Trust, But Verify

[Note: We will “live blog” the Democratic debate scheduled for 1:00  2:00 p.m. (ET) this afternoon.]

Demented Big Bloggers (we’ll have an example below), not-so-astute “journalists”, and Obama supporters, want to debase the issue of election integrity as an attack on the federal right of students to vote. Students have a federally guaranteed right to vote. The issue is election integrity.

Students who attend college in Iowa have a federal right to vote. However, “students” and “Iowa students” should not be conflated. Not ALL students have the right to vote in Iowa. A student who attends college or high school in Illinois is not entitled to vote in Iowa.

* * *

The Iowa caucuses are the first filter of candidates of both major political parties in the race towards the nomination. The Iowa caucuses bring in tens of millions of dollars to Iowa every 4 years. The Iowa caucuses provide influence to the Iowa Big Media outlets every four years.

This year, Michigan and several other states attempted to challenge Iowa and New Hampshire as the first two states to vote. It is imperative for the democratic process, the self-interest of Iowa and Iowa Big Media, and the hallowed position (rightly or wrongly) Iowa occupies on this year’s election calendar that the Iowa caucuses be conducted with integrity and that the results reflect the will of Iowa voters.

This year the Iowa caucuses are threatened by potentially unscrupulous behavior imported from Big Brother Illinois and Big City Chicago.

As we wrote in Another Stolen Election, this is not about the right of students to vote.

This is not about students and their federal right to vote. It’s about potential fraud. We need procedures in place with built-in safeguards to protect the Iowa caucuses from Big Neighbor Chicago and its voting dead (or in this case, export voters).

It is important that Iowa political officials and observers protect the integrity of the Iowa caucuses.

A review of the last 2 presidential elections should instruct Democrats that at the very least the will of the people, or rather – of the voters, was not reflected in the results. We want the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, as well as all elections to reflect the will of the voters. Voters includes students. This is a federal right which should be enforced.

However, Republicans have used in state after state for the past 2 election cycles mostly LEGAL, methods to subvert the will of the voters. (The less legal methods employed to suppress the vote are difficult to prove immediately so Ripublicans get away with the voter suppression). Ironically, some of the Legal techniques used by Ripublicans specifically target student voters for suppression. Other legal methods for voter suppression include voter ID requirements designed to block minority voters and students from voting; voter file purging, caging, there are many ways to suppress voter participation. [snip]

As we wrote, we are facing a very unusual situation.

What everyone is tip toeing around is: There is in fact the very real potential of for the first time in recent history massive, organized, VOTER fraud, not election fraud which is usually the case. The Massive state of Illinois has the very real potential to subvert the small state caucus in Iowa. Democrats cannot turn a blind eye to this very real possibility. [snip]

By the way, Dodd is tip toeing into the larger issue of this “stealing” too:
”I was deeply disappointed to read today about the Obama campaign’s attempt to recruit thousands of out-of-state residents to come to Iowa for the caucuses.”

The Hillary campaign is being polite too: “We are not systematically trying to manipulate the Iowa caucuses with out of state people. We don’t have literature recruiting out of state college students.”

David Yepsen is aware there is a potential problem. Yepsen does not to draw a sufficiently bright distinction between all students and Iowa students – who are legally entitled to vote. David Yepsen does echo what we have repeatedly written: Trust, But Verify.

Maybe we should call these the Illinois caucuses.

Officials and campaigners in both parties are worried that zealous out-of-state staffers and non-Iowa supporters of candidates may try to vote in the caucuses, thereby skewing the results.

On the Republican side, GOP officials are watching precincts in Council Bluffs and Davenport to make certain people aren’t driving across the state line to participate. They are particularly concerned about Ron Paul’s over-caffeinated backers.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama’s campaign is telling Iowa college students they can caucus for him even if they aren’t from Iowa. Five of the six Democratic presidential campaigns have said they don’t want their out-of-town staffers caucusing in Iowa, even though some of these staffers have already registered to vote here.

Blanketing literature to college students asking them to vote comes with a problem: is the literature, appropriately distributed to Iowa college students, being distributed elsewhere? This is where transparency is necessary. The gullible or the duplicitous are now aware of the lack of safeguards in the Iowa caucuses which makes potential fraud a problem. Hoping on an Obama bus in an organized or individually initiated manner, to illegally vote in Iowa, can be a temptation. Non-Iowa students quickly reading Obama literature as well as demented Big Bloggers might be tempted to violate the law.

Party officials say it is easy to register as an Iowa voter and participate at a caucus. That openness may lead to fraud. While Republicans say they will ask people who want to register at the caucus to produce some sort of identification, even those questionable registrants will be allowed to cast ballots on caucus night. On the Democratic side, officials say no identification is required to register and vote in their caucuses.

Obama’s campaign is telling Iowa college students they can caucus for him even if they aren’t from Iowa. His campaign offers that advice in a brochure being distributed on college campuses in the state. A spokesman said 50,000 of the fliers are being distributed. It says: “If you are not from Iowa, you can come back for the Iowa caucus and caucus in your college neighborhood.”

Yepsen’s language on the right of Iowa students to vote is sometimes confused – he too tends to conflate all students with “Iowa students”. But the language in Obama literature is “confused” too. The concern is non-Iowans without the legal right to vote, voting. The Obama campaign has bought in thousands of Big Neighbor Illinois residents to his campaign events this year. Some might be tempted to “return” and vote on caucus night:

It’s one thing for Obama to turn out non-Iowans to party dinners, eastern Iowa rallies, Oprah Winfrey visits or door-knocking. It would be something else to have them actually vote, something the campaign emphatically says it isn’t encouraging. But Larry Rasky, a spokesman for Joe Biden’s campaign, said last week: “Obama has paid no more than lip service to the timely call by the Dodd campaign for all the candidates to pledge to keep their out-of-state supporters on the sidelines.”

Yepsen is providing a service both major parties in trying to clarify the dangers of voting illegally. Yepsen, wrongly we believe, believes Iowa law and practices will be some sort of bulwark against massive election fraud which deprives Iowa voters from expressing their electoral will:

– Falsely registering to vote is fraud in Iowa. Someone from Illinois who thinks voter fraud is a way of life in that state will find a much different attitude from Iowa prosecutors.

– It would take hundreds of people in the right precincts to make a difference in the outcome. Any plan that brings thousands of people into Iowa to vote would be so visible everyone would see it, and it would backfire on the candidate who is supposed to benefit. It’s also called conspiracy, another crime.

– There is a law of diminishing returns on the Democratic side. After a candidate has won all the delegates from a college precinct, adding more caucus-goers to it does nothing to improve that candidate’s score.

– These are neighborhood meetings. In most caucuses, people know one another.

