21 December 2006

It is the season of hope after all.

W'd like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We'll be away until about Jan. 3 or so, so we thought we'd leave you with this Christmas post.
The national Christmas tree (seen to the left) has been a tradition since 1923, when then-pesident Calvin Cooledge presided over the unveiling of the first national Christmas tree. For more on the events of that day and its preparations, click here

The first national Christmas tree was a 48-footer -- a balsam from Vermont. It was donated by the president of Middlebury College in Vermont, Coolidge's home state.

The White House didn't have it's first official Christmas Tree until 1964, when Lyndon Johnson was president. With the holiday having gone seriously corporate by that time, the tree was presented to the White House by the National Christmas Tree Association. Besides offering the history of the White House tree, the association's Web site has pretty much every fact you will ever want to know about Christmas trees, several pieces of literature to read as you celebrate the holidays, some tree-related games and puzzles and even some information about evergreen trees and the environment. For instance, did you know that an acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people?

We'll leave you to your merry making with a look at some of the official White House Christmas cards from years gone by and this thought from the current occupier of the White House:

"And so, during these holiday seasons, we thank our blessings."
--George W. Bush Fort Belvoir, Va. Dec. 10 2004

See you again in 2007!

Rudy Giuliani is in front in another poll matching individual Republican and Democratic presidential candidates one-on-one.

In the Rasmussen Reports poll released today, Giuliani leads Hillary Clinton 47% to 43% and Al Gore 48% to 43%. The results are virtually unchanged from Rasmussen's last inter-party poll in late November.

In the most-recent intra-party poll done by Rasmussen earlier this month, Giuliani lead John McCain by nine points.

In the latest poll, Giuliani is viewed favorably by 71% of Americans, while McCain is at 59%. On the Democratic, said Barack Obama is at 52%, Gore is at 50%, Clinton polls at 48% and John Edwards at 47%.

Check out the latest favorability rating for all Republican hopefuls here, and the Democrats here.

We took a little poke at our friends in the Old Media earlier today (see the post below), and now we're going to take another.

Pollster.com did some number crunching and found there is some reason to question the media's characterization of John McCain as the frontrunner in the GOP race.
Here's what the folks at Pollster found:
"One notable result stands out. Former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani continues to hold a small but reliable lead over Arizona Senator John McCain. Of 39 polls with both names in the list of candidates, Giuliani leads McCain in 30 with four more ties. McCain leads in only 5 polls.

Pollster than did Lexis/Nexis searches of recent news articles and found that when one candidate was characterized as the frontrunner, it was McCain mentioned as the lead dog nearly 10 times as often as Giuliani.

To be fair, the media also factor in things like funds already raised, likely fundraising ability and potential roadblocks ("Giuliani is too liberal for GOP primary voters" is a popular one the media throws around) when they decide who is leading the pack. But these numbers do provide some serious food for thought.


One final note on Giuliani. The New York Post reported today that the former New York mayor is heading to New Hampshire late next month to address the GOP state convention there.

Ask a roomful of average Americans who Barack Obama is and one in three won't be able to tell you. A further 14% know who the Illinois senator is, but say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion of him.

Those are the findings of a recent Gallup poll.

Only 5% said they had no opinion of Sen. Hillary Clinton, a likely rival of Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Obama's relative annonymity is somewhat surprising given the recent media hubbub about him.

It also can be good or bad news. After all, 95% of those polled had an opinion of Clinton, but 47% said that opinion was negative.

The Gallup poll is subscribers-only and likely has a lot more data in it, but this is all that came to light in an article today in the Chicago Sun-Times.


One of the concerns about a fresh-faced candidate like Obama is what skeletons, if any, the media will smoke out of his closet. (Or more corrrectly, what skeletons will political enemies find and spoon feed to the media?)

If the efforts to date of the mainstream media morons (MMSMs) are any example, Obama has little to worry about.

MediaMatters.org has a summary of some of the "issues" the MSMMs think may be a problem for Obama.

The "issues" include the fact that Obama's middle name is Hussein, his surname is one character off from Osama, his long-estanged (and now dead) father was a non-practicing Muslim and that the senator once made a bit of an inquiry into his Muslim background - though Obama is a Christian.

The idea is to try to invent the concern that a man with minimal Muslim ties may become president at a time when we are fighting Muslim extemists in our so-called "war on terror." You have to read it to believe it.

The president's little brother, and the outgoing Republican governor of Florida, gave that bleak assessment of his political future while talking with reporters yesterday.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who's seeking the GOP presidential nomination, was with Jeb Bush when he made the comments.

Brownback told Reuters that Jeb Bush would have made a good presidential candidate but he currently is suffering from "a heritage issue."

20 December 2006


Conservative columnist Bob Novak took a year-end look today at the political landscape ahead, with the 2008 presidential race getting a fair amount of attention in his column.

