Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bits And Bites

A few items that caught my eye this morning regarding the Presidential races. If there is one character running that is a real turnoff, it's slick Mitt Romney. I've rarely seen a politician pander and morph to such a great degree, the guy is like a soulless chameleon, who takes shape, depending on the audience. Romney is unleashing his attacks on McCain, claiming that he is now the agent of change, the outsider, while McCain represents Washington, the status quo:
"There’s no way that Senator McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say that he’s the candidate that represents change -- that he’ll change Washington. He is Washington,” Mr. Romney said while speaking to reporters on Friday.

Another flip-flop, from the master of inconsistency:
In response to Romney's claim that there's "no way" McCain could present himself as the candidate of "change," the McCain campaign dug up an absolute gem that they're now circulating among reporters.

Camp McCain found a quote from 2002, when Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, in which Romney said precisely the opposite thing about McCain -- that he has always represented change:

"One of the reasons the people of America honor Senator McCain and why I'm so proud to have him standing with me today is that he has brought American values to the debate on the issues we care about.
He has always stood for reform and change."


An American Research poll, released last night, has McCain at 35%, Romney at 25%. A note of caution, this is the same outfit that had Clinton with a good lead heading into the Iowa Caucus. Zogby has McCain leading by 2%, down from 4% the day prior. The Suffolk poll still shows Romney with a 4% lead. Tonight's debate on ABC will be real key. Rumor has it that McCain and Huckabee have a non-aggression pact, look for the Huckster to take on Romney tonight.

On the Democratic side, Obama is drawing overflow crowds, while Clinton actually had a few empty seats at one of her events yesterday. Last night, there was a New Hampshire Democratic dinner, which might speak to where the enthusiasm lies:
The aftermath of the Iowa earthquake wasn't pretty for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. The takeaway from the "100 Club" dinner Friday night in Milford, N.H., is simple enough to give Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., another round in the scorecard: Clinton was booed, while Obama's supporters were so energetic that organizers were worried about the security situation.

"Three thousand people packed the auditorium and it seems like there are many more Obama supporters than Clinton supporters," ABC's Eloise Harper and Sunlen Miller report.

"It was not Clinton's best performance."

And this was not the headline she wanted out of her first post-Iowa day: "Hillary Booed at NH Democratic Party Dinner." "When Obama, the dinner's last speaker, took the stage the crowd surged forward chanting 'O-bam-a' and 'Fired Up, Ready to Go!' " Time's Jay Newton-Small reports.

"So many people pressed toward the stage that an announcer asked people to 'please take their seats for safety concerns.' By comparison Hillary was twice booed."

Polls show Obama closing, the rolling averages should start to become indicative tomorrow. Edwards support might be eroding, which could be a deciding factor.

Turnout will be critical, and conventional wisdom assumes a large vote will favor Obama. With that in mind, the predictions of a record turnout are noteworthy:
Secretary of State Bill Gardner is predicting a record half million voters will turn out for Tuesday's presidential primary.

Gardner is predicting 260,000 residents will vote in the Democratic primary and 240,000 will vote in the Republican primary.

He predicts that 150,000 undeclared voters -- who can choose which primary to vote in -- will cast votes. Of those, he thinks 90,000 will choose to vote in the Democratic primary and 60,000 in the Republican.

He predicts that 50,000 New Hampshire residents will register to vote on election day.

The previous record of 396,000 voters was set in the 2000 primary.

Interesting to see how Obama performs in tonight's debate, and whether or not Clinton goes after him in a more direct way.

Found this picture, the one on the left is people waiting for an Obama rally, estimated at a staggering 4000 people:

Apparently, people are also being turned away from McCain's rallies, due to potential fire hazards. These little anecedotes are powerful indicators of who has the mo.

JV, of TPM, offers the following at an Obama rally:
I didn't get there until just before 10, and the place was jammed. I had to park in a church lot a half mile away. This is a new High School, with what must be the largest gym in the state. It was full to overflowing. The picture attached was the line waiting to get in a little after 10. The line extends as far back in the other direction too. Shortly after I took this photo, the line stopped for several minutes. When it started moving again, it was to let us into the "secondary gym" (which is about as large as most high school primary gyms) and they filled that one too. So we didn't get to see Obama, but we did get to hear him. When he finished, he briefly popped into our room to thank us for coming out. (video below) I've lived in NH for 27 years now. I've never seen a candidate pull crowds anything like this.


Anonymous said...

The very orchestrated boos, movement of supporters, and contrived standing ovation is just theatre, some of it very distasteful. Interestingly, I've seen this exact same tactic last year from the Ignatieff campaign. Young zombies ushered here and there told to boo opponents and fabricate a standing ovation by crouching in the isles and standing up on cue. INterestingly enough as well, they are similar candidates, good speeches sometimes, little substance, really big gaffs. Remember they I would invade pakistan if I were president comment from last month.

Once Obama has been examined voters will turn away from him. He is an extemely weak candidate.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a tad phony - he's very left and to me, if it seems to good to be true, chances are it is.

Paul Wells - in his blog pointed out a scenario in 1988 - a man won Iowa, NH, Georgia, etc - the man was Jesse Jackson.

Obama just doesn't feel right to me. He grew up with a very social elitist family - had all the best education etc.

Easy for him to say he was against Iraq when he wasn't there to have to look over documents and make a decision.

Obama has rock star status, but there really isn't any substance there. I really get uncomfortable when youth turn to hero worship - reminds me of the Gerard Kennedy bunch, the Dion bunch and look what happened.

Anonymous said...

Romney is a scumbag. I'm just glad to see my long-standing opinion out in the open more and more.

Having read those reports about last night, if anything it confirms my fears (unfortunately). The zealotry that may carry Obama's nomination forward in the next few weeks may will be his downfall in a general election.

