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by Ron Gunzburger
Publisher, Politics1.com

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2.13.04

CLARK BACKS KERRY. KerryOnly two days after exiting the Presidential race, Wes Clark endorsed John Kerry at a Friday morning event in Wisconsin. The move should further help Kerry with veterans, while also solidifying the feel of inevitability that is setting in about the Democratic nomination. (Of course, all of us political writers repeatedly used "inevitability" just a month or so ago when referring to Howard Dean -- reminding me of that great exchange from the movie Princess Bride where one character keeps exclaiming "Inconceivable!" each time something that is supposed to be impossible actually occurs ... until, finally, another character responds with "I don't think that means what you think it does.") Meanwhile, Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Sharpton and Kucinich will meet for a televised debate in Wisconsin on Sunday. Based on current polls, Kerry still looks well positioned to win in Wisconsin by a comfortable margin on Tuesday.

"KERRY AFFAIR" REDUX: MUCH LESS THAN IT APPEARS. John Kerry was hit on Thursday by the Drudge Report site with vague and factually shifting allegations of marital infidelity. One day later, there appears to be little to the story besides well-circulated old gossip. An Australian newspaper conducted an interview with the Pennsylvania parents of the 24-year-old woman at issue. The woman's father called Kerry a "sleaze-ball" in his comments and the woman's mother said she believed Kerry had been "after" her daughter. Beyond that, the parents admitted that they have no knowledge that Kerry ever had sex -- or any intimate relationship -- with their daughter. In fact, the only specific they could offer is that Kerry had once "called his daughter 'two or three years ago' to ask her to work on his [2002] re-election team." Kerry himself directly responded to the allegations Friday morning on the Imus radio show, saying that "there's nothing to report, nothing to talk about. There's nothing there. There's no story."

IS "TEN COMMANDMENTS JUDGE" CONSIDERING WHITE HOUSE RUN? Removed Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore appears to be quietly considering a third party run for President in 2004. Moore drew national headlines this summer when he was Mooredeposed from office over his defiant refusal to follow a court order that he remove a granite Ten Commandments monument that he had placed in the State Supreme Court building lobby. According to several sources, Moore -- currently a Republican -- is considering an offer from the Constitution Party that he run as their nominee for President this year. When recently asked by one conservative news organization if he was running for President, Moore ambiguously answered "Not right now." Moore is still appealing his removal, but that appeal is expected to be done fairly soon. "Anything is possible. However, until the appeal process has been run through, he'll make no decision for political office," said Moore's spokesperson. Conservative attorney Mike Peroutka is the CP's designated "provisional nominee," subject to ratification at this summer's national convention. However, Peroutka has stated he would step aside if the party could recruit a big name candidate. Moore is reportedly watching to see how the GOP and President Bush handle the current gay marriage issue before making his decision on the race. Moore is no moderate on the gay issue. “Homosexuality is an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it. The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution," wrote Moore in a 2002 court ruling. The Constitution Party is expected to obtain ballot status in about 40 states.

DREDGING DRUDGE. It is Drudgealways amusing to see the irony each time Internet scoopster Matt Drudge takes aim at the private life of political figure. Why ironic? Because Drudge seems to go to great lengths to deny he's gay and protect his own privacy, even though he's been repeatedly outed as gay. Writer David Brock, MSNBC reporter Jeannette Walls and others reported on this. As for Drudge's claimed "Exclusive!" on Kerry's sex life this week, there appear to be a few problems. First, it wasn't even an exclusive as another web site reported the sketchy details a week ago (but no one noticed because the other political blog site has a small audience). Second, Drudge kept rewriting his "Exclusive!" throughout the day and his details kept shifting. The dates changed, the settings changed, etc. Is the Kerry story another one like his Sidney Blumenthal story that turned out to be total fiction ... or is it one of those he got more-or-less right? Then again, Drudge himself once flippantly told CNN that his stories are only "80% accurate." Is this little Drudge column a cheap shot at him? Yes! But is it well deserved? Yes! (And -- FYI -- I'd react the same Drudge did similar to President Bush or anyone else before bothering to get his facts straight.)

