Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vilsack Enters '08 Race. What Next?

Tom Vilsack, the lovable Iowa Gov., has formally entered the race for the Democratic nomination in 2008, blasting Pres. Bush while at the same time trying to retain the homespun charm that is his one and only asset.

Yes, PB thinks that Vilsack is in over his head, no doubt soon to wither in the face of the Dem big guns of Hillary, Gore, and Obama. While he has good governmental experience running Iowa, that's not enough to help TV to get over his crippling lack of any name recognition, any sort of foreign policy strategy and experience, and the fact that even his Iowan constituents don't think he should run.

Yet some (Okay... Chris Cillizza in The Fix) see potential in Mr. Vilsack, touting him as the "perfect candidate" for the Dems. Cillizza has a case against Vilsack next week, so this TV love-fest is all fun and games, but still. In his "case for Vilsack" post, Cillizza beleives that Vilsack's touching "life story" (orphan, etc...) will help him win support and votes. Yes, Bill Clinton had a struggling childhood story, but he also had charm, charisma, and some actual presidential-sounding ideas. Vilsack, although cuddly, has none of that. And what if he doesn't even win the Iowa caucus? CC needs a better case for Vilsack, but he won't find it. Because there is no reasonable chance that TV will win, let alone make a good showing in the primaries.

Bottom line - Vilsack is just seeing where an early bid can take him; nothing more. He probably doesn't have "illusions of grandeur", as one Iowan put it, but he does have an eye on a Veep slot. Come on; a moderate, white, male, likable Midwesterner paired with Hillary or Obama? That has a chance to be political gold.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Frist Says No To '08 Run

Today, Bill Frist added his name to the growing list of politicians not running in their respective party presidential primaries in 2008. The purported reason given out by Frist was that he anted a break from politics.

"Karyn and I will take a sabbatical from public life," Frist said in a statement. "At this point a return to private life will allow me to return to my professional roots as a healer and to refocus my creative energies on innovative solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges Americans face."
"In the short term, I will resume my regular medical mission trips as a doctor around the world to serve those in poverty, in famine, and in civil war," Frist said.

That's nice. But what Frist won't delve into is the obvious fact that he was dropping fast as even a possible Veep contender for the GOP. His deep involvement in the Terri Schiavo fiasco and myriad ethical issues caused many in the GOP to sour on Frist. He seemed GWBush's sure successor after the GOP victory in '04, when Frist and W became politically close.

But his missteps and the drastic change in the mood of voters had set Frist back in any attempt to revitalize his already ailing '08 bid. This simply further paves the way for the inevitable: an awkward showdown between Giuliani and McCain.

So much for the multitude of Frist 2008 merchandise.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Newt Gets Tough

Quasi-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich gave a hard hitting speech last night in, of all places, New Hampshire. He went back to his popular Armageddon talk of this summer, when he seemed to be on Fox News every night spouting off about "The End" and the imminent beginning of WW III. He continued his assault on free speech in this "age of terror", actually calling for a semi-reversal of free speech laws during wartime.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.

"Lose a city". Perfect fodder for his right-wing base. Maybe this is how he feels he can "make" conservatives push for a Newt '08 campaign. Hey, whatever works for Newt. Maybe the GOP will see him as the only alternative to McCain and Rudy's "GOP-lite".

UPDATE: PB just discovered Newt's new column in Human Events Online. Besides relaying his family trip to Mount Vernon (!!??), Gingrich goes beyond hawkish on Iraq, trashing the Baker-Hamilton commission as worthless (even though they're backing Bush on Iraq) and calling for a final push in Mesopotamia for "victory or death". Looks like Newt is embroiled in a tit-for-tat with McCain over who can be the greater hawk on Iraq.

Quinnipiac Thermometer: Rudy, McCain, and Obama are Hot

Quinnipiac University's quarterly "national thermometer reading" poll is arguably the best poll out there. No, not for predicting who will win anything, but simply for fun. It rates the "feelings" and "warmth" of voters toward national figures - presidential candidates and others. You have Pelosi and the Clinton's in there, as well as GWBush.

So, what are the results? Very good news for the three guys in this post's heading.

Here are the scores and the percentage not knowing enough about the figure to make a decision:

1) Rudolph Giuliani - 64.2. (9)
2) Sen. Barack Obama 58.8 (41)
3) Sen. John McCain 57.7 (12)
4) Condoleezza Rice - 56.1 (7)
5) Bill Clinton - 55.8 (1)
6) Sen. Joseph Lieberman - 52.7 (16)
7) NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg - 51.1 (44)
8) John Edwards - 49.9 (20)
9) Sen. Hillary Clinton - 49 (1)
10) N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson - 47.7 (65)
11) Sen. Joseph Biden 47 (52)
12) Nancy Pelosi 46.9 (34)
13) Gov. Mitt Romney - 45.9 (64)
14) Former VP Al Gore - 44.9 (3)
15) President George Bush - 43.8 (1)
16) Sen. Evan Bayh - 43.3 (75)
17) Newt Gingrich - 42 (15)
18) Sen. Bill Frist - 41.5 (53)
19) Sen. Harry Reid - 41.2 (61)
20) Sen. John Kerry - 39.6 (5)

How low can John Kerry go? Dead last? Ouch...

Rudy is still the most loved politicians in the country, getting an incredible 64% "warmth" rating. McCain is not far behind, but those that like JMac also undoubtedly love Rudy, making the hero of 9/11 probably their overall choice. The GOP - and McCain's team - are going to have to do some serious trashing to knock Rudy off of his 9/11 pedestal.

However, it's a bit foolish to look too much into a poll based on "feelings". Otherwise, Winnie the Pooh would be Prez.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quick Hits

  • The Hotline's Blogometer has the early list of left and right fringe bloggers who are already attempting to sabotage presidential campaigns. The right hates Mormon Romney, "maverick" McCain and liberal Giuliani. The left is fighting all of the above. - 'Apart from selecting their own nominee, MyDD's Chris Bowers announces the netroots second biggest '08 primary priority is "to take McCain and Giuliani down, and significantly tarnish their images among Democrats and Independents." Bowers writes: "If we can succeed in taking out McCain and Giuliani, it would virtually make the Democratic primary the general election. It is in this way that we can virtually win the 2008 election in 2007." ' - But they're also trashing Hillary, still finding her much too centrist for their tastes. Will she be brought down by a Dean '04-style net campaign backing someone like Al Gore? Hard to say, but a Gore is a much stronger candidate than the greenhorn Dean was, so the lefty webheads are sure to push him to run early.

