Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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click on each candidate to see today's news stories (caricatures by Linda Eddy)


Friday, Feb. 8, 2008



Obama, Hillary will debate two more times before March 4

Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama agreed on Thursday to hold two more debates with rival Hillary Clinton before March 4, officials from his campaign said.

One debate will take place on February 26 in Cleveland, Ohio. The other will take place in Texas on a date to be determined.

see also: Clinton wanted 5 more debates before March 4

Michigan state Dems mull options for do-over caucus

When we last saw Michigan Democrats, they were stoically dragging themselves to the polls to participate in a presidential primary that national party leaders had already assured them would be utterly meaningless.

Remarkably, the legislation that authorized Michigan's Jan. 15 primary (which cost taxpayers more than $10 million) allows either party to disregard the results and choose delegates to its national convention by other means.

But Democrats who want a do-over caucus face serious opposition from Clinton's campaign, so they're unlikely to get much traction before the next batch of primary results is in.

TIME... Clinton, Obama: Why not both?

A new TIME poll reveals that 62% of Democrats want Clinton to put Obama on the ticket; 51% want Obama to return the favor if he is the nominee...

... It's far too early to know if Obama and Clinton could work together, though there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical...

... long as Obama has a real shot at the top spot, there's no need to entertain the Veep talk.

... is the job of Vice President to a Clinton worth having? Al Gore learned that being No. 2 to Bill was really more like being No. 3 after you factored in Hillary, who had an office in the West Wing and a larger suite of rooms down the hall from the Veep in the Old Executive Office Building.

... it might be late summer before the parleys and the peacemaking that lead to a partnership get under way. A lot can happen in six months.





Mike Huckabee... today's headlines with excerpts

Huckabee pressing on...

Mike Huckabee’s campaign said Thursday the former governor will continue his campaign for the Republican nomination even now that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has left the race. A spokeswoman for Huckabee said the campaign plans to “press forward.”


James Dobson endorses Huckabee

Mike Huckabee, has received the personal endorsement, of influential social conservative, and head of  Focus on the Family, Dr.James Dobson.  After a telephone conversation where the two discussed Huckabee’s campaign on Thursday, Dobson released a statement” as a private citizen”  endorsing Huckabee for president over rival, and Republican frontrunner Senator John McCain.

Dobson  emphasized Huckabee’s ” unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life,” that resonated “deeply with him”. Dobson’s endorsement comes after he said right before Super Tuesday that he could not support McCain because of his “record on the institution of the family, and other conservative issues.”

see also: Huckabee earns Dobson endorsement

Huckabee to meet his 'maker' -- on TV

Funny guys Conan O'Brien and Stephen Colbert have been warring over the airwaves over who first discovered and "made" Mike Huckabee, the once obscure former Arkansas governor, into the popular Republican presidential candidate he is today.

Colbert first claimed to have made Huckabee by giving him an appearance on his TV show. O'Brien argued that he made Huckabee by featuring unintentionally funny clips of Huckabee supporter Chuck Norris on his show. Then Jon Stewart got involved, arguing that he made Conan O'Brien — dusting off an old tape in which he interviewed O'Brien on his short-lived talk show from the mid-1990s.

In the sardonic fashion that has earned him plenty of media affection, Huckabee smirkingly called the three "idiots." Now he seems poised to end the argument. His campaign recently released an updated schedule of appearances. Tonight, Huckabee will go back to the place where it all started — The Colbert Report — and, in a fashion Norris would be proud of, end this battle once and for all.




Mitt Romney... today's headlines with excerpts

Romney drops out for the good of the party, nation

[full text from CPAC speech]..."If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters… many of you right here in this room… have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country."

How Romney decided

... the first clue came at a meeting of about 10 senior staffers at headquarters in Boston yesterday. At that session, Fehrnstrom says, Romney indicated that he “didn’t want to do anything that would hurt the party or hurt the nation." That comment gave Fehrnstrom, a longtime Romney aide, an inkling that something was up.

... As always with Romney, family was key. He consulted with his five sons and wife, Ann, before making the decision.

Bryon York: Why Romney failed

... for Republicans across the country, Massachusetts was a symbol — a symbol of the problem at the heart of Romney’s candidacy: he was from one place, ideologically, and he acted as if he were from someplace else.

... Romney’s run from his past left a lot of voters asking: Who is this guy? He says he believes certain things deeply now, but he believed other things deeply not that long ago. And each time, it seems, his deeply-held beliefs jibed with what was most advantageous politically.

... The race was never about the imposing infrastructure Romney had built. It was about that ineffable something that voters look for in candidates. With Huckabee, some of those voters saw an intriguing and refreshing figure. With McCain, a larger number saw someone who wanted, above all, to defend the United States. And with Romney — well, they didn’t quite know what to think.



John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

Gloves off: the Dem plan to hit McCain

...the best fodder has been provided by the candidate himself.

