Monday, December 31, 2007

It's New Year's Eve?

It's 8:48pm and I'm finishing my shrimp and broccoli at my desk from my favorite nearby Chinese place, which is closing its doors tonight. So sad. Sadder still, I suppose, that I'm sitting here at work on New Year's Eve. Perhaps, not. Those December 31st celebrations almost always seem to end up a dud.

For our 10pm news, I'm doing a "live shot" at the Bill and Hillary Clinton for their "New Year, New Beginnings Celebration" at Capitol Square in downtown Des Moines. Neither has a good track record of campaign punctuality. I hope they arrive BEFORE our 10pm news. The campaign has already today blamed snow for canceling an event in Waterloo and "aircraft issues" for downing a stop in Ottumwa. We'll see if Des Moines has better luck.
We'll also have to check on the spirits. The Des Moines Register just released its latest poll. Obama's party in Ames may be drinking the Kool-Aid a little more.

Updated: 1047pm. Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton took the stage about 10am along with former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie, and former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe. I'd guess 4-500 people surrounded them, although it was tough to estimate. McAuliffe started and introduced the rest. The former Prez talked, then the Senator. About seven minutes later, they said good-night. They left the stage. Most of the crowd left. So did we.

McCain out of Iowa on Caucus Night

Add John McCain to the list of Iowa Caucus night no-shows. Rudy Giuliani's schedule already shows he won't be here. McCain's Iowa State Chair Dave Roederer told me McCain will be in Iowa earlier in the day but will be in New Hampshire by caucus time.

Meantime, Hillary Clinton's camp adamantly insists (again) she will be here Thursday night before heading out in the late-night hours to get to New Hampshire. Clinton's Midwest Co-Chair Jerry Crawford told me previously because of the short amount of time between Iowa and the New Hampshire Primary (five days), Clinton needed to get there sooner, so she wouldn't be in Iowa Thursday night.

He said he wasn't sure if Bill Clinton would, instead, appear at his wife's rally Thursday night in Des Moines. Apparently, Crawford has told CNN he never stated this. Although, I've re-confirmed with a third person in the room with us during our conversation who verified Crawford did, indeed, make those statements.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Caucus Night in New Hampshire?

We already know Rudy Giuliani likely won't be in Iowa caucus night. In fact, according to his schedule he's already done with the Hawkeye State. Anything to do with his ever-declining poll numbers here?

But what about Hillary Clinton? Her Midwest Co-Chair, Jerry Crawford, told me she would not be here caucus night. He said she needs to get to New Hampshire. But a campaign spokesman, Mark Daley, told me he thought she would be here that night. What's the story? Sunday morning, I had the rare chance to sit down with her to ask for myself (btw, this is only the second time this entire campaign I've done that with her--I've talked with Edwards and Obama dozens of times over that duration). Here's our exchange:

Dave, "On caucus night, I've heard from some in your campaign who say you will have to go to New Hampshire early. Some say you will be here. Will you be here on caucus night?"

Clinton, "Well, my plan, right now, is to be in Iowa on caucus night. It's certainly what I'm planning to do. I want to thank, you know, the Iowans who have supported me, so many have volunteered for me, everyone who caucused for me, everyone who went to the trouble to drive somebody else there...I just want to thank Iowans for everything they did for me this past year."

So that's a "yes"?

Updated: 7:26pm Campaign spokesman Mark Daley emailed: "She WILL be there."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hurry Up and Wait

We were worried the snow would slow us down on our way to Story City from Des Moines today. Without the weather, it's usually a 45 minute drive or so. The half a foot or so of snow slowed us down about ten minutes. No worries though. Even though a staffer for Hillary Clinton told me within the hour that she would be here on time, it is not the case. It usually isn't. I don't recall one Clinton event this entire cycle that started on time.

Thursday, the campaign offered us some time with the Senator after this event today. It's a rare occurrence. In fact, I've only sat down with her once this cycle and that was during the spring. I've talked to the other candidates far more often. My friends in the national media complain about the same problem. Although, Clinton has been doing more "avails" in recent weeks. That's when she makes herself available for a few questions after an event. Most, if not all, of the other candidates to those avails at least once a day while they're in Iowa. I'm told we will still get some time with her before Caucus night. Six days from now. The L.A. Times has a story today about Clinton not taking questions from the audience recently either.

Meantime, it's 1:58pm, 28 minutes after the scheduled start of this event here at the Roland-Story Middle School in Story City. The campaign just passed some time playing "Hillary trivia". Someone asks the audience questions about Clinton's background. I've seen Obama's campaign do this since the summer. I haven't seen Clinton's camp do this before.

A staffer just implored the crowd for some noise. This is his third or fourth attempt to raise the decibel level here. It's pretty quiet for a crowd this size. I'd say 250-300 people here. Even the music is quiet. The Police's "Every Little Thing" politely plays.

Now the staffer just asked the crowd to put cell phones on vibrate or silent. Maybe we're getting close. Time check: 2:04pm. A woman in the crowd is knitting.

The staffer just laid out notes on the podium. A secret service agent just walked in. Looks like it's time. Time check: 2:14pm.
HRC takes the microphone. She thanked the clapping crowd. The crowd is still not very loud. Maybe too much Christmas pie. Clinton just apologized for being late. She said as the campaign winds down the stretch, it gets harder and harder to stay on time.
Clinton said she visited Pakistan last year and then later told Prez Bush he should send some time of envoy to the area, preferrably some type of retired general to talk with Musharraf. We need an international delegation to investigate Pakistan opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto's death.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Clinton Events Delayed Today

Hillary Clinton's campaign stops in Mt. Pleasant, Pella and Cumming have been delayed "due to air traffic congestion in New York," according to a press release sent to us this afternoon.

The senator's first stop in Mt. Pleasant will now start an hour and a half late at 4:00 p.m. The Pella stop is pushed back 45 min. to 7 p.m. and her final event of the day in Cumming begins 15 min. later at 9 p.m. CST.

Details below.

Hillary Clinton’s Events Today in Iowa Delayed

DES MOINES, IA – Hillary Clinton’s scheduled appearances in Mount Pleasant, Pella and Cumming today have been delayed due to air traffic congestion in New York. Senator Clinton is returning to Iowa today to launch her “Big Challenges, Real Solutions – Time To Pick A President” Tour.

President Bill Clinton, Governor Tom Vilsack and Christie Vilsack are scheduled to attend the Mount Pleasant event at 4 p.m. CST with Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton will visit Pella, IA at 7 p.m. CST and Cumming, IA at 9 p.m. CST.

On Thursday, December 27, Hillary will attend “Pick a President” events in Lawton, IA, Denison, IA, Carroll, IA, and Guthrie Center, IA.

Additional details about the tour will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 26th
Mount Pleasant, IA à Pella, IA à Cumming, IA

4 p.m. CST
Hillary Kicks Off the “Big Challenges, Real Solutions - Time To Pick A President” Tour with President Clinton, Governor Tom Vilsack and Christie Vilsack in Henry County
Mount Pleasant Community High School 2104 South Grand Avenue
Mount Pleasant, IA

7 p.m. CST
Marion County “Picks a President”
Pella High School
212 E. University StreetPella, IA

9 p.m. CST
Warren County “Picks a President”
Celebration Barn
2225 Cumming AvenueCumming, IA


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christma...Er, Holiday Ads

Tis the season (sorry that's the tv cliche' we always have to use this time of year). It sounds like the negativity will disappear from our tv screens on Christmas Eve and Christmas (not so sure about our mailboxes, though). Many of the campaigns are out with warm and fuzzy holiday ads, so they don't completely go "dark" during holidays. Christmas is, after all, only nine days from the Iowa Caucuses.