– Credibility. It’s not going to do Obama or Paul any good to have a showing in Iowa that is tainted. Obama has worked hard in Iowa. He has built an impressive organization and can win this on the legit. He doesn’t need to give opposition spinners a way to discredit a victory.

The bottom line here is that on caucus night, Iowans in both parties should work hard to conduct caucuses that are above reproach.

If Iowa can’t get this right, then Iowa shouldn’t get this sort of influence.

Demented Big Bloggers would probably rejoice at an electoral mess in Iowa because it would end the primacy of the Iowa caucuses. However we should all be in favor of electoral integrity.

Meanwhile, denouncing Yepson for alleged anti-student bias, Salon magazine recognized that there is a problem:

The clock is ticking on the Iowa caucuses, with just 22 days before zero hour, which means it’s time to address the ever-present specter of electoral fraud. For decades, the Iowa caucuses have been relatively clean affairs, unlike in South Carolina, where muck rules. In part, this has to do with the process itself, which is so Byzantine that for Democrats it looks more like musical chairs than voting. [snip]

First, there is a legitimate concern that nonstudent residents from Nebraska or Illinois could come and try to register for the Iowa caucuses, which would be illegal. (To participate in the Democratic caucus people must register as Democrats, legally stating that they live in the state, though there is no requirement to show identification.)

Salon’s writer proceeds to denounce Yepsen’s (and of course, Hillary – not bothering to mention other candidates who have spoken out for election integrity) concerns as bizarre, while acknowledging there is a problem.

As the top political columnist in the state, Yepsen clearly sees his role as a protector of the sanctity of the caucus process, which is relatively unguarded with few protections against organized fraud.

Paying lip service to the law, Salon’s writer declares If any candidate’s Iowa supporters bring in illegal, non-Iowans to the caucus, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Left unsaid is how the law will abate or nullify the public relations benefits of a victory in Iowa purchased with fraud. Yepsen is right, as are we, to insist on transparency in the process and that steps should be taken to prevent election fraud.

Too many people for too many years have waged war against the Ripublican canard of “voter fraud”, which rarely if ever occurs. This year the mere possibility of organized voter fraud is a real danger as even Salon acknowledges. The Des Moines Register’s Yepsen is correct when he insists that the integrity of the Iowa caucuses be protected BEFORE election day.

A demented Big Blogger, upset with David Yepsen’s call for election integrity wrote openly about violating the law and participating in the Iowa caucuses (as well as stupidly conflating all “students” with “Iowa students” who have the federally protected right to vote. [We are also amused by the total lack of self-awareness of this demented Big Blogger who rails against “elitism” then proceeds to tout his superior rights to vote because he is oh so knowledgeable about this election.]

The elitism of this article, against students, against Ron Paul supporters, against people from Illinois, is infuriating. Mike Connery destroys Yespen and some Democratic candidates for the way this attitude works to disenfranchise youth voters. I, however, want to go a step further. In fact, I am so irritated by this, that if I can figure out a way to get there, I have decided to participate in the caucuses myself.

Even though I haven’t been in the state since 1985, I believe I have every right to participate in the Iowa caucus. First, it would be consistent with the principle of democratic self-determination for the following three reasons:

The Presidency is a national office, and I am just as much of an American as anyone who lives in Iowa.

The Democratic Party is a national organization, and I am just as much of a Democrat as anyone who lives in Iowa.

In accordance with the principle of “one man, one vote,” after participating in the Iowa caucuses, I will not participate in the presidential nomination contest of any other state in the country.

Second, my participation in the Iowa caucuses are in keeping with the principle of retail politics often used to justify Iowa’s privileged position on the calendar.

I have seen every candidate speak in person. I have even talked with four of the seven candidates.

I have paid more attention to this campaign than about 98-99% of everyone else who will participate in the caucus.

Third, in keeping with the principles of democratic protest, this act of civil disobedience will be successful for the following reasons:

The vast majority of the country does not believe that Iowa should have such a privileged position in determining who is the President of everyone in the country. (Source, PDF)

What are the local authorities going to do? Arrest me for trying to vote? I’m sure that will look good, especially if several hundred people try to do this en masse.

The demented Big Blogger, who spent most of the year writing erudite nonsense claims about polls skewing in Hillary’s favor, goaded the bulk of his gullible readers into joining him in illegally voting in Iowa:

Neither Republicans nor Democrats in Iowa really do much to try and stop this, anyway.

With all of this in mind, the only argument that I can think of not to do this is that I don’t live in Iowa. Compared to everything else presented here, that strikes me as thin and anti-democratic. People who live in certain areas of the country should not have more rights than people who live in other areas of the country. Even though Yespen seems in favor of it when it comes to choosing the next President, fighting segregation was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement in this country, after all.

So, I’m going to caucus in Iowa, if I can figure out a way to get there. I think other people should join in, too. The more people who come, the stronger our protest will be. Are you with me!?

After insulting the civil rights movement and the fight against segregation not much is left of this NothingLeft Big Blogger. In the comments section the demented Big Blogger tried to pass off the entire article as “hyperbolic” and “satire”. Not many of his own readers saw the “satire”. One astute observer took issue with the comparisons to the segregation battles. Another of demented Big Bloggers readers courageously pledged to join the allegedly satiric “cause”:

If you want to caucus in Council Bluffs, you’re welcome to sleep in my guest room in Omaha (2 miles over the river).

I’ll even go to the caucus with you, though I can’t promise I’ll engage in civil disobedience unless there’s a lot more than 2 of us.

Another reader clearly did not get the satire. No doubt demented Big Blogger will attribute this not to his lack of satiric skills but rather to the failure of his own readers to be as wise as Big Blogger:

I don’t agree with this.

As I have written, Yepsen owes Obama an apology. Students attending Iowa colleges have the right to caucus in Iowa, regardless of where they are from originally. Or, they can choose to vote in their home states. This has long been established under the law.

But people not living in Iowa, not attending schools in Iowa, don’t get to caucus.

If you show up at a precinct caucus, you will be asked for your address. Students can give the address of their apartment or dormitory, but what are you going to say, Chris? I assume you don’t have a valid address in Iowa.

Demented Big Blogger, after declaring his weak writing as “satiric” appeared to eventually take up arms again for his own illegal importuning:

I don’t know exactly what I would do, because I am not really going to do this and because it is too late to organize a protest of this sort. The point I’m trying to make is that someone would be justified in doing this, because there is no good reason that Iowa should go first every stinkin’ time.

As we wrote, demented Big Blogger’s readers did not get the satire:

So you’re advocating either voter fraud (by lying to people in Iowa and saying that you reside there at least part-time) or just openly flouting the law in Iowa which says that caucussers must live in Iowa at least part-time.

