Political Faces in the News


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, Romney: Michigan, S.C., Nevada, Florida

It's crunch time. Do you know where your candidate stands in the polls?

I know, New Hampshire "proves we shouldn't believe the polls anymore"--or maybe it's the pundits making that claim we should stop believing. To me, the Obama-Clinton polling faux pas says little about the value of political polling and a lot more about the Granite state's eccentricities. But then that's me. If you disagree, I guess I'll see you later.

Still with me? Okay, then, let's look at the latest numbers.


(Jan 15)


S. Carolina

(Jan 19)



(Jan 19)



(Jan 29)
































Who's leading in Michigan (Jan. 15)?

Going into Michigan next Thursday (Jan. 15), Romney, McCain, and Huckabee sit in a statistical tie. Of course, that may change after Fox's South Carolina debates later tonight.

But then everything changes (except Gov. Romney "core beliefs"; sorry, couldn't help myself)--so what's new? Michigan, incidentally, will be divvying up 60 delegates--or 30 if you believe the GOP penalizes Mich. for moving up it's primary before Feb. 5. That means roughly 12 delegates apiece (or 6, with the penalty) for the three front-runners.

Then comes S.C. and Nevada on Jan. 19

After Michigan, it's S.C. and Nevada--both on Jan. 19. Huckabee leads in S.C. (by 1.5% over McCain), while Giuliani and Romney are now tied in Nevada at about 24% apiece.

Historically, S.C. has carried a lot of weight in the early primaries, so expect the race there to be hotly contested--especially since Thompson (and probably McCain too) sees S.C. as make-or-break time.

Giuliani's Florida strategy

And that leaves only Florida standing between the GOP candidates and Super Tuesday on Feb. 5. Florida, of course, is Rudy's "fire wall" (or life-jacket might be closer to the truth), as it's the first serious contest in the Mayor's so-called "big-state" strategy.

Giuliani continues to lead the Sunshine state with 26.5% of the vote. But Huckabee's only 5% behind and with a big win in S.C. could end up spoiling Rudy's party.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Huckabee-Paul: A GOP Match Made in Heaven?

huckabee-paulForget Huckabee-McCain

There's been some talk about a possible alliance between Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

But once New Hampshire's over, I just don't see what either candidate gets out of that deal.

Quite simply, two "social conservatives" does not a winning GOP ticket make!

Especially when both hail from small, Southern states. And don't forget, each also has an iffy record on the GOP's top hot-button campaign issue--illegal immigration.

If not Huckabee-McCain, who then?

As Super Tuesday (Feb 5) draws ever near, several facts are becoming increasingly clear:

Fact # 1. Mike Huckabee is a (if not "the") great communicator but struggles to raise the campaign funds he'll need for a national campaign.

Fact # 2. Ron Paul is a phenomenal fundraiser even if he sometimes struggles to effectively communicate his Libertarian vision (at least on the Iraq war).

Fact # 3. Democrat Barack Obama is extremely popular among younger voters.

Fact # 4. Barack Obama may very well be the Democratic 2008 nominee.

Fact # 5. Ron Paul is also very popular among younger voters (although maybe not the same ones).

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

It's clear Mike Huckabee could use Ron Paul's fundraising skills and youth appeal.

And Ron Paul? Well, he could obviously benefit from Mike Huckabee's "gift for gab" and more mainstream appeal to poor and middle-class voters.

Is this a match made in heaven?

Clearly not, but consider these additional facts:

Fact # 6. Except for foreign policy (especially the Iraq war), Huckabee and Paul are basically compatible on all the major issues--immigration, trade, taxes, government spending, health care, abortion, etc.

Fact # 7. Paul comes from the delegate-rich (and voter-rich) state of Texas (although, like McCain, he's a Southerner too).

Fact # 8. The closer we get to Super Tuesday (Feb. 5), the bigger the part campaign finances are going to play. (Those big state ads don't come cheap, you know!)