Here are the ads we can find. Check 'em out. What do you think about them? Santa, kids, a "floating cross", and a little policy talk. It's all here...



Giuliani #1

Giuliani #2




- D.P.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TT on Thursday

Sounds like the race for Prez may get smaller. It looks as if Tom Tancredo will say in Des Moines Thursday afternoon that he will no longer be a candidate. It makes me think back to last month when it sounded to me like he was more interested in seeing other candidates talk about his ideas to stop illegal immigration, rather than for him to talk of his plans to become President.

Now the question seems to be will Tancredo endorse someone?
I wonder if Western Iowa Congressman Steve King knew this was coming? Did it have anything to do with King's endorsement (King and Tancredo are close. Their wives, according to King, "email each other almost daily" )instead for the guy he admits may not have the "fire in the belly" that's necessary to win. For the record, King stated if Thompson didn't have that fire, he would help ignite it.

Either way, here's another excuse to post this picture...

Steve King-Tom Tancredo

Monday, December 17, 2007

Huge November for Hunter? WOW!

As many marvel at Ron Paul's record-raising $6 million plus in 1 day, I just received this from Duncan Hunter's campaign. Yes, he apparently is still running for President. WOW. That's his word. Not mine.

November Was HUGE! Let's make December BIGGER!
Fellow Duncaneers, the final results are in! You made the month of November huge for online giving! READ BELOW: for a special thanks from Duncan Hunter!
In just over 3 weeks time, YOU raised over $25,000 to help take Duncan Hunter to the White House!
Now here's the most amazing number: that was accomplished with only 1% of Hunter's online supporters donating.
$25,000 in a mere 24 days with only 1% . . .
Do the math!
What if 5% respond in this season of giving?
That's over $125,000 . . . with just 5%. And that's not counting the tens of thousands raised OFF-line during the same period!
And we're confident we can do it together . . .
. . . After all, a large portion of the November donors pledged to give again in December already!
Folks, as we remember the true "reason for the season", giving is on all our hearts.
So, while we're out there sifting through the crowds or browsing the web to fork over our hard-earned dollars for gifts for loved-ones . . .
. . .
Why not sacrifice a few dollars for the future of our country? Is that really too much to ask?
Congressman Hunter and the entire campaign team are dedicated to make sure that we run a lean-mean machine!
We've done that. And we'll continue to do that.
Duncan Hunter refuses:
-to throw hordes of critical cash to mass media advertising like the other guys-to take money from folks who don't share his principles, unlike some of the other guys-to kowtow to special interests in dictating where he spends his time-to allow the media to define him
Duncan Hunter stands rock solid as a man of character . . .
. . . And that's reflected in the nature of this presidential race.
While the other guys sling mud at each other and go for the jugular, they have nothing but praises for Duncan Hunter:
"He's a man of great character.""I think very highly of Duncan Hunter.""Hunter is a very likable guy and a good man.""Duncan is a man of integrity."
The Hunter strategy of staying below the radar while maintaining a course of character and Reagan leadership is working!
Watch Duncan Hunter debate in Iowa!
If you missed Hunter in Wednesday's debate in Iowa, catch the highlights
. . . And pay particular attention to the "Voters Voice" meter as Hunter lays out his principles to the American people!
Worried about the polls?
In all the early primary states, ALL of the "top-tier" candidates are falling . . . ALL of them.
Only Huckabee is trending upward . . . And ONLY in Iowa.
Duncan Hunter is the ONLY presidential candidate maintaining or increasing in EVERY state and EVERY poll.
Friends, strap in and hold on tight!
As we press on toward the early primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, Nevada, Wyoming, and Florida . . .
. . . There will be some VERY BIG SURPRISES!
So, now is the time!
If you haven't yet given to the ONLY Reagan-conservative candidate . . .
If you've given and see how things are moving in our favor . . .
If you've given and plan to give again, ask your friends and family . . .
Friends, if we're serious about taking back our country, we have to be willing to sacrifice a very little with just the same heart the Founders gave their all for freedom . . .
They pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" for the prospect of freedom for their posterity . . .
And, as a mighty winter storm blows through the heart of our nation, depriving more than a million fellow Americans of electricity . . .
I am reminded of those great patriots who risked their very lives in the winter at Valley Forge to fight a war for freedom . . .
. . . a war that was "unwinnable" . . . a "lost cause" . . . a "million-to-one shot" . . .
And yet here we stand, FREE because they dared to believe and risked EVERYTHING!
Are you willing to offer even a degree of that risk, and sacrifice for the one true patriot for president?
If you're part of the 99% who have not yet given, the line is drawn, the die is cast . . . Will you join us?
For Freedom,
Brett FarleyHunter for President '08Fundraising Team

Endorsement Monday

Two more endorsements down.

Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King made it dramatic. He said he told absolutely no one of his decision, that he reached this weekend. Not even his wife.

King's endorsement speech (I've just updated this original posting, since I originally accidentally--yes, it was accidentally--called King "Tancredo") this morning in Des Moines went on nearly 20 minutes before he announced his choice. He said a match up test on the Internet matched him with Duncan Hunter, but he doesn't think Hunter can win. He likes Tom Tancredo's work on immigration. But he thinks the other Repub candidates have adopted his ideas by saying they are against amnesty. So he has ruled him out, even though he says his wife and Tancredo's wife email almost daily. Tancredo said he never met with Rudy Giuliani, the only candidate he didn't meet. He said he didn't want to waste anyone's time.

He ended up going with Fred Thompson. But he acknowledged there may be a problem with Fred's "fire in the belly." And if there is, Tancredo told me he would make sure that fire gets there.

Eastern Iowa Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack also made his choice, although in far less dramatic fashion. He said he is going with Barack Obama. He called Obama a "change agent". Interestingly, that's the same phrase the Clinton campaign is now using over and over for Hillary Clinton. Loebsack said Obama has energized people, not just young people, but people of all ages, all professions and all demographics. He said Obama is also the best at bringing in Independents and Republicans.

Now, we're off to the Temple for the Performing Arts. No drama for this one. Iowa First Lady is going with a familiar face, John Edwards. She liked him last time. She likes him again. Endorsement Monday continues.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Endorsements are King

The endless endorsements gain one more. Western Iowa Congressman Steve King will announce his choice for Prez Monday a.m. in Des Moines. I'm striking out getting anyone to say who that choice will be.

Physically, King and Tom Tancredo could almost be twins. But will King put his support behind a guy who really hasn't found much traction in the polls? Socially, it's tough to see him getting behind Giuliani. Huckabee and McCain are both getting beat up a bit by critics for their positions on what do with illegal immigrants. Does that leave Romney and Thompson as the two remaining logical choices?

Anymore, it feels like we have to throw Ron Paul in the talk about Republicans. Paul's hardly been seen at events in Iowa. But there's no doubt he's becoming an Internet sensation (although, I can still hear his supporters screaming to us in Ames during the Iowa Straw Poll, "We're not just the Internet. We're not just the Internet."

But the Internet is helping his raise a ridiculous amount of money. As I write this at 7:45pm, his campaign website claims to have raised $3.6 million today alone and nearly $16.5 million during the 4th quarter. Unless Romney cuts himself another personal check, it's hard to imagine another candidate reaching Paul's total this period.

Culver for Edwards

All the whispers today are about endorsements. The Des Moines Register went with Clinton and McCain. It's looking like Iowa First Lady Mari Culver is going to endorse Edwards Monday. The Edwards' connections run deep in Governor Culver's office.