  • Under the radar: George Allen, in a fitting tribute to his failed reelection campaign, is making one last splash in the Senate by introducing a bill that would lift a ban on carrying concealed weapons into national parks. As if his political career wasn't on life support already...

  • The gambling site Gambling 911 gives Barack Obama 10 to 1 odds of being the next president. Good odds for a newcomer to the race. Will that influence Obama 's final decision to run? Maybe not. Still, he's got to like those odds. But maybe the real surprise is that Al Gore has jumped up to odds of 9 to 2 of becoming president. Do the odds makers know something that we political sites do not?

  • Speaking of Al Gore, he noted that he believed that GOPer John McCain is a "capable guy". Not quite praise, but it is unusual for a Dem. Is that an underhanded endorsement from Al, meaning that he's satisfied with McCain if the Dem loses and will stay out of the race?More likely that he's trying to burnish his bipartisan skills for his imminent run in '08.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

2008 Sleeper: Phil Bredesen

Bredesen is popular, a moderate Democrat, and is a southern Governor - three things that must place him in the '08 Dem discussion. Some have had him marked as presidential material for quite awhile.

Feb. 2005: The Democrats have noticed that senators and Northeasterners don't do especially well in presidential elections. That has led to some talk of running a governor from the South in 2008, but Southern Democratic governors are in short supply.
Of those who remain, my governor, Phil Bredesen, is starting to get some attention. A while back, The Economist called him a governor with a CEO approach. And The New Republic recently made him the subject of a cover story focusing on his ability to win over the opposition.

The Dem field has obviously gone through several momentous changes since Feb. '05, but Bredesen still deserves a look.

Bredesen has been able to cobble together a bipartisan coalition in Tenn. that has gotten legislation done. His previous campaign for Governor was based on bipartisanship. That's big with voters, as we've seen with the midterms. He's focused on health care , another winning issue for candidates. And, most importantly, he's from the South. While he's certainly no Bill Clintonesque populist, he still has that whole Southern aura going for him, making him gold with voters if Edwards decides not to run.

But can he really make it through the Dem primary? Past Hillary and Obama? No. But a clean and positive mini-run early in the primaries could set Bredesen up for a dream Veep slot with Hillary or Obama. They both could use a white, male, Southern moderate as their running mates, countering the fact that both are fairly liberal and both are not Southern men.

Bottom Line - Bredesen is the very definition of a sleeper. He's never stated any intention to run and is still a popular and successful governor in Tennessee. Those are two strikes against him making any sort of run in '08. But his perfect credentials are hard to ignore. His Southern moderate message would make a great pairing with Hillary or Obama, especially if Mitt Romney - the dreaded Mormon - were to somehow get the GOP nomination. Southerners are political gold (except for Edwards, but that's another story) in presidential races, making Phil Bredesen a solid Dem sleeper in 2008.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

No Love For Mormons = Bad News For Romney

An undereported new poll that was released on Monday has some startling results concerning both the course of the GOP primary in '08 and the state of religious tolerance in the US. The poll shows that 43% of Americans will not consider voting for a Mormon presidential candidate (i.e. Mitt Romney).

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, which conducted the survey on its own, said Romney already faces difficulty if he decides to run because he's been governor of liberal Massachusetts and is not very well known.
"I think that any time you have a number as high as 43% saying they won't vote for somebody it's a surprise," Rasmussen said. "It is one more hurdle for someone who already has a big hill to climb."

Why the Mormon rage? While mainstream America has always been leery towards the LDS sect, recent events - like the Warren Jeffs polygamy case (which Romney is getting slammed for in the liberal blogosphere) and other sordid affairs involving LDS - have darkened their public reputation further.

Either way, 43% is a ridiculously high number, possibly forcing Mitt to bow out of the race early. He will soon have to face the painful truth that nearly half of all voters will not even think about voting for him. But Romney feels that he's still in the race, desperately trying to downplay his Mormon faith while blabbering on about the GOP's top saint, Reagan.

The day after the midterm elections, Governor Mitt Romney, reflecting on the GOP's punishing losses, issued a clarion call to conservatives: "We must return to the common-sense Reagan Republican ideals."
Three days later, at a State House Veterans Day ceremony, Romney invoked the former president again, saying, "As Ronald Reagan once said, 'I have seen four wars during my lifetime and none of them began because America was too strong.' "

But can his hard right turn and continued discussion of Reagan help him convince voters - at least GOP voters - to ignore his LDS connection? That poll must come as a surprise to his campaign, especially as it came after Romney's serious bout of campaigning pre and post-election. One would think that voters would have seen past the Mormon thing by now with Mitt becoming a more familiar figure.

The poll does raise another interesting question: What would happen if Romney, the Mormon, and Obama, the black Dem, were the presidential candidates in '08?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gingrich Denies Presidential Ambitions?

The spokesman for Newt Gingrich gave a blistering response to the early web posting of Fortune Magazine's interview with the conservative superstar. Rick Tyler, the spokesman, is denying that Newt ever said that he was silently running in '08 and is basically calling Fortune disingenuous (must have got that from Mitt).

Not exactly clear what this means or why Newt felt he had to do this. Anyone who has seen his public speeches or his myriad appearances on Fox knows that the man is running for president. This response could simply be a ploy to scare grassroots conservatives into redoubling their efforts on behalf of Newt. Is he trying to ignite a draft campaign?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New GOP Poll

A new CNN poll out today shows the GOP race in '08 is basically two-way, with Rudy Giuliani virtually tied with John McCain at the top of the Republican heap. Gingrich and Romney haven't gained much ground since summer, struggling against a tide of moderate support.

Giuliani 33%
McCain 30%
Gingrich 9%
Romney 9%
Frist 3%
Thompson 3%
Brownback 2%
Hunter 2%
Pataki 1%

Romney Gets Tough

GOP '08 contender Mitt Romney blasted his two biggest hurdles to the nomination, trashing Rudy Giuliani and John McCain as not "real" conservatives and even calling McCain disingenuous. Ouch.

"I'm a conservative Republican. There's no question about that," Mr. Romney told the Washington Examiner. "I'm at a different place than the other two."

