Friday, January 26, 2007

Political Buzz has moved!

With work on the new site progressing faster than expected, PB i can now officially announce that we are moving to (be sure to bookmark it!)

The site is greatly improved and will soon have even more great political content. More interviews, outside opinion columns, and updated news feeds are some of the new features that should be up on the new Political Buzz shortly. This site will only be used in the sort term if unforeseen hiccups are encountered with the continuing work on the new site.

New posts will be up on PB later today and continuing regularly from now on. So head over to to see the new site.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Political Buzz News

The erratic posting schedule that regular PB readers have probably noticed over the past few days has a good reason behind it. We are in the process of greatly upgrading Political Buzz and heading off to a new web site and address. This move won't be final until at least early next week, and we won't fail to give you the correct specs for the new site before that time.

Some exciting content will make its debut on the new site, with a new email newsletter, brand new "5 Questions" interviews, and exciting opinion content in the works. This won;y be available right away, but should be up soon once we're on our new page.

In the meantime, just hang tight as we try to post when we can until the move. Thanks for reading PB, and we hope to see you at the new Political Buzz ASAP!

Matthew Parker - Editor

Hagel Smackdown

Can't help but applaud the bold moves of GOPer Chuck Hagel at that explosive Senate hearing on Iraq yesterday. Yeah, he's been at that for a few months. But this was beyond his previous rantings on the subject. This time it came with the backing of several influential GOP politicians (like Sen. Warner. Who saw that coming?) and the rest of the nation. And despite coming from conservative and troop-supporting Nebraska, his constituents are rallying behind his position.

This is one pol that the Bush administration and the right can't put down as unpatriotic and far left. Could this even be Iraq's Cronkite moment? Moderates get a healthy dose of respect from the American public these days, and Hagel fits that definition perfectly. One also has to wonder whether Chuck an ride this wave to a strong run in the '08 GOP primaries (he can't win the nomination in his current position of bashing GWB). He's still thinking about a campaign.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU: What to look for

Though the SOTU seems to lose importance with each passing year, this year may be different. The obvious reason for that is Iraq. Though Bush will probably lay off any heavy Iraq talk, his tone will be the thing to watch for. Early indications from the leaked portions of the speech are that he's going for the combative approach. If this holds up look for catcalls from the Dems post speech, along with lots of angry disillusionment from moderate GOPers.

They're looking at Bush's SOTU as the perfect platform for W to at least spout off a little rhetoric about eventually leaving Iraq, implementing some of the ISG reports recommendations, and generally acknowledge that he hears the growing Republican discontent with the war and the new surge plan. With it looking more like that won't happen, GOPers will be sure to ramp up the pressure on the Bush administration post-SOTU to come around and bargian with surge opponents.

The reaction of Dem '08 contenders are also sure to be interesting to see. Will Hillary finally really blast the war and semi-apologize for her pro-war vote? If not, will Edwards seize the moment and direct a blistering attack on both Bush and Hillary in order to solidify his position as the most vocal anti-war candidate? No doubt Obama will tread lightly, not wanting to risk bold statement just yet. And check the web for video statements from the whole '08 cast. Sure to be lots of goodies online.

Updated 2008 Rankings From Political Buzz - The Democrats

Here are latest Political Buzz rankings of the '08 Democratic contenders. The GOP will be up tomorrow.

Feel free to give us your opinion of the '08 race, as well as what you think of our rankings. Have your own list? You can give us that as well.



Hillary Clinton - ­
By finally announcing her presidential intentions, Hillary is now able to get past that roadblock and fully prepare her campaign. H has no doubt been working behind the scenes to counter the rise of both Obama and Edwards. But now is when she must use her momentum to gently strike back at those two with the full force of her multi-million dollar war chest. Post-SOTU is a crucial time for Hillary, as the first debate draws ever closer and the Dem field will be completely set. Attacks on Obama and Edwards must come in February.

Barack Obama - ­ ↑
If Barack Obama were most candidates, he would be reeling from Hillary’s official entrance into the ‘08 Dem field. But, as we all know by now, Obama is not like most candidates. His wild popularity and constant buzz carries him through this temporary abandonment by the media and the general fanfare of Hillary’s announcement. Though he did make a blunder in delaying his announcement until earlier this month (with the official word not coming until 2/10) Obama can still make the best of it by getting an early jump on an anti-Hillary campaign and generally camping out in New Hampshire until the debates. Only a true bombshell will bring Obama down.