Patrick Dillon is Culver's Chief of Staff. He used to work in Edwards' Prez campaign in 2004. Dillon's wife is Jen O'Malley Dillon. She is Edwards' State Director this time around. Culver's Communications Director is Brad Anderson. He, too, worked for Edwards during the last campaign.

For the record, no confirmation from the Gov's office or the Edwards' campaign. I did get some time on the bus with Edwards today after an event in Ames. I asked him what the endorsement would mean to him. His answer, "I'm going to respectfully decline to offer hypothetical opinion."

Saturday, December 15, 2007


The Des Moines Register's endorsements are out...Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

The words must have leaped from the page to Clinton supporters. She's been on a steady decline for more than a month in the polls. Perhaps, the endorsement will kick some life back in the campaign. The endorsement comes as Clinton is bringing in everyone but her brother (but including her mother, daughter, husband, Bob Vila, Magic Johnson, etc.) to barnstorm the state. They'll now all have plenty to brag about. Maybe they can drop the Sunday paper out of the "Hillacopter".

What are people thinking of the McCain endorsement? He doesn't seem to be running much of a campaign at all in Iowa, yet the Register picked him as the best choice. He doesn't even look to have a great chance in New Hampshire, where he seems to have staked his entire political future. It would seem I have a better shot of fulfilling my childhood dream of playing shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals than McCain has of winning the Iowa Caucuses. But the Register went with him anyway. Maybe I should loosen up my arm. Anyone seen my HGH?

The Endorsement

In a few hours we should know who the Des Moines Register endorses for President. Remember when the campaigns had to wait out in the cold by the Register's publishing site near the Des Moines International Airport to see the first copies of the paper? No such drama this time. The choices will likely be on the paper's website before you've washed the dinner dishes.

Do editors go with Hillary Clinton, the only previous White House dweller and the "establishment" candidate as a former First Lady (twice)?

Barack Obama-- mojo in the polls and potential broader, cross-party appeal

John Edwards--the nicer guy from 2004 may be back as he criss-crosses Iowa's familiar ground. Dare they pick him two elections in a row?

Joe Biden--moving up with momentum and gets kudos for his Iraq plan

Bill Richardson--slumped in the polls, but multi-layered credentials as Gov and U.S. Cabinet Secretary

What about the Republicans?

Mike Huckabee--smooth with the media, definitely enjoying a surge President Bush could only dream of

Mitt Romney--business background, linking himself with Ronald Reagan more than Reagans' own kids

John McCain--the p.o.w. has been largely m.i.a. in Iowa. Independents once flocked to him.

Fred Thompson--got good reviews in last Register debate. Arthur Branch learning the role?

Rudy Giuliani--stranger in the state, for the most part. connected to 9/11 at the hip (and lip)

Will the choice even matter?

John Edwards got the endorsement in 2004. Bill Bradley got it four years before.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dems Debate

Question: How can you have open government?

Clinton--have to have strong communication strategy. let's have as much sunlight as we can possibly gather on the government. (a note: Clinton, by far, offers the media the least amount of access to her during this Presidential campaign)

Question--what is your new year's resolution?


Edwards--remember a child every night is going to bed hungry

Dodd--spend more time with family. encourage iowans to caucus.

Richardson--lose weight again.

Biden--remember where i came from.

Obama--be a better husband and father

Roll the credits. This is over.

Dems debate

Edwards--wants universal pre-k for 4 year olds to help education. wants national teaching academies, which will pay for instruction of people to become teachers.

Obama--parents have to do their part on education. have to turn off the tv sets.

Dodd--i agree with barack. parents have to take responsibility.

Clinton--i have a daughter here. bill and i were focused on her education. fund special education.

Question--What can you accomplish your first year in office as President?

Obama--call in joint chiefs of staff. tell them to end the war in responsible way.

Biden--call in joint chiefs of staff and tell them we're doing the biden plan. abandon bush plan on torture. get catastrophic health care coverage for all children.

Richardson--end the war. all troops out. no residual forces. universal health care, which would take a few years to fully implement.

Dodd--give back your constitution. war. robust diplomacy.

Edwards--end the war. close guantanamo. call on american people to take back this country.

Clinton--begin to end the war. find common ground. ask congress to send her everything bush vetoed.

Dems Debate

Obama--need to tell people what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear.

Edwards--we need a prez who asks americans to be patriotic about something other than war.

Biden--how do you preserve family farmers?

Clinton--she was talking about the farm bill when she said, "Tom Harkin has been working like a trojan to get it done." i'm assuming she is talking about one of the definitions i found on, as opposed to the other meaning of trojan.

1. of or pertaining to ancient Troy or its inhabitants. –noun
2. a native or inhabitant of Troy.
3. a person who shows pluck, determination, or energy: to work like a Trojan.

Clinton just took a swipe at Obama. she said you just can't hope to bring change.


Yesterday, folks here said FOX news live streamed the debate and wasn't allow to do that. Now, KCCI-TV from here in Des Moines just faced the same complaint for showing the debate on its web site.

Dems Debate

Biden--military is more than the war in iraq.

Obama--every program we have proposed we have paid for.

Richardson--veterans system needs guaranteed funding.

Dodd--need to lift people up. give them opportunities. dems should focus on growing economy, not just raising taxes.

Question--Is too much of federal budget going to entitlemens?

Clinton--it is a problem. medicare and social security. let medicare negotiate with drug companies for better prices.

Biden--entitlements will be a problem if we don't act.

Obama--if we back to obesity rates of 1980, it would save a trillion dollars.

Dems Debate

Question about balancing the budget

Obama--said we can't dig out of deficit hole in a few years.

Richardson--said balancing budget would be major priority. eliminate corporate welfare. get rid of congressional earmarks.

Biden--shouldn't have to make a choice of balancing budget and accomplishing priorities. cutting $20 billion out of certain military programs will wars.

Dodd--federal govt is different than state govt. end war in iraq.

Edwards--corporate power literally taken over the govt. need a prez who will take these powers on.

Clinton--just have to go back to the 1990s. results will take a while.

Question: When are tax increases necessary and appropriate?

Richardson--wants constitutional amendment to balance budget. can't do it in war and recession. would exclude social security.

Edwards--get rid of tax breaks for wealthiest americans and for companies that take jobs overseas.

Clinton--people feel like they're standing on a trap door. should raise taxes on wealthy.

Now, It's the Dems Turn

It's nearly 1pm, just about time for the second round of debates here at Iowa Public TV in Johnston. Day 1 seemed to get quite a bit of criticism for the format. The moderator, Carolyn Washburn, who is the editor of the Des Moines Register, announced as it started yesterday that this wouldn't include Iraq or immigration. That brought immediate criticism. Then there's the format. Very little chance for back and forths between the Republican candidates. Very little news.

We'll see how Day 2 goes. It started slowly for us. Secret Service kept the media waiting in line for about 45 minutes outside the building. At least, it was warmer than yesterday. It has such a different feel when the Dems are arrived security-wise, because of the presence of Senators Clinton and Obama, who require quite a bit of secret service protection.

Just saw Chelsea Clinton finding her seat down front.

It's starting...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last Debate

Thompson--National Education Association is biggest obstacle to education.
Tancredo--governor huckabee, not job of president to push arts and music. you should run for governor.
Huckabee--any time you give governors opportunity, they will make it work. president should use bully pulpit to enact best practices. be communicator in chief.
Romney--american is behind on education.

Tancredo--we can't leave iraq. we are committed there and will be for a long time. we can stop being a police force in iraq.
Paul--it is revolutionary to go back to the constitution.
McCain--i have more legislative achievements than anyone on this stage.