Mr. Romney said his positions were more conservative than those of the other men on immigration, campaign finance restrictions, same-sex marriage, and interrogation of detainees, but the governor took particular aim at Mr. McCain for claiming to oppose legalized gay marriage while also opposing a federal constitutional amendment to outlaw the practice.

"In my opinion, it's disingenuous," Mr. Romney said. "Look, if somebody says they're in favor of gay marriage, I respect that view. If someone says, like I do, that I oppose same-sex marriage, I respect that view. But those who try and pretend to have it both ways, I find it to be disingenuous."

This is a clear effort from Romney to quickly force GOP conservatives to take a hard look at the conservative credentials of Rudy and JMac. He's down in the polls and still can;t break through with the right over his Mormon faith. He must play hardball if he wants to make a primary splash.

Meanwhile, here are some little known facts about the outgoing Mass. Guv.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

**Political Buzz Exclusive** - 5 Questions For... House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi

In a Political Buzz exclusive, we are pleased to welcome Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker-designate of the House, as today's guest blogger.

As the first woman Speaker in the history of the House, Speaker Pelosi will have quite a challenge dealing with House Republicans, President Bush, and some members of her own party. Can she and the Democrats hold it all together and do something that voters felt the GOP never accomplished when they were leading Congress; actually get something done?

This also inaugurate PB's new interview and guest blog series "5 Questions For...", a series that will pose five important questions to the most influential and talked-about people in politics today.

We gave Congresswoman Pelosi five questions on some of the more pressing issues facing her as she moves into the top position in the House. Here is her guest blog with the answers:


1. Can the current atmosphere of bipartisanship between Democrats and Republicans last?

House Democrats are committed to civility and restoring bipartisan administration of the House. Under the Republican controlled House, Democrats were all but shut out of the legislative process and in doing so, millions of voices were silenced. Under Democratic leadership, we will ensure the rights of the minority, so that the voices of all Americans are heard. Our commitment to integrity, to civility, and to fiscal responsibility will not waver.

2. There is already talk of you blocking some moderate Democrats from leading House committees. Also, you have now backed John Murtha for House Majority Leader over the more moderate Steny Hoyer. As Speaker, will you allow moderate Democrats into the House power structure?

Of course. I have said many times, I intend to govern from the middle. The diversity of our Democratic Caucus is our greatest strength, and I will work with all our Members to form consensus on the critical issues facing the American people.

3. You have said that impeachment of President Bush is "off the table". But will that change if relations between Democrats and the President sour? How far will House Democrats go in their promised investigations of the Bush administration?

Congress has the Constitutional obligation of oversight and we will uphold the Constitution, but House Democrats will not seek to impeach the President. The last six years have been marked by a complete abdication of the legislative branch's job to ensure checks and balances so we have a lot of work to do, but our primary goal in Congress is to go forward with an agenda on issues that are relevant to the lives of the American people, addressing their priorities first. One example of an investigation needed, is accountability for the billions in taxpayer dollars that have been either misspent or are unaccounted for in Iraq. House Republicans blocked the formation of an independent commission to investigate the mismanagement of the reconstruction effort, and blocked a subpoena seeking all reconstruction contract communications between Vice President Cheney's office and Halliburton. For other possible investigations, you may be interested in reading the nonpartisan GAO's recent report on suggested areas for oversight or visit soon to be Chairman of the Government Reform committee Rep. Henry Waxman's web site.

4. What is your plan for taxes? Will there be rollbacks of some of President Bush's tax cuts?

In our first 100 legislative hours, we are going to start by addressing two issues of economic fairness. Oil companies are raking in outrageous record profits and these record gasoline prices and profits are the direct result of more than five years of failed policies of the Bush Administration. Bush Republican energy policies were designed for and by special interests. After developing their energy policy in secret, the Cheney Energy Task Force's agenda has served the financial interests of the energy industry while consumers have suffered. We will end tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and use that money to invest in alternative energy. We are also going to fix the Medicare prescription drug benefit by negotiating lower drug prices (like the Veterans Administration does) and by ending wasteful tax giveaways to drug companies and HMOs.

5. Iraq. Do Democrats have a plan for winning the war? What can Democrats do to actually influence Iraq policy or start the withdrawal of US troops?

I hope that the exit of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will mark the start of a new policy in Iraq and signal a willingness by the Administration to work with the Congress to devise a better way forward. Mr. Rumsfeld sent our troops to Iraq without sufficient equipment or a plan to compete their mission, provided thousands of weapons to the Iraqi army without an ability to determine whether they would be used against the insurgents or our troops, and brought our Army to the lowest level of readiness since Vietnam. Democrats support reclaiming American leadership by transforming the failed Bush Administration policies here at home, in Iraq and around the world. I support the Murtha plan for strategic redeployment of US forces from Iraq as soon as practicable and refocus on fighting terrorism. Democrats will push a policy requiring the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. We also will work to double the size of Special Forces to confront terrorist networks like al Qaeda while rebuilding a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. In our first 100 hours, we will also implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposals to make America more secure. To learn more about our plan for Real Security, visit

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with Political Buzz readers,
Nancy Pelosi

Obama Policy Speech

Barack Obama made his first real policy speech since throwing his name into the Democratic presidential ring for '08. His talk yesterday at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs covered everything on Iraq, and clearly set up Obama to try to grab the Dem anti-war vote from any other Dem, including Hillary. In the speech, Obama pulled a turnaround from some of his earlier positions on Iraq, now urging that US troops be withdrawn from Iraq starting in 6 months.

"Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes," Obama told members of the council. "And all the troops in the world won't be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace."

Obama had been considered a war supporter when he first burst into the Senate in '04, and was denounced as a neo-con hawk by the anti-war left after several tough comments on Iran that seemingly backed the idea of bombing the Mullahs to prevent them from getting nukes.

Will this be seen as a Kerryesque flip-flop? No, because most still view Obama as a political greenhorn. But you never know what the GOP will throw at him if he gets the nomination in '08.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bombshell Gingrich Interview

Fortune Magazine has a must-read interview with Newt Gingrich. In it, Newt gives us an unfiltered look at the process he is using to decide whether or not he will run for president in 2008. Gingrich says that he is planning on building a grassroots effort to generate powerful right-wing conservative support withing the GOP, basically catapulting him into the race without much effort from himself. He will start a fundraising 527 PAC, however, beginning in December.

The radical realist who defied conventional wisdom 12 years ago by stealing the House out from under the noses of entrenched Democrats now plans a surprise attack for the presidency. "I'm going to tell you something, and whether or not it's plausible given the world you come out of is your problem," he tells Fortune. "I am not 'running' for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen." So he's running, only without yet formally saying so.