I don't usually put much stock in a lot of what Novak has to say on partisan matters, but he seems to be looking at the '08 race with a pretty clear eye.

Among some of his conclusions"

"There is no viable conservative Republican presidential hopeful at the moment."

Novak says the conservative crowd doesn't seem to be buying into Sam Brownback and, he says, no one is taking Newt Gingrich seriously.

Novak also says McCain appears to be the leader in the GOP race, but has slipped noticeably lately; Mitt Romney was making strides until his I'm-better-for-gays-then-Ted-Kennedy remarks surfaced; the Republicans are quite concerned about the recent Newsweek poll that shows McCain trailing Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giulini appears to be McCain's toughest competition on the Republican side.

As far as the Democrats go, here's Novak's assessment:

"Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama seem to be taking up all the oxygen, which explains why Sen. Evan Bayh bowed out last week. However, there remain doubts about Clinton's electability and rookie Obama's ability to handle the rough road ahead. Former Sen. John Edwards should not be written off. He is working hard, is the apparent front-runner in Iowa and is ahead of Clinton and Obama with key labor unions.


Sen. Clinton's office today released a statement announcing Clinton's backing for President Bush's plan to increase the size of the armed forces. This is not to be confused Bush's expected plan to boost troop strength in Iraq in the near future, but is, instead, a call to boost the size of all the armed forces for the long-term.

Clinton said she will make the request for more troops "a top priority."


Until last Saturday, Nancy Jacobson was the head of the Evan Bayh campaign's finance team. But, with Bayh dropping out, Jacobson has moved on to a similar role in Hillary Clinton's not-as-yet-announced campaign. That word today from Hotline On Call.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama hasn't even decided yet whether he will seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but he's reportedly aleady being endorsed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

The Chicago Sun-Times, quoting sources close to the mayor, said Daley has already decided to back the fellow Chicagoan.

Daley's brother Bill, a former U.S. Commerce Secretary, has already taken a senior advisory position with Obama, the Sun-Times reported earlier this week.


Experience: Governor of medium-sized state (1 term); Chairman RNC (1 year)
Position sought: President of the United States of America

With the above resume tucked under his arm, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has announced he is forming an exploratory committee with eye toward running for the GOP presidential nomination.

In an interview with the New York Times, Gilmore said there is a void among the current hopefuls - true conservative.

He then took a swipe, seemingly at one of his rivals for the "conservative" mantle, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I didn’t run some place and pretend I was a liberal and run someplace else as a conservative. I just didn’t do that."


Rudy Giuliani's presidential exploratory committee yesterday launched its official Web site. View it here.

19 December 2006


With a CNN poll released Monday night showing just 11% of Americans supporting the call for additional troops in Iraq - a decision President Bush appears to be ready to make - Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is calling on Arizona Sen. John McCain to drop his call for more boots on the ground.
Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for president sent an open letter to McCain, a Republican presidential hopeful, asking him to back off the call for more troops.

"Despite these failures, you have advocated a proposal to deploy as many as 100,000 additional American servicemen and women to Iraq. Increasing the American military presence in Iraq is opposed both by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and American military commanders in Iraq, including Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the second-highest-ranking American officer in Iraq."

Vilsack says in the letter to McCain that the Arizona Senator's actions have sent the wrong message to a rather stubborn President Bush.

"Your suggestion to deploy additional American servicemen and women to Iraq would make a big mistake even bigger and send the wrong message to President Bush, who has stubbornly refused to recognize that his Administration's military and diplomatic failures in Iraq have recklessly endangered America's national interests."

Meanwhile, Vilsack made his national TV debut last night on The Daily Show, where he talked about host John Stewart's fascination with Vilsack's somewhat unusual-sounding surname and about the plan to send more troops to Iraq.

A new CNN Poll out tonight shows the Democrats with the early advantage in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes.

Some 52% of respondents said they would vote for a Democrat in the race or are leaning that way, compared with 32% for the Republicans.

In a various matchups of the top three candidates in both parties, the Democrat wins 6 times, the Repiblican twice and Rudy Giulian and Al Gore tie at 46%. Democrats Hillary Clinton wins one-on-one matchups against Republicans John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

Barack Obama beats only Romney. But if you look at the numbers (below) all of the matchups are reasonably close except for those involving Mitt Romney, who gets blown away in one-on-one pairings with Clinton, Gore and Obama.

Clinton 47% - McCain 47%
Clinton 48% - Giuliani 46%
Clinton 57% - Romney 34%
McCain 47% - Obama 43%
Giuliani 49% - Obama 42%
Obama 51% - Romney 35%
Gore 47% - McCain 46%
Gore 46% - Giuliani 46%
Gore 53% -
Romney 37%

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may soon be adding to his foreign policy resume, the Albuquerque Tribune reports.

