April 30, 2007
Mike Allen of the Politico has reported that former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson “is on track to be ready to announce his candidacy in June or July”. Thompson and advisers have been drawing up plans to run a campaign based on technology and his celebrity status.
Advisers say “Thompson … is researching ways to use technology — including the Web, videoconferences and teleconferences — to harness the enthusiasm for his candidacy among grass-roots bloggers and activists. The campaign also would rely on large events.”
A Thompson entrance would certainly shake up the Republican field. Already, Thompson comes in third in most Republican primary polls, placing him ahead of Mitt Romney, who has spent over $10 million. With his appeal to social conservatives and the apathy among Republican voters, Thompson has an entryway. He is also well-known to fans of “Law and Order”, playing District Attorney Arthur Branch.
However, just as the top-tier Republican candidates have “evolved” on social issues, Thompson has as well. In his 1994 Senate run, Thompson was described as a supporter of abortion rights, a label that has since then changed. In an interview with Fox, Thompson called himself “pro-life” and criticized Roe v. Wade.
April 30, 2007
In the latest Rasmussen poll, Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton 32%-30%, within the margin of error. John Edwards is a distant third with 17%. The recent South Carolina debate was held after the polling was conducted and the effects of it will be seen in the next round of polling.
However, Ben Smith of the Politico points out a potential caveat. The Rasmussen report says “Obama has a nineteen-point lead among independents likely to vote in a Democratic primary.” In many states (New Hampshire being a notable exception), only Democrats can vote in a Democratic party.
A clear generational gap among the candidates is present. Obama is capturing the younger vote, leading among voters 40 and younger. Clinton draws strength from the senior citizen class, winning amongst voters 65 and older.
However, Edwards performs the strongest in general election matchups, the only Democrat to lead all Republican candidates.
April 29, 2007
In a recent New York Times article by Mark Leibovich about Chris Dodd’s campaign, there is an interesting tidbit illustrating his vast experience. Leibovich points out Dodd’s “Senate colleagues Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and his former colleague John Edwards, have a combined tenure in the chamber barely half Mr. Dodd’s years.”
Dodd was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 when Barack Obama was a 13-year-old teenager in Honolulu. John Edwards was graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in textile technology, and Hillary Clinton had just graduated from Yale Law School.
Joe Biden can boast of similar experience to Dodd, having been elected to the Senate in 1972 and staying in the seat since. One other candidate for the Democratic nomination was also serving in the Senate in ’72, Mike Gravel. However, Gravel was challenged for the Democratic nomination in 1980 and lost his seat. Since then, he hasn’t been in Congress.
April 28, 2007
According to the latest numbers on BarackObama.com, the campaign has received 45,841 donations since April 1. In the first quarter of 2007, the average contribution to the Obama campaign was $246. Applying that average to April’s numbers, Obama has raised $11,276,886 this month.
Bob Novak says, “Private House Democratic polls of the 50 most competitive congressional districts project a gain of 9 to 11 seats in the 2008 elections that would be an unprecedented further surge by the party following its 2006 gain of 30 seats that won control of the House.”
How did the prediction markets react to the Democratic debate Thursday night? The winners were Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, rising 10 percent and 100 percent, respectively (Note: Biden’s a penny stock, he went from 0.3 to 0.6). The main loser was John Edwards, who faltered about 5 percent.
Joe Biden’s calling for a 90-minute debate on just Iraq.
April 28, 2007
John McCain says he would appoint a Democrat to a high-level Cabinet position if elected President.
“The more efforts you can make towards bipartisanship, I think in Washington today, the better off you are. But it also better be, one, an important post and, two, a person who has the ear of the president.”
Mitt Romney on the greatest challenge to America from YouTube:
“I’d probably put at the top of the list the spread of radical jihad, the idea that there is within the world of Islam a movement of people who are trying to cause the collapse of moderate Islamic states. That threatens not only the nations of the world, it threatens America.”
Mitt Romney on the greatest challenge to humanity at Yeshiva University:
“Radical, nuclear Jihad is the greatest threat that faces humanity. It cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.”
Romney on Osama bin Laden:
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
McCain responding to Romney:
“[I]t takes a degree of naiveté to think he’s [bin Laden] not an element in the struggle against radical Islam.”
April 26, 2007
Today at 7 PM ET is the first presidential debate for the Democratic presidential candidates. In South Carolina, all eight candidates are attending.