While other potential competitors like Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney build staff and hire consultants, Gingrich revealed to Fortune that he plans to create a draft-Newt "wave" by building grassroots support for his health care, national security and energy independence ideas - all of which he has been peddling to corporate audiences over the past six years. "Nice people," Gingrich says of his GOP competitors. "But we're not in the same business. They're running for president. I'm running to change the country."

In December, Gingrich will launch a 527 group, called "American Solutions for Winning the Future," that will enable him to raise and spend unlimited money on behalf of this effort. In January, he will conduct a strategy meeting with advisers. By next fall, he'll decide whether to make a bid official - a late start by any recent historical standard.

So Gingrich has basically been toying with us all along. He is running in '08 - but doesn't want to commit himself to a big-time campaign like the McCain's and Giuliani's just yet. He's smart - he sees the polls placing him 3rd or 4th. He won't let himself get embarrassed. But will his low profile campaign really get him anywhere?

New GOP 2008 Poll

A new Pew Research poll is out, covering the race for the Republican nomination in '08. In contrast to the flux observed in the latest Dem poll, the GOP is fairly stable. McCain is still on top, leading Giuliani by a slim margin. Both McCain and Rudy have ticked up since the summer. That's mainly due to the drop in support for the outcast George Allen and the wavering Gingrich. The Pew poll was never the kindest to Newt, but other polls have him stable or dropping, as well.

John McCain
Rudy Giuliani
Condoleezza Rice
Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney
Bill Frist
Sam Brownback
George Allen
Don’t know

Click here for the full numbers.

Romney is perhaps the greatest surprise of this and other GOP polls. He's been talked up as if he were the Republican Obama, yet his poll numbers are going nowhere. It raises questions as to whether the Mormon issue will actually kill Romney's campaign. What other reason could there be? He doesn't have the greatest name recognition outside of Utah but that doesn't fully explain his low single-digit numbers.

Condi's still included in the polls? Why not put Reagan in there, you know, just for kicks? Condi Rice will not run. Period.

Romney to Make Decision After Holidays

Rising GOP star Mitt Romney has now made it clear that he will announce his 2008 presidential intentions after the holidays. Mitt has enjoyed growing conservative support since solidifying his right-wing positions on social issues and since Newt Gingrich has almost completely ruled out a competitive run in '08. Romney, in their view, is the only true GOP social conservative left who has a real chance to get the nomination. Look for the Romney '08 buzz to only get louder before the end of the year.

One thing Mitt won't have to worry about during his campaign is advertising.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Transcripts of Kerry and Gingrich on FNS

Click here for the transcript of John Kerry's interview this morning on Fox News Sunday.

Click here for the transcript of Newt Gingrich on FNS.

'Fox News Sunday' Analysis: Kerry + Gingrich

John Kerry got tentatively grilled by a belligerent Chris Wallace attempting to repeat his Clinton bashing on Fox News Sunday this morning. Wallace got in Kerry's face early, repeatedly slamming Kerry over his "joke" concerning US soldiers and Iraq. And Kerry responded right back at CW...with nothing. It was a repeat of Kerry's '04 Swiftboating. He pooh-poohed the joke fiasco and then went on about "bipartisanship" and "I learned my lessons", but that was it. No rousing Clinton-esque smackdown of Wallace.

Chris Wallace looked no better, hammering away on the silly botched joke for probably half of the interview, ignoring Iraq and Kerry's '08 ambitions until the very end. Poor job.

Kerry comes away form the FNS interview with no real damage, although he hasn't really gained anything from it, either. He gave clear intentions of running again, saying that he will make a decision near the beginning of 2007. But he is still far behind the two-headed monster that is Hillary and Obama. Dems want to continue with the success of the midterms and go for someone new in the presidential ring. Kerry blew his only real chance.

Newt Gingrich gave an uninspired performance on FNS after Kerry. He prattled on about what the GOP must do to regain DC power and relevancy in the nation. Good ideas, but he has noticeably turned down his fiery rhetoric of "World War III" and the "evil" Nancy Pelosi that he spewed during the summer. Has Newt been humbled by the Dem victory? Or is he trying to turn down the 2008 expectations that some conservatives are placing upon him? He is the only real conservative with a reasonable shot at the '08 nomination, and he knows it. He said as much in his appearance. But then he snuffed out the right-wing dreamers by saying that he won't even think about a presidential campaign until "probably September of next year". Oh.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kerry Update

John Kerry has crawled in a hole since his infamous pre-election "joke" about US soldiers. No public triumphant speeches after the Dem win. No moves regarding '08 after McCain officially joined the race. He's been nowhere. But he will reemerge - only briefly is a good guess - for an interview with Chris Wallce for Fox News Sunday airing tomorrow. Will he pull a Clinton and get nasty on CW? It wouldn't hurt to garner some publicity and get major props from Dems for parroting Clinton's golden smackdown of Wallace.
Rumors abound that Kerry will use the interview to launch his '08 bid with more "jokes" and a blistering attack on the GOP and Pres. Bush.

Wow - Newt Gingrich is also on FNS tomorrow. Talk about must-see TV.

McCain Update

Lots of news about the GOP 2008 front-runner:

  • McCain has hired a champion debate coach from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University (those two are awfully chummy) to help JMac prepare for his '08 run. No doubt he is more than a little worried about fan favorite Rudy in the GOP primary debates. Or is he looking past that and on towards the showdown with Hillary or Barack? What confidence!

  • A sure sign that you are a presidential candidate: McCain is now taking verbal pot shots from prospective '08 rivals in the GOP. Mike Huckabee blasted JMac yesterday for his campaign finance reform law, saying that McCain drew it up to unfairly favor his own presidential campaign. "McCain was very smart in creating a system where he could take all of this Senate money that he had and turn it over to his presidential campaign to give him a distinct advantage over anyone else who ran," he said. Huckabee then went for the jugular: "I think McCain would be a wonderful vice president." Ouch.

