Saturday, June 30, 2007

Some presidential politics
I was only able to see the first hour of the Tavis Smiley Howard University debate between the eight major Democrats running for president. It got switched off at 10 p.m. by my wife. But, I watched enough to get the gist of the thing. And, despite being targeted towards black and minority voters, the Dems pretty much stayed on their own messages.

What was surprising was the burst of cheers for the two lower tier candidates, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Sen. Mike Gravel, on some of their key stances. Kucinich was bolstered by comments about ending the war, cutting the defense budget, and single-payer health care, while Gravel was cheered for his comments about ending the war on drugs and his national sales tax initiative. Gravel thanked the organizers for holding the fairest debate, so far.
Both Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards also came across well but Hillary really needs to stop shouting at these events. There is a mic there, everyone in the audience can hear you.
I do hope that Howard University and PBS invite Republicans to participate in a debate at the school, with a similar audience and similar questions, in order to be fair about the situation.
Over at Daily Kos, a poll was held about who won the debate. These polls are becoming a little disingenuous, since most of the posters there aren't voting based on who won but who they like, generally. Here are some of the results, with more than 7,700 votes cast: Edwards 25 percent, Obama 22, Clinton 17, More than one of the above 7, None of the above 7, Kucinich 6, Richardson 5, Gravel 3, Dodd 1, Biden 1.
One last note on Daily Kos: Here are the results of their reader poll which was held earlier this week, with 17,382 responding: Edwards 40 percent, Obama 22, Other [meaning Gore or someone else] 9, No F'ing Clue 7, Clinton 6, Richardson 5, Kucinich 3, Gravel 1, Dodd 1, Biden 0. This is going on four months where Edwards has been the leader and also been 38 percent or more. Obama has dipped a bit but is still the only other active candidate to break 20 percent. Richardson has slid from a high 13 percent in April. Kos writes "... the Gravel boomlet is over." Gravel went from 3 percent last month to 1 this month.

Romney & the FEC
According to David Bernstein, Mitt Romney has requested a 45-day extension to file his personal finances with the FEC: ["Waiting from Romney's disclosure"]. Interesting. I wonder what he needs the time for. David has some good speculation, with the whole straw poll thing, but most think Romney is going to win that anyway. Maybe he has a ton of agri-business stock he is hiding. But, even then, are the local farmers of Iowa really that conservative? I don't know. I can't imagine why the reporting of Romney's finances would need to be held up. Although, I haven't seen them either.
The second quarter fund-raising numbers should be out in a day or two, so it will be interesting to see what is going on with those numbers.
I also should congratulate the Boston Globe for its creative and pretty thorough look at Mitt Romney in its special report, both in print and online:
["The Making of Mitt Romney"]. It is this kind of creative use of the Web which is going to be the salvation of the newspaper business. That is, if you have the staff, intention, and focus to produce such initiatives. I have not had much time to look at the Globe stuff, just a quick glance, but everyone I know is raving about it so, it is worth linking.

Short cuts
* According to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, Tommy Thompson will be on C-SPAN this weekend and he will say that the August Iowa Straw Poll is a must win for him.
* A new Mason-Dixon survey is reportedly saying that Hillary Clinton is the one major presidential candidate most general election voters say they will not vote for. She shows a net negative of 48-52 percent, compared to Edwards at 59-41, Fred Thompson at 62-38, or Mike Bloomberg at 61-39.
* The New York Daily News is reporting that there is no comment out of Bloomberg's office about polls being done to test an independent presidential run. Check out the comment from his press office:
"We don't comment about his private schedule or personal life. Bloomberg is under no legal obligation to report any personal money he spends exploring a possible presidential run until he announces his candidacy or starts formally campaigning."
Umm, OK, it sounds like he is looking at it to me.
* Sen. Brownback has a book coming out and talks about his apology to the Clintons: ["Browback Writes of 'Hatred' of Clintons"].
* Gov. Bill Richardson gets a boost from his local newspaper: ["Finally, Gov. Richardson looks like a candidate"]. His campaign is also predicting a $7 million catch in fund-raising numbers.

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