2.12.04

KERRY SEX SCANDAL ... OR SMEAR JOB? Matt Drudge has a spotty record for accuracy in his breathless "Exclusives!" on his DrudgeReport site, but he has broken some sensation stories in the past that proved true. The Monica Lewinsky affair certainly ranks at the top of Drudge's list. By contrast, the totally false Sidney Blumenthal wife beating story ranks at the bottom. On Thursday, Drudge reported an exclusive that claims John Kerry had a "recent alleged infidelity" with a woman who worked in DC. Her identity in the write-up is sketchy, referred to at one point as having worked for the Associated Press, but at another time she is referred to an "intern." The story further claims the other campaigns knew of this story and it is the reason Howard Dean backed off his Wisconsin do-or-die pledge. The story even quotes Wes Clark as telling reporters off-the-record on Monday that "Kerry will implode over an intern issue." According to Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly, top Clark advisor Chris Lehane had recently been shopping this story around to the political reporters. Lehane -- who specializes in finding and leaking damaging opposition research stories to the press -- formerly worked for Kerry before two split apart last fall. Lehane was also purportedly the confidential source of some of the damaging news reports that wounded Dean over the past two months. According to Crawford, "the Kerry camp has long expected to deal with this, and have assured party leaders they can handle it." Lehane reportedly learned of the allegations in 2000 while he was a top Gore aide and Kerry was then under consideration for the VP spot. Lehane denies he is the source of any of these damaging stories on Dean or the new Kerry allegations. Drudge, meanwhile, keeps rewriting his story and changing the facts/dates as he keeps reposting it. And, FYI, it appears the story isn't even a Drudge exclusive as WatchBlog apparently posted references to it a week ago.

DEMS LOOK STRONG IN TWO HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTIONS. Former Attorney General Ben Chandler (D-KY) looks poised to score a Democratic pickup in the Ben ChandlerCongressional special election next Tuesday in the KY-6 race. Chandler continues to lead State Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R) by a margin of several points in recent polls. The seat was left vacant when Congressman Ernie Fletcher (R) was elected Kentucky Governor -- over Chandler -- last November. The Republicans initially tried to make the race into an early referendum of support for President Bush. However, since that didn't seem to be working, GOP insiders are now trying to blame the likely defeat on Kerr -- not Bush -- by noting that she has run an uninspiring campaign. Dems see the likely result as promising news, as the district is fairly center-conservative. Republicans are saying the seat was really a "swing seat" and a Dem win would merely be an anomaly. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, a new KELO-TV poll shows that attorney Stephanie Herseth (D) holds a wide lead over former State Senator Larry Diedrich (R) in the June 1 special election for the vacant Congressional seat there. The numbers: Herseth-58%, Diedrich-29%. A Herseth win would be another Democratic pickup, as the seat was formerly held by Congressman Bill Janklow (R). No Democrat has won a Republican-held Congressional seat in a special election anywhere since 1991.

BushBUSH CUTS BACK PROMISE TO RELEASE GUARD RECORDS. President Bush this past weekend promised to release to the public all records concerning his service in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War in an effort to put to rest allegations he was essentially AWOL during a full year of his service commitment. Bush now appears to be quickly backing away from that pledge. According to the Washington Post, White Housh Communications Director Dan Bartlett said "that anything new concerning Bush's attendance in Alabama would be released. But Bartlett ... was emphatic that the White House had no immediate plans to open Bush's entire file ... 'These are attempts to troll for personal records for partisan advantage. We're not going to play,' Bartlett said." In a directly related story, USA Today reported Thursday that shortly before launching his 2000 Presidential campaign, aides to then-Texas Governor Bush and "top-ranking Texas National Guard officers ... discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush's military records."

