Saturday, January 31, 2004

Let Ralph decide

How quickly we forget or revise our history for the sake of convenience and political expedience.
The latest revision of history is about the 2000 election and whether or not Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader cost Vice President Al Gore the presidency. For the last three years, the press and Democratic political figures have been attacking Nader, the Green Party, and millions of voters for the election of President George W. Bush. On talk shows, in columns, in newspaper editorials, and letters to the editor, the mantra has been the same - Nader cost Gore the election.
Sure, some smart Democrats admit that their candidate had major flaws: Gore huffing and puffing through the first debate and blowing his lead, that his running mate was too conservative and alienated young voters, that maybe they should have requested recounting the entire state of Florida instead of a few select counties, that maybe they shouldn’t have approved the "butterfly ballot" system which confused so many of the elderly voters, that maybe they should have made better petitions before the Supreme Court who later stopped the counts and awarded the state to Bush, etc. Whole books have been written on the subject, barely touching on Nader’s role in the race. Instead, many of these books have touched upon the Republicans and what they did and how the Democrats failed to counter effectively. However, the truth of the matter is quickly forgotten and the mantra remains.
Well, Nader is hinting at another run and people are freaking out again. Take The Nation magazine.
The weekly of the upper-crusted progressive elite wrote an editorial letter to Ralph Nader begging him not to run ["An Open Letter to Ralph Nader"]. Here is an important quote from the request:
"But when devotion to principle collides with electoral politics, hard truths must be faced. Ralph, this is the wrong year for you to run: 2004 is not 2000. George W. Bush has led us into an illegal pre-emptive war, and his defeat is critical. Moreover, the odds of this becoming a race between Bush and Bush Lite are almost nil. For a variety of reasons--opposition to the war, Bush's assault on the Constitution, his crony capitalism, frustration with the overcautious and indentured approach of inside-the-Beltway Democrats--there is a level of passionate volunteerism at the grassroots of the Democratic Party not seen since 1968."
What are they on, drugs?
As I write this, Mass. Sen. John Kerry is the Democratic frontrunner for the 2004 nomination. Kerry has co-opted some of his opponent’s rhetoric and pushed himself forward as a champion of working folks and a fighter against the special interests. But nothing could be further from the truth (Check out my quick overview of Kerry's career in this column: ["The Kerry choke?"] ).
The similarities between Bush and Kerry are actually downright scary.
Kerry voted for the "illegal pre-emptive war" The Nation and many others are so upset about. He fell for what looks like a lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the definite falsehood that Saddam Hussein - contained between the 33rd and 36th parallel - was an imminent threat to the United States. Kerry assisted in President Bush's - and President Bill Clinton's - "assault on the Constitution" by voting for the PATRIOT Act and voting for the anti-terrorism bill in 1996. Kerry also voted for Bush's unfunded federal education mandate "No Child Left Behind." "Crony capitalism"? You mean like NAFTA, GATT/WTO, PMFN for China, hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare every year, IMF/World Bank’s enslavement of the Third World, all supported by Kerry?
I wonder if The Nation is talking about beating Bush or questioning Kerry’s impending nomination. The Democrats are on the verge of nominating a flip-flopping hypocrite. With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans? At least with Nader - and other independent candidates - voters have the choice.
On Friday, Jan. 30, the day after The Nation posted its letter, Arnie Arnesen, a Concord, NH-based talk show host, interviewed Katrina Van den Heuvel, an editor at The Nation, where she repeated her mantra that 2004 is not a year to be concentrating on progressive movements or reform, but instead to beat Bush. To some extent, she is right. We all know how bad Bush has been for the nation, for the workers, and for the world. But then what? Do we return to the Clinton years - a fake economic boom based on dot-cons and Wall Street swindles and millions of decent wage, low skill jobs lost to cheap labor overseas? I think not. While we can't afford four more years of Bush's "friendly fascism," we can't afford four more years of Clinton's America either.
And where is this "level of passionate volunteerism at the grassroots of the Democratic Party"? This is a huge stretch. Yes, there was a lot of passion and excitement in Howard Dean’s campaign at the beginning. There was enthusiasm about the Internet fund-raising, the holistic environment of the campaign organization, and the dynamic message of the candidate. But in the late stages, his campaign was endorsed by the insiders, became mired in negativity, and his super-organization collapsed from the weight of its own cluelessness at how to run a winning campaign. Thousands of young Deaniacs may eventually be brought into the party fold at the end of the nominating process. But this remains to be seen. Two defeats, $40 million dollars, and the "air of inevitability" of Dean's nomination and the chance of having a vibrant Democratic nominee, are all but gone. Many Deaniacs are furious at how the Democratic Party establishment hijacked their movement. Do you really think they will support the nominee or stay home? That's a crapshoot.
Technically, the collapse of the Dean campaign isn't all his or the inexperienced campaign's fault.
The voters of Iowa and New Hampshire were manipulated by the national press corps and the corporate media into abandoning the candidate closest to their views for the candidate the insiders think can win. Frankly, it is amazing how often we see this happen in politics. It seems like every time the Democrats get close to nominating a candidate who doesn't just talk about reform, but threatens action, the insiders swoop down and crush the movement with a big smile on their faces.
The high turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire - where tens of thousands of unexpected voters flooded to the polls - shows a fear of the future that we have not seen since 1992. In that election cycle, Clinton was elected with a mandate. The people were motivated by hope [who later turned out to be the Dope from Hope] and then saw their interests sold down the river as Clinton saddled himself onto the laps of the Republicans. We all know what happened next - a midterm congressional sweep by Republicans in 1994, no health care plan, hapless Democrats who refused to fight or squealed about useless issues, and so on.
Whether The Nation realizes this or not, the candidate who inspired the "passionate volunteerism" they so commend, has been replaced in the primaries by the "inside-the-Beltway" Democrat. As noted above, Kerry is very similar to Bush. Eight years of similarities between Clinton and the Republicans is what gave us the Nader effort in the first place in 2000 and then, at least in false theory, Bush. Do we really want to go through this again?
However, would a 2004 race by Nader be a repeat of the 2000 race? Before assessing the 2004 race, an accurate look at the 2000 campaign is needed.
Many people - from Ronnie Dugger in The Nation on Nov. 14, 2002 ["Ralph, don't run"] to Paul Begala on CNN's "Crossfire" on Jan. 5, 2004 [Transcript] - have blamed Nader's strong showing in New Hampshire for Gore's loss. If Gore had won the state's four Electoral College votes, he would have won the presidency, with or without Florida. But if you knew what happened here in New Hampshire, you would understand that Gore was never going to win New Hampshire and the data reflects this fact.
Nader garnered more than 22,000 votes in New Hampshire but a lot of these votes came from registered Republicans. Exit polls on Election Day showed that Nader took more votes from Republicans than Democrats in New Hampshire, by a two-to-one margin. CNN's polling data showed that if both Nader and Pat Buchanan had not run, the results in NH would have been Bush 48 percent, Gore 47 percent, with 4 percent not voting. A post election analysis by UNH Survey Research Center showed Nader's support was evenly split down the middle between Bush and Gore. Nader also received the support of seven municipal officials, all Republicans, including the mayor of Rochester. The campaign also had a lot of conservative supporters, including the Claremont coordinator for Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes. For every crunchy granola-type lefty that might have gone for Gore, there were just as many guys with gun racks in their pickup trucks and Nader signs on their roofs. Even more people would have stayed home. Those votes were never going to go to Gore.
The major attraction to Nader in the state was similar to the attraction voters had to Sen. John McCain in the Republican primaries, something that has been completely ignored by people who have no idea about what went on in New Hampshire in the field. Voter after voter after voter said they were furious with the similarities between Bush and Gore and the special interests that controlled both major political parties. Nader was running on a reform agenda and has a history of getting support from Republicans in the past, including over 3,200 write-in votes on the Republican ballot - more than he received on the Democratic ballot - in 1992. In fact, in 2000, Nader proved that he can take away votes from the Republican nominee, assumed to be Bush. With Bush spending out-of-control, deficits rising, body bags coming home from Iraq, Republicans, who would never vote for a Democrat, might again return to a Nader vote as an act of protest.
None of this analysis takes into account the vicious and negative campaign waged by local and national Democrats which backfired on them in a huge way. Since New Hampshire was a state in play, the Democratic National Committee bombarded us with negativity - color brochures suggesting that Bush and local Republicans would force women into back alley abortions, etc., something that three years later has never happened. There was another very powerful mailer showing the locked fence at a closed factory, warning voters that they didn't want to go back to the bad old days when factories were being closed. Well guess what? Most of the factories are already closed and the voters of New Hampshire knew that the Democrats had as much of a role in the loss of factory jobs as Republicans. As well, the Republican campaign waged on the ground accentuated the positive - similar to what Clinton did in 1992 - and they were able to win the state for Bush and hold its two congressional seats.
Dugger and Begala can presume all they want about the results in New Hampshire but I can tell you from being here that Nader didn't cost Gore the state. Gore was never going to win New Hampshire, Nader or no Nader. So please, stop using it as an example.
Now let’s move to Florida, where Nader received over 97,000 votes. Yes, I will admit that maybe Nader not being on the ballot would have helped Gore win. Unlike New Hampshire, the Florida results were much closer.
However, CNN's exit poll showed that if Bush and Gore had been the only candidates, Bush would have taken 49 percent, Gore 47 percent, with 2 percent not voting. The data also showed that Nader took just as many votes from Democrats as he did from Republicans: 1 percent. While there is a good chance that votes for Nader could have gone for Gore, there is no guarantee. And the statistical data that is available proves otherwise.
And what about the other political parties and candidates who were on the ballot in Florida? Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin received 2,281 votes. Worker's World Party candidate Monica Moorehead received 1,804 votes. Socialist David McReynolds received 622 votes - enough votes to guarantee a Gore victory had these people voted for Gore or not been on the ballot. However, no one ever blames them for Gore's loss. Where is the outcry by The Nation and others that the workers, the meditators, and the socialists shouldn't run campaigns themselves? The silence is deafening.
Lastly, if liberal Democrats want someone else to blame for Bush winning, they can look no further than their own party. Again, CNN's exit polling showed that registered Democrats in both New Hampshire (6 percent) and Florida (13 percent) abandoned their own candidate and cast votes for Bush. So again, Democrats conveniently blame Nader for Gore's loss without looking at the role their own party played in the defeat.
Additionally, what have the Democrats done to discourage Nader from running? Yelling and begging at him isn't going to work. In fact, this type of behavior only encourages people.
Since the 2000 election, Nader has met with Democrats about the future. Rep. Dick Gephardt, who was one of the only Democrats to meet with Nader after the 2000 election, called Nader’s run "a terrific campaign," noting the success of Nader's super-rallies.
"Nobody is paying to hear (mainstream Democrats) talk about policy," Gephardt is reported to have told Nader. Part of the appeal, Nader told Gephardt, was that "the Greens actually have a more legitimate platform for the old Democratic Party than the Democratic Party does." ["Savvy Democrats are talking to Nader," April 17, 2001, Capital Times of Madison]. Gephardt, to his credit, seemed to get it.
Recently, Nader reportedly met with DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe in an effort to invigorate the Democrats with a reform agenda and find some common ground. McAuliffe supposedly scoffed at Nader's platform ideas. You can almost hear him in your head: 'No, we can’t do that, we'll lose our big corporate money … but Ralph - gasp - don't cost us the election just because we don't stand for anything.'
However, what did McAuliffe do as a counter-proposal? Did he offer Nader anything for keeping him out of the race? How about the Attorney General's position, for example, where Nader could go after the corrupt and show that a Democratic administration will actually fight for people? How about promoting Instant Runoff Voting [IRV], which would allow the Democrats to receive the number 2s and 3s of Greens and other progressive independents - not be denouncing them - but by working together to solidify and share power. McAuliffe could have said, 'Ralph, if you don't run, I will bust my ass to get IRV implemented in Democratically-controlled state legislatures across the nation and we will move political reform forward, I promise.' Not only would this have guaranteed Greens, progressive independents, and yeah, Democrats, some clout in future elections, it would have been a crowning achievement to Nader's already substantial list of four decades of accomplishment and made McAuliffe look like political reform visionary and hero of the people.
Now granted, there is a limit to what McAuliffe could offer. But did he even try? It doesn't sound like it because Nader is eyeing another run. This is the type of thinking that should have been going on during the last three years at the DNC, The Nation, universities, etc., in an effort to actually improve the life of the body politic in a positive way. Instead, they denigrate and beg and perpetuate the myth that Nader cost the Democrats the presidency in 2000.
In Bedford on Jan. 11 at the "Choosing an Independent President" conference, hundreds of people gave Nader two standing ovations and cheered him constantly during his speech. Nader was coy about a potential run. But after asking, "How do you spoil a system that is spoiled to the core in the first place?" he chastised those who would lecture him about his civil and political rights.
… Civil libertarians on the liberal side, the same kind of civil libertarians that subscribe to The Nation magazine and The Progressive magazine, and who are very proud that they will go to the mat to allow Jesse Helms to run for election and to allow Rush Limbaugh to speak freely, even though they bitterly disagree with them, blithely turn around and say to any independent or third party candidates that they think might takes some votes from them, 'Do not run.' Now its one thing for them to say, 'If you run, I will oppose you, I will argue against you, I will challenge you, I will render a critical judgment' - that's all a robust political exchange. But to keep saying and using those words, 'Do not run,' they are saying to those candidates, 'Do not speak, remain silent, do not use your First Amendment freedom, to enter the electoral arena.' You can say it outside the electoral arena - but not inside the electoral arena. But I don’t see a stop sign for the First Amendment on the boundary between the electoral arena and the civic arena. They should be ashamed of themselves for the way they are behaving, in a censorious manner to try and stifle the very speech that are free to challenge if they had the decency to stop being so censorious. And we ought to make that point again and again. They are using their First Amendment to try to stifle our First Amendment. Because, campaigning for political office is about as fundamental an exercise of free speech that you can imagine. Anyone uses the word 'spoiler,' anyone who uses the words 'do not run,' teach them Civil Liberties 101. Give ‘em a lesson. The last thing we need in this country are tens of thousands of active civil libertarians and progressive people having a double-standard in the way they speak to a Jesse Helms, in contrast to the way they speak to an independent candidate whose views are much more aligned with them otherwise.
Many of Nader's supporters may vote for the Democratic candidate in 2004. The Nation's analysis that Nader's votes could possibly drop from 2.8 million to under 1 million is a safe one. A losing Nader 2004 presidential run - with a Democratic one that also loses - could be a devastating end to his legacy.
While there may be no groundswell of support from the liberal elites or those who opine in the media, there is support at the grassroots, as was seen and heard at the Bedford speech. Admittedly, there isn't as much support as there was in 2000. Nader already knows this. He knows that there is a lot of criticism from the left who are scorning all over the Web, setting up cheesy "RalphDontRun" sites and other nonsense. And without the assistance of numerous Green organizations, it will be much harder for him to gain ballot access for his independent campaign. And that will be the key: If there isn't support to do the hard work, Nader won't get anywhere and the campaign will be over before it starts.
But I would never in a million years tell Ralph he shouldn’t run. It is his decision. However, if he decides to run for president again, Nader will have to make the case to the public that he deserves our votes. If the Democrats or the Republicans want our votes, they will have to earn them too. There should be no assumptions.
In the end, the ball is in the Democrats' court. If they refuse to nominate candidates who offer a real difference to the voters, their chances for victory will be slim - with or without Nader.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The October Surprises?

