OPEN THREADS TO KEEP YOU BUSY UNTIL HE'S BACK FROM VACATION. Next Update: January 3, 2008 (Iowa Caucus
on vacation with Dana and others in my family, visiting Israel
and the West Bank. I've never been to the Middle East before,
so I'm looking forward to it (and not bringing my laptop). To
keep you busy during this very brief lull, I've created several
threads with designated dates. Please try to stick to the suggested
dates, as it will make your interaction with other readers more
FOR DECEMBER 30-31.
Iowa is rapidly approaching.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.30.07 | Permalink
FOR DECEMBER 28-29.
So, what's going on out there in the world of politics?
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.28.07 | Permalink
FOR DECEMBER 26-27.
The very brief post-Christmas/pre-New Year campaign window opens
for Iowa and NH.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.26.07 | Permalink
FOR DECEMBER 23-25.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.23.07 | Permalink
REGAINS LEAD; MATCHING FUNDS APPROVED FOR SEVEN; CONDI BLASTS
HUCKABEE; MLK-ROMNEY STORY PROVES MOSTLY TRUE. NEW HAMPSHIRE - US SENATE: A
new American Research Group poll shows US Senator John Sununu
(R) has retaken a wide lead in his re-election race against former
Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D). The numbers: Sununu - 52%, Shaheen
- 41%. Early polls two months ago all showed Sununu trailing Shaheen.
Important to note: Shaheen received much bad press in the past
two weeks over her husband's repudiated remarks attacking Barack
Obama. Also, the poll showed GOP voters have now solidly rallied
in support of Sununu. NEW HAMPSHIRE - P2008: A new USA Today/Gallup poll
of New Hampshire voters shows very close contests in both Presidential
primaries. The DEMS: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are tied
with 32% each, John Edwards at 19%, Bill Richardson - 8%, Joe
Biden - 4%, Dennis Kucinich - 3%, Chris Dodd - 1%. The GOP: Mitt
Romney - 34%, John McCain - 27%, Rudy Giuliani - 11%, Mike Huckabee
and Ron Paul tied with 9% each, Fred Thompson - 4%, Duncan Hunter
- 1%. MATCHING FUNDS: The Federal Elections Commission on Friday
certified several Presidential candidates eligible for federal
matching funds. Here are the approved candidates and the amounts
each will receive in March: John Edwards (D) - $8.8 million, John
McCain (R) - $5.8 million, Tom Tancredo (R) - $2.1 million, Chris
Dodd (D) - $1.4 million, Joe Biden (D) - $857,000, Dennis Kucinich
(D) - $100,000, and Duncan Hunter (R) - $100,000. To qualify for
FEC matching funds, a candidate must raise at least $100,000 by
collecting at least $5,000 in each of at least 20 states, and
in amounts of no greater than $250 from any individual contributor.
Many of the leading candidates opted out of the matching funds
program because it also comes with maximum spending limitations.
Also, no word yet what will happen with Tancredo's approved amount,
as he withdrew from the race and endorsed Mitt Romney on Thursday. HUCKABEE: In a
rare foray into the GOP Presidential contest, US Secretary of
State Condi Rice publicly took issue with Mike Huckabee's recent
article in Foreign Affairs journal in which he accused
the Bush Administration of having an "arrogant bunker mentality"
on foreign policy. At a Friday news conference in DC, Rice complained:
"The idea that somehow this is a go-it-alone policy is just
simply ludicrous. One would only have to be not observing the
facts, let me say that, to say that this is now a go-it-alone
foreign policy." Huckabee responded quickly: "Certainly
she has a right to speak out ... I respect her very much ... [but]
did she actually read the article or is she reacting as others
have to the headlines and to the synopsis that has been printed?"
In the article, Huckabee wrote that "American foreign policy
needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out.
The Bush Administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive
at home and abroad. My Administration will recognize that the
United States' main fight today does not pit us against the world
but pits the world against the terrorists." ROMNEY: Despite
widespread media doubts, Mitt Romney told the truth when he claimed
this week that his father had marched for civil rights with Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. The Politico reports eyewitnesses
stepped forward to verify that then-Michigan Governor George Romney
walked side-by-side with King in a 1963 civil rights march in
Grosse Pointe, Michigan. A reference to George Romney participating
in the 1963 Grosse Point march was also found in a political book
published in 1967. While Mitt Romney was not present to personally
view it, his memory of the event taking place proved correct.