Richardson, who is considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in '08, was asked by the Save Darfur Coaltion to travel to Sudan to try to get the government to accept a multi-lateral peace-keeping force to combat ethnic violence there.

Richardson is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in September negotiated the release of a U.S. journalist from Richardson's home state.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will head to Sacramento in February. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Giuliani will be the keynoter at the California Republican Party's convention.

Giuliani is also looking southward, to Texas, in an effort to raise some big-time cash, according to the Houston Chronicle.
And, Hotline on Call reports today Giuliani is beefing up his staff in early-primary states.


While Giuliani is casting about elsewhere for support, his chief rival for the GOP nomination - Arizona Sen. John McCain - found some support in Giuliani's back yard. Hotline On Call is reporting former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has taken a ceremonial roll as honorary co-chair of McCain's New York campaign.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is having still more trouble trying to convince social conservatives that he is one of them.

Again past comments made in his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy are coming back to bit Romney, who is trying to stake out the conservatice niche in the GOP presidential field.

The conservative newsmag, The National Review, reports the latest comment to rile the right wing were made by Romney in an effort to distance himself from Ronald Reagan in the liberal-leaning Massachusetts.

The National Review quotes Romney as he was quoted by The Boston Herald in 1994:
"I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."

The National Review article reports conservatives in South Carolina, an early-primary state, remain concerned about Romney's late anti-abortion conversion and his prior support for gay rights.


Romney spoke with Bay State press yesterday for the first time in three weeks, addressing the issues that have recently thrown Romney off track.

It was recently discovered that Romney, who has a get-tough policy on illegal immigration, employed a landscaping company which hired illegal workers.

He has also been dogged by his 1994 assertions that he would be a better advocate for gay-rights issues than Ted Kennedy.

Romney insists he has not changed his tune on gay-rights issues:

"I'm not in favor of discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against people who have a different sexual preference than myself, and never have been in favor of discrimination. At the same time, I'm very committed to traditional marriage between one man and one woman and believe that marriage should be preserved in that way."-- Mitt Romney as quoted in The Boston Globe

The New York Times reports today that when John Edwards announces his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination next week, he'll do so in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

The Katrina-stricken neighborhood is seen by Edwards aides as the obvious place to attract attention to Edwards' candidacy, which to this point has focused on his crusade against poverty.

The middle of Christmas week would hardly seem to be the right time to announce a presidential bid, since no one's watching the news. But the Times reports the Edwards camp is baning on the timing and setting to give Edwards the spotlight all to himself.

A new poll by Newsweek shows Hillary Clinton has, for the first time, moved ahead of the two top-tier candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.

The poll shows Clinton ahead of John McCain - 50% to 43%

Clinton also leads fellow New Yorker Rudy Giuliani 48% to 47%

The other Democratic candidate creating a lot of buzz - Barack Obama - has lifted his numbers against would-be Republican opponents as well. Obama trails McCain by just two points (43% to 45%), and Giuliani by just three (44% to 47%).

Mitt Romney ,the Republican governor of Massachusetts, gets blasted by both Clinton and Obama.

Clinton leads Obama in the poll 50% to 32%, but Obama does better among Republicans in his one-one-one pairings against GOP candidates. That may suggest he'd be a stronger nominee if he survives the battle with Clinton.


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he'll wait quite some time to decide whether or not to seek the GOP presidential nomination.

In fact, Gingrich said he may not run at all if a clear frontrunner emerges.

Gingrich says he probably won't decide until Labor Day 2007.

Have to admit Newt, we won't be holding our breath.

Evan Bayh's departure from the presidential race is not exactly the akin to the plates shifting under the San Andreas fault, but it could have some effect on the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential race.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says the winners are:

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsak - One less moderate midwestern governor

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsak

llinois Sen. Barack Obama - Less competition for midwestern donors

Bayh himself - takes himself out of the race before it starts so as not to damage his Veep chances

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton - she's positioned as a moderate and there's one less competitor now

The losers:

Low-name-recognition candidates with strong resumes. If the resume didn't work for Bayh, it may not work for the others.

18 December 2006


Wow! Hard to imagine that two years out from the general election, you can't take one day off from the 2008 presidential race without missing something.

So, In a lame attempt to catch up, I'll report to you now that Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh has decided against a run for president.

The New Republic had a story all ready to go in this week's editions, profiling Bayh. The editors argue, and we agree, that the piece is still illuminating in that it explains why Bayh had to give up his efforts.

16 December 2006


Last weekend we wrote about the controversy tracking Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over the seeming discrepency about his previous support for gay rights and his current stance on gay issues - including his opposition to gay marriage.

