June 29, 2007
Real Clear Politics has a good summary of the debate reaction
And that reaction pretty much fits the pattern of the previous debates.
The "experts" give it to Hillary, with Obama a close second, and
Richardson unimpressive as usual.
disturbing in all this is that one senses these "judges" are mailing in
the scorecards. The press generally wants a two-person race so it's
going to make the debates conform to that, reality be damned. The truth
is we think Edwards has put in some pretty good performances and Joe
Biden hasn't been bad either. But saying that would destroy the
symmetry that the race demands.
By the way, we still think Deval was the most impressive.
June 29, 2007
The Democrat who benefited the most from last night's debate was . . . Deval Patrick.
People in Massachusetts have gotten used to his lofty rhetoric but it was one heck of an introduction.
Campaign 2016 isn't that far away.
June 28, 2007
It's a tribute to how mundane the debates have become that the Democrats hold their third such gathering tonight at 9 pm EDT and there is absolutely no buzz in political circles about the event. That's too bad because:
-- the event is on PBS, rather than a cable network, guaranteeing the Dems their largest audience of the season so far, and
-- the event, held at Howard University, is likely to focus on domestic issues which deserve a better hearing.
It would be terribly surprising if tonight's debate had any long-term impact on the campaign. Watch Barack Obama to see if he continues to improve (especially in front of this audience which should give him an advantage), John Edwards to see if he's developing a second act, and Bill Richardson to see if he can possibly be as bad as he's been in the first two contests. Hillary Clinton will continue to present herself as above the field -- the party's logical choice.
Deval Patrick will give the introductions. It's his national debut!
June 28, 2007
With the multiplicity of web sites and papers following the 2008 Campaign, this week's Tote Board column
looks at the few sources a political junkie has to follow to really keep informed.
Briefly again they are: NEWS SOURCES
Feel free in the comment section below to suggest your own favorites and maybe we'll add them to the blog.
June 27, 2007
Barack Obama has begun his advertising foray, with two biographical ads, available here
, running in Iowa. They stress what makes him different -- namely, his "togetherness rhetoric" (which first came to national attention at the 2004 Democratic convention) and his decisions out of school both to work as a community organizer and then serve in the state legislature. They're designed, of course, to contrast Obama's biography with that of the current Democratic front-runner in the polls. The ads are OK, if somewhat pedestrian, because they feature too many talking heads. But they're a start.
June 26, 2007
June 25, 2007
Newsweek came out with a new presidential poll
over the weekend and the real news in it is that every major Democratic
contender beats every major Republican contender handily, with or
without Michael Bloomberg in the race. Early polls mean little in terms
of their predictive value. But this poll, at least for now, is likely
to bolster the campaign of Hillary Clinton, since one of the strongest
arguments that her opponents have been using against her is that they
are more electable than she is.
They are right, of course, but it's hard to make the argument in the face of surveys like this.
June 22, 2007
Nevada holds an early caucus this
year -- the Saturday in between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire
primary in January. It's held on a weekend -- so it won't get tons of
attention -- but it might provide a bit of spin for some candidates as
they head into the key New Hampshire primary.
poll out this week of likely caucus attendees from American Research
Group Inc.shows that for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton currently has a
huge 24-point lead over both John Edwards and Barack Obama in Nevada.
If this were to hold, it would provide Clinton with a bit of insurance
should she lose Iowa five days earlier.
really bad news in the poll is for Bill Richardson, who's been
targeting the state. He still languishes in single digits; unless he
makes a move in Nevada, his campaign is likely finished.
On the GOP side, Mitt Romney has jumped into a lead. Again, if this
holds, it could simply add to the momentum he's trying to build by
sweeping the early states.
The bad news in the
GOP poll is for John McCain. He's a neighbor, yet he's currently tied
for third with Fred Thompson. It wouldn't be a bad idea for McCain to
pour a lot of resources into Nevada, in the hopes of resurrecting his
campaign, should he lose badly in Iowa.
June 21, 2007
June 20, 2007
Fred Thompson hasn't even formally announced and already Rasmussen has him leading Rudy Giuliani by a point in the newest Rasmussen poll
It's obviously good news for Thompson, who's likely to find that the most popular thing to be in presidential politics is a candidate getting ready to run, as opposed to actually running. Since Thompson signaled his intentions about a month ago, Rudy Giuliani's numbers haven't dropped any more. The real loser in the past few weeks has been John McCain, who has lost considerable support to Thompson and whose campaign is in serious danger of falling apart.
The former star of Law and Order should enjoy his status while it lasts. Whether he can translate this support in the national polls to a similar standing in Iowa and New Hampshire is the real question facing him now.
June 20, 2007
Mitt Romney is back on the airwaves yet again with an ad, available here
-- this time calling for lower taxes and smaller government.
You have to give the man credit: If there's a popular position to be taken, he takes it.
June 19, 2007
June 19, 2007
One of the more remarkable aspects of this campaign so far has been the performance of the Bill Richardson campaign. Many consider his debate outings to be the worst in the field so far. A recent appearance on "Meet the Press" was described by columnist Robert Novak as "perhaps the worst performance in the show's history."
Yet he continues to do OK in the polls, albeit below the three leaders. Three things appear to be going on. First, Richardson must be doing better on the stump than he's doing when we see him on national TV. He's obviously making a somewhat successful effort to organize Hispanic voters -- which may pay off at the early Nevada caucus.
But the main thing that seems to be helping him is a set of terrific and funny ads that feature Richardson in a series of mock job interviews where he never impresses the interviewer. The latest (available here
) -- on energy policy -- again gives him a chance to list his accomplishments in a way voters are likely to remember them.
The problem for Richardson, of course, is that while his resume is impressive, he's failed to convey his vision for the future. If his next set of ads can do that -- and he can follow it up with better performances in national forums -- he might have something.
June 18, 2007
For the last few weeks in the Tote Board column, we've been looking at the prospects for the candidates in both parties in the first few contests. Now, a new poll from Mason-Dixon shows that voters in South Carolina could add a new wrinkle to the race.
For the Democrats, South Carolina votes on January 29 -- after Iowa and New Hampshire -- but before the mega-states on February 5. According to Mason-Dixon, Barack Obama has jumped out to a nine-point lead over Hillary Clinton in SC, largely on his strength in the black community.
This is an important development for two reasons. First, it shows that Obama is beginning to consolidate his support among black voters -- which will help him considerably in the later states. Second, it gives him a place to do well before Super Tuesday since he's currently trailing Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
For the Republicans, whose contest will occur on February 2, the results are more bad news for Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Without even announcing, Fred Thompson already leads in SC and McCain is a distant fourth.
Of course, the results in Iowa and New Hampshire could have a rub-off effect on South Carolina voters. But for now, the prospects for both front-runners don't look good in the Palmetto State.
June 15, 2007
Actually, that headline is a joke. But not that much of one. The New York Times has rather frighteningly reported this week
that Mitt Romney is stepping up his commercial bombardment of NH and Iowa voters via the airwaves.
So far, Romney has pretty much had the GOP airspace to himself, which helps explain why he now leads by substantial margins in the two earliest voting states.
It's tempting to say that Romney has bought his front-runner position in Iowa and New Hampshire. But, to be fair, if the candidate was not appealing to voters in his day-to-day campaigning and in the debates, the ads wouldn't be worth all that much. Ads have to be consistent with what voters see in free media or they don't work.
We'll get to reviewing the new Romney ads in the Tote Board when we have several days to spare to watch all of them.