Romney had also been criticized for falsely claiming he "saw"
his father march with King, although he later explained he was
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.22.07 | Permalink
Before I leave for Israel and the West Bank on Sunday, I'll post
a bunch of open threads for you to play with until my return on
January 3 (Iowa Caucus Day).
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.22.07 | Permalink
I did way too much writing at work on Thursday -- answering three
new lawsuits, among other things -- to have much energy left to
write much tonight. Sorry. But I promise to post an update Friday
night, for the weekend, in anticipation of my upcoming trip.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.21.07 | Permalink
TO QUIT PREZ RACE; EDWARDS CALLS SCANDAL STORY "NONSENSE";
LOTT DEPARTS; RAMSTAD RETHINKS. TANCREDO: Congressman Tom
Tancredo's GOP Presidential campaign -- having never polled above
the 2% mark in any of the early contest states -- plans to quit
the race on Thursday. Tancredo claims his campaign succeeded in
his real goal: making his staunch anti-immigration views a major
topic of discussion in the race. Now, with most of the Republican
hopefuls embracing views close to Tancredo's, he will exit the
race. Tancredo previously announced he will retire from Congress
next year. No word as to whether Tancredo will endorse one of
the remaining candidates. But, as Tancredo picked Iowa as the
venue for his announcement, an endorsement would seem likely. EDWARDS: John Edwards' strongly denied the sex
scandal allegation published Wednesday on the cover of the
National Enquirer as "absolute nonsense."
The story claims Edwards impregnated a campaign staffer, Rielle
Hunter, who is now six-months pregnant. Hunter denied the story
in a written statement, saying that "this has no relationship
to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way. Andrew Young is
the father of my unborn child." Andrew Young, who served
as Edwards' North Carolina Finance Director, also issued a statement
saying that he is the father. Young recently quit the campaign
staff. The newspaper reports Young made the arrangements to place
Hunter in a rental home -- owned by another Edwards supporter
-- in a gated community located near the Edwards national headquarters.
Interestingly -- and I say this because you just know trial lawyer
Edwards will sue the Enquirer when the race is over if
this story is false -- the newspaper is sticking with their version
that Edwards is the father of Hunter's unborn child. Stay tuned
because Enquirer's past history indicates they usually
save the most damning evidence in these situations to print in
an upcoming edition once the the target is locked into a denial
story. [Editor's Note: Several readers complained that I'm
running the sex scandal story because I'm an Obama supporter.
Actually, I'm running it because it could impact the race and
-- if and when -- something like this breaks about my endorsed
candidate, I'll report on it, too.] MISSISSIPPI: US Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R) left
office this week, submitting the paperwork in which he resigned
effective December 18 at 11:30 pm. The resignation's timing coincided
with the holiday adjournment of Congress. Now comes the legal
battle, as the Democratic Party and Attorney General Jim Hood
(D) both say state law requires a special election to be set within
100 days of the resignation date. Governor Haley Barbour (R) says
he intends to appoint someone to the vacancy -- likely Congressman
Roger Wicker (R) -- and schedule the special election to coincide
with the November 2008 Presidential vote. Expect the courts to
quickly resolve this dispute as to whether Barbour gets to fill
the seat for a year ... or if voters will see a special election
in mid-March. MINNESOTA: Congressman Jim Ramstad (R) "is seriously
reconsidering" his decision to retire next year, according
to Roll Call. Ramstad, a GOP centrist who is respected
on both sides of the aisle, is telling friends he may decide to
run again in 2008.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.20.07 | Permalink
SPEECH ZONE. "Liar, liar, OEOB office on fire."
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.20.07 | Permalink
SEX SCANDAL BREAKING; PAUL CALLS HUCK A FASCIST; BILL'S AWESOME
ROAD TRIP PLANS; IA, FL POLLS; CLIPPING BYRD'S WINGS; AND FAVORITE
GADGETS & EX-PRESIDENTS. EDWARDS: The
new cover of the National Enquirer -- hitting the streets
on Wednesday -- will feature a shocking
scandal story about a leading Democratic Presidential candidate
fathering a soon-to-be-born "love child." National
Enquirer claims John Edwards had an 18-month affair with female
staffer on his campaign, who is supposedly now six-months pregnant
and in hiding. Edwards and the staffer reportedly are vehemently
denying the story -- although the newspaper purportedly has interviews
with friends of the woman in whom she reportedly confided about
the Edwards details. The newspaper also claims to have emails
and other evidence supporting the story. With Edwards' "good
husband" image associated with his ailing wife, this story
-- if it has legs -- has the potential to destroy his campaign.
