Monday, January 28, 2008

State Of The Union Preview

Courtesy of the White House, here is a preview of President Bush's 2008 State of the Union address:

The President will reaffirm his belief in the power of freedom and in policies that trust the American people to make wise choices. He will present new ideas and identify key areas where the Administration and Congress can come together to complete important unfinished business to protect Americans and to ensure that our country continues to prosper. This includes:

* Keeping America's Economy Healthy: To help keep our economy growing in the short-term, President Bush will ask Congress to quickly pass the $150 billion economic growth package agreed upon in bipartisan negotiations between the Administration and House leadership. President Bush will also ask Congress to make sure the tax relief that is now in place is made permanent - this is the most important action to ensure the long-term health of our economy.

* Expanding Opportunities For America's Workers: President Bush will call on Congress to open markets to American workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs by approving free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. The President believes Americans can compete with anybody, anywhere as long as the rules are fair, and these trade agreements will ensure open markets and new opportunities for U.S. business and agriculture. The Administration is also working for a successful Doha Round of trade talks, and the President is committed to completing a good agreement this year to expand opportunity for Americans and millions struggling to escape poverty worldwide.

* Eliminating Wasteful Federal Spending: President Bush will issue a pledge to veto any appropriations bill Congress sends him that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. He will also issue an Executive Order on Tuesday, January 29, directing Federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted on by Congress.

* Saving Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid: The President will challenge Members of Congress to come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital entitlement programs for future generations. He has laid out several proposals to reform these programs, and now he calls on Members of Congress to develop their own ideas.

* Caring For Our Nation's Veterans And Their Families: The President will call on Congress to expand support for military families by expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the Federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children. He will also ask Congress to ensure our returning wounded warriors effectively and efficiently receive the services they need by completing work on the remaining Dole-Shalala Commission recommendations that require legislation.

* Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind And Expanding Education Options: President Bush will call on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation reauthorizing and strengthening No Child Left Behind. He will also ask Congress to support a new $300 million "Pell Grants for Kids" program to help poor children in underperforming schools afford the schools of their choice and announce a White House Summit on inner city children in faith-based and other non-public schools that will be held this spring.

* Keeping America Competitive In The 21st Century: The President will ask Congress to continue on the path to double Federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on earth. Last year, Congress passed legislation supporting full funding of research under the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, an agenda to strengthen our scientific education and research, improve our technological enterprise, attract the world's best and brightest workers, and provide 21st century job training. Unfortunately, Congress has not provided sufficient funding. This funding is necessary now for American entrepreneurs and workers to maintain a competitive edge.

* Increasing Energy Security And Confronting Climate Change: President Bush will call on Congress to build on the success of the energy bill he signed in December and take the next steps to improve our energy security and confront the challenge of climate change without undermining economic growth. He will reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with the other major economies and through the UN toward an international agreement on climate change that can slow, stop, and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions through actions by every major economy. He will also call for the creation of a new $2 billion international clean technology fund.

* Empowering America's Armies Of Compassion: President Bush will call on Congress to help ensure equal treatment for faith-based organizations seeking Federal funding by permanently extending Charitable Choice provisions guaranteeing their participation on equal footing in certain Federal programs. In addition, the President will honor the resilience of the people of the Gulf Coast, and the contributions volunteers have made to the region, by announcing that the United States will host the annual North American Leaders' Summit in New Orleans this April.

* Improving Border Security, Immigration Enforcement, And Assimilation: President Bush will review the steps his Administration is taking to improve our border security and address immigration challenges within the boundaries of existing law. Although Congress has not passed legislation to address the immigration challenges our Nation faces, the Administration continues to build upon progress we have already made in strengthening our borders, enforcing our worksite laws, prosecuting criminal aliens, keeping our economy well-supplied with vital workers, and helping new Americans successfully assimilate into our society. Without legislation that creates a lawful way for foreign workers to support our economy, however, we cannot fully relieve the pressure on the border.

* Empowering Americans With Affordable Options For Health Care: President Bush will lay out elements of his health care agenda to promote accessible and affordable health care and leave medical decisions in the hands of patients and the doctors that treat them. He will call on Congress to eliminate the unfair bias in the tax code in order to make basic private health insurance more affordable for millions.

* Confirming Qualified Judicial Nominees: The President has submitted qualified judicial nominees who will interpret the law instead of attempting to make new laws. Many of these worthy candidates' nominations are being unfairly delayed, and the Senate should give each of them a prompt up-or-down vote.

* Increasing Federal Support For Ethical Stem Cell Research: President Bush has directed Federal agencies to provide funding for stem cell and medical research that does not harm human embryos. In November 2007, several new studies reaffirmed the President's commitment to support this type of research by showing the potential of reprogramming adult cells, such as skin cells, to make them function like embryonic stem cells. President Bush will also call on Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life.

President Bush will ask Congress to work with him to advance the freedom agenda abroad and continue to fulfill his top priority of keeping our Nation safe. This includes:

* Keeping Our Nation Safe From Terrorism: President Bush will remind Congress that one of the most important tools we can give the men and women who protect us from attack is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, Congress passed legislation to help us do that, but it is set to expire on February 1. This means that if Congress does not act this week, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened --and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must act now to ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted and to pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted our nation following the attacks on 9/11.

