August 31, 2007
New polls in Iowa and New Hampshire from the American Research Group
show significant movement for Mike Huckabee in the GOP race in the wake of his surprise second-place showing in the Iowa straw poll and a surprise endorsement from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. (They endorsed Hillary on the Democratic side.) Huckabee is now statistically in a tie for second in Iowa, according to ARG. If his surge continues, this has the potential to turn the GOP race upside down, as it becomes essentially a four-man contest between Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson.
We'll assess the impact in a future Tote Board column (if the surge continues). But suffice it to say for now, once again, that Fred Thompson may have dawdled too long getting in.
August 30, 2007
The Politico breathlessly delivers word
that Fred Thompson will announce today that he's officially announcing on September 6.
As one online wag puts it, "It's the announcement of the announcement
about the announcement for the announcement."
The man has overstayed his welcome and he hasn't even been welcomed yet.
August 30, 2007
This week's column
, a wrap-up of the Democratic race, concludes that Barack Obama is still the figure to watch in the Democratic race.
August 29, 2007
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has gotten hold of an internal Rudy Giuliani campaign memo
that describes the January 29th primary in Florida as his "firewall."
That may not be enough. If Giuliani does poorly in the first three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, it's highly questionable that his current strong support in Florida will hold. That's always been the main hurdle facing his campaign and it's why he'd be much better off picking one of those first three states and throwing a lot of money and organization at them.
This is good news for Romney, who may be emerging as his principal opponent.
August 27, 2007
We're a bit late getting to this but Adam Reilly offers a very useful look
this week in the Phoenix at 3 pop culture developments that could affect the Romney campaign.
We've long felt that over time, Romney's religion would end up becoming a big plus for his campaign, not a minus. JFK in 1960 ended up benefiting greatly from the intense support of fellow Catholics who more than offset any lost support among those disinclined to support a member of his religious faith. We think ultimately that will be the electoral verdict on Romney's religion too. But it's not a foregone conclusion.
August 23, 2007
This week's column, "White Elephants,"
looks at the current state of the GOP race and concludes that Rudy Giuliani remains the steady favorite to win the nomination.
August 22, 2007
Joe Biden is on the air with an ad where he talks straight to the camera and speaks eloquently about a flag-draped coffin returning home and how the war in Iraq must end. Blake Dvorak at RealClear Politics raises the right issue:
Isn't Biden the Democratic candidate who is least identified with ending the war? And if so, what is he trying to do in this ad?
That isn't to say the ad doesn't carry some effectiveness. But we're stumped too.
August 21, 2007
According to a Peter Hart poll, cited in the Daily Kos
, John Edwards continues to hold a solid lead (8 points) in Iowa. This is in contrast to several other polls that had Hillary Clinton slightly ahead.
For Edwards, who has recently moved staff out of Nevada into Iowa, the Hawkeye State is the whole campaign. So, it's obviously encouraging news for him.
August 20, 2007
In contrast to everyone else in the campaign, Rudy Giuliani in the early stages is going old-fashioned by running his ads on radio. The most notable
, "Fence," running mostly in New Hampshire and South Carolina, focuses on his efforts to deal with immigration.
Radio buys obviously are much cheaper than TV ones so if the strategy works, it's good politics. It's also good politics for Giuliani to be expanding his focus from homeland security to another similar hot button issue.
August 18, 2007
August 17, 2007
Mitt Romney, who leaves no stone unturned, is back on the air in Iowa
thanking the voters for his straw poll victory. The ad features his
speech last Saturday, ending with the line, "Change begins in Iowa and
change begins today."
It wasn't even a good speech. But you'd never know it here.
Interesting point: By running on "change," Romney is now running against Bush. It's a clever strategy.
August 16, 2007
Think the constant debates help the campaigns of the challengers? Guess again: This week's Tote Board column
examines why the ever-present Democratic debates are destroying the
campaigns of John Edwards and Barack Obama, while helping Hillary.
August 15, 2007
Hillary Clinton has finally hit the airwaves in Iowa -- the last major Democratic candidate to do so. And her ad is a strong one. Titled "Invisible,"
it talks about all the invisible ordinary people in America who are ignored by the Bush Administration but won't be ignored by hers.
The ad subtly goes right after Barack Obama's main weakness, discussed earlier in a Tote Board column
. Obama's strength is among wealthier voters; Clinton is staking her claim to those who are less well-off, on the theory that the "elite candidates" in the party never manage to win the nomination. It's smart politics.
August 14, 2007
It's been reported everywhere that South Carolina Republicans have moved their primary to Jan. 19, which will likely force Iowa to vote on January 5 and New Hampshire on January 12.
What's been less reported is that the move is intended to boost Fred Thompson at Rudy Giuliani's and Mitt Romney's expense, since Thompson is already virtually out of the running in the first two states and will need to post a good showing somewhere before Florida votes on January 29.
But what if Newt Gingrich gets into the race? He divides the vote further and he's also a neighbor, like Thompson. Thus, the move may backfire. In any event, South Carolina now looms as a key test for the GOP and is likely to eliminate at least one of the major contenders from contention, if not more.
August 13, 2007