Real cute.


I don’t understand a few things in this post. What would we be protesting? The system itself? And ‘certain areas’ have more rights how, exactly? You seem to be saying that the existence of separate states in our country is undemocratic. And Iowa’s privileged position should not be allowed to trump your privileged position?

I’m all ears, but I don’t understand.

Demented Big Blogger demonstrates the need for Iowa officials to take steps to make sure the integrity of the voting process in Iowa is protected. Democrats, real Democrats, not Naderites and PINOs who enjoy and attempt to profit from electoral chaos, are and should be concerned about election fraud.

We need to Trust, But Verify.


Bonus: Iowa Voters, student voters, with the last elected president:

Iowa voters

Iowa Voter

Iowa Voters

Iowa Voter

Iowa Voter


119 thoughts on “Trust, But Verify

  1. There is a law of diminishing returns on the Democratic side. After a candidate has won all the delegates from a college precinct, adding more caucus-goers to it does nothing to improve that candidate’s score.

    This isn’t quite true. Having a surplus of caucus-goers gives the candidate great power.

    Say candidate A has a surplus of delegates. Say you have two other candidates, B & C. You want the election outcome to be “anyone but C.”

    You throw your extra caucus-goers to B to either boost his count to gain an additional delegate or make him viable.

  2. As far as the general situation is concerned, I have no confidence in the IA caucuses at this point. While we’re at it, NH is a problem as well.

    IA election officials should stop beating around the bush and institute a method of verifying legal IA residence for voting purposes (which includes out-of-state students, of course). Presumably this would require action by the state legislature, so it ain’t gonna happen.

  3. David Yepsen has put Obama on notice. His second article on this issue included the warning that Obama could win this “legitimately” and it would be horrible for Obama were his win to be “tainted.” Now, how does David Yepsen know it will be horrible for Obama if there are Illinois shenanigans in Iowa? I imagine it’s because David Yepsen himself plans to put the word out that the process was not fair.

  4. I posted this a few weeks ago; in N.H., according to State guidelines (Make sure to #5, as this is the big problem here in N.H.):

    1. January 8, 2008 – PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION DAY – Unregistered voters may register and vote on this day.

    2. Presidential Primary:

    a) Meet with the Supervisors of the Checklist no later than the day prior to the filing period for the Presidential Primary (October 12, 2007). This is the last day you can change your party affiliation before the Presidential Primary.

    b) If you are a registered member of a party, you may change your registration at any primary, however, you will not be allowed to vote in that primary. Undeclared voters may declare a party and vote at any primary. The law allows an undeclared voter to declare a party at the polls, vote the ballot of that party, and then change their party affiliation back to undeclared simply by completing the form available from the Supervisors of the Checklist at the polling place.

    3. College students:

    * Under no circumstances may college students retain two voting domiciles. Like any other citizen, college students have only one voting domicile and may only cast one vote in any election. Accordingly, college students attending college in New Hampshire are encouraged to make a determination as to whether they wish to register to vote in the New Hampshire town or city where they live while attending college or to exercise that right in their hometown.

    This pertains to legal status, which the guidelines indicate could affect such things as health insurance, car insurance, taxes, scholarships and grants

    4. Registering to vote (college students and all others):

    * To help facilitate the process, each applicant should bring documents which can prove identity, domicile, citizenship and age. The law treats a New Hampshire driver’s license, non-driver ID, or other government issued photo identification that lists your name and the address you claim as your voting domicile, or vehicle registration form as presumptive evidence of your domicile, and will generally be accepted as proof of age and identify.

    5. If you do not have these forms of identification which prove identity, domicile, citizenship and age or all of these, you may complete an identification affidavit, domicile affidavit, and/or a citizenship affidavit.

  5. Waited all through Morning Joker to hear Wolfson re BHO. Wolfson made an excellent point in favor of Hillary that I had not heard so clearly before … and I paraphrase what he said:

    Both Bill and Hillary could have gone to work for high-profile, high-dollar law firms but chose public service instead because they are committed to helping people.

  6. mj, I thought that he did very well. Apparently, earlier, whether today or yesterday, Tweety was talking with Joe (might have been after yesterday’s debate) and said that Hillary needed to replace her elitist, high-dollar campaign advisers with some more down-to-earth types. So, Joe started out with asking Wolfson if he was an elitist and if he was would he take Mika, Joe and Willie out to eat at an elitist D.C. restaurant. Wolfson responded that when he was usually eating at his desk or having Chinese takeout at home (specifically steamed vegetable dumplings). So, Joe says that that would be fine with them.

    On the Sheehan thing, Joe asked whether Hillary should distance herself from it and Wolfson said she already had .. yesterday .. and that Shaheen had likewise apologized for his remarks. Then they went into the usual Hillary supporters sometimes speak out on their own.

    I just noticed that on Ben’s Politico front page box says “Shaheen stated something that’s been in the air for months.” (hi, Ben, having a nice day?) but headlines the top article with “Shaheen apologizes.”

    Both being true, I come back to my point that it was totally inappropriate for BHO to attempt to innoculate himself in front of Manchester High School students on this even though it was in his book long ago. Those students had no idea of what he actually wrote.

    Then, this morning, I read the DK diary which quoted from BHO’s book, which I also had not nor intend to read. The quote clearly stated that this was not youthful testing the waters nor casual drug sampling nor while BHO was going through a “rough patch” or down and out in the streets, but was, rather, done to help him manage stress.

    That’s not the kind of message a future President of the U.S. should be telegraphing to anyone — whether leaders in the free world, third world countries, or terrorist groups — let alone vulnerable highschool students.

    If he wanted to innoculate himself, it would best have been done in front of adults in a different venue. IMHO, this just points to the fact that he’s just not ready for prime time, let alone the White House.

  7. Well, I hope they talked about Hillary. So now they are suggesting Hill surrounds herself with eltist. That’s a laugh riot, considering Obama is an elitist. Oh, well.

  8. The thing with the cocaine is, I know people who did coke, I always had the judgement not to. Now I know some good people who tried and don’t do it anymore, but none of those people are running for president on their supposed excellent judgement, you know? I mean, Obama doesn’t have a record yet in the Senate. He’s not done much, so he’s running on superior judgement, but then he used to do these hard drugs, he was a closest smoker until earlier this year, my point is, he doesn’t always exercise the best personal judgement, so aside from one speech to an anti-war community where is the example of his superior judgement?

  9. eriposte endorses Hillary. This is a big deal as over the past week or so he/she has clearly dissected the BHO v. Hillary scenario in detail before the endorsement.