CLARK SUPER-DELEGATES BEGIN SHIFT TO KERRY. It didn't take long for Wes Clark's super-delegates to begin the rush over to the Kerry campaign. Clark exited the race just one day ago on an upbeat note. "For me, this race has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I've been able to talk about what I believe in and fight for it," said the retired Army General. Without mentioning Kerry by name, Clark also promised to actively support the Democratic nominee. "This soldier stands ready for duty ... I've got one bit of advice for our nominee: Give 'em hell and never retreat," said Clark. Among the Clark supporters who immediately endorsed Kerry were Congressmen Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Mike Ross (D-AR), Marion Berry (D-AR), and Vic Snyder (D-AR). The AP now reports that Clark himself will endorse Kerry in Wisconsin on Friday.

2.11.04

KERRY WINS BIG IN VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE. John Kerry on Tuesday smashed some of the last remaining doubts on his road to the nomination by proving that a Massachusetts Dem could win -- and win big -- in Southern state primaries. In Virginia, Kerry captured nearly twice as many votes as his nearest rival. The Virginia results: Kerry- 51%, John Edwards-27%, Wes Clark-9%, Howard Dean-7%, Al Sharpton-3%, and Dennis Kucinich-1%. The Tennessee numbers: Kerry-41%, Edwards-26%, Clark-23%, Dean-4%, Sharpton-2%. Clark campaigned and advertised the most in Tennessee -- but still finished third. Kerry's numbers reduced Edwards and Clark to "also-rans." Next week, Kerry will very likely to do the same to Dean in Wisconsin. That brings Kerry's record to date to 12 wins and 2 losses. So, now that we've awarded the nomination to Kerry, let's get back to "The Long List" of realistic VP possibilities: Bob Graham, Evan Bayh, Dick Gephardt, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Wes Clark, Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner, Mary Landrieu, John Breaux, Blanche Lincoln, Gary Locke, Ed Rendell, Rod Blagojevich and Max Cleland... are we missing anyone? Hey, to be mischievous (or imaginatively unorthodox), let's even add John McCain to the list.

CLARK EXITS RACE. After two disappointing third place finishes Tuesday, Wes Clark will announce ClarkWednesday that he is ending his White House run. Clark's campaign spokesman confirmed the story. The writing was on the wall for the past few days. Just check out these clues: (1) He cancelled his fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday; (2) Speaking with reporters during the day on Tuesday, he spoke of his campaign in the past tense; (3) Clark's schedule posted on his campaign site no longer lists any events after Tuesday evening; and (4) Clark was ready to exit the race a week ago but his wife convinced him to stay in and see if he could win Tennessee. Clark even joked with reporters Monday that the network embeds in his campaign were only covering his campaign's "death watch" and only film him "to see if I'm going to have a heart attack while I'm talking to you. It's nothing that I'm saying that's particularly interesting." Clark's aides already are openly saying that Clark should be on Kerry's short list for Vice President. Edwards is also on the endangered species list -- but he's likely to stay in the race for another week or two.

"TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN A WOOD, AND ..." Topic for discussion. Here's some free advice for Howard Dean: If you lose Wisconsin on Tuesday, Deantake a day or two off with your family in Shelburne to decide what you really want to do with your future. Do you really want to continue after that point with what would then perceptively evolve into a largely marginalized and media-ignored vanity run for President? Or -- here's an idea -- why not then fold your White House campaign but immediately retool yourself into the true dynamic leader of the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." Your existing national network of zealously devoted supporters, your Internet savvy and your amazing fundraising abilities would enable you to open shop the next day as the leader of the largest Democratic activist organization in America (one that would even rival MoveOn.org, etc., in size and abilities). That group could mobilize an army -- with you at the helm -- aimed at helping the Dems recapture control of Congress and state legislatures. Hmm ... is that why Joe Trippi just registered the ChangeForAmerica.com domain name? Or, you can stay in what is a becoming an increasingly futile Presidential race and keep sipping the Kool-Aid.