Yes, it's a tabloid newspaper -- but remember that it was also
a gossip tabloid that broke the Paula Jones sex scandal story
about Bill Clinton during the 1992 campaign. Stay tuned. P2008 - GOP: Congressman Steve King (R-IA) endorsed Fred
Thompson for President. King praised Thompson's tough stance on
immigration issues ... Ron Paul bashed Mike Huckabee's new Christmas
TV spot airing in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Huckabee spot "reminds
me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, 'When fascism comes
to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag carrying a cross.'
Now, I don't know whether that's a fair assessment or not, but
you wonder about using a cross like he is the only Christian or
implying that subtly," said Paul, during an appearance on
FOX News on Tuesday. Huckabee later joked about Paul's attack:
"Actually I will confess this: if you play this spot backwards
it says 'Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead.' So the next
thing you know, someone will be playing it backwards to find out
the subliminal messages that are really there." No, Huckabee
wasn't wishing Ron Paul was dead -- it was a reference to an urban
legend about the Beatles' White Album. CLINTON:
Former President Bill Clinton made an impromptu announcement in
Iowa on Monday that his wife Hillary Clinton's “number-one
priority” upon becoming President would be having him team
up with former President George H.W. Bush on international goodwill
missions. The purported purpose: restore US standing with nations
around the globe caused by the damage of the current President
Bush. The only problem is nobody had checked with "Bush 41"
if he was up for the road trip. The former President "wholeheartedly
supports the President of the United States, including his foreign
policy. He has never discussed an ‘around-the-world-mission’
with either former President Bill Clinton or Senator Clinton,
nor does he think such a mission is warranted since he is proud
of the role America continues to play around the world as the
beacon of hope for freedom and democracy," said GWH Bush's
spokesperson on Tuesday. IOWA: A new Insider Advantage poll of likely caucus goers
shows two close Presidential contests in the state, as the January
3 caucus date draws closer. The GOP: Mike Huckabee - 28%, Mitt
Romney - 25%, Fred Thompson - 10%, John McCain - 9%, Ron Paul
and Rudy Giuliani tied with 6% each. The DEMS: Barack Obama -
27%, John Edwards - 26%, Hillary Clinton - 24%. The Democratic
contest doesn't award local delegates to candidates capturing
under 15%, so supporters under that amount often jump to others
before the final count is tallied. That's where a second set of
numbers seems more significant. When asked to name their second
choice in the race, Dems gave Edwards 42%, Clinton 31% and Obama
27% -- indicating Edwards may remain be the sleeper in the race
(note: subject to what happens with the sex scandal story). CONGRESS:The Politco reports a group of US Senate
Democrats are trying to find a way to dislodge 90-year-old Senator
Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) from the Chair of the powerful Appropriations
Committee. Committee members grumble that Byrd's physically deteriorating
condition is impairing his ability to chair efficient meetings.
One idea being floated is to name Byrd "Chairman Emeritus"
and elevate Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to "Acting Chair
for the remainder of the 110th Congress. The newspaper cautions
that "no decision has been made" yet by the Senate Leadership.
"Senator Byrdís experience and respect for the Senate speak
for themselves. He has no peer. The Appropriations Committee did
an outstanding job this year despite an all-out effort by the
White House to try to again shortchange the priorities of the
American people," said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid. FLORIDA: A new Strategic Vision-R poll shows Rudy Giuliani's
lead slipping away in the Sunshine State. The GOP: Giuliani -
25%, Huckabee - 21%, McCain - 15%, Romney - 13%, Thompson - 10%,
Paul - 4%, Tancredo - 2%. The DEMS: Clinton - 48%, Obama - 31%,
Edwards - 6%. While the Dem numbers are largely unchanged since
last month's poll, Giuliani is down 6-points and Huckabee is up
12-points since November. TOYS AND EX-PRESIDENTS: In an ongoing series of fun questions
posed to the Presidential hopefuls, the AP this week asked the
leading candidate to "name their favorite electronic gadgets."