Police Looking for FOX

McCain--need to provide more choice for education. allow home schooling. reward good teachers. show other professions to bad teachers.
Giuliani--choice should be made by parents. parents should choose what school kids go to.

Huckabee--education is a state issue. not a federal issue.

I'm told Johnston Police just showed up here. FOX news was streaming this debate on its web site. And it wasn't supposed to be doing that. I'll try to find out more.

Last Debate

Paul--goal should be to protect liberty.

Thompson--refuses to raise hand on whether global climate change is serious issues.

Giuliani--climate change is real. it's happening.

What impact on economy is acceptable to reduce greenhouse gases?
Romney--get off foreign oil. that lowers carbon emissions. we can do things to help environment and economy. we call it global warming, not american warming.

Huckabee--we don't own this earth. we are simply stewards. on a day like today, it's hard to believe there is global warming in iowa.
Hunter--instead of mandates, use incentives to get people to use bio. ethanol is not the greatest thing in show business.
Tancredo--doesn't want to use mandates to force more people to use bio.

Tancredo--unlimited massive immigration is a problem. it's a catastrophe.
Huckabee--people looking for leaderhship. they want a serving class. don't represent elite. represent the ordinary.

Last Debate, Part 3

McCain--I have judgment and experience to ask every American to serve.
Hunter--I built that fence in San Diego that works so well.

Question about

Paul--need to adopt free trade policies.
Romney--spent last 25 yrs in private sectors. know why jobs come and jobs go. invest in education, technology. get off foreign oil.
Huckabee--excessive regulation. i can't part the red sea. but i can part the red tape.

Should we alter trade policies with countries that promote terror?

McCain--open Iowa's markets. eliminate subsidies on ethanol.

What specific changes should be made to nafta?
Giuliani--nafta is a good thing. america should embrace free trade. shouldn't lose goal of free trade. we are big dreamers.
Thompson--free trade and fair trade is backbone to economy.
Tancredo--nafta has been a disaster. destroyed entire ag economy in mexico. if it worked so well, why do we have so much pressure to get jobs here?
Hunter--if you bring your iowa product to mexico, you will pay a 15 percent tax to get it across.

Final Debate, Part 2

Question 2--How should Americans sacrifice to lower federal debt?

Giuliani--fed government should sacrifice. cut spending. reduce income tax burden. take more ownership of health care.
Paul--unnecessary for people to sacrifice. cut by looking at foreign policy.
Huckabee--move to prevention-based health care system to save money.
Romney--shouldn't have to run programs at a deficit. 342 economic development programs in federal government. probably don't need 100.
Tancredo--follow the constitution of this country. we do too many things that exceed constitutional bounds. protect and defend the country. concentrate on that. rest of the stuff become extraneous.
Thompson--would be willing to run a deficit for military, infrastructure and research and development.

Who in this country is paying too much?

McCain--reform tax code. can't raise taxes as democrats. american people need tax code they know is fair.
Huckabee-fair tax. rich won't be made poor. but poor may be make rich.
Romney--doesn't think about how much taxes rich pay. thinks about middle class.
Paul--middle class is being wiped out.
Huncan--$250 billion plus we pay to prepare and defend taxes. Internal Revenue Service.
Giuliani--be able to pay a flatter tax on single piece of paper. give death penalty to death tax.

The Last (R) Debate

Welcome to the Iowa Public Television-Des Moines Register Republican Presidential Debate here at IPTV in Johnston, Iowa.

Let's begin. Not much on immigration and Iraq, moderator Carolyn Washburn tells the nine candidates. Iowans know enough about those positions, she says.
First question--national debt...crisis?

Giuliani--don't rehire half of federal retirees. saves $20-22 billion
Hunter--trade loss is a threat.
Paul--we've lived beyond our means.
Thompson--we're bankrupting our next generation
Romney--not time to say future is bleak. need good jobs for everyone. get off foreign oil.
Huckabee--serious threat. country has to be able to feed itself. needs to fuel itself. has to be able to fight for itself.
McCain--spending too much. have to achieve energy independence.
Keyes--cut off spigot that funds politics. get rid of income tax. use fair tax.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mitt TV...and the Snow Job

It rained. It froze. It snowed. That wasn't a good combination for the Presidential campaigns Tuesday. Campaigns had to cancel at least 20 events with candidates and their spouses. Staffers were busy figuring out what to do with their VIP visitors.

Mitt Romney-made his photo op with would be-voters at Des Moines' Kaleidoscope Mall. It helps that his hotel is just a few blocks away.

Ann Romney-walked with her hubby inside the mall. Canceled two stops.

Jackie Dodd-the only other to make a scheduled appearance. She checked out a homeless shelter in Des Moines. But her trip around town to pick up homeless youth went on ice. The storm covered her van in a thick coating of ice. Plus, she had a flat tire. Oh, and she told us her only warm coat was at the dry cleaner's. Our photographer told me she had to borrow one from the shelter.

John Edwards-canceled three stops. Stopped by the Hamburg Inn #2 in Iowa City. Did he vote for himself in the world famous coffee bean caucus?

Bill Clinton-canceled three trips. Called in to local tv in the Quad Cities to brag about his wife.

Mike Huckabee-scrapped four appearances. Made pitch to voters at Bob Feller's baseball museum in Van Meter.

Michelle Obama-halted five visits. Started calling some of the 28,000 Iowans who saw her hubby and Oprah.

Now, a word from our sponsors...

Mitt Romney defended his newest ad. It's the first time I believe that one Republican takes on another Republican in a spot running here in Iowa. Romney told me, don't call it negative. Here's the ad and his response to me about it.

Weather Puts Schedules on Ice

Winter weather is again creating a bit of a problem for politicians trying to make their way through the state in these waning weeks of the caucus season.

Democrat John Edwards missed a morning event in Clinton. Mike Huckabee cancelled scheduled events in western Iowa. As of this report Huckabee's campaign spokesperson Eric Woolson says they are still trying to make the evening event at Drake University in Des Moines.

Several spouses of presidential hopefuls are also cancelling their events for the day because of travel conditions. Ann, wife of Republican Mitt Romney, was supposed to swing through Creston and Lamoni this afternoon. Michelle, wife of Democrat Barack Obama, had a number of stops throughout eastern Iowa. Democrat Hillary Clinton's husband Bill also cancelled. The former president had stops in West Branch, Wapello and Burlington.

Well-known GOP strategist Mary Matalin's trip to the state was cancelled completely. Matalin had scheduled campaign stops on behalf of Republican Fred Thompson in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Mason City.

The freezing rain also kept the state parties from reaching across the aisle for a joint press conference to announce caucus night plans. The Iowa Democratic Party and Republican Party of Iowa were expected to make an announcement this morning to unveil their respective party's new caucus logo. That event, too, is not happening today.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Waiting for Bill

We first got a phone call to the newsroom at about 9:30am Monday that Bill Clinton's visit to Ames wouldn't start on time (not really news to cynical reporters who note the former Prez is virtually always late). We arrived at Fischer Theater on the Iowa State University campus around 10:30. A Clinton campaign staffer (I assume a staffer of Hillary's, not Bill's) told us the Prez would be there about 11:30. Apparently, she said, there was ice on the runway at the Ames Regional Airport, so the Prez would have to fly into the Des Moines International Airport and drive from there.

A little before 11am (the scheduled start of the event), a staffer told us Clinton wouldn't arrive until about noon. By this time several hundred people had filled the seats in the theater. Around 15 minutes past the scheduled start, former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack (who is now helping out the Clinton campaign), told the crowd she was the "warm up act". She talked for about ten minutes before saying she was just getting word that food had arrived and the President wouldn't show up until noon. She asked the crowd to stick around and go downstairs and get some food. This was the first the crowd knew that Clinton would be an hour late.