* Supporting Our Troops As They Make Progress In Iraq And Afghanistan: The President will call on Congress to fully fund our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so they get the equipment they need as soon as possible to do the job they have been asked to do. While much work remains, U.S. and Iraqi troops working together have achieved significant results, and as we are seeing more success, some of our forces in Iraq are returning home and not being replaced. He will also announce the United States is adding 3,200 Marines to our forces in Afghanistan to ensure the gains this nation has made toward democracy are not reversed.

* Keeping America Safe By Advancing Freedom Worldwide: President Bush will reaffirm his commitment to support those in other countries who are advancing freedom and justice as hopeful alternatives to the violent extremism embraced by America's enemies.

* Supporting A Compassionate Foreign Policy: President Bush believes freedom can only be advanced if the United States does its part to eliminate the hunger, disease, poverty, and illiteracy that creates despair and allows violent extremism to take root. The President will ask Congress to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, consistent with the program's successful founding principles, and to double the Plan's historic initial commitment with an additional $30 billion over five years. He continues to support the President's Malaria Initiative to combat malaria in 15 African countries, and the President will also ask Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops directly from farmers in the developing world.

Sunday Show Video Roundup (Jan. 27)

Like last week, this week's video roundup from Sunday's talking head shows is all about Bill Clinton's attacks on Obama:

Bill Clinton needs to listen when Democratic party leaders tell him to shut up.

Bill Clinton Tried To Stop Kennedy's Obama Endorsement

Former president Bill Clinton tried hard to convince Ted Kennedy not to endorse Obama over Hillary.

The Washington Post calls the Kennedy stamp of approval "one of the most sought-after prizes of the Democratic nomination battle." Both the Hillary and the Obama campaigns sought the Kennedy prize:

Obama had cultiBill Clinton Tried To Stop Kennedy's Obama Endorsementvated Kennedy's support for months. So had Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who along with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, had pressed Kennedy in recent days to at least remain neutral.
In the end Bill Clinton's failure to listen to warnings that his attacks against Obama had gone too far cost Hillary:
Kennedy's decision came after weeks of his rising frustration with the Clintons over campaign tactics, particularly comments by the couple and their surrogates in South Carolina that seemed to carry racial overtones. Kennedy expressed his frustrations directly to the former president, but to no avail. He came to his endorsement decision over the past week, after speaking to numerous family members, especially younger ones, and gave Obama the word on Thursday, people familiar with the endorsement said.

The New York Times reports that the "discussions " between the Clintons and Kennedy became "heated:"
Both the Clintons and their allies had pressed Mr. Kennedy for weeks to remain neutral in the Democratic race, but Mr. Kennedy had become increasingly disenchanted with the tone of the Clinton campaign, aides said. He and former President Bill Clinton had a heated telephone exchange earlier this month over what Mr. Kennedy considered misleading statements by Mr. Clinton about Mr. Obama, as well as his injection of race into the campaign.

The Kennedy endorsement is further evidence that Bill Clinton’s over the top attacks on Obama have gone too far and have hurt Hillary's candidacy. That's a fact the Hillary campaign subtly acknowledges:
Campaign officials, without acknowledging any faults on Mr. Clinton’s part, have said they will change tactics and try to shift Mr. Clinton back into the role he played before her loss in the Iowa caucuses, emphasizing her record and experience.
At Politico, Mike Allen and Carrie Budoff Brown also write about the Clinton's efforts to prevent the Kennedy Obama endorsement and call the rejection of Hillary as least as embarrassing as her 28-point loss in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

Has the Clinton's race baiting boomeranged? We won't know the answer to that question until after the twenty-odd February 5, contests. We do know that Bill Clinton should learn to listen when party leaders tell him to shut up.

More On Obama's Kennedy Prize

NBC Nightly News reports on Obama's huge Win in South Carolina, and the Kennedy endorsements of Barack Obama:

I agree with Andrea Mitchell that the Ted Kennedy endorsement is huge. She makes the point that Kennedy and other Democratic Party leaders are very unhappy with Bill Clinton's negative campaign against Obama.

Bill should have paid attention when Kennedy told the former president to shut up.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy "I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman" Day

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

On January 26, 1998, then President Bill Clinton went on national TV and brazenly announced lied to the American people claiming he "did not have sexual relations with that woman:"


After repeatedly denying an inappropriate relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton finally acknowledged the affair in grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998.

On September 11, 1998, Kenneth Starr's four-year investigation into the president was made public in a 445-page report.

As a direct result of the Starr report, Bill Clinton became only the second president in American history to be impeached, when the House Judiciary Committee proposed articles of impeachment against President Clinton.

The Senate voted to acquit Clinton of the impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on February 12, 1999.

Thanks to Marc Parent for the reminder.

Don't Short The Surge

Kimberly Kagan looks at the success of the surge and notes it may have a surprising result:

We won more than we had hoped, and now we may need to defend it more than we had planned.
Kagan's sobering analysis concludes we can't reduce American combat forces in Iraq below 15 brigades this year:
By the best estimates now available, 15 brigades is the absolute minimum force required to accomplish the mission that has brought us success in 2007. Any further reductions -- even by a single brigade -- may make that mission impossible.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' recent hope that the U.S. could cut its combat forces in Iraq from 20 to 10 brigades this year now appears overly optimistic.

Nevertheless, the progress in Iraq is real and the progress is political as well as military. American brigades in Iraq not only oversee combat, the brigades are also responsible for training, and governance missions in their area of operations:
Since the end of 2006, brigades have overseen the Military Transition Teams that train and advise the Iraqi security forces operating in their area, dramatically improving the coordination of Iraqi and American forces.

