Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The southern California wildfires are shown in this satellite image provided by NASA on October 23, 2007. Wildfires burned unchecked today in southern California with hundreds of thousands of people forced to evacuate, and at least 700 homes destroyed. REUTERS/NASA/Handout (UNITED STATES)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
HILLARY CLINTON, HORSERACE
Poll Watch: Looking at Rasmussen's Numbers In Ohio and Michigan
A fan of Fred notices that not only is Thompson starting to creep up on Giuliani as being seen by Republican voters as "the most electable" candidate, that phenomenon can be seen in a key state.
Rasmussen's latest numbers in Ohio have some bright spots for Thompson, and generally a better outlook for the GOP than one might expect:
Forty-eight percent (48%) of Ohio voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton while 50% have a negative view.
On the Republican side, McCain is viewed favorably by 54%. Favorables for both Giuliani and Thompson total 53% while Romney earns positive reviews from 43%. Just 38% have an unfavorable view of Thompson while negative ratings for the other GOP candidates are in the low-to-mid forties...
Rudy Giuliani and John McCain both “lead” Clinton in Ohio by a statistically insignificant two percentage point margin. Fred Thompson is tied with the Democratic frontrunner while Clinton leads Mitt Romney by eight points.
In Michigan, however, Rasmussen has blah news for all the candidates:
Clinton leads Rudy Giuliani in Michigan by nine points (47% to 38%) and holds a thirteen point margin over Thompson (50% to 37%). Those margins are unchanged since August. Two other Republicans, John McCain and Mitt Romney, have gained a bit of ground but still trail Clinton by seven.
Clinton is viewed favorably by 54%, a figure none of the Republicans can match in Michigan. Giuliani and McCain each get positive reviews from 49% of the state’s voters, Romney from 46%, and Thompson from 42%. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Michigan voters know that Romney’s father was once Governor of their state. Only 16%, however, say that’s more likely to make them vote for the younger Romney.
Wasn't Michigan supposed to be Romney's second home state?
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 9:23 AM
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 9:20 AM
Here's Mitt Romney's new ad, "Business World," highlighting the candidate's business experience:
Smart. Romney should be doing this more often. He gets battered by conservatives rightly suspicious of his ideological credentials. He should be reminding them that he's also a guy who's seen results in the real world.
More videos in the Vlog.
GOP Narrows Its Scope
Posted by REID WILSON | E-Mail This | Permalink | Email Author
Back to something we touched on briefly in Morning Thoughts: How are campaigns deciding where to put their resources? Recent trends and FEC filings show a pretty clear-cut picture, and while no campaign will admit to pulling out of an important primary state, some candidates are barely investing in what they think would be a lost cause for them.
The Des Moines Register has an important breakdown of how campaigns are spending their time and money in Iowa these days. Mitt Romney, polling first with 26.3% in the latest RCP Iowa Average, 11 points higher than Fred Thompson and 12.5 points higher than Mike Huckabee, has clearly invested the most in the state. He has by far the most staff, 67 (next highest number: Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, with 12 each) has run the only television ads, and has won the most state legislator endorsements, at 15.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 9:16 AM
Huckabee outrunning his GOP companions
By Scot Lehigh, Globe Columnist October 24, 2007
THE BEST description of what's happening with Mike Huckabee may just be the old joke about the two lawyers who are out on a hike when they startle a large bear. The first lawyer whips open his briefcase, removes a pair of running shoes, and puts them on.
"Do you really think you can outrun the bear?" the second asks.
His companion offers this, ah, grizzly reply: "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."
Outrunning one's companions has long been the challenge for the second-tier presidential candidates in this large Republican field. It's a challenge Huckabee has steadily met. Consider the way things are breaking for this latest aspirant from Hope, Ark.
Last week, the campaign bear, having already devoured Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thompson, pounced upon Sam Brownback.
The departure of the conservative Kansan gives Huckabee, a Baptist minister by training, a clearer path to court religious voters.
On Friday, the former Arkansas governor got a favorable column from David Brooks, the New York Times's influential conservative. On Saturday, Huckabee finished close behind Mitt Romney in a straw poll of the Values Voter Summit, a group of Christian conservatives.
Meanwhile, a recent Rasmussen survey has him tied for second with Fred Thompson in Iowa, with neither far behind Romney.
Watching him on the stump, it's easy to see why Huckabee is winning notice. Down to earth and likable, he's also an engaging speaker, both smart and funny. And he seems more aware than his Republican rivals that the economy isn't working for everyone.
As a man who dropped more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003, he incorporates an unusual pitch into his speech: Americans need more exercise and better health habits.
But beneath his folksy veneer is the rhetorical ability, and the carefully honed arguments, of a trained seminarian.
To my eye, both he and Ron Paul, the Texas congressman, have the potential to surprise in the Granite State.
Paul's appeal is that he's a different kind of Republican, one willing to break with party orthodoxy and declare the Iraq war a mistake.
Huckabee, who says we must persevere in Iraq, resists saying the same.
"Just because we didn't find them [weapons of mass destruction] doesn't mean they're not there," he said in an interview, speculating, among other things, that they might have been secreted away to Syria. (The Iraq Survey Group found no evidence of that.)
As a candidate, he's feuded with the antitax zealots at the Club for Growth over his fiscal record in Arkansas, which included higher taxes. "Governors have to govern," he tells me. "You don't get the luxury of being a pure ideologue."
So why has he signed a pledge never to raise the income tax? Because he supports a consumption tax - the so-called Fair Tax - to replace the income tax altogether, he explains. It's a big idea, and one that will come under scrutiny if his candidacy grows.
And well it may: Follow Huckabee for a morning and you quickly conclude that, lackluster fund-raising notwithstanding, his stock has been badly undervalued.
But what does he say to voters who, after suffering through George W. Bush, a president whose stubborn certitude seems rooted in part in his religious beliefs, have grown wary of religion in politics?
"I don't think they're electing me to be their pastor," he says, "but I don't think they're offended by the fact that I have deep convictions." He continues: "What I find about New Hampshire people is, what they want is authenticity. If they don't agree with me, they at least want to know that I'm going to stand flat-footed and say, OK, don't agree with me, but here I am. They like that."
Do they really? One might well respect Huckabee's sincerity, but if you are a moderate Republican or an independent who, say, favors a change of course in Iraq or abortion rights or gun control or fair treatment for gays and lesbians, Huckabee is unlikely to become your candidate.
Still, the other side of that non-equivocation equation should help him. In a field where the leading candidates have thus far proved unpalatable or unconvincing to the Republican base, Huckabee is a true believer, a committed, consistent conservative.
Now that he's outrun his second-tier rivals, don't be surprised to see his candidacy take off.
Scot Lehigh's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 1:26 AM
By GLEN JOHNSON – 6 hours ago
GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) — In a slip of the tongue, Republican Mitt Romney accused Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama of urging terrorists to congregate in Iraq.
In the midst of criticizing Obama and other Democrats on foreign and economic policy Tuesday, the GOP presidential hopeful said:
"Actually, just look at what Osam — Barack Obama — said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. ... It's almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded."
Romney apparently was referring to an audiotape aired Monday in which a speaker believed to be terrorist Osama bin Laden called for insurgents in Iraq to unite and avoid divisions. The authenticity of the tape aired on Al-Jazeera television could not be immediately confirmed.
Romney was addressing a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Spokesman Kevin Madden said: "He misspoke. He was referring to the audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke. It was just a mix-up."
Romney's campaign refused to make him available later at either of his final two stops to discuss the matter.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe."
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 1:24 AM
Presidential Hopefuls Wives Trade Tales
By BETH FOUHY – 5 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — The wives of five 2008 presidential hopefuls on Tuesday traded tales of juggling their kids, marriages and self-esteem in the maelstrom of a national campaign.
Republicans Cindy McCain, Jeri Thompson and Ann Romney joined Democrats Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards at the California Women's Conference, an annual gathering in Long Beach hosted by Maria Shriver, the state's first lady. Shriver, a former television news anchor, moderated the panel.
Political differences scarcely were mentioned during the hourlong discussion as they described how they keep up a grueling schedule of campaign appearances while trying to preserve time with their children and protect their husbands from overzealous handlers.
They held hands and exchanged hugs as the panel concluded.
All said they had little input on policy matters. And they largely rejected the notion made famous by Bill Clinton in the 1992 campaign when he described his partnership with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as "Buy one, get one free."
Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic front-runner and only woman in the presidential contest, was never mentioned. Her husband, the former president, did not attend the spouses' panel, but Shriver joked that she had invited him to serve coffee. Also absent was Republican Rudy Giuliani's wife, Judith.
Thompson, a former Republican party strategist and wife of GOP contender Fred Thompson, dismissed widely reported accounts of her heavy involvement in his campaign.
"I have a 1-year-old ... I also have a 4-year-old. That's my main role," Thompson said. "Other than that, I do what I can to help. But I'm not even qualified enough to do any of the other stuff."
Obama, a lawyer and vice president of the University of Chicago hospital system, said she often discusses policy issues with her husband, Democrat Barack Obama. But she said he ultimately keeps his own counsel on such matters.
"In the end, I go to my job and I make decisions on my job and those are my decisions. He goes to his job and makes the decisions on his job. And I would like to think that he had the good sense to understand that usually I am correct," she said to laughs and applause.
Edwards and McCain were the panel's campaign veterans, having been at their husbands' side in previous presidential efforts. Republican John McCain lost George W. Bush in the 2000 GOP primaries, while John Edwards lost the Democratic nomination to John Kerry in 2004 before becoming Kerry's running mate.
McCain, for her part, marveled at the "absolute wonder and beauty" of the campaign experience and how much it had helped her relationship with her husband.
"It's just the two of us," McCain said. "We're close friends, we are our worst critics and our best friends. He advises me on everything, I advise him on everything ... You need a friend, a booster, and he is definitely there."
Edwards, who has incurable breast cancer, was asked what dreams she had been forced to put on hold for the campaign.
She described how she had looked forward to walking with her husband through the woods near their North Carolina home once the campaign was over. Her illness had caused her to rethink those plans, she said.
"John didn't take it away from me. Fate took it away from me," she said.
Romney, the wife of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, said the life of a campaign spouse is simply a magnified version of what many women struggle with each day. She acknowledged Edwards' breast cancer and noted that she suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"At some point, our bodies, as women, finally say 'Uncle,'" Romney said. I truly believe because we are juggling so many balls all the time, and trying to keep it together, we forget to take care of ourselves."
On the Net:
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 1:20 AM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
McCain says he wants to shoot Osama
ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain told workers of small weapons factory that he not only wants to catch Osama Bin Laden if elected, but said he "will shoot him with your products".
"I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products," McCain said.
McCain told reporters afterward he was joking when he made the comment at Thompson Center Arms in Rochester.
"I certainly didn't mean I would actually shoot him. I am certainly angry at him, but I was only speaking in a way that was trying to emphasize my point," McCain said. "I would not shoot him myself."
Posted by James Pindell at 03:44 PM