In a wide-ranging interview with the National Review, Romney addressed the gay-rights issue, saying there has been no change in his position:

"I have made clear since 2003, when the supreme court of Massachusetts redefined marriage by fiat, that my unwavering advocacy for traditional marriage stands side by side with a tolerance and respect for all Americans. Like the vast majority of Americans, I've opposed same-sex marriage, but I've also opposed unjust discrimination against anyone, for racial or religious reasons, or for sexual preference. Americans are a tolerant, generous, and kind people. We all oppose bigotry and disparagement. But the debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage and it is a debate about activist judges who make up the law rather than interpret the law. -- Mitt Romney in the National Review

Romney admits in the National Review interview that he has had a change of heart over the years about supporting a proposed federal civil-rights legislation for gays, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

"I don't see the need for new or special legislation. My experience over the past several years as governor has convinced me that ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges." --Mitt Romney in the National Review

In the National Review interview, Romney admits his position on abortion has changed in the past decade or so. While running for Senate against Ted Kenney in 1994, Romney said he believed abortion should be safe and legal. He told the National Review his position has shifted since then:

"The state of Massachusetts is a pro-choice state and when I campaigned for governor I said that I would not change the law on abortion. But I do believe that the one-size-fits-all, abortion-on-demand-for-all-nine-months decision in Roe v. Wade does not serve the country well and is another example of judges making the law instead of interpreting the Constitution. What I would like to see is the Court return the issue to the people to decide. The Republican party is and should remain the pro-life party and work to change hearts and minds and create a culture of life where every child is welcomed." -- Mitt Romney in the National Review

Read the entire National Review interview here.


With the deafeat of George Allen in his Senate re-election bid, the "social conservative" mantle in the '08 GOP race is up for grabs. Romney is doing his best to convince the hard right that he fills that bill, but early indications are he has a ways to go.

The efforts of one man in particular to discredit Romney's claims to the social conservative label are chronicled in the newest issue of The National Republic. The magazine describes a somewhat dubious, and what seems a bit shameless, depiction of Romney by Brian Camenker, the head of MassResistance, a so-called "family values" organization in Massachusetts.
Eight in ten Americans questioned in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this week said they are comfortable with a woman or an African American as president.

One section of the poll, rather than asking about specific candidates, polled respondents on what characteristics would make-or-break a candidate for them.

Among some of the eye-grabbing findings:

On the question of religion, 19% of Americans said they would be "very uncomfortable" with, or have "some reservations" about voting for a Jewish person for president, while some 53% said they would feel that way about a Mormon - suggesting Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a hill to climb there.

More Americans (54%) have reservations about an evangelical Christian in the Oval Office than those who do not have such concerns (41%).

And, more Americans expressed concerns about having a member of the Bush cabinet as the next president (59%) than about having a gay or lesbian in the White House (53%).

There's a list of about ten or so characteristics in a table within the poll's PDF file. Click here and scroll about two-thirds of the way down the file, to question 17, to see more.

There are also tables that measure positive and negative feelings toward president Bush, the two major parties and about a dozen would-be presidential candiates (scroll to question 5).

Other findings of note:

Seven in ten expect little change in the president's Iraq policy. Some 41% said the president heard the voters' ask for change on election day, but is ignoring the message. Some 18% believe he never got that message.

The Barack Obama phenomonom hit a peak with his trip last weekend to New Hampshire, where he was greeted by large, enthusiastic crowds and rave reviews from the state's Democratic politicos.

Taking their role as early arbiter very seriously, the Democrats in the state have invited Sen. Hillary Clinton to make her own splash early next year.

The New Hampshire Union Leader says Clinton has invited to the state's '100 Club' dinner, the state Democratic Party's largest annual fundraiser.


Fomer Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thomson filed to form an exploratory committee to help him determine whether he should join the GOP presidential parade.

Thomson, also a former head of Health and Human Services during George W.'s first term.

15 December 2006


Conservative columnist George Will, in his Washington Post column yesterday, offered Barack Obama some advice.

If you're going to do it, now's the time.

Will outlined four reasons why Obama, if he wants to be president, should go for it in 2008.

The following excerpts from Will's column sum up his reasoning.

"First, one can be an intriguing novelty only once."
"Second, if you get the girl up on her tiptoes, you should kiss her. The electorate is on its tiptoes ."
"Third, he has, in Hillary Clinton, the optimal opponent. The contrast is stark: He is soothing; she is not. Many Democrats who are desperate to win are queasy about depending on her."