FULL DISCLOSURE. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm finally going to do what I've avoided doing for the past 6+ years that I've been publishing Politics1. Yup, I'm finally going to reveal my political history. It never seemed relevant before I added this blog to the site but -- since I must acknowledge that my perceptions sometimes seep into this blog -- now it seems appropriate to reveal some details. Please read through the whole list, as you may be surprised by some of this ...

  • I'm currently a registered Democrat, although I've switched parties between D, R and Independent five times to date. I can find much to dislike about both major parties -- although I would like to believe that both sides really do want what is best for this country (even when they disagree about what that is).
  • I worked as a paid campaign consultant in over 120 campaigns during 1982-2002 -- but became so jaded and skeptical towards the political process (and many candidates) that I decided it was best for me to step back for a while. My clients were probably 75% Dems, 20% Republicans, and 5% Independents.
  • As a 12 year old, I first leafleted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 (Rosalyn Carter even came to our house for a coffee in 1975 before anyone knew who her husband was). By 1984, I voted for Ronald Reagan. I initially liked Perot in 1992 -- I even cast a write-in vote for Perot in the GOP primary -- but became disenchanted with him before November (he was just too flaky).
  • I've voted for third party candidates for President more than once over the years.
  • I admire Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson -- to pick an R and a D as examples -- because they were both true leaders. To wit: Reagan's aggressive anti-communist agenda and LBJ's civil rights agenda. Agree or disagree with them, they held fundamental beliefs about what was best for America and Ron Gunzburger in NHthey won the public over to their side (even when their views were initially unpopular or controversial). By contrast, Presidents who poll nightly and adjust their positions to match frequent shifts in the poll numbers are not leaders -- as anyone can run to the front of a parade and pretend to be leading it.
  • In 2000, I contributed to John McCain's Presidential campaign -- and I still really like the guy.
  • I supported the post-9/11 military campaign in Afghanistan (and still want to see Bin Laden captured or killed). I supported the Iraq War -- and think the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power -- but would not have done so had I known then what I know today (no WMDs ... plus I just read the Paul O'Neill book).
  • I love ice hockey, the Simpsons, Sopranos, The Daily Show and South Park... despise Fear Factor and hip hop music ... never listen to talk radio ... and almost exclusively read non-fiction books ... but that's not really politics.
  • I believe the amount of money corrupt politicians in elective office is very, very few in number. I believe that the amount of ego and power corrupt politicians is rather high.
  • I'm a fiscally responsible, socially liberal, pro-gun rights, environmentalist, civil libertarian ... and, FYI for any of you Club for Growth folks, I hate sushi, drive an SUV, don't drink lattes (but do admit to sipping mochas), pay my taxes (grudgingly), believe in God, love this country, and don't have any body piercings.
  • In 2004, I contributed to Howard Dean and was even one of those who traveled to NH as a Dean volunteer. I was the GOTV captain for Dean in a Concord ward on primary day last month. I supported Dean for much of the same reason I supported McCain last time: both are populist advocates of real systemic political reform, both are insurgents seeking to break the traditional power wielded by special interest deep pockets, and both offered the hope of bringing millions of disaffected Americans back into the political process.

Okay, that's enough confessional. We may disagree from time to time on things here in the blog, but I will always try to treat all folks respectfully. I hope you'll do likewise towards me. I promise to keep on running the same kind of inclusive, fair site I've run for the past 6+ years. And -- as always -- I really appreciate your comments to publisher@politics1.com (I can't answer them all, but I read every single one). Please let me know how you think I'm doing.
- Ron