The donuts and cookies rushed in from a nearby Hy-Vee grocery store disappeared in a hurry. But they seemed to do the trick. I counted very few people who left before Clinton arrived.

During his speech, Clinton tried out a phrase I haven't heard him use here before. Six different times I heard him say his wife was a "change agent" or an "agent of change." Take that Barack. And Oprah.

Clinton also had a line that sounded like a little slap to the undecideds in the room leaning Obama's way. He said, "She (Hillary) has always been a change agent. It's one thing to have good intentions. It's another to change people's lives."


(Courtesy: Jason Reed, Reuters)

Computer problems kept me off-line this weekend, so I didnt' get to catch up on the big Oprah Winfrey visit to Des Moines. Barack Obama's campaign counts 18,500 for the crowd. I can't find any long timer who remembers a pre-primary rally that big any place in our state. Can she turn Obama into one of her faithful viewers' favorite things? (BTW, what does Tom Vilsack think of the size of the crowd? Iowa's former gov-turned-clinton-supporter questioned how many Iowans really even watch Oprah's show. BTW, my tv friends say in the Des Moines tv market, Oprah gets its second highest ratings in the country).

The Clinton campaign is circulating a CBS/New York Times poll that shows more people think Bill Clinton's visit will positively influence their vote towards Hillary than Oprah's visit will move them to Obama. The Clinton camp is not talking about how that same poll shows that Clinton has lost nearly half her lead nationally over Obama.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dodd Returns to D.C. For Farm Bill, Weather Cancels Event

Well, it isn't an endless barrage of sleet like last week that threatened the candidates' campaign stops, but the heartland is getting another dose of harsh weather today -- this time it's mostly in the form of snow. Two to five inches of winter seasoning expected here in central Iowa (as of this posting our Chief Meteorologist Ed Wilson tells me we've already had two inches dump here in the metro).

Earlier today, Chris Dodd's campaign sent us some schedule changes and a notice that the senator would be returning to D.C. tonight to be present for the senate's vote on the Farm Bill (a pretty important one for Iowans obviously). Sen. Dodd's wife Jackie will pinch-hit for her husband on the campaign trail covering events Friday.

About 20 min. ago they sent out this update:

Due to inclement weather, tonight’s planned Fire Fighters for Dodd event in Des Moines has been cancelled. Thursday, December 6th

Des Moines Fire Fighters for Dodd Event
Location: Police Athletic Recreation Center
5374 NE 12th Avenue
Pleasant Hill

There is another winter storm expected again this weekend, so we'll have wait and see if the candidates brave the weather. As of now, Gov. Romney is expected in Des Moines on Friday and Sens. Biden and Clinton have events planned this weekend.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On-The-Record with Huck

I got the chance to have a private dinner with Mike Huckabee at the Raccoon River Brewing Company in downtown Des Moines (with about two dozen others, including his wife, Janet, and their daughter, Sarah, who is working for the campaign in Iowa). I figured it was off-the-record. Oops. Sure wish I would have brought my notebook.

All I could do was jot down notes on the back of the wine menu.

Tidbits from the meal:

Huckabee wants FEMA out of the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security's arena

Hopes to release a 10-point immigration plan by the end of the week

Will announce "key" Florida endorsements by week's end

Didn't seem to be too familiar with that report on the status of nuclear weapons in Iran

Will fly overnight on Iowa Caucus night to get to New Hampshire for breakfast the next a.m.

Has a hard time seeing anybody but Clinton becoming the Dem nominee

Thinks Clinton is "tough" and her strengths are focus and tenacity.

Thinks her weakness is she has a lot of experience being a political spouse. But that's different
than being a candidate.

Believes he gets more scrutiny/attention on his religion than Mitt Romney, the Mormon

Says no other candidate has as much CEO of government experience as he does (more than a decade as Lt Gov and Gov of Arkansas)

Counts 905 total minutes in the Republican Prez debates. Total includes only 3 minutes and 50 seconds of time focused on education. Says he didn't get asked either of the two questions on education in the debates

Doesn't want leaders to only think of funding/supporting/promoting left side of the brain development for kids. Wants them to think of right side of the brain training, too (music and art)
Had the soup to eat

I had a calamari salad. A little too greasy for my taste.

- Dave Price

Dodd Delivers

I was out covering Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama's appearances in the metro, when I got a phone call. Our 10pm producer told me I had a delivery waiting for me downstairs at the front desk at our station. They were from Chris Dodd, he told me. "What?", I said, the obvious response.

Apparently, Dodd's campaign sent me over two cheese pizzas as a friendly gesture for the final month of the caucus season. I could almost smell them. Too bad I never got to taste them. By the time I got back to the station, they were gone. Every last piece of cheese. Thanks for the thought.

Here's the letter that came with the box:

- Dave Price

Caucusing Made Simple

Think it'll be tight on caucus night? We found three of the Prez campaigns so far (Edwards, Obama and Clinton) that are using videos on their campaign web sites to show you how to caucus (They're all dems. Does that mean something?). They all seem to have a different feel. Check them out below.

A few other campaigns got back to me about their plans:

Mike Huckabee is using DVDs. A spokesman tells me precinct captains and county chairs will work to show the DVDs to Iowans with questions.

Tom Tancredo is going the old-fashioned route, well, I guess the new, old-fashioned route: phone calls, emails, mailings.

Mitt Romney is taking advantage of his kids. Here's the response from his campaign.

"We are training our folks in small groups across the state. Often we’ll have one of the sons or another surrogate attend, and true to Romney form, we have a PowerPoint presentation. This highlights our organizational efforts, so we unfortunately don’t have them open to the press so as to not tip our hand to the other candidates."

Here are those videos:

John Edwards

Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

NPR/IPR, Part 2

I just received an advisory to make sure we media calls this debate by its proper name.



Point taken.

But, first a few words from Fred Thompson (btw, Republicans were invited to this debate. The moderator here said "scheduling conflicts" have precluded them from attending. But the moderator said the candidates are working to reschedule) Now, back to Fred Thompson. I just received this statement in my inbox:

Statement by Fred Thompson on First Amendment Ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
McLean, VA - Sen. Fred Thompson released the following statement today in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit - Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship - regarding an important First Amendment ruling on religious programming in prisons.

"The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion appears to allow Prison Fellowship's privately funded, voluntary prisoner rehabilitation programs in Iowa's prisons to continue. Prison inmates face daunting odds: statistically, two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years of their release. As a society, we must do something to reduce this number and help returning inmates break the cycle of crime. Prison Fellowship's program has already demonstrated great promise. This ruling will allow faith-based prison programming to continue in order to improve the odds of successful reentry into society. This decision represents a win for the State of Iowa, for Prison Fellowship, and for anyone concerned about reducing recidivism."

Gotta go. Biden's people are offering him up for comments. More on tv later...

NPR Prez Debate In Iowa

Seven candidates are seated and ready here at the Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines for National Public Radio's debate. This isn't exactly a tv-friendly event. No video. Just audio.

Just three topics chosen by NPR: Iran, China and immigration. Definitely, at least early on, doesn't feel like there will be any "Iowa feel" to this event, even though we are here in Iowa. We'll see. Let's hope we get some news out of this...

The candidates are seated in a "v"-shaped table...Clinton, Gravel, Obama, Dodd, Bien, Edwards and Kucinich.

Will this one get feisty?