You know it's coming. You know it is: ["U.S. military 'sure' of catching bin Laden this year"].
But the Democrats seem united in defeating Bush: ["In Full Voice Against Bush"]. Here is a great line here by Blumenthal:
Al Gore chose [Lieberman] as his running mate partly because of this moralistic posturing. His smug cultural conservatism repelled alienated younger voters and sent them in Ralph Nader's direction. Lieberman served almost as a genial sidekick to Dick Cheney in their debate. During the Florida contest he publicly conceded, without ever consulting anyone, the Republicans' fraudulent overseas ballots (the so-called "Thanksgiving stuffing"), which cost Gore the presidency. On election night in New Hampshire, Lieberman called Kerry "out of the mainstream", and for old time's sake attacked "the entertainment industry".
And who could miss this hilarious piece by rightwing hottie Bernadette Malone: ["The Party’s Just Beginning"].
What a difference from the Howard Dean campaign, where you could see the true belief on every volunteer's face. Here at Kerry's party, smirking rich preppie kids — straight out of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue, but clothed — milled around the doorway to the ballroom, visions of their own White House offices dancing in their heads. Burberry scarves, Boston Red Sox baseball caps, trendy eyeglasses probably from Oliver Peoples — I felt like I was at a Boston University tailgate party. Oh, and the smell of beer — every Boston Irish Democrat had driven 45 minutes north to the victory party, and had a drink in hand. (With a name like mine, I can say that.)
"Wait till they find out he's not Irish," a tall gentleman standing next to me said. "They'll all be out of here." He was referring to the fact Kerry pretended to be Irish for more than 20 years in Massachusetts politics, when in truth his family name was "Kohn" and they were Austrian Jews. What a nut-ball thing to do. How embarrassing for the candidate who will likely be the Democratic presidential nominee. Hmmmmm.......
And here's David Corn's view, a last note about New Hampshire: ["Ten Talking Points on New Hampshire"].

