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BLOG ARCHIVE: APRIL 1-15, 2007.

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OBAMA LEADS IN SC; HATCH FOR A.G.; WARNER RETIREMENT WATCH; NC DOLE POLL.
SOUTH CAROLINA: A new independent poll is out with South Carolina Democratic Presidential primary rankings. According to the Insider Advantage poll, here are the SC numbers: Barack Obama - 34%, Hillary Clinton - 20%, John Edwards - 17%, Joe Biden - 3%, Bill Richardson - 2%, and Christopher Dodd - 1%. South Carolina is a key early primary contest, set for January 29.
UTAH: Speculation continues to grow that six-term US Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- former Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- is aggressively posturing behind the scenes to replace Al Gonzales in President Bush's Cabinet as the next Attorney General. Hatch would be certain to win swift Senate confirmation by a nearly unanimous vote. A Hatch appointment would also help improve Bush Administration relations on Capitol Hill. Numerous news reports, including inside-the-Beltway sources like Roll Call, all say Hatch very much wants the post as a nice way to close out his lengthy political career. Although Hatch was once a Presidential hopeful, most who know him say his real ambition for many years was to secure an appointment to the US Supreme Court. Now, at age 73, a realistic Hatch knows an appointment to the high court is most unlikely. If Hatch becomes AG, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R) would select an interim replacement who would be required to face voters next year in a special election for the remaining four-years of Hatch's current term. Several prominent Utah Republicans are already jockeying -- just in case -- to run next year.
VIRGINIA: In the strongest sign yet that five-term US Senator John Warner (R) plans to retire next year, just check out his 1Q-2007 fundraising totals posted with the FEC. For the first three months of the year, Warner raised just $500. No, that's not a typo. Only $500. Just a single check received from a homemaker. "As I have said consistently, I am seriously considering running again for the Senate. For the present, I am devoting my full attention to my Senate duties ... If I confirm my decision to seek reelection, I have every confidence that I will be able to raise sufficient resources and structure an organization to wage a vigorous campaign," said the 80-year-old Warner to The Politico. Warner also said he plans to hold a fundraiser in June. Not exactly a statement of ringing intent to run again -- and certainly not a message that would scare away a wealthy potential rival like former Governor Mark Warner (D).
NORTH CAROLINA: Dems are urging Congressman Brad Miller (D) to challenge US Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) next year. A new independent poll shows Dole starting well under the 50% danger mark for incumbents, meaning this could be a competitive race.
According to the Public Policy Polling survey, Dole currently leads Miller by a 44% to 33% vote.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.13.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Kurt Vonnegut, RIP.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.13.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

THOMPSON EDGES FORWARD; MEEHAN KINDA BACKS TSONGAS; LAUTENBERG RUNS; JOHNSON KEEPS OPTIONS OPEN IN SD.
THOMPSON: Conservative columnist Robert Novak reported actor and former US Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) is "very likely" to officially launch his Presidential campaign next week. Thompson announced Wednesday he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a slow-growing and not immediately life-threatening condition. "I am in remission and it is very treatable with drugs if treatment is needed in the future," he explained. It is believed Thompson lobbed the cancer story to the media now to see the reaction. If those involved in the Draft Thompson movement don't get scared away by the revelation, look for Thompson to jump into the race.
MASSACHUSETTS: Congressman Marty Meehan (D) promised he would not interject himself into the CD-5 special election primary this October to select his replacement. Instead, he vowed that he will simply endorse the winner of the crowded Democratic primary.
Does that mean Meehan is staying neutral? Well, it seems, not exactly. Ellen Meehan, the Congressman's wife, was just named as the Chair of Community College Dean Niki Tsongas's (D) campaign. Tsongas is also the widow of the late US Senator Paul Tsongas. In related news, Middlelex County Sheriff Jim DiPaola (D) quit the race this week and Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan (R) became the first GOP candidate to enter the contest. Other announced candidates are Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue, DNC Member David O'Brien, and State Representatives Jamie Eldridge (D), Barry Finegold (D) and Jim Miceli (D). The seat's history and registration heavily favors the winner of the Dem primary to win the general election. Meehan is resigning to become Chancellor or UMass-Lowell.
NEW JERSEY: Despite some rumors that US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) would retire next year -- when he will be 84 years old -- the buzz was apparently false. In a sign he intends to seek re-election, Lautenberg just posted new FEC numbers showing he has around $2 million cash-on-hand in his campaign account. The most likely GOP challengers are two second-tier hopefuls: State Assemblyman Michael Doherty and real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrooks.
