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BACKS KERRY. Only
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
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  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."
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 deposed
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.
DRUDGE. It is always
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
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.)
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.
LOOK STRONG IN TWO HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTIONS. Former Attorney
Chandler (D-KY) looks poised to score a Democratic pickup
in the Congressional
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.
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."
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.
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.
EXITS RACE. After two disappointing third place finishes
Tuesday, Wes Clark will announce Wednesday
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.
DIVERGED IN A WOOD, AND ..." Topic for discussion. Here's
some free advice for Howard Dean: If you lose Wisconsin
on Tuesday, take
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.
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
- 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 they
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
- 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
- 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
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
(I can't answer them all, but I read every single one). Please
let me know how you think I'm doing.
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"
DEAN AUDITIONING FOR DREAMGIRLS? Howard Dean
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.
GREEN CANDIDATE SEEKS TO AVOID "SPOILER" ROLE.
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.
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%.
NEWS FROM BURLINGTON. There were lots of other developments
Saturday on from the Dean campaign. The
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."
ENDORSES KERRY. Congressman Dick Gephardt ended his Presidential
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.
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%.
THE END NEAR? News coming
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.
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.
PARTY IN TURMOIL. Last
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.
RESULTS: WE STILL HAVE A RACE! Voters in South Carolina,
Delaware, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico
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.
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."
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.
VOTING TODAY!! South Carolina, Delaware,
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
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."
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.