Lieberman lands another newspaper endorsement

Joe Lieberman lands the endorsement of the largest Arizona newspaper, the Arizona Republic, which calls on residents to "be bold."
Lieberman embraces the economic and social ideas and ideals that are central to the Democratic Party's middle-class base. It's a base that doesn't erect protectionist barriers to free trade. It understands that a tariff on steel imports places a hidden tax on every refrigerator, on every automobile that an American buys. Lieberman, alone among the Democratic candidates, steadfastly supports the decision to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He defends the selected use of U.S. military power to defend national security and to accomplish moral international goals - in Kuwait in 1991, in Bosnia and Kosovo. Most Americans share that opinion.
Kerry gets two too
The union-busting Detroit Free Press and the Santa Fe New Mexican endorsed Kerry yesterday:
The Democrats need a candidate who can turn the cathode-ray gun on the Republicans… Kerry, a Navy lieutenant, had little time for the long knives wielded among the higher ranks; he was being shot at by snipers along the Mekong River. A Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts attest to his bravery. No Republican of sound mind will call Kerry’s character into question…he offers America’s Democratic majority the best chance of winning the popular – and electoral – vote.
Kerry also has a 2 p.m. "major endorsement" announcement today. Will it be Dick Gephardt?

Arabs back Kucinich
Two-thirds of the Arab-American Political Action Committee voted to endorse Dennis Kucinich: ["Arab-American Political Group Endorses Kucinich"]. Arabs are a large voting bloc in Michigan, a Feb. 3 state.
Many in the community, who supported Bush in 2000, in part based on electability, feel betrayed "and don't want to vote for someone who calls our group terrorists," Siblani said. But once the Democratic candidate is elected, he said the community will throw its support behind him.
The editor of becomes his new press secretary:
Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton were pretty good in the debate last night, with MSNBC's Tom Brokaw actually taking them seriously. Kucinich, who has millions in the bank, seems to be taken the turtle vs. the hare route. If all the other candidates drop out early, he could stay in and reap 20 to 25 percent of future primaries, like Jerry Brown did in 1992. It probably won't win him the nomination, but he could have an impact at the convention.

Dean stays cocky
Victories? We don't need no stinkin' victories: ["Dean Says He Doesn't Need Feb. 3 Victories"] and ["Dean Aims for Delegates and Tries to Calm Donors"]. Technically, he is right. Dean can post second- and third-place finishes in primaries, collect delegates, and still be in the race for the nomination. But if Kerry sweeps and Dean places second or third, there will be problems. And none of them really took on Kerry in the debate last night. Somebody needs to start cutting Kerry in order to weaken him ... and it can't be the Republicans. They only make Kerry look electable.

Greens debate
In some states, the Greens have primary candidates too: ["Green Party candidates find common ground"].

The Kansas City Star posted new polls from Missouri the day before yesterday: John Kerry 25 percent, John Edwards 9 percent, Howard Dean 6 percent, Wesley Clark at 3 percent, Joe Lieberman at 2 percent, with both Dennis Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton at 1 percent. Dick Gephardt is still on the ballot in Missouri and is polling at 3 percent. The rest are undecided.
Survey USA also has a new poll from Missouri: Kerry with 41 percent, Edwards and Dean with 17 percent, and with Clark dropping to 8 percent.
Zogby has a bunch of new polls from Feb. 3 states: Kerry with a solid 45 percent, Edwards at 11, Dean has 9 percent, Lieberman with 4, Clark with 3, Sharpton at 2, and Kucinich at 1 percent. Clark, from neighboring Arkansas, has said he can win in the Midwest. Most of Gephardt's people have gone to Kerry.
But in Oklahoma, Clark does have a lead with 27 percent, Kerry at 19, Edwards close with 17 percent, Dean at 9, Lieberman at 5, Sharpton and Kucinich at 1 percent.
In Arizona, Kerry takes the lead: 38 percent, Clark at 17, Dean at 12, Lieberman and Edwards at 6 percent, Kucinich 2, and Sharpton at 1 percent.
Lastly, from South Carolina, Edwards and Kerry are at the top, 25 to 24 percent, Dean at 9 percent, Clark at 8 percent, and Lieberman and Sharpton at 5 percent.

Other stuff
Weird stuff going on in Oklahoma City bombing case: ["Langan to testify at Nichols trial, name others in OKC bombing"].
Among those Langan said he would implicate are White Aryan Resistance leader Dennis Mahon; a former paramilitary trainer at Elohim City, Andreas Strassmeir; former Aryan Nations leader Mark Thomas; and former ARA members Michael Brescia and Kevin McCarthy.
Maybe they know about John Doe #2. Is he Jose Padilla?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dated Dean, Married Kerry, Woke up with Bush [?!]

This is the counter-bumper sticker slogan promoted by some Howard Dean supporters and you have to wonder if it doesn't make a bit of sense.

Problems with the Dean effort

If anyone didn't believe there were field problems in the Dean camp, check out this story: ["Republican leads local Dean campaign"]. At the same time, the snowball effect starts: ["Kerry Campaign: Dean Is Finished"]. While Dean pulls his ads and takes a gamble: ["Dean Skips Airing Ads in 7 Primary States"].


John Kerry denied this morning that he has received Botox injections which make him look younger: ["WRKO"]. However, Drudge has the shots - and it looks like Botox: ["Before and after"]. And yeah, doctors agree: ["Smooth! Docs Say Senator Kerry Looks Botoxed"].

Oh ... my ... God ...
These guys can't be kicked out of office fast enough: ["US Plans Spring Offensive in Pakistan"].


This has to be a first: ["Short list Republican nomination 2008"]. That's assuming there will be an election in 2008.

Other stuff
In Oklahoma, the Hugo Daily News has endorsed Joe Lieberman.
Here in the heart of Little Dixie, Democrats believe they fall more in the classification of being "Conservative Democrats" than in most Democratic environs. Most aren't impressed with glitz and glitter and will opt for someone with a "down to earth" demeanor and conservative voting record. For that reason, our candidate of choice in the Democratic primary is Joe Lieberman.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What happened in the field?

For readers out there, I thought I would share with you a quick overview of how the field organizations of these campaigns performed in just one neighborhood of one New Hampshire city. Starting over the summer, my household received promotional materials from most of the campaigns and did so up until the Monday night before the primary. Here is some of the analysis:

Door knocking: Despite being just up the road from a relatively affluent - and very walkable - neighborhood, our house was only visited by two campaigns: The Gephardt campaign visited once, with an old guy, and a college student from the south on a Sunday afternoon and the Edwards campaign visited once, delivering a copy of his "Real Solutions" book, on a Monday night before a local book signing promoting his "Four Trials" book.

Events: Over the summer, Dean had one neighborhood event - a meet-and-greet at a local farm - which was attended by about 75 people. However, no one in the neighborhood was notified about the event: No leaflets, no postcards, and no phone calls - a major promotional mistake. I happened to stumble upon it on a Sunday afternoon when I drove by it on my way to a softball game. Gephardt's son Matt had a coffee at a house about a mile from here, discussing health care, and area residents were notified via postcard. Nothing else happened in the neighborhood or if it did, we were not notified.

Mailers: The Kerry campaign sent numerous mailers. The mailers were glossy and issue-oriented, pressing his health care, environmental, and economic platform positions. Most of the mailers were sent during the summer and fall - when he was down in the polls. However, one negative mailer - which attacked Dean and Clark - was mailed a couple of weeks ago, with a newspaper endorsement mailer sent out during the final week. The Clark campaign sent two mailers - one was a personalized postcard from a woman in Arizona, a new phenomenon in campaign mailing strategies, where people from other states write postcards and letters to undecided voters. The other was a four-color platform piece. The Dean campaign sent one glossy mailer in October, a profile piece resembling a Newsweek cover. They did no other mail to our area for the rest of the campaign. Lastly, all the campaigns were using voting lists that were at least three years old, probably bought from a consulting service, and not obtained from local town and city clerk offices and purged by hand. In New Hampshire, the voting lists are a bit different than in other states. In Massachusetts, for example, a candidate can get a free complete CDR of the latest list of voters once a candidate is declared. Whereas here, state-wide lists are not provided to candidates electronically. A candidate either has to buy a list from a company - which may not be a recent list - or go to each individual town and get an electronic list for a payment, usually $25. A state-wide list is available to campaigns but only in paper form, copies of all the state's voter checklists, and the last I heard it was about $1,200. But then, the data from the paper list has to be entered into a computer to be used for mailers or checklists, a daunting task for even a well-organized campaign.

Literature drops: A few campaigns did drop off literature in the neighborhood. Both the Edwards and Gephardt campaigns dropped off literature twice. The Kerry campaign dropped off a CD-Rom with campaign information on it. The Lieberman campaign dropped off a single profile leaflet.