Hillary Clinton: iPod. Barack Obama: BlackBerry. John Edwards:
iPod. Bill Richardson: BlackBerry. Rudy Giuliani: CD Player. Mike
Huckabee: "Probably my laptop. Or my bass guitar and amplifier."
John McCain: Razr cell phone and the TV remote. Mitt Romney: BlackBerry.
Fred Thompson: iPod. The AP also asked each to "name their
favorite 20th century President from the opposing party."
Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Richardson all named Theodore Roosevelt.
Giuliani, Huckabee and McCain each named Harry Truman. As for
Thompson, he named fellow actor Martin Sheen ... for his portrayal
of fictional President Josiah Bartlett in West Wing and
his portrayal of actual President JFK in a mini-series.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.19.07 | Permalink
Kudos to Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) for his successful filibuster
this week of the FISA renewal legislation (because it contained
a blanket immunity for the telecommunications companies that eavesdropped
warrants on US phone calls for
nearly five years).
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.19.07 | Permalink
PAUL'$ HAUL; MITT ATTACKS; HILLARY CAMPAIGN BASHES OBAMA; McKINNEY
ANNOUNCED PREZ RUN; NRCC RAISES $3 MILLION; CONGRESSIONAL DEMS
FOLD AGAIN ON WAR FUNDING. P2008 - GOP: Ron Paul's campaign apparently broke the all-time,
single-day online fundraising record for a Presidential campaign
on Sunday. The tally: somewhere between $6-6.5 million (the campaign
is still sorting actual dollars donated versus future pledges).
In any event, a very impressive take. Now comes the even harder
part: Paul has just 17 days to take his giant bankroll and produce
actual results in the Iowa Caucuses on January 3 ... Last
week Mitt Romney hit Mike Huckabee with a TV spot in Iowa bashing
him on immigration. This week he's on the air with a TV spot hitting
Huckabee on crime. Huckabee "granted 1,033 pardons and commutations,
including 12 convicted murderers. Huckabee granted more clemencies
than the previous three Governors combined. Even reduced penalties
for manufacturing methamphetamine," says the ad. Romney has
largely focused his Iowa efforts on Huckabee in recent weeks,
ever since Huckabee slipped past him into first place in the state.
Huckabee, meanwhile, has his own spot airing in Iowa in which
he delivers a warm Christmas message. Huckabee, with Silent
Night playing in the background, says voters need to see that
"what really matters [at this time of the year] is the celebration
of the birth of Christ." P2008 - DEM: Hillary Clinton used surrogates Monday to
repeatedly bash rival Barack Obama. Former President Bill Clinton,
in an interview with Charlie Rose, went through the list of Dem
candidates and pronounced all but Obama qualified to be President.
Later, former US Senator Bob Kerrey damned Obama with knowingly
incendiary words he claimed were offered in praise. "I like
the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father
was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There's
a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that
experience is a big deal," said Kerrey to reporters in Iowa.
- GREENS: Controversial former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney -- now a California voter -- officially announced her
candidacy for the Green Party's Presidential nomination on Monday.
