SNEAK PEEK: 'Inevitably the Surge Kinda Deflates'

24 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

Monday's big news is that Mitt Romney is launching a "contrast" ad in Iowa on illegal immigration against surging rival Mike Huckabee.

The ad comes just a few hours after Huckabee launched an immigration ad of his own in Iowa, "Secure Borders," which calls for "no amnesty," building a border fence, and "doing it now." LINK

Romney, who only recently became an opponent of abortion rights, begins his ad by playing up his current similarities with Huckabee on the life and marriage issues.


"Two former governors . . . two good family men . . . both pro-life . . . both support a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage," says the ad's narrator.

The ad then argues that the real difference between Romney and Huckabee is on illegal immigration.

It specifically targets Huckabee for having supported in-state tuition benefits as well as taxpayer-funded scholarships for the children of illegal immigrants.

Watch it here. LINK

In an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson, Romney compared the Huckabee "surge" to previous surges and expressed his hope that it would eventually deflate. LINK

"I have been through a couple of surges now," Romney told ABC News. "First was the McCain surge, then the Giuliani surge, and then the Fred Thompson surge, and now it's the Mike Huckabee surge."

"And in the past, what's happened is, when the surge occurs, people look more closely at the record of the vision of the person running . . . and inevitably the surge kinda deflates. I think you will see the same thing here; I sure hope so."

Romney, Huckabee, and the rest of the Republican field will get a chance to debate their differences on immigration Wednesday during the Des Moines Register's highly-anticipated debate.

Question: Will anyone pin down Rudy Giuliani on whether he would require illegal immigrants to return to their native country before gaining legal status in the United States?

Giuliani has sidestepped this question previously and he is alone among the top Republicans in not having endorsed or voted for this concept. When asked if Giuliani supports what is known as a touch-back provision, the former mayor's campaign aides simply say "he has not specifically addressed it." LINK

As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton will be on the Left Coast Tuesday for a 3:30 pm ET "conversation" with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Earlier this year, during a Howard University debate, the former first lady invoked the Oracle of Omaha when she was asked about tax fairness.

"Middle class and working families are paying a much higher percentage of their income -- that was Warren Buffet's position," said Clinton, "that he pays about 17 percent, because don't forget it's the payroll tax plus the income tax. And when you cut off the contribution at $90,000, $95,000, that's a lot of money between $95,000 and the $46 million that Warren Buffet made last year. And he's honest enough to say, 'Look, tax me because I'm a patriotic American and I want to make sure our country stays strong and is fair.'"

"So, yes we have to change the tax system," Clinton said, "and we've got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country."

Following the debate, Clinton's aides quickly moved to downplay the significance of her comments.

"It's not ruled in or out," Clinton strategist Mark Penn told ABC News. "She was just explaining the inequity that Warren Buffet was pointing out." LINK

While Clinton has privately weighed new Social Security taxes on those who make $200,000 or more, she has blasted Buffett friend Barack Obama for endorsing complete elimination of the tax cap, calling it a "trillion dollar tax increase on the middle class." LINK LINK

Speaking of Obama, the Illinois Democrat picked up the support of Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., on Monday.

Obama now has the support of the Granite State's two House members.

TiVo Alert: A CBS News/New York Times poll is coming at 6:30 pm ET.

The kicker:

"Every two years, the Democrats kind of haul me out of the barn like an old horse to see if I can make it around the track one more time."