  10. Ugh. I am not sure how it is going right now. The weather is so bad and people are just tired of political calls. I always tell people if you don’t want political phone calls, don’t live in Iowa. Every 4 years it happens, so these people should be used to it. Anyways, I think if we keep working hard here, we can win, but as it always has been, it will be a tough fight. Obama will be busing in, Edwards has been here since 2004 campaigning, he is the typical white guy in the race, and in Iowa, there are not many minorities outside of Davenport or Des Moines. She is also, as we all know, in a state that does not historically elect women. It is sad. I think with enough tough fighting and if we keep contrasting our positions from the others’, we will win. This debate is important too.

  11. Has anyone seen one news report yet about Hillary’s legislation to prevent permanent bases in Iraq? This is a real issue. Again, Hillary the wonk, an agent of change, acts. She proposes this legislation to stop Bush in his tracks, and I have not heard a peep about it from the MSM.

  12. Thanks for the update, Hawk. I really rely on you all in Iowa and NH to try an understand what is going on. Remember, she won the corn poll this summer. I’ve read that is highly predictive. 🙂

  13. Although I’ve not been able to find them, I’ve been told that Tweety’s stats put him in the basement below Rush (translated — nobody listens to Tweety, everybody clings on Rush’s every word), this speech from Tweety last night, thankfully, fell on few ears (and I doubt few Iowans were listening in):

    think—I think that, for, rightly or wrongly, when people think about Hillary Clinton and their emotions are exposed, they feel that she thinks she’s better than us, morally as well as intellectually.

    I think, when people think and feel about Obama, they feel that he makes us better than us. He makes us feel better than we thought we were. He makes us feel generous, tolerant, upbeat, fearless, future-oriented. Just to be for Obama makes you feel better. Being for Hillary makes you feel subservient to her, because she’s perfect. She has had to deal, as she put it, with “evil men.” She’s had to deal with people who are inferior to her, morally, all her life.

    That’s my hunch. You like the feel of being for Obama. You don’t like the feel of being for Hillary. That’s my hunch.

    h/t Bob Somerby

  14. You know, I love this Bill Clinton framing of Hillary, “agent of change”. She should toss all her other change rhetoric and go with “agent of change”. It really describes her. Right or wrong, Hillary acts. She works to make things happen, she doesn’t just spout hot air and vote present.

  15. This is a Mark Halperin TIME headline today:


    No longer “inevitable,” it’s been one long drivers-licenses-waffling-waitress-tip-stiffing-question-planting- boys-club-claiming-on-piling-foreign-policy-facing-Bubba-flubbing- fun-attacking-Muslim-email-forwarding-kindergarten-citing- air-of-desperation-reeking-campaign-infighting nightmare.

    Can she capture a news cycle, now, when it counts big time?

    Does she have the will to come back?

    Is she still “in it to win it?”


    – – – –
    My answer: You bet your bippy she is. And I hope you choke every time you say this, Mark.

  16. BTW, today’s debate starts at 2:00 p.m. on the east coast, 1:00 p.m. Iowa time, 11:00 p.m. for Sandy and MP in sunny California.

  17. Somersby should get his medical bills, (not that we know if he has any medical bills or not, hopefully he is in the very best of health and has a lifetime supply of Tums), paid for by Democrats and progressives.

    He watches Matthews so we don’t have to. Watching Matthews regularly must be injurious to health – eyes, ears, stomach – all must suffer. So Somersby is putting his health on the line for all of us. Fortunately when Hillary is in the White House she will get health care for ALL.

  18. Amen, admin. Bob Somerby has been subjecting himself to this slime for a long time. Bless him. The same can be said for the folks at News Hounds who slog their way through the mire at Faux News every day.

  19. eriposte is becoming one of our favorite reads. Eriposte deserves wider readership. We also like that eriposte writes much longer posts than we do (we really do try to keep things short but there is so much to refute and we try to document what we write).

    Anyway, Hooray for eriposte and the Hillary endorsement.

  20. Saw this on Taegan Goddard”

    “Clinton campaign insiders are increasingly questioning the cautious, poll-driven approach taken by Mark Penn, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s top political aide,” Newday reports. With Clinton’s lead fading in most early state and national polls, “dissatisfaction is growing with Penn, who some say has mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent.”

    Said on insider: “There are two people who have come up with this strategy — one Hillary Clinton and one Mark Penn. Mark wanted to run her, basically, for re-election, and we are seeing what happened.”

    “Clinton’s aides insist that no shake-up is imminent and that Penn still has her ear. But they concede Bill Clinton has taken a more active behind-the-scenes role as her campaign flags.”

    The issue: Many aides want Clinton to go on the offensive but Penn thinks attacks will only drive up Clinton’s already high negatives.

  21. I am off to Italian class now, but will miss the debate because I will be in Judicial Process….ugh. I am sad. I have to go because it is evaluations and also because I have missed this hard class too many times.

  22. Even Joe Scabby pondered why would Hillary want to go on the attack when she’s got a 30-point national lead? Defend herself, yes. Gore and Kerry didn’t do that quick enough or strongly enough. Attack? Not a good idea.

  23. B Merryfield, I agree with Joe. I don’t think Hillary has really attacked Obama, but now is the time to get back to the positive.

  24. Folks, it is an unpleasant and unpalatable truth, but the reason why people use negative campaigning is because negative campaigning works. I wish Hillary had a comfortable margin in Iowa and New Hampshire, and negative campaigning was not necessary, but the history of negative campaigning suggests it will be effective.

  25. Frankly, a course correction should’ve happened earlier, but I don’t believe it’s too late. Campaigns that are too cautious (thanks a lot, Mark Penn) end up regretting it. I’m glad Bill is taking a more active role. It would be poetic justice if he ended up saving her campaign because she’s done that so many times for him.

    And Mark Halpern is right: It has been 45 days of hell. I know she has it in her to bounce back, but I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for that to happen.

  26. Finally found the SusanUnPC post “Obama Talks the Talk, But Where’s the Walk?” at No Quarter that I had seen referenced elsewhere today. Here’s the link: [space] obama-talks-the-talk-but-wheres-the-walk/

    However, the blog where I found the link had this excellent intro (

    The Obama campaign is getting silly with the hysterical screeches for HRC to “Take it back! Take it back!” on the drug issue. Well, duh, you pea brain. Of course the Republicans are going to make you into the dog’s dinner over that one and why shouldn’t your opponents nail you for it? Frankly, I’ve been around a lot of “recreational drug users,” and I think a lot less of you for sticking blow up your nose. I prefer people who have the sense not to do drugs in the first place. Deal.

    HRC has been accused of murders she didn’t commit, thefts that didn’t happen, skulduggery that never occurred and sexual proclivities we can only hope she took advantage of, and she’s not whining about that. Every time someone waves a little negative press in your direction, you have the vapors. If you are such a freaking panty-waist that you can’t stand the bald truth about the political disadvantages of your own drug adventures, step aside now.