SOUTH DAKOTA: While US Senator Tim Johnson (D) continues to recover from the serious brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him last year, his campaign is doing well in his absence. With the help of other Senators, Johnson raised $665,000 in 1Q-2007 and now has over $1.2 million cash-on-hand. "He is glad to know that things are moving forward, so he is in the best possible position to make that decision [on seeking re-election] down the line. Tim remains busy at rehabiliation and is just so thankful to his colleagues for all of their help during this time," said Johnson's spokesperson to USA Today.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.12.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.12.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FOX OUT-FOXED; GIBBONS SAYS WSJ ON DEM PAYROLL; GOV OTTER VISITS CUBA.
FOX/CBC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: With Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all officially boycotting the Congressional Black Caucus Presidential Primary Debate on FOX News Channel -- protesting what they complain is FOX's anti-Dem bias -- will anyone watch to see if Dennis Kucinich does better or worse than Chris Dodd (or whomever)? The event is now rendered meaningless by the absence of the entire first tier of Dem White House candidates. Of course, don't be surprised if nearly every remaining candidate withdraws from the FOX debate within the next few days.
NEVADA: Governor Jim Gibbons (R) is sounding a bit desperate these days. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Gibbons is the target of an FBI investigation for allegedly accepting secrets cash gifts from a Nevada defense contractor in return for Gibbons steering secret federal contracts to the company. This week Gibbons got those stories back on the front page of Nevada newspapers by claiming "the Democrats have paid to have these Wall Street Journal articles written." Gibbons' press secretary later pedaled the conspiracy story, describing the corruption allegations as "a significant effort on behalf of the Democratic Party to aggressively attack my boss' legislative agenda and provide further distraction, not allowing us to move forward leading the state. As far as the Wall Street Journal story goes, we don't know. We don't know who is providing it but we do hear rumors just like you do." A spokesman for the WSJ -- generally seen as a conservative, pro-Republican newspaper -- responded: "The Wall Street Journal's articles about Governor Gibbons are supported by extensive reporting. The Governor's suggestion that the Journal's coverage is a product of the Nevada Democrats is baseless."
CUBA: Idaho Governor Butch Otter (R) arrived in Cuba on Tuesday, leading a delegation of legislators and farmers from his state. The group will hold a series of meetings with officials in the Castro government. Otter is trying to increase the amount of Idaho farm products purchased by the Cuban government. "We are going to continue to build good relationships with the folks in Cuba. [The Idaho trade delegation] are all looking forward to the opportunity to negotiate and do business with Cuba," said Otter to the Reuters news service. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) led a similar delegation to Cuba last year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.11.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.11.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CFG LOOKS FOR SMITH FOE; CONGRESS UP; HARKIN SOLID; HUNTER SHIPPING OUT BUT STILL RUNNING.
OREGON: US Senator Gordon Smith (R) seems recently to have been remodeling himself in a more centrist way to help position himself for his re-election race next year. Examples: Smith now opposes the Iraq War and called for Attorney General Al Gonzales to resign. Dems feel bolstered because weak Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) managed to win re-election last year and the party recaptured control of the Oregon House. Well, Smith may have other problems because of his move to the center. According to the Salem Statesman-Journal, the conservative Club for Growth is possibly trying to find a primary challenger for Smith. CFG Executive Director David Keating told the newspaper Smith has not "done enough to control federal spending and "it's possible" the group might financially back a GOP challenger. Keating concedes they do not yet have a candidate, but the newspaper notes veteran anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore -- the 1998 GOP nominee for Governor -- said he is "giving thought" to the race. The Dems have a similar problem as the Club for Growth: they've yet to recruit a serious challenger, although several are looking at the seat.
CONGRESS: A new AP/Ipsos poll shows the Congress is enjoying the highest approval rating in over a year. While the new 40% approval rating is still a generally lackluster showing, it is a significant improvement over the dismal 25% approval rating Congress held last year.
IOWA: US Senator Tom Harkin (D) is looking increasingly strong for his 2008 re-election race. He has more than $2 million in the bank and the Republicans are unable to name a single viable challenger to take on the incumbent. US Senator Chuck Grassley (R), appearing this weekend on Iowa Public Television, was unable to name a single major GOP hopeful looking at the race. "I don’t have a name to throw out now, but there is a lot of people that are asking questions about running against him and there’s a lot of recruiting going on as well," said Grassley. Maybe this is one reason for the problem: the Congressional Research Service says Harkin has defeated more sitting Republican Members of Congress -- five -- than any Democrat in the history of the US Senate
.
