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Giuliani Says He'll Leave Consulting Firm To Concenrate On White House Bid

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he will leave his consulting firm because of the demands of his White House bid.

Giuliani was asked about his role in Giuliani Partners LLP during a campaign stop in Columbia, but said he didn't have an exact time table on when he would leave.

``I'm largely out of it and I'm pretty much going to be out of it at some point pretty soon,'' he said.

Giuliani Partners was founded a few months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks that thrust Giuliani into the national spotlight. The firm advises businesses and government officials on emergency preparedness, public safety, and corporate governance.

Last month, Giuliani Partners said it was selling its investment banking arm, Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC, to Macquarie Group of Sydney, Australia.

Giuliani gave no indication he is considering leaving Bracewell & Giuliani, a well-established law firm in Washington and Houston that he joined in 2005. The firm is best known for its energy company clients.

The former mayor's bid for the presidency has increased attention on exactly who his business clients are, and how those relationships might affect his political platform.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ In an effort to manage the flood of debate requests the presidential contenders receive, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday it would sanction six debates before the early voting contests begin in January 2008.

The debates will take place once a month between July and December, with specific cities and media partners still to be worked out. But the DNC announced it won't sanction a proposed debate hosted by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, bowing to pressure from some Democratic activists who believe Fox favors Republicans and has slighted blacks.

The committee played a similar role in brokering debate requests before the 2004 presidential election.

``I'm pleased the DNC can help play a role in facilitating such an important dialogue with our candidates,'' Democratic Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement. ``Given our strong, dynamic and diverse field of Democratic candidates and the great enthusiasm voters already have expressed, we can expect a lively, thoughtful discussion of the issues.''

DNC officials said four of the six debates were likely to be held in the key early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Debates can offer candidates broad exposure and help those still struggling in the polls to get their message out. But many of the candidates running this year have been concerned about fitting so many debate requests into their schedules, and didn't want to alienate the powerful organizations who sponsor the gatherings.

In February, officials representing the so-called top tier Democratic contenders _ Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards _ met privately with DNC officials to determine ways to bring order to the process.

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BOSTON (AP) _ A day after Republican Mitt Romney revealed he had hunted only twice despite saying he was a lifelong hunter, one of his presidential rivals, Sen. John McCain, announced the members of his ``sportsmen coalition'' in early voting New Hampshire.

Among those supporting the Arizona senator is Steve Hodges, a former New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioner.

``John McCain has consistently worked to secure the rights of gun owners and strengthen law enforcement,'' Hodges said in a statement released by McCain's campaign. ``I am honored to help build his effort in New Hampshire.''

Another supporter, former state police trooper and Hillsborough County sheriff Walter Morse, said in the statement: ``As an avid hunter and former sheriff, I look for the candidate that understands the idea that with great freedoms come great responsibilities, which is why I am supporting Senator John McCain.''

The announcement came at the end of a week in which Romney said at a campaign appearance in Keene, N.H., ``I've been a hunter pretty much all my life.''

A day later, his staffed confirmed he had been on only two hunting trips at opposite ends of his life: once, when he visited his cousins' ranch in Idaho as a 15-year-old, and once last year, when as a 58-year-old he hunted quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia with supporters of the Republican Governors Association.

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SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Rep. Duncan Hunter, a longshot Republican presidential candidate, has raised more than $500,000, according to his campaign spokesman Roy Tyler.

``It's definitely north of $500,000, but less than $600,000,'' Tyler said. He said he didn't know whether that sum included transfers from Hunter's congressional campaign fund.

Final receipts were still being tallied and will not be released until next week, Tyler said.

Tyler, who was traveling with Hunter in Iowa, shrugged off the fundraising dominance of others in the Republican field, saying the campaign had not yet begun targeted fundraising efforts.

``These are not people we've solicited,'' Tyler said. ``All the money so far has come from supporters writing checks at events or giving through the Web site.''

He said a telemarketing operation launched this week was attracting thousands of dollars daily.

``We have enough money to run a campaign for now,'' Tyler said. ``The problem is that we have to have $25 million before the media will listen to us.''

Hunter, a 14-term congressman from San Diego and the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, has styled himself as the ``true conservative'' in the race, building his campaign on a clarion call for a strong national defense and secure borders.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says many Republicans will owe President Clinton an apology if Christian evangelicals in the party overlook candidates' personal lives.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, the Republican presidential hopeful complained that some in his party _ particularly Christian evangelicals _ ``talk as if in this election cycle Republican candidates aren't going to be held to a standard of personal accountability and responsibility for their personal lives.''

``If that's true, there are going to be a lot of Republicans who will owe Bill Clinton a great big public apology,'' Huckabee said. ``We can't have a set of rules that we apply to Democrats that we don't apply to ourselves. If we apply a different set of rules, then we have exposed one of the greatest levels of hypocrisy in the last generation of politics.''

Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who left office in January, shares the hometown of Hope with the former president, who also served as Arkansas' governor.

Huckabee did not mention any specific aspect of the personal life of Clinton, who was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate following revelations of a sexual relationship with a White House intern.
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