Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Obama Can Trump Clinton with Oprah

The news that Oprah will stump for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is tantamount to a political earthquake, in my book. The moment we couldn't imagine, Obama edging Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) over so late in the game, after holding back for so long, has finally arrived. And all along Obama has been holding back his best weapon, saving it for last.

What Does Iowa Slippage Mean for Hillary?

Strong winds swept through the political community on Monday night with the release of the latest Washington Post-ABC poll in Iowa showing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in second place for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her rival, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) led in the poll with 30 percent, Hillary trailed at 26 percent and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) was in third at 22 percent. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, auditioning for vice president, was fourth at 11 percent. This is the first primary or caucus poll nationwide or in any state in the nation this entire year that shows Hillary in second place!

Parody and the Clueless

"I don't get it." We all know someone who says that with a blank expression just after we've said something funny. Truth be known we know scads of them.

We could put just about anyone in politics in that category, and certainly those of us who cover the campaigns.

Case in point: Mike Huckabee has a new commercial out that features an endorsement by super-macho symbol Chuck Norris.

The Expectation Game

This is getting really complicated. All along we've been told that Rudy Giuliani was forfeiting the Iowa race, meaning he wasn't really competing to win the state's caucus vote. What that meant, of course, was that if he got any chunk of support at all, he'd win the all-important Expectations Game against Mitt Romney and even Mike Huckabee.

But now we find out that Giuliani is buying some ads in the state, and is going to put some effort into the race there. So now what? What does this do to his claim to be the underdog? If he does well, can he still claim it was better than expected. Can he raise expectations and still credibly win the Expectations Game? What should the expectations be?

The Clinton News Network Holds a Vladimir Putin Debate

Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich have close to a hundred years of significant government experience and very significant things to say about the campaign, but have been treated in these debates like the opposition to Vladimir Putin are treated in the state-controlled Russian media.

It is a disgrace and a sham and a disrespect not only to those candidates but to the very idea of an informed citizenry choosing our next leader in a democratic election.

Personal Attacks Backfire on Edwards and Obama

Everybody who watched the Las Vegas Democratic debate has an opinion about it. Here’s mine.

I watched the debate because I wanted to see what each of the candidates would do as president … How they would lead the country. I heard that from most of the candidates. Joe Biden and Bill Richardson were particularly strong. But, unfortunately, at least in the beginning of the debate, all I heard from John Edwards and Barack Obama was more sniping at Hillary Clinton. And, frankly, I’m getting sick of it.

Waking up Thompson

That will wake up Fred Thompson — a Washington Post editorial headlined “Two Cheers for Mr. Thompson.” Yes, that is the Post I am talking about and not the Washington Times. Thompson is getting cheers for proposing reforms to the Social Security system that editors there say aren’t as progressive as they would like but they say he deserves applause for making tough choices the other candidates so far refuse to.

Thompson wants to cut benefits, combine private accounts with federal matching funds, and link benefits to the cost-of-living increase rather than wage growth. In my column this week about Big Fred I gave him credit for his policy proposals, and note that despite his seeming indifference over this whole running-for-highest-office exercise, he is no lightweight. It’s hard to figure what Fred is doing in the race and why but it sure is interesting to watch him.


What do you think Fred wants? Please join me for my weekly Q&A video posts by sending useful, interesting and entertaining questions to


If Democrats Chose Gore and Republicans Chose Hagel

Can we agree that there is something very poisonous and wrong with the state of the union when our finest leaders choose not to seek the highest office in our land, even at a time of danger and crisis, while 70 percent of the nation has lost all confidence in virtually everyone in Washington?

I met Norman Mailer once. When I was a very young man I was with a group of people he knew when he strutted into the room and invited his friends to join him for a beverage. I got swept with the crowd to the bar, too young to legally drink, and too drunk to remember much of what was said.

I do remember one thing. I paraphrase for lack of clarity due to intoxication, but this is a fair representation of what he said:

Planning the Ad Libs

Let's listen in on this morning's conference call, held every day by top staff members of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

As everyone knows, one sound bite determines the winner of any presidential debate. It's the one and only moment that anyone remembers ... Reagan's "There you go again," Lloyd Bentsen telling Dan Quayle he was no John F. Kennedy.

Mark Penn is running the call as usual. He's been up all night analyzing the microtrends, whatever the hell they are, and now it's time to consolidate all the polling information and script Hillary's spontaneous response when the other Democrats attack her during tonight's CNN debate.

Moving Mountains

Did you hear that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) got New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) to back off that driver's license proposal that was giving her fits? Those Clintons sure do move mountains. Maybe together they can even find Osama ... just kidding. Yes, suddenly — having nothing to do with Clinton's debate performance I am sure — that plan to provide illegal immigrants with licenses (as identification to pull them from the shadows!) is done for.