CALIFORNIA: USMC Reservist Duncan D. Hunter (R) is finding a major obstacle in his 2008 run for the US House seat being vacated by his father -- although he remains the frontrunner in the race. Hunter has already completed two tours of duty in Iraq, and just last week he received new orders recalling him to active duty for a third deployment. According to the Washington Times, the order means Hunter is certain to be in either to either Iraq or Afghanistan when the election takes place. Hunter, 30, says he will remain a candidate no matter where he is located next year. "In fact it makes me want to run more than ever. It seems like nobody is listening right now to the conservative side of the war debate. I'm sure a lot of people think they're speaking the truth when they talk about [the war], but they don't have the experience," he explained. San Diego County GOP Chair Tony Krvaric said he expects as many as a dozen other Republicans will also face-off with Hunter in the open primary for the CD-52 seat. Hunter's father is vacating the seat to run for President after 26 years in the House.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.10.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.10.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

RUDY LEADS IN SC; ALLEN-COLLINS; NELSON FOR HAGEL; NEWT HITS GONZALES.
SOUTH CAROLINA: A new FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll of South Carolina Republicans shows Rudy Giuliani holding a narrow lead in the state. The numbers: Giuliani - 26%, John McCain - 25%, Mitt Romney - 14%, Newt Gingrich - 5%, and all others at 2% or less.
MAINE:
The Hotline reported: Congressman "Tom Allen (D) has not officially announced a SEN candidacy, he seems all but certain to run [against US Senator Susan Collins (R)] and had more CoH at the start of '07 than Collins."
HAGEL: US Senator Ben Nelson (D) reached across the aisle to offer some words of support for US Senator Chuck Hagel's possible run for the GOP Presidential nomination. "I hope he runs and I hope that he will get the nomination. I think he could bring some capabilities to the office," said Nelson to the AP. Nelson praised Hagel's "grasp of international diplomacy" and added "it's been lacking in this Presidency."
Nelson said he was concerned Hagel cannot win the Republican nomination, however, because "the perception is that he's only an anti-war candidate." Nelson also said he doesn't think Hagel should take the Indy route if he feels stymied for the GOP nod: "It just doesn't work in our system yet to have an independent candidate."
GONZALES: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich became the latest Republican to call for Attorney General Al Gonzales to resign over the clumsy political-related firing of the eight US Attorneys. Appearing on FOX News Sunday, Gingrich said "the public would be much better served to have another Attorney General. I cannot imagine how he's going to be effective for the rest of his administration." Top Gonzales aide Monica Goodling -- who said she planned to invoke the fifth amendment if called to testify before Congress about the firing -- resigned Friday. Gonzales Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson resigned two weeks ago over his involvement in the clumsy handling of the matter before Congress.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.09.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.09.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Best wishes for a happy Easter
weekend.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.06.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OBAMA'S BUCKS; NEW NH & IA POLLS; DEMS RECRUIT CRAIG CHALLENGER.
OBAMA: In a smart bit of media choreography, Barack Obama waited days beyond the other Dems to announce his impressive fundraising total. The total: Obama collected over $25 million from more than 100,000 donors. That means he had twice as many donors as Hillary Clinton, he matched her dollar-for-dollar, and over $23.5 million of his money can be used in the primaries (versus $20 million for Clinton, who had to divert some of the large contributions to a separate fund for her potential general election race). "What makes this achievement even more noteworthy is that we did it without taking any money from PACs or federal lobbyists ... [We] sent an unmistakable message to the political establishment in Washington about the power and seriousness of our challenge," said Obama. Also -- FYI -- add up all of the money raised by the Dem and GOP candidates announced to date and you get this total: Dems = $78 million, GOP = $51 million.
NEW HAMPSHIRE:
A new WMUR/CNN poll of New Hampshire Republicans shows John McCain and Rudy Giuliani locked in a tie with 29% apiece. Mitt Romney was third with 17%, Fred Thompson had 3%, Newt Gingrich and Tommy Thompson scored 2% each, and everyone else had 1% or less.
IOWA:
New numbers from a Strategic Vision poll of likely Iowa GOP caucus participants shows Rudy Giuliani leading John McCain by a 25% to 20% vote. The others: Fred Thompson - 11%, Mitt Romney - 8%, Newt Gingrich - 6%, Tommy Thompson and Sam Brownback each had 3%, Mike Huckabee, Chuck Hagel and Tom Tancredo were tied with 2% apiece, and everyone else was at 1% or less.
Democratic likely caucus participants gave these responses: John Edwards - 27%, Barack Obama - 20%, Hillary Clinton - 19%, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden had 4% each, and all others were at 1% or less.
IDAHO: Former Congressman Larry LaRocco (D) plans to run against US Senator Larry Craig (R) next year. He'll make a formal announcement next week. LaRocco told New West he needs to raise $5 million to be a viable candidate. Craig, 61, has been viewed as a possible retirement candidate ever since he was outed as gay on a DC website -- a story that was then widely reprinted in state newspapers. Craig denied the very detailed allegations of meeting men for sex in public bathrooms, but may face primary challengers if he runs again. Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez (R) -- an anti-immigration candidate openly allied with Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) -- is already an announced candidate. A pro-life activist is also running as an Independent.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.05.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.05.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ROMNEY STRONGEST IN 1Q GOP TOTAL$; NH DEM POLL; BIDEN'S PLOY; DeFAZIO COURTED.
