SNEAK PEEK: Rudy "made a mistake" on Kerik

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.

Sensible Priorities has more than 10,000 Iowans who have signed cards indicating their intent to caucus on behalf of whomever the group endorses on Jan. 3. Asked if her group is looking for a fight, Huppert shot back, "I think it's going to take a fight."

Edwards' daughter Cate hits the campaign trail for two forums with Kate Michelman, former head of the abortion rights group NARAL, and hosts a young professional gathering in Manchester, NH.

In Concord, NH, John McCain is joined by former Pennsylvania governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to announce the launch of his campaign's National Coalition of First Responders. Ridge will serve as chairman of the coalition.

On the campaign trail…

RUDY GIULIANI

-- 6:15 pm ET: Meets with voters, Henderson, Nev.

MITT ROMNEY

-- 4:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Atkinson, N.H.

-- 5:45 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Nottingham, N.H.

JOHN MCCAIN

-- 9:00 am ET: Meets with former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Concord, N.H.

-- 4:10 pm ET: Meets with voters, Meredith, N.H.

-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends a house party, Moultonborough, N.H.

FRED THOMPSON

-- 2:00 pm ET: Holds a press conference to announce his Social Security plan

MIKE HUCKABEE

-- 2:30 pm ET: Speaks at a health policy forum, Lebanon, N.H.

-- 6:00 pm ET: Attends private meetings, Concord, N.H.

As for the Democrats…

HILLARY CLINTON

-- No public events scheduled

BARACK OBAMA

-- 1:15pm ET: Attends a roundtable discussion, Des Moines, Ia.

-- 5:00 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Sioux City, Ia.

JOHN EDWARDS

-- 1:15 pm ET: Receives endorsement from Iowans for Sensible Priorities, Des Moines, Ia.

-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Sioux City, Ia.

-- 6:30 pm ET: Holds a community meeting, Carroll, Ia.

-- 8:00 pm ET: Holds a community meeting, Jefferson, Ia.

CATE EDWARDS

-- 1:55 pm ET: Hosts a women's forum with Kate Michelman, Hanover, N.H.

-- 4:25 pm ET: Hosts a women's forum with Kate Michelman, Plymouth, N.H.

-- 6:25 pm ET: Hosts a young professional gathering, Manchester, N.H.

CHRIS DODD

-- 12:00 pm ET: Attends Iowa Democratic Party Veterans Caucus press conference, Des Moines, Ia.

-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends a fundraiser, Oelwein, Ia.

JACKIE DODD

-- 1:00 pm ET: Attends an open house, Ames, Ia.

-- 5:30 pm ET: Attends an open house, Mason City, Ia.

JOE BIDEN

-- 8:40 pm ET: Attends a fundraiser with Jill Biden, Oelwein, Ia.

JILL BIDEN

-- 1:30 pm ET: Speak at an education conference, Ankeny, Ia.

DENNIS KUCINICH

-- 8:00 pm ET: Attends an Ani DiFranco concert, Boston, Ma.

Down at the Ranch in Crawford…

PRESIDENT BUSH

-- 5:30 pm ET: Meets with German Chancellor Merkel, Crawford, Texas

-- 8:00 pm ET: Hosts Chancellor Merkel for social dinner, Crawford, Texas

LAURA BUSH

-- 8:00 pm ET: Hosts Chancellor Merkel for social dinner, Crawford, Texas

On Capitol Hill. . .

-- 10:00 am ET: House elections subcommittee meets to discuss election day registration and provisional voting

POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM

ABC News' David Wright and Sunlen Miller Report: Obama v. (Which) Clinton LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Katie Hinman Report: Giuliani Admits 'Mistake' in Case of Indicted Police Commissioner LINK

ABC News' David Wright and Sunlen Miller Report: All Eyes on Iowa, Obama Releases TV Ad LINK

ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports: Giuliani: Kerik Mistake Should Not Discount Results LINK

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Dems Plot Another Vote for Iraq Drawdown LINK

ABC News' Eloise Harper Reports: Clinton's Tipping Point? LINK

ABC News' Charles Gibson Reports: Who Is? John McCain LINK

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Paul vs. Bernanke on Value of the Dollar LINK

ABC News' Tom Shine Reports: Waterboarding, By Definition LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: With Rudy in Dubuque LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Facts is Facts LINK

POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM

Giuliani on Kerik: 'I Made a Mistake' Giuliani admits not carefully checking Bernard Kerik's background was a mistake. LINK

Obama Releases TV Ad in Iowa Obama releases an ad in Iowa, "High and Dry" that focuses on the American dream. LINK

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Voice During a campaign appearance with Bob Vila, Sen. Clinton loses her voice. LINK

Hear 'Lions for Lambs' Roar Diane Sawyer talks with Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. LINK