Fred Thompson – Potential Run

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.


Obama Beats Clinton – Latest Rasmussen Poll

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.


Christopher Dodd’s Experience

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.


Obama’s Fundraising in April and Other News

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.


Republican Miscellanea – John McCain and Mitt Romney

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.”


Democratic Presidential Debate

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


Romney and Giuliani on Abortion

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.”