RNC Chairman Mike Duncan announced Thursday that the Republican Party will go ahead with sanctions against the five states holding primaries before Feb. 5.
New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming will lose half of their delegates to the national convention. The RNC voted 121-9 to impose the sanctions and Duncan, who has final say on this issue, said he will abide by the vote.
Although the Iowa caucuses also are scheduled for Jan 3, Iowa Republicans don't select delegates then so the state will not be subject to RNC sanctions. The RNC considers the January caucuses in Nevada to be a non-binding contest and therefore not subject to sanction either.
Now we watch and wait to see if this punishment holds up – or if it is merely an idle threat by the RNC, who needs to show some muscle against these states that are flouting the rules adopted at the 2004 convention.
State party leaders in those five states have expressed confidence that their full delegation will be seated in Minneapolis next year.
Tivo Alert! Tune in tonight to World News with Charles Gibson at 6:30pm ET and Nightline at 11:35pm ET to see Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with Rudy Giuliani.
The Republican front-runner told Tapper he "made a mistake" by not vetting his former police commissioner, Bernard Kerik.
ABC News' Richard Esposito reports that a federal grand jury has voted to indict Kerik on charges stemming from the acceptance of free rent, apartment renovations, tax evasion and lying on his application for the Department of Homeland Security job.
Giuliani told Tapper he wouldn't contribute to Kerik's legal defense fund because it "wouldn't be appropriate."
"But Giuliani also said the experience would make him a better president, defended the job Kerik did as police commissioner and compared his former protégé to the late President Richard Nixon -- a man with both flaws and accomplishments," Jake Tapper and Katie Hinman report. LINK
Fred Thompson holds a press conference at 2:00pm ET Friday in Washington to unveil his Social Security plan.
John Edwards picks up a major endorsement in Iowa Friday from Iowans for Sensible Priorities, a group seeking to cut wasteful Pentagon spending.
ABC News' Teddy Davis reports that in the end the group's endorsement came down to "courage vs. caution." Sensible Priorities, started by Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, decided that Edwards was more likely than Barack Obama to beat Hillary Clinton and forthrightly call for shifting federal spending away from the Pentagon and towards domestic needs.
"There's a rhetoric gap with Obama," said Peggy Huppert, the group's executive director. "He told me personally: 'Trust me. Ideologically, I'm with you.' But people have told him: be afraid of being pushed too far to the left. He doesn't bring up [cuts in Pentagon spending] on his own. He doesn't incorporate it into his speeches. He skirts around it. He talks around the edges. He never gets to the heart of it in strong, bold language."
Edwards, by contrast, won the group over with his harder edge. "For whatever reason, John Edwards has decided he is going to take this on and he has staked out the position quite convincingly of being the un-Hillary.