Amid all the attention on Saturday's end of the second quarter and next week's two-for-the-price-of-one Clinton trip to Iowa, don't lose sight of four upcoming '08er forums.
1. On Saturday, Mitt Romney joins five other Republican '08ers -- Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson – in wooing 4,000 Iowa caucus goers at a 2:00 pm ET forum in Des Moines co-sponsored by the Iowa Christian Alliance and Iowans for Tax Relief. The forum will touch on marriage, tax increases, spending control, stem-cell research, border security, and a progressive retail sales tax.
As part of the marriage discussion, Republicans will be asked to pledge to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, blocking federal spousal benefits from flowing to gay couples in state-recognized marriages. Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law but Hillary Clinton (and her Democratic rivals) have promised the Human Rights Campaign that they would work to undo part of the law as president. (The two best-known Republicans -- Rudy Giuliani and John McCain -- are skipping the forum. Ron Paul, who was not invited to speak at the forum, will be on hand in Iowa holding a rally that coincides neatly with the 5:30 pm ET conclusion of the forum).
In what might be a preview of a general election fight, ABCNews.com examines the differing positions staked out by Clinton and Romney on same-sex benefits. LINK
2. While six Republican '08ers gather in Iowa, seven Democratic '08ers -- Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson -- will be in Orlando, Fla., courting Latinos.
In back-to-back appearances in front of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the Democrats will answer questions on Iraq, immigration, education, and health care from NALEO executive director Arturo Vargas. NALEO's well-attended Saturday forum is in stark contrast to Friday's NALEO forum for Republicans which was only attended by Duncan Hunter. Univision is planning extensive coverage.
3. On Monday, ACORN, an organization representing low-income families, hears from three Democratic presidential candidates in separate appearances. Along with more familiar topics like immigration and education, this forum will also address the "foreclosure crisis," a topic which has not received much coverage thus far in the presidential campaign and which may hit an increasing number of families as their five-year adjustable-rate mortgages run out. It takes place from 1:00 pm ET to 6:00 pm ET at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia and will be streamed live over the organization's website. Participants include: Clinton (2:45), Kucinich (3:30), and Edwards (4:30). Note that Obama, Dodd, Biden, Richardson, and Gravel are skipping the forum.
4. The National Education Association is holding its own presidential candidates' forum in Philadelphia next week focusing on the "serious flaws" that if perceives in President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law. The forum, which runs over three days, gets underway on Monday. Note that Huckabee is the lone GOPer joining seven Democrats in addressing the teachers union.
Monday, July 2:
Clinton 1:30 pm ET
Edwards 2:30 pm ET
Dodd 4:30 pm ET
Tuesday, July 3:
Kucinich 2:30 pm ET
Richardson 4:00 pm ET
Thursday, July 5:
Obama 11:00 am ET
Huckabee 2:00 pm ET