P2008 - THE GOP: The 1Q-07 fundraising numbers are in for most of the GOP Presidential contenders. Mitt Romney led the field with an impressive $20.6 million collected during the period. Rudy Giuliani, who leads in the polls, was second with over $15 million collected and $10+ million cash-on-hand. John McCain finished the money hunt in third with $12.5 million -- a number even McCain's campaign manager conceded was disappointing because "we had hoped to do better." Nearly everyone was surprised by how far McCain trailed Romney in fundraising. As for the second tier hopefuls, Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo each collected $1.3 million, and Mike Huckabee lagged behind with around $500,000 raised to date. No numbers were released yet for Tommy Thompson, Jim Gilmore, Ron Paul or Duncan Hunter. "We are not playing the first-quarter game," said Gilmore's spokesperson.
NEW HAMPSHIRE:
A new WMUR/CNN poll of New Hampshire Democrats paints an early picture of a tightening three-way race. Edwards is up, Clinton is sharply down and Obama is slightly down since the same poll last month. The new numbers: Clinton - 27%, Edwards - 21%, Obama - 20%, Gore - 11%, Richardson - 4%, Biden - 2%, and all others at 1% or less.

BIDEN:
Joe Biden's campaign launched a new campaign website -- HeadToHead08.com -- which uses YouTube videos to compare Biden to his six main rivals. The first comparison issue is Iraq. Interestingly, his site even provides links to the official campaign sites of those six opponents. "I think this campaign is not about money but about issues. And I took what the other candidates put up as their preference of what they state their position is, and they put on YouTube, and put them side by side. And some of them are good, and some of them are better, and some of them are worse," Biden explained on MSNBC.
OREGON: Bowing to pressure from the DSCC and the strong encouragement of progressive activists, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D) said this week he is now "reluctantly considering" running against US Senator Gordon Smith (R) next year. DeFazio explained his reluctance -- the same concerns that kept him out of the gubernatorial race in the past -- is his distaste for the extensive fundraising required to run a viable statewide race. DeFazio promises to make a decision by next month. DSCC polling purportedly shows DeFazio holding a 4-point lead over Smith.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.04.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.04.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Between start of the Passover holiday and major computer problems Monday night, you'll just have to make do for Tuesday with this open thread. Sorry.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.03.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CRACKS IN THE BUSH INNER CIRCLE; 1Q DEM TOTAL$; GILMORE IN.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Matthew Dowd -- a top Bush campaign strategist in both the 2000 and 2004 campaigns -- has turned Bush critic. In an interview with the New York Times, Dowd said "I really like [Bush], which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things." Dowd told the newspaper "his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s Presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power." Dowd says he now supports withdrawing US troops from Iraq, doesn't understand why Bush didn't fire Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld right after the Abu Ghraib revelations, and thinks Bush's political style is intentionally
divisive. Bush is "not the person I thought," he explained. Dowd said his views started to change when we worked on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign last year under a message of bipartisan appeal. "I think we should design campaigns that appeal not to 51% of the people, but bring the country together as a whole," said Dowd. Of the 2008 hopefuls -- and he isn't working for any campaign -- Dowd says he finds Barack Obama's message of national unity most appealing. As for Dowd, he said he would like to end up "in Africa or South America doing something that was like mission work ... to re-establish a level of gentleness in the world." Responding for the White House, counselor Dan Bartlett said the Iraq War "is an issue that divides people. Even people that supported the President aren’t immune from having their own feelings and emotions." While Bartlett said he strongly disagrees with Dowd's new stance, "you can respectfully disagree with someone who has been supportive of you." Nicole Wallace, communications director for the Bush 2004 campaign, said that "everyone is going to reflect on the good and the bad, and everything in between, in their own way, and I certainly respect the way he’s doing it -- these are his true thoughts from a deeply personal place."
P2008 - THE DEMS: Many of the leading Dems released their 1Q-'07 fundraising totals over the weekend. Hillary Clinton led the field with $36 million collected in the period (note: the number includes $11 million rolled over from her re-election race last year). John Edwards collected around $14 million. Bill Richardson collected $6 million, Chris Dodd collected $4 million and Joe Biden had $3 million. Barack Obama has yet to release his specific number, but it is believed to be around $20 million.
GILMORE: Officially former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R) is still in his "exploratory" phase of his White House campaign, but he's apparently made up his mind about what to do. Describing himself as "the only true conservative" in the race, he told WDBJ-TV in Roanoke that he will soon become an official candidate and "feels confident he'll be a competitor [for the nomination] by the end of the year."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.02.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Happy Passover to our Jewish readers.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.02.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

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