2.10.04

CAN WE START TALKING ABOUT KERRY RUNNINGMATES YET? New independent polls show that John Kerry is poised to win big in primaries Tuesday in Tennessee and Virginia. The wins will essentially lock-up the nomination for Kerry, eliminating John Edwards and Wes Clark as threats. VIRGINIA (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-47%, Edwards-24%, Clark-11%, and Dean-10%. VIRGINIA (WSLS-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-43%, Edwards-22%, Clark-12%, Dean-10%, and Sharpton-7%. TENNESSEE (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-45%, Edwards-21%, Clark-19%, and Dean-5%. TENNESSEE (WBIR-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-35%, Edwards-25%, Clark-24%, and Dean-9%. Big losses could knock Edwards and/or Clark from the race this week. New media polls also show Kerry cruising to landslide victories in upcoming contests in New York (Kerry leads Dean by 34 points) and Maryland (Kerry leads Edwards by 32 points). So, is it time yet to start focusing on who will be Kerry's runningmate? Will it be Bob Graham, John Edwards, Mary Landrieu, Mark Warner, Dick Gephardt, Evan Bayh, or "Other" for VP?

IS DEAN AUDITIONING FOR DREAMGIRLS? Howard Dean announced Howard Dean in DreamgirlsMonday afternoon that he's changed his mind about quitting the race. Now he says he'll stay in the race even if he loses Wisconsin's primary next Tuesday. Yes, he's finished second in lots of states -- but that doesn't win anyone the nomination. So, what's the tie-in between Dean and the musical Dreamgirls, you ask? Check out the lyrics from Jennifer Holiday's show-stopper tune from the show (only imagine Dean singing them): "And I am telling you, I'm not going ... There's no way I can ever go, No, no, no, no way, No, no, no, no way, I'm livin' without you. I'm not livin' without you. I don't want to be free. I'm stayin', I'm stayin', And you, and you, you're gonna love me. Ooh, you're gonna love me ... And I am telling you, I'm not going, Even though the rough times are showing, There's just no way, There's no way ... Tear down the mountains, Yell, scream and shout, You can say what you want, I'm not walkin' out, Stop all the rivers, Push, strike, and kill, I'm not gonna leave you, There's no way I will ... I'm stayin', I'm stayin', And you, and you, You're gonna love me. Oh, hey, you're gonna love me, Yes, ah, ooh, ooh, love me, Ooh, ooh, ooh, love me, Love me, Love me, Love me, Love me, You're gonna love me." Of course, if John Edwards and Wes Clark stay in the race after likely losses Tuesday in VA and TN, they can join him in the Dreamgirls roadshow.

LEADING GREEN CANDIDATE SEEKS TO AVOID "SPOILER" ROLE. CobbFormer Green Party General Counsel David Cobb -- the frontrunner for the Green Party's 2004 Presidential nomination -- doesn't want to see his party do anything that would contribute to re-electing President Bush. That's why he's now advocating that the Greens pursue a "Safe States" strategy in 2004. Under that strategy, the Greens will only make an effort this year to win votes in states that are not competitive (i.e., states that won't hurt the Dems chances of winning). "Running a 'Safe States' campaign is safe for the Democrats, but will hurt the Greens by losing us ballot access in about a dozen states where ballot access is linked to the Presidential campaign," complained one prominent NY Greens activist.

2.9.04

KERRY WINS THREE MORE STATES OVER WEEKEND. John Kerry had a good day on Saturday, winning the Democratic caucuses in both Michigan and Washington State. In Michigan, Kerry finished far ahead of the field with 52%. Howard Dean was second with 17%, followed by John Edwards at 13%, Al Sharpton and Wes Clark tied with 7% apiece, and Dennis Kucinich last with 3%. In Washington, it was "close-ish" but no cigar for Dean. Earlier in the week, Dean had hoped to pull off an upset win over Kerry in Washington -- but it was not to be. The Washington results: Kerry-49%, Dean-30%, Kucinich-8%, Edwards-7%, Clark-3%, and Sharpton last with just a handful of votes. Kerry also won the Maine caucuses on Sunday, with Dean (yet again) finishing second place. The Maine results: Kerry had 45%, Dean had 26%, Kucnich had 15%, Edwards had 9%, Clark had 4% and Sharpton again had less than 1%.

