters, and Democrats play up the issue, promising universal coverage. They propose reversing the Bush administration's tax cuts for the rich but preserving those that benefit the middle class.Republicans call for additional tax cuts or promise to at least maintain tax cuts put in place by Bush. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee advocates replacing all federal income and payroll taxes with a federal sales tax. DIPLOMACYJohn Edwards plays down the "war on terrorism," which he calls a political slogan. His main rivals consider it real but say the Bush administration has managed it badly. Democrats favor direct contacts with Iran, Syria and North Korea. Clinton's rivals criticize her Senate vote to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, saying it is an implicit green light for an attack on Iran.Among Republicans, Huckabee slams what he says is an "arrogant bunker mentality" on the part of the Bush administration. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney praises Bush's foreign policy, while former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani promises to "win the war on terror" and to hold Iran and Syria accountable for their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. IMMIGRATIONDemocrats support immigration reform along the lines of a bill rejected by Congress in 2006, that would have reinforced borders, penalized employers who use illegal labor and regularize some 12 million illegal immigrants.Republicans for the most part advocate more repressive aspects of immigration reform. McCain, by contrast, embraces the Democratic approach; he was a sponsor of the immigration reform bill that failed in the Senate. Huckabee, who as governor of Arkansas gave scholarships to the children of illegal immigrants, calls for a "humane" approach to the problem combined with stepped-up border patrols. SOCIAL ISSUESDemocrats agree that abortion should remain legal, safe and rare, and that homosexual couples have the right to form civil unions, a status that would give them the same rights as married couples. They do not espouse gay marriage.Among Republicans, Giuliani says he personally opposes abortion but is against making it illegal at the federal level. Other Republicans are staunchly anti-abortion, even Romney, who was "pro-choice" when he was running for governor of Massachusetts. Gay marriage is anathema to Republican candidates except libertarian Ron Paul.Almost all the candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, profess religious faith. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, has referred to himself as a "Christian leader." INTERNATIONAL TRADEHillary Clinton proposes reevaluating major trade agreements such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a "time out" on new trade deals. Obama wants to see trade deals do more to protect labor rights and the environment. Edwards, in a more aggressive tack, decries the "hemorrhaging" of US jobs due to globalization, and accuses China of manipulating its currency.On the Republican side, top-tier candidates reject protectionism and promote free trade. 

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