The debate is 90 minutes long with no commercial breaks and no opening or closing statements from candidates. Candidates have 1 minute to answer questions with an opportunity for a 30-second rebuttal. Toward the end, there will be a “lightning round” with 30-second response times. Each candidate will likely get around 11 minutes of air time as the networks have designed special software to ensure equal time.
- An article from The State on the expectations game
- An article from The Times and Democrat on debate prep
- And a post from The Fix: Setting the Stage
April 26, 2007
In an interview with Politico.com, Mitt Romney said merely choosing conservative judges, an approach Rudy Giuliani has advocated, is not enough. Romney said, “You also have decisions as an administration on things like abstinence education, on the morning-after pill, on teaching kids to wait before they have babies, on insisting on parental responsibility for a father who has an out-of-wedlock child.”
In a clip on YouTube we linked to earlier, Romney echoed similar views by saying, “Well of course, we’re all going to talk about appointing judges that will follow the law and not legislate from the bench. But being pro-life is of course much broader than just the kind of judges you appoint, there’s legislation which month to month and year to year comes forward that can either protect the sanctity of life or can take it away. As governor, I had several measures that came into my desk which affected life and they were not court decisions, they were legislative decisions which I faced as governor.”
April 25, 2007
Today, John McCain officially began his bid for the presidency in New Hampshire, kicking off a five state announcement tour. His speech contained some criticisms of the Bush administration and also a list of goals: strengthen the battle against “violent extremists”, balance the budget, save Social Security and Medicare, simplify the tax code, increase energy independence, cover more uninsured people, and better public schools.
McCain calls this process “starting over”, which hopefully will inject a boost into his flagging campaign. He has already replaced his finance director, Carla Eudy, after disappointing first-quarter results. Another problem facing McCain has been his prominent role as a chief backer of the effort in Iraq, second only to the President. However, although this stance has hurt McCain among independents and general-election matchups, the majority of the Republican base still supports the war.
Even though McCain is polling low currently, a similar situation occurred in 2000. In a September 1999 WMUR/CNN poll, George Bush was favored by 45% of New Hampshire’s likely Republican Voters, Bob Dole by 15%, and McCain by 12%. And, McCain went on to decisively win the New Hampshire primary before being defeated in South Carolina. Nonetheless, McCain is facing a loss of support from independents who, in New Hampshire, are able to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. If disillusioned independents who carried McCain in victory to 2000 flock to the Democratic primary, a key component of McCain’s backing disappears.
But as in the words of Joe Scarborough, “McCain knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint”.
April 24, 2007
In the latest Rasmussen poll, Giuliani gets 28% of the vote, leading McCain by 13 points. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney get 12% and 10%, respectively. Since Thompson has been added to the list of surveyed candidates, Giuliani has been adversely affected the most, dropping 7%.
Even though Thompson would likely draw support from social conservatives, a recent Los Angeles Times article shows conservative Christians like Giuliani apart from his stances on abortion. Giuliani has shown his strength in general-election matchups against the Democratic frontrunners which may cause evangelicals to back him.
However, Giuliani has exposed himself to a Kerryesque flip-flop label, a characterization Mitt Romney may have acquired to his unfavorable ratings exceeding 50 percent.
Nonetheless, the president doesn’t rule on social issues such as Roe v. Wade, as that task is confined to the judicial branch. Giuliani has pledged to appoint strict-constructionist judges who would side with the evangelicals on issues such as abortion.
McCain has also declared his intention to have strict-constructionist judges, saying they “should be people who respect the limited scope afforded federal judges under the Constitution”.
And Mitt Romney has also put out a clip on YouTube declaring his view on judges.
April 23, 2007
With Earth Day yesterday and the spotlight on environmental issues such as climate change, the winners for the 2007 Goldman Prize were conveniently announced today. The Goldman Prize annually awards environmental heroes from the six inhabited continents and is thought of as the “Nobel green prize”. This year, the winner from North America was Sophia Rabliauskas of Canada who successfully secured protection for the boreal forest in the province of Manitoba while a debate occurs about what will eventually happen to the area. Deforestation causes approximately 20% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions.
At the Goldman Prize website, there are descriptions of the other five winners’ accomplishments in improving the environment.
Fact of the Day: “If every one of Wal-Mart’s 100 million customers in the U.S. bought just one energy-saving compact fluorescent lamp, instead of a traditional incandescent bulb, the U.S. would cut CO2 emissions by 45 billion pounds and save more than $3 billion.” – “The Power of Green” by Thomas Friedman