  • A pre-'08 analysis of a McCain campaign shows all of JMac's good and bad political qualities. Ron Fournier, the author, likes McCain's chances after his recent conservative speechathon, drumming up right-wing support with some serious pandering. But then Fournier goes on about McCain's bipartisan appeal and moderate stances. Yes, it's true that McCain once was a moderate. But no longer. Not sure how one can be bowing before Jerry Falwell and the Heritage Foundation and then be considered a moderate at the same time. McCain is bound to get caught up in the usual political web of abandoning your principles to get elected. His moderation will soon be out the window.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Edwards Gaffe

Has Jack Edwards' insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest in video game technology derailed daddy John's '08 presidential ambitions? It seems in between stops on his book tour, John Edwards (okay...his staff) was demanding a brand-new Playstation 3 from Wal-Mart for his precocious kids. This comes after Edwards has repeatedly bashed Wal-Mart for its business policies. Yes; we all know that by now. But the reaction from all parties involved has been frenzied.

A nervous Edwards trying to shake the whole ordeal off:
"My wife Elizabeth was looking for a PlayStation for my kids," Edwards said in an interview. "A young man who volunteers for us, apparently without our knowledge, was looking for a PlayStation 3 for himself and offered to look for one for us. He was not aware that Wal-Mart doesn't provide health insurance or decent pay for many of its employees or of my efforts to change the way Wal-Mart treats its employees."

"He made a mistake by using my name," Edwards said. "He was simply trying to help."

A rightish statement from a proudly gloating Wal-Mart:
"While the rest of America's working families are waiting patiently in line, Senator Edwards wants to cut to the front," (Ouch...)

Huffington Post in a vigorous defense of Edwards:
'Wal-Mart has a smear out on John Edwards.

"While the rest of America's working families are waiting patiently in line, Sen. Edwards wants to cut to the front," the Wal-Mart statement said." That is an official Wal-Mart statement! Have you ever heard anything like that from a company? Is this the business Wal-Mart is in? What right does a corporation have to issue a statement like that about any citizen?'

What - Target was out of PS3's? While this is really a small matter, image is everything for a presidential candidate, and there is no doubt that the GOP will use this against Edwards as the Dem nominee (hahahahaha!) or as part of a Dem ticket. What was this guy thinking?

New Dem Poll On '08 + Gor(e)y Musings

A new USATODAY/Gallup poll on the many Dem presidential contenders shows that Hillary and Barack are running away with the race. Even Al Gore has taken a back seat to Obama fever. Gore is in a free-fall, with his numbers dropping from 16% last summer to only 9& this month. Obama has catapulted almost straight to the top, trailing only the Hillary juggernaut. Edwards is holding his own, setting up for yet another Veep run - this time with Obama.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barack Obama
John Edwards
Al Gore
John Kerry
Joe Biden
Wesley Clark
Bill Richardson
Evan Bayh
Russ Feingold
Tom Daschle
Chris Dodd
Tom Vilsack

No opinion

What do all these numbers mean? That it's only a two-way race for the Dems. The full numbers show that Obama is siphoning support from only two sources; Hillary and Gore supporters. Those two saw large drops in their numbers, while the rest of the supporting cast either stayed steady or saw a blip of an increase.

Meanwhile, Al Gore is no longer the flavor of the month. How fickle those Dem voters can be. Though it;s not as if Gore was the best prospective candidate for them. This means that we can expect another doc from Al (great...) Will he team up with Michael Moore and Dick Morris on a scathing and career altering expose` about Hillary, thus securing an Obama win and a possible Veep slot over the lethargically perky Edwards? Morris does predict some sort of Gore involvement in the '08 campaign, be it as a presidential candidate or just the perfect Hillary-stopper.

"The Democratic primaries for president will feature the ‘new Democrats’ of the Bill Clinton variety – as embodied by Hillary – against the new left as embodied by Howard Dean and, increasingly, by Al Gore,” Morris tells NewsMax.

"It will be interesting, but the likely Democratic match-up will be Clinton versus Gore. The bumper sticker of ’92 and ’96 will split in half.”

Bold prediction. But a Gore presidential run is almost completely out of the question by now. Gore and Morris despise H, so a joint effort to back Obama in the primaries and then set up a potentially popular ticket of Obama-Gore is not implausible. Will Dick M be the Donna Brazille of '08? Al sure hopes not...

GOP Inflicts a Foot Wound

Just when it seemed that Democrats had a;ready placed themselves in an immense self-dug hole with their destructive bickering over the House Majority Leader race, here comes the GOP to trump that story with a boneheaded decision of their own involving House leadership. The GOP reelected John Boehner and Roy Blunt as the top two Republican leaders in the House.

The margin of victory for the two were not close by any stretch, with 147+ GOPers preferring the status quo. Most Republicans said they liked that Boehner and Blunt were politically "savvy". Do they really need "savvy" at this point? Do they realize that it was this status quo that got them kicked out of Congressional leadership? It's hard to top the immediate cat fight started within the Democratic party, but, somehow, the Republicans did. After a midterm in which well over half of voters viewed GOP corruption as their main reason for voting Democrat, it would seem obvious that a House clean-up was in order. After all, Boehner and Blunt were implicated - fairly or not - in the lobbyist takeover of Congress.

This also sets up a House in which it's likely that very little substantial changes will be implemented. Between the infighting and over-caution of the Dems and the embittered and partisan GOP leaders, watch for a possible collapse of the House, with uncertain implications for both parties. But John McCain will get another boost. Unless he continues his pandering to the right.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Dem Fight: Dean is "Rumsfeldian"?

While House Dems stew over the mix-up concerning who will be Majority Leader, DNC chair Howard Dean is taking potshots from an unlikely source; James Carville. In an anti-Dean tirade yesterday, Carville blasted Dean as "Rumsfeldian in its competence" and vigorously called for his immediate ouster. Carville, in turn, was quickly trashed as either an operative for Rahm Emanuel or simply thirsty for publicity (he has been AWOL a lot since the demise of "Crossfire"). The Dems may not realize what image this infighting projects. They were elected on a platform of change and bipartisanship. They aren't changing a thing and can't even get along with other Dems. How will they peacefully co-exist in D.C. with GOPers when they're bashing themselves over an ideological split?

Hoyer vs. Murhta: Dem Decision

The time for Democrats to pick their House leaders is drawing near. It's today, in fact. This is a big test for the continuation of Dem unity in the House. Tough tactics by Murtha supporters in the Nancy Pelosi camp have already created a rift in the party.

One conservative Democrat said that a Murtha-Pelosi ally approached him on the House floor and said pointedly: "I hope you like your committee assignment, because it's the only one you're going to get."

