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The Daily 2008

The presidential race has garnered considerable interest from the public 20 months before election day, according a new USA Today poll released today. About 20 percent of respondents said they have a "good idea" about who they'll support in '08 and 55 percent said they've at least thought about the candidates. The same poll shows that Sen. Hillary Clinton lost four points in her match-up with Sen. Barack Obama from last month and Rudy Giuliani expanded his lead over Sen. John McCain by four points. Of all the candidates, Giuliani has the highest favorability rating, with Obama second.

According to the New York Times today, in 2005 Obama bought "$50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors." Obama's campaign said his broker bought the stocks without consulting him and once Obama learned of the stocks, he sold them.

While Obama has made significant inroads with Clinton's bases of black and Jewish voters, her campaign is courting female voters with a special Web site, online ads and high-profile female backers. In the Senate, Clinton herself is pushing a bill that seeks to reduce the wage gap between men and women. Meanwhile, John Edwards is stitching up a different constituency: a hundred Iowa Democrats who formerly backed Tom Vilsack and now say they support Edwards.

There are some interesting developments in the GOP field, especially in California where Sen. John McCain is mounting a "stealth effort" to change Republican presidential nominating rules to allow independents to vote. This comes on the heels of a "barely noticed move" by CA Republicans that has made their primary "winner-take-all by congressional district" instead of the whole state -- a move seen as favoring Mitt Romney. In Florida, Romney has released a Spanish-language ad aimed at Cuban-Americans. Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Hagel's decision to attend two cattle calls this month fuels speculation of an '08 run.

For news on all of the candidates and early states, check our Politics and Elections page.