Signs: As the saying goes, signs don't vote, people vote. But signs do show a presence for a campaign. And the signs were plentiful in the neighborhood, especially starting after the holidays. Dean had the most signs up early, peppered around the neighborhood during the summer and fall. Kerry signs started to creep up slowly in late fall. Clark signs also appeared with a handful Edwards signs and one for Kucinich. One Lieberman sign was seen. Some residents swapped their signs, one moving from Kerry to Dean in the last month. Others had dual signs, representing two different views in a household.

What does this all mean?: In a state where retail politics is everything, a lot of the campaigns failed to do the work they needed to do in order to introduce themselves to voters, especially early on, when they had a lot of time. Too much of the New Hampshire focus seemed to be about getting voters to come out and see the candidates, compared to previous campaigns where the candidates went to the voters. Candidates seemed to have an office in every town, whereas in previous years, a campaign might have one or two offices. For Dean, who had numerous offices, this may have spread his organization too thin, with the right hand [Manchester] not knowing what the left hand [Concord], was doing. Too much concentration seemed to be put on having town hall forums and not enough on door-knocking. When a candidate door-knocks a neighborhood, he creates a buzz. Neighbors start talking about the fact that a presidential candidate actually came by and knocked on a door. Bill Bradley was able to do this effectively in 2000, actually reaching out to people on the beach during the summer and visiting people's homes at other times. Sure, a couple of the campaigns started to do this on Monday, when there was nothing left to do. But, the human touch - instead of the rock concert touch - can make a big difference.
Gephardt dropped out after Iowa so what energy his campaign offered here proved irrelevant as the primary approached.
The Clark campaign started too late although finished in a surprising third place. He was completely lost during most of the debates and seemed clueless on most issues.
Lieberman should have done much better here because he is so conservative. While the base of New Hampshire primary voters tends to be more liberal - hence the effectiveness of having Ted Kennedy stump for Kerry - independents seem to be moderate to conservative. Lieberman was able to pull together some McCain independents, but his message did not connect and he came in a distant fifth.
Edwards surged - but he did not have the field organization to assist in controlling and maintaining the surge. Sure, missing third by a few hundred votes is pretty remarkable for a guy who was very low in the polls. Many from the Gephardt organization offered to work for Edwards at the end. But the campaign said they couldn't pay them so they went elsewhere - mainly to Kerry. This was short-sighted by the Edwards camp. There had been rumors that Edwards was already reaching his maximum spending limits in New Hampshire, but I have no idea what he spent this money on.
The Dean campaign failing to inform neighborhood residents about their event was a major problem. If this happened throughout the state, then he potentially missed meeting thousands of voters. The Dean campaign also failed to contact voters via mail in the late stages of the campaign, instead sinking millions in TV ads in the last days of the campaign and handing out 75,000 videos of Dean with his wife. The Dean campaign was different from many campaigns of the past because it was a more holistic environment, as described in a Concord Monitor article. Campaign volunteers were not told to do certain jobs for the candidate. Instead, they were asked what they would like to do for the campaign and then tasks were created based on the interests of the volunteer. The organization was also said to be more group-think and not top-down leadership. While this is an interesting way to keep volunteers plugged in and can accentuate the best abilities of different people, a campaign also has to make sure the hard work of winning gets done. If everyone wants to noodle on a blog, organize a Meet-up that turns into a fan club meeting and not a serious organizational meeting, or work on a Web site, but not do lit drops or make phone calls, a campaign will be doomed. At the end, the UAW, SEIU and others tried to kick the old-style campaign into gear, enough so that a whole second building was rented to coordinate the volunteers and phone banks. Unfortunately for the insurgent, it was too little, too late. Karen Hicks, a protege of former NH-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, should be commended for taking a no-name governor, from a very small state to a second-place finish.
Three weeks ago, Kerry looked dead. But with the help of Shaheen, a master organizer in New Hampshire, he was able to turn it around. The bumper sticker slogan "Dated Dean, Married Kerry" seemed laughable in December. But it will be remembered for years to come. Also, hundreds of Massachusetts residents and political operatives spent a lot of time here doing work. These guys are fierce campaign operatives. They know how to win campaigns. They know how to play a hand. And they know all the tricks - dirty and clean - of politics. But Kerry also had some help - a lot of help - from the national press corps - and the elites of the Democratic Party - who manipulated the national press corps into challenging the validity of Dean. The result was instilling fear into the voter that Dean couldn't beat President Bush. Sure, Dean probably shouldn't have screeched during his third place speech in Iowa. But Kerry has some major flaws that haven't been looked at. And these elitists could be leading the party down a dangerous path.
Take one example: Massachusetts Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh, who is a partner at the Dewey Square Group, is a FoxNews political analyst. The Dewey Square Group is Michael Whouley's firm. Whouley is Kerry's field organizer. So when Marsh is spinning about Kerry looking presidential on TV, she is benefitting her business partner, with no disclaimer about her financial ties by FoxNews. This isn't unusual over at FoxNews. Bill Kristol is an analyst, even though he was one of the architects of the Iraqi invasion plan through his thinktank, the Project for a New American Century. It isn't like FoxNews has 20 million viewers either. So, the manipulation is limited. But the newsmakers, the junkies, and the influential watch the news channels. And they regurgitate the spin - even if they may not know where it is coming from or who is behind it.
The footnote of the New Hampshire 2004 primary will not be about field organization, candidate missteps or public policy positions. What will be remembered about this race is the manipulation of New Hampshire voters through tracking polls after the Iowa Caucus results and the voters' obsession with beating President Bush in the final election.
Now, on to the south and west. gets it wrong was one of the go-to sites during the New Hampshire Primary.
In the early stages of the campaign, the site kept track of how candidates were faring with the state's power elite. A tally board of endorsements was posted, with candidate ups and downs. But by the fall, the site shifted from gossipy content to hard news content, with numerous reports from the field. And they, well, mainly one guy, James Pindell, did a pretty good job. However, on the newspaper endorsements page, they got it all wrong.
According to the site, Wesley Clark and John Kerry each received five endorsements, Joe Lieberman received three, Howard Dean and John Edwards each received one: ["Endorsements"]. But while looking at the actual endorsements offered by newspapers, Dean received nine endorsements, not one.
The publisher of Salmon Press, a chain of eight newspapers, endorsed Dean for each newspaper. In one of the newspapers, the Berliner Reporter, the editor endorsed Edwards. In another, the Carroll County Independent, the editor endorsed Kerry. But didn't post the publisher's endorsement, only the editor's endorsements. When informed of the inaccurate information via email, did not make a correction.
Bias? Manipulation? Against Dean? Who knows. But whatever the reason, the site gave a false impression about the endorsements and left a gray mark on an otherwise excellent political site.

Apologies to the normal
First, it was MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Now, a columnist in Texas: ["Difference between us and Dean? Not a whole yell of a lot"].
We who work in the news media owe Howard Dean an apology about the way we reported his primal scream during the past week. We are responsible for a grave injustice.
No kidding. The media throttled Dean like he was a plucked chicken and it was pretty pathetic. And now a do-nothing Massachusetts senator, a northeastern liberal, with blue-blood ties, is the frontrunner. Yikes. Is this a recipe for disaster? Maybe. Unless Kerry puts Dick Gephardt on the ticket and lets the guy run wild across the Midwest in the general election. Otherwise, it is probably over.
Speaking of pundits, here is the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory's take on it: ["Dear voters, You're fired"].

A brokered convention?
It's possible: ["Down to the wire?: Tight campaign may lead to brokered convention"].
As a political scientist, a brokered convention is almost too much to hope for,'' [Dante] Scala said. "It might be good for the party because it would keep the Democrats in the public eye for weeks and weeks - it's a new story. And it might keep (President) Bush off the front pages for a while.
I have been saying that I doubt there will be a brokered convention. But I bet it will come close to that. And a look to the future: ["Next round of primaries looking more crucial"].

Push push, shove shove

Al Franken, violent? No, he's just preserving free speech while suppressing others: ["Franken fights back vs. Dean dissenter"].

Other stuff
About $9 million dollars was spent on advertising alone for the New Hampshire primary. This seems a bit low but who knows. Not all the candidates can spend money like Steve Forbes.
When asked if he would take the VP slot on a Kerry ticket, Edwards snapped at a Channel 7 reporter, "No!" adding, that Kerry might be considered for a place on his ticket.
Unconstitutional!: Well, it's about time: ["Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional"].
The Humanitarian Law Project, which brought the lawsuit, said the plaintiffs were threatened with 15 years in prison if they advised groups on seeking a peaceful resolution of the Kurds' campaign for self-determination in Turkey.
Jeez, a peaceful resolution? Who would want such a thing?

