Al and Arnold
Byline: Greg Pierce, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Al and Arnold
Former Vice President Al Gore and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will take part in a bipartisan presidential forum on energy and climate change next month in New Hampshire, shortly before the state's first-in-the-nation primary.
Mr. Gore, who has been the target of several Democratic grass-roots efforts to persuade him to run for president, said he has no plans to become a candidate, but hasn't firmly shut the door on a bid. Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican and native of Austria who is prohibited by the Constitution from becoming president, previously signaled his intention to play a role in the 2008 contest by drawing attention to issues of special interest, including global warming.
A spokesman for Mr. Schwarzenegger confirmed the forum after Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, mentioned it yesterday during a press conference in Sacramento, Calif.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Adam Mendelsohn says the forum is still being planned, but candidates from both major parties are expected to attend. Mr. Gore will handle the Democratic candidates at the forum, while Mr. Schwarzenegger will handle the Republicans, the Associated Press reports.
Aiming at Romney
Mitt Romney's top rivals were reminding voters that Massachusetts residents had until yesterday to sign up for health insurance or face possible penalties - a requirement Mr. Romney signed into law when he was governor.
Massachusetts residents had to sign up by Nov. 15 or likely face tax penalties starting Jan. 1. It is the stick that follows the carrot of previous deadlines requiring the state to expand subsidized coverage, or for private insurers to offer less-expensive policies to the uninsured.
It's something opponents for the Republican nomination are trying to turn it into a political liability for Mr. Romney, the Associated Press reports.
"Before I forget, for all of you in Massachusetts who aren't signed up for health insurance, you have until Thursday before you get stuck with a fine," Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, wrote in signing off a daily schedule update for political reporters.
Similar jabs have been leveled by aides to rivals former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Mr. Romney chuckles at the criticism, and then offers a serious comeback.
"I am the only Republican in this race that's actually succeeded in getting all of the citizens of my state on track to have health insurance," he told the Associated Press on Tuesday during an interview in Iowa. "That's a good thing, and I'm happy to defend my plan."
Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson brushed off concerns yesterday about his single-digit showings in recent Iowa and New Hampshire polls, saying he expects a new TV ad on immigration will help boost his numbers.
"In the past, a lot of things have changed in the Iowa presidential elections - Howard Dean can tell you that," he said, referring to 2004, when the former Vermont governor's third-place showing in Iowa derailed his campaign for the Democratic nomination. …