"I am proud to say that the Green Party is my new political
home. I am a Green because of the Green Party’s commitment
to its core principles of peace, social and racial justice, genuine
democracy, and protecting our precious planet. I am a Green because
the Green Party has long understood that for our earth to sustain
us, we must sustain it ... I am a Green because the Green Party
stands up for the right to vote and the right to have all votes
counted. When the Republicans stole the presidential election
in Ohio in 2004, and the Democrats turned tail and ran before
all of the votes were counted, it was the Greens who demanded
an investigation and a recount, speaking out on behalf of thousands
of disenfranchised African-American voters," said McKinney,
in her online video announcement. McKinney, as a US House incumbent,
twice lost Democratic renomination races. CONGRESS: The NRCC
finally has some money to spend, thanks to a cash infusion from
GOP House members. At the urging of Minority Leader John Boehner,
various House Republicans transferred a little over $3 million
from their own campaign accounts into the NRCC's account. The
DCCC has vastly outraised the NRCC this year, as the Dems had
over $30 million cash-on-hand as of the end of September. The
four biggest donors: Boehner kicked in $505,000, while Dave Dreier
donated $500,000, Wally Herger have $250,000, and NRCC Chair Tom
Cole contributed $175,000. Herger is seeking to replace retiring
Jim McCrery as the ranking Republican on the powerful Ways &
Means Committee ... It looks like Congressional Democrats are
on the verge of appropriating the President's requested war funding,
with no strings attached. Dems also backed down in the face of
veto threats on abortion, the environment, health care, and other
issues of concern to the party's base. The move will enable Congress
to adjourn before Christmas. "We should have sent [the President]
more appropriations bills and made him veto all of them. We’re
letting him off easy,” complained liberal Senator Tom Harkin
(D-IA) to The Politco.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.18.07 | Permalink
Just a reminder, but I'm leaving on vacation to Israel next Sunday
-- so there will be no updates between 12/24 and 1/2.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.18.07 | Permalink
LIEBERMAN BACKS McCAIN; HILL COLLECTS ENDORSEMENTS; ANOTHER BIG
MONEY DAY FOR PAUL; KANSAS A.G. QUITS IN SEX SCANDAL; CONGRESSIONAL
WEDDING BELLS. P2008: US Senator Joe Lieberman (Independent Dem-CT) is
to endorse John McCain (R) for President on Monday (weather permitting
in New Hampshire). Lieberman is one of the strongest congressional
supporters of the Iraq War, and McCain shares a nearly identical
position. The Lieberman endorsement is likely to boost McCain,
particularly in New Hampshire among Independent voters ... Ron
Paul's campaign designated Sunday as the target day for breaking
Paul's previous record ($4.2 million) for the most money ever
raised online by a Republican candidate. As of 8:30 pm on Sunday,
Paul had collected over $3.6 million in contributions from over
30,000 people. To date just during the current quarter, Paul has
raised an impressive total of approximately $16.4 million. FYI:
The two candidates who previously raised the most money online
in single day are Hillary Clinton ($6.2 million) and Barack Obama
($6 million) ... Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Maine Governor
John Baldacci, former US Senator Bob Kerrey and Congressman Leonard
Boswell (D-IA) both endorsed Hillary Clinton over the weekend
... The Portsmouth (NH) Herald endorsed McCain on Sunday
... Iowa First Lady Mari Culver (D) is expected to endorse John
Edwards (D) on Monday. KANSAS: Attorney General Paul Morrison (D) resigned on
Friday, after admitting to an improper sexual relationship with
a women he had employed. The woman is suing Morrison for sexual
harrassment. By state law, Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) will
select a replacement. CONGRESS: Congresswoman Mary Bono (R-CA) and Congressman
Connie Mack (R-FL) were wed on Saturday in a private ceremony.
Bono, 45, is the widow of the late Congressman and entertainer
Sonny Bono. Mack, 40, divorced his wife in order to marry Bono.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.17.07 | Permalink
an open thread.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.17.07 | Permalink
CONGRESSWOMAN CARSON DIES; McCAIN, CLINTON, OBAMA WIN KEY NEWSPAPER
ENDORSEMENTS. INDIANA: Congresswoman Julia Carson (D), 69, died Saturday
after a lengthy illness. She had missed much of the congressional
sessions this year, and announced just last month she had been
diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Her office also confirmed
last month she had entered hospice care, so her passing
was not entirely unexpected. No likely dates yet for the special
election -- but state law indicates it must take place at least
60+ days following the death. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) warmly
praised Carson as "honest and brave, and a lioness in causes
she believed in." He said his office was making arrangements
for Carson's body to lie in state in the rotunda of the Indiana
State House. P2008: Two influential newspapers issued Presidential endorsements
on Saturday. The Des Moines Register endorsed Hillary Clinton
(D) and John McCain (R). While the Register highly praised
Barack Obama for having "inspired our imaginations,"
the paper gave the edge to Clinton on her experience. The endorsement
was also a major blow to John Edwards, who won the Register's
endorsement for the 2004 Iowa caucuses. As for McCain, the Register
said he project a "moral authority could go a long way toward
restoring Americans' trust in government and inspiring new generations
to believe in the goodness and greatness of America." The
Boston Globe -- highly influential in New Hampshire --
endorsed Obama and McCain. In endorsing McCain, the Globe
passed over local favorite son Mitt Romney. Recent polls place
McCain second in New Hampshire, so it appears he may have reclaimed
his former first-tier status.
by Ron Gunzburger - 12.16.07 | Permalink