More polls
Survey USA has the latest tracking poll numbers:
In South Carolina, John Edwards has a solid lead with 32 percent; Wesley Clark has 17 with Howard Dean close behind at 16 percent. John Kerry has 13 percent and the Rev. Al Sharpton slips down to 10 percent. Joe Lieberman has 5 percent and Dennis Kucinich has 1 percent. Undecided make up 5 percent.
In Arizona, Kerry has 30 percent with Clark at 24 and Dean at 23 percent. Lieberman has 10, Edwards 7, and others have 3 percent. Undecided makes up 2 percent.
In Florida, Kerry has 38 percent, with Dean at 16, Edwards has 14, Clark at 10, Lieberman with 8, Sharpton at 6 percent. Other make up 3 percent and Undecided have 5 percent.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Kerry, Bush win New Hampshire
Democratic ballots
John Kerry - 84,377 - 39 percent
Howard Dean - 57,761 - 26 percent
Wesley Clark - 27,314 - 13 percent
John Edwards - 26,487 - 12 percent
Joe Lieberman - 18,911 - 9 percent
Dennis Kucinich - 3,114 - 2 percent
Dick Gephardt - 419
Al Sharpton - 347
George W Bush [write-in] - 257
Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. - 90
Willie Felix Carter - 86
Carol Moseley Braun - 81
Edward Thomas O'Donnell Jr. - 79
Katherine Bateman - 68
Randy Crow - 60
Vincent S. Hamm - 58
Robert H. Linnell - 49
Gerry Dokka - 42
Harry W. Braun III - 31
Caroline Pettinato Killeen - 31
R. Randy Lee - 15
Mildred Glover - 11
Leonard Dennis Talbow - 8
Fern Penna - 8
John Donald Rigazio - [write-in] - 5
Blake Ashby - [write-in] - 2
John Buchanan - [write-in] - 2
Scattered write-ins - 92

Vice presidential ballots
All write-ins:
John Edwards - 16,641
Wesley Clark - 7,636
Joe Lieberman - 4,460
John Kerry - 3,402
Howard Dean - 3,022
Carole Moseley Braun - 991
Dick Gephardt - 987
Dennis Kucinich - 810
Hillary Clinton - 606
Al Sharpton - 262
Al Gore - 200
Dick Cheney - 120
Jeanne Shaheen - 107
John McCain - 87
Colin Powell - 43
Ralph Nader - 39
Red Jahncke - 36
Flora Bleckner - 4
Scattered write-ins - 3,495

Republican ballots
George W. Bush - 53,962
John Kerry - [write-in] - 3,009
Howard Dean - [write-in] - 1,888
Wesley Clark - [write-in] - 1,467
Joe Lieberman - [write-in] - 941
John Edwards - [write-in] - 916
Richard P. Bosa - 841
John Buchanan - 836
John Donald Rigazio - 803
Robert Haines - 579
Michael Callis - 388
Blake Ashby - 264
Millie Howard - 239
Tom Laughlin - 154
Bill Wyatt - 153
Jim Taylor - 124
Mark Harnes - 87
Cornelius O'Connor - 77
George Gostigian- 52
Dennis Kucinich - [write-in] - 43
Al Sharpton - [write-in] -15
Lyndon LaRouche - [write-in] - 6
Katherine Bateman- [write-in] - 3
Carol Moseley Braun - [write-in] - 2
Robert Linnell - [write-in] - 1
Edward O'Donnell - [write-in] - 1
Fern Penna - [write-in] - 1
Scattered write-ins - 973

Vice presidential ballots
Dick Cheney - [write-in] - 11,1135
Red Jahncke - 5,752
Flora Bleckner - 5,566
John Edwards - [write-in] - 630
Wesley Clark - [write-in] - 427
Colin Powell - [write-in] - 390
John Kerry - [write-in] - 389
Joe Lieberman - [write-in] - 352
Howard Dean - [write-in] - 297
John McCain - [write-in] - 282
Hillary Clinton - [write-in] - 25
George Bush - [write-in] - 22
Scattered write-ins - 1,475

Democratic Delegate race:
According to CNN:
Dean 112
Kerry 95
Edwards 36
Clark 30
Lieberman 25
Sharpton 4
Kucinich 2
Political thoughts for the day

How important is one vote?
In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.
In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.
In 1839, one vote elected Marcus Morton Governor of Massachusetts.
In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.
In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
In 1876, one vote changed France from a Monarchy to a Republic.
In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency of the United States.
In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1941, one vote saved Selective Services just 12 weeks before Pearl Harbor.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy won and Richard Nixon lost the presidential election by less than one vote per precinct.
In 1977, the mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan was elected by one vote.
In 1999, an at-large alderman in the city of Somerville was elected by one vote.

Dennis Quixote: Kucinich is having a great time
Here is a great editorial from the conservative Union Leader this morning.
DENNIS KUCINICH has as much chance of winning the Presidency as he does of marrying the suddenly unattached Jennifer Lopez. Come to think of it, the odds of his wedding J-Lo are probably slightly higher.
Kucinich is not the most viable candidate (nor the least viable), and maybe that’s why he has felt free to say precisely what he thinks. We get the impression, however, that Kucinich’s principled message would be exactly the same no matter what.
Most people, if they have paid attention to Kucinich at all, have written him off as a flake. After all, his ideas are so far out of the mainstream that Willie Nelson has endorsed him. But Kucinich is not crazy. We’ve found him to be intelligent, thoughtful, clever, and more in touch with reality than he lets on.
While it is silly to consider him a serious contender for the White House, he is a serious person. And though he would make a terrible President, we have enjoyed his participation in the primary.

Monday, January 26, 2004

NH Predictions

Kerry 29
Dean 27
Edwards 17
Clark 11
Lieberman 9
Kucinich 5
Sharpton 1
Other 1

More stories from the campaign trail in New Hampshire. Check out the links to the left for previous campaign stories.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs
DPW workers in Concord were seen pulling up signs around town this morning. But just a few hours later, new Dean signs were up everywhere, heavily borrowing from Dennis Kucinich: "Hope not Fear: Vote Dean."
While walking to the Wesley Clark mini-rally this afternoon in Concord, I noticed a man standing at the corner of Main and Centre streets with a sign that read: "ANNOY THE MEDIA: VOTE DEAN." He got a lot of honks.
Speaking of Kucinich, he was the butt of jokes all afternoon on the Howie Carr show - which got worse after he cancelled his appearance for Tuesday. But Kucinich verbally spanked ED Hill on FoxNews this morning by sarcastically asking her if she was sick of talking about polls when the people wanted to talk about lost jobs and lack of health care.
"Well sure," ED replied.
"Why are you doing it then?" Kucinich asked.

Blocked from the Dean rally
In Manchester, Howard Dean's rally was so packed at the Palace Theatre this afternoon that people were standing around outside in the freezing cold. Dean's security allowed press people into the theater entrance. But theater security refused to allow the press into the "over capacity" theater. Left standing outside: Channel 31 from Lebanon, WTTK radio, newspaper reporters, including yours truly, and other television networks which were not identifiable.
Over at the Holiday Inn across the street, Talk Radio News Service [TRNS] was hunkered down in the foyer, giving 20 different talk radio hosts the chance to talk to some of the pols campaigning through the Granite State. According to Adam Sharon, an organizer of the "Radio Row," this was the first time TRNS had done a primary. They have done political conventions and inaugurations in the past.
"It has been wonderful," he said, noting that there were no technical failures. "It's been pretty amazing - what we promised, we delivered."
Just finishing up their show were Deb Hamel-Kearney and John O. from "Morning News w/John & Deb," a Keene-based radio show. The duo said the political scene in New Hampshire keeps them busy.
"We have a lot going on," John O. said. "We have state elections, the primary ... one year the governor's doing the budget. The next year, he is campaigning."
Hamel-Kearney said she got into talk radio after running for office. At the time, John O. was doing a solo show. But after Hamel-Kearney lost her race by a few votes, John offered her a co-host slot.
On the primary, John O. said, "New Hampshire has a level of integrity. People here are really hands on. They ask the important questions and [can detect] the b.s. factor."
Like a lot of duos on talk radio, the two have divergent views: Deb comes from the right; John from the left. But that doesn't mean they fight a lot.
"I come to this show not as a radio person but from the Chamber of Commerce," Hamel-Kearney said. "We get along with each other because we understand that there is a middle ground. We're not cookie-cutter. We ask stuff. We ask what people think."
"Morning News w/John & Deb" can be heard on WKBK 1290 AM from 5:30 to 9 a.m.