John Edwards -

The buzz is gone. Edwards ‘08 loses steam even as his poll numbers stay strong. He’s almost assured of winning Iowa with his high numbers and is also respectable in the Granite State. But no one is talking about him. The two flashy Dems steal the spotlight with great sound bites, big announcements and lots of cash. But JRE is on the cusp of getting the unions; a big win. Can his populist image sustain the outright popularity of Hillary and Obama?

Tom Vilsack -
­ ↑
Like Edwards, assured of a great Iowa showing. That always counts for something. Beyond that, though, there’s no chance for a Vilsack upset. But he’s done his best to bang the anti-surge drum and to spread his folksy charm around. Always bound for a VP slot, he’s got the best chance of the also-rans. Wouldn’t a moderate white man from the Midwest look good traversing the country for Obama or Hillary? No doubt they think so.

Joe Biden -
His showy Senate hearings on Iraq - his only chance to boost his presidential campaign - already have lost substance. Outside of the ambush of Condi Rice, they’re simply a cheap ad for Biden ‘08. Maybe he can turn them around. Numbers are low for this talkative Dem, with most still not knowing who he is (what?!). Will fight for a Veep slot along with Vilsack and Richardson.

Bill Richardson -
Along with Hillary, the latest Dem to enter the race. His foreign policy cred alone is enough to warrant a strong look as VP. Combine that with his friendly image, great record as NM Gov. and his Latino background story and you have the perfect Veep. But a minority won’t work with Hillary or Obama, leaving Richardson hoping for an Edwards upset. What about his chance in the primaries? Never mind…


Monday, January 22, 2007

2008: New Dem '08 Poll has Hillary in Front

A new USA Today poll of Democratic presidential candidates has Hillary Clinton retaining her lead over the likes of Obama and Edwards.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barack Obama

John Edwards

Yet another national poll with Hillary solidly in command. But the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire have H struggling to place even second. Does this mean that H will crumble once voters really think about her as president? Or maybe her huge deficit in always zany Iowa is a mere blip that will eventually be righted in the streets of Manchester. Cash is bound to start flowing from Hillary's coffers ASAP as she attempts to make that turnaround happen.


The Buzz

The latest political headlines-

  • Bush's SOTU tomorrow night will be deja vu all over again. His two main themes in the speech will be Iraq and alternative energy. Hmmm. Weren't they already covered last year? And not much has changed on either front.

  • SOTU "pre-buttals" have already begun. Dem presidential candidate Tom Vilsack issued his today. It's - what else - harsh on W: "It's hard to conceive of an administration that continues to advocate for reduced taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and continues to fund billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq, and then simply asks middle class families to pay more in order to ensure the birthright that every American ought to have, which is affordable insurance coverage," Vilsack says.

  • Mitt Romney takes more hits from the right. It's a nice synopsis of why Mitt is "not for conservative voters". Brownback's stock just shot up...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

BREAKING: Hillary's (finally...) In!!

Hillary Clinton finally ended the breathless speculation about possible harrowing political scenarios by officially joining the '08 presidential race. Her announcement came this morning with a bouncy message on her website. Can't wait for Obama's response.

You know after six years of George Bush, it is time to renew the promise of America," Clinton says in a videotaped message in which she invites voters to begin a dialogue with her on the major issues health care, Social Security and Medicare, and the war in Iraq.

"I'm not just starting a campaign, though, I'm beginning a conversation with you, with America," she said. "Let's talk. Let's chat. The conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don't you think?"

And with that, the 2008 campaign is now in full swing.

2008: Richardson's In

NM Gov. Bill Richardson joined the ever-burgeoning list of Dem candidates in 2008 yesterday as he announced his plans for a campaign. The official word will probably come tomorrow.

The foreign policy cred of Richardson is not far from impeccable (what other '08 contender from either party can claim that he personally negotiated to stop genocide in Africa? Golden!), and should make him an attractive wild card as Iraq and Mideast policy come into focus as major 2008 issues. But his name recognition remains low - despite his war-halting jaunts around the globe - and he's got nothing on domestic issues. His late entry into the race and the presence of the Dem's big three - Hillary, Obama and Edwards - makes BR's effort little more than a plea for a Veep slot with a star.

Hillary and Obama appear the best fit for "VP" Richardson. His easy going public persona will help to ground the Hillary campaign, while his foreign policy experience will strengthen Obama and his 2 years in the Senate.


2008: Obama - Fundraising Machine

Remember when members of the political punditry were ogling Barack Obama yet were concerned about his personal fundraising prowess in the face of the Hillary juggernaut? Well, just as the rest of the Obama '08 campaign is rolling along unimpeded, he is already raking in cash and stealing donors from under Hillary's nose. Close friends and past supports of HC are streaming to join Obama's campaign, bringing their bulging and always open checkbooks along for the ride.

Obama continues to shred Hillary's NY support base, and now will head out to Hollywood to scratch together some funds. That should be no problem, as pro-Obama Hollywood fundraisers are in the planning stages.

Powerhouse agent Ari Emanuel, whose client stable includes A-listers like Michael Douglas, Martin Scorsese, Larry David and Paris Hilton, is set to throw a sure-to-be-star-studded bash for Obama, D-Ill., next month.

A spokesman for the Endeavor agency head confirmed Emanuel "will be doing some sort of event (for Obama) in February."

DreamWorks SKG moguls Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, along with activist actors George Clooney and Barbra Streisand, each forked over $2,000 to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign, according to, a Web site that tracks celeb contributions.

As if stealing Hillary's friends in NY and LA weren't enough, Obama is also strong on the internet fundraising front, with a Dean-style support web site and PAC already formed. All is truly well in Obamaland.


Friday, January 19, 2007

2008: Edwards Update

John Edwards blew through PB country last night, stopping in Orlando for a fundraiser. Besides gobbling up some much needed campaign cash, JRE also continued his biting criticism of the Democratic party that he sees as lethargic "8-year-olds".

He was predictably unsatisfied with George W. Bush. But he also had some less-than-flattering things to say about his own party. Specifically, Edwards chastised Democratic leaders in Congress for their non-binding resolution opposing the troop build-up. If they are truly opposed to the build-up, Edwards said Democrats should put back their words with action by voting against funding measures. Because, if complaining is all the Democratic leaders want to do, Edwards asked: "Why don't we go stand in the corner and stomp our feet like an 8-year-old?"

While some--like Dick Morris--may see Edwards as the liberal downfall of the Dems and simply a more popular Dennis Kucinich, JRE is absolutely striking a chord with the Dems (that would be all of them) that are angry at the troop surge and equally angry with Hillary for sputtering a few minor catcalls at W over it.

Look for JRE's Saturday speech in Iowa to be an attempt to lock up that state for the January caucuses and legitimize his recent Dem bashing.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Buzz

The latest political headlines-

  • Dem John Edwards steals the spotlight from Hillary and Obama in a new Zogby Iowa poll. JRE has a commanding lead over BO, with Hillary even further back. Rudy is basically tied with JMac in the GOP side of the poll.

  • Rumors are piling up that Hillary will not run for president this time around - maybe never. There seems to be dozens of reasons for H to cancel her plans, with Obamamania being only the biggest. Will she really pull the plug? It's laughable that "Hardball" pundits say that she'll nix a try in '08 because she "enjoys the Senate too much", but she is stalling something fierce.

  • GOP '08 possibility Mike Huckabee will decide his presidential plans in February. Huckabee's peeps: "He has said he will make it at the end of his book tour, which is in a couple of weeks".

  • Dem Kerry is still considering an '08 run, with an announcement as to his intentions coming in a few weeks. With so much opposition to another Kerry campaign, one wonders why he would torture himself yet again unless he wants to top JMac on that issue).

2008: New Iowa Poll!

The latest poll out of Iowa shows McCain continues to trail Rudy and Hillary still unable to sway Cornhuskers.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads the field of GOP presidential prospects in Iowa, followed closely by Arizona Sen. John McCain, according to the latest Iowa poll from Zogby International.Meanwhile, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards remains atop his party’s field in Iowa, with the next closest presidential hopeful 10 percentage points behind.

Edwards is no doubt the surprise out of Iowa, with Obama at 10 points back being the next Dem in line. Will his populist charm really win over Iowans come caucus time? Hillary's lethargic campaign must be worried about this early deficit. In the extended election season that is now the political reality, one year is not that long. To ignore Iowa like hubby Bill appears to be her strategy, but the scene in NH is no better. Besides, wasn't it supposed to be a Hillary landslide across the country?

As for McCain, he's still trailing in IA and looks like he won't stabilize in New Hampshire, with polls there showing his support base halved by Rudy and Mitt. Look for another last stand in Carolina to be JMac's final hope.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2008: Will Hillary's New Tone on Iraq Work?

