BlogNetNews' Blogosphere Influence Rating combines a variety of data sets to determine which blogs are most powerfully influencing the direction of the Utah political blogosphere. The exact method BNN uses to calculate influence scores must remain proprietary in order to prevent attempts to game the system. BNN's methodology takes into account the fact that all Internet data is profoundly limited in its reliability by using multiple data sets that, when combined, reveal a fair picture of activity in the blogosphere.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Going for broke in New Hampshire
By Scot Lehigh, Globe Columnist | October 31, 2007
ing to be a duel to the death between John McCain and Mitt Romney. But now, Rudy Giuliani is about to attempt a campaign coup: Dealing a stunning setback to both those rivals by winning the nation's first primary himself.
From today's vantage point, you can divide the top four Republican contenders into two categories: Those who have to win New Hampshire and those who can survive without a victory here. Put Romney and McCain in the first group, Giuliani and Fred Thompson in the second.
New Hampshire is absolutely vital to Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is not just a Granite State neighbor, but a vacation homeowner. And, as Romney senior adviser Tom Rath notes, Romney's strategy is "premised on doing as well as we can as early as we can to build momentum," then riding that momentum as the process unfolds.
That's why Romney has invested so heavily here. When he officially filed for the primary Monday, Romney unveiled an endorsement he hopes will help cement a win: that of Judd Gregg, the state's senior senator.
New Hampshire is also a must-win state for McCain, however. The Arizona senator won convincingly here against George W. Bush in 2000. This time around, with his fund-raising flagging, McCain has been reduced to running an early-state effort. With little going in Iowa, New Hampshire is his best chance to launch his formerly front-running campaign back into national orbit.
But in addition to Romney, the two top-tier candidates who don't need a New Hampshire victory were both here Monday - and both sense opportunity.
It's Giuliani who smells it most keenly. Until recently, the former New York City mayor has been focused more on the big states that hold contests on Feb. 5.
That's why one couldn't help but notice that, after spending Sunday and Monday in the state, Giuliani plans to return today - and then again on Friday. Why? Sources in his camp confirm that he now believes he can win here.
Part of it is a sense that Romney has reached a saturation point, and may just prove too slick to stick in New Hampshire. Although he has spent heavily on television advertising, polls show Romney is not that far ahead of Giuliani, who has yet to take to the tube. And though McCain has stabilized his standing, doubts remain about whether he can really regain enough ground to prevail.
Thus the opportunity Giuliani will seek to seize.
"The goal is to be competitive in New Hampshire, but if in fact Rudy could win, that would be a bonus," says former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci, a senior Giuliani adviser. "It would really upset the Romney strategy - and it would not be helpful to McCain, either."
What a bit of understatement that is. If Giuliani could make primary day Rudy Tuesday, it would deal a devastating blow to both Romney and McCain.
And then there's Thompson. He has visited New Hampshire only four times so far, but on Monday he was pledging to be back often.
So far, Thompson's strength lies in southern states like South Carolina, where several polls have shown him with a small lead, and Florida, where he's second.
The former Tennessee senator has had little going here, however.
Still, his campaign is hoping for a showing that could provide a bridge to South Carolina on Jan. 19. Finishing, say, second in Iowa and third here would do that, his team thinks.
Judging from Thompson's events on Monday, he has a long way to go. The low-key candidate deals mostly in folksy platitudes, with little by way of specifics or applause lines. An underwhelming example: Speaking of the need to "re-emphasize management," he told a crowd of Northeast Delta Dental employees in Concord: "We've got to . . . put the M back in OMB." Now there's a slogan to make the Republican heart race!
Still, the campaign thinks it has found an issue to use against both Romney and McCain: illegal immigration. Unlikely as it might seem, that has emerged as a charged concern among Republicans here. Look for Thompson to hit it harder in the weeks ahead.
So despite New Hampshire's perpetual worry about its influence being encroached upon, the Republican contest here is shaping up to be more than just an important contest. It may well be the defining event.
Scot Lehigh's e-mail address is email@example.com.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 1:26 AM
Electing a president: A question of experience
by Mark Silva
Rudy Giuliani, the front-running Republican candidate for president, had questioned what credentials Hillary Clinton, the front-running Democrat, has to serve as president in the last debate of the Republican candidates.
Tonight, in a Democratic debate, it was not Clinton, but rather one of her rivals, arguing -- forcefully -- that Giuliani is the one who is "genuinely not qualified to be president.''
At a Fox News-sponsored debate earlier this month, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York (pictured right), had said: "I don't know Hillary's experience. She's never run a city. She's never run a state. She's never run a business. She's never met a payroll. She's never been responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much less even hundreds of people.''
"The irony is Rudy,'' Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware (pictured below) said in tonight's debate. "Rudy Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency (and this stirred laughter and applause) is here talking about any of the people here.
"Rudy Giuliani. I mean, think about it. Rudy Giuliani,'' Biden said. "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.
"I mean, there's nothing else.
"There's nothing else,'' Biden said. "And I mean it sincerely. He is genuinely not qualified to be president.''
Easy for Biden to say, the Giuliani camp said tonight -- "Sen. Biden has never run anything but his mouth.''
"The good senator is quite correct that there are many differences between Rudy and him,'' Giuliani spokeswoman Katie Levinson said tonight. "For starters, Rudy rarely reads prepared speeches and when he does he isn’t prone to ripping off the text from others. And, Sen. Biden certainly falls in to the bucket of those on the stage tonight who have never had executive experience and have never run anything. Wait, I take that back, Senator Biden has never run anything but his mouth.
“Such a desperate attack from Sen. Biden is to be expected considering I – Katie Levinson – have a better chance of becoming president than he does.”
Clinton was asked tonight how she responds to Giuiliani's criticism.
"Well, I think the kind of experience that the Republican nominees are exhibiting is the kind of experience we don't need,'' she said.
"And I think my experience of 35 years as an advocate for children and families, as a citizen activist, as someone who helped to ring educational reform and health care reform to Arkansas, bringing the Children's Health Insurance Program to fruition during the years in the White House, my time in the Senate, I think my experience on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- but it's really about what's at stake in this election and who can deliver the change that we all know this country desperately needs.
"And in a perverse way,'' she said, "I think that, you know, the Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrates clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president.''
Sen. Barack Obama was asked, "What specifically is your relevant experience for being president?''
"The experience I have in politics is primarily legislative, but here's the experience that I think the next president needs,'' Obama said. "I think the next president has to be able to get people to work together to get things done even when they disagree, and I've done that.
"You know, when I was in Illinois we brought police officers and civil rights advocates together to reform a death penalty system that had sent 13 innocent men to death row, and we ended up passing it unanimously, even though originally people had said it couldn't be done,'' the Illinois senator and former state legislator said.
"I also think it is critical for the next president to be experienced to stand up to special interests. I'm glad Hillary's talking about it, but I'm the only person on this stage who has worked actively just last year passing -- along with Russ Feingold -- some of the toughest ethics reforms since Watergate -- making sure that lobbyists could not provide gifts and meals to congressman, making sure the bundling of monies by lobbyists was disclosed.''
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 12:36 AM