In a phone call initiated by Murtha that same day, the lawmaker told the longtime politician that he had already signed a letter of support for Hoyer. The congressman said he was stunned when Murtha told him, "Letters don't mean anything."

Hoyer's supporters complained about such tactics.

Liberals are clamoring for Murtha, even though he is conservative on everything other than Iraq and is embroiled in a burgeoning corruption scandal. But Murtha's a loyal fiend of Pelosi, so he gets her strong-armed backing. That sounds a bit too Republican, no?

It's a decision that will basically solidify the direction of the Dems for the next two years. Division is expected. But will voters see this as a bad start for the party that they viewed as (somewhat) above the fray of this GOP-style bickering?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The hottest name in politics sat down with Diane Sawyer (of all people...) for a rather bland interview. Barack was shifty - as usual - about his presidential ambitions in 2008.

"It's only been three [days] or four days" since the midterm elections, he said. "I need a little bit more time than that."

The standard response. But Barack knows that he needs to make a decision soon. The official entrances of GOPers McCain and Giuliani into the race has knocked Obama back a bit. He's no longer the top name being discussed in '08. He can ensure initial buzz and success if he launches his campaign before Hillary or any other big name Dem.

Quick Hits

  • The Hotline has a good piece on the rapid political change of John Murtha, the new darling of anti-war Democrats and the favored HML candidate of Nancy Pelosi. "Since calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in January, Murtha has effectively transformed himself from a backroom dealer who rarely sought the limelight to one of the most public, antiwar faces of the Democratic party. He’s muted his opposition to abortion rights and support of gun control while speaking more bluntly about getting out of Iraq."

  • No surprises as Senate Dems picked their leaders today. Harry Reid is majority leader and Chuck Schumer is still the campaign committee chair. The big fight will come Thursday, when the Dems pick leaders in the House. With Nancy Pelosi supporting Murtha and the rest of the House Dems backing the moderate Steny Hoyer, this will be their first big test after the election. Can they prevent this disagreement from turning into a contentious blowup? Stay tuned.

  • The Christian Science Monitor has a guest opinion piece from Speaker-to-be Pelosi. It's good, with lots of talk about actually getting things done in Congress, something that voters are expecting from Dems after voting them in last week. But will that talk translate into any real results? And what about Iraq? PB readers will find more later this week when Nancy Pelosi does a guest blog for Political Buzz. We give her five questions and she will give us her take on the top issues facing House Democrats. Should be fun!

  • Conservatives are bashing the choice of Mel Martinez as RNC chair over Mike Steele. It's rather ponderous as to why they're angry about this. Steele is a greenhorn Senate race loser. And Martinez is a helluva fundraiser, learning that difficult craft from none other than Karl Rove and Pres. Bush. And Martinez is right of right on most every issue. Well, except for immigration. Ohhhhhhh.... And could this be some backlash against hispanics after they deserted the GOP last week?

Monday, November 13, 2006

2008: Rudy's In

That always puzzling GOP moderate Rudy Giuliani has finally settled the question of whether he will run for President in 2008: Rudy's in the mix. He joins john McCain in forming a "Presidential Exploratory Committee" looking at a probable '08 run.

It will be a lot harder for Rudy from here on out. He'll have to battle the right-wing conservative base of the GOP over his many liberal positions on social issues. He'll also be up against JMac, that gigantic GOP juggernaut. It will be tough for him to hold his own in the race. Will we see an early exit for Rudy?

Gingrich Interview

PB recently discovered an overlooked interview of Newt Gingrich by some sort of site called "Christianity Today". It's short, but it does delve into Newt's views on religion and politics.

More '08 Analysis

This time it's from Craig Crawford at CQ Politics. They have a comprehensive rundown from before the election of every single possible 2008 candidate from both parties. They profile 26 in all. Yikes...

It's in no particular ranking of who's most likely to get the nomination, but it does provide some nice info and analysis on every contender.

Most surprising name on the list? Tom Daschle. CC seems to think that a Daschle run is possible, especially after he almost went for it in '04.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

2008: Feingold Is Gone

Another Dem contender for 2008 has dropped out of the race, with Russ Feingold, that darling of the anti-war left, announcing today that he will not run for president in 2008.

"I began with the feeling I didn't really want to do this but was open to the possibility that getting around the country would make me want to do it. That never happened."

Some of Russ's supporters are now urging Feingold fans to quickly shift their allegiance to (gasp!) Al Gore.

Political Cortex:
Since Russ Feingold will not be running for President, I will now be endorsing Al Gore for President for 2008. I am asking anybody who supported Russ Feingold for President to support Al Gore for President so we can restore the rule of law to the White House and restore the system of checks and balances to our Constitutional system.

What will the left-wing folks at PC do when they finally realize that Gore is not running? Make nice with Hillary? Never!

Feingold joins Mark Warner on the list of Democrats making early decisions not to pursue presidential ambitions. This bevy of Dem announcements is no doubt due to the Dem pandemonium of '04, when the number of candidates at the debates looked less like a game show and more like an overloaded rock tribute band. Nobody wants a repeat of that. Besides, this time it's the Dems that are the party with a solidly defined front-runner in the race. No one wants to go up against Hillary and Barack. They know that they have no shot with those two superstars in the mix.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Updated 2008 Rankings

The 2008 race has gotten much more intriguing following the Dem surprise in the midterms. Lots of changes since the last time PB weighed in on the race.

We urge PB readers to give us any and all comments on the rankings. You can even formulate your own list of '08 contenders.

Here's how we think everything stands right now:


Hillary Clinton ­
Hillary, like most Dems, gets an up arrow after the uber-successful midterms. However, HC is in a precarious position after Obama, Pelosi and Co. really stole the spotlight from her on Election Day. The nationwide outburst against the war in Iraq has left Hillary playing catch-up with war opponents. The big Dem win may also leave the party brass feeling like they can take a chance with Obama in ‘08. But any talk of HC as being “unelectable” has to be put aside. Any Democrat is electable. She’s still on top.

Barack Obama ­↑
Barack is a big winner after the midterms. His 2008 stock has skyrocketed. He was political gold on the campaign trail, he was successful on the campaign trail, and the Dem victory means that he will have a much easier time of it trying to gain support as a left-leaning centrist. His constant talk of bipartisanship should endear him to all of the moderate voters from this year if the current mood holds. Can he get past his race? That’s the big question-mark on him, especially after the drubbing Harold Ford received in Tennessee. But still, nobody is hotter than Barack right now.