[. . .]

Since spring 2007, the brigades have housed the Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams that have jumpstarted local and provincial Iraqi government. The brigade helps these teams move through the area. The brigades have been instrumental in the Iraqi population's rejection of al Qaeda.
We need patience to attain victory in Iraq. Counterinsurgency is inherently a long-term proposition.

Last week, Micheal R. Gordan wrote about the "parallel universes" he experienced in his military reporting assignments in Iraq and tracking the campaign debate in the United States:
The American officers I met were hardly of one mind on how to proceed in Iraq, but they were grappling with decisions on how to try to stabilize a traumatized country with a hard-headed sense that although there have been significant gains, a long and difficult job still lies ahead — a core assumption that has frequently been missing on the campaign trail.

The politicians, on the other hand, seemed more intent on addressing public impatience with an open-ended commitment in Iraq, either by promising prompt withdrawal (the Democrats) or by suggesting that victory may be near (the Republicans).

Anthony Cordesman, a military specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who regularly visits Iraq, put it this way: “You have to grade all the candidates between a D-minus and an F-plus. The Republicans are talking about this as if we have won and as if Iraq is the center of the war on terrorism, rather than Afghanistan and Pakistan and a host of movements in 50 other countries.

The Democrats talk about this as if the only problem is to withdraw and the difference is over how quickly to do it.”
Iraq is one theater in the War against Islamic Extremism. Al Qaeda's two principal leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, have repeatedly called Iraq the "front line" in their war against Western civilization. We have no choice but to find the patience to give the military the time it needs to complete the job we asked them to do. The alternative, advocated by the liberal/progressive left wing and the Democratic Presidential candidates, is to admit defeat, surrender to al Qaeda in Iraq after so much sacrifice and battle an emboldened enemy in other theaters until we tire there as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lies, Misrepresentations and More Left-Wing Extremist Propaganda

To paraphrase President Reagan, there they go again.

Associated Press writer, Douglas Daniel has written an article promoting more lies, misrepresentations, and left-wing extremist propaganda trying to revive the loony left's thoroughly debunked fiction that we were "misled" into war in Iraq by "false statements" and "lies."

On Yahoo the Douglas article is titled "Study: False statements preceded war." But CBS News, the ever accurate former employer of Dan Rather, originally carried the article under the headline "Study: 2 Years Of Lies Led To Iraq War. That was too much even for the President Bush hating propagandists at CBS, who toned it down to "Study: 'False Pretenses' Led U.S. To War."

I am so very tired of this propaganda. Mr. Douglas does not acquit himself well as a reporter here. Perhaps that is why he is identified as a writer. He does little, other than regurgitating the misleading talking points put forth in the press release posted on the Web site of the cleverly named Center for Public Integrity. According to wikipedia, despite its claims to be a nonpartisan news organization "the Center has been accused of bias toward left-wing political causes because it has accepted money from organizations and individuals that favor liberal policies and/or actively oppose right-wing political causes."

At the New York Times, John Cushman Jr., doesn't do much better, but the headline is more restrained.

Even though Douglas and Cushman put forth the press release talking points claiming that President Bush and other administration officials made hundreds of "false statements" leading us to war in Iraq, they both fails to do any fact checking. Oh they note that journalists and news organizations have issued mea culpas, saying their pre-war coverage was "too deferential and uncritical." But they fail to mention that no less than three exhaustive studies have concluded that there is no justification for the false allegation that the administration lied about the WMDs.

Everyone was convinced that Saddam had WMDs. It remains a fact Saddam used WMDs against Iran and his own people. The intelligence and common wisdom that Iraq still possessed such weapons at the time we liberated Iraq proved to be wrong, but that doesn't equate to a lie.

So lets go over the facts again. The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. At pages 284-285 the report states:

Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities.


Conclusion 84. The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments.
Besides that report, two other independent investigations came to the same conclusion.

The Robb-Silberman Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction likewise found "no evidence of political pressure." At pages 50-51 the Robb-Silberman report states:
The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.
The British Butler Report, Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction similarly "found no evidence of deliberate distortion." At page 110 the British Butler report states:
Treatment of intelligence material

449. In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in [Joint Intelligence Committee] assessments. An exception was the '45 minute' report. But this sort of example was rare in the several hundred JIC assessments we read on Iraq. In general, we also found that the reliability of the original intelligence reports was fairly represented by the use of accompanying qualifications. We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence.
The effect of departmental policy agendas
450. We examined JIC assessments to see whether there was evidence that the judgements inside them were systematically distorted by non-intelligence factors, in particular the influence of the policy positions of departments. We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior officials on the JIC.
The consensus that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction formed in the Clinton administration. The consensus was more than evident in 1998, when President Clinton was threatening to attack Iraq.

President Clinton::
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program.

Secretary of State Madeline Albright:
"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction," Albright said Sunday, addressing a news conference in Jerusalem.

"The chemical weapons Saddam has used and the biological weapons we know he has tested pay no attention to borders and nationalities."

Is it so much to ask that news service "writers" and reporters do a little fact checking?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Romney Wins Nevada

Mitt Romney wins the Republican Nevada caucuses. Ron Paul is running second. No surprise here.

South Carolina Republican Primary Prediction

In South Carolina we have another very close race among the Republican candidates.