2.8.04

MIXED NEWS FROM BURLINGTON. There were lots of other developments Saturday on from the Dean campaign. DeanThe bad news for Dean: the large AFSCME union withdrew its endorsement of Dean. The union's endorsement of Dean last November was a major coup for his insurgent campaign, as it (along with SEIU's endorsement) ensured Dean had enough votes to deny the AFL-CIO endorsement to then-rival Dick Gephardt. In some good news, SEIU -- the largest individual labor union in the nation -- indicated Saturday it was prepared to stick with Dean for as long as he remains in the race. The Painter's union (IUPAT) is also sticking with Dean. In some good news for Dean, his campaign quickly raised over $1.1 million online over the past two days -- money largely earmarked for TV spots and more staffing in Wisconsin. And -- in an interesting twist -- Dean told reporters Saturday that he would be willing to accept the VP spot on the ticket this year. "Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything," said Dean. "Let me say that if John Kerry is the nominee I'm going to support him. Second of all, if John Kerry were the nominee, I'd advise him not to pick me [for VP] because you don't need two people from New England on the ticket [but] I will do whatever I can to beat George Bush."

2.6.04

GEPHARDT ENDORSES KERRY. Congressman Dick Gephardt ended his GephardtPresidential campaign a little over three weeks ago after his dismal fourth place finish in the Iowa Caucuses. He then kept his word and made no endorsement before his homestate of Missouri held its primary earlier this week. Today, Gephardt is set to endorse Kerry at a rally in Michigan. In a directly related story, the Teamsters a coalition of more than a dozen industrial labor unions that had endorsed Gephardt are also set to endorse Kerry sometime within the next few days. Of course, based on the latest Michigan polls, Kerry is running so far ahead in the state that he's already set to cruise to a landslide win there on Saturday. Howard Dean, meanwhile, cancelled further appearances in the state and hastily pulled out nearly all his paid staff on Thursday in order to redeploy them to Wisconsin.

WISCONSIN NUMBERS. Howard Dean said Thursday that Wisconsin (February 17) is his do-or-die state. On his site, as of 10:30 Friday morning, he's raised over $800,000 to pay for TV buys in the state. Still, the latest news for Dean there isn't so rosy. Here are the latest numbers from the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal/Univ of Wisconsin poll of likely Dem primary voters: Kerry-45%, Dean-12%, Clark-11%, Edwards-6%, Kucinich-3%, Sharpton-1%.

2.5.04

IS THE END NEAR? News Kerrycoming from the Howard Dean, Wes Clark and John Edwards campaigns indicate that John Kerry may be close to locking up the Democratic nomination for President. In terms of delegates, the race still looks wide open with Kerry at 248, Dean at 121, Edwards at 102, Clark at 80, Sharpton at 5 and Kucnich at 2 -- and 2,161 are needed to win the nomination. Yet, despite the long way to go in numbers, Kerry's opponents are all running very low on money and momentum. Dean, for example, wanted wins this weekend in Michigan and Washington. Now Dean concedes he has "no chance" of winning Michigan. In fact -- after declaring Washington a "must-win" for his campaign earlier in the week -- the Dean campaign seemingly admits that they are also unlikely to win there on Saturday. In a fundraising email to supporters Thursday morning, Dean wrote that "anything less [than a win in Wisconsin] will put us out of this race." For now, Dean cannot even buy TV airtime there. As for Clark, it appears now that he was ready to withdraw from the race two nights ago following his poor showings in most of Tuesday's contest states. Clark's wife, however, apparently convinced him to continue for another week and see if he can win Tennessee before making any decision on ending his run. Clark's staff of 250 have also agreed to work without pay for the next week as a cost-saving measure. Edwards is also facing money woes and has no money to buy TV spots in any states outside the upcoming Southern contests. By conceding these states the Kerry, his opponents have made him almost impossible to derail. Yes, there are two other guys in the race, but they aren't factors. Kucnich isn't any threat to Kerry, so it matters not that he plans to continue for a while longer. As for Sharpton, watch for him to continue for so long as it keeps him in the public spotlight -- especially after the Village Voice's devastating investigative article this week exposed that veteran GOP consultant Roger Stone is basically running the Sharpton campaign and arranging for all of it's financing.