John Edwards
The ex-Senator has disappeared. While Hillary and Obama were everywhere on the campaign trail before the midterms, getting their names and faces out in public, Edwards went AWOL. His wife made more headlines than JE. What to make of that? He senses that any chance at the nomination is hurtling past him as fast as Barack Obama’s private jet zooming across the country and is contemplating accepting the inevitable. Obama’s sudden entrance as the challenger to Hillary has made Edwards an also ran. He needs some quick publicity before he slides down with Evan Bayh and the rest of the Dem underlings in ‘08. He needed to capitalize on the Dem victory.

Evan Bayh/Bill Richardson/Tom Vilsack
The Dem win didn’t hurt them or help them. These gentlemen are all playing for a Veep slot. They’ll try to make a splash in the debates, probably spouting off utopian dreams and smoothly bashing Hillary. Vilsack is the first Democrat that is officially running in 2008, making his announcement this week. Just a quick publicity grab. Richardson and Bayh are the most intriguing Veep candidates, probably making a good team with either Obama or Hillary. Well, nix the Obama-Richardson ticket. No way the Dems will want to take a chance with two minorities on the same presidential ticket. Vilsack is a possible Veep for Hillary.

John Kerry
What else is there to say about Kerry? He didn’t just shoot himself in the foot with his Iraq/US troops comment, he blew his brains out. His ‘08 chances were slim to none before that, but now he is severely damaged goods; no sane Dem will actively support him, and Dem leaders may even ask him to bow out of the race before his campaign even begins. This tragically vain soul will no doubt press on, but will only make an even bigger fool out of himself down the line.


John McCain ­
McCain has come out of the midterms looking more like the GOP front-runner than ever before. Voters fascination with moderates has made JMac the best hope for Republicans in ‘08 right now. He's capitalizing on that by already launching his 2008 bid. He was as visible as Barack and Hillary on the campaign trail, jetting across the country to stump for GOPers. There’s always a chance for conservatives to once again become the driving force behind Republicans and trash McCain in favor of a Gingrich or Romney, but the party brass may not let that happen when they realize that he is their best candidate. He’s swung wildly this year, from the only candidate to the forgotten candidate and now back on top. No telling what will happen once he gets smeared by the right-wing.

Mitt Romney
Not much good news for Mitt coming out of the election. GOP governors, of which he is the leader, lost badly on 11/7. And his burgeoning conservative views lost nationwide this week. Voters went looking for moderates, not ideologues. But Mitt was as active as McCain on the stump pre-election, getting his name out and raking in a lot of cash for his favored candidates. His fundraising ability will be his biggest plus in ’08. There’s still the question of his Mormon faith that’s out there.

Rudy Giuliani

Where’s Rudy? Like WaPO, PB can’t seem to figure out what happened to the hero of 9/11. His was the hottest viable name in the GOP in late summer, working the campaign trail and thrashing McCain in all of the polls. And then he vanished. He needs to get out there amongst the GOP faithful and better explain his quasi-liberal views if he wants any shot. He kept saying that he would announce his 2008 plans after the election, so maybe more info will come soon.

Newt Gingrich ↑­
While moderate Republicans, Democrats and independents went for moderate views and bipartisanship in the midterms, the GOP base wants to shift even more to the right. That plays right into Newt’s hands. He went super-tough on national security and terrorism on his weekly appearances on FOX pre-election, and now is offering his advice (who isn’t?) on what went wrong for Republicans. His ideas are already getting praise from many right-wing Republican media types. Can Newt emerge as the perfect antidote for a wayward and lethargic GOP? A sleeper pick.

Duncan Hunter
Hunter is the first Republican to officially announce that he’s running. The GOP Vilsack; first to run but nothing more. However, he is Veep material. But that’s about all.

Condi Rice - No, she’s not running.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A New GOP "Vision"

With the GOP in turmoil after their savage thumping in the midterms, a call for different strategies is coming from many in the Republican ranks. Congressman Mike Pence, already running for House Minority Leader, has issued a sort of decree calling for a "new vision" wihin the GOP. It's a lengthy diatribe that is basically foemulated to help Pence gain the HML slot. The Hotline has the entire document.

2008 Rankings From WaPo

The Washington Post has a fresh ranking of 2008 White house contenders. Yes, it's never too early to start thinking about the next election.

Here are the basics of WaPo's rankings. For analysis and more, head to the complete list on The Fix:


1. Hillary Rodham Clinton
2. Barack Obama
3. John Edwards
4. Evan Bayh
5. Bill Richardson


1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Mike Huckabee
5. Newt Gingrich

Rudy's star has fallen precipitously over the last few months, almost as quickly as it rose this summer. He may reemerge as the best GOP candidate after this election, however, with Republican conservatism striking out with voters at the polls.

Look for a brand new 2008 rundown from Political Buzz very soon.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election 2006: Quick Hits

  • George Allen's Senate race concession speech was awfully feisty. He barely mentioned that overused keyword these days - bipartisanship - and went on about God, the Bible, and "new chances" - all while presenting a grim and angry look upon his face. By pandering to his still-strong conservative base there is no doubt that he will re-enter politics very soon.

  • Anyone think of filibusters in all of the post-election hoopla? The GOP will need them as the minority party in the Senate. They must be extremely relieved that their "nuclear option" against them didn't materialize in '05. Most pundits - and certainly not the Republicans - never even thought of the chance that the GOP would be hurting themselves down the line if they pulled a nuke. It was as if they were invincible back then. Maybe that attitude is why they lost this time around.

  • The big GOP winner coming out of 2006? That would be John McCain. The moderate maverick is set to pounce on the bipartisan feeling spreading through DC and the rest of the country into a front-runner spot for the GOP, wresting that title back from Rudy Giuliani. Will JMac's popularity last?

The Meeting

Oh to be the proverbial 'fly on the wall' at the lunch get-together this afternoon between Pres. Bush and top Dem leaders. PB would have loved to there not so much for what was said, but more for the surely awkward expression on the faces of that jovial group. It may be 70* in DC today, but there had to be icicles in the White House. No chance of "getting along" between these stubborn adversaries.

Election 2006: Allen To Concede

George Allen is set to concede to Jim Webb in their close Senate battle at 3 PM. Allen's deficit is actually growing, leading him and his posse (including entertainingly naive Ed Gillespie) to give it up. Pres. Bush's decision to axe Rumsfeld was - besides an attention grabbing ploy - a direct sign from the White House to Allen that they wanted him to go down with no recount fight.