"Fourth, the odds favor the Democratic nominee in 2008 because for 50 years it has been rare for a presidential nominee to extend his party's hold on the presidency beyond eight years. " --George Will
Obama met with the Chicago Tribune's eidtorial board recently, with the interview being published today.
In the interview Obama sounded like a candidate, though he said he wouldn't make up his mind until January.
In the interview Obama, who was born in 1961, said he could be the candidate who could get beyond the ideological turmoil that has plagued the baby boom generation since Vietnam and the social upheaval of the '60s.
On the question of his inexperience at the national level,Obama offered a clever perspective. He said Vice President Dick Cheney and outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "had the best resume on paper of any foreign policy team and the result has been what I consider to be one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in our history."

14 December 2006


Aside from his book tour a month or so ago, former Democratic V.P. candidate John Edwards has been laying low, letting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton share the limelight for a while.

Edwards has been content to keep a low profile and continue to talk about an otherwise ignored problem in America. Poverty. Who besides Edwards among the 20-or-so presidential aspirants is talking about the growing numbers of working poor in the country?
No one.
But someone must be listening to Edwards, based on recent bits of polling information.

The Des Moines Register reported today that Edwards is by far the leader in a poll of likely participants in the first-in-the-nation caucus, the Iowa caucus. Edwards polled at 36%, with Hillary Clinton second at 16%. Barack Obama was third at 9% and favorite son, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack polled at 9%.

Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of last night's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll were some numbers that showed Edwards was the only Democratic hopeful to beat GOP frontrunner John McCain in a one-on-pairing. The Nation took a look at the numbers today.


McCain topped Clinton one-on-one in the WSJ/NBC Poll, 47% to 43%. And from the Los Angeles Times today comes a further indication of Clinton's possible weakness in a general election.

A Los Angeles Time/Bloomberg poll shows Clinton trailing McCain 50% to 36%.

Even more startling are Clinton's numbers again Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who hasn't shown a lot of oomph in recent poll on the GOP race. In the LA Times/Bloomberg poll, Clinton tops Romney by just 6 percentage points in a one-on-one faceoff.

The news is a little better for Clinton in a recent Quinnipiac University New York State poll. The senator's job approval rating is at 72%.

In the same poll, outgoing New York Gov. George Pataki, who is weighing his chances for the GOP presidential nomination, was said to be a "great' governor by only 5% of New Yorkers. Some 46% said he was "so-so," while 38% said "good" and 9% called Pataki a "bad" governor.


The Chicago Tribune reports today that Barack Obama is gaining not only in recent polls, but in another measure of polularity - dontations. The paper says Obama's PAC has raised more than a million dollars this year, most of it from small donations from individual supporters.

13 December 2006


Two new presidential preference polls have been released today and both show Hillary Clinton leading the Democrats and Rudy Giuliani on top of the GOP heap. Nothing New there.

The similarities between the two polls, the ABC/Washington Post and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls, are rather noteworthy.

Clinton leads the ABC/Washington post poll of Democrats with 39%, compared to 17% for Barack Obama, 12% for John Edwards and 7% for John Kerry.

In the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, Clinton leads at 37%, followed by Obama(18%), Edwards (14%) and Kerry(11%).

On the Republican side, Giuliani leads the ABC/Washington Post Poll with 34% and the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll also with 34%. John McCain is second in both polls at (26% and 29%). Newt Gingrich is third (12% and 10%) and Mitt Romney is fourth in both polls (5% and 8%).

McCain's support has slipped compared to polls a couple of weeks ago that showed he and Giuliani more or less neck-and-neck in the mid-30's.

Obama has surged a bit, but is still well behind Clinton.

For the most part the polls are striking for the sameness both when compared to each other and to polls done in the past several weeks.


With Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama about to wrestle each other and others for the Democratic presidential nomination, two questions are repeatedly asked.

Are Americans ready for a woman president? How about a black president?

A recent CNN poll would seem to indicate that Clinton's gender and Obama's race are only slightly more than marginal factors.
Some 60% say they think the country is ready for a woman in the White House, while 62% say they think Americans will accept the idea of a black president.

But CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider writes today that the poll numbers show the pairing may be more about each individual than about their race or gender.

And, in a imminently more acidic way, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd comes to a similar conclusion.

Both are worth a read.

Mitt Romney continues to be vexed by comments he made 12 years ago in favor of certain rights for homosexuals.

The comments recently came to light when Bay Windows, a newspaper geared toward New England's gay community, published an editorial critical of the Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential hopeful for backsliding on positions he took in a 1994 interview with the same paper.

But the flack Romney is now taking is coming more from evangelicals critical of his 1994 positions than from gays who are unhappy with his more-recent pronouncments on the subject.
In a story published yesterday by the Associated Press, several right-wing religious figures seemed more than a bit skeptical about supporting Romney in his presumed '08 bid, as Romney tries to position himself to the right of John McCain on social issues.

"Christians believe in conversion, and so they're open to listen. But when a candidate 12 years ago says he is more of a champion on these issues than Ted Kennedy, that needs to be explained," said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention in the AP article.