Apparently. The second time Clinton answered a question , she began criticizing Edwards and Obama by name for their stance on what to do with Iran.

Edwards said he won't buy toys from China for his kids this Christmas. Dodd said he won't either. He'll buy his toys in Iowa.

Kucinich said "buy America" or "it's bye-bye America."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Looking Out for Number One

Mike Huckabee spent his first day in Iowa as the front runner, at least according to most recent polls. We caught up with him at a hotel in Des Moines, where he had just finished meeting with a group of retired military leaders.

I don't know what those military leaders thought of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. But I do know we've all noticed Huckabee's surge. I've never seen so much local and national press at one of his events. Huckabee noticed it, as well. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to notice the podium staffers had set up for him. He walked just outside the red rope that sectioned off the media from the hallway where he was. He stopped just alongside us and then just about started his remarks. That's when someone pointed out he needed to walk in front of us...and to the podium. Perhaps, he's not used to this big-crowd-attracting-because-I'm-now-the-front- runner just yet.

He did offer us up a nice zinger (is that how you spell that word?) I believe Mitt Romney (the man Huckabee has now passed in the polls in Iowa) has spent something like $7 million so far in Iowa. Huckabee's tab is somewhere around $400,000. So check out Huckabee's quote below and see about which candidate he is hinting.

"We've got an army of ordinary people who aren't out there because someone is paying them to love me. We have people out there working hard because they believe in what I stand for and they'd like to have a President who didn't buy his way into the White House." --Mike Huckabee

Sounds Like Just a Month Left

(Photo courtesy:

As soon as we flipped the calendar to December, it sure feels different here in Iowa. And I don't mean the weather. Ever since Hillary Clinton slipped into second place in some polls in this state, she has really turned up the heat (that's for all of you who sat through the Jefferson Jackson Dinner--Almost Breakfast).

Here are day's quotables:
"You decide which makes more sense: to entrust our country to someone who is ready on day one to make the decisions and the changes we need, or to put America in the hands of someone with little national or international experience who started running for president as soon as he arrived in the United States Senate." --Hillary Clinton.

"How did running for president become a qualification to be president? Well, this is not a job you can learn about from a book. It's a job that starts on day one with split-second decision making that can affect the lives of millions of people." --Hillary Clinton

Now here's what Barack Obama told me in response:

"You're going to have to ask Senator Clinton, because we're her to talk about credit cards. My sense is people start getting stressed closer to the caucus and start feeling their support isn't where they want it to be. Rather than providing an affirmative message, they start going after the candidates. I don't think that's what the Iowa caucusgoers are looking for." --Barack Obama

"Over the last couple of days, she (Hillary Clinton) has cited the supposed memories of my kindergarten teacher about my Presidential ambitions. That's the level of silliness we've been hearing from out of Senator Clinton and her campaign. And I don't think that's what the people of Iowa are looking for right now." --Barack Obama

Bowling with Bubba

It was a quick appearance Bill Clinton made with his wife before the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum at North High School in Des Moines Saturday. He didn't stick around to watch the event in person. Instead, he went to a bowling alley.

Clinton stopped by a group of supporters at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines. The gathering of more than 100 filled the banquet room there to watch the forum on tv (we won't mention all the technical errors that plagued that event). I'm told he did not bowl during his stop.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Brown & Black, Part 2

Biden still not here. He's en route, the campaign tells me. The campaign says his flight was canceled in Chicago. He drove on the crummy ice-covered roads to Moline. Then he's flying from Moline to Des Moines.

We've begun again after about a ten minute delay.

The moderator asked why Clinton is beating Obama comfortably among African Americans nationally. Obama said Clinton is well-known nationally. He pointed out that he upped his support dramatically from the beginning of his campaign for U.S. Senator in Illinois til the time he got elected.

7:52pm--Joe Biden just arrived.

No time to catch his breath. He gets the next question. He said he favors a path to citizenship for immigrants. He also said it's not good to pit groups against each other. Everyone has to work together. He finished by thanking everyone for the chance to be here. Then, he did a quick gesture of the "thank the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."

Richardson just complained about his face time. He asked moderator, Michelle Norris, if, as the only brown candidate on stage, could he get some civil rights fairness and get some more time?

Obama told a student named Melissa that he will help get students into college. He said he will give each student a $4,000 tax credit to go to college, which he says will "pay for a big chunk" of their college. I just googled this...The College Board last month said the average cost for a year in a four-year public university is $13,589.

Clinton just said New York Gov Elliott Spitzer made the right decision in withdrawing his plan to give illegals drivers' licenses.

Edwards asked Obama if he'll commit to raising minimum wage to $9.50 per hour. Obama said, yes.

Norris asked Kucinich to ask another candidate a question. Kucinich asked himself whether he would support a universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system. He answered himself by saying, "It is true."

Brown & Black Forum

We're nestled in here at the Iowa Brown & Black Forum at North High School. There were supposed to be 8 candidates here. We're missing two of them. Gravel, we're told, won't be here. Has he actually been to Iowa before? Biden isn't here yet either. Not sure why.

Hillary Clinton just thanked all the other candidates for calling her during the hostage/standoff situation at her campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire.

Chris Dodd just asked John Edwards why he voted for the bankruptcy reform bill. Biden, Clinton and Edwards, Dodd said, voted for it. Edwards said he was wrong. And Dodd was right to oppose it. I don't know what bill this is.

Numerous microphone problems. Numerous. HDNET is not off to a good start. Obama just handed Kucinich a microphone. Kucinich thanked him for passing the baton in this race (laugh, laugh).

They're taking a commercial break. Hopefully, they'll figure out the microphones.

Brown & Black Still On



Inquiries about weather and travel should be directed to:
Iowa Department of Transportation or call dial 511
Frequent updates available at
Please plan accordingly for travel delays.

WHAT: The Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, the nation’s only presidential forum in which all candidates have an opportunity to answer essential concerns of African-Americans and Latinos.

HDNet is the exclusive broadcast partner of the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum.

WHO: All Democratic presidential candidates will participate

Senator Joseph Biden
Former Senator Mike Gravel
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Senator Christopher J. Dodd
Senator Barack Obama
Senator John Edwards
Governor Bill Richardson

Forum moderators:

Michele Norris, host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and
Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”

Additional VIPs:

Dan Rather, Global Correspondent, HDNet’s “Dan Rather Reports”
Iowa State Rep Wayne Ford (D-Des Moines), co-chair and founder, Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum
Mary Campos, co-chair and founder, Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum

WHEN: Saturday, December 1, 2007

Press Check-In: 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
VIP Interviews: TBD

Forum begins: 7:00 p.m. CT

HDNet’s live coverage begins: 6:30 p.m. CT
HDNet’s post-Forum coverage begins: 9:00 p.m. CT

WHERE: North High School501 Holcomb Avenue
Des Moines, IA

MORE: Attendees are asked to limit personal items such as large bags or backpacks in order to speed the security check-in process.

Questions about weather and travel should be addressed to:
Iowa Department of Transportation

Iced In, Iced Out

Two big events. Eight candidates. Nine, if you count Mitt Romney. Ten, sort of, if you count former candidate, Bill Clinton. One day. One big ice storm.

Romney has canceled all of his events today. Bill Clinton isn't coming anymore either. Hillary Clinton had to call in on the phone for the first big event today, the Heartland Forum in downtown Des Moines. It sounds like the campaign still thinks she can make it to the Brown & Black Forum tonight at North High School in Des Moines. The Des Moines Intl Airport is open again, so that may help things. But Clinton is in New Hampshire, so it would seem everything would have to go perfectly to get her here in time for the start of the event at 7pm.
All the other candidates should be here, from what I know. Stay tuned.

