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Originally published Friday, December 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Campaign Notebook

Survey says voter uncertainty rampant for GOP

Dig beneath the surface of the Republican presidential race and you will find deeper turmoil: Four in 10 GOP voters have switched candidates...

WASHINGTON — Dig beneath the surface of the Republican presidential race and you will find deeper turmoil: Four in 10 GOP voters have switched candidates in the past month, and nearly two-thirds said they may change their minds again.

Mike Huckabee, who has roared to a tie with Rudy Giuliani, has little reason to feel safe, according to an ongoing national survey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo News.

Half of all voters — including four in 10 Republicans — know too little about Huckabee to say whether they have a favorable impression of him, let alone whether he is conservative, liberal or moderate. That could be ominous, because it gives his rivals the opportunity to define him.

The Democratic side is less chaotic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton maintaining a clear lead nationally over Barack Obama, though voters are shifting.

About one in five backs a different contender than in November, and nearly half say they may settle on someone else, according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks.

Giuliani defends 9/11 images in ad

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Republican Rudy Giuliani on Thursday defended a campaign ad that uses images from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, saying other candidates have relied on similar pictures.

The television ad features images of firefighters at Ground Zero on Sept. 11. The tragedy made the former New York mayor a national political figure.

"It's a part of my life that helps define me. It's not the only thing that defines me," Giuliani said, adding that he also has run ads about his record as mayor.

The one-minute spot is scheduled to air beginning today on cable's Fox News Channel and in Florida and New Hampshire.

Paul hopes to get Tancredo supporters

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Thursday said he expects to gain support from people who previously backed Tom Tancredo because of his tough stand against illegal immigration.

Tancredo, a Colorado congressman, quit the race for the Republican nomination Dec. 20. Although Tancredo endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Paul said many of those people are turning his way.

Paul opposes creation of a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, and he supports construction of a fence along the Mexico border, installation of more electronic surveillance and an increase in border patrols.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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