The New York Times blog, The Caucus, says the issue is opening a door to two other lower-profile GOP social conservatives, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

12 December 2006


Tm DeLay, indicted former House Speaker turned blogger, says Hillary Clinton will win the White House in 2008 and Barack Obama will be her Vice President.

DeLay made the comments today at a meeting of right-wing boggers.

DeLay said he believes Clinton will win because of what you might call a vast left-wing conspiracy.

It's this liberal coalition, working in concert with the news media, that will propel Clinton to the White House in 2008, DeLay said. "Hillary will be the next president of the United States because they have built a coalition," he said. --Human Events


Clinton hosted a number of Iowa's top Democratic politicos today. The (NY) Daily News reports the advice they had for the Senator was to loosen up a bit.

"I don't know that you can win in the Iowa caucuses and be a control freak," said former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Fischer. Fischer is a fan of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is already in the White House race. -- NY Daily News.


Gun-to-his head right now Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd said he would probably seek the Democratic nomination for president.

"If I had to make a decision in the next thirty seconds, I'd say, 'Let's go," Dodd told the Associated Press. Dodd said he'd spend the holidays having "a conversation with the mirror" and make a decision early in the new year.


Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will be making his fourth trip to Iraq tomorrow. The Boston Globe reports Kerry will meet with politcal leaders and U.S. troops, but that the trip will be about business not politics.

But, Kerry does plan to make a point of meeting with a group of soldiers who chided the senator over his now-infamous joke by holding up a banner that read: "Halp us Jon Carry - we R stuck hear N Irak."


As we've been saying for the past few days now, Cleveland congressman Dennis Kucinich is running for president.

Kucinich made it official today, telling a crowd in Cleveland he believes the Democrats were put back in power "to bring some sanity back to our nation."

Kucinich is well to the left on social issues and staunchly anti-war, having called just a couple of weeks ago for a cutoff of funding of the Iraq war as a way to ensure that America get out of the conflict.

"The US is not and will not 'win' in Iraq through a continued military occupation. It is time for Congress to cut off the funds and demand a quick withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq. The period of carnage and blood shed in Iraq has gone on longer than World War II. The American public voted for change, and now Congress must respond. -- Kucinich in a press release.

In a somewhat humerous piece on MSNBC.com today, CNBC's Karin Caifa, talks about the downs and the ups of cover a long, long shot like Kucinich.

Photo Credit: USA Today


Sen. Ted Kennedy is backing off his support for his fellow Massachusetts Democat, Sen. John Kerry , in his possible bid for the White House.

The Boston Globe reports Kennedy is not backing anyone else at this point but said Kerry can't wait forever to decide if he'll run.

In a press statement Kennedy said he'll still support Kerry if the 2004 presidential candidate declares his intentions for 2008 sooner rather than later.

11 December 2006


Jeb and George W., both leaving public office in the not-too-distant future, may find themselves fighting over the family political machine much the way they might have battled over the bit of pate' at the last family cocktail party.

The Los Angeles Times reports today the two may be at odds over who to back in the 2008 presidential race (assuming Jeb was just being coy in his NewsMax interview).

It's a huge fund-raising and vote-getting machine that the Bushs have amassed and the Times reports that Jeb seems to be leaning toward throwing his weight behind Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, while George W. seems to be leaning toward Arizona Sen. John McCain.


Democratic politicos in New Hampshire are letting it be know, Hillary Clinton may have a tough act to follow if/when she makes her first campaign appearance in the state.

As you can is the this report from the Associated Press , Obama was quite a hit on his weekend visit to New Hampshire, as some of observers of the state's political scene told the Boston Herald.

Obama, riding the wave, will be part of the opening of tonight's Monday Night Football broadcast on ESPN. According to the USA Today, Obama will hint at a "major decision" and then pledge his support for his hometown Chicago Bears in tonight's game.

We told you last week that Cleveland-area congressman Dennis Kucinich will run again for the Democratic nomination. The Plain Dealer reports Kucinich will make it official tomorrow.


CNN reports today that Massachuestts Gov. Mitt Romney will form a presidential exploratory committee in January.

10 December 2006


Will Jeb Bush run for president in '08.

The right wing magazine NewsMax reports the Florida governor, and the younger brother of the current occupant of the White House, won't rule it out.

In an interview, posted tonight on the magazine's Web site, Jeb Bush sounds an awful lot like big brother:

"The president tried mightily to get the Social Security reforms in place, but everybody was looking at the next election. We have problems with Medicare, and the cost associated with that. We have too much litigation in our country. That puts a burden on our businesses that no other country has. Our capital markets now are becoming anti-competitive because of over-regulation." --Jeb Bush

And then there's this:

Despite facing the "profoundly important issues related to whether our freedoms are going to be protected against people who hate them and hate us, and whether we're going to remain competitive globally," the discussion in Washington is "puny and juvenile and bitter," Bush said. --Jeb Bush quoted by NewsMax

Bush told NewsMax he likes Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the White House, but also said he'd feel "comforted" by having Rudy Giuliani leading the country in a time of war and said Arizona Sen. John McCain would be okay too.