"Macaca" Allen is really dead. Wow. It's really amazing what huge consequences one (major) gaffe caught on tape at a rural VA shindig will have. It destroyed the political career of an up-and-coming '08 GOP contender and has given the Senate to the Dems. Too bad Allen and Co. couldn't get that video camera before "macaca" left the event.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election 2006: Rumsfeld's "Resignation"

What does the Rumsfeld "resignation" (W pushed him out. That resignation letter has been signed since 2000) really mean? Although the Dems are happy about it the move is surely not an early show of bipartisanship from the Bush administration.

And no matter how much Dems want to crow about Rummy being the first BA casualty of the Dems ( Harry Reid: "If the vote of last night from all over America didn't accomplish anything but this, it was a good night." ), this was not caused by the new blue power. Well, not directly. This was all about W wanting to control the balance of power in DC after the Dem sweep. The move keeps Dems on their toes and robs them of any rallying point that they could use in the early going of their Congressional power.

Election 2006: New PB Poll!

50% of respondents to our midterm prediction poll picked a Democratic sweep. Nice job! Of course, 33% thought that the GOP would hold on to all of Congress.

Anyhow, there is now a new poll up on PB.

How bad is the Republican loss?

To select your answer, just go to the poll box on the right side of the page. While you're at it, sign up for the daily Political Buzz email update. Get PB delivered straight to your inbox every morning. To sign up, enter your email address in the box under the new poll.

Election 2006: It's All Over; Dems Win

Well, Montana has come and gone. What looked to be the final Senate battleground has turned into yet another Democratic win after the AP projected Dem Jon Tester as the winner over Republican Conrad Burns in that very close MT Senate race. Tester quickly declared victory after the AP projection.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Tester had 198,032 votes, or 49.1%, to Burns' 194,904 votes, or 48.3%.

"One hundred thousand miles and 15 hours later, here we did it," Tester said Wednesday. "It is absolutely, critically important that we change the direction of the country.

"Now is the time to come together and put politics aside."

Meanwhile, Conrad Burns is AWOL. If that's not proof...

The swift victory from Tester in the early afternoon makes the Senate an almost certain lock for the Dems. The Allen vs. Webb race will not be over until late November, after recounts are done and the election is certified, but Webb has a nice cushion on Allen and both sides are acknowledging that Webb has won. Now it's a question of whether Allen's team, lead by that bitter Republican Ed Gillespie, will concede the inevitable or go down fighting. They have literally nothing to lose, so look for every trick possible to be used by Allen.

But no amount of post-election shenanigans will save Allen or the GOP. A stunning comeback from early deficits - even losing Tennessee - has put the Dems on top. Look for some real planning to start once a gleeful Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid have become sober once more. PB is still in shock over the thrashing doled out to the GOP. The biggest effect this election will have will be in the 2008 race. The GOP needs a centrist (McCain is looking really good right now) while the Democrats can afford to take a chance with maybe an Obama. Now it's the GOP that needs the likeable and moderate presidential candidate.

Election 2006: Montana And The Senate

It now appears that the Burns vs. Tester race in Montana will be the key to who controls the Senate. Allen is about to concede in VA, so the nail biter in MT is all that's left. If Dem Tester wins, the Democrats control the Senate. With the high stakes in that race, it's not going to be over for a long time. The GOP is not about to let the Senate go without plenty of lawyer action. But will it turn into Florida 2000? It's control of the Senate, so a nasty fight is probable.

Incidentally, Harry Reid is jubilant over the comeback his Dems have made in the battle for Senate control. He has good reason to after the Dems turned their early evening horrors into early morning success. Not sure if HR will actually lead anything in the Senate, however. Let's hope he'll save his victory speeches until after the MT race is decided.

Election 2006: Senate Shift

The overnight hours brought a surprising turnaround for Democrats in the three most important Senate races of the night. Claire McCaskill won in Missouri, Jim Webb declared victory in Virgina, and Jon Tester has the win all but wrapped up in Montana. All very good news for Dems, with the Senate changing hands if they can hold on in VA and MT.

So now VA becomes the focus of this election. Webb has claimed victory, but Allen has yet to concede. A recount is sure to come in that race, drawing out the final result for weeks. But a bevy of votes could yet come in for either Allen or Webb, with this race the most wild of the night. The lead changes were too numerous to count.

Overall, the Dems have pulled off a solid victory, They've regained the House, are extremely close to getting the Senate and have generally given Republicans a drubbing. The GOP will be on their back for awhile after this, desperately waiting for 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election 2006: Where Does It Stand?

Early Democrat momentum has quickly been snuffed out in the Senate races while continuing in most House races. With Dems already having gained 11 seats in the House it is a lock that they will take it over. Speaker Pelosi is inevitable; the Democrats have the House.

But the Senate is probably over. Harold Ford is done, Jim Webb has to hope for a recount and Claire McCaskill has seen her early lead vanish. The GOP will keep the Senate. It's as if voters were comfortable with giving the House to the Dems while wanting no part of a sweep and trying to force bipartisanship upon DC with a mixed Congress. Interesting.

The southern Senate seats were always a stretch for Dems, and even more so after the Foley scandal turned up dead. Will Dean and the brass see this a s a defeat, even with the House well in hand? Those poll numbers were very good for Democrats in September and October and yet they still managed to throw away VA, TN and MO. When all is said and done tomorrow (and it does look like it will actually end tomorrow), it will be important to delve into the numbers and see exactly why the race for the two branchs of Congress turned out so different from one another. Is it a sign that voters see the GOP as better able to handle the more important Senate side of Congress? What does it all hold for '08? Stay tuned.

Incidentally, the TV coverage tonight was found to be severely lacking. The cable networks had way too much dead time to fill with unnecessary pundit talk and speeches from candidates no one cared about, while the big three networks had choppy coverage mixed in with incessant ads. Katie handed her coverage over to Bob Schieffer most of the night (Yessss!), merely directing traffic through all of the returns. NBC was all ads, clearly trying to boost MSNBC. Chuck Gipson on ABC was the best. Outside of his unnerving swiveling in his rickety chair, he was solid and constantly on. The pundits were dry as always.

It was disappointing to learn that Political Buzz was not inivted to CNN's "E-Lection" blogger get-together in DC. We surely would have accepted. Probably just an oversight.