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.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


It's 8:26. Computer problems have kept me off-line until now here at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner. But here I am. So are about 9,000 of my Iowa neighbors. Well, maybe they're not all my neighbors. But based on my recollection of four years ago and based on the recall of those who've been many more times than I, this is, by far, the biggest and wildest one of all.

Obama's name is in huge lights in the upper tier here at Veterans Auditorium. One's in blue. One's in red. Edwards is also up in lights right next to the big blue Obama. Obama's people are in red. Edwards' folks are in white. Clinton's are in yellow. Dodd has some in yellow, too. I don't know that I've seen any Biden shirts yet. In fact, he has virtually no visible support at all. BTW, