Sunday, December 31, 2006

2008: Whatever happened to...

...Barack Obama?

One would think that with the explosive entrance of John Edwards into the Dem '08 race that Obama would momentarily pause his Hawaii getaway to gain back a share of the Dem spotlight with some public appearance or, finally, his campaign announcement. Obama continues to be bombarded with Hawaiian support and the Draft Obama '08 campaign is still out there. Why the wait?

Perhaps he's wary of his original timeline for a holiday announcement after seeing how the Edwards launch quickly vanished from the MSM, being replaced by the deaths of Saddam and Gerald Ford. Only the political punditry is abuzz over JRE now, leaving his campaign at a loss in trying to scrounge up some publicity. Would an announcement on Oprah ensure peak attention for Obama's '08 entrance? That's what some of Obama's allies are indicating.

If Hawai'i-born Sen. Barack Obama decides to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president, he will likely make the announcement soon on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," according to U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i.
He said Obama had indicated during an earlier appearance with Winfrey that he would announce his candidacy on the program if he decides to run in 2008.

"If that takes place, it will be the most-watched daytime television show in American history," said Abercrombie, who held a press conference yesterday with a small group of other Hawai'i-based Obama supporters to urge that he join the race.

The only problem with the Oprah launch idea is that it would clearly add to some growing Dem complaints that Obama is all fluff.

Barack Obama visited New Hampshire, wowed the Democrats there and jumped up more than 20 points in the polls to a tie with Hillary Clinton, all of which means he could be in for it. “Where’s the beef?” more and more people will ask and already are asking, even including Gary Hart, the most famous political target of that withering inquiry.

“Truly great leaders possess a strategic sense, an inherent understanding of how the framework of their thinking and the tides of the times fit together and how their nation’s powers should be applied to achieve its large purposes,” Hart writes. “ ‘The Audacity of Hope’ is missing that strategic sense. Perhaps the senator should address this in his next book. By doing so, he would most certainly propel himself into the country’s small pantheon of leaders in a way that personal narrative and sudden fame cannot.”

Fluff? Maybe, but who should care about that if fluff is the only way to win? Kerry was anti-fluff, and look what happened to him. Voters want cheery populists in office, not the dour warnings and rants of a Bush or Kerry.

Friday, December 29, 2006

2008: Edwards - Day 2

Dem contender John Edwards truly gained the upper hand over his 2008 rivals with a whirlwind day of campaigning today in New Hampshire. Raucous cheers coming from overflow crowds at most of his Granite State events shows that, although initially written off by many (okay...PB included) as a Dem has-been, JRE is the new comeback kid. Well - at least early on.

Over a year ahead of the nation's first presidential primary, so many voters turned out Friday to hear Democratic hopeful John Edwards' call for a new spirit of American activism on problems ranging from poverty to global warming that hundreds were left standing outside in freezing temperatures.
Nearly a quarter of the crowd of more than 800 were unable to squeeze into the elementary school cafeteria where Edwards was to speak.
The former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee ended up giving his introductory remarks outside, using a microphone that broadcast his voice inside, before heading indoors.
"What we're asking is for you, the people of New Hampshire, not to wait for the next election to take responsibility," he said. "Identifying a problem and talking about hope is talking about tomorrow. We can't wait until tomorrow."

At his events and in his many TV appearances throughout the day, Edwards showed that he has learned a lot from his brief run in '04 and his dismal ride with the derailed Kerry campaign. While in his announcement speech and some other events he remained the stilted and smirking trial lawyer working to steal your money, his TV spots and Q&A's with supporters were considerably more realistic and powerful. You must admit that he has the ability to charm a lot of people.

But can the southern heartthrob really win the Dem nomination in this year of moderation and giant juggernauts (i.e. Hillary and Obama) with a new leftist ideology and a grassroots/Deaniac/techie campaign?

If his first day is any indication, John Edwards will be running a very different kind of campaign than he did three years ago — one that just might help him stand out among the dozen presidential wannabes who will be all over Iowa and New Hampshire in the next several months.

The press was raving how Edwards drew more to his NH events than even Barack. Can this teeming adulation last? Or is his posse simply stuffing the events with hungry Granite Staters looking to get out of the semi-cold?

JRE must be moving up the '08 ranks if he can get right-wingers angry about his new country estate.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2008: Edwards is in

Democrat John Edwards has finally ended the non-suspense this morning and officially announced his candidacy for president in 2008. He also kept the location of the event in a Katrina-devastated NOLA neighborhood instead of at a "special town hall" in Des Moines tonight. That one's now just a kickoff party.

John Edwards, whose presidential campaign two years ago emphasized the growing divide between America's rich and poor, came to a hurricane-ravaged neighborhood of New Orleans to announce he is running again.
Edwards, 53, said he chose New Orleans as a backdrop to demonstrate that ``Americans can make a huge difference'' in helping those who need it most. Edwards stood in front of a home flooded in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina where repairs are just now nearing completion.
``New Orleans, in so many ways, shows the two Americas that I have talked about in the past,'' Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina, said. ``It also exemplifies something I've learned since the last election: It's great to see a problem and understand; it's more important to take action and do something about it.''

That's nice.

Edwards continued his quest for left-wing support with barbs aimed at the Iraq policy of Pres. Bush and some GOP candidates.

''It would be a huge mistake to put a surge of troops into Iraq,'' Edwards said on ABC's ''Good Morning America. ''It sends exactly the wrong signal. We can maximize our chances for success by making clear we are going to leave Iraq and not stay there forever.''

Those lefty blogs must be loving that. John Nichols at The Nation is already trumpeting Edwards as the candidate for progressives; even if JRE is not completely perfect for the left-wingers in in the Democratic party.

His announcement had no surprise factor due to his campaign spilling the beans on it yesterday sand JRE's obvious campaigning for several months. But the event was covered by every cable news outlet, giving the Edwards 'ob folks a shot of buzz and publicity to counter the public infatuation with both Hillary and Obama.

His One America Committee website has already changed over to, and he's trying to go the Dean route with lots of blogs, user-generated video and live web chats to come - so they say. Speaking of live chats, the site will host a live session with Edwards himself at 12PM Eastern. He and his posse appear to have all campaign bases covered exceptionally well; from heartstring tugging and sappy announcement to the instant transformation of his OAC site from simple PAC to fully functioning campaign hub. Makes one wonder if Hillary and Obama are this far along when they announce. Edwards has officially jumped from Dem also-ran to top contender between his skyrocketing poll numbers and now this A+ announcement.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Quick Hits

  • Will it ever stop??!! Sen. Joe Biden added his name to the bloated Dem list of '08 contenders by announcing today that he will run for president. - "It is my intention to seek the nomination, and it's my intention sometime in the month of January to set up the appropriate mechanism to be able to raise money for that purpose," Biden said in a telephone news conference that centered on Iraq. - In what seems to be a desperate bid, Biden will have the advantage of his repeated harsh criticism of Bush on Iraq strategy to gain favor with war weary voters. He apparently intends to make that his one main platform issue. But there are more genuinely anti war and more viable Dem candidates to fill that spot on. While Biden is a natural on the talk show circuit, always good for refreshing candor and opinions on almost any issue, he is nowhere close to being presidential material or a top Dem contender. His loose mouth stops any talk of a Veep slot, so this run may just be for kicks.

  • Obama and Hillary are virtually tied at 22% in a new '08 poll out of New Hampshire. It was released over the holiday and confirms that Hillary is stumbling. Will Obama ride this wave of support into a midweek presidential announcement? Don't count out the surging Edwards. He was in 3rd, getting 16%.

  • Has Dem Speaker Pelosi made another misstep? With her bruising fight over Majority Lewader and House Intel Chairman finally out of the picture, Pelosi is no bringing on a new controversy. Her plan for opulent "House victory parties" is raising eyebrows across the board and generating stinging catcalls from Republicans. - "It'll be 'all Nancy, all the time,'" Dani Doane, director of House relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service. "It's almost as though she views this as a coronation as opposed to doing the people's business." - While that comment is surely right wing hot air, Pelosi and the Dems need to tone down their glee over gaining the House and nix these parties before their tattered populist image is completely shredded.


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Open Thread

With PB off until Tuesday, you can post any of your thoughts on politics here, courtesy of our generous open thread.

PB's Holiday Break

With Christmas upon us, it is with regret that Political Buzz must inform it's loyal readers that we will be doing no posting both Sunday and Monday. PB will be back on Tuesday (probably before WaPo's Cillizza...) with a regular schedule.

Have a great holiday!

2008: “Shouldn’t you be the vice president first?”

A semi-fawning NYT article on the tribulations of Barack Obama and his impending presidential decision. The piece relates how BO's six-year-old once asked the question that's screaming inside the head of Hillary and Co.:

On a winter afternoon two years ago, Senator Barack Obama took his oath of office and strolled across the Capitol grounds hand-in-hand with his wife and two daughters. At the time, a question from his 6-year-old sounded precocious. Now, it seems prescient.

“Are you going to try to be president?” Malia Obama asked her father, giggling as a television camera captured the moment. “Shouldn’t you be the vice president first?”


The article tries to expand on the real issues that an Obama '08 campaign would face. Those include dealing with left-wing liberal upset with his sometimes moderate Senate votes and good relationship with Republicans, getting actual support - not lighthearted praise - from top Dem donors and pols, and, obviously, the issue of his experience. Or, more appropriately, his lack of it.

Is Obama actually ready for a run? Or is he to be mowed down by the vengeful Hillary?


Top Ten Funniest Political Moments of 2006

The blog Extreme Mortman has this list . It came out earlier this month but failed to be noticed by us at PB until now.

We could have devised our own, but it's much more fun to rip off another site. Besides, this one covers all the funny stories that we'll remember from '06. Who'll ever forget 'Cheney shoots Whittington'? Or peering inside Bill Jefferson's freezer? Priceless...

PB readers: Have any hilarious moments to add to this list?

2008: And So It Begins...

While Hawaii's favorite son is vacationing in the islands before he makes his momentous decision about '08, some Aloha Staters are giving him an awfully big hint at what he should do. A grassroots "Draft Obama" campaign in Hawaii is running a TV ad in Honolulu that they hope the Senator will see, thus deciding to launch a run.

"We're hoping that he sees the public groundswell and realizes that we've got his back, and if he jumps into this we're going to work as hard as we possibly can to make sure he's the next president," website founder Ben Stanfield said by telephone from his home in Rockville, Md.

The ad appears to be the same one that the folks ran in New Hampshire and D.C. last week.


Friday, December 22, 2006

2008: Edwards Update

Burgeoning Dem contender John Edwards has apparently changed his plans concerning his presidential campaign announcement next week. He has nixed the idea of an announcement from Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and has instead bowed to political reality and has scheduled a "special town hall" meeting in Des Moines for next Thursday. Anytime a political candidate includes "special" in the title of an event it means something big: Either they've lost an election or they're entering one.

He must have come to the rightful conclusion that poverty-fighting messages don't get votes. Pandering to Cornhusker's is what gets support in the correct places.

JRE probably also realized that the switch was a good decision when a new Dem Iowa poll came out showing that he was tied with Barack Obama for the Dem lead, with Hillary well back. H is even behind Vilsack.

When asked who they would vote for if the 2008 Democratic caucuses were held today, 22 percent of Democrats named John Edwards, the former South Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate. Sen. Barack Obama, of Illinois, also was named by 22 percent of Democrats.
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was at 12 percent and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton was at 10 percent.

That's more good news for the "slick" Edwards. Rising poll numbers, the first major Dem to announce - in Iowa, no less - and voters that still think he's cute; life is good for the jolly Sen. Edwards.


Thinking About Reelection

In a rather sad sign of today's political reality, House Democrats, having just won a majority in Congress, are already formulating a plan to stay in power after the 2008 elections.

It is the “incumbent retention program,” a detailed plan worked out after Democrats gained control of Congress to fortify the most politically shaky with plum committee assignments, prized bill sponsorship and an early start on fund-raising — all in preparation for their 2008 re-election campaigns.

Not sure why the NYT seemed to think that this is an unusual strategy. This was Karl Rove's trademark. But Dems campaigned as the anti-Rove's, so spending more time on politicking than on actual Congressional work might cause sour feelings among voters. Isn't that why they ditched the Republicans?

Nancy Pelosi is especially involved:

Our focus is to make sure that each member strengthens his or her standing back home by offering strategic advice and help,” said Brendan Daley, a spokesman for Mrs. Pelosi, who is planning weekly breakfasts with this group. “That can be legislative, message or outreach tuned into the needs of their district.”

Between early House campaigning and the looming beast that is the '08 presidential primaries and election, Dems need to make sure that trigger-happy voters do not get the message that political campaigns are more important than the reason they're now in power on The Hill.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2008: Obama - This Week!

Dem stud Barack Obama is set to announce his "plans" (meaning a run) for 2008 this week, as opposed to early next year, the original timetable, according to his sister in Hawaii.

Sen. Barack Obama will decide this week in Hawaii if he'll seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, his sister said Tuesday.
"He's going to make his decision here and announce it to us. Then he's probably going to officially announce his decision once he returns," Maya Soetoro told The Associated Press.

Obama, born and partially raised in Hawaii, is on vacation ( Or, according to Maya: "It's a much needed time for reflection." ) with his family there over the holiday, meaning that Obama's media announcement will still come close to 2007. No doubt he wants a quick jump on the post-Christmas news cycle, beating any announcements from Rudy, McCain or Hillary.

Here's another tidbit from that Chicago Tribune article previously cited in this post:

Another bit of Obama news is this. Gallup's pollsters are reporting today that nearly half of the public doesn't know who he is.
That's hard to believe given the saturation media coverage he's received. But that's what the Gallup survey indicates.

That must be a typo. How can half of Americans not have an inkling of who Barack Obama is? The name alone should make him stand out. Is this a possible problem yet to surface? Dunderhead W-esque voters that don't pay attention to any sort of media outlets on the planet?

At least Tom Daschle thinks Obama's hot.


2008 Quick Hits

  • Hillary Clinton pulled a Kerry/Edwards move yesterday on "Today", saying that, concerning her Senate vote for the Iraq war - "Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote," she said in her usual refrain before adding, "and I certainly wouldn't have voted that way". "However, the former first lady denies her vote was a mistake; in part to maintain her centrist image". - A poor imitation of Kerry's "voted for it before I voted against it" schtick. Excepy H is the other way around. She voted against the war before she voted for it. Is she really that desperate to please the anti-war left and moderate DLC types in the Democratic party? She must realize that, no matter what she attempts to do, she'll never be a Howard Deanesque figure to left-wingers.

  • Rudy Giuliani, now officially the top GOP contender for 2008, launched his first campaign website yesterday. is no more than Rudy propaganda (The site has pages with such titles as "The Crime Fighter". No mention of sleazy personal issues or gay marriage) with a credit card machine attached, but it's still put together much more professionally than John McCain's uber-tacky site which is literally an online credit card machine. With the Join Rudy launch Giuliani is clearly organizing his campaign with an eye towards finality in preparation for his official '08 announcement.

  • More '08 campaigning going on today in Iowa, with GOPer Mitt Romney attending several GOP events in the Cornhusker State. Mitt is no doubt enjoying the Rudy-bashing WaPo article from yesterday. With McCain disorganized and Rudy too "liberal", Romney is apparently WaPo's pick for the nomination. - Meanwhile, Dem contender Tom Vilsack gave a plush AFLAC duck to Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show". A must-read article...


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2008: Rudy's OK. Really

While some political talking-heads are pondering the downfall of John McCain, others (Cillizza: "As close readers of this blog know, The Fix remains skeptical that Giuliani, who is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, can win a GOP nominating process dominated by conservative voters.") are talking of the impossibility of JMac's main rival, Rudy Giuliani, actually winning the Republican nomination.

In fact, the Washington Post has an in-depth analysis of why Rudy can't win in '08. According to the WaPo story, Giuliani will never be able to overcome conservative anger with his liberal social positions and his sordid past. That will be what halts the Rudy campaign, GOP strategists say.

...conservative party strategists and activists in key primary states are skeptical and warn that the socially liberal Republican faces a difficult campaign. They question whether a Republican who has had one marriage end in annulment and another in divorce, and favors abortion rights, gun control and immigrant rights, has much retail appeal in the evangelical and deeply conservative reaches of the GOP.
"If the Republican Party wants to send the social conservatives home for good, all they have to do is nominate Rudy Giuliani," said Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist minister and president of Vision America. "It's an insult to the pro-Christian agenda. . . . He's going to spend a lot of money finding he can't get out of the Republican primaries."

But are the WaPo pundits and Republican insiders overestimating the influence of Christian conservatives in the GOP? After all, they couldn't save Republican this November and lost many of their main politicians of influence in that election blowout. Can Rudy win by ignoring the evangelicals and instead focusing on those voters that love Rudy as the Hero of 9/11? He has broad appeal beyond just traditional GOP circles, so losing the religious vote may not spell the end of Rudy.

Rounding up GOP cash may be the biggest hurdle to a Rudy nomination. With McCain grabbing oodles of cash from some of GWBush's old donor friends, Giuliani has been forced to take drastic measures to get funding.


Monday, December 18, 2006

2008: McCain Falling Apart

Former GOP frontrunner John McCain is seeing his freefall from the top of the '08 Republican heap continue with sharp rebukes of his Iraq strategy and a drubbing in a new poll.

First up; the poll. McCain has been losing ground to the surging Rudy Giuliani in many polls. But it was still hoped for in the JMac camp that he would still beat Hillary in a head-to-head matchup. That had been the case over the last several months.
No more. McCain is down to top Dem Hillary by 7 points in the latest Newsweek poll. Hillary give JMac a GOP-in-November sized whupping. That's bad.

Meanwhile, his top nemesis Rudy is going strong. He's in a statistical tie with Hillary in the poll, a solid showing.

But why is McCain tanking so badly? Here's one take:

The fact is, as noted in earlier posts, McCain’s main appeal to Republican primary goers is, or maybe even was at one time, his general election power. But now that that’s getting flushed down the toilet, what else will McCain have to offer grassroots conservative voters other than his annoying insensitivity to social conservatives, his aggravating disloyalty to fellow Republicans, his old age and feeble lackluster stage presence, his glaring lack of executive experience, and his lack of good recent foreign policy experience? The one reason that McCain had so many Republican primary voters willing to hold their noses and put up with him in the first place was because they thought he could win. But now what?

Sounds like some pundits are already set to pack away JMac for the history museum. And why not? Rudy's got broad appeal, a strong bas in Independent and GOP moderates, and he's a (very recent and public) hero to many Americans. McCain '08 might really be imploding.

Harsh attacks on JMac's Iraq plan do not help matters. 2008 Dem candidate Tom Vilsack is piling on, with zingers like "...additional troops would make the Iraq government “more dependent instead of less dependent” on U.S. troops".

The esteemed GOP traitor Colin Powell also bashed the more troops Iraq scenario.

"Let’s be clear about something else, Bob, that gets a little confusing. There are really no additional troops. All we would be doing is keeping some of the troops who were there there longer and escalating or accelerating the arrival of other troops".

McCain and Co. have yet to enter damage control mode, a decision that is far past due. They had to have thought of the very real possibility that JMac's fevered pitch to conservatives and pro-war neo-cons would harm his moderate and independent image, something that was needed to insure that McCain would grab at least the nomination. The right-wing pandering was a waste of time, with GOP conservatives surely never willing to let go of their deep concerns with his conservative credentials on many issues. A move to the right was something that would have served his campaign much better right before the primary, when the prospects of RW's Romney and Gingrich would have been known better than they are now.

Bottom line? How could JMac have ignored Rudy??!!


2008: More Bayh

With Dem Senator Evan Bayh dropping out of the 2008 presidential race, WaPo's The Fix has a handy list of winners and losers following the announcement. The usual figures are there on the winners side, like Barack Obama (he's the anti-Hillary candidate now) and Tom Vilsack (he's the anti-Hillary and anti-Obama candidate now).

But, like PB, Cillizza at The Fix realizes that Bayh has immensely furthered his realistic political ambitions by exiting the race this early. Evan is now the top vice-presidential candidate to both Hillary and Obama. Warner is probably out of the ix after the mysterious end to his burgeoning '08 campaign and having gone AWOL from politics since then. Bayh would serve to broaden the appeal of both top Dems, with strong support among moderates in Indiana.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

2008: Bayh Drops Out

While new Dems continue to enter the crowded '08 presidential race, some are still deciding against a run. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is now one of the latter. The moderate Dem, seen early on as the perfect anti-Hillary candidate, Bayh announced today that he was pulling out of the 2008 field, wisely concluding that he had no chance of winning if he had stayed in any longer.

“The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath,” Mr. Bayh said in a statement. “And whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I’m just not the right David, the fact remains that at the end of the day, I concluded that due to circumstances beyond our control the odds were longer than I felt I could responsibly pursue.

Bayh saw the light after his recent campaign jaunt to New Hampshire, where Dem superstar Barack Obama was also traveling at the time. It was no contest as to who would draw more people.

Several other potential candidates have been making trips to New Hampshire for the last year and a half. Among the most frequent visitors is Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who filled a small room at a Manchester conference center Friday night but wasn't near the draw as Obama on his first trip. Anticipating the inevitable comparison to their visits on the same weekend, Bayh's aides joked that 1,000 more people were in an overflow room.

Obama fever has appeared to have claimed its first official casualty.

But Bayh may not be level in his explanation. As was painfully visible in '04, no presidential candidate will just drop out this early because they don't have a chance to win. Look at Wes Clark, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich from that merry campaign. And there's Joe Biden, Tom Vilsack and Kucinich - again - this time around. It's more likely that Bayh - who could have blasted liberal Hillary in the debates - saw an opportunity to skillfully play his hand by conceding to both Hillary and Obama in order to secure top consideration for the Vice Presidential slot on one of those campaigns.


2008: Gingrich Update

Fading GOP star Newt Gingrich tried to jumpstart his '08 hopes with another trip to New Hampshire yesterday, continuing his tough talk on free speech and terrorism. Newt was at the Manchester Republican City Committee's Christmas dinner as the guest speaker, and didn't disappoint the partisan crowd.

"Our friends at the 'ACLU left,' of course, were staggered at this concept," Gingrich told an audience of Republicans at a Christmas banquet. "How could we talk about anything less than 100 percent free speech? How could we consider in any way thinking about this issue?"

Gingrich cited last month's ejection of six Muslim scholars from a plane in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior, which included reports they prayed before the flight and had sat in the same seats as the Sept. 11 hijackers.

"Those six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists," Gingrich said. "And the crew of the U.S. airplane should have been invited to the White House and congratulated for being correct in the protection of citizens."

He also gave his thoughts (updated thoughts, apparently. No talk of a "failure" in Iraq) on the war in Iraq, arguing against any discussion of withdrawal from Iraq.

When speaking about Iraq, people should understand that “Iraq is a campaign in the real world,” Gingrich said. “If this larger war didn’t exist, I would say we should leave Iraq this weekend.“When I look at Iraq, I see Iran. I see Afghanistan. I see Hamas. I see Hezbollah. What’s the totality of the war we’re dealing with? The answer is not to abandon Iraq.”

While going hard right on terror and the war, Newt also spoke of bipartisanship and "scientific possibilities" in the rest of his speech, sounding like a politician teetering on the precipice of starting his campaign. While he has been absent from any public platforms for awhile before his two recent NH trips, his Granite State visits have raised his primary profile. With McCain causing Republican disillusionment, Gingrich may see an opening to become the new anti-Rudy candidate. Will he move up his September '07 timetable for announcing?


Friday, December 15, 2006

Quick Hits

  • Ailing Dem Senator Tim Johnson is recovering after brain surgery and is said to be in stable condition, upgraded from critical at the time of this WaPo article. That means Johnson will probably be well enough to continue on in the Senate and won't either die or be forced to resign. - Johnson was in critical condition at George Washington University Hospital but was described as recovering on Thursday. The South Dakota lawmaker, 59, was on "an uncomplicated postoperative course," the U.S. Capitol physician said after visiting him Thursday afternoon.
    "He has been appropriately responsive to both word and touch. No further surgical intervention has been required," said the physician, Adm. John Eisold. -
    This means that
    Trent Lott ("You know I'd like to be in the majority...") and some far-right blogs should probably stop playing this for partisan benefit.

  • George Allen has popped up again, giving an interview to the AP. He discusses his slim loss to Dem Jim Webb and why he thinks that he lost that race (not macaca) and sprinkles the interview with dozens of football analogies. But Allen is tight-mouthed on his future political plans, only saying that he wants to win again so he can be "reborn". Whatever that means...

  • RCP has "The Daily Obama", with a few nice updates on the man whose family now fears for his safety. One nice blurb from the RCP piece is that Barack is worried that a general faceoff against John McCain might be seen as "War hero against snot-nosed rookie".

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2008: An Edwards Surge?

While he didn't announce his candidacy for president in 2008 last Tuesday as was rumored, Dem John Edwards is fast becoming the sleeper pick amongst top pundits for the '08 Dem nomination, with more ammo for that viewpoint coming in the form of a new Iowa poll showing that Edwards, not Hillary or Obama, is the leading choice for Cornhusker Dems. And his lead is nowhere close to slim. JRE leas Hillary by 20+ points in at least two primary polls done in Iowa over the last two months.

The latest poll just released - though conducted in October - has the Dem field laid out like this:

John Edwards 36%
Hillary Clinton 16%
Barack Obama 13%
Tom Vilsack 11%

What's more startling; that Edwards is blowing away his Dem competition or that Hillary and Barack are virtually tied? Either way, here's some analysis of JRE from Joe Klein and Co. at Time:

He has been working the state very hard, and Iowans really, really like him. They liked him but thought he was too young in 2004, when he finished second to John Kerry in the Iowa caucuses. They liked him last June, when a Register poll had him beating Clinton 30% to 26%. They liked him a few weeks ago when, according to Yepsen, more than 800 Iowans showed up for a John Edwards book signing. "He's just a great fit for this state," says Yepsen. "He's low key, down-to-earth, a nice guy."

Even some liberals are jumping on the Edwards bandwagon, in part due to his left-leaning performance on Hardball (you know, where he was supposed to announce...) and his fierce union-friendly attitude. What if he nabs left-wing Dem support? He's already an anti-war darling for his Iraq war vote retraction. Definitely an edge over Hillary on that issue. Will he be able to force Obama to admit to his early hawkish comments on Iraq + Iran and channel anti-war anger against those two rock stars and send liberals toward the Edwards camp?

The Hillary juggernaut is still alive and well, so the good news for JRE must be met with some skepticism. But national polls almost never measure the true Iowa vibe, and they certainly can't measure the southern charm of an Edwards or the populism of an Obama. Hillary must be feeling the heat.

An Edwards announcement is sure to be coming, perhaps before 2007. Watch for it soon after Christmas, when the Edwards family is all together in NC - little Jack sure to look as precocious as ever - and JRE can use that setting to tug at the heartstrings with a sappy - but powerful - kickoff to his 2008 run.


2008: New Poll!

An early holiday gift has arrived from the good folks over at the Washington Post and ABC News.They've just released the stunning results from a new poll on '08 contenders. The poll shows that, on the Dem side, Hillary Clinton has solidified her role as the front runner, The early charge from Obama that had H and Co. worried in November has abated, sending the top Dem to nearly 40% in the poll while Obama is struggling at 17%, just above John Edwards.

Here are the numbers from the WP/ABC poll for the top 5 Democrats:

Hillary Clinton - 39
Barack Obama - 17
John Edwards - 12
Al Gore - 10
John Kerry - 7

Despite the continuing Dem infatuation with Obama, most Dem voters still see Hillary as their party's best shot in 2008. Why? Is it because they see Barack as too chummy and soft? Because they know that a black man will have an even tougher time trying to win the general election? It's all of that, plus the fact that rank and file donkeys still adore Hillary. They're not about to simply discard the power player of the Democratic party for BO the upstart.

The Republicans are, surprisingly, in considerably more disarray than the Dems. John McCain, the "sure-thing" just a few months ago, is continuing his downward spiral with ever increasing partisan pandering and tough talk on Iraq. Where JMac was the Mr. Likable in the race, he now has devolved into a Republican Hillary, with a love-hate image being formed.

McCain's favorability ratings have declined over the past nine months. Among independents, his support has dropped 15 percentage points since March. Independents were his strongest supporters when he sought the Republican nomination in 2000. The decline comes at a time when McCain is calling for sending more troops to Iraq and has aggressively reached out to conservative groups and Christian conservative leaders.

His only real competition, meanwhile, is proceeding through these early stages of the race rather cleanly. Giuliani has yet to hear any grief about his many closet skeletons or his liberal social stances. This means that hero-Rudy is in full campaign mode, winning over those disillusioned moderate JMac fans.

Thus, Rudy has built up his slim lead from the last few polls, now leading JMac by 8 points. Will McCain's posse soon realize the extent to which their boss is hurting his image and start implementing damage control?

Here are the numbers for the top 5 GOPers

Rudy Giuliani - 34
John McCain - 26
Newt Gingrich - 12
Mitt Romney - 5
George Pataki - 3

Click here for complete poll results.

Look for an updated 2008 ranking from Political Buzz very shortly!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2008: Yet Another Democrat...

The 2008 Dem field got even more crowded yesterday with the official announcement of an '08 presidential run by lefty anti-war OH Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Unlike his dismal and self-deprecating run in 2004, DK's second go around is featuring as its main component a blistering critique of the Democratic party.

"On November 7, 2006, the American public voted for a new direction for our Iraq policy. That direction is -- out. As Democrats prepare to take the majority for the first time in twelve years, Democrats now have the responsibility to act on the overwhelming mandate issued by the American public," says the congressman. "Will that new direction mean an exit from Iraq? Because, if not, America will be held hostage by the skyrocketing cost of the war in Iraq even as President Bush leaves office at 11:59 am on January 20, 2009. And, the voters will not forget who let them down. "

Kucinich expanded on those harsh views and his apparently spontaneous decision to run in '08 in an interview done after his announcement.

Kucinich is no more than a fringe/protest candidate, trying to get his liberal and anti-war ideology out into mainstream Democratic politics. But unlike 2004, when the Dems embraced DK as a sort of mascot and likable character that could draw disillusioned far-left liberals back to the party, Dems don't want to play around with anti-war types like him. And his Dem bashing will only serve to get him out of the Dem primary and in the race as a struggling Independent. Do you think that Howard Dean will allow Kucinich to get a nationally televised pulpit to spread his gospel of Dem hypocrisy? Even if what Kucinich preaches is true, and even if he is the most genuine Dem in the race, he made a big mistake in attempting a do-over. Especially when his first effort garnered him nothing but sympathy and laughs. Even a friend of Political Buzz that worked on DK's '04 campaign is shedding a tear at the disappearance of the Congressman's credibility.

However, if he can tone down his rhetoric enough to get into the debates, he will, like '04, present a puzzling challenge for pro-warish Hillary as she tries to swat away the catcalls from war skeptics like Edwards and Obama (and Gore?). Will a sharp rebuke from DK cause Hillary to crack?

Monday, December 11, 2006

2008: McCain Analysis

Time has an extensive analysis of the current state of John McCain and his increasingly bumpy road to the '08 GOP nomination. JMac has lost his way from his previous incarnation as a moderate maverick, now pandering to the right wing in hopes of drawing a clear distinction between himself and liberal Giuliani. Yes, he does want to be the "perfect candidate" for the GOP.

As a rallying cry. "Common sense conservatism" doesn't have quite the ring of "Straight Talk Express." But the new slogan on the website of John McCain's presidential exploratory committee--a slogan he manages to repeat at least three times in every speech he gives these days--tells you all you need to know about how different this presidential campaign will be from his last one. McCain '08 will be a bigger, more conventional operation--a tank, not a slingshot. The prevailing wisdom about McCain used to be that his bipartisan appeal would make him a sure bet in a presidential race--if only he could get past the Republican primary. But as more and more of the party establishment climb aboard a campaign that McCain has not yet even formally launched, it's starting to look as if the opposite may be true. By trying to become the perfect candidate for the primaries, McCain could be creating difficulties for himself in a general election.

McCain is even beginning to peddle talk of war with Iran. Here's what JMac said in Rudy's NYC territory yesterday: - Sen. John McCain told a pro-Israel audience in Manhattan yesterday that Iran is "a possibly deranged and surely dangerous regime." Although he called war with Iran a last resort, he added, "There is only one thing worse than a military solution, and that, my friends, is a nuclear-armed Iran."

Is someone afraid of Rudy?


Sunday, December 10, 2006

2008: Obama in NH

Dem superstar Obama journeyed across New Hampshire today, leaving stunned, smitten and screaming crowds in his wake. He posed for pics with toddlers, revved up cheering Dem crowds, and yet still tried to play down the deafening buzz surrounding his apparent run in 2008.

“It is flattering to get a lot of attention, although I must say it is baffling,” he said here late this afternoon.
“I think to some degree I’ve become a short-hand or symbol or stand-in for a spirit that the last election in New Hampshire represented,” he said. “It’s a spirit that says we are looking for something different — we want something new.”

Better get used to it, BO. Granite State Dems are fawning over him, urging him to run and pledging support at every turn. And it's the same across the country. Obama fever is here to stay, and it looks like it just might blow Hillary out of the '08 pond. Will she even make a run?


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Quick Hits

  • Possible '08 GOP candidate Sam Brownback pulled off one of the weirdest political stunts in at least a few years last night. He spent a night at the infamous Angola State Prison in Louisiana, apparently trying to either generate some much-needed buzz for his faltering campaign or to drum up the convict vote. Isn't that Dem territory? But since the inmates at ASP can't vote, the only explanation is that Brownback is one desperate man. - On Friday night, Brownback joined hundreds of inmates at a prayer service before prison officials escorted him to his modest sleeping quarters. On Saturday morning, he emerged from his 7-by-10-foot cell to tour the maximum-security facility and take a walk down death row. "There aren't probably a lot of votes for me here," he said. "There can be a lot of prayers, though." - And here PB though that the only prison inmate a politician might visit would be Jack Abramoff.

  • Barack Obama is making his first stop in New Hampshire on Sunday, venturing forth for a big Dem shindig in the Granite State. Obama says that his "internal clock" told him to stay away from NH until now. Internal clock? And you though Brownback was weird... This probably means that Obama is on the cusp of his official 2008 announcement, trying to steal the spotlight from the early '07 launches of the Clinton and Kerry campaigns.

  • Retiring GOP Senate leader Bill Frist got hammered by both parties on the last day of the 109th Congress for his perceived role in the Republican loss in November and his shifty maneuvering to insert Tennessee pork in spending bills. Quite a fall from one year ago, when Frist was considered a front runner in the '08 race...

2008: Rudy On Iraq, Mirroring McCain

GOP '08 contender Rudy Giuliani is trying to keep up with John McCain by also harshly criticizing the just released Iraq Study Group report. In keeping with his tough on national security image that he so desperately needs to retain, Rudy match JMac's vitriol in shredding the findings of the ISG. In fact, Rudy was so eager to pounce on Baker/Hamilton that he dissed the report before it even came out. His interview with a conservative radio talk-show host showed that Rudy matches Pres. bush's "resolve" in finishing off Iraq.

I think...I don't think we should leave Iraq, certainly not under the present situation that Iraq is in, and with the consequences that would flow from leaving Iraq. I think this is a question of if...if we were to walk out of Iraq, it would satisfy a certain degree of public opinion right now, and I think within six months or a year, the people who made that decision would be very much...would regret it, and I think the American people would, because the terrorists understand how important Iraq is. They are putting tremendous resources into defeating us in Iraq. If they defeat us in Iraq, Iran all of a sudden has a very established strong neighbor that's an ally. You have a place that can be a breeding ground of terrorism. And the reality is, it will make the terrorist movement that much stronger. And I think that we have to figure out, as the President is doing now, I think in a very deliberate way, what's a better strategy, how do we succeed in Iraq, what can we learn from the mistakes we may have made, and then as we go forward, do a better job of creating a stable situation in Iraq. But the idea of leaving Iraq, I think, is a terrible mistake.

Smart move by Rudy in heading off McCain's predictable ISG bashing. But not a smart move in agreeing with JMac. McCain's Iraq policy is the one area in which most voters disagree with the AZ maverick. If Rudy were to offer the American people some of his "brilliant" advice on security issues that he apparently has built up since 9/11 he would have distanced himself from his main rival on an important topic. Offer a new path on Iraq, though still preserving his "tough on terror" image, and he could have watched moderate GOPers and independents fawn over him ASAP.

But maybe Rudy needs to shadow McCain's hard-line stances on these issues. Some conservatives believe that having liberal Rudy in the GOP mix is the best thing JMac has going for him right now.

Anyhow, the full interview of Giuliani is interesting, producing some nice tidbits about Rudy's changing ideology and still-weak policy skills. He does flatly say that he's anti-gay marriage. Wow...


Friday, December 08, 2006

2008 Quick Hits: Hillary gets some love + A big Edwards announcement?

  • Charlie Cook of the National Journal has posted a new analysis of the 2008 Democratic field. He specifically touts Hillary as being in full comeback mode, detailing how her poll numbers have gotten better over the last few months. - While Democratic circles are buzzing with speculation that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois might jump into the race for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, little notice is given to the fact that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's stock has gone up the most in recent months. - But her rising poll numbers only appear when Obama or Al Gore are not mentioned. She's still the uber-favorite without those two Dem rock stars, but is vulnerable when they're in the race. Yes, Cook does give a nice analysis of Hillary's good news in the polls. But a lot of that good news is based on one big if: If Obama and Gore don't run in '08. Once those two enter the mix, Hillary slips. Cook kind of missed that whole point. You can't assume anything in politics.

  • Some controversy hits the McCain '08 campaign. JMac's new campaign manager, Terry Nelson, is the apparent mastermind behind that nasty ad from the Corker Senate folks bashing Dem Harold Ford. You know, the "racist" playboy "call me!" ad. Not much has been made of this yet, but look for this to pop up again if McCain gets the GOP nomination and hits his Dem opponent hard on TV. There's bound to be calls of foul play from the Dems. And what if JMac faces off against Barack Obama? Yikes - too hot to handle that one. You can sure that accusations will pour forth from Obama's camp immediately. Perhaps to BO's advantage, though. The Corker ad, although playing well in "good 'ol boy" Tennessee, was viewed as going too far by many voters sick of negative campaigning.

  • John Edwards may try to find a place as a niche candidate with Dem unions just as Hillary is drumming up their support for 2008. Edwards received the Paul Wellstone Award from the AFL-CIO at their big summit today. Edwards will need a big spigot of union cash and a huge supply of sure-thing voters if he wants to compete with H or BO. But he'll need to start his campaign if he expects a rush of support. Could he be preparing to make his '08 announcement on the December 12th edition of Hardball? He's Chris's big guest for the Hardball College Tour that day from JE's home state of NC. You make the call...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report: Political Ramifications

No question that the Baker/Hamilton smack down of Bush and Co. is bad news for the Bush administration and Republicans in general. It repudiates almost all of the apparent spin from the White House about Iraq. It turns out that Iraq is in a civil war, we are losing the war, and that we do need to leave very soon. Between the elections and now this, the WH and GOP have received a double "thumpin'". But the Bush White House is in full-on lame duck mode, so there reaction - especially one so typical - is inconsequential. The real suspense is in how the real political players will handle this.

The Democrats have already pounced on Pres. Bush and the GOP with swift calls for "increased oversight"and plans for Senate hearings that, they believe, would force the White House to follow the ISG plan to the letter. They'll look at strategy and troop levels and all the stuff they love to pry open. This is what voters wanted when they swept them into DC power.

But vicious hearings that try to lay blame will get them nowhere. It's obvious that the bipartisanship shtick from both sides has been played out. The Republicans are back to calling Dems "obstructionists" while the Dems are simply out for GOP blood. And rumors are flying that not only will the Iraq hearings include uncovering suspected dirt on Halliburton and Cheney, but that the dreaded "I" word - impeachment - will crop up once more. Speaker Pelosi is feeling the heat from some hard-core liberals to back off on her "no impeachment" pledge and hammer W in the wake of his rebuke from the ISG. Will she cave? Hard to tell. But even appearing to try any rash and partisan moves will result in a severe backlash against the Dems, possibly hurting the chances of any top Dems involved in the proceedings (Hillary, Obama, Biden). The Dems have been handed yet another gift this year - a full-fledged swat against the backside of Pres. Bush by a respected bipartisan panel. They can't blow it by losing their heads in a left-wing lust for GOP heads to roll.

And there is one 2008 presidential candidate that got punched in the gut in the aftermath of the report: John McCain. His much publicized call for 40,000 more US troops to be sent to Iraq has been swatted down by the ISG, essentially making JMac a man with no plan for Iraq. However, he won't go down without a fight. Here he is bashing the ISG report:

``I do not agree that you can take the trainers that are necessary, much less the troops that are necessary, from the existing forces there,'' McCain said after a meeting at the White House. ``There is only one thing worse than an overstressed military, and that's a defeated military.''

``You have to understand that the Iranians and the Syrians do not have common interests with us.'' And the report's conclusion that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is integral to success in Iraq ``seems tenuous at best,'' he said in a statement later.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

2008 Update: Edwards Searching for Cash

John Edwards needs cash; desperately. After showing in the past couple of days that he's really serious about running, doing that by hiring a campaign manager (ex-Congressman David Bonior), Edwards still faces a crippling quandary involving money. Or, to be more precise, the lack of it. Unlike other big name Dems like Kerry and Hillary, Edwards has no leftover campaign cash from previous elections. Actually, Edwards is still in debt from his unsuccessful '04 run. He's got no money on standby for when he announces his campaign and won't get any until that announcement is official.

But the Edwards crew is not feeling the heat. They're convinced that JE will rake in some serious dough once he hits the campaign trail, citing his mega-fundraising during both of his campaigns in 2004. And his pre-made connections in Dem donor circles will help, too.

Although he cannot legally accept donations for a 2008 bid until after filing paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission, Edwards and his team already are lining up support among donors.
"We have a good list and are checking to see who is naughty and nice," said Fred Baron, the finance chairman for Edwards' 2004 campaign.

Maybe Edwards would have some cash of his own to start his run if he didn't spend so much green on PS3's...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

2008 Update: Obama

Obama, still the Dem superstar, continues to send shockwaves through the field of Dem contenders in '08 with his coy - yet forceful - attitude concerning a presidential run.

Senator Barack Obama’s announcement that he might run for president is altering the early dynamics of the 2008 Democratic nominating contest. The move has created complications for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as she steps up her own preparations and is posing a threat to lesser-known Democrats trying to position themselves as alternatives to Mrs. Clinton, Democrats said Sunday.

Yes, it's true. The Dems have been in a tizzy ever since that unforgettable moment when Barack told the world that he's "thinking " about running in 2008. His early bombshell caused the long shots Vilsack and Bayh to ramp up their campaign and enter the race immediately. He's also caused big problems for Hillary. Besides intruding on her NY turf, Obama has also emerged as both the perfect anti-Hillary and a fundraising machine, lining up big-name donors to snatch away from the Hillary campaign. And despite his kind words for H at his NY event ("I'm not one of these people who thinks she can't win"), Obama knows that he can easily tap into both left-wing and centrist Dems that can't stand either Hillary's early pro-war position or her icy, polarizing, and secular image. Obama can draw all kinds to the Democrats in '08. Hillary can't say that.

But can he get over the minor problem of his infamous middle name? (It's Hussein. Yikes...). You know the GOP will have fun with that.

Either way, Obama faces one hurdle that he positively cannot control or have much impact on. And that's his seeming perfection. It's like the guy was manufactured for Howard Dean in Hollywood. Actually, his camapign seems right out of a certain 'West Wing' storyline. The charming, populist, minority Dem, played by Jimmy Smits, running for Prez against the feisty, moderate GOPer in Alan Alda. Obama vs. McCain, anyone? Smits won the "primary" while facing a Hillaryesque juggernaut candidate, and then beat, Alda, in the "general". Can reality follow the playbook of TV?

There is bound to be something to slow down Obama fever; it just hasn't popped up yet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

2008 Quick Hits

  • Dem Tom Vilsack gave his first major interview as a presidential candidate to George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" today, not really accomplishing much beyond improving name recognition. Once again, he's got a good background story, but not much else. No substance.

  • However, Vilsack did just announce that he will raise $1 million for his fledgling campaign by the end of the year. And Vilsack also gained the endorsement and exuberant backing of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, an important feat. - "When Tom Vilsack gets out there on that road...people are going to see what we've seen...You are at the beginning of a very successful campaign for the next president of the United States." - But not a remarkable one, considering that Harkin is an Iowa Sen. and he went on the road in IA for the drastically unsuccessful Dean campaign in the '04 caucuses. Vilsack will have to pick up more substantial non-Iowan names to be considered a major player.

  • Hillary Clinton is "actively considering" an impending presidential run for '08, according to one of her many advisers. - "As Sen. Clinton said, she was going to begin actively considering a presidential run after the election. That process has begun," said Howard Wolfson. - She is no doubt pressing for attention after the early Vilsack entry.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

2008:Vilsack Gets Serious (sort of)

The first official '08 presidential candidate launched his first real campaign tour yesterday. Tom Vilsack, that greenhorn Iowan Dem, swung through New Hampshire, stopping at key places in the second-most important primary state for 2008. He barely registered a response from Granite State residents, mainly drawing party die-hards to his various events. But it's a start for the Dem long shot. He knows that, while not having it wrapped up by any means, he probably is assured of a strong showing in his home state. That means he must jet around to every other key primary state in order to actually let Dem voters know that he exists. That seems to be his biggest problem so far - and in the future. Although another problem may crop up as attention is shined upon the many scandals - major and minor- that have embroiled Gov. Vilsack while in office. That issue may have legs in this era of extreme voter anger towards corrupt officials.

Vilsack at least has already formulated his campaign strategy, although it's one that seems to entirely hinge on John McCain becoming the face of the GOP and then winning the GOP primary. Vilsack has become quite skilled in McCain bashing. His only policy talk while campaigning in NH was focused entirely on JMac's "more troops" Iraq plan.

"We've stretched our military too thin," Vilsack said, "and I'm not quite sure where Senator McCain thinks we can get these troops. I think he is wrong." Vilsack refused to speculate on whether McCain will be the GOP nominee.

He then proceeded to become more simplistic about foreign policy:

Vilsack said that as a governor, he expects to face questions about his knowledge of foreign policy.
"I know this," he said, "The current direction of our country is not one that we're very excited about. We don't like the notion that people around the world don't like us, are not inspired by us, and some fear us."

If elections were won by being the most ardent, energetic and earliest campaigner, Vilsack would have the Dem nomination in the bag. But they're not. Gotta give him props for getting out there, though. He gives sites like PB a valid excuse to write about '08. Thanks, Tom!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Scandal Engulfs Romney

Besides the ongoing issue of his being a Mormon, GOP '08 contender Mitt Romney now has a new controversy to deal with. Although the "scandal" is bound to pass within days, it is another poor reflection of - and another sign of something bordering hypocrisy involving - Romney. A Boston Globe investigation (a fabulous headline: "Illegal immigrants toiled for governor") has revealed that Governor Romney had employed at least four illegal immigrants for several years in tending to the vast lawn of his Massachusetts home. The former workers indicated that Romney never inquired about their immigrant status. And then comes the killer for Romney.

Asked by a reporter yesterday about his use of Community Lawn Service with a Heart, Romney, who was hosting the Republican Governors Association conference in Miami, said, "Aw, geez," and walked away.

"Aw, geez"? Not the answer Romney needed to give. It's a bit too guilt-ridden. An aide to Romney denied that Romney knew that the lawn care workers were in the US illegally. He also got into what lawn care providers were "legitimate" in Mass.

Eric Fehrnstrom, the Massachusetts governor's communications director, said Friday that Romney was not aware of or "knowledgeable about the information alleged."
"Governor Romney hired a legitimate Massachusetts lawn service company to take care of his yard. He knows the owner as a decent, hardworking person who is a legal resident," Fehrnstrom said.

With Romney's harsh actions concerning illegal immigration this year, this revelation is rather embarrassing. Some in the GOP have already accused him of flip-flopping (he is from Mass., Kerry's turf) on many issues, from abortion to gays. This certainly won't help.

Obama Gets Trashed

Mega-evangelical Rick Warren's invitation for Barack Obama, that liberal demi-god, to speak at Warren's AIDS summit today is still stirring up a firestorm among the evangelical community. They are making it known that they don't support Obama's lefty leanings on social issues, with some evangelical leaders issuing a blistering press release condemning not only the "pro-death" (there's a new word for pro-choicers) Obama but Warren as well.

In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway. If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis. You cannot fight one evil while justifying another.

It's not as if Obama expected support from Christian conservatives, but this shows that Hillary isn't the only "satanic" Dem that the evangelicals will oppose with fire, brimstone, and angry statements. Will this make a moderate Vilsack more attractive to the Dems? The evangelicals have lost their influence and are not nearly as formidable as they were in 2004. Yes, they can raise cash and throw some nasty slime. But voters are not really caring about them any more. Obama needs to watch his back, but no more than that.