Rasmussen Reports finds John McCain and Mike Huckabee tied. But Rasmussen also finds a lot of uncertainty:

Perhaps the most significant finding of the survey was that, as of Wednesday night, 41% of voters indicated that they might change their mind. That includes 7% who have not decided on anyone, 10% who said there’s a good chance they could change their mind, and another 24% who said they could change their mind. Such uncertainty just three days before an election is extraordinary.
Two other polls find McCain with a narrow lead.

A new McClatchy-MSNBC poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research has McCain leading with 27%, followed by Huckabee, 25%; Mitt Romney, 16%; Fred Thompson, 13%; Ron Paul, 6%; and Rudy Giuliani, 5%.

A new Zogby International poll has McCain leading with 27%, followed by Huckabee, 26%; Romney, 15%; Thompson, 12%; Paul, 4%; and Giuliani, 3%. The Zogby and Rasmussen polls show McCain slipping and Huckabee rising.

McCain is thought to lead among South Carolina's large veteran population, while Huckabee is favored by evangelical voters. Then there is the weather. Up to 3 inches of snow is forecast in the portions of the state and heavy rain is expected throughout the rest of the state.

My guess is that Huckabee's supporters are more passionate than McCain, and will carry Huckabee to victory.

Huckabee - 30%
McCain - 29%
Romney - 17%
Thompson -13%
Giuliani - 5%
Paul - 5%
Hunter - 1%

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Michigan Primary Prediction 2008

I'm going to take another shot at exposing myself to unnecessary ridicule and predict guess what I think will be the result of the Michigan primary

Once again, the Republican race is a toss up between McCain and Romney. Michigan, like New Hampshire is an open primary, which means and any registered voter can vote. That again leaves us wondering whether independents will turn out and vote for McCain?

Romney - 31%
McCain - 30%
Huckabee - 17%
Thompson - 10%
Paul - 7%
Giuliani - 4%
Duncan Hunter - 1%

The Democratic primary doesn't count because the Democratic National Committee voted to disenfranchise Michigan Democrats by stripping Michigan of all of its 156 delegates to the party’s 2008 nominating convention in Denver.

The Democratic Party leaders are punishing Michigan Democrats for scheduling their presidential primary earlier than the national party leaders think they should. Democratic Party rules allow only Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to hold 2008 primary contests before February 5.

The Democratic candidates all agreed not to campaign in Michigan and Edwards and Obama withdrew their names from the ballot. A whisper campaign is under way to get Edwards and Obama and supporters to vote for uncommitted, thereby embarrassing Hillary.

Hillary - 56%
Uncommitted - 41%
Kucinich - 2%
Gravel - 1%

You can find more New Hampshire at predictions at Election Projection.

Sunday Show Video Roundup (Jan. 13)

This video roundup of sound bites from Sunday's talking head shows sums up recent developments in the presidential campaign. It's all a about the race card.

Primary Winners Gain National Status

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Hillary and McCain leading nationally following the New Hampshire primaries:

McCain - 33%
Huckabee - 19%
Giuliani - 13%
Romney - 11%
Thompson - 9%

The Gallup poll documents the impact of winning the early states on national preferences.

The impact is similar among the Democrats.

Hillary - 45%
Obama - 33%
Edwards - 13%

Gallup's Dr. Frank Newport explains the trends:

Ron Paul Forgets About The USS Cole

At the Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Ron Paul forgot that in the October 12, 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole a small craft approached the U.S. warship, exploded, and blew a 40-foot hole in the side of the Cole. The attack killed 17 sailors and wounded 39 more.

Watch the following video from the debate:

That Ron Paul statement received the most negative rating ever recorded by a Luntz focus group.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Luntz's Focus Group Likes Fred

Luntz's Focus Group says Fred Thompson won the Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I guess the focus group liked Fred calling Huckabee on his liberal economic foreign policies. I know I did.

Thompson Vs. Huckabee

Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee went at it over Huckabee's record as governor of Arkansas during the Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Answering a question about the future of the Reagan Coalition, Thompson said, "This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and its future:"

He said that Mr. Huckabee, a Baptist minister, "would be a Christian leader, but he would bring about liberal economic policies and liberal foreign policies." Mr. Thompson then listed Mr. Huckabee's record on the prison at Guantanamo Bay, education, taxes, foreign policy and federalism, a record that he charged was at odds with Mr. Reagan's conservatism. "That's not the model of the Reagan Coalition, that's the model of the Democratic Party," Mr. Thompson said to applause.
Huckabee defended his record, saying he "stayed faithful with the things Ronald Reagan was faithful to."Watch the video:

Score: Thompson 1 - Huckabee 0.

Colbert Interviews Huckabee

Colbert's recent interview of Mike Huckabee is one of the funniest things I've seen.

I especially like the outsourcing bit:

Colbert: You do support outsourcing jobs, don't you?
Huckabee: As long as it's not mine.
But Huckabee's pledge to "storm hell with a water pistol" to catch Osama bin Laden, is even better. Enjoy.

Kerry Backs Obama

John Kerry, endorsed Barack Obama over his 2004 running mate, John Edwards.

The Associated Press calls Kerry's endorsement of Obama a "slap" at John Edwards and pay back to Hillary for chiding him in 2006 for his infamous botched joke, which insulted U.S. troops and revived memories of Kerry's innumerable flip flops and equivocations, like his "I have been consistent all along."

Obama's loss to Hillary in New Hampshire doesn't seem to have hurt campaign. In addition to the Kerry endorsement, Obama was endorsed by two key unions in Nevada - the Culinary Workers Union, and the Service Employees International Union.

Richardson Quits

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has ended his quixotic campaign for the Democratic presidential campaign. Fourth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire were not enough for him to keep going. Richardson's withdrawal was no surprise. I expected him to quit after he received only four percent in the Iowa caucuses.

The news is that Richardson didn't endorse anyone.

Frank Newport Analyses New Hampshire Resuts

Gallup Poll Editor in Chief, Frank Newport, evaluates the New Hampshire primary results and contemplates what's next in the polls for Clinton and McCain.

History offers little guidance to analyze the split decision in Iowa and New Hampshire. During the primary era, only in 1984 and 1988 did Iowa and New Hampshire have different Democratic winners.

On the Republican side, 2008 is the first time in the primary era that the national front-runner going into Iowa (Rudy Giuliani) lost both of the early contests.

Watch Newport's video report:

I like Newport's explanation as to why the Democratic results were so different from the polls. Voters changed their minds.

Colin Powell On Obama

Retired four-star Army general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell weighs in on Barack Obama's presidential campaign and reflects on his own decision not to run for president.

The country could use more statesmen like Powell, a lot more.

Thanks to Lizzy for the tip.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire Primary Prediction 2008

I'll take another shot at exposing myself to unnecessary ridicule and predict what I think will be the result of the New Hampshire Primaries.

The Democratic race is easy Hilary is going to get plastered again.

Barack Obama - 42%
Hillary Clinton - 31%
John Edwards - 17%
Bill Richardson - 9%
Kucinich - 1%

On the republican side it's a toss up between McCain and Romney. The extremely high turnout may allow McCain to defeat Romney, but I just don't think it will.

Mitt Romney - 33%
John McCain - 32%
Mike Huckabee - 11%
Ron Paul - 10%
Rudy Giuliani - 9%
Fred Thompson - 4%
Duncan Hunter - 1%

You can find more New Hampshire at predictions at Election Projection.

New Hampshire Voters Believe Obama Will Be The Next President

Likely voters in the New Hampshire primary believe Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States:

“When asked who will be the next President of the United States, 35 percent chose Obama, and 29 percent said Clinton,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Perception drives reality, and the reality is that independents are fueling this movement by a 35-percent-to-22-percent margin. Even 11 percent of likely New Hampshire Republican voters think Obama will be the next president.”
So now Obama is inevitable. How long will this last?

Huckabee Back In The Evangelical Pulpit

In New Hampshire, Mike Huckabee, the self proclaimed "Christian Leader," finds himself in a state without an extensive religious base.

To make up for the lack of evangelicals that swept him to victory in Iowa, Huckabee gave the sermon at a church called the Crossing:

"When we become believers, it's as if we have signed up to be part of God's Army, to be soldiers for Christ," Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.

[. . .]

Likening service to God to service in the military, Huckabee said "there is suffering in the conditioning for battle" and "you obey the orders."
According to the Washington Post, campaigning in New Hampshire, Huckabee has generally focused on appealing to nonreligious voters, emphasizing his support of small government, local control of schools and gun rights. In New Hampshire, Huckabee has not run the popular Iowa ad that dubbed him a "Christian leader."

In the end Huckabee's tendency to wear his religion on his sleeve will also come back to haunt him because it will scare the living daylights out of a lot of moderates.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Romney Regains Lead

Today's 7NEWS/Suffolk University two-day rolling average poll found Romney regained the lead over McCain in New Hampshire. The previous days' results are in parentheses:

Romney 30% (26%, 25%, 25%, 23%, 25%)
McCain 27% (30%, 29%, 29%, 32%, 31%)
Huckabee 11% (13%, 12%, 10%, 9%)
Giuliani 10% (11%, 9%, 9%, 11%, 14%)
Ron Paul 9% (8%, 8%, 8%, 8%, 6%)
Huckabee 7% (11%, 13%, 12%, 10%, 9%)
Thompson 2% (2%, 2%, 2%, 2%, 2%)
Hunter 1% (1%, 1%, 1%, 1%, -)
Undecided 12% (10%, 12%, 14%, 13%, 12%)

According to the Suffolk University Political Research Center's release, Romney continues to lead in the two New Hampshire counties bordering Massachusetts:

Hillsborough (38 percent-to-23 percent) and Rockingham (35 percent-to-22 percent). These two counties account for more than half of the expected likely votes cast in the Republican Primary.

On the Democratic side, Obama has cut Hillary's seventeen-point lead to just two points.

Clinton 35% (36%, 37%, 39%, 37%, 36%)
Obama 33% (29%, 25%, 23% 20%, 22%)
Edwards 14% (13%, 15%, 17%, 16%, 14%)
Richardson 5%, (4%, 4%, 5%, 5%, 7%)
Kucinich 1% (1%, 1%, 1%, 1%, 3%)
Gravel 1% ( -, -, -, -, -,)
Undecided 11% (12%, 12%, 11%, 16%, 12%)

Obama continues to win the battle for the young voters, 51-percent-to-26-percent margin.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hillary: Making Change Is Not About What You Believe

Last night, at the ABC/Facebook debate, Hillary said, "Making change is not about what you believe."

The following video drives home the point that Hillary cannot successfully adopt Obama's mantra of change:

Like I said, Hillary loses again.

Thanks to Oralndo at Fort Hard Knox for the tip.

Hillary Loses Again

Hillary lost the ABC/Facebook debate last night. She needed knock out Obama and she failed.

Hillary tried and tried to take over Obama's change mantra, making numerous attempts to tie her experience to change. Despite her outburst of anger, Hillary's efforts didn't work. Hillary can't successfully surf the change wave so long as she continues to rely on the legacy of Bill Clinton. When Bill ran for president, his campaign song was Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." Hillary's continuing reliance on Bill, and her first lady-based experience argument, makes voters think about yesterday.

A Luntz focus group had little use Hillary's efforts to become a changeling. Watch the following video:

I disagreed with a Luntz Iowa focus group about Romney's contrast add targeting Huckabee's record on immigration. Based on the Iowa caucus results, the Luntz focus group was correct. The New Hampshire Luntz focus group will prove correct as well. Hillary will lose again in New Hampshire.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Romney Wins Wyoming

Romney won over 70% of Wyoming's 14 delegates. USA Today reports Romney won eight delegates, Fred Thompson won two and Duncan Hunter won one.

Romney 7 73%
Thompson 2 18%
Hunter 1 9%

A total of 12 delegates will be selected today. Two more delegates will be elected later at a state convention.
Wyoming Republicans forfeited 14, of the state's 28 delegates because the state Republican Party held the caucuses earlier than the national party rules allow.

No delegates were actually elected in Iowa.

Romney Goes Positive

Mitt Romney has gone positive and launched a new TV ad that emphasizes strength, growth, and prosperity.

In New Hampshire, Romney has shifted his message, presenting himself as the Washington outsider:

Romney called himself "a guy that is hardly well known," and spoke at length not only about his business successes -- recalling how he was part of the group that got the office supply store Staples up and running -- but also about what is expected to be a recurring theme between now and Tuesday's New Hampshire primary: that he is not of Washington.

McCain, his main rival in New Hampshire, is, however, having spent decades in Congress.

"Sending the same people back to Washington and having them sit in different chairs is not going to change Washington," said Romney, who seemed easy and relaxed before the large crowd.
McCain is seen as a maverick. Trying to paint McCain, the Senate's preeminent "maverick," as a Washington insider is futile. Romney needs to stick to the more positive tone of his new ad.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hillary's Felonious Fundraiser Sentenced

The day after Hillary's embarrassing rejection by Iowa Democrats, Norman Hsu, Hillary's felonious fugitive fundraiser returned to the headlines.

This time Hsu's fifteen minutes of fame was the result of being sentenced to three years in prison. That was the sentence Hsu agreed to after pleading no contest back in 1992 for defrauding investors in a Ponzi scheme. Rather then serving his sentence in 1992, Hsu disappeared, became a fugitive and one of the Democrats' go to bag men.

The last thing Hillary's failing campaign needs after yesterday's loss in Iowa is to have voters reminded of the Clinton penchant for campaign contribution scandals.

Don't Forget Wyoming

Wyoming Republicans will caucus Saturday and choose delegates to the national convention.

Wyoming's Republicans had hoped to draw attention by holding their caucuses a full month before most other states. Nevertheless, the Wyoming caucus wound up sandwiched between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

McCain May Seek Only One Term

When 71 year-old John McCain was asked whether he had the stamina to serve as president for eight years, he responded by suggesting that, if he is elected, he might not seek reelection:

"If I said I was running for eight years, I'm not sure that would be a vote-getter," McCain said.
Asked later to elaborate, McCain said that every president evaluates his progress after two or three years:
"My health is good, my campaign schedule is heavier than anybody else's, and I've said many times I can out-campaign anybody," McCain said. "I think the decision as to whether to run for reelection has to do with the circumstances at the time. I really do. You shouldn't run for eight years, because then you think you've got eight years to get these things done."
McCain's single term gambit is a better approach to the age issue than Ronald Reagan's 1980 promise to undergo testing for senility.

Fred Carries On

As of midnight, Thompson and John McCain were in a close race for third-place in the Iowa caucuses. That's good enough for Fred:

"It looks like somebody is going to need to carry a strong, consistent, conservative message and it looks like it ought to be me," Thompson told a cheering crowd of about 200 supporters at a downtown hotel. "I don't know whether it's going to be a definitive third or tied for third, or whatever, but it's pretty clear that we're going to have a ticket to the next dance."
Hopefully Fred's third place finish and prolonged bus tour at the end of December will dispel the rumors that he is not serious about his presidential campaign.

Dodd and Biden Drop Out

Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden ended their failed presidential campaigns after dismal showings in the Iowa caucuses.

Dodd withdrew from the race saying he tried:

"I think we all knew from the very beginning that ... this would be an uphill battle," Connecticut senator Dodd told hundreds of supporters at a campaign rally in downtown Des Moines. "Only when you try can you truly make a difference in this world, and I’m truly glad I tried."

Tonight, I'm withdrawing from the presidential race.
Delaware Senator Joe Biden also withdrew, but couldn't announce it himself:
In a speech to supporters with his tearful wife, Jill at his side, Biden never once said he was dropping out, even declaring "I ain't going away."

But his political director Danny O'Brien confirmed after Biden's speech that Biden was ending his run for the nomination.
Both candidates should have seen the writing on the wall long ago. Dodd won just 0.02 percent of Iowa's caucus-goers, even after moving his family to Iowa weeks before the caucuses.

Huckabee And Obama Win Iowa Caucuses

With 97 percent of Democratic precincts reporting:

Obama 38%
Edwards 30%
Hillary 29%

CNN political analyst Bill Schneider called Obama's win an age revolt.

