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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Generational differences

A group of celebrities and musicians have released a pro-Obama video titled "Yes, we can." will.i.am, Jesse Dylan, "Herbie Hancock, former LA Lakers captain Kareem Abdul Jabbar, singer John Legend, model Amber Valletta, actresses Kate Walsh and Scarlett Johansson," and many more. (Video above)

Meanwhile, Clinton is on the stump with Ted Danson and Sally Field.

Also, Newspaper endorsements don't mean much, but it is notable that Obama got the endorsement of the biggest Spanish language weekly in the country. (Because of his debate stance on driver's licences?)

And that Gallup national daily tracking poll that that had Obama within 3 has stretched back to 7, all of it in a one day, four point Clinton bump.

Picture of the Day

Happy Groundhog Day.......

Although it looks like "six more weeks of winter."

(Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson casts a shadow as he addresses the Real Estate Roundtable's State of the Industry meeting, January 30, 2008. (Jim Young/Reuters))

Obama's "speed dating" efforts

This WaPo article pretty well sums up what I was saying the other day about Obama running out of time in this compressed primary calendar.

Voters who see him, like him, but he's still largely in the phase of "introducing himself" while Clinton's brand is solid and known.

He's closing the polling gap, but he likely won't reach parity by Tuesday. Just not enough time.

(Obama seems to be trying to make up for this deficiency by trying to win the Edwards voters.)

Petraeus versus the Pentagon

A very interesting WaPo article which paints a division between Iraq commander Petraeus and multiple figures in the Pentagon over the recent declarations of a need for "a pause" in the return of "surge" troops from Iraq.

Petraeus's job is to focus solely on Iraq, so his position is very understandable, but what I found interesting is that Bush's recent rhetoric matches Petraeus's and doesn't share anything with Adm. Fallon or these other figures in the military.

It really gives an insight into how Bush is dealing with/seeing his Commander in Chief responsibilities. The Iraq monomania has taken precedence over Afghanistan or any of the other threats the military command is planning for.

In his mind, Petraeus is the salvation of his legacy.

There's a second track to all of this. The Pentagon is genuinely divided and officials and ex-officials are increasingly taking their policy debates to play out in the press.

Look at this quote yesterday from Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway regarding Afghanistan.
"It is a bit confusing at this point because we as a department need to see it the same way and quite frankly, at this point in time, we just don't," Conway told reporters.

Asked if that should be the case more than six years after the United States invaded Afghanistan, Conway replied: "Well, no... We as a department need to have a common view so that we can agree upon the actions that need to be taken -- no question about that."

That level of debate (or honesty) would never have been accepted under a Rumsfeld. Is this a weakness or a strength of Robert Gates?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

Comedic Opera. These are significant figures in the GOP.

(Rudy Giuliani flanked by Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Los Angeles, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Ric Francis))

MoveOn endorses Obama, but does it matter?

Per Politico, Moveon endorses Obama after an online vote. With Moveon, it's not so much the value of their endorsement as their email/contact lists and their machinery.

And, per the WSJ blog, they're going to openly push for Obama. ,
The group pledged to mobilize its members in the 22 states holding Democratic contests on Feb. 5. “MoveOn will immediately connect thousands of progressive activists into the Obama GOTV [get out the vote] volunteer operation,” they said, “It will also use the same cutting-edge computer-based phone program that made 7 million GOTV calls for Democrats in 2006 to allow MoveOn members to call other MoveOn members in Feb. 5 states and encourage them to vote for Obama.

I have a hunch that's not as valuable as it sounds. That effort will be targeting already highly politically active people who, I would bet, have already made their primary day plans.

But still, I'm sure he'd rather have it than not.

Political bits

First, we should note the favor that (future VP) Mike Huckabee is doing for John McCain by siphoning off alot of likely Romney voters through Feb. 5.

(AP) The California Service Workers Union, previously pledged to Edwards, has endorsed Obama today. (Will it matter too much with early voting and the short window?)

And, what is this? (TPM) The NRCC reports itself to the FBI for financial improprieties, possibly including fraud?

Electability and the argument to come

As a broad question, not as an endorsement, with the GOP still somewhat split over McCain at this point, would a Clinton nomination act to rally "conservatives" behind McCain come November?

My hunch is that the Dem nominee won't make that big a difference on the question of whether the GOP faithful swings in behind McCain, that, by November they're going to show up to vote GOP no matter the Dem candidate.

I'm not trying to spin this. I'm just raising it because, I think, with all the reporting on the GOP's dissatisfaction with McCain, this question is about to hit the talkshows.

(I think the more compelling point is the idea that perhaps the grass roots "Christian" support might be less fervent leading to a lower and less passionate volunteer pool for McCain.)

Just throwing it out there because I feel this question coming.

(Later: Great thoughtful comments so far. Chip in.)

Picture of the Day

I don't know why, but I thought this was a very interesting moment at the debate.

(Sen. Barack Obama helps Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to her seat before the start of a Democratic debate in Los Angeles Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian))

Political bits

(TheHill) The "McCain defecting the GOP for the Dems" story is getting a replay after a promotion on Drudge. (Surprised it took this long.)

(YouTube) Ann Coulter says she'd vote for Clinton over McCain, even campaign for her, on Hannity and Colmes. (Hyperbole, of course, but also promoted on Drudge.)

(AdAge) Clinton bought an hour on the Hallmark channel on Feb 4 for a "townhall" targeting women. (In an otherwise great debate by both sides, I thought Clinton plugging this event at the end was pretty distasteful. "I'll be appearing at the Laugh Factory in Hoboken on Friday, Jay....")

(NYTimes, WaPo) we have financial reports through Dec. 31.

(Politico) Clinton $26.8 million, Obama $22.8 million. (And Obama raised $32 million in January alone!)

(NYTimes) Romney "lent his campaign" $35 million through Dec. 31. (No word on how much more in January.)

And, (WaPo) McCain was required to take out a life insurance policy to back his November loan that kept his candidacy afloat.


(Reuters) The deBaathification reform looks to be dead. In an interview, Sunni VP Hashemi said he would not sign off on the new law.

(Same Interview?) Hashemi also said that "he was cautiously optimistic that the main Sunni political bloc would return to the Shi'ite-led government."

(AP) In the long term "status of forces" agreement the Bush administration is trying to get out of the Iraqis to replace the UN mandate, the US wants the ability to freely operate to go after Al Qaeda in the future. (Imagine if any other government agreed to give a foreign military free discretionary reign in perpetuity.)

(AP) Two big bombings in the pet markets in Baghdad, at least 64 killed.

(AP) "Violence returned Thursday to the southern city of Basra, where militants pummeled Britain's airport base with 20 rockets and British gunners answered with volleys of artillery. Civilians were killed and wounded in the crossfire."

(CNN) "Also Thursday, a spokesman for the Polish military said Poland will withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of October."

The NYTimes has a piece on the power and politics of the Kurds. Their claims on Kirkuk and support of the Maliki government are undermining them to the rest of Iraq.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

Fundraising page: "Our Servers are a bit overwhelmed right now."
(From Politico)

Also, (WSJ) Inflation fighting Fed chief Paul Volker endorses Obama?

Anti-earmark McCain courts the lobbyists

It'll be very interesting to watch McCain over the next few months as he tries to maintain his claims of purity while taking the inflows from the lobbyists.

Really, where else is his cash going to come from?

It's not like he's going to see a groundswell from a grassroots GOP that isn't very excited about McCain 08.

Not Prepared

Not that this will come as a surprise to anyone who witnessed Katrina, but still, it should probably be added to the Bush record.
The U.S. military isn't ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and National Guard forces don't have the equipment or training they need for the job, according to a report.

Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were nearly a year ago....

Holy Crap! The Obama wave

They wanted this out there to affect the debate spin. January isn't even over yet.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised $32 million in the single month of January, matching his best three-month period last year, aides said Thursday.

I'll be very curious about the Clinton/GOP equivalents. The later they hold their announcement, the worse it likely is.

(Obama's closing in the polls, the endorsements and money are flooding in, but I just keep wondering if he's run out of time.

All that early voting follows the polls before he started closing.)

Later: Is the Clinton campaign trumpeting their new ad rollout (expensive) to try and blunt some of Obama's PR from the huge fundraising number?

Picture of the Day

This was always my favorite Edwards picture. He is a truly passionate man.

He may not have been successful, but nobody on the trail fought harder or more earnestly for what they believed.

(John Edwards says goodbye to his wife Elizabeth as they leave the Jefferson-Jackson Democratic Party fundraising dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, in this file photo taken April 27, 2007.(Jim Young/Reuters))

Straight out of the Obama oppo research (trying to get Edwards voters)

I think this was planned to break for the debate *after Obama gave back the Rezco money) to turn around the "slumlord" charge and put Clinton on defense for awhile.

But, it should be noted that this also comes the day after Edwards got out, freeing up all of his anti-corporate, anti-lobbyist, anti-insider voters, and they don't like things like this.

Short version: Bill Clinton flew to Kazakhstan with a "newcomer" to the uranium mining business.....
(Kazakh PM) Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.


There's More: ABC is pushing a pretty shaky story that Clinton never stood up at the Walmart board meetings to defend unions, (ABC just happens to have received videotapes of 1980's board meetings?) and somebody's been digging through her FEC reports.
Her Senate campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from a Wal-Mart Political Action Committee, although ABCNews.com discovered another $20,000 in contributions from Wal-Mart executives and lobbyists.

Again, think Edwards voter/union endorsers. (And I would assume anti-Walmart does well among parts of the Latino community in California.)

(One of the rumors is that Edwards was afraid to endorse Obama because he didn't think he had the stomach for a fight.)

Romney's quitting?

Romney's not outright leaving the race, but the fact that he's not buying any advertising in the Feb 5 states seems to indicate he's all but given up.
Several officials said that on the heels of a defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary, Romney's campaign was not attempting to purchase television advertising time in any of the 21 states on the calendar for Feb. 5.

Instead, the former Massachusetts governor's current plans call for campaigning in California and other primary states, said the officials, who had knowledge of the internal discussions. There would be organizational efforts primarily for caucus states.

Sitting on the polls where they are and letting McCain take whacks at him is not a winning strategy. He's down to hoping.

A little later: Romney's spokesman contacted TPM to tell them they would be buying some unspecified ad time. (Sounds more like an effort to put off this interpretation than a real effort.)

Later Still: Romney's campaign is pushing the word "significant" related to the ad buy. (And it's coming out of his pocket.)

Iraq, Afghanistan, and other things

Another assault on the language. (WaPo) Gen. Petraeus is now going to recommend "an operational pause" in "the surge" in his April testimony. (At some point, someone needs to all it the "escalation" that it was.)

(Rumor) "An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law." (They do have democracy!)

In Afghanistan: (Reuters) "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reinforcing an ultimatum over Afghanistan, told U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday that Ottawa would withdraw its military mission next year unless NATO sent in more troops, officials said." (Rumors about this were first reported a couple weeks ago, but this is much clearer.)

(NYTimes) Pakistani ex-Chief Justice Chaudry smuggles a letter out of Pakistan.

And, after the 9/11 commission, all the reports on the Iraq war, I found this an interesting foreign parallel. (WaPo) The report on the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon is out. It finds faults, but manages to attach no significant blame.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

John McCain tries to get by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney after a Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

I got nothing

Nothing's lighting me up this afternoon, so here's a little filler.

The US is "trying to promote democracy in Iraq" by empowering the Sunni tribal sheiks, an archaic governmental form which echoes feudalism.....

Edwards quitting Presidential race

There can be no question that John Edwards quitting the Democratic race will have a big impact on the Clinton/Obama balance right before the Feb 5 primaries, but I have no idea what that effect will be.

Are the Edwards supporters mainline Democrats likely to break for Clinton or are they anti-Clinton, anti-establishment likely to break for Obama?

(At first thought, I would think throwing the cards in the air probably benefits Obama as he is running close behind in alot of the polling.

And the debate will be a two person event tomorrow.)

Later: I guess Clinton doesn't get to dominate the news cycle with Florida.

Picture of the Day

So, this is the Republican candidate in the "change" election.....

Iraq forever, more wars, pledges to continue the Bush economic policies..... What are McCain's "big ideas?" Earmarks?

(It's no accident that McCain sounds like Bush's SOTU, about 65% of the GOP still approve of Bush.)


(ATimes) The US has completed a base on the Afghan/Pak border. "he new US base is expected to serve as the center of clandestine special forces' operations in the border region."

(Reuters) The struggle to find troops for Afghanistan between the US and NATO continues with "the Pentagon said it will not commit any more of its own forces there."

(WaPo) The US is increasing the number of "outposts" in Baghdad from 75 to 99.

(NYTimes) "White House officials" are hopping mad with their UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for sitting beside the Iranian Foreign Minister in Davos.

(USAToday) "Nearly five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, allied countries have paid 16% of what they pledged to help rebuild the war-torn country.... The biggest shortfalls in pledges by 41 donor countries are from Iraq's oil-rich neighbors and U.S. allies: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."

