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Kucinich and Edwards cut a deal:
Numerous news sources have been reporting all afternoon that Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards have agreed to swing support to each other if they don't have the necessary 15 percent to win delegate percentages in various precincts: ["Edwards, Kucinich agree to share support in Iowa caucuses"].
I was a little weirded out by this when I heard about it earlier this afternoon. I have been saying for awhile on some of the political discussion boards that I thought Kucinich voters would split on the second round between Dean and Gephardt - with anti-war people going to Dean and fair traders going to Gephardt.
Kucinich pulling this trick is a mind-blower. Why would he flip his support to a pro-invasion, pro-free trade candidate like Edwards?
Well, maybe Kucinich is a shrewder pol than we thought.
By encouraging voters to go to Edwards on the second round, Kucinich essentially takes support away from two of his biggest rivals, at least issue-wise: Dean and Gephardt. If both lose, they will be wounded.
Most "experts" have predicted that if Gephardt loses, he will drop out, although I doubt this. Campaign officials also publicly deny this.
But let's say Gephardt does lose tonight and drops out and Dean goes into NH after coming in second or - gasp - third! Dean too would be wounded.
This would leave Kucinich - chugging along - as the only true fair trade and true peace candidate in the race.
With Gephardt out, Kucinich can needle the others on the trade issue. With Dean wounded, he can continue his peace candidacy, with other voters taking a second look at him.
Now, I admit, this is a big stretch. But if it works, Kucinich becomes a player in the debates between now and whenever someone gets enough delegate commitments or even at the convention if it becomes brokered or divided. In the end, Kucinich probably won't win the nomination, but this is a pretty good trick.
More Dean hothead:
Dean crashed an MLK event in Iowa earlier today: ["Dean To News Media: Get A Life"].
The campaign is clearly starting to wear on Dean.
And his presence sure went over well to those people who organized the event.
A while later he exited the auditorium, making a beeline to the front entrance and to his bus. Wedging through the media, he stopped at the front step before boarding the bus to answer a reporter's question about how he was feeling.
"You know why I wasn't able to attend this event," Dean said, "because you guys are behaving so badly you've got to get a new life."
"I think it was very disrespectful," said Donna Graves, who was on the planning committee for the commemoration ceremony. "The intent of today was not to look at Howard Dean. The planning committee didn't know he was coming as we invited a lot of people. It was very hectic and this is a day that is supposed to be about Martin Luther King."2000 Redux?
The latest polls point to it: ["'04 Election Could Be 2000 Redux"]. In the end, national polls like this don't mean very much because winning the presidency is about winning states across the nation and the Electoral College. But look at those numbers. A nation divided, indeed.
The Iowa Bystander endorses Edwards
Iowa's only African-American newspaper endorsed Edwards on Monday:
"Sen. John Edwards enters this race as the party's best hope to unseat President Bush. He has avoided the bloodletting dominating the primary process, his vision for America is bold and refreshing, his background is empathetic, and his regional base gives him a freedom of choice for a running mate no other Iowa contender has."