    Of course, the deep problem here is that Obama is little except his media facade, and if he loses that image of wonderfulness, he will drop like a rock. His big foreign policy claim to fame, having verbally opposed the Iraq War, is consistently shown to be worth very little.

  27. Hi, mj: I don’t know if all the dirt is out there. Maybe you’re right. People may choose to make Barack Obama the nominee of the Democratic Party; that’s their right. But it’s also their right to make that decision knowing everything they can know about him, both good and bad. After they have heard the bad, they can decide if the good is enough to counterbalance it. A fully-informed electorate is important given how evil the Republicans and the media will be to our nominee in the Fall.

  28. mj, I have little faith in Penn anymore. He built her campaign around polls and inevitability, and when her leads started to shrink, he had no answer. This is not 1996, when running an incumbent-type campaign made sense because Bill Clinton was an actual incumbent. I’ve been waiting for weeks for Hillary’s campaign to take it up a notch, and I haven’t seen it.

  29. Exactly. That’s the thing with Obama. There’s this whole purity image built around him, but he’s a former coke user(not someone who just tried it once or twice by the way, a user), and like I said, a closet cigarette smoker until earlier this year(or so he says, who know? He always hid it), and those facts(facts, not made up stories like Vince foster) don’t match the pure as the driven snow(no pun intended) media facade. Now look, people change. I can forgive the cocaine usage. But they need to stop pretending he’s Mr.Innocent.

  30. Froma Harrop has a great piece:

    “The audacity of a candidate who isn’t ready for the job”

    “Obama’s skywriting about there being neither Democratic nor Republican solutions — just American solutions — is a great way to say nothing. When he comes down to Earth with an actual policy prescription, the product is less impressive.”

  31. No, DC, I agree that this stuff needed to come out. I’m just saying it’s out there now. I don’t think Hill needs to play mush of a role in that now. I do think she should go after him on IR and when he makes silly comments about her being too ambitious and such. But the dirt is out there, and it will perculate.

  32. That SusanUnPC post hits the nail on the head and actually had me LOL.

    “Of course, the deep problem here is that Obama is little except his media facade, and if he loses that image of wonderfulness, he will drop like a rock.”

  33. Thanks admin for the times for the last debate; I am off air and TV so hope you will be posting it live! And it is sunny but a little chilly today here in California!

  34. Seriously, the more I think about this, the more ticked off I get. Why are Democrats willing to risk the candidacy on someone who has nothing more than a good media persona behind his candidacy? That’s a house of cards waiting to blow over.

  35. I agree with basement angel – negative campaigning works.

    Except when its Hillary doing it. How else can you explain BO’s rise in the polls inspite of the fact that he threw all the repub talking points at her, called her “disingeneous” and “dishonest”, attacked her for being “ambitious”, showed his disdain for the battles of the 90’s that lead to democratic victories and god knows what else. But she says one thing about him and she is being “negative”.

    It all started at that Philly debate. The moderators attacked her credibility and encouraged others to do so as well. And the media loved that. Nothing has hurt her as much as that absolutely ridiculous “plant” story. Edwards came out with youtube videos and created web sites mocking her. And CNN “interviewed” that student without even questioning her credibility. That news cycle ran for more than a week.

    The campaign should have realized that sooner or later it was going to get nasty. They should have gone after BO when it was revealed that he was sniffing for something on Bill’s sex life and had sent his operatives to the presidential library to look for any dirt. But you cant blame them entirely – the media is against her and applies different standards for her.

    BO, so typical of his insulting attitude, said he hasnt spent enough time in Washington to “buy” favors , peeved that he has not got as many endorsements as her. But with the revelations coming out about how his Hope fund has lead to endorsements, has anyone in the media questioned him about his statements ?

  36. “Why are Democrats willing to risk the candidacy on someone who has nothing more than a good media persona behind his candidacy? That’s a house of cards waiting to blow over.”


  37. Good Morning All!

    Again, thank you all for this web site.

    Last night, when I heard about a NH campaign co-chair bringing up Obama’s cocaine use, I thought, “well, duh!” If Obama keeps bringing this subject up while talking to audiences, naturally, I don’t understand why his campaign and his surrogates (hint: Daily Kos) get all bent out of shape if someone else talks about it.

    Frankly, I think the GOP machine sees that now that our candidate (Hillary) is sliding in the polls among Democrats, the GOP is seeing some light at the end of tunnel. They are salivating at the chance to run against Obama.

    I remember Rep. Harold Ford’s senate campaign in Tennessee. Clearly, Ford had more knowledge and won every single debate. He was a true change candidate. They pulled some awful tricks on him though, and Bob Corker won. Bob Corker! That guy is pathetic. How did Ford lose to the Bob Corker?!

  38. Actually, it started before the Philly debate when BHO’s handlers tossed the chum into the water by leaking that his backers wanted him to go after Hillary.

    And it’s still his handlers who have to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes by pushing and leaking the very nonsense that we find described at

    How many ways can you say it? He’s “all hat, no cattle”, an “empty suit”, “no there, there”, and on and on. He knows it, his handlers know it, and, truth be told, his backers figured it out. All he’s got is Oprah and fairy dust and the faith that too many folks are willing to settle for hope, promises, a wish and a prayer, because there simply isn’t anything else.

    Just like the emperor’s new clothes, if his supporters had to admit all this, then what does it say about them? That’s the real problem. There’s no “out” for his loyal supporters.

  39. Admin- what channels will the debate be on?

    I realize its on MSNBC, but I would prefer to avoid that channel if possible. No reason to support their Neilsen ratings, even in the most infinitesimal way.

    Between its endless reruns of Lockdown, To Catch A Predator and worst of all Chris Matthews they are a sewer. Not even Keith can save them.

    Can you suggest an alternative channel, or are they the only game in town?

  40. wbboei, yesterday it was also on CNN but then you had to watch that totally lame audience meter thingy that was selectively employed and disappeared when Rom or Huck were talking. At least MSNBC didn’t mess around with the view.

  41. I apologize for re-posting this, but in light of dt’s post, it seemes to make sense;

    It’s all about electability…

    Obama polls well on likeability and honesty
    Hillary polls well on electability and experience
    Conversely, Obama is WEAK on electability and experience and
    Hillary is weak on honesty and likability. Anything that the campaign can do to call Ob’s electability into question and highlight his inexperience, attack his weaknesses, is fair game.

    Anything that the campaign can do to put the focus on those two things without appearing to be mean or dishonest about it, is the way to go. The hope would be that OB will chafe under scrutiny, become petulant with the media and begin to be depicted as not so likable, a la Howard Dean. If, in the course of this media scrutiny, one of his very real ethical lapses finally gets the attention deserved, he could lose the perception of being honest that he now enjoys.