Clark talks quick
Wesley Clark was over 40 minutes late to his sparsely attended rally in Eagle Square in Concord. He spoke for about two minutes, signed some autographs, and then ducked into a local deli for some coffee.
Clark's voice was hoarse - which is probably why his speech was so short.
Behind cheers of "Wes will win," Clark said, "Tomorrow is the big day. We've been working. We've been waiting. We've been meeting people all up and down this state. This is the first election I have been in because I'm not a politician. I am a leader and I need your support to bring a higher form of leadership to Washington."
Clark said because he was a southerner and not a part of the Washington establishment, he could win the White House.
"You need someone who is not an insider," he said. "The problem is in Washington and I'm not part of that problem. I'm part of the solution."
Clark said he would work to end the control special interests have over Washington and make the nation better for future generations.
"Yes, we can do it," he said. "Let's get 'em out there and do it. Go knock on doors."
Seen at the Clark rally: Washington Post columnist and super-liberal E.J. Dionne and The Nation writer and FoxNews analyst David Corn.
Both Corn and Dionne were quite friendly, chatting with people at the rally. Dionne said he was doing a story about the candidates' military service. However, he quickly disappeared after we were approached by a Clark fan who overhead Dionne and myself discussing Clark's possible involvement with the Waco debacle. The fan called it a conspiracy theory but then went on a tirade about how the Bush administration allowed the Sept. 11 attacks to occur. He pointed to a Web site by Alex Jones called "Prison Planet". Its byline?
"The earth is being turned into a prison planet."
I found Dionne's behavior to be a little strange. As a reporter, I am curious about everything I see and hear and I like getting into conversations with people who might have differing views or theories. Dionne, walking away with the look of fear on his face, instead of engaging in the conversation, was a bit peculiar. What's there to be afraid of? Aren't you a little curious about these things? Why be afraid of voters with outlandish viewpoints? Nah, too inside-the-beltway to look beyond the cocktail party safety conversation net. Too bad. The Clark kid seemed well-briefed on his theories.
Also at the Clark rally were Dick Osborne, the former owner of WKXL 1450, the city's oldest radio station, former Nader 2000 activist Carol Hargrove, and Arnie Alpert, a progressive activist with the American Friends Service Committee. Alpert was handing out leaflets to the media about a new New Hampshire Fair Trade Campaign statement supported by 30 different state organizations. The theme? The majority of Americans are critical of the government's trade policy.
"The failed NAFTA model must be replaced by new rules that respect workers, the environment, and human rights both here and abroad," Alpert stated on the press release.

Clark admits to targeting civilians in Balkans
Wow, this is huge: ["Democracy Now! Exclusive: Wesley Clark Admits Targeting Civilians In Yugoslavia"]. Now, will anyone have the balls to ask him whether he helped train the ATF to kill the Branch Davidians at Waco when he was in command of Ft. Hood? The silence is deafening.

Dirty tricks
Dean blames Kerry, Democrats worry about Republicans: ["Dean Hits Kerry's Judgment, Raises 'Dirty Tricks'"].
Dean spokesman Jay Carson said Monday that New Hampshire supporters of Dean had received phony campaign material by fax and e-mail that distorted Dean's positions. In Michigan, the campaign blamed Kerry allies for a flyer it said had lied and distorted Dean's stands on environment, energy, gun rights, the death penalty and higher education.
And then there is this from Karen Hicks of the Dean campaign on Sunday:
Today, Karen Hicks, Dean For America's New Hampshire State Director, made the following statement:
"In recent days, our campaign has been hearing reports from New Hampshire voters that they are receiving:
- phone calls early in the morning and late at night;
- "robo calls" from soulless machines, not calls from considerate people;
- calls claiming to originate from the Dean campaign but do not;
- and even harassing calls and bigoted messages.
Let me be very clear. The Dean campaign does not call New Hampshire homes before 8:30 am or after 8:30 pm. Our calls are made by respectful people, not droning machines. Our callers tell the truth.
We call on the other campaigns to make the same commitments. We are grateful for the extraordinary engagement of New Hampshire's people in this race. But our campaign believes that everyone deserves some peace, some respect, and a truthful message."

'Shoot Quayle'
I remember hearing about Kerry dropping this line. It was pretty funny: ["Kerry's 'joke' could haunt him"].

After NH
The Boston Globe has reporters in future primary states:
Yvonne Abraham reports from Missouri, where all eyes are now: ["Momentum may be key in Missouri"]. Rumors have been floating around the Web that Gephardt is on the verge of endorsing John Kerry. No announcement yet even if FoxNews reported it. Another pundit suggested that Kerry could be dangling the VP slot in front of Gephardt. Let's hope this rumor isn't true.
Rick Klein's in South Carolina, where Clyburn plays coy: ["Clyburn plays S.C. kingmaker in quest for black vote"].

Matthews says war was wrong
["Chris Matthews: 'The French were right'"]. It was a little strange seeing MSNBC's Chris Matthews backtracking on his attacks against Dean. Matthews, and members of his panel last week, pummelled Dean for his screech after the Iowa Caucuses. Howard Fineman was particularly vicious. Shockingly, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough defended Dean on the panel. But now, Matthews has had a change of heart. And on Imus this morning, he admitted he - and the media - were wrong to attack Dean for the screech.
I have always thought that Matthews was a big John Kerry fan. I watch his show a lot and repeatedly I have heard him say, 'Where is John Kerry ... why is Kerry faltering ... etc.' So, it really wasn't any surprise that Dean got attacked by him. But this turnaround is a bit weird.

Polls elsewhere
In Michigan, according to EPIC/MRA with Gephardt out, Kerry shows strength: John Kerry with 37 percent, Howard Dean with 14 percent, Wesley Clark and John Edwards at 10 percent, Joe Lieberman with 5 percent, the Rev. Al Sharpton with 3 percent, and Dennis Kucinich at 1 percent. Michigan is a big fair trade state. Kucinich should be higher.
American Research Group posts new numbers in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina: In Arizona, Kerry has 24 percent, Clark has 21 percent, Edwards comes in at 15 percent, Dean sinks to 10 percent, and Lieberman is at 7 percent. In Oklahoma, Clark has 23 percent, Edwards has 18 percent, Kerry comes in at 17 percent, Lieberman at 10 percent, Dean at 8 percent, and Kucinich and Sharpton at 1 percent. In South Carolina, Edwards has 21 percent, Kerry at 17 percent, Sharpton at 15 percent, Clark at 14 percent, Dean at 9 percent, Lieberman at 5 percent, and Kucinich at 1 percent.

Other stuff
How about this?: ["Top Ten Responses To -- 'I Love Kucinich But He Can't Win'"]
Ralph Nader "pretty close" to making up his mind: ["Ralph Nader considering Presidential run"].
Is this a great prank or what?: ["White African-American boy not 'black' enough for award"].
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown better get a hold of this quick: ["Report says Oakland pimps getting younger"].

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Note to Dean: Stop complaining:
It is almost a week after Iowa and Howard Dean is still complaining about his treatment in the Iowa Caucuses: ["Dean says Iowa should clean up negative attacks if it wants to keep the nation's first caucus"].
Dean said his rivals "had their folks really beating up on the people who went in, trying to get them to change their minds in caucus. I think Iowa is going to have to change the way it conducts its caucuses if it wants to continue to be first," he told reporters in an interview on his campaign bus in New Hampshire.
Dean needs to stop complaining about Iowa. He was the first candidate to go negative in Iowa, attacking Dick Gephardt and John Kerry, for their invasion votes and for being "Washington insiders." His campaign mailed out the first negative mailer in the history of the Iowa Caucuses. In polls, Gephardt fell from first, to second, to third, and then ended up coming in fourth. Gephardt and Kerry fought back and Dean slipped to third. So for him to go on and on, complaining about the rough and tumble world of political tactics now, rings hollow. Move on Howard, move on.

Kucinich: How much change do you want?: Good question: ["Kucinich makes his pitch in Nashua"].
Also, in a story in the Union Leader, Kucinich was also the only candidate to appear at a Catholic voters forum hosted by former-Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Flynn complained at the forum:
"Democratic candidates are ignoring Catholic voters. Why don't they show up here and face the voters of New Hampshire? When are we going to be heard? Why are we being ignored?"
Note to Flynn: Why should any Democratic candidate take you seriously? You abandoned almost everything you stood for when you openly endorsed George W. Bush in 2000.
As a Catholic leader [and former-Ambassador to the Vatican], you ignored hundreds of complaints against Catholic priests about the molestation of young boys in the Boston area - reprehensible crimes - that later proved to be true. You openly criticized the parishioners who made the charges. You defended the Boston Archdiocese and Cardinal Bernard Law, over and over and over again, the man and organization, who covered up these allegations. Law also attacked those parishioners complaining about being sexually attacked by priests. You were an apologist for Law up until the day he stepped down. On your radio show on WROL that day, at the top of the hour, at 3 p.m., you stated that it was "a time for forgiveness" of Law.
Where was your outrage? When were you going to allow those boys who were raped by priests to be heard? As a Catholic leader, why did you ignore those boys who were begging for help and justice? You obsess about the unborn and do nothing for the living.
Why should any Democratic candidate take you seriously? Why should any Catholic take you seriously?

Braun stumps for Dean: ["Braun stumps for Dean at student event, Kucinich talks draft"].