Fact # 9. Gov. Huckabee's message of "hope" will become even more important as we move into the General Election, especially if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee.

Fact # 10. Ron Paul's "controversial" (at least for the GOP) views on Iraq will become less important in the General Election and may even help neutralize the Iraq war as a campaign issue for the Democrats.

So what do YOU think?

Do you agree that a Huckabee-Paul alliance makes sense at this point?

If so, what about a Huckabee-Paul ticket in the Fall?

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ron Paul, the Wyoming Caucuses & Ducado's GOP Campaign Update

Well it's definitely been an exciting GOP primary season thus far!

So what's up with the Republican candidates after Iowa? Read on and see!

The Wyoming caucuses get underway!

Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are looking to rebound in today's Wyoming GOP caucuses. (more...)

Ron Paul is top GOP fundraiser

It was announced this week that Ron Paul leads the Republican pack in raising campaign funds. (more...)

Elsewhere, Fox News is sticking by its decision to exclude Paul from it's GOP debate in New Hampshire on Sunday, Jan 6. The NH Republican Party has even petitioned the network to include Paul, but to no avail. (more...)

Huckabee new darling of late-night talk

Following last week's success on the Leno show, Gov. Huckabee is now scheduled to appear on CBS's "Late Show" with David Letterman on Monday, the day before the NH primary. (more...)

In an email to supporters, the Huckabee campaign says it's candidate now tops the polls in SC, Oklahoma, Montana, and Georgia--and is second in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.

Mitt says he's "Mr. Change"

Taking a chapter from Barack Obama's victory in Iowa, the Massachusetts' Governor now says he's the real deal when it comes to "change". (more...)

McCain basks in NH limelight

In NH for Tuesday's primary, McCain says his moment is at hand, predicting (with a few cautions) that he will capture Tuesday's presidential primary here, as he did eight years ago. (more...)

Thompson to skip NH

The TN Senator said he's skipping the NH primary in order to focus on Wyoming. Thompson told MSNBC "We're not competitive in New Hampshire. And we won’t be campaigning there other than to go in for the debates which are tomorrow night and sunday night." (more...)

Rudy supporters growing restless

With the mayor losing Iowa and now falling in the NH polls, Giuliani's "national strategy" is starting to raise doubts even among his own supporters. (more...)

Friday, January 4, 2008

What Everyone Needs to Know About Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama!

HuckObama Now that Iowa's spoken, it's time to see what today's front-runners really stand for!

So how do Iowa's winners stack up on the issues?

Well, let's look and see.

Issue Huckabee Obama
IRAQ Opposes timetable for troop withdrawal Supports immediate (but gradual) withdrawal
TAXES Would abolish IRS and institute national sales tax with "prebates" for poor. Supports $85 billion tax cut for middle and low income. Supports increased capital gains & dividend taxes on "wealthy".
IMMIGRATION Opposes "amnesty" for illegals. Opposes driver's licenses for illegals; Supports "comprehensive" immigration reform, including "limited" amnesty (with fine and English requirement)
ABORTION Pro-life: Opposes Roe v. Wade. Opposes embryonic stem cell research. Pro-choice: Supports Roe v.Wade. Supports embryonic stem cell research.
TRADE Opposes "unfair" foreign competition. Would renegotiate NAFTA to include labor & environmental provisions.
CLIMATE CHANGE Supports alternative energy & energy independence. Supports carbon emissions caps and 35MPH fuel efficiency standard. Supports "cap-and-trade" program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Supports carbon emissions caps.

Well, there you have it--at least the basics of where today's front-runners stand. Time now to begin digging through the fine print!

To help get you started, you might look here and here.

Got a Comment? Let's hear from you!

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ron Paul Leads Newsmax Poll

Newsmax announced late yesterday that Ron Paul currently leads it's Internet primary poll of Republican Presidential candidates. The results cover over 400,000 visitors who have participated in the poll.