    The thing that disturbs me is the self-fulfilling prophecy of the media narrative, begun the day after the driver’s license debate, that Hillary stumbled, that despite being well ahead in the polls, she was in trouble.
    The media repeated the mantra that Hillary was fading, promoting only the closest polls to, “prove”, that the race was getting closer, (because the horse-race aspect of a campaign is what sells and justifies their existence) and holding Hillary-hate-fests on the Sunday morning talk shows.
    I think that her campaign played into that narrative and that some of the strategy born of that belief has not been beneficial. Worse, the response of the campaign inadvertently accentuated the two attributes that the polls show are weak spots, likeability and honesty.

    We may get some relief from Big Media’s onslaught, now that their objective is in sight, thanks to the fact that they only elevate someone
    so that they can then tear them to shreds. It looks like OB and Huck will be dating Big Media for the next couple of newscycles, at least. This is potentially good news. Both media darlings will now find out what
    the flip-side of media attention is all about. Huck has begun already, there is little doubt who is next. The campaign may get an assist down the stretch from the very quarter that was trying with all their might to shoot them down just yesterday.

    Let’s all hope that Big Media turns on OB at the same time that Hillary’s campaign is highlighting his woeful lack of inexperience and, the fact that he would be Mike Dukakis in a general election against even the weakest republican.

    BTW, THIS was Dean’s BIG week 4 years ago, being endorsed by Gore and the SEIU. He was done less than 90 days later…

  42. Bob Somersby’s words still give me the chills.

    “The media did not get Gore in the 2000 primaries…this time they may well succeed” .

  43. When is the media going to vet Obama? I sort of thought the good media may have made the “million little pieces” connection after the Oprah campaign. There’s something a little too neat about Obama. He was a closet smoker and a coke user, and now he’s running on being this sort of angelic figure. When is the MSM going to do their job?

  44. This is good news here in N.H. as it should eliminate some of the debate night questionable voter registrations since students were encouraged to register and/or request absentee ballots:

    The presidential primary comes in the middle of college break next month, so voting officials in Durham (New Hampshire) have been busy with requests for absentee ballots.

    Many students from out-of-state declare their college towns as home, so they can vote where they go to school.

    Durham Town Clerk Lorrie Pitt expects there won’t be as much crowding or same-day registration at the polls on primary day, but town voting officials have made several trips to UNH to help students apply for absentee ballots.

    Pitt says the Clinton and Obama campaigns also have provided buses this week to take students to Town Hall to register and get absentee ballots.

    From AP, taken from Foster’s Daily Democrat,

  45. Although there is a campus-wide shuttle service as well as busses that run on a regular schedule to towns near campus, Durham’s town hall may not be on the regular route since it is no longer in town. This appears to be a smart move.

  46. From Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, at OpEdNews:

    About a year ago I was watching C-SPAN one day and saw an interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter who has covered Obama’s rise through Illinois politics. The interviewer asked the reporter, “Isn’t Obama too radical to be elected president?” The reporter responded, “No, you don’t understand. Obama has a very good relationship with the Chicago banking community.”

    Now that is a very telling statement. To be one of the acceptable candidates of the banking community means that you have passed the smell test. That essentially means you will not challenge the power structure in any real way. It means you will do nothing as a president to interrupt the corporate empires ability to make money from endless war for oil and other diminishing resources.

    If you watch Obama closely he does not say much of substance in his speeches. He talks alot about bringing the nation together, the red states and the blue states, and says that things need to change in Washington. All feel good talk for sure.

    But he makes little noise about changing the dynamic in America where the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer. He says little in terms of ending the occupation of Iraq or preventing a new war with Iran. He says nothing about ending the power of the military industrial complex. His health care plan is all about helping the insurance companies have greater access to our wallets.

    Obama is a good politician who knows how to play the game. The power structure knows the voters are angry about Iraq, about the declining economy, about the lack of health care. They know they need to put candidates into place that can control the steam valve of American public opinion by appearing to be responding to the people. But these candidates, most importantly, need to remember who their daddy is. In the case of Obama he actually protects the purse of the bankers and big boys that run the show. Thus he is an acceptable candidate. [space] opedne_bruce_k__071213_a_word_of_caution.htm

  47. Ellen Goodman:

    His philosophical frame of mind appeals to the educated elite of the Democratic Party. His largest group of supporters are college-educated. But I am forced to ask, against my own grain, whether Democrats need a philosopher or a combatant.

    In his stump speech, Obama says, “I don’t want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights. … I don’t want to pit red America against blue America.” Neither do I.

    Sometimes, I approach politics like a parent watching her children: “I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong; just stop fighting.” But of course I do care who’s right, who’s wrong, who’ll win. What if red America is pitted against blue America?

    Obama is a notoriously uneven performer. Alone on a stage, he is often eloquent and inspirational, if I may use an Oprah word. But on the debate platform with his opponents, he is, well, less impressive. Temperamentally he prefers to be above the fray. But the campaign against any Republican will take place in the fray.

    Gitlin, author of “The Bulldozer and the Big Tent,” says, “In a family situation, we need a healer.” But in an era of ugly politics? “We don’t need healing but resounding defeat. … The bulldozer can’t be kissed into submission.”

  48. Hey y’all, Hillary has done great in the debates and she’ll be terrific today. She’s got to stand her ground like she did in the last debate. She’s got to point out that she’s got the experience fighting for change and fighting the republicans. And whether one realizes it or not, the republican attack machine is not going away.

    People are not going to unite simply because BHO tells them too. Uniting people takes more than oprah declaring it should be so. It takes more than pretty prose. Lots of people can make people feel good. I’ve known quite a few messianic preacher types who could do it. But the morning after, will there be someone there who will stand with Americans when those euphoric feelings wear off?

    Who will be the one to actually lead us to change in this country? We need somebody with the right combination of smarts, strength, experience, political saavy, skill and discipline. Yes, discipline. Somebody who can come to other people’s rescue when there is a crisis and not sit around and wait for somebody to rescue them. Hillary is without compare in this election. She is a leader; she is strong; she has the insider view of how to get things done in Washington. If you want to get things done in this country you have to have those things. She will not buckle under pressure. She excels under pressure, an expert crisis manager.

    Let’s just keep in mind what our girl’s competition is, really? What great leadership has Obama shown us? What strength under pressure has Obama shown us? What knowledge of issues, foreign and domestic has Obama shown us?