Hillary is getting tough on Iraq in her own cautious way by calling for a cap on US troops in Iraq. But he then blew her chance for any real jump in support from the left by calling for more troops in Afghanistan.

Appearing on network television and radio shows to discuss her recent trip to Iraq, the New York senator said she opposes President Bush's plan to increase U.S. troops in Iraq and favors redeploying troops out of Baghdad and eventually Iraq. She said she also favors conditioning economic aid to the Iraqi government's progress in meeting certain political goals.

"The Bush administration has frankly failed to put any leverage on this government," Clinton told CBS' "The Early Show." But she sidestepped questions on whether she would vote to block funding for Bush's troop increase.

On Afghanistan, Clinton called the conflict there "one of the great missed opportunities," urging an increase in U.S. troops before a likely "spring offensive" by the Taliban. "Let's focus on Afghanistan and get it right," Clinton said.

What a poor effort to trash the war. Does H really like the war? Is she closer to McCain than Obama? This veiled quasi-backing of Iraq will not get her anywhere in the Dem primary, where she's already tied with Obama in a new poll. And when will H jump in the race?

While it's true that Obama blew his golden opportunity to beat Hillary to an announcement by months, thus sending his already high buzz skyrocketing, he's okay now with H slitting her wrists on Iraq and pushing her own announcement even later. Somewhere, Dick Morris is cackling uncontrollably...

The Buzz

The latest political headlines-

  • Hillary wants a troop cap for Iraq. Her appearances on several morning shows today were filled with disdain for Bush's new Iraq plan but little observation on how to actually stop it.

  • Speaker Pelosi raised her verbal war with Bush over Iraq troop surge to a new level yesterday. She stopped short of pledging to block the plan, but the impression she left was unmistakably harsh. `What you are doing has first and foremost cost now over 3,000 lives".

  • McCain wants to make peace with Christian conservative powerhouse James Dobson. Their latest feud had Dobson pledging to work to defeat JMac in the primary. This comes after McCain's early pandering to the Christian right.

  • GOP candidate Duncan Hunter and his posse are jubilant over his AZ straw poll victory in JMacs' home state. “He’s just been a very strong, solid, conservative Republican".

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2008: Letter to Obama

Senator Obama,

You probably have never heard of Political Buzz, but as a member of the online punditocracy, I think it vital that you hear us out on this.

You have hinted that you are very close to a major decision on your presidential aspirations for 2008. You hinted this in November. You hinted this in December. And now have made your decision here in January. Good move. As an astute political observer you must now that timing is everything in the world of politics. Excellent opportunities must be jumped at and taken advantage of. After a bumbling start you appear to have come to realize that lesson and have acted upon it. Great!

But the real struggle is yet to come. It is made even more difficult by your pained decision to push off the announcement of your candidacy to the middle of this month; the month that Sen. Hillary Clinton is sure to make her first month as an official presidential candidate. That candidacy will no doubt overshadow your own (despite your blissful media image), wresting the spotlight from the major milestone that is the Obama '08 campaign. And, more importantly, wresting away the donations of the big Democratic pockets who would no doubt rather support a proven commodity like Sen. Clinton. The peak moment of Obamamania has passed, leading your recent announcement to become an anticlimactic event on the crowded stage that is the 2008 campaign.

But this can be overcome - and only through swift action. You must press Hillary's jugular immediately and lose your happy/pushover image. Yes, the public loves you as a cuddly teddy bear with a charming background story. But that won't beat Hillary. Keep your smiling visage in the public eye while at the same time you rapidly and silently trash Sen. Clinton as yesterday's news. Show that you have new ideas and a new vision of politics. Make nice with John Edwards in order to initiate a two-pronged assault on the Clinton campaign and to ensure the services of a popular Vice Presidential candidate. No doubt a golden strategy.

The bottom line,Senator Obama, is that action is needed. Get off the beach, put on a spiffy shirt and hit the trail with a vengeance. Remember your whirlwind tour before the midterms? Why not do it again?

This concludes our unsolicited - but oh, so important - advice for your newly launched 2008 campaign.

Political Buzz


2008: Obama's In!

Barack Obama virtually launched his 2008 bid for president this morning by announcing that he will form a presidential exploratory committee and then make a final decision on Feb 10th.

As many of you know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.

I certainly didn't expect to find m
yself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.
So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need.

And that's why I wanted to tell you first that I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.

The official word came form his website. He posted a video on the site announcing his decision. There's also a text version.


Monday, January 15, 2007

The Buzz

The latest political headlines-

  • The first shot is fired in the inevitable brawl between John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as Clinton's posse slams Edwards for his speech on weak Dems in New York (Sunday).

  • Dem 2008 candidate Joe Biden plays to the black vote in SC by wading into the Confederate flag debate in that state. Biden said this at an MLK Jr. event in SC: "If I were a state legislator, I'd vote for it to move off the grounds — out of the state".

  • The Donald wants Condi Rice fired: "...she goes on a plane, she gets off a plane, she waves, she goes there to meet some dictator. ... They talk, she leaves, she waves, the plane takes off. Nothing happens, it's a joke..."

2008: Romney Update

While Mitt continues to struggle with his ideological identity crisis, he has gained the backing of a Bush. No, not that Bush. But one of the Bush brothers appears to be funneling support to Mormon Romney in the '08 horse race. Key Jeb Bush operatives from FL are joining the early stages of the Romney '08 campaign in New Hampshire, and other FL politicians close to Jeb - former Lieut. Gov. Toni Jennings and Rep. Allen Bense - are also on the Mitt bandwagon. That's an impressive lineup of conservative Republican support in a key general state. No help in the primaries, however. Maybe Jeb himself will eventually lend a hand to gobble up nationwide GOP voters.

But that might not help too much as long as big questions remain over Romney's political turnaround. GOPers are still not comfortable with his many liberal leaning statements from past campaigns in the left wing bastion of Massachusetts. Reading the list of bills and various initiatives that he supported in Mass. looks like it could mean the end of the Romney campaign. But he's not going away. The Hotline even has Romney ranked 2nd (ahead of the faltering Rudy) in their latest 2008 rankings. It's no doubt because Mitt is the only '08 conservative candidate - fake or real - that conservatives will actually feel okay about supporting. But how long will it be before the constant viewing of Romney's pro-choice outburst in his 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy on YouTube gets to these desperate right wingers?


Sunday, January 14, 2007

2008: Obama Set to Announce?

The Obama '08 campaign may finally be ready to launch sometime next week, with BO hinting at a decision and inside sources calling it a sure thing that BO's in for 2008.

The first indication appeared on the website Political Wire (great stuff), with Goddard divulging that an inside "tipster" give PW the info that Barack Obama will announce his 2008 campaign on the Oprah Winfrey show next Wednesday.

A tipster with knowledge of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) presidential campaign planning hints that an official announcement may be made on the Chicago-based Oprah Winfrey Show this week.
The Oprah schedule for Wednesday, January 17 says to "check back later" for more details on the show. Since all shows are taped in advance, this suggests something is up.

And then on Face the Nation on CBS this morning, Obama hinted that he will decide whether to run "very soon", while refusing to give a timetable for an announcement.

"I will have something to say about that fairly soon," Obama told Bob Schieffer. "Obviously, there's been a lot of talk. It's something that I've been considering. I've said I've been considering it. And we'll be making an announcement fairly soon."

Very coy, though much more than the usual "I'm thinking about it". It all adds up...

Obama also had a mini face-off with John McCain on FTN, with JMac appearing right before BO came on. It was the perfect situation for them to show off their respective Iraq strategies. It was the usual stuff from these two, with McCain sticking hard to the surge plan and Obama slinging criticism at it without offering a real plan of his own. But it is increasingly hard to interpret JMac's love of the war/surge as anything more than naive stubbornness. Iraq will bring him down in the general if he doesn't change his strategy. And who better to derail the 'Straight Talk Express' than Obama?


Friday, January 12, 2007

Quick Hits

  • How many Republicans do you think are secretly applauding - and concurring with - GOPer Chuck Hagel's outburst yesterday in the Senate over Bush's Iraq plan. Calling Condi Rice a liar is usually Russ Feingold/Carl Levin territory. Will we see more Republicans (say,Dick Lugar) follow CH's lead and bring their Iraq qualms out in the open as the surge fizzles? More importantly, Hagel may become the McCain of '04 to Dems in the presidential hunt. Look for a symbolic offering of the VP position from whomever might win the Dem nomination.

  • 2008 candidate Joe Biden also spiced up the Iraq hearings - as well he should, considering he's chairing the proceedings. He blasted Bush's surge plan, calling the whole thing a "tragic mistake". His rhetoric is no doubt even more heated than usual to garner some '08 support from an angry public, but it might not be working. New polls show Biden is viewed unfavorably by most voters and has him getting hammered by GOPers McCain and Giuliani in a general election showdown. And he's still in the single digits in Dem primary polls, well behind even John Edwards. But Biden '08 rolls on, getting a new campaign manager (A big FL Dem - Luis Navarro) and heading off for MLK Day festivities in SC next week.

  • House Dems are doing somewhat well in their "100 Hour" strategy. With the minimum wage and stem cell bills already completed, Dems are now targeting oil company subsidies, and are aiming to slash student loan costs. And they still want to strangle Iraq funding. That;s not really a smart move, but getting out of Iraq was the reason they got elected in the first place.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Republican Dissent

Even as some GOPers are rallying behind the president after his Iraq speech last night, others are not quiet about their difference of opinion over the Iraq troops surge. This could mean a further unraveling of Republican unity.

Sen. Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican, would rather not be in the position of publicly disagreeing with President Bush.But when it comes to Iraq, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are breaking away, leaving Bush to lay out his new plan without the usually reliable array of GOP support.

"I don't want to embarrass the president, but my position is clear," said Coleman, who visited Iraq last month. "I do not believe that a surge in troops is going to solve the fundamental problem we have."Coleman and other Republicans are becoming increasingly public with their view that the ongoing violence in Baghdad requires a political solution, not a military one. "Iraqis have to decide they're going to stop killing themselves," he said.

Crumbling GOP support for the surge could spell trouble for the main surge proponent and GOP 2008 contender - John McCain. Now he's trying to distance himself from the plan, saying that he'd do it differently by sending In more troops for longer periods. But it's still the McCain Doctrine. He can't escape that.

Hillary Responds

As PB predicted yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave a tough response criticizing Pres. Bush's dud of a speech on Iraq last night. Trying to curry lot favor with the antiwar left, Hillary blasted Bush as "not getting the message" that the public delivered on Iraq.

"The President’s Iraq policy has been marred by incompetence and arrogance as his Administration has refused to recognize the military and political reality on the ground.

"American troops continue to serve and sacrifice in Iraq, performing magnificently and bravely. But as our commanders have said repeatedly, Iraq requires a political solution, not a purely military one, and we did not hear such a proposed solution tonight.

The President simply has not gotten the message sent loudly and clearly by the American people, that we desperately need a new course. The President has not offered a new direction, instead he will continue to take us down the wrong road – only faster."

Good call to slam his plan, but she isn't alone. Her shift to the left is being mimicked by all Dems, with widespread anger over the troops surge laid out in the speech. And Obama and Edwards have been on record for weeks that they oppose a surge and want out of Iraq. Hillary needed to get tough on Iraq, but is it already too late?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2008: Will Hillary Make a Move on Iraq?

Speculation is swirling around the possibility of a major Hillary event to come after Pres. Bush's speech on his Iraq plan tonight. A tough and critical response to W's speech seems the perfect opportunity for Hillary to not only get back in the spotlight that she has vacated for Obama and Edwards to enjoy, but also to gain favor with the burgeoning number of Dems that are uncomfortable with H's pro-war leanings and who want out of Iraq right now.

Hillary's Iraq problem (great Newsday piece) will not go away until she confronts the issues and either takes a Lieberman stance or join Ted Kennedy in calling for cutting war funds. She's already in the precarious middle ground of moderation, which has no doubt hurt her campaign and delayed her inevitable '08 announcement.

Watch for a Hillary response on Iraq by early next week.


Monday, January 08, 2007

2008 Quick Hits

  • A new batch of Republican presidential candidate favorability ratings shows that Rudy Giuliani still has the heats of the GOP faithful. The poll, conducted earlier this month, has Rudy getting the high marks over John McCain, with all other candidates having a clean slate in voters minds. Giuliani's favorability raring is at 41%, with JMac's at 39%. But those numbers may tumble for Rudy with his incredible playbook gaffe still settling in and his campaign stuck in neutral as Rudy continues to mull if he should even run at all. McCain could pounce.

  • Although Hillary Clinton has stabilized in Iowa, she is increasingly facing pressure from all sides over her continued dawdling over her Iraq stance and a sharp push from John Edwards on issues near and dear to Hillary (poverty and health care). No campaign announcement has also doused some of her perpetual buzz. H and Co. does realize this, and is bound to right the ship ASAP. Look for tough talk from her during the much ballyhooed Senate investigations on Iraq. But Hillary will never pull an Edwards concerning her Iraq vote from '02. She is not going to make such a bold move to the left when her electability is still in question.

  • Joe Biden's '08 campaign is simply a trail balloon - started to see if his Senate hearings on Iraq (starting tomorrow) will rev up Dems enough to propel him to a choice spot as the anti-Hillary or, failing that, the perfect Hillary running-mate. Biden's pulpit in the Senate will allow him let loose with plenty of air time for his Bush bashing and the launch of the Biden plan for the Iraq mess. Biden's not going anywhere, however. A loose cannon for a mouth (Indian-Americans-7/11 comment, anyone?) and a terribly late start will be his downfall. A Veep slot? Not likely.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Dems in Charge - Day 2

Top Dems try to show some backbone by slamming a troop surge in Iraq both in public comments and by sending a letter to Pres. Bush in opposition to his new strategy that calls for thousands of new U.S. soldiers in Mesopotamia.

Democratic congressional leaders Friday issued a warning to President Bush on his publicly signaled plans to escalate the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, presaging four weeks of Senate hearings that promise to bring sharp scrutiny and criticism for the White House’s war policy.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Bush requesting he abandon plans for a troop “surge” in an all-out bid to stabilize Iraq, calling the strategy one “you have already tried and that has already failed.” Reid and other Senate Democratic leaders reiterated their strong disapproval of the Bush gambit during an all-day retreat at the Library of Congress.

“The people of this country no longer support the war in Iraq,” Reid told reporters, adding that Democrats are willing to work with the president but “we believe the tactic would be a serious mistake.”

That's a big change from last weekend when Harry Reid and others seemed to accept Bush's plan as sound, and spoke as if they would not stand in the way of its implementation. Good move to actually tell the President to back off for a change, actually following through - for now - on the real mandate given to the Dems when they won in November: get out of Iraq.

But there will be no cuts in war funding.

Fiscal responsibility was another day 2 focus point, with Dems pushing through a new 'paygo" rule for the House. While this measure looks spectacular on the surface, it will kill most Dem health care and social House bills that are sure to come in the future. Will Pelosi eventually nix this deal? Yes, even though the PR of that move could cost them big come '08. GOP campaigners are sure to use a flip-flop on spending against Dems in all elections next cycle.

Look for Pelosi and Reid to try and keep control of their respective flocks on Monday, trying to quell increasing glee over the spoils of a majority. A full week will give Dems a chance to peddle talk of investigations, impeachment, cutting funds for Iraq (despite the objections of Dem brass) and various other social and foreign policy shenanigans. Granted, this is nothing that Republicans didn't do when they controlled The Hill. But weren't Dems elected to be the anti-GOPers? Playing the same tricks is inevitable, but will leave plenty of disillusioned voters.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Quick Hits

  • Scintillating political video: A meeting on the House floor between Muslim hater GOPer Virgil Goode and first Muslim in Congress Keith Ellison. A lip-reader would be useful if we could actually see Goode's head in the video. Alas, he has his back to the camera.

  • A new ChristiaNetpoll of evangelicals of all political stripes has a few 2008 presidential hopefuls and could-be's on it. Jeb Bush tops the list for the GOP? Whoa...

Dems in Charge

Democrats took control of Capitol Hill today, with broad smiles evident on the gleeful faces of the Dems. And why not? With a 233-202 advantage in the House, they will be assured of getting their "100 Hours" agenda plus some icing done within a few weeks. The Senate is a bit more contentions, but the Dems will no doubt be able to slam legislation thorough there as well. Nancy Pelosi meanwhile drooped her usual gloom and impeachment talk to "bask" in her election as the first female Speaker of the House. No doubt that today was a historic day.

2008: McCain Update

The formerly easy road to the GOP nomination n 2008 for John McCain continues to crumble before him. Although his main rival Giuliani was the one to have a major disaster befall his campaign this week (playbookgate), McCain still managed to get hammered by all sides of the political spectrum.

Everyone, it seems, is jabbing at John McCain these days _ from a Republican rival for the presidential nomination to several potential Democratic candidates."When you're the perceived front-runner, your head's above the political trench and everyone takes shots at you," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and presidential campaign veteran.McCain, considered by many to be the Republican to beat, has largely remained silent about the criticism, which is somewhat uncharacteristic for the outspoken Arizona senator. His presidential exploratory committee on Wednesday declined to comment on the spate of reproaches over his stands on gay marriage and the Iraq war.

And the main suspicion is beginning to fall on JMac's "gleeful" and crafty peeps in the Rudy notebook issue. Considering that McCain had lost the title of GOP frontrunner to Rudy about the time of the heist, it surely is plausible. Turning Rudy into the poor victim? No good...

It's hard to tell whether all of this flak headed toward McCain is a sign that he's still seen as the most formidable candidate in the GOP race or is simply being kicked while he's reeling. His campaign is apparently confused as to what JMac's ideological makeup should be for his presidential run, with his early signs of uber-pandering to the evangelical right now well back in the past and a new push with Ted Kennedy for a Senate immigration bill being viewed as "amnesty" by indignant anti-illegal conservatives.

And now his staunch stay-at-all-cost+more-troops doctrine for Iraq is unraveling. Despite a public strategy of standing by his continuing comments supporting an indefinite occupation of Iraq plus sending more troops there, some quotes from last year and from staffers are now haunting JMac.

In the February ‘07 issue of Vanity Fair, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is quoted telling a group of conservatives last October that the Iraq war “ isn't going to be around in 2008".

According to Vanity Fair, an audience member told McCain, “The war’s the big issue. Some kind of disengagement — it’s going to have to happen. It’s a big issue for you…in 24 months.” McCain responded:

“I do believe this issue isn’t going to be around in 2008. I think it’s going to either tip into civil war … ” He breaks off, as if not wanting to rehearse the handful of other unattractive possibilities. “Listen,” he says, “I believe in prayer. I pray every night.” And that’s where he leaves his discussion of the war this morning: at the kneeling rail.

"Isn't going to be around"? He knows that he's beat on Iraq, and will obviously now play down all mentions as much as possible. But can he really believe that Iraq will be over by '08? That's pure desperation disguised as ignorance.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2008: One notebook left behind...

Poor Rudy. What a mess... The GOP front runner for 2008 bungled big time when he lost lost his '08 campaign playbook; literally a large file containing everything on Rudy's presidential ambitions - his hopes, fears, donor hit-list, everything. It was left to be forgotten on a Rudy campaign swing pre-midterms. Then, apparently, a henchman for a rival GOP candidate nabbed to doc, proceeding to let loose its contents upon a ravenous media. Rudy's posse smells foul play - big time. .

The loss of the battle plan is a remarkable breach in the high-stakes game of presidential politics and a potentially disastrous blunder for Giuliani in the early stages of his campaign.
The document was obtained by the Daily News from a source sympathetic to one of Giuliani's rivals for the White House. The source said it was left behind in one of the cities Giuliani visited as he campaigned for dozens of Republican candidates in the weeks leading up to the November 2006 elections.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel suggested there were political dirty tricks behind the loss of the documents and called the timing suspicious.

"I wonder why such suspicious activity is occurring and can only guess it is because of Rudy's poll numbers in New Hampshire and Iowa," Mindel said.

Juicy tidbits in the Daily News article, too numerous to mention here. Bottom line is that Rudy needs to clamp down on these types of things when he is "officially" running. Good thing it was a GOPer who got it. Can you imagine what Hillary would do with that info?

2008 Quick Hits

  • Mitt Romney is the latest 2008 hopeful to officially (almost) join the race. Undeterred by electability questions concerning his Mormon faith, Mitt is about to set up an '08 "exploratory committee", like those for Rudy and McCain. This means that Mitt's in. - While the committee filing will be labeled "exploratory," it will declare Romney as an official presidential candidate and commit him to the same fundraising and reporting rules he will have to follow when, as is expected, he transitions to a formal presidential campaign committee.
    A formal announcement is expected sometime later this year, although Romney is planning a major fundraising event in Boston on Jan. 8 to propel his candidacy -
    Also, the word is that Mitt will base his primary campaign in Boston, which means that he will essentially abandon the McCain/Giuliani lovefest in Iowa to focus on the real New Hampshire conservatives to gain momentum. Smart choice. Incidentally, here's a recent interview Romney gave to the right-wing online hub Human Events.

  • Good move by the Edwards campaign to have JRE label the plan for a troop "surge" in Iraq the "McCain doctrine" on the Sunday shows. After all, JMac is the main backer of that pollyannish bit of strategy, and it's never too early to prepare for a possible general showdown with the good AZ Senator. Plus, it gives Dems a catchy phrase and a chance to trash JMac. Edwards is still a step ahead of his competition.

  • Speaking of McCain, he's seeking revenge in South Carolina, building up a strong campaign team there. No doubt he doesn't want to lose SC twice.