Asked to name their choice in 2008, 23.4% chose Ron Paul. Paul topped out at nearly 5% higher than the next highest ranking Republican candidate--Fred Thompson at 18.7%.

I've summarized the key results for you below:

In the following field, who is your 2008 candidate?

Ron Paul: 23.4
Fred Thompson: 18.7
Mike Huckabee 16.2
Mitt Romney 14.7
Rudy Giuliani 13.9
John McCain 3.9

Paul supporters will no doubt see these results as additional ammunition for the national uproar over Paul's exclusion from the Jan. 6 Fox Forum in NH.

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You can find the complete results on the Newsmax website.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Track the 2008 Primaries with Your Own Election Calendar

It's now just 36 hours before the 2008 Primary elections, with the kick off this Thursday (Jan 3) in Iowa .

So I thought I'd re-post my Presidential primary calendar. Hope you find it as helpful as I have!

January '08

Rep: IA (3), WY (5), NH (8), MI (15), SC, NV (19), FL (29)
Dem: IA (3), NH (8), MI (15), NV (19), SC (26), FL (29)

February '08
Rep: ME (1), AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CN, CO, DE, GA, IL, ND, MA, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NY, OK, TN, UT (5), GU, KS, LA (9), DC, MD, VA (12), WA, WI (19), AS, VI (23), PR (24)
Dem: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CN, CO, DE, GA, ID, IL, ND, MA, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NY, OK, TN, UT (5), LA, VI (9), ME (10), DC, MD, VA (12), HI, WA, WI (19)
March '08
Rep: OH, RI, TX, VT (4), MS (11)
Dem: OH, RI, TX, VT (4), WY (8), MS (11)
April '08
Rep: PA (22)
Dem: PA (22)
May '08
Rep: IN, NC (6), NE, WV (13), KY, OR (20), ID (27)
Dem: GU (3), IN, NC (6), NE, WV (13), KY, OR (20)
Jun '08
Rep: NM, SD (3)
Dem: MT, SD (3)

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Who Benefits from the Shortened Primary Schedule?

In case you hadn't noticed, the 2008 Primary season is going to be shorter than ever.

Which raises an interesting question: which Republican candidate stands to benefit most from all the Primary schedule changes the States made in '07?

Before last week, the political pundits were all predicting a Huckabee victory in Iowa followed by a McCain or Giuliani triumph in NH. But that's before Governor Romney began resurrecting his early-primary campaign with a torrential advertising blitz in Iowa and NH this past week.

Now, with the actual voting set to start this Thursday, it's quite conceivable the Mass. Governor will win not only NH but possibly Iowa as well. And, more importantly, to go on from there to win the "big" primaries too!

The reason? Again, it's that wacky Primary calendar this year.

Money will decide "Super Tuesday's" winner

First, a bit of history. Unlike the upcoming contests this year, past Primary line-ups tended to spread out the selection process over several months--rather than weeks and (in some cases) days this time around.

That gave each candidate repeated opportunities to make his case before the American voter. And that includes those candidates with the fewest financial resources (like Mike Huckabee) and the most limited medial coverage (like Ron Paul) this time around. Past Primaries also gave the candidates time to build (and replenish) campaign resources and recover from inevitable missteps along the way.

But that's all changed now!

This time around, there's just too little time between contests. The crunch gets especially bad right before the Florida Primary on Jan. 29.

The reason is Super Tuesday (on Feb. 5) which compresses twenty separate primaries into a single 24-hour period.

And it's not just the smaller states as in the early Primaries. Among those twenty Super Tuesday contests, the Republican candidates will be fighting for rich delegate slates in Illinois and Massachusetts as well as New Jersey--not to mention the grand-daddies of all the Primaries in California and New York.

Who profits from the new Primary schedule?

So back to our original question: "Who benefits from this hyper-compressed Primary schedule?"