    Hillary has got to continue to point out her strength, courage under fire, knowledge, experience, compassion and vision. Only one who understands power and differences can work to unite us. Her 35 year history of advocating for healthcare, human rights, children, education, all of these things show her as a tested and vetted candidate. Her years sponsoring legislation, building expertise in foreign relations and the military, expanding her knowledge into a wide range of subjects, all of these things go to her readiness to fill this position. Time and again I have had men who support Hillary tell me that she has all the qualities of a great leader. It’s not what you say, or how you say it, it’s what you do.

    Hillary will be great today. This will help turn around this temporary infatuation with BHO. He simply cannot run in her league. History shows that he doesn’t do well under pressure. He calls his famous friend, lights up a cigarette, and as a young person, he used drugs, including cocaine. He becomes petulant and insulting. He have to know that our next president can handle it under pressure. Time and again, Hillary has shown that she has grown stronger with pressure. Time and again she’s demonstrated she’s a bold and brave leader. She’s got good judgement. She can make hard decisions. She won’t vote present.

    CNN is going to carry the debate this afternoon.

    Looking forward to it.

  49. Excellent columns, B. Merryfield, and very important ones. Ellen Goodman points out Obama’s lack of consistency calling him an uneven performer. He’d like to stay above the fray and pretend he can just “bring us together” Bruce Gagnon talks about the Obama as not helping change along at all as he’s a friend to the Chicago banking industry. They don’t want to rock the status quo. He’s taken some leftist positions in the past, but perhaps that’s been to get him where he is today, and what he is today, a republican disguised thinly as a democrat.

    There is only one real change agent in this race: Hillary Rodham Clinton. There is only one tested and vetted leader: Hillary Rodham Clinton.There is only one person who really excels in crises situations: our girl, Hillary Clinton. We have to stay on experience, electability and the complexity of our countries issues.

  50. what a great video. this is exactly what we need. stop the negative. ( remember that diet lady from the 80’s “stop the insanity” ) i hope HRC portrays this feeling at the debate today. it’s a winner.

    i also heard she made a personal call to BO to apologize for billy shaheens comment.

  51. watching the am news and its about hillary camp crisis! i agree with bill on this. however- hillary needs to reassert wy she is running, go after obama some with clean shots on his lack of experience and electability-but use recent examples. if things dont improve after tgoday and we slip again in these early states expect some big staff changes

  52. Thank you for this site. I read the Eriposte endorsement and it is great. It helped me recover from seeing Morning Joe and watching Mita fall all over herself trying to condemn Hillary but not repeat the drug story. You could see the color drain from her face when Shuster said Obama’s campaign was concerned that even with the negative Hillary slant to the story, it was hurting to him to have the drug story addressed repeatedly.

    I was also inspired to go to several blogs and leave references to the endorsement. I NEVER do that but I am so frustrated with the groundless attacks.

  53. Hillary will take the lead in bringing it back to the positive. She was the candidate who took the high ground from the get go and was forced into a fight by the bullies who kept punching her on the play ground. She should call the game for what it is and get right back on message. Expose their own hypocrisy if she needs to but not get into personal stuff that would be construed as being petty. She has to continually demonstrate her strengths and her vision. I don’t mean to make any of this sound easy, because it’s not. However she responds carries its own risks. But she has great intuition and saavy and she’s so head and shoulders above BHO in terms of qualifications and readiness.

  54. The video is fabulous. I think she ought to really stress that “change across generations” theme, along with “president for everybody”. Yes, Hillary is concerned about young people, but she is also concerned about the middle-aged, about the elderly, about everyone.

    BO is beginning to come across as if he is courting the youth vote for “change”, and tossing anyone over 45 to the side. I know some older people around here who are really turned off by that.

  55. I love that video of Hillary with Chelsea and her mother. And I especially see the wisdom in calling for “multigenerational change.” She is so smart. Here we have BHO who has said that people in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s have dumb ideas and we shouldn’t fight the battles of yesterday. Hillary is wise enough to know that the contributions of all ages are important but in a village elders are especially important. And we have to work hard to connect across the generations in this country because that’s how our values, history and life lessons are passed along. Multigenerational change is an important concept.

  56. Hillary apologized for the Shaheen remarks about Obama’s cocaine habit.

    I guess it’s just one of those unfortunate things that the story was in every newspaper in the country this morning.

  57. Does anyone know if Obama has ever held a full time job? Illinois state senate is part time. Adjunct professor is part time – well, more often than not. He obviously worked at the law firm part time.

    Has the guy ever worked a 9-5, Mon-Friday job for three years at time?

  58. It appears Obama is considered qualified to be President because he makes flowery speeches. There seems to be a lot of agreement on that here.

    Mondale had an effective line (taken from a contemporary commercial)during his primary compaign when he asked “Where’s the beef?” Meaning his opponent had no real substance. That particular line is out of date now, but surely there is a way to call attention to the lack of anything substantial in Obama’s presentation.

    The media isn’t going to do it. The campaign needs to do it some way.

  59. Good for Hillary. Unfortunately for Obama, when his campaign was involved in that (D) Punjab jab, he blamed it on his staff. He called Hillary Bush/Cheney-lite.

    Has he ever personally apologized to Hillary for that?

  60. That’s a great ad. She must be a pretty great lady herself to have raised such a terrific daughter.

    On apologies: there is a general rule about apologies in leadership. I was taught this in administration years ago. You avoid them like the plague. It gives the perception of weakness. However, in this case, I think the opposite is true because she is taking responsibility for something that happened on her watch. I really don’t think people see Hillary as weak. Weak people dont scarethe daylights out of others just by breathing. Hillary has tremendous strength and personal power. The other advantage of apologizing is that it should end it as far as the clinton campaign is concerned. If the media brings it up again they are only reinforcing the idea that obama used cocaine as a younger person when he got stressed out.

    on full time jobs: that’s an excellent question that I have wondered myself. BHO was not a law professor. He taught a law course or two so in a sense he was a “professor” but “professor” is a rank in the academic hierarchy. He was a Senior Lecturer in rank. I think this is a title for a part time professor. His cases can be found on Lexis Nexis database by searching on legal. It seems rather minimal. I’ve not seen an article he’s written. They may be there but I’ve not found them. He had a job straight out of law school for six or nine months with a publication. All this is on his abbreviated CV.

  61. I am really annoyed about the possibilty of Obama doing something illegal and busing in students and other people that should not be allowed to caucus in Iowa!!! If he does this, I hope they prosecute HIM and the voters involved and disqualify Obama from the presidential race!!!

    I really do not understand WHY Obama has gotten so high in the ratings!! It boggles my mind!!! What has he done, really??? NOTHING!!!! He cannot even be there to vote for important bills in the Senate and all those “present” votes in the state senate, well it just tells me he is not very reliable and does not know how to take a stand or a strong position.