Bill Clinton Event Cancelled

Former President Bill Clinton's event in Norwalk was just cancelled...

Weather Causes Clinton Campaign to Cancel Norwalk Event with President Bill Clinton

DES MOINES, IA – The Clinton Campaign has announced the cancellation of today’s 3:30 p.m. event with former President Clinton due to inclement weather. Clinton was to attend an Organizing for Change event at Norwalk High School on 1201 North Avenue in Norwalk.

Romney Events Cancelled

We're getting pummelled with some harsh weather today and there are numerous delays and cancellations throughout Iowa especially in the central and southern parts of the state.

Of course even politicians are at the mercy of mother nature. There are major airport delays keeping several of the Democratic candidates from landing here in the metro. Rumblings that tonight's Brown & Black forum could be cancelled but no official word yet.

This was just sent this morning from the Romney camp:


Boston, MA – Due to severe weather, numerous closings, and adverse road conditions, Governor Mitt Romney's events for today have been cancelled. The following events have been cancelled for today:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

9:45 a.m. Governor Mitt Romney Holds a "Strategy for a Stronger America: Strengthening American Families"
Ask Mitt Anything with Special Guest James Bopp, Jr., Romney Campaign Advisor on Pro-Life Issues
Indianola Country Club
1610 Country Club Road
Indianola, IA
NOTE: There will be a mult-box available.

11:30 a.m. Governor Mitt Romney Holds a Clarke County Meet-and-Greet
The Coffee Parlor
140 W. Jefferson
Osceola, IA
NOTE: This is a photo-op only. Be prepared for natural light and sound.
1:45 p.m. Governor Mitt Romney Holds a "Strategy for a Stronger America: Strengthening American Families" Ask Mitt Anything
CB & Q Freight House
1115 Auburn Avenue
Chariton, IA
NOTE: There will be a mult-box available.

*All Times Are Central Standard Time

Friday, November 30, 2007

Clinton's Offices Closed, We Think

Hillary Clinton's Polk County campaign office in Des Moines Friday afternoon

It appears Hillary Clinton's campaign has closed its offices in Iowa because of the hostage/standoff situation at her office in Rochester, New Hampshire. We've checked offices across the state and can't get anyone to answer the telephone at any of them.
As of 5pm, we still haven't heard back from Clinton's campaign. The campaign released a short statement earlier in the afternoon that also appears on the front page of Clinton's Presidential web site.
Bill Richardson's and John Edwards' campaigns have now released statements, as well.

Statement from Clinton Campaign

"There is an ongoing situation in our Rochester, NH office. We are in close contact with state and local authorities and are acting at their direction. We will release additional details as appropriate."

Statement from Richardson Campaign

WASHINGTON, DC-- New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson today released the following statement on the hostage situation at Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's Rochester, New Hampshire office:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the hostages, their families, Senator Clinton, and her campaign staff. This incident is an unfortunate reminder of the reality that we always must remain aware of our surroundings and safety. My wife Barbara and I sincerely hope that today's incident will be resolved quickly and that no one will be harmed."

Statement from Edwards' Campaign

"Elizabeth and I send our thoughts and prayers to everyone involved in the ordeal in Rochester, New Hampshire today. Everyday Americans who stand up and get involved on behalf of the candidates they believe in represent the very best of our democracy, and we are praying for a swift and safe resolution to the situation in the Clinton campaign office. We send our deepest admiration to the law enforcement officials working to keep everyone safe today and our warmest thoughts to Senator Clinton and her entire staff during this difficult situation."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bill vs. Hill

It will be the battle of the Clintons Saturday afternoon in the Des Moines metro. Hillary will take part in the Heartland Forum in downtown Des Moines. She is scheduled to speak at 3:40pm. Her husband gets a ten minute head start. He will speak at 3:30pm at Norwalk High School. As you know, media outlets don't typically have the staff on Saturdays that they do during the week. So, in that case, do they cover Bill or Hillary?

Here are the releases:

Saturday, December 1
Des Moines, IA

3:40 p.m. CST
Clinton Participates in the Heartland Presidential Candidates Forum Hosted by Iowa CCI and the Center for Community Change
HyVee Hall
People’s Hall
730 3rd Street
Des Moines, IA

President Bill Clinton To Return To Hawkeye

DES MOINES, IA – Iowans for Hillary today announced that President Bill Clinton is scheduled to return to Iowa to campaign on behalf of Senator Hillary Clinton. President Clinton will attend an Organizing for Change event in Norwalk, IA on Saturday, December 1st.

Saturday, December 1st
Norwalk, IA

3:30 p.m. CST
President Clinton to Attend “Organizing for Change” Event
Norwalk High School
1201 North Avenue
Norwalk, IA

Dollars for Dennis

I was sitting at my desk at the station. My phone rang. Some young guy. At least he sounded young on the phone. I didn't catch his name. But my caller i.d. said he was calling from the Omaha area.

He asked if I had a few minutes to talk about Dennis Kucinich. I thought, sure. Kucinich never seems to come to town. So, why not? Well, this wasn't just a talk. It was a telethon. We recorded part of our conversation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tire Trouble Lands Clinton in Ankeny -- A Few Hours Late

A flat tire is apparently keeping Senator Clinton from making her 12:15 p.m. scheduled stop at Ankeny's DMACC campus to discuss health care issues with Iowans.

Close to the original event start time, a campaign aide made the announcement that Sen. Clinton was running late because there was a flattened tire on her chartered airplane and they had yet to depart from Washington, D.C. He said she would be expected around 2:00 p.m. and that lunch was being brought in for those patiently waiting the Senator's arrival.

According to one food service worker at the event, they were informed around 10:00 a.m. that they needed to increase their meal order - originally planned for the working media - to feed 300 people.

At a quarter after 2:00 p.m., a woman took the microphone to say Sen. Clinton would be there in just a few more minutes.

UPDATE: 2:27 p.m. -- Clinton event starts.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Big O

There's no more "is she coming?" talk. The Obama camp sent out the first official notice that Oprah Winfrey will appear in Iowa with Barack and Michelle. At this point, the campaign is only saying she'll be in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on Saturday, December 8th.

Wanna get a seat? Apparently, here are two ways to help...volunteer four hours for the campaign and attend a local caucus training.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Latest Polls


New polls just came in. There's another shakeup at the top. Clinton? No. Obama? No. Huckabee? Nope. It's Mizzou! My alma mater's football team has become the top ranked football team in the country for the first time since 1960. Sorry, Jayhawks.

Here's the latest ranking in each major poll...

BCS #1

Associated Press #1

USA Today #2 (What's their problem?)


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is the Surge Working?

Bill Richardon's camp is pushing how well he's doing in a recent poll in New Hampshire. Did his folks overstate this as a bigger trend?

Here's part of the Richardson release... Read down to the quote from his campaign manager about the other early states...

MANCHESTER, NH-- A new CNN/WMUR poll released today shows New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson surging in New Hampshire, climbing six points to pull even with John Edwards and shrinking the gap with Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
"The momentum we are seeing in New Hampshire is happening in all of the early states," Contarino (Dave Contarino, Richardson's campaign manager) added.

Richardson may be moving higher in New Hampshire. I'm not seeing how the camp can make this claim about it happening in ALL of the early states. I pulled this out of the new Washington Post/ABC News poll... Look at Richardson's numbers...

If the Democratic caucus were being held today, and the candidates were: (Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel), who would you support?NET LEANED VOTE:

The recent poll number is listed first (11/18/07) The poll from 7/31/07 is listed second.