--Former President Bill Clinton at Iowa State University on Monday

Tuesday schedule:


-- 3:30 pm ET: Attends "Conversation with Warren Buffett," San Francisco, CA


-- 10:30 pm ET: Attends a rally, Seattle, WA


-- 11:45 am ET: Meets with voters, Iowa City, IA

-- 2:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Sigourney, IA

-- 4:25 pm ET: Meets with voters, Fairfield, IA

-- 6:00 pm ET: Meets with voters, Mt. Pleasant, IA

-- 7:45 pm ET: Meets with voters, Burlington, IA


-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Clinton, IA

-- 5:30 pm ET: Joins mothers at a safe toy test, Davenport, IA

-- 8:15 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Muscatine, IA


-- 2:00 pm ET: Meet with voters, Laconia. NH

-- 4:15 pm ET: Meet with voters, Center Sandwich, NH

-- 6:30 pm ET: Meet with voters, Jackson, NH


-- Spends the evening fundraising in California


-- Attends to Congressional Duties for the Ohio 10th


-- 2:30 pm ET: Speaks to voters, San Jose, CA

The Republicans. . .


-- Spends the morning fundraising in California

-- 5:00 pm ET: Meets with voters, Santa Monica, CA


-- 9:30 am ET: Meets with voters, Council Bluffs, IA

-- 10:30 am ET: Meets with voters, Red Oak, IA

-- 1:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Creston, IA

-- 4:00 pm ET: Meets with voters, Osceola, IA

-- 7:00 pm ET: Speaks with students, Des Moines, IA

-- 8:00 pm ET: Meets with voters, Des Moines, IA


-- 1:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Des Moines, IA


-- 8:15 am ET: Meets with voters, Inman, SC

-- 9:00 am ET: Holds media availability, Inman, SC

-- 12:00 pm ET: Speaks to voters, Greenville, SC

-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds media availability, Greenville, SC

-- 5:00 pm ET: Attends a fundraiser, Spartanburg, SC

-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends a Christmas parade, Spartanburg, SC


-- 1:00 pm ET: Speaks to students, Sioux Center, IA

-- 3:45 pm ET: Attends a rally, Sioux City, IA

-- 8:30 pm ET: Attends a rally, Council Bluffs, IA

At the White House. . .


-- 9:30 am ET: Participates in a meeting of teen drug use

-- 10:25 am ET: Makes official statement on teen drug use

-- 11:10 am ET: Meets with the President of Italy


-- 12:15 pm ET: Holds first press conference


ABC News' Ed O'Keefe Reports: Romney Defends Faith Speech LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Kevin Chupka Report: Huckabee Advertises Beyond Iowa LINK

ABC News' Christine Byun Reports: Bill Touts Hillary as 'Agent of Change' LINK

ABC News' David Wright Reports: Man in Black: Obama Stole My Idea LINK

ABC News' Clayton Sandell Reports: Did White House Censor Science? LINK

ABC News' Jennifer Duck Reports: Bush Joined by Daniel Pearl's Parents for Hanukkah Reception LINK


Huckabee Ad: 'Secure Borders' Huckabee calls for "no amnesty," building a border fence, and "doing it now." LINK

Huckabee Ad: 'Better America' Mike Huckabee runs his first ad beyond Iowa, including also N.H. and S.C. LINK

Gore Accepts Nobel Nod Former VP Al Gore: "It is time to make peace with the planet." LINK

Paul & Stossel: Libertarians Talks Paul: "Problems can be solved with a lot less government." LINK

Superstar Politics Which presidential candidate is winning the charisma battle? LINK

Sen. Hillary Clinton's Family Affair Chelsea Clinton supports her mother on the campaign trail. LINK

The Gospel of Oprah Oprah Winfrey hits the campaign trail in support of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. LINK

Hitting Huckabee The Iowa front runner Mike Huckabee faces scrutiny on past AIDS comments. LINK

Gingrich: NIE Report 'Misleading' Gingrich on Iran report, CIA tapes and the 2008 race. LINK

Biden Wants CIA Tapes Special Counsel Foreign Relations Committee chair says internal investigation isn't enough. LINK

Sunday Sound A weekly wrap of the Sunday television news programs. LINK

Green Room: Next Time, Ask! Backstage: George Will, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson. LINK

Oprah for Obama Talk show host continues to fire up crowds for presidential candidate. LINK