Lieberman draws crowd: ["Lieberman draws his largest crowd yet"].

Edwards does too: ["Edwards focuses on economy, tax policy"].

Kerry, umm, plays hockey: ["Kerry Takes to Ice with Hockey Greats in N.Hampshire"].

Sharpton transforms: ["Sharpton's transformation to Presidential candidate"].

Other stuff:
Kerry endorsed by League of Conservation Voters:
"John Kerry is a man whose unparalleled record on environmental issues has earned him an extraordinary lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and he is clearly the strongest environmentalist in the field," said Deb Callahan, president of the League of Conservation Voters.
Kucinich has four full-page ads in the Manchester Union Leader this morning in the front book. The first page has the Fear Ends, Hope Begins, message, with two inside pages of policy positions. The back page blares U.N. IN, U.S. OUT.
The Union Leader also has a page sampling NH state and local officials and which candidate they are backing. The Kucinich campaign, however, reportedly didn't submit a list to the newspaper. Although, any primary watcher knows that Kucinich has been backed by the NH Green Party and Doug Bogen of Clean Water Action.
The back page of the Local & State section of the Concord Monitor has an issues comparison page.
Profiling Arizona: ["Arizona primary holds key for candidates"].
Democratic insider Dan Payne gives his take to the Globe, limiting the choices to four: ["So, who's electable?"].
Holly Ramer writes about Charles Brereton and his new book, "Primary Politics": ["Past primaries have made lasting mark"].
Only in England: Need $$$ for college? Sell your virginity!: ["Student is selling her virginity on the internet for £10,000"]. Check out this editorializing line: So far more than 400 men, many of them sickos, have placed bids offering 18-year-old Rosie Reid up to £10,000 for sex. Hah, I love the Brit papers sometimes.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Correction - Dean gets Salmon Press endorsements:
On Friday, I reported that the publisher of The Berliner Reporter endorsed Dean. However, all the Salmon Press newspapers, eight, in the northern part of the state, endorsed Dean.

Clark blames Republican media ...
Interesting. Is there a vast rightwing media conspiracy against the media candidate Wesley Clark? He seems to think so: ["Clark: GOP agenda at play in New Hampshire debate"].

...while making illegal calls in North Dakota
Hmm. I thought "Do Not Call" lists allowed political phones. Guess not: ["Attorney general looks into Clark calls"].

Other stuff:
FoxNews reported last night that the Dean campaign is pulling its ads off the air in future primary states and putting all of its resources into NH. They actually got the story from the NYT, via ABCNews' The Note:

According to the article, the Dean campaign spent $932,000 in Arizona then pulled its ads the day after the Iowa caucuses; and $1.3 million in South Carolina until the day after the Iowa caucuses. The campaign also had ads running in New Mexico and, to a lesser extent, in Oklahoma.
At the same time, the Kerry campaign has hired Dick Gephardt's former chief-of-staff.
Here is a nice piece from the national press about the thousands of children in NH voting in a Mock Election: ["Students carry on N.H. tradition of political savvy"].
Is Iowa long for the world? Novak doesn't think so:

As Iowa Democrats participated in presidential caucuses Monday night, their leaders privately and sadly predicted this would be the last time Iowa's unique
institution would lead off the Democratic presidential selection. Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe had to stave off a challenge to Iowa's favored position in 2004 from Michigan, led by the powerful Sen. Carl Levin. Leading Democrats in Washington and Des Moines agreed that Iowa's preferred position cannot be retained in 2008. However, this year's results could change that death sentence. Iowa caucus-goers are getting high grades for not being stampeded and for making their own decisions.
Here are the pics of the newscaster, Catherine Bosley, who lost her job for doing a nudie wet T-shirt contest: ["Catherine Bosley"]. Can't a girl just blow off some steam? It's not like she was doing it in her home market.
Wrapping 9/11 ... too early? Bush wants the troops home from Iraq by spring. He also wants the Sept. 11 Commission wrapped up soon too: ["What’s Bush Hiding From 9/11 Commission?"]. This whole thing f-ing stinks.
Military votes may not be secure: ["Report Says Internet Voting System Is Too Insecure to Use"].

More states, more polls:
John Kerry surges in Arizona: Market Solutions Group released new numbers showing him at 19 percent [up from sixth], with Wesley Clark at 17 percent, Howard Dean at 14 percent, John Edwards at 9 percent, and Lieberman with 6 percent.
In California, Survey USA shows Kerry strong again; 31 percent, Dean with 26 percent, Clark at 14 percent, Edwards with 12 percent, and Others at 11 percent. Undecided at 5 percent.
Here is the first in a quick series of stories from the campaign trail in New Hampshire. Check out the links to the left for previous campaign stories.

Lieberman touts public service record
Joe Lieberman’s "Integrity One" bus pulled up to the Jefferson Point Financial Securities in Concord Friday morning with a small press corps in tow. The building, formerly occupied by Chubb Life Insurance, is cookie-cutter corporate office space nestled between tall pines, a cemetery and some public housing units. About 100 employees sat patiently in a fourth floor combination cafeteria/conference room, sipping coffee, chatting, eyeing the arriving press corps, while English muffins burned in the background.
Lieberman was escorted by two secret service agents – the first ones I’ve seen on the campaign trail – along with a handful of elementary school students who are covering the primaries for the Scholastic News. Lieberman seemed jovial about their presence, picking one girl up and joking that it would be difficult to do this with CNN’s Judy Woodruff.
"They ask me really good questions," he said.
Lieberman, clearly reaching out for more support, said New Hampshire residents had very important votes to cast in the primary. He noted his 30-year public service record, including work as a state senator, Attorney General, and U.S. Senator, work on civil rights as a college student, and said he would have the integrity to stand up for what is right.
"I will put the people and the country first," he said, "and operate from the values we all share. I will get support across party lines [and] respond to the needs people have."
With a slight attack towards his rivals, Lieberman said he had been steadfast in his approach to issues – unwavering from his position on the invasion of Iraq, on trade, on middle class tax cuts – while his opponents have changed their positions.
Touting his high ratings by environmental groups, Lieberman said he would work to make America energy self-sufficient, by adjusting the fuel efficiency of the cars of the future in order to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil by two-thirds. A slight increase in mileage could save two billion barrels of oil a day, he said.
Lieberman said another Bush term would be "harmful" to the safety of the nation, noting that Bush’s decisions were often "sins of commission" not necessarily "sins of omission." He called Bush "fiscally irresponsible," while at the same time, stating that the president was dismantling the country’s safety net and all that had been accomplished by previous administrations.

Kucinich promotes peace
Across town, at St. Paul’s School, students were slowing entering one of the school’s reading rooms to the sounds of John and Moriah-Melin Whoolilurie, who were attempting to create a somber and funky feel throughout the room. Dressed in red, white, blue and sparkly outfits that would make Wavy Gravy proud, John rapped into a loop sequencer while Moriah-Melin danced with a sign. The students eyed each other nervously, slightly embarrassed by the musical display, but eventually started to loosen up and clap as the California couple launched into their Dennis Kucinich rap.
Arriving a tad late, Kucinich stood off to the side, beaming.
"I got into politics to make a better world," he said. "Holistically, we are one – interconnected and interdependent."
Kucinich said the Bush administration made the world a more dangerous place by acting as a bully on the world stage. He said the United States would continue to be attacked until the country embraced a safer foreign policy, one that concentrated on building peace with the world instead of enemies.
"The bully is always the target," he said.
Kucinich said he would also reverse the fear the president had struck in the hearts of the American people and end President Bush’s usurping the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He said Bush falsely used the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq.
"We were lied to," he said. "We're headed in a direction that is very dark. My administration is going to bring some light to this world."
Kucinich also promoted a single-payer health care system, pre-Kindergarten programs, and free college tuition for all Americans.
After his speech, Kucinich answered questions from the exclusive prep school audience, many of whom challenged the candidate’s view of the world and whether or not an isolationist strategy was the path to take. However, Kucinich countered that his ideas were not isolationist but democratic, empowering the billions of people throughout the world.
"We should care about the suffering of the people of the world," he said. "What we are telling them is that your life is worth less than a life in other countries. We have to ask ourselves if there is more consequence to commerce … do people have any rights at all … I think they do."
However, in a post-speech session with reporters, Kucinich grew testy with local Cleveland reporters who repeatedly asked him about his low poll numbers and whether he planned on dropping out of the presidential race.
"Why do you guys keep asking me this? I’m staying in until the convention," he said.
In another tense moment, Kucinich was left speechless after being asked if his vote-swapping scheme with John Edwards in Iowa was a shrewd political move to solidify fair trade and anti-invasion support behind his campaign – and damage both the Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean campaigns.
"Wow," Kucinich said repeatedly. "I don't know how to respond to that. Wow. You can follow up with something else if you like."
When asked again if the theory were true, Kucinich refused to answer the question.
Another reporter, Les Kinsolving of WCBM, asked if Kucinich knew that a Cleveland employee he hired was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy while living in San Francisco, before he was hired by the city. Kucinich denied any knowledge of the incident.
When asked if he supported the Ohio Legislature’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act, Kucinich said, "I don’t know why they are worrying about this when Ohio has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs."
After the session, Richard Hendrick, Kucinich’s media coordinator, confirmed that the candidate could stay in the race as long as he wanted and also run for reelection for his Ohio congressional district.