Barack Obama 30 27
Hillary Clinton 26 26
John Edwards 22 26
Bill Richardson 11 11
Joe Biden 4 2
Dennis Kucinich 2 2
Chris Dodd 1 1
Mike Gravel * 0
Other (vol.) 1 0
None of these (vol.) * 2
Would not vote (vol.) 0 0
No opinion 3 4

Where's the Love, Mac?

John McCain's campaign sent this out to supporters today after New Hampshire announced it has finally picked its primary date. I don't seem to recall McCain sending anything similar out when Iowa selected its caucus date. Interesting...

To: McCain Team
From: Rick Davis
Date: November 21, 2007
Subject: NH Announces Primary Date

The New Hampshire Secretary of State just announced that on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 New Hampshire will hold its first in the nation presidential primary.

That means in 47 days residents of New Hampshire will go to the polls to select the person they think should be the next president of the United States.

We have less than 7 weeks to make sure that we are able to reach every voter in New Hampshire with John McCain's message of courageous service, experienced leadership, and bold solutions.

Friends, you have been part of this team from the beginning, and this is where the rubber meets the road. I need you to do two things:

Donate. Now. Even if it's $25 we need you to follow this link right now and make a donation. We can make a huge difference and fund everything we need to do if everyone who receives this email just donates $25. Please don't assume that your donation doesn't make a difference because it might be small--united we create a financial force to be reckoned with!

If you have friends and family in New Hampshire, call them or write them a note letting them know why you support John McCain and how important it is for the rest of the nation that they consider casting their vote for Senator McCain on January 8th.

As you probably know, Senator McCain left for Iraq today to spend Thanksgiving with our troops. Please join me in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the men and women who proudly serve our country and for safe travel for all of you here at home.

Thanks for all you do, now the real fun begins!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hold On... I'm Busy Shucking Corn

First, that whole wide stance thing with Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Now, it's some anti-Iowa comments from New Hampshire Senator and Romney Co-Chair Judd Gregg. Mitt Romney's camp is doing a little damage control.

Judd Gregg on the Situation Room

“As a fellow supporter of Governor Romney, I’d have to respectfully say Sen. Judd Gregg and I don’t agree on everything. But I’m glad that I’m here in Iowa and Sen. Gregg’s there in New Hampshire and that we’re both working to make sure our respective states show their support for a leader like Governor Romney.”
- Doug Gross, Iowa Chairman, Romney for President Campaign

UPDATE: This afternoon at a health care forum at Des Moines University Gov. Mitt Romney responded to Sen. Gregg's remarks. Sort of...

Romney laughing, started his response, "Both states are key states in picking the president and I'm sure the senator from New Hampshire is proud of his own state. I must admit I like the process in this country of selecting the nominee of each party... But I appreciate the work that's done here in Iowa and I would not have spent as much time in this state had I not believed this was a critical part of the selection process and weigh them equally."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Norris Approved...

Shortly after he announced his campaign, I remember Fred Thompson saying he would run a non-traditional campaign. He's been pretty traditional in his tv ads. One of his opponents, Mike Huckabee, is not. Huckabee is airing his first ad in Iowa. It's definitely not a traditional ad. Unless, you call Chuck Norris traditional...

Huckabee's Iowa Campaign Manager Eric Woolson tells me you'll have to turn on cable to see this commercial live...Fox News, CNN, Hallmark, TNT, USA, Lifetime, and ESPN.

A tv pal tells me Huckabee does have a more traditional ad on faith on its way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Campaign Ads

Vote for Tom Tancredo or you will die! That has been some of the reaction I'm hearing from viewers of his new commercial. Is that a little strong? Tancredo told me he knows this new commercial is "scary."

Is this all just a stunt to get Tancredo a little press and get him to the coveted 5% poll rating that makes his elegible for the Republican Party of Iowa/Fox News debate in Des Moines December 4th? Tancredo said, no. He just wants to push his issue of border security out there, he told me.

I asked Drake University Political Science Professor Arthur Sanders to check out the ad, along with current ads from Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. Here's his take.

Watch the full ads for yourself. What do you think?
--Does Tancredo shake things up or go too far?
--Does Thompson offer a friendly hello or put you to sleep?
--Does Romney show he's the man or is he getting a head of himself?

Several JJ Spectacles

Here's a look up above at the craziness in the upper tier at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner at Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines Saturday.

This isn't the best angle to see all the signs going up during the "Sign War" Friday night before the JJ event. But you can see all the commotion of staffers and volunteers running around.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

JJ, The Morning After

After what feels like an overnight nap...oh, yeah, that's what it was...after the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner, I found a few leftover tidbits for dessert.

I won't even get into the complaints from the campaigns and the media about how long the event went and how two of the most well-known candidates spoke way too long after the late local news had already ended and newspaper reporters had long seen their deadlines expire. I also won't get into those complaints about why the Iowa politicians couldn't speak much earlier (4 or 5 in the afternoon was the suggestion I heard most). I also won't get into the endless complaints I heard from activists in the upper deck, who couldn't understand why there was only one concession stand open to get food and drink. I won't get into all of that...

I did pick out some of JJ's best bites from each candidate (yes, for you second-tier candidate-lovers, we have included every candidate who spoke last night).

John Edwards led off before his throng of supporters in their white campaign t-shirts. He called Rudy Giuliani George Bush "on steroids" and the federal government "incompetent". A supporter urged him at one point to "Give 'em hell."
But his best bites threatened to take health care away from Washington politicians (I watched Hillary Clinton laugh and clap at that one) and his pledge to speak for everyone.

Bill Richardson came next. He had a fraction of the supporters Edwards brought (I did stop by Richardson's pre-party which featured fellow New Mexicans, Al and Bobby Unser, Sr.) They could have lapped the place who knows how many times just waiting for the event to start. (It began nearly 20 minutes after we were told it would). Richardson said when President, he would follow the Constitution and he wouldn't go to war without the backing of Congress.

But his best bites offered differences between the Dems on war, but added the Dems shouldn't go to war with each other.

Joe Biden spoke third (I'm excluding the speeches in between by the Iowa pols). He began by joking, "Hello, Chicago." He also said he was flattered to be speaking before the crowd. BTW, there were few visible signs of his support in that crowd. Other campaigns, including Richardson and Dodd, had some group of supporters filling the upper level of Vets Auditorium.

Biden's best bites offered an apology to a Republican candidate and a ride on a one-trick pony.

Chris Dodd had more followers than Biden, but way fewer than the others. He brought up that electability issue again (Hillary Clinton, are you listenin'?) And he joked about the long, long event. "Welcome to breakfast in Des Moines", Dodd told the crowd.

But his best bites brought back memories on a stick and pledges on his right hand.

Hillary Clinton took the stage more than 3 1/2 hours after the event's scheduled start time. Her yellow-clad, thunderstick-thumping fans filled much of the upper deck. She did have at least several dozen empty seats in her sections by the time she spoke. The Obamas both stood and clapped when she began and ended her speech (I didn't see Richardson or Dodd do either).

Clinton's best bites brought her back to the kitchen and heating things up thanks to her pre-coached crowd.

Obama ended the night (finally, taking the stage around 11pm). His campaign claimed 3,000 of the 9,000 in attendance, dressed in red, many wearing some type of glowing rings on their heads and around their necks. He said he doesn't do things based on the polls (Senator Clinton, are you around? BTW, she didn't go back to her seat after her speech. I was told she worked the room a bit with her special guest, Quincy Jones, while Obama spoke).

Obama's best bites explained what he doesn't want for his girls and your boys and how he won't forget what it means to stand up.

I'm now going to sleep.