Saturday, January 10, 2004

Kerry picks up Iowa endorsements:
The Kerry campaign emailed out clips of endorsements, the first ones of the 2004 primary season, from the Quad City Times and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The Press-Citizen stated that Kerry offered "the strongest vision" for the Democratic Party, and pointed to his foreign policy experience and economic growth package of "new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new technology and by seeking energy independence in a 'race' for alternate and renewable fuels." They also noted Kerry's "[r]easonable health care reform" stating that Kerry's plan "[o]ffers impressive incentives to businesses so every American can receive health insurance while interceding to ensure that big insurance and drug companies don't inflate health care costs purely for profit's sake."
The Quad-City Times takes a few stabs at Kerry's blueblood background, noting that while "[h]e's not ordinary. He's extraordinary, in the nicest and most qualitative sense." Check out this section of the endorsement:
"...we took Kerry to a break room unannounced to talk with three of our co-workers who took a few minutes off the packaging insertion production line. In just minutes, he was speaking easily with them about hopes, dreams, troubles and disappointments and answering their questions. He handled the curve ball deftly and walked away talking about what he learned from them. That was among the experiences that differentiated Kerry. All the candidates we met spoke very well. Kerry listens. He ponders questions, asks follow-ups and answers thoughtfully. He appears to be continually learning, whether it is the kite-surfing he took up a couple years ago, the guitar lessons he has put on hold during this campaign, or asking our opinion on Mississippi River lock expansion."
Oh boy. Obviously, they were taken by the senator. Too bad he hasn't shown this to his constituents. I might have a better sense of the guy.

Gephardt tags Dean:
I never knew that Howard Dean supported Dick Gephardt in the 1988 primaries but according to some of Dean's statements, it is true. The Gephardt campaign sent out a press release today questioning Dean's later comments about the caucuses being controlled by "special interests." In July, Dean told the Iowa Press that he "... worked for Dick out here in 1988. I actually campaigned for him in Clinton and Davenport. And the best pork chop I ever had [was] in 1988 in Amana." And last month, Dean told CNN's "Inside Politics" that "Dick Gephardt's a good guy. I worked for him in 1988. I went to Iowa to campaign for him." But Gephardt wonders, how did Dean get such a bad impression of Iowa?
"Howard Dean simply doesn't get it. After campaigning for me in Iowa, he left the state thinking that the process was controlled by 'special interests.' He met with caucus participants and he said they represent 'the extremes.' Who are these extremes? Now, as he's trying to win here, he suddenly says that he never meant it and never believed that. I still haven't gotten a clear answer to who these 'special interests' are. Are they organized labor? Farmers? Middle-class families? Senior citizens?"

The campaigns are getting a bit nasty. Here is a post on Free Republic that shows a photoshopped picture of Dean as Hitler: ["Hitler Dean"]. However, this is fair game, since we have seen some of the Bush In 30 Seconds ads: ["Bush In 30 seconds"]. But, there has been some pleasantness on the campaign trail: ["Among candidates, a time for peace"].
"I can say this for myself - I love these guys," Lieberman said.
Oh yeah. And, why isn't there love? The top tier candidates clearly have a mission: To stop Dean. They are even openly discussing how they plan on doing it - with the vote swap in Iowa: ["Caucus-night vote-swapping could tilt Iowa"].

Latest polls
The Concord Monitor reported some new numbers this morning: Howard Dean with 34 percent, Wesley Clark at 14 percent, John Kerry is in at 13 percent, both Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman 7 percent, John Edwards with 4 percent, Dennis Kucinich has 2 percent, the Rev. Al Sharpton with 1 percent, and Carol Moseley Braun blanked. Undecideds make up 18 percent, meaning it is still anyone's primary. In the general election match up in NH, Bush beats all Democrats by 14 to 21 percent, with the largest spread being against Dean, the current frontrunner. Hopes of NH being a swing state seem pretty slim at this rate.
A couple of quick points. First, I am surprised that Moseley Braun is at 0 because she has been campaigning a lot up here and getting good press exposure. Sharpton, besides the ABC debate, hasn't campaigned here since August.
I was a little surprised by the unfavorability numbers in the poll. Gephardt has pretty high unfavorables here: 40 percent, the third highest in the field behind Sharpton [69] and Moseley Braun [54]. Lieberman has 37. Kerry is at 33 unfavorable and Edwards at 31. Clark and Dean have 29. This is with the 405 Dems questioned. These numbers are pretty high for likely Democratic voters.
Second choices: Of the voters, Kerry would be the second choice of 24 percent, Dean 20 percent, and Clark 19 percent. Gephardt is at 8, Edwards at 7, and Lieberman at 6 percent. While polling doesn't really matter and things can change, I think these numbers can lead one to suspect that NH will be a three-person race, despite what happens in Iowa and what other scandals the press finds out about Dean.
In Iowa, the Los Angeles Times released these numbers: Dean with 30 percent, Gephardt at 23 percent, Kerry at 18 percent, and Edwards at 11 percent, with the rest in low single digits. Undecideds make up 9 percent. However, second choice candidates look like this: Edwards at 22, Kerry 21, Dean 20 and Gephardt 18. The vote swapping scene is going to be very interesting. Watch it become a topsy-turvy kind of a night!
American Research Group continues its tracking poll, from last night: Dean at 35 percent, Clark with 21 percent, Kerry continues to slide at 10 percent, Lieberman climbs slighty up to 8 percent, Gephardt falls to 4 percent, Edwards is in at 3 percent, and Kucinich has 2 percent. Both Moseley Braun and Sharpton have goose eggs. Undecideds make up 17 percent. Over the last week, Clark has gone up 9 points while Kerry and Dean have dropped 4 points each. Lieberman has gained 2 points while Gephardt has lost 2 points. Either ARG is rigging the polls or something is happening here with Clark.