99% and 80%

Those are the odds that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008.

Or so says a report in the Newsweek magazine that will hit news stands tomorrow.

The report, by Jonathan Alter, quotes sources within each political camp.

The Clinton aide told Newsweek it probably won't be long before we start hearing about Obama's lack of experience in national politics.

"You may hear some Hillary people saying things like, 'Just a little while ago he was in Springfield worrying about license-tag fees'," says a Hillary person saying just that, though not willing to do so publicly. -- quoted in Newsweek

But the Obama folks will counter with just the opposite argument, that Obama has just the credentials the country should be looking for.

"Ater seven years of the 'we kick a--, go it alone' foreign-policy response to 9/11, the American voter will be ready to try a leader who projects better on the world stage," says Jeh Johnson, a corporate attorney and former general counsel of the Air Force under (Bill) Clinton. "Barack's multicultural heritage will represent that change."


As we mentioned yesterday, Obama is in New Hampshire this weekend, at a Democratic Party victory bash. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports the Illinois senator is talking a lot like a presidential candidate.

09 December 2006


The latest National Journal poll of "insiders" - members of Congress, party activists, fundraisers, consultants, lobbyists, and interest-group leaders -leave no doubt who they believe will be the nominees for the two major parties in the 2008 presidential race.
Of those polled, 69% expected Hillary Clinton to prevail in the Democratic primaries, while 73% of respondents said McCain would win the GOP nomination.

The National Journal is subscription-only so we can't get at all the numbers (we're much too cheap for that), but in its analysis, National Journal points out that although Democratic insiders believe Clinton will win the nomination three out of four believe someone else would make a better candidate.


Clinton and her fellow New Yorker Rudy Giuliani are at the top of their respective party in yet another presidential preference poll published late this week - the WNBC/Marist poll.

In that one, Clinton leads former V.P. candidate John Edwards 33% to 14% among Democrats who responded to the poll, while Al Gore checks in at 12% and Barack Obama at 11%.

On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani is just one percentage point ahead of John McCain, at 34% to 33%. Condoleezza Rice finishes third at 13% and Newt Gingrich is fourth at 8%. In the previous WNBC/Marist poll, in October, McCain trailed Giuliani by 8 points,

The poll also delves into several one-one-one pairings, which you can check out here if you like.

In analyzing these numbers, the Associated Press found a most interesting angle.

Some of the below-the-surface numbers in the poll indicate that Clinton is a strong candidate for the primary season and has plenty of question marks as a candidate in the subsequent general election. As an example 47% of all respondents said they would "definitely not" consider voting for her.

On the other hand, the numbers show just an opposite problem for Giuliani. He'd likely do well in the general election, if he can get that far.

Some 47% of Republicans respondents, once they were told of Giuliani's positions on certain social issues (pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-gay rights), said those issues would be a major factor on their decision on who to vote for in the primaries.

Flip-flopper. The juvenille term was turned against John Kerry and into a political gold mine for the GOP in 2004.

But now one Republican presidential candidate may be facing questions of flip-floppery if his GOP opponents take that low-brow approach in the primaries in 2008.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, leading the efforts against gay marriage in his state, may have to justify his past stance on the issue with right-wing primary voters.

Bay Windows, a newspaper for the New England gay and lesbian community, ran an editorial Thursday calling Romney a "Big Fat Liar" for his recent crusading against same-sex marriage.

The paper cites an interview with Romney that appeared on its own pages in 1994 when Romney was running against Ted Kennedy for Kennedy's senate seat.

At the time Romney said he was not in favor of same-sex marriage but that it was an issue best decided by the states. Today he is in favor of a federal ban.
In addition, Bay Windows argues that Romney's 1994 position on same-sex marriage is akin to the present-day stance of Romney rival Arizona Sen. John McCain, a position Romney recently criticized as "disingenuous."

Romney, in the 1994 interview gave the impression he would be an advocate for gay civil rights.

"I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican party and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts," he told Bay Windows in 1994.

The paper charged that Romney has since abandoned the gay community on a number of issues.
"His views on gay issues in 1994 are largely at odds with his stated views today," Bay Windows said in the editorial on Thursday.

But, a political analysts quoted in the Bay WIndows column said Romney is essentialy just acting like a politician.

Charlie Cook, the the non-partisan Cook Political Report, told the paper Romney needs to place himself to the right of McCain to have a place in the race.