With 85% of Republican precincts reporting:

Huckabee 34%
Romney's 25%
Thompson 14%
McCain 13%
Ron Paul 10%
Giuliani 4%

Turnout was overwhelming. The Los Angeles Times reports almost 335,000 took part in the caucuses.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fred Denies Rumors He Will Quit

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson says there is no truth to rumors that his campaign will fold before New Hampshire if he doesn't have a strong showing in Iowa.

At Politico, Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen wrote that "Republican officials close to Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign said they expect the candidate will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday’s Iowa caucus."

Thompson said a rival campaign was likely the source of that rumor.

Here's a video of Thompson denying the Rumor on Fox & Friends.

Bloomberg Not A Presidential Candidate

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg denies he will run for president.

"I'm not going to be a candidate," he told NBC's "Today Show." "I am not a candidate."

"I'm going to be mayor," he said as he chatted about the environment and helped mulch Christmas trees on camera.

Bloomberg does want to an independent approach to governing:
Asked if he would support another independent candidate, Bloomberg replied that he wanted to see an "independent approach where we stop this partisan bickering and stop special interests and get the best from both parties."

In 2006 George Will explained why Bloomberg won't run:
Bloomberg would have had no regional base. New York is a mere shadow of its former political powerhouse. Between 1868-1948, New Yorkers appeared on more than half of the two major parties' presidential tickets and served as president five times. It has been 46 years since the nation elected a Northeastern president. None of the last three national tickets that included New Yorkers -- vice presidential candidates William Miller (1964), Geraldine Ferraro (1984) and Jack Kemp (1996) -- carried the state.
That more recent electoral history is not very promising for Rudy Giuliani or Hillary.

There was renewed speculation about a possible Bloomberg presidential run after it was announced he would attend a bipartisan forum to plan a "government of national unity."

Perhaps his interest in a bipartisan national unity government explains why he pans the remaining presidential candidates. Or perhaps Bloomberg will run, as I predicted, despite Bloomberg's denials.

Hillary Camp Pre-Spins Iowa Loss

The voting doesn't begin for another 24 hours, but the Hillary camp is already spinning how it's all right if she comes in third:

As the presidential candidates engage in furious pre-caucus spin, one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's most prominent Iowa supporters said Wednesday that she's already accomplished what she needs to in Iowa, and can declare success even if she finishes in third place.
Hillary started bracing for a loss in Iowa after her pathetic performance at the Drexel University Democratic debate.

I've predicted Hillary will come in third behind Edwards and Obama.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Obama Widens Lead

Tracking_iowaThe Des Moines Register's final Iowa poll before the caucuses finds Barack Obama increased his lead over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Obama was the choice of 32 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, up from 28 percent in the Register's last poll in late November, while Clinton, a New York senator, held steady at 25 percent and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was virtually unchanged at 24 percent.

The poll reflects continued fluidity in the race even as the end of the yearlong campaign nears. Roughly a third of likely caucusgoers say they could be persuaded to choose someone else before Thursday evening. Six percent were undecided or uncommitted.

The poll also reveals a widening gap between the three-way contest for the lead and the remaining candidates. No other Democrat received support from more than 6 percent of likely caucusgoers.
Democratic caucusgoers are opting for change over experience:
Thirty percent of the poll's respondents said a candidate's ability to bring about change is the most important, followed by 27 percent who said their priority is choosing a candidate who will be the most successful in unifying the country.

[. . .]

Having the experience and competence to lead, which has been the crux of Clinton's closing argument, was seen as the most important to 18 percent of caucusgoers, with Clinton as the candidate most commonly rated best on this trait.
The poll was conducted December 27-30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Regardless of the poll results, I think Edwards will win the Democratic caucuses.

Huckabee Cluster Hucks Taking Romney To Task

By all accounts Mike Huckabee made a mess of things at a news conference to announce he was talking Mitt Romney to task over Romney's "contrast ads." Carl Cameron on Huckabee's "Enough Is Enough" news conference:

So after calling Romney, "desperate" and "dishonest," Huckabee calls a press conference to announce he is retaliating against Romney with a negative ad campaign. At the presser, Huckabee says he is going to maintain a positive and won't air the negative commercial and proceeds to play it for the large media crowd.

According to John Dickerson, reporters saw this Huck up as a ruse:

Reporters saw the spectacle as a transparent charade to get them to run Huckabee's ad for him while allowing him to maintain the high road. The ad was a standard attack ad with pictures of Romney and claims about his record on taxes, the death penalty, and the deficit he left in Massachusetts after his term as governor. Despite Huckabee's switcheroo, the room was also filled with easels displaying Romney distortions, which Huckabee and aides said couldn't be pulled down because the candidate had made his decision so recently.
Maybe, despite al the bravado, Huckabee doesn't have the cash to run the ad. Whatever was behind Huckabee's fiasco, it sure didn't present the image of a decisive leader. I'm sure Carl Cameron's report will have al Qaeda shaking in their caves.

Huckabee Lashes Out

On NBC's "Meet The Press" Mike Huckabee went negative, calling fellow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "desperate" and "dishonest:"

MR. RUSSERT: You're suggesting that Mitt Romney's not running an honorable campaign.

GOV. HUCKABEE: I've been very clear about it. Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign. He's attacked me, and, and yesterday--or Friday, I guess it was, he launched then just a broadside attack against Senator McCain. Now, Senator McCain and I are rivals for the presidency, but I've said on many occasions, I'll say it again here today, Senator McCain is an honorable man, and I believe he's an honest man. I believe he's a man of conviction. And I felt like that, when Mitt Romney went after the integrity of John McCain, he stepped across a line. John McCain's a hero in this country. He's a hero to me.