MICHIGAN NUMBERS. Here are the latest numbers out of Michigan from today's Detroit News poll: Kerry-56%, Dean-9%, Edwards-7%, Clark-3%, Kucinich-2%. The vote is February 7th.

SOCIALIST PARTY IN TURMOIL. Walt BrownLast fall, the Socialist Party-USA nominated retired Oregon State Senator Walt Brown as its Presidential nominee for 2004. Brown -- a former Democrat -- was the most mainstream of the democratic socialists contenders in last year's nomination fight. More strident Marxists in the party opposed Brown, but were not able to block him. Now, months later, a vocal faction in the party is trying to force Brown from the ticket because of his views on the abortion issue. The SP-USA platform is solidly pro-choice, and without exceptions. Brown, it turns out, personally supports the ban on partial birth abortions. Contentious emails are flying between the party's various leaders and factions. Some demand that Brown quit the ticket. Others support Brown, noting that he is running on the party's platform -- so he is de facto fine with them on the issue. One group of activists in the party are calling for a mail referendum by party members to decide Brown's fate. "I would quit SP USA today if members were not calling for Brown's resignation, and for a referendum to achieve that if he doesn't voluntarily resign," wrote SP-USA labor activist Tanya Smith. "I would really be stunned if a handful of people could overturn a convention decision. You say you'd resign if this doesn't happen - but consider that others will resign if it does happen, because they are committed to a democratic process. Time that should be used for getting ballot access is being lost," retorted 2000 SP-USA Presidential nominee and former SP-USA National Chair David McReynolds.

2.4.04

TUESDAY'S RESULTS: WE STILL HAVE A RACE! Voters in South Carolina, Delaware, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Arizona and New MexicoEdwards all saw their shadows as they cast ballots on Tuesday, ensuring that there will still be some more weeks of competitive Presidential primaries. Based upon the results, John Kerry doesn't yet have the race locked up -- and has yet to prove he can win a Southern state. John Edwards was declared the winner in South Carolina by a 45% to 30% vote over Kerry, and Al Sharpton was third with 10%. Kerry, meanwhile, scored big wins in Missouri, Delaware, North Dakota, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Oklahoma, Wes Clark narrowly edged out Edwards for first place, with Kerry a close third. Howard Dean also proved that reports of his political demise were somewhat premature, as he was able to pickup some delegates in New Mexico and Arizona. Instead of the seven state knockout blow Kerry hoped to score against his entire pack of challengers, all he managed to do was eliminate Joe Lieberman. The fight next moves to the Kerry-versus-Dean caucus battles in Michigan and Washington State on Saturday. Dean on Wednesday declared Washington a "must win" for his faltering campaign. Clark, meanwhile, seems to be scaling backing his campaign now to largely focus on the upcoming Southern states.

LiebermanLIEBERMAN EXITS WHITE HOUSE RACE. While votes were still being cast mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Senator Joe Lieberman was already preparing to exit the Presidential race. He needed a win today to remain in the race, but election night results indicated that he did not come close to winning anywhere. He had declared tiny Delaware to be his make-or-break state, but finished nearly forty points behind winner John Kerry in the state. Lieberman's campaign had already called key supporters during the day to let them know that the Senator would make his concession speech tonight in Virginia. In his remarks, Lieberman said: "It is now time to make a difficult but realistic decision. After looking at the returns and speaking with my family and campaign team, I have decided tonight to end my quest for the Presidency."

LOUISIANA CONGRESSMAN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT. Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) announced late Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in 2004. Tauzin also immediately resigned as Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The move comes as Tauzin is attempting to land a job as one of the top-salaried lobbyists in DC. Tauzin is seeking the $1 million/year chief lobbyist position with PhRMA, the leading voice in DC for the pharmaceutical industry. The resignation as Chairman came in response to complaints from his GOP colleagues that he created a public perception that the job would appear to be a payback for his having just navigated through his committee a bill widely considered favorable to the drug industry.

