The Daily Five: Empire Pride

1. Tonight: 8:00 pm. A Republican presidential debate. CNN. Google. YouTube. Anderson Cooper. From Florida. Item: Fred Thompson will seek to draw clear contrasts with Mike Huckabee. Item: imagine Ann Romney and Judith Giuliani having a conversation. What do they have in common? Item: Overzealous security -- three rings of it. And none of the Republican presidential candidates yet have security. Item: The latest CNN poll gives Hillary Clinton a statistically significant lead over Rudy Giuliani in Florida.

2. Ben Smith of the Politico: "As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records." More: "The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board." An anonymous denial from the Giuliani campaign.........McCain, in South Carolina: "''If you're prepared to send an 80-year-old grandmother who's been here 70 years back to some country, then, frankly you're not quite as compassionate as maybe I am..." .... New Hampshire Union Leader's Cline calls Giuliani attacks against Romney for the Tavares case "unfair.".... Rudy Giuliani is comfortable with gay people, does not believe that homosexuality is immoral, disagrees with activists on some issues (like the Rainbow curriculum) and generally hasn't said what type of gay rights legislation, if any, he'd sign into law as president. BTW: Has Giuliani met with the Log Cabin Republicans this cycle?...Byron York: "The GOP Race: No One’s Winning, No One’s Losing, and No One’s Made Up His Mind...."

3. Hillary Clinton's new Iowa ad features her talking direct to camera about the major challenges ahead and the new for a strong leader to confront them....

The latest NH poll shows HRC with a double-digit lead over Barack Obama...Per MSNBC: "In a conference call to announce the personal endorsement of Linda Nelson, president of the Iowa State Education Association, Obama said that he would “fine parents” in order to enforce the mandate in his health insurance plan that all children be covered."

4. The Huckabee campaign responds to the Club for Growth in a 7 page memo. Excerpt: "After being elected Governor of California in 1967, Ronald Reagan reneged on a campaign promise and signed into law the single biggest tax increase in the state's history: $1 billion. (At the time, the total state budget was only about $5 billion. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, the increase in today's dollars would be $10 billion.) If the Club for Growth had been around in 1980, Reagan might not have become President. The influential fiscal conservative group would surely have done everything in their power to prevent the Gipper from gaining the nomination. They would have attempted to derail Reagan's campaign just as they are now doing to Gov. Huckabee." And: "• After praising his accomplishments, Cato bashes Gov. Huckabee for proposing a sales tax to "cover a budget deficit caused partly by large spending increases that he proposed and approved…" Again, 90% of the Arkansas state budget is on education, Medicare, prisons, and human services. Obviously, the radical libertarians at Cato consider it blasphemous to have the state funding schools or paying the medical bills of the poor. But complying with state law in order to balance the budget and pay for such entitlements does not make a governor a "big-government conservative."

5. Either this means a lot, or it means nothing: On Facebook, Bloomberg Advisor Sheekey Leaves N.Y. for D.C.