Kerry rallies with veterans
John Kerry stopped by a Jewish school on Beech Street in Manchester for a noontime rally with ex-Sen. Max Cleland and outgoing-Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, both southern veterans. The school was mobbed to the rafters with voters and a national press corps bitten by Kerry's surging buzz.
"It's great to be back," Hollings said, recalling his love of the state when he ran for president in 1984 and noting that he was dressed in boots and ready to campaign for Kerry.
Hollings commended Kerry for his service in Vietnam and friendship in the senate. He noted that along with John McCain, the three had all worked on veterans' issues. South Carolina, an early primary state, had suffered from factory closings, Hollings said, adding that Kerry tried to help by supporting a textile protection bill which would have kept American mills opened. Hollings said that over 50 percent of furniture was now made in China and joked when the microphones cut out that "the Chinamen" were trying to silence him again.
"[Kerry] understands working people and their problems," he said. "He knows the problems. He’s got what it takes to be president, I can tell you that."
On the war, Hollings said, "We both got misled on it … read Suskind's book … you can see how we were misled. Little George, he’s ruining us on tax policy, he’s ruining us on trade policy, he’s ruining us on everything."
Hollings, who was also a former governor, said he was not planning on endorsing any presidential candidate and instead, planned on entering retired life quietly. But after watching the Democratic campaign so far, he decided to back Kerry.
"I've been in it for 50 years," he said of the political game. "I just figured – to heck with it – leave it alone. I’ve been elected seven times to the senate. But it is time that I do something for the country – not the campaign. We are lucky to have [Kerry] leading the country at this time."
Kerry said he was "honored beyond belief" by the support of Hollings and Cleland, adding that Hollings was the longest serving junior senator in American history, to Strom Thurmond. He called Hollings an extraordinary public servant.
"[Hollings] supported John F. Kennedy and was the first governor in the south to do it," he said. "He integrated colleges and universities, peacefully. He created a system of technical colleges which still attracts top employers to the state."
Cleland, a Vietnam veteran who lost three limbs in the war, lost his senate seat in Georgia in 2002 in what Kerry called "the most craven moment in American politics when the Republicans attacked this man’s patriotism."
Kerry said President Bush and the Republicans had decimated services for veterans, including cutting the Veteran’s Administration by $1.8 billion. Some, he said, wait six months to see a doctor.
"We need to keep the faith with those who wore the uniform of country," he said. "We don't need to take lessons in patriotism from those who would cut benefits."
Kerry said he would protect the environment and the country from terrorism, pointing to a book he wrote about terrorism four years before the Sept. 11 attacks. He also promoted rolling back Bush's tax cuts on the wealthy and would work to solve the global Aids problem.
In an effort to appeal to the younger voter demographic, Kerry campaign workers handed out copies of Windsurfer American Magazine, which offered a cover story on Kerry's love of the sport. Tim Russert of "Meet the Press," Howard Kurtz of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and the Washington Post, MSNBC and Republican pollster Frank Lutz, and FoxNews' Carl Cameron were all spotted at the Kerry event.

Other stuff:
Interesting story here from the Cleveland Plains-Dealer on the Kucinich campaign, including some insight into why some reporters are not covering his campaign: ["Step out of the race? Not me, says Kucinich"].
No easier for Dean. Just as I predicted, there is a Mass. exodus of pols headed north: ["Beacon Hill goes stumping the Granite State trail"].
This is just so not true: ["N.H. seen as barometer for efforts to improve voting systems"]. NH has had optical scanning machines for quite awhile. It isn't anything new. Maybe they have better voter registration databases but the modern machines have been in for a couple of election cycles.
Plus, Krugman continues to fall for the Black Box Voting story: ["Democracy at Risk"].
Dean made a surprising appearance on "The Howie Carr Show" yesterday afternoon sounding hoarse yet cheery. When he was high in the polls, Dean refused to do talk and radio programs. Now that his campaign is collapsing, he seems to realize how important other mediums can be. Carr, who has repeatedly attacked Kerry's blue-blood life in his Boston Herald column and on his show which is broadcast on about 20 stations, urged NH voters not to vote for Kerry in the primary.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Lieberman endorsed by Foster's:
Joe Lieberman was endorsed by the Foster's Daily Democrat and Laconia Citizen this afternoon. He was endorsed by the Union Leader and Eagle Tribune last week. The Union Leader and Foster's are the two largest daily newspapers in the state.

"There is one person in the pool of Democrats who stands out as someone of character and high standards; someone who represents the ideals of the American people. That person is Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman comes closest to representing the values this newspaper holds dear - the values of a fiscal conservative, the ability to keep an open mind, the willingness to cross party lines when it is in the national interest, the ability and willingness to seek reasonable resolution of issues that might divide us."
Berlin Reporter endorses Dean, Edwards:
In a split endorsement, the Berlin Reporter's publisher endorsed Dean while the editor and senior reporter endorsed Edwards:

"In politics the critics are always there. Howard Dean has emerged as a serious contender for his party's presidential nomination precisely because he has refused to finesse his way to the truth. His "Give 'em Hell Harry" style has attracted new and dormant voters to his side by the hundreds of thousands and they in turn have raised millions for his war chest, placing him atop the fundraising heap in the Democratic Party. With money to spend, a story to tell and the conviction to tell it, Howard Dean has the right combination to win his party's presidential nomination. He should start with a victory in next week's New Hampshire Primary."
"John Edwards understands that the challenges of the future are going to be different from the challenges of the past. During his fifty years he has witnessed enormous social, economic and political changes. He has called for a reinvestment in rural America to grow the jobs of the future, not simply to bring back the jobs of the past ... John Edwards uses his roots to illustrate his empathy with those who earn their living everyday, but he doesn't exploit the personal facts of his own life or his family's life for political purposes. He says "we" can do it together, inspiring people to try to live up to the ideals of this country."
Clark endorsed by Conway Sun, Connecticut Valley Spectator:

"Having successfully prosecuted the war in Kosovo, Clark is a proven leader of world-class stature and he has been consistent in his message that invading Iraq was a needless diversion to the real war of terrorism. If the casualties mount and Americans begin to question our role in what may increasingly look like a civil war, his message will resonate with independent voters in the so-called swing states. Because he has voted for Republican presidents to support national security, Clark been criticized for not being a real Democrat. But to act on one's beliefs and not politics we see as a strength."
More Kerry endorsements:
John Kerry was also endorsed by the Milford Cabinet, Valley News, and the Portsmouth Herald.

"In 2004, along with traditional election-year issues such as the economy and health care, a new question has arisen. Americans are asking who is best qualified to fight the threat of terrorism at home and lead our military operations abroad? We believe that candidate is John Kerry."
Other stuff:
Ralph Nader is expected to be a guest on "The Big Story" on FoxNews Saturday night at 9 p.m. Is he running? Maybe he will let viewers know.
On Thursday, Jan. 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., three of the Green Party's presidential candidates - David Cobb,
Kent Mesplay, and Lorna Salzman - will be debating at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's JFK School of Government. The debate will be Web cast by the IOP at
Former Vice President Walter Mondale endorsed Kerry today, saying he "has the experience, judgment and character to serve as president and he has the skills to do the job on day one."
But Dean loses one: ["Ex-senator withdraws Dean support"].

Polls outside of NH:
With just four days until the NH primary, I'm not going to publish any more NH polls, similar to not publishing polls a few days before the Iowa Caucuses. However, here are some numbers from other states:
Survey USA posted new numbers from Oklahoma, which holds a primary on Feb. 3: Wesley Clark 32 percent, John Edwards 23 percent, John Kerry at 17 percent, Howard Dean at 10 percent, Joe Lieberman at 8 percent. Other candidates received 7 percent [the survey didn't print the individual numbers for the lower candidates] and undecided received 5 percent.
Washington state has a caucus this year. However, Survey USA has numbers matching up the Democratic candidates with President Bush and the numbers aren't good: Bush beats all the Democrats except Kerry. Kerry has a slight lead over Bush, 49 to 48, with 3 percent undecided, well within the margin of error. Bush beats the other top tier candidates by 3 to 8 percent. Washington is a presumed safe state - a blue state - that Al Gore won by 5 percent [139,000 votes], with Ralph Nader receiving 4 percent [101,000 votes]. This is not good news.