2.3.04

THEY'RE VOTING TODAY!! South Carolina, DeanDelaware, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico. If early exit polls are close to correct -- and they certainly were NOT last week in NH -- John Kerry doesn't yet have the race locked up. John Edwards appears to be leading in both SC and OK, which is certainly bad news to Kerry and Wes Clark. Kerry is likely to score convincing wins in MO, DE, AZ and ND. Howard Dean also hopes to prove his campaign is still in play by scoring at least a strong second place finish in NM and capturing some delegates in AZ and elsewhere. Dean's campaign also announced that it had raised nearly $2 million online since losing NH last week -- enough money to make payroll for everyone and start buying ads again in upcoming contests. Clark should qualify for delegates in AZ and OK, but looks unlikely to win anywhere tonight if the exit polls hold up. Al Sharpton may hit the double digits in SC. Stay tuned.

LIEBERMAN SET TO EXIT RACE. While votes were still being cast mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the AP reported that Senator Joe Lieberman is already preparing to exit the Presidential race on Wednesday in Connecticut. He needed a win today to remain in the race, but tracking polls and the voter exit polls indicate that he will not come close to winning anywhere. He declared tiny Delaware to be his make-or-break state, but exit polls today indicate he was running a very distant third there. Lieberman's campaign was purportedly already calling key supporters today to let them know that the Senator will make his concession speech tonight in Virginia, then fly home to make his formal withdrawal tomorrow. A Lieberman spokesman denied the account, saying "funny things [can] happen on election day."

2.2.04

KERRY LEAD HOLDINGKerry FOR TUESDAY'S RACES. John Kerry's lead in most of the February 3 contest states still appears to be holding, although John Edwards is maintaining a narrow lead in SC and Wes Clark is moving up in OK. Here are the new independent poll numbers released Monday. ARIZONA (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-36%, Clark-25%, Dean-13%, Lieberman and Edwards tied at 6% each, Kucinich-1%. Dean may still do okay in AZ, as nearly half of all votes expected to be cast here were voted in advance by mail (including many cast before Dean's collapse in the polls). ARIZONA (Arizona Republic): Kerry-32%, Clark-19%, Dean-12%, Lieberman-7%, Edwards-6%. Clark is hoping for a close second in AZ to keep his campaign going. SOUTH CAROLINA (MSNBC/Zogby): Edwards-26%, Kerry-24%, Clark-9%, Dean-7%, Sharpton-6%, Lieberman-5%, Kucinich-1%. SOUTH CAROLINA (CBS News): Edwards-28%, Kerry-24%, Sharpton-13%, Clark-10%, Dean-8%, Lieberman-6%. Edwards has said he will quit the race if he doesn't win SC. Lieberman also won the endorsement today of the largest newspaper in SC. DELAWARE (WCAU-TV): Kerry-42%, Dean-12%, Edwards-11%, Lieberman-10%, Clark and Sharpton tied with 9% each. Lieberman was counting on a win in DE. MISSOURI (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-43%, Edwards-14%, Dean-7%, Clark-4%, Lieberman and Sharpton tied at 3% each. OKLAHOMA (MSNBC/Zogby): Clark and Kerry tied for first with 24% apiece, Edwards-16%, Lieberman-6%, Dean-5%. OKLAHOMA (KFOR-TV): Clark-31%, Kerry-25%, Edwards-23%, Dean-9%. OK is Clark's only real shot at a win on Tuesday. Lieberman has several major political endorsements in OK, but still registers near the bottom of the polls. NORTH DAKOTA: No recent polls. NEW MEXICO: Nothing new, but an Albuquerque Journal poll released on Friday showed Kerry-31%, Dean-15%, Clark-14%, Edwards-7%, Lieberman-3%, Kucinich-2%. NM is really the only state on February 3 where the Dean campaign is making any effort to win votes.

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