I think he is inspiring. But he ain't no saint. The US - particularly the media - love to build someone up and then burn them down.

I'd rather see him win a competitive race than play the rock stars. Rock stars get caught in scandals.

Point to ponder:

1) How many "everyday" americans this morning do you think know he admitted to drug use in his autobiography this morning?

2) How many do you think will know it in September?

The "angels singing / heaven shining down upon us" crowd will not convince the millions of conservative-leaning americans who may well decide that alone is grounds for discrimination of a candidate in November.

I see a train wreck coming here for the Democrats if this nomination process becomes an argument over whose supporters can storm stages (rudely) in orchestrated shows of support.

Can't help it - that's just how I see it. My instincts have been spot on for the past decade in US politics. I want to be proven wrong, but these kind of reports reinforce and do nothing to erase the sinking feeling that we've seen this before.

I want Obama (or Hillary or Edwards) to win on policy and merits first, then have a good presence and strong supporters. But I do not want to see the race be a rock-star arrival (Obama) or a coronation (Hillary).

Time will tell

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Romney is a complete flip flopper of all them and that is why I suspect he would be the easiest to beat of the Republicans even more so than Huckabee. Despite the fact Huckabee is quite right wing, at least he is consistent, whereas if you act like a moderate as a governor, but then run on a hard right campaign for president, you only anger both sides. The right wing base may be reluctant to show up if they unsure Romney will adopt their policies, while the moderates aren't going to want to vote for someone who runs on a hard right platform.

Anonymous said...

by the way, how long do you think it will take the Republican party to find people who have done cocaine with Mr. Obama and put them on TV? Answer they have probably already found them.

The Republican Party took a decorated Vietnam war hero and managed to malign him with that service to his country. It was called swiftboating. Sure 18 year olds may not remember it, but repbublicans will not let casual and repeated cocain use go unnoticed. How many druggy friends of Mr. Obama's have gone on to have lengthy crimal records? How much money will it take the republican party to buy these people? Not much

That's just his personal life. His political life is even easier to rip apart. If the dems nominate him, they will lose the white house.

The US and its anti-drug lobby will not allow this man to ever be President. And it has nothing to do with racism, it's the hard drug use. Suggesting that Obama might ever have been adrug dealer was wrong. Finding people who he used to hang out with who were/are drug dealers easy! They can and will all be white. It was Hawaii.

He would be a terrible mistake for the Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting point, Obama does not lead among blacks, not by a long shot. They don't have the liberal white guilt that would propel them to support an inadequit candidate.

Steve V said...

I think people over-state the drug use. It will be an issue for sure, but Obama has been forthright about it, which has neutralized the issue somewhat. The Republicans will always find something to focus in on somebody, so to say they will try and ruin Obama is like saying the sun will rise tomorrow.

As it relates to Africian American support, Clinton does lead currently, but I have heard several Africian American commentators, including Jesse Jackson, suggest that this could now change, given the fact he just might win. South Carolina may be where we start to see this shift.


On Romney, several people have pointed out that he has ran so far to the right in the last few months, that he has effectively alienated any appeal to the center, which will cost him dearly in a general election campaign. It's natural for candidates to appeal to the base during the nomination process, but Romney has stepped all over his record, shown no consistency, and it will rightfully bite him in the ass later on. I agree, Huckabee might have controversial ideas, but he is probably a better shot, because independents don't respect a phony persona. That said, I think both of them would lose, with McCain and Guiliani the only real hope for the Rep side.

p.s-Could some of the anonymous comments get a nickname, makes it easier to distinguish.

Steve V said...

First post Iowa poll out (no rolling average), by Rasmussen, which shows the following:


Obama 37%
Clinton 27%
Edwards 19%


McCain 31%
Romney 26%
Paul 14%
Huck 11%
Guil 8%

We now have our first poll that shows Obama with the lead. For context, Rasmussen polled two weeks ago, and had it Clinton +3%.

CNN is set to release a poll at 5 pm, interesting to see if a trend develops, or if Rasmussen is out of step.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the drug issue for Obama will be an issue - afterall, Bush did drugs and was/is an alcholic.

Jesse Jackson also said good speeches are one thing, but you also have to have substance.

Steve V said...


Just to be clear, I'm not an Obama guy.

Anonymous said...

I just want to be clear as well. I'm not opposed to Obama.

But I do fear how some of the things in his past will come back to haunt him. In much of Canada, admitting drug use as a teen wouldn't be a big deal. In the deep south or the midwest, it will be a big deal to many people.

For the record - and as stupid or incredulous as it sounds - Bush has NEVER really admitted to using any drugs at all (there have just been rumors). And he never said he was an alcoholic - he just that he gave up drinking at age 40 (part of finding Jesus is the implication). Rumored use with miraculous transformations versus having quotes like, "I inhaled, that was the whole point" (which is pretty much an exact quote from Obama) is VERY different in the US. Expect to see those lines in advertisements and "pundit talk-shows" and mailers and radio ads next August. And then expect the media to be right on board peddling the story and wondering aloud if it will bring his Presidential hopes down - with a slew of polls to follow. Mark my words (which is a phrase I normally avoid).

I "want" to believe that it won't make a difference, but I'm not drinking that kool-aid. Because for many in the US, it WILL make a difference. Of that I have no doubt.

Steve V said...


"Because for many in the US, it WILL make a difference. Of that I have no doubt."

I would argue the people it would ultimately make a difference for are the Republican base. I don't think admitting coke use, as part of youthful transgression is a defining issue for swing voters. That said, I take your point.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong. I think Obama may be the candidate who will beat the "machine."

And I'll be rooting for him the whole distance.

But it is a gnawing fear, and I just can't shake it. I sincerely hope my fears prove unjustified.