A case in point: As the economy was rising late last year as a major issue for voters, McCain in New Hampshire delivered this grenade, with its pin still in it: "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," he said. "I've got Greenspan's book."

... In a fundraising appeal sent out Wednesday, Dean called McCain "a media darling" and warned that "from Iraq to health care, Social Security to special interest tax cuts to ethics, he's promising nothing more than a third Bush term."

The CPAC speech: McCain not yet energizing conservatives

For the first time in three decades, Republicans are likely to nominate a presidential candidate who lost the conservative and evangelical votes in the primaries. Even as McCain reached out to them Thursday during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, some made no attempt to hide their distaste.

Amid the cheers, there were boos. Placards denounced McCain's past support for changes in immigration policies. In the halls, public and private arguments erupted over his candidacy.

... For McCain, it is a delicate dance. The Arizona senator is on the verge of locking up the nomination thanks to the votes of moderate Republicans and unaligned voters....

John McCain among the conservatives

The McCain camp did a bang-up job of packing the hall at the Omni Shoreham Hotel with placard-waving McCain supporters. When Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn introduced McCain, the supporters gave him a rousing standing ovation, even as a number of conventioneers booed and remained seated.

"We should do this more often," McCain said in a scripted quip...

... His speech served two functions: acknowledging the many disagreements with the conservative base while trying to highlight the many areas of agreement, and defining the choice that will face the country in the fall.

McCain's spot sealed as nominee

John McCain is all but certain to become the first Arizonan to top a presidential ticket since Barry Goldwater in 1964.

The decision by Mitt Romney to suspend his campaign clears the field of the senator's most formidable competitor in the GOP race. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has vowed to fight on until the national convention but faces almost impossible odds in trying to catch McCain.

With the nomination virtually secured, McCain now acquires valuable time - months, in fact - to work on resolving differences with the Republican conservative base and raising cash

Michael Gerson: Why McCain endures

The tradition of moral internationalism -- which reaches back to Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan -- is more necessary than ever. And it is durable enough to survive some serious, early mistakes in Iraq.

The lessons of the McCain resurrection run deeper than the limits of talk radio: Candidates of unity are more appealing and electable. American ideals are indispensable in the conduct of American foreign policy.

Some conservatives have reacted with anger. For others of us, there is only relief.

'Cold chill' Cochran changes tune about McCain

Thad Cochran, U.S. senator from Mississippi, made news in late January with this comment about John McCain: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

Not enough, though, to keep him from joining the McCain bandwagon today shortly after Cochran's first choice in his party's presidential race, Mitt Romney, folded his tent. Here's the e-mail Cochran sent out (a message that doesn't hide where his heart still lies):

"I am supporting John McCain for the Republican nomination for President.  I supported Romney because I thought he would be the better choice for President. He had been a successful Governor of Massachusetts and was a successful businessman before that. I thought he was what we needed in a chief executive, one who could help improve our economy and create new jobs."

Germans would choose Clinton, Obama over McCain

Sixty-nine percent of Germans would vote for Clinton while only 10 percent would back McCain, according to the survey carried out Feb. 6. In a contest between Obama and McCain, 65 percent would support the Democrat with 11 percent backing the Republican...

McCain stops using Mellencamp's tunes

It may be "Our Country," but it's John Mellencamp's song. When the liberal rocker found out his songs were being played at events for Republican John McCain's presidential campaign, Mellencamp's publicist sent a letter that questioned the campaign's playlist.

"Are you sure you want to use his music to promote Senator McCain's efforts?" according to the letter sent to McCain's campaign on Monday. "Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment, were they to be circulated widely."

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that the songs would no longer be played. He declined to elaborate.



Ron Paul... today's headlines with excerpts

Still winning, even when behind...

Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, has not let an overall distant finish in his party’s primaries and caucuses on Tuesday put a dent in his presidential aspirations. In fact, his campaign says he walked away with a prize.

“We’re confident that we’ve secured at least 24 delegates,” a Paul campaign spokesman, Jesse Benton, said on Wednesday.

Some Republican Party officials have declined to confirm the campaign’s projections.





Hillary Clinton... today's headlines with excerpts

Hillary outrage over Chelsea comment by MSNBC

A distasteful comment about Chelsea Clinton by an MSNBC anchor Thursday could imperil Hillary Rodham Clinton's participation in future presidential debates on the network, a Clinton spokesman said.

In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson Friday excoriated MSNBC's David Shuster for suggesting the Clinton campaign had "pimped out" 27-year old Chelsea by having her place phone calls to Democratic Party superdelegates on her mother's behalf. Wolfson called the comment "beneath contempt" and disgusting.

"I, at this point, can't envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network," he added.

Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled to participate in an MSNBC debate Feb. 26 from Ohio, which holds its primary March 4. The Clinton campaign has pushed hard for as many debates as possible with Obama, but Wolfson said the Feb. 26 debate could be jeopardized.