And I just felt like that when Mitt Romney gets on your show and says that he had the NRA endorsement when he didn't; when he comes on and says he's pro-life and yet he signed a bill that gives a $50 co-pay for an elective abortion in his state's health care plan; when he claims that he's really for the Second Amendment, but he--on this show he talked about how he supported limitations and restrictions on lawful, law-abiding citizens having gun ownership rights, those are not the marks of a person who's pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. And then the things where he's made up these visions that he's had of marching with Martin Luther King and his dad marching with him. You know, Tim, what I've said, and I've been pretty blunt about it, if you aren't being honest in obtaining a job, can we trust you to be honest if you get the job?

You can watch the exchange in the following video. Huckabee reverts to name calling at the 5:00 mark.

At the beginning of the show Russert asked if Romney had said anything that's untrue about Huckabee? Huckabee claimed Romney "said many things that are untrue:"
MR. RUSSERT: But has Mitt Romney said anything that's untrue about you?

GOV. HUCKABEE: How long do we have on the program today? He's said many things that are untrue. He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled those sentences. We did not reduce them. Our sentences were four times harsher than they were in Massachusetts. He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That's not true, Tim. We supported simply giving children who had earned a scholarship the same--it never happened, it didn't make the legislature. He made allegations that our increased spending by ridiculous amounts, and The New York Times came back and defended that, and said that's just simply not true. And they took him apart and showed that the increases in spending were, frankly, the same if not a little better than his if you took into consideration the accounting methods we changed in Arkansas, very modest gains in spending.

He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads. And I left my roads in great shape, took them from the worst in the country to what Truckers magazine said were the most improved. He left his roads in a mess in Massachusetts, with huge problems in the infrastructure. He claimed that he didn't raise taxes, but, in fact, he did raise taxes by half a billion dollars.


GOV. HUCKABEE: Fees. It's a tax. If you're a small business person and you pay more money than you paid last year to the government, you can call it a fee, call it a tax, it's a three letter word that means the same.

MR. RUSSERT: But you raised taxes, and the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, gave you a D and an F for your tenureship as governor. So there have been some legitimate criticisms of you as a Republican for raising taxes and for spending money.

GOV. HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think they're legitimate criticisms when you improve education for the children of your state or when you build highways that give you economic incentives and capacities that, frankly, created the lowest unemployment numbers that our state had over had over a sustained period of time. We saw more new jobs created. That's what being a governor is about. It's about creating opportunities for the people of your state.
The Romney campaign provided a research briefing checking Huckabee’s facts on taxes, spending, methamphetamines, and special tuition breaks for illegal aliens. the "fact check" is extensive and include the following gems:

MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Claims That Arkansas Voters Approved A Gas Tax For Highway Rebuilding:

Gov. Huckabee Claimed That Arkansas Voters Supported A Tax For Highway Improvement. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court-ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)

FACT: Gov. Huckabee Signed The Highway Improvement Gas Tax Into Law WITHOUT Voter Approval:

The Club For Growth Has Called Huckabee Out For His Misleading Statements On The Gas Tax. "From the start of Huckabee's campaign -- literally -- the Club has been hounding the former Arkansas governor for what its leaders believe is his support of big government and higher taxes. Their latest gambit is a web video that seeks to paint Huckabee as flatly dishonest when it comes to his past statements about supporting an increase in the gas tax in Arkansas." (Chris Cillizza, "Club Vs. Huck," The Washington Post, 11/8/07;

[. . .]

MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Said "We Did Not Reduce" Sentences For Meth:

Gov. Huckabee Claimed He Did Not Reduce Sentences For Meth Manufacturers. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled those sentences. We did not reduce them." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)

FACT: Gov. Huckabee Signed A Bill Reducing Mandatory Minimums For Meth Manufacturers:

Huckabee Supported A Measure To Reduce Mandatory Minimums For Methamphetamine Makers. "Methamphetamine makers could shorten their mandatory time in prison with good behavior under legislation approved Tuesday by the Arkansas House. The bill, by Sen. Jim Luker, D-Wynne, is part of a legislative package intended to help control the state's burgeoning prison population and is supported by state prison officials, the state prosecutors' association and Gov. Mike Huckabee." (Melissa Nelson, "Arkansas House Approves Bill To Reduce Mandatory Prison Time Of Meth Offenders," The Associated Press, 3/8/05)

[. . .]

MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Said He Did Not Support Special Breaks For Illegals:

Gov. Huckabee Claimed He Did Not Support Special Tuition Breaks For Illegals. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That's not true, Tim. We supported simply giving children, who had earned a scholarship the same, it never happened, didn't make the legislature." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)

FACT: Gov. Huckabee Supported A Bill Granting In-State Tuition Breaks To Illegals:
Gov. Huckabee Proposed Extending Taxpayer-Funded College Scholarships To Illegal Aliens. "Gov. Mike Huckabee is proposing extending eligibility for state-funded college scholarships to illegal aliens who graduate from Arkansas high schools - an idea that several legislators predicted will go nowhere" (Laura Kellams, "Huckabee Plan Would Aid Illegal Aliens," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/12/05)
You can read the entire fact check here. It makes one think that it is Huckabee who is "desperate" and "dishonest."

You can watch the first part of Huckabee's appearance on Meet the Press where he incorrectly alleges Romney's claims aren't true in this YouTube video.