There are only 43 days remaining until Iowans gather at their caucus and the presidential candidates have little time to waste working the Hawkeye State. But with the caucuses coming earlier than they ever have, the Thanksgiving holiday interrupts a campaign that every day has been growing hotter in rhetoric and tighter in the polls.
Several candidates have public appearances tied to the holiday – Joe Biden serves meals in Des Moines, John McCain meets with troops in Iraq and Rudy Giuliani hosts a breakfast for families of 9/11 fallen fire fighters and police officers.
The rest of the field spends the day with family and takes a break from the campaign trail.
On the Democratic side, the candidates are not going to head into the holiday weekend quietly. Hillary Clinton stepped up the pace of her verbal assaults Tuesday and mocked the relevance of Barack Obama's time living abroad -- just one day after an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed the Illinois Democrat with a four-point lead in Iowa.
ABC News' Eloise Harper and Teddy Davis report that Clinton's comments were the first time that she has criticized the relevance of Obama's international upbringing. The former first lady's swipe suggests that the Clinton campaign is willing to drive up her negatives on likability in order to drive up Obama's negatives on experience. Clinton's criticism was prompted by comments Obama made about his foreign-policy experience while campaigning Monday in Clarendon, Iowa.
Tivo Alert! In an exclusive interview with Charles Gibson airing on Tuesday's World News, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's experience as first lady has prepared her to handle the "pressure" of a presidential race and the White House, ABC News' Rick Klein and Ed O'Keefe report.
The full interview airs tonight on 'World News with Charlie Gibson' at 6:30p
"No question, there is no question that Senator Clinton understands pressure better than any of the candidates, you know, in the race," the president told ABC News' Gibson Tuesday afternoon at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
The President emphasized, "I do believe our candidate will beat her, if she happens to be the nominee," although he refused to speculate on the Republican presidential field, calling it a "wide-open" race.
Bush, whose father was defeated for reelection by then-Governor Bill Clinton in 1992, called the former first lady a "very formidable candidate", repeatedly saying she and the former president "understand the klieg lights".
Second Tivo Alert!
Mike Huckabee sits down with ABC News' Jake Tapper for an exclusive interview airing Wednesday on Good Morning America.
The former Arkansas governor discusses his rapid ascent in Iowa, defends his record on taxes, immigration and ethics, denies he had anything to do with nasty anti-Mormon phone calls, questions Fred Thompson on abortion, and details the role of faith in his campaign.
Huckabee addresses the redhot issue of immigration: "There are plenty of candidates out there who I guess would grind their heel in the face of a 6-year-old child" of illegal immigrants, Huckabee says. "Not me."
Candidates Give Thanks
Upon further investigation we found that the presidential candidates are thankful for many things they are not talking about: