Here are some of the latest primary state polls:
In Michigan, Howard Dean has 21 percent, with Wesley Clark getting 15 percent, and Dick Gephardt and John Kerry tied with 13 percent. Joe Lieberman has 12 percent. Two quick points: First, these are pretty bad numbers for Gephardt who should be in a stronger position in this state. The second point is that Michigan is a caucus state this year, not a primary. So, this polling data may not represent those who will really participate in the caucus. I wonder if all the Dean yuppies are going to be patient enough to sit around through a caucus process. The poll was conducted by EPIC/MRA.
In Connecticut, Lieberman's home state, the conservative senator has a solid lead: Lieberman 33 percent, Dean 17 percent, and Kerry and Clark tied with 14 percent. Quinnipiac University did the poll. As an aside, it would be interesting to see how Kerry is doing in his home state of Massachusetts or Dean in Vermont. I know that Channel 7/Suffolk University did a poll last year which showed President George W. Bush winning Mass., although that is highly unlikely.
The latest from American Research Group in New Hampshire shows Dean with a solid 10 point lead. Kerry is second with 19 percent, and Gephardt and Lieberman are tied with 6 percent.
Down in the south, Alabama specifically, Clark leads with 13 percent, Gephardt at 11 percent, with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Lieberman tied with 9 percent. Another decent showing for Sharpton in the south which proves he could be a small factor in the race. Also, the Alabama primary is late this year, June 1, so the results could be different.
Friday's debate in Arizona didn't change any impressions about the candidates. With nine candidates and stiff limits on responses, no format seems to warrant anything but a soundbite discussion. The debates should include all the candidates but the formats need to be changed to allow each candidate a chance to respond. I would like to see longer debates and a less strict format so the candidates can really go at each other a bit. This is the only way any of the candidates are going to be able to break out of the pack.
David Bernstein, one of the new political reporters at the Boston Phoenix, has a pretty good take on the debate: ["The Arizona debate"].
"Nine Democratic candidates for President took the stage to debate in Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday night, and the clear winner was . . . Bill Clinton."Ugh. But, he is right in some respects. The Democrats need to use the Clinton economy against Bush/Cheney. Also, I agree with Bernstein - and others like Ellen Ratner, Jim Pinkerton, Bill Schneider, and David Gergen - that Gephardt performed very well in the debate.
Here are some highlights from AP: ["Democrats Debate Excerpts"].
However, the Kucinich folks have some complaints. According to analysis done by Hotline/National Journal and forwarded by the campaign, Kucinich received the least amount of air time:
Candidate Amount Of Talk Time During the Debate
Dean 14 min 07 seconds
Kerry 12 min 31 seconds
Clark 10 min 36 seconds
Gephardt 10 min 02 seconds
Lieberman 9 min 26 seconds
Braun 8 min 39 seconds
Sharpton 8 min 28 seconds
Edwards 8 min 00 seconds
Kucinich 5 min 09 seconds
The campaigns reaction:
"At the debate, Congressman Kucinich stood out, expressing some of the clearest and sharpest distinctions between himself and other candidates, and receiving applause for his comments. It is safe to assume that his impact would have been even greater had he been given more than 36 percent of the time given to Gov. Dean."Rush, Part 2
Well, the Limboob admitted it yesterday, he is a pill-popping junkie and he is checking himself into rehab: ["Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories"]. There has been a whole lot of conversation about this. The best was last night's Howie Carr program on WRKO in Boston where he viciously - and correctly - laid into his colleague as a hypocrite. It was classic Carr; and the Rush faithful talk-Nazis were furious, making excuses for the Limboob's behavior and how he should be coddled. Carr smartly chastised the callers as hypocrites as well, since most of them walk the "tough on crime" line.
More than likely, Limboob - with a flank of expensive lawyers - will escape prosecution and justice will not be served. However, we can only hope that this latest incident and the probability that another rich person, guilty of a crime, whobwill probably not serve any time, will allow the American people to have a serious discussion about drug decriminalization and prision furloughs for people who did a fraction of what Rush did but received unbelievably stiff sentences in an effort to fight a losing war on drugs.
Many of us are waiting to see what sounds like an amazing film about the last days of Jesus Christ created by Mel Gibson. However, due to perceptions about the film, Gibson has been unable to find a distributor. However, it looks like Gibson will distribute the film himself: ["Mel Gibson's New 'Passion' Is Robert Downey Jr."].
One last note on the Cali recall
This is a great piece from the liberal Orange County Weekly, sent by SalterSue, about why the Democrats are to blame for the recall: ["Blame the Democrats"]. Sue also notes the weekly shockingly promoted conservative Tom McClintock, calling him honest: ["The Case for Governor Tom McClintock"].