Answer: The candidate(s) with the most money to lavish on TV ads.

Just think about it for a minute! There's simply no way a candidate can be in more than three or four states in a single day. At least not physically.

So the trick is creating a pseudo-presence in all key States simultaneously. And how do you do that? By blanketing the airwaves with campaign advertising, of course.

Just follow the cash!

But TV ads obviously don't come cheap these days. So who's got the cash to finance a Super Tuesday blitz?

The FEC's latest numbers show Gov. Romney ($61.6m) with the most campaign contributions by far, followed by Mayor Giuliani ($46.7m) and then Senator McCain ($31.4m).

Despite his surge in popularity, Gov. Huckabee ($2.3) is near the bottom of the Republican fundraising list--easily outdistanced by even Rep. Paul (at $8.2m) who's gotten little of the media attention lavished on the Arkansas Governor.

What's the punch-line?

So what lessons can we draw for the impending Primary wars? I see two almost inescapable conclusions:

  1. The Republicans will have a Presidential nominee as early as Feb 6.
  2. The name of that nominee is most likely Mitt Romney.

Got another point of view? I'd like to hear from you!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Can Anyone Stop the Man from Neo-Con?

Whoever said "trash talk" doesn't pay?

romneym Obviously, whoever it was never watched Governor Romney as he parlayed the black art of opponent decapitation over the political airwaves in Iowa and NH this past week. Attack ad after unrelenting attack ad--one embarrassing day followed by another. It seemed at times like the Romney attack machine simply couldn't quench it's voracious appetite for blood.

Huckabee conservative or McCain independent--you've gotta be wondering: Is this really the man the Neo-cons find so much to cheer about? And what of all those "honesty first" voters still out there who learn almost daily of some new reason to distrust the flip-meister from Massachusetts--errr, I mean Utah, errr, or is it Michigan?

Should they simply ignore all the Romney character questions and "candor gaps" in hopes of "lower taxes" and "fewer regulations" somewhere down the line? After all, unlike the average Neo-con who's quite adept at flip-flopping himself (having leaped from the left to the right with the greatest of ease), Main Street Republicans still believe a person "means what he says"--and vice versa.

Now that Governor Romney's back in the early primary hunt, it's time to stop daydreaming about "what could have been" and start asking some hard political questions like . . .

What Happens now in SC and Florida?

Until Romney's withering TV barrage this past week, the gathering wisdom was that Huckabee wins Iowa and McCain takes NH. Now, with Mitts' unexpected resurgence, a new scenario has suddenly surfaced--namely Romney wins Iowa or NH or both.

Either outcome leaves only Michigan (on Jan. 15) and then SC and Nevada (on Jan. 19) for Huckabee and McCain to regroup before a final push in late Jan/early Feb.--following what would be back-to-back losses for one or both candidates. (You can throw Mayor Giuliani in the same boat too while you're at it.)

Now if that isn't bad enough for you Huckabee and McCain supporters, things just keep getting bleaker from then on. The reason? In two words, "time" and "money."

Because of all the Primary schedule changes the States made this year, it's quite likely the Republican nomination will be decided by mid-Feb at the latest, as Florida gathers on Jan. 29, followed by Maine on Feb. 1 and finally, twenty clincher contests on Feb 5-- "Super Tuesday". And who does this newly contracted schedule favor? You got it--the guy with all the money!

Money will Decide Who Wins on Super Tuesday

Despite their other faults, past Primary line-ups shared at least one redeeming feature: they spread out the selection process over time, giving each candidate (including the one with the fewest campaign funds) the opportunity to make his case before the American voter. They also gave him some precious time to replenish his financial coffers and recover from minor mishaps and faux pas.

But that's not going to happen this time around; there's just not enough time between Primary A and Primary B. And unless the current scheduling problems are fixed, it won't be happening again in the foreseeable future either!

