WASHINGTON – The following is a new feature from FOXNews.com's political unit offering readers updates and the lowdown on newsmakers looking at their 2008 presidential prospects.
14:27:49 EST Illinois Sen. Barack Obama brought the house down at a church in Harvey, Ill., discussing the significance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Afterward, he told reporters that he still has not decided whether to back a bill to cut off funding for additional troops in Iraq. Asked where he'd be when the Iowa caucuses take place a year from now, he joked that he'd "probably be inside instead of outside in the cold."
12:27:05 EST Arizona Sen. John McCain announces two Michigan hires to help build his support in that state. Republican National Committeeman Chuck Yob and Republican National Committeewoman Holly Hughes will serve as co-chairs of the Michigan Steering Committee and take lead roles recruiting RNC members across the country.
A.M. Top Stories
— California Rep. Duncan Hunter won a Phoenix, Ariz., straw poll of GOP insiders. Sen. John McCain finished fourth in his home state and was named the most unacceptable presidential candidate.
— Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's camp is split about the timing of a presidential announcement, with some pushing for a statement this week, FOX News has learned. Meanwhile, The London Times notes that Obama's wildly enthusiastic reception among many Democrats isn't echoed among black activists. And The New York Daily News talks to Obama's college friends, who say they never saw this coming. The Chicago Tribune gives readers a rundown of Obama's inner circle.
— The New York Post reports John Edwards and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton are in a tussle over the war in Iraq as Clinton advisers fired back at the former North Carolina senator took a swipe at lawmakers who refuse to cut off funding for additional troops in Iraq.
— The Boston Globe details yet another conservative conversion for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, finding that his positions on gun control have veered to the right since his 1994 Senate run.
— McCain’s presidential exploratory committee announced Monday that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will serve as national co-chairman of the Arizona Republican's presidential campaign should he decide to run. Pawlenty appeared on FOX & Friends to discuss his role.
— The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports California Rep. Duncan Hunter will formally announce his candidacy on Jan. 25, two days after the State of the Union address. Hunter formed an exploratory committee last week.
— The Federal Election Commission confirms to The New York Daily News what candidates have been telling FOX News for months — that it will take $100 million by December to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. FEC Commissioner Michael Toner says "We're heading into the first $1 billion election."
— Candidate forums begin next month in Nevada, home of the first Democratic caucuses, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The AFS-CME will host 2008 Democrats on Feb. 21. Nevada Democrats also announced four other forums and debates scheduled over the next year.
— Analysis: Real Clear Politics features an article by Fox News contributor Michael Barone, who takes a look back at the last election conducted without an incumbent or vice president running for the White House — it took place in 1928 — and what insights it can offer for the upcoming race.