“Clearly he’s moving to the right very aggressively and he has to. He’s got to move over to John McCain’s right using what issues he can,” said cook in Bay Windows article.

The paper said Cook theorized Romney also had to move far right to counter concerns in the evangelical community about his Mormon faith.

"That’s what politicians do, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, a Romney or anybody else. That’s what they do and that’s what he’s doing," Cook told Bay Windows.


Two Senators from the Midwest, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Barack Obama of Illinois, are in New Hampshire doing some pre-presidential politicing this weekend.

But their Midwestiness is where the similarities ends.

Blogger and veteran New Hampshire politics pundit James Pindell reports while Bayh is having trouble getting folks to come by and see him, Obama's scheduled appearances are SRO.

Photo: Evan Bayh


The nock on Obama, in recent polls and among the pundits, is he may not be experienced enough to preside over the Oval Office. The Illinois senator is in his first term and served about a half-dozen years as an Illinois lawmaker prior to that.

As, the Chicago Sun-Times' Rich Miller reports, there was a long-ago Illinois politician with a nearly identical resume who ran for president. A guy named Lincoln.


Obama's Phoenix-like entry into the presidential arena added a sudden sense of urgency to the Hillary Clinton camp. The two Senators seem to be getting along just fine in the halls of Congress but The Washington Post reports their is a fair amount of jockeying going on below the surface.


With her preliminary lobbying of New York pols completed, Clinton's next concerted effort reportedly is to measure her level of support in the labor movement.

Clinton has scheduled a round of meetings with top labor leaders. But, as Hotline reports, there is no clear-cut "labor" candidate in the field this time around, as Clinton, Bayh and former V.P. candidate John Edwards can all lay legitimate claim to the support of the unions.


Despite the seeming coolness for a John Kerry run within the Democratic ranks - because he was the loser last time, and then there was the all-to-Kerry-like "joke" - the Massachusetts senator still seems bent on making another White House bid.

The New York Post's (in)famous Page Six reported yesterday Kerry hosted some big-bucks Democrats at his Washingon home. Not sure how much credence you can place on Page Six (a gossip column - for those who fear some sort of toxic reaction to picking up the New York tabloid), but the following account makes it seem as though things didn't go as well as Kerry might have hoped:

"According to a source who knows one of the attendees, Kerry started off by asking guests if he should run or not: 'When no one answered, he launched into a speech about why he was the best candidate.' " --New York Post's Page Six

08 December 2006


Yesterday, while we and a few others reported comprehensively on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's plan to deal with illegal immigration, the blogs were abuzz about a FOX News report that Richardson said he would indeed be running for president in '08.

It seemed a bit suspect that the governor would chose FOX News as the venue to make his announcement, and especially questionable that he would do so on the day when he unveiled what could be one of his most significant policy initiatives.

Why not make news on two separate days.

Sure enough, a short time after the FOX report Richardson's office released a statement calling the FOX report erroneous and saying Richardson will decide early next year whether to take a stab at the Democratic presidential nomination.

Today, FOX backtracked a bit saying in essence "here's what he said, you decide." View the FOX CYA attempt here. (Be prepared to sit through a short ad first). If that link doesn't get there for you, click here.

07 December 2006

Clinton Leads Dems In Fox Poll; Giuliani Tops GOP

FOX News released a presidential preference poll tonight. The results are pretty much the same as yesterday's Rasmusen Reports poll, so we'll move quickly through this. Besides I've got a Browns-Steelers game to watch tonight so I've got to move on in a hurry.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton tops the list at 33%, Barack Obama is a distant second at 12%, Al Gore is at 11%, John Edwards scored 8% and John Kerry rounded out the top five at 6%.

On the GOP side, Rudy Giuliani topped John McCain 30% to 23%, while Newt Gingrich (9%), Mitt Romney (8%) and Sam Brownback (3%) finished the top five. Gingrich dropped from 14% in late August and Giuliani gained 5 points on McCain since then.

In one-on-one primary match-ups, Clinton tops Gore by 17 points and Obama by 22 points on the Democratic side.

Among Republicans, Giuliani tops McCain by 2 points. McCain pounds Mitt Romneyu in a one-on-one 59% to 14%. There was no Giuliani-Romney pairing.

In general election matchups, Both McCain and Giuliani would top Clinton by 8 or 9 points, and both Republicans would top Obama, Giuliani by 11 points and McCain by 19.
Bush's approval rating? 38% Full PDF file here.


Gallup also released another poll today, which was a bit unorthodox.

Respondents were asked to name traits they associate with some of the leading Democratic candidates. Gallup than categorized those traits as positive or negative and came up with a snapshot of the candidates.

Obama and Clinton were tops on the "positives" scale while Kerry had the most "negatives.

Click here for the detailed report and look below for the chart with general results.