Any guess what else is going to happen under the new Primary scheduling system we've stumbled ourselves into? That's right, whoever has the most money to spend on TV ads is going to trump whoever's got the best character and foresight for leading our great nation!

Can't happen, you say? Well, just watch and weep as the best-funded campaigns start dominating the vote tallies and evening headlines starting next week!

Who gains most from the new Primary schedule?

And who might that be? According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission's latest tabulations (as of Dec. 30), Gov. Romney ($61.6m) has amassed the most campaign contributions by far--followed by Giuliani ($46.7m) and then McCain ($31.4m).

Where was Gov. Huckabee, you may be asking? Well, if you're a Huckabee supporter, you really don't want to know. Alright, if you insist, Huck was between Tancredo ($3.5m) and Thompson ($1.1m) at barely over $2m.

Now, of course, those figures have changed since the numbers were last tallied. But the basic picture remains the same. And that's even before you factor in Romney's considerable personal fortune just waiting to be added to all those contributions from the boys at Goldman Sachs.

Unless something happens to slow Romney's advance

So what's left for the other Republican candidates should Mitt steal the show in Iowa and/or NH?

Not much, unfortunately, if you're a Huckabee supporter. My guess is Pastor Huckabee will be back strumming his bass guitar by Feb 1--unless he can somehow regain his lost momentum in Iowa.

As for McCain, "cactus John" is likely to fare a little better--at least for a while. I say that for two reasons. First, unlike Huckabee, McCain actually has some financial reserves to draw upon. And second, should Huckabee be forced from the race, McCain is the likely benefactor of at least some of the Arkansas Governor's pro-life support.

Why only "some", you ask? Because, unlike Huckabee, who's managed to paper over many of his weaknesses on illegal immigration, the Arizona Senator has nowhere to hide from mainstream conservatives on the issues of "amnesty" and "border security."

Who's left?

So who's left? Well, let's see. First, there's Giuliani, who seems more content with getting a good Winter tan in Florida than actually competing for primary votes. Seriously though, the mayor does still sport a respectable warchest.

The real question is "can he pull the trigger" and actually work his way back into the race? It seems clear the former mayor will not gain much from a Huckabee departure. He's too hopelessly "soft" on mainstream issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) dear to social conservatives. But should McCain exit the race before him, it's conceivable some of McCain's "national security" supporters will find their way over to "Rudy's camp". We'll just have to wait and see.

That leaves only Fred Thompson and Ron Paul as credible Romney opponents. With Huckabee gone, a case could be made for Thompson as the sole remaining hope for social conservatives. But after Fred's curious "fire in the belly" comments this past week, it's unclear what it would take for the Senator's campaign to get off it's lethargic arse and get to work.

That said, Thompson's prospects as a "white horse" candidate obviously improve the less congested the race becomes. The Tennessee Senator has also shown some promise as a fundraiser ($12.7m by FEC numbers), but as with his lackadaisical campaigning style, he needs to pick up the pace there as well.

From a strictly fundraising perspective, Ron Paul would seem to offer Romney his greatest challenge . The blogosphere is electric with news of the massive warchest the Texas Congressman is assembling. And that's not all there is to fear if you're a Romney supporter. Of all the candidates (including the Dems), no one has developed a more enthusiastically committed grassroots organization than Dr. Paul.

The real concern for Paul supporters is whether the Congressman can overcome the equally real fears his antiwar rhetoric evokes in a campaign so heavily focused on national security. At this point, at least, my guess is he cannot.

What about possible alliances?

If you're Mitt Romney, you've got to be feeling good at this point. Looking out over the next three weeks, the man from Neo-con seems to be ensconced in the proverbial catbird's seat. Of course, that assumes he'll be competing with the other candidates one-on-one.

Which brings up the possibility of potential alliances in this already strange and ever-changing Presidential primary campaign.