    I agree with those who said the media treats Hillary differently than they do the other candidates. I was SHOCKED this morning when Joe Scarborough actually said that when you talk to Hillary she is really a nice person!!!! I almost fell out of the bed!! LOL!!!

    The debate is coming on in 15 minutes; I cannot wait!!! I PRAY this will push Hillary’s numbers up in Iowa, N.H., South Carolina, etc.

    On a personal note, it is snowing/ice storm here in NYC and I am leaving tomorrow for New Hampshire to campaign for Hillary for the weekend and am so excited and scared at the same time. It is supposed to be snow and freezing cold there and I will be out canvassing. Have no idea where in N.H. I will be staying/working and whose home I will be staying in. Kinda exciting, though!

    At any rate, I just PRAY that when this is all said and done, that OUR HILLARY WILL BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! There is nothing I want MORE in my life right now than to see Hillary become the first woman president!!! I have LOVED the Clintons since 1992 and am very loyal to them!!!

  62. Considering how many votes he missed, I just don’t think he has any awareness of showing up and going to work everyday.

    Back to my normal obsession, I keep thinking about Rove’s first impression of Bush. Check this out:

    “”Huge amounts of charisma, swagger, cowboy boots, flight jacket, wonderful smile, just charisma — you know, wow!”

    It sounds like Obama to me. I just really think Rove is running his campaign. It seems to me that it’s pretty much the same campaign Bush ran. I know admin here likes to be polite and compare it to Bradley, but I think it’s worse than that – that is, unless, they were using Bradley to wound Gore. Nothing strikes me as being out of the range of possibilities here.

    I was thinking today about how Bush supporters in 2000, kept trying to convince me that Bush supported some bill about medical issues in Texas even though he didn’t sign it – as if that’s supporting a bill. It’s this business of taking a non-action and endowing it with a significance that doesn’t exist in the real world.

  63. Love the new mom ad. Thrilled about the multiple sources of a Bill shakeup too. Needs to be done.

    I think Penn is a great pollster. But, his “strategy” of de-facto incumbent was always stupid. That seems to be a strategy developed out of polling. Now, there is nothing wrong with polls, but they are supposed to be indicators of how well your strategy or theory to win over the electorate is working.

    Also, I hate to admit that Rove’s comments on lack of a message is totally on the $$$. This is partly HRC’s campaign’s fault. One thing that they should have done from DAY 1 was to come up with some sort of metaphor for how supporters can process the complex information that is out there. Certainly the healthcare comparison is not doing so well. Most people don’t know anything about the concept of a mandate nevermind being able to process the comparison.

    BHO has such a metaphor – Hope. Everywhere you see a BHO supporter you see signs that say Hope. HRC’s signs kinda just say Hillary. Big deal. That doesn’t provide information about how you should process her message.

    For example:
    BHO – no mandate. Hope. Mandates = bad.

    I think James Carville was aware of this about a year ago. He was going on interviews referring to her as the “Mama” of the Democratic party. At one point, he suggested a ticket of Mama and Obama 08.

    Seriously, Hillary as “Mom” is a perfect metaphor to process Hillary’s message. It’s legitimate because she is a mother first of all. But has all the great associations. Mothers can be tough and caring. Mothers sometimes say things that are irritating, but it doesn’t cause you to stop thinking that they are looking out for you. Much better than just Hillary alone, which has a lot of negative associations due to the RWM and the MSM. Mother metaphors are also on of the few metaphors that allow women to be seen as commanding (as in Chief), but also loving. Blah, blah. It is the true tough/ soft archetype.

    Now, think about that confused (for most people) comparison on health care.

    Thought process: Mandate, universal coverage, Mama – Oh, she wants to take care of everyone.

    The HRC campaign can do this by: 1.) getting a surrogate out their to say that they always tease her that she is “Mama” of the dems; 2.) getting a reporter to title a column “Mama vs. Obama”; 3.) keeping it up with the Mother themed ads over Christmas; and 4.) benefitting from the impromtu signs, posters, whatever from supporters. This will provide a way for people to process her message.

    Note also: This brings gender back into focus big time. She benefits greatly from that.

  64. I’m glad Hillary personally apologized for Shaheen’s comments. It’s the classy and appropriate thing to do.

    Kentucky_mkt, I agree with you on the message thing. How about something like leadership or experience as a catchword? I also wonder how this happened. Hillary’s so disciplined and well-prepared, it’s hard to fathom.

  65. To me, leadership and experience as catchwords are too generic. They are basically the words HRC’s campaign is using now (as part of the de-facto incumbent strategy) and they don’t really seem to be working. I think most voters feel that they apply to all of the candidates. Technically, they are all leaders. So, it doesn’t really set her apart. And, leaders can be bad too (e.g., GWB).

    IMHO, I think it has to be something emotional as well. Most voters will not be choosing a candidate based on a cerebral process. I’ve pondered something like “Still Standing.” It’s emotional, it is something you could root for, and it bridges the generation gap. However, I think it is “attackable.”

    Just my thoughts. Not like I have a seat at the Clinton strategy table.

    I LOVED her patsy comment! Wonder how that will play in Iowa.

  66. What do you guys (gals :)) think about “cleaning house”? To me, the best way to effect a positive change in our country, you have to clean house first. Not just change it. It’s perhaps a little convoluted, but I think that if you’re just going for “change,” you’re accepting the past problems, which considering Bush has been in the WH for 7-8 years, there is mess in the WH right now. Fixing past problems by cleaning house will put us back on track. So, there’s a catch phrase, right?

  67. Didn’t they try that? It didn’t seem to work to well. At first, I liked it. It incorporated gender, which I think they haven’t been using effectively enough.

    Maybe it needs to be a 2-pronged strategy. Get out an informal way for people to think about her – e.g., the press start referring to her as Mama or Momma Clinton. This can be achieved by bloggers without the HRC campaign. Then, whatever catchwords are used can be interpreted in light of the Momma “schema.”

    For example, if “Momma Clinton” were to catch on, you can imagine a TV pundit discussing supporters at a Clinton rally saying “well there’s Momma Clinton’s supporters. It looks like there waving signs that say “Clean House.” They want Momma Clinton to clean house.”

    Maybe that’s goofy? But, a two-part catch phrase approach seems reasonable to me.

  68. I have to admit, Obama had a great quip at Hillary saying that he looked forward to her advising him. That is going to get covered on TV. Her campaign should send surrogates to saying that Hillary Clinton thought it was very funny. perhaps say something that she said “good quip KID.”

  69. Most of us here know that obama has a very thin record of accomplishments. The MSM never wants to focus on it. I wish there was some way for the Hillary campaign to focus on it. Similar to the way Mondale Campaign asked the question “Where is the beef?”

    I also liked Hillary’s line before “Hope is just a Hope ………”

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