(FT) The US is funding madrassas in eastern Afghanistan. (Probably a decent opportunity if the kids aren't Taleban targets.)

(Reuters) The US is spending $750 million in the Pakistani "tribal regions" to try and undermine the Taleban/Al Qaeda. (It's been floated that the US may try to repeat Iraq's "success" with the Sunni programs within the Pashtun trial structures.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


My God! Does anyone give a worse speech than McCain?

Giuliani spent over $50 million for this.

The Obama campaign hid their giving away Rezco's donations underneath Clinton's "win."

And, the next signpost I'm looking for isn't the debates, but the Jan 31. campaign finance reporting.

Troops in Iraq forever (or at least until Bush leaves)

We all knew this was coming.
The Bush administration is sending strong signals that U.S. troop reductions in Iraq will slow or stop altogether this summer.....

The indications of a likely slowdown reflect concern by U.S. commanders that the improvement in security in Iraq since June... is tenuous and could be reversed if the extra troops come out too soon.

Two points: 1) How successful has "the surge" been if bringing out even 3,500 soldiers would jeopardize it? (Don't I remember something about somebody "standing up?")

2) We all knew this was coming because it pushes any post-"surge" collapse onto the next president's record.

Picture of the Day - 4

It's time to say goodbye.

I never wanted him to win, but he was always good for a weird photo from the trail.

(Rudy Giuliani gets a hug from a supporter in Vero Beach, Florida, January 27, 2008. (Molly Skipper/Reuters))

And, Dana Milbank is merciless.

No GOP ads in Super Tuesday states

Maybe they think it'll be decided today, maybe it's because none of the GOP has any money left, but (CNN) "no GOP candidate is currently on the air in any of the 21 states that will weigh in on their party’s presidential nomination next Tuesday."

Meanwhile, (Politico) Obama has raised $5 million online just since Saturday night's victory speech.

May the best teenaged girl win

"Well, Jenna told Jeb told Charlie told Mel that Mitt said...."

"Well, I heard that John told Tim...."

"Tell everybody that Mitt's a liar....."

"Tell everybody John's a liar...."



Political bits

(MiamiHerald) Almost 1 million people voted early in Florida, 474,000 Republicans. (Will they reflect the polling at the time they voted?)

(WaPo) Wouldn't the only Hispanic Dem candidate make a nice endorsement about now? Both the Obama and Clinton camps are feverishly chasing Bill Richardson. (Ben Smith clips a classic Bill Richardson moment.)

(CentreDaily) Sebelius endorses Obama. (The Obama campaign is pushing forward their white female support.)

Is there enough time for Obama's sudden momentum to make a difference?

(TechPresident) Obama's SC victory speech was "the fifth most watched video in the world on Sunday."

(BostonHerald) Romney is pushing a memo of all the times McCain blew up and cursed.

Picture of the Day - 2 - Awkward

(Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Sen. Edward Kennedy as fellow hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, turns away before President Bush's the State of the Union address, Monday Jan. 28, 2008. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite))

Apparently, Obama and Clinton went to great pains to not acknowledge each other.

CNN had the worst version for Obama.

I guess he didn't want the photo that looked like he was forgiving her, eh?

(Later: If it matters, the AP says it was Kennedy who sought out Clinton, not the other way around. The Hill says Clinton sought it out and Obama never even noticed her.)

One soldier, who asked not to be identified

(AP) "At least 100 other soldiers stood erect and silent through the 30-minute ceremony. Even civilian workers at the airport of Forward Operating Base Marez on the outskirts of Mosul formed an honor line as the dead soldiers bodies' were loaded into a gray C-130 transport plane....

"President Bush should be out here watching this ramp ceremony to see what it is really like," said one soldier, who asked not to be identified.

"The people who created this war need to be thinking about the families of these 18-year-olds who are dying."


(AP) Another missile attack in Pakistan's tribal regions killed 12. (If it follows past form, the Pakistanis will deny it, then say it was their missile, eventually admitting it came off a US drone.)

(NYTimes) Turkish MPs plan headscarf reform. (That's the hot button issue that created such chaos in Turkey's elections.)

(BBC) Somalia is still going on, "At least 10 people have been killed and 20 injured in clashes between insurgents and government forces in a residential area of the Somali capital."

Another proposal that ignores the realities of Gaza

Fatah leader and titular Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has proposed that his forces should take control of the Gaza Egypt border crossings. The Israelis are behind him, the Egyptians are behind him, but I find it impossible to believe that Hamas would let this happen.

The current policy is all about wishing Hamas away.

Picture of the Day

They were inseparable tonight at the SOTU, but as interestingly, notice who was third on the bench with them.... Obama endorser Claire McCaskill. (He's really trying to emphasize his white female support.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mars, bitches.

What does it say when the President's State of the Union is not the most significant speech of the day?

Picture of the Day - 2

John McCain smiles at a press conference as his wife Cindy McCain watches in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Jan. 25 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Political bits

(Politico) Obama has started a run of state specific ads with endorsers from those states. (Interesting that the first two are women, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Az. governor Janet Napolitano. They must not be happy losing so much among white women.)

(Ambinder) Then there's the possibility that extremely popular Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius might be about to endorse. (Another high profile white female endorser.)

Sebelius would be a significant endorsement because she's giving the Dem response to the SOTU. (How would the Dem leadership feel if she springboarded the SOTU into an endorsement?)

Meanwhile, (ChicagoTrib) Tony Rezco, Obama's unwanted sponsor from the past was arrested and had his bond revoked. (Does it punch through on Kennedy day?)

(WaPo) An odd story about Obama's very limited availability to the press that's travelling with him.

(CNN) Mitt Romney responds to McCain's insult of comparing him to John Kerry by reviving the rumor that McCain once considered being Kerry's VP.

(Politico) Lieberman is on the stump with McCain in Florida

(CNN) I joked earlier about Romney eating at KFC. Well, McCain's new surrogate, Mike Huckabee, attacked Romney for not eating the skin. (That's where these guys are.)

(WSJblog) McCain and Romney get vicious on the last day.

(AP) The AP has this handy list of Bush's approval ratings at each one of his SOTU's. (62, 84, 60, 53, 51, 43, 36, 32.) If he was a stock, you'd have put in a stop-loss at 50.

For fun, take a look at this mocking post at WashWire: McCain’s Secret Plan to Capture Bin Laden.

And, I don't know if anyone's noticed, but Obama has transitioned his "change message" on the stump to include attacks on the Clinton's. (Past versus future. "Those who would divide us," "Those who tear people down....")

Picture of the Day - 2

(NYTimes) After Obama Victory, Clinton’s Camp Seeks Gentler Role for Ex-President

(Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to a question from the audience during a speech 26 January 2008. (AFP/Robyn Beck))

Just beneath the "success" in Iraq

Pay attention
Influential members of Muqtada al-Sadr's movement have urged the anti-U.S. Shiite cleric not to extend a cease-fire when it expires next month, officials said Monday, a move that could jeopardize recent security gains.

The primary complaint among Sadrists is that the US and Iraqi government have taken advantage of the ceasefire to target Mahdi figures. One of the reasons this is so incendiary is that the Iraqi forces who are conducting raids are dominated by the rival Shia militia Badr.

It's also enhanced the perception that the Maliki government, and hence the US, is irreconcilably on the side of Badr and the SIIC creating even more interShia tensions.

On the Sunni side, although this is an extreme example, we're hearing more and more of this from the Sunni militia leaders.
A crucial Iraqi ally of the United States in its recent successes in the country is threatening to withdraw his support and allow al-Qa'ida to return if his fighters are not incorporated into the Iraqi army and police.

"If there is no change in three months there will be war again," said Abu Marouf, the commander of 13,000 fighters who formerly fought the Americans.

Again, the primary complaint is with the Maliki government and the deeply Badr infiltrated security forces.

Perhaps the unwritten story of "the surge" is that the US has effectively chosen a side within the various factional faultlines, indirectly empowering the SIIC and Badr in their efforts to prop up Maliki and stand up a government force.

It is by no means a pure endorsement as the US has been arming and paying the Sunni militias to try and buy them off violence, but, without any real reconciliation and powersharing allowed by the Maliki government, a US backing of the SIIC and Badr has become the de facto result.

So, when you see the articles about "Iraqi troops" moving into areas like Sunni dominated Mosul or Sadrist strongholds, keep in mind that these "Iraqi government forces" aren't perceived by the locals as neutral, working for stability and fighting terrorists, but instead as elements of the Badr/SIIC faction.

Two on terrorism

The NYTimes has an interesting article about US objections to the Yemeni approach to terrorism, setting free known terrorists who supposedly aid the Yemeni effort in exchange. (Very similar to what the Saudis do with lower scale figures.)

But probably more interesting is the AP piece which adds to the pile of articles speaking of a "shift in focus" of the Bush administration from Iraq back towards Pakistan/Afghanistan.

While it's true that Afghanistan is not going well, I wonder if part of the reason for this shift in focus is to try to indirectly imply that Iraq is "finished" and successful.

(Then, of course, there's the broader question of why the Bush administration ignored Pakistan/Afghanistan/Al Qaeda for five years in Iraq.)

Differing party results from Feb 5.

As we head towards the chaos of Feb 5, I think it's notable that the Dems and Republicans face a different topography. On the GOP side, most of the big states are "winner take all" delegates, California, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Georgia, while on the Dem side, none of them are. (Graphic on the left.)

To me, that seems to indicate that after Feb 5, the Republicans will likely have a prohibitive favorite while the Dems proportionality, may leave a more muddied result.

This matters a little because a perceived winner could gain a month of fundraising not to mention a headstart in the larger battle over presentation.

(Oh, and then there's the element that the GOP candidate will be decided largely by deep Democratic strongholds.)

Is it "cheap" or good management?

(WaPo) "A top Romney adviser said the campaign is taking a "cost per delegate" approach, looking to win delegates with the least amount of money spent on ads and time spent stumping by the candidate."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

Worth $250,000,000 and eating at KFC.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Mike Huckabee continues his pitch for McCain's VP

This Politico report leaves little doubt that Huckabee is running for McCain's VP slot as he defends McCain and calls Romney a liar.

(Huckabee would be a great VP candidate/attack dog. The media plays him as this nice Christian guy when in reality he's one of the sharpest tongued on the trail.)

Ted Kennedy endorses Obama

There's been a quiet little backstory in the flood of prominent endorsements that Obama has received over the last two weeks. 1) All of these heavy hitters were holding off until they knew that Obama was viable. 2) It reflects a deeper politics within the Democratic party.

These Congressmen and Senators, like Ted Kennedy tomorrow, prefer an unknown Obama White House to a known Clinton one.

Later: (Politico) "The Clinton campaign launched a last-ditch effort over the last few days to stop Kennedy's move, orchestrating a flood of phone calls to Kennedy from sources ranging from union chiefs to his Massachusetts constituents.

The former president also called Kennedy in a vain attempt to keep him out of the race..."

Picture of the Day - 2

(Keta Rawlinson raises her hands with excitement after casting her vote at a polling place in Columbia, South Carolina, January 26, 2008. (Chris Keane/Reuters))

The Bush administration really tried in Pakistan

I hate stories like this. Without the context of the sourcing, this may sound very different than what it really is.
The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretly to Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allow the Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are all active, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.

Were these leakers giving the NYTimes a scoop or is this an authorized "leak" intended to inoculate against the inevitable charges of inaction when a much weaker plan actually takes shape?
Instead, Pakistan and the United States are discussing a series of other joint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions by armed Predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifying ways that the United States can speed information about people suspected of being militants to Pakistani security forces, officials said.

So, instead of US strike teams and commitments of action, Pakistan is going to continue to ignore US intel that will now be supplied more quickly.

It sure is a good thing I was told by the NYTimes that the Bush administration tried to do more to stop Al Qaeda.

But the Clinton's aren't playing the race card......

The Clinton spin out of South Carolina,
"They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender. That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here," the former president said at one stop as he campaigned for his wife, strongly suggesting that blacks would not support a white alternative to Obama.

Clinton campaign strategists denied any intentional effort to stir the racial debate. But they said they believe the fallout has had the effect of branding Obama as "the black candidate," a tag that could hurt him outside the South.

Did you get that? The Clinton's aren't playing the race card, but the former President repeated claims that his white wife had no chance of winning in SC, and the Clinton campaign is trumpeting to anyone who will listen that Obama is "the black candidate."

And, of course, the from nowhere reference to Jesse Jackson. (video)

I'm sorry, I know this is going to generate argument, but after all the focus on race in the past ten days, you have to figure that the spin shop pushing "black candidate" is part of the plan and that Bill Clinton is politically savvy enough that his comments can't really be called unintentional.

(Later: When talking about Obama's lower polling among whites, why is no one pointing out that we're talking about South Carolina, a state not without a racial history? Obama polled just fine among whites in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Of course, if the Clinton plan is just to take away the value and momentum of Obama's victory, you could argue that it's working. Look what I'm writing about.)

Later Still: The panel on Meet the Press savaged the Clinton's for all this.

Picture of the Day

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)