There was considerable speculation last week about one such possible alliance between the Huckabee and McCain camps. The basic idea there was that Huckabee would keep Romney pinned down in Iowa while McCain worked him over in NH--and visa versa. If a Huckabee-McCain alliance is indeed at hand, my only question is "What happens after NH?"

To remain viable on the eve of Super Tuesday, both Huckabee and McCain desperately need a win in SC. To think each would sacrifice himself in the interest of stopping Romney, seems a bit far-fetched at this point.

Unless, of course, a deal can be struck that puts the two campaigners on the same Presidential ticket. The only question then would be "Who heads that ticket?"--Huckabee or McCain. Stranger things have happened, but a Huckabee-McCain ticket is still a long-shot at this point. In fact, looking down the road a piece, a Romney-McCain ticket probably makes as much if not more sense than a McCain-Huckabee one. Only time will tell.

Politics and strange bedfellows

As the old proverb says, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

So don't be surprised when the candidates start vetting their alliance options once the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries start settling. The pace will quicken as the MI results reveal who's strong and who's weak in the rust belt--and who still has a shot to win the top spot on the Republican ticked.

By the time the Republican candidates reach SC and Nevada (Jan. 19), it should be pretty clear who still can win the top spot on the Republican ticket and who might help the frontrunner(s) make it through the grueling Super Tuesday that lies ahead.

Get ready for take-off

So if you're a Romney Republican, sit back and enjoy the race. If not, I wish there was something I could say to pick up your spirits.

In either case, fasten your seatbelts. It's looking to be another Grand Old Party!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What's Behind the Ron Paul Phenomenon?

If you've watched any of the Republican debates, you may have wondered about the grey-haired candidate who's always blasting the war in Iraq.

In fact, you may have thought the guy had mistakenly stumbled onto the wrong debate platform, since his anti-war positions often sound more like John Edwards and the Dems than John McCain and the Reps.

Check out the video and judge for yourself.

For many traditional conservatives, Congressman Paul sounds kind of "kooky". After all, isn't National Security one of the ideological pillars of modern day conservatism?

Actually Dr. Paul (he's a medically trained obstetrician) is libertarian on most issues and strongly favoring "limited government". But what's curious about Paul's brand of libertarianism is that on many issues other than Iraq, the Texas Congressman hews closely to today's conservative line--he's pro-life (many libertarians are pro-choice), pro-business, and tough on border security (libertarians seem evenly divided on the issue).

What's also interesting about the Texas Congressman (besides his medical training and unorthodox opinions) is the almost electric atmosphere in the blogosphere whenever his name is uttered. That's especially surprising given his rather paltry numbers in the primary polls. In fact, the disparity between Dr. Paul's low polling numbers and immense grass-roots appeal is little short of astonishing.

So what do you think explains the Ron Paul phenomenon? Why would a candidate who generates this much enthusiasm fail to attract any solid support in the primary polls (at least not yet)? Use the Comments link below to post your answer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Weekend Update On Republican Candidates

Huckabee links Bhutto assassination to Immigration

Huckabee told reporters in Pella Iowa--

"we need to understand that violence and terror is significant when it happens in Pakistan. It's more significant if it could happen in our own cities, and it happens if people can slip across our border and we have no control over it. That's exactly how it can affect us."

Romney launches new ad attacking Huckabee

Mitt Romney has a new ad out criticizing Huckabee's leadership credentials and promoting his own.

Fred Thompson hits Dems on Bhutto reaction

Thompson warned other candidates against calling for Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to step down, saying a more deliberate approach is needed. (more...)

Ron Paul touts "prolife" credentials in new tv ad

Ron Paul showcases his leadership credentials in a new TV ad airing in Iowa and NH. (more...)

Giuliani leaves Florida; returns to Iowa

Before leaving Florida, Giuliani stressed the importance of police and law enforcement officers in thwarting terrorism. (more...)

Minnesota Gov. to stump for McCain in NH

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to introduce McCain at townhall meetings in New Hampshire this weekend. (more...)