UPDATE: Shuster suspended for Chelsea comment

Bill Clinton learned a lesson

Former President Clinton says he's learned a valuable lesson from the dustup over his remarks on the campaign trail — he can promote his wife's presidential candidacy, but he's not free to defend her.

... "I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president. I have to let her defend herself or have someone else defend her," Clinton said in an interview with NBC News as he was campaigning in Portland, Maine, Thursday.

Noonan: Can Mrs. Clinton lose?

... something is happening. Mrs. Clinton is losing this thing. It's not one big primary, it's a rolling loss, a daily one, an inch-by-inch deflation.

... Deep down journalists think she's a political Rasputin who will not be dispatched. Prince Yusupov served him cupcakes laced with cyanide, emptied a revolver, clubbed him, tied him up and threw him in a frozen river. When he floated to the surface they found he'd tried to claw his way from under the ice. That is how reporters see Hillary.

And that is a grim and over-the-top analogy, which I must withdraw. What I really mean is they see her as the Glenn Close character in "Fatal Attraction": "I won't be ignored, Dan!"

... The Democrats have it exactly wrong. Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it's fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof....

TIME poll: Clinton more beatable than Obama

Though the real election is nine months away, Sen. Barack Obama would fare slightly better than Sen. Hillary Clinton in a head to head match-up with Sen. John McCain if the general election were held today, a new TIME poll reveals.

Obama captured 48% of the vote in the theoretical match-up against McCain's 41%, the TIME poll reported, while Clinton and McCain would deadlock at 46% of the vote each. Put another way, McCain looks at the moment to have a narrowly better chance of beating the New York Senator than he does the relative newcomer from Illinois.



Hillary's campaigning in Virginia goes after McCain

Clinton focused on the likely GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain, more than on her rival Obama, whom she named only once. (She also repeated a familiar critique that his health care plan would not cover as many people as hers.)

"Senator McCain will be the Republican nominee, and I have the greatest respect for my friend and my colleague Senator McCain," she said, "but I believe he offers more of the same -- more of the same economic policy, more of the same military policies in Iraq."

She continued:" He said recently he could see American troops in Iraq for 100 years. Well, I want them coming home in 60 days....Senator McCain has said he doesn't know much about the economy."

see also: Clinton says McCain would be more of the same

Aggressive Obama TV spending prompted Clinton's loan

"The campaign faced a strategic decision -- either attempt to match his TV . . . or lose," said a senior Clinton adviser, who spoke about the internal discussions on the condition of Aggressive Obama TV spending prompted Clinton's loan anonymity. "I would say given the result of Super Tuesday, it was the right decision."

The $5 million loan telegraphed for the first time that the Clinton campaign, which raised more than $100 million in 2007, had suddenly hit the financial skids. Clinton disclosed the loan on Wednesday.

After hammering McCain for skipping a stimulus vote, Hillary skips a stimulus vote 

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, assailed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for skipping a vote on the economic stimulus package Wednesday afternoon...

BUT… This afternoon Sen. Clinton missed a vote on an amendment to the economic stimulus package, to add seniors and disabled veterans to the list of those getting rebates, which passed 91-6.

And she missed the vote on final passage of the bill, which passed 81-16.

As with McCain's failure to vote Wednesday, her absence made no difference factually in terms of what happened.




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Washington governor Gregoire endorses Obama

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire endorsed Barack Obama for president Friday, providing a last-minute lift to the Illinois senator on the eve of the state's hotly contested Democratic caucuses.


"He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof."
         -Peggy Noonan RE Obama

Clinton fundraising woes give Obama edge

``More of our donors are maxed out,'' said Grossman, a marketing executive and a so-called ``Hillraiser'' because he's collected at least $100,000 for the candidate. The goal, he said, is a ``broadening of the base.'' Many voters who haven't yet given money will start contributing ``because they want to see Hillary win,'' he said.

Although Clinton may raise enough money to be competitive in most upcoming contests, even her own top aides say Obama will continue to have more money to spend. He has more than 650,000 donors. That's far more than the Clinton campaign, which won't release the numbers. The smaller contributors can keep giving.

Obama advisers foresee a delegate draw with Clinton

Barack Obama's advisers are anticipating the possibility of a Democratic presidential race deadlocked past the last primary, and the outcome may hinge on a fight over whether delegations from Florida and Michigan get seats at the party's national convention in Denver.

Obama calls Romney an 'ineffective candidate'

Romney, who dropped out of the race for president today in Washington, said in his exit speech that the GOP must unify and not allow Democrats to allow the country to "surrender to terror."

"Well my reaction to Mitt Romney's comment that's the kind of poorly thought out comment that lead him to drop out," Obama said during a press avail on his campaign plane. "It's a classic attempt to appeal to people's fears that will not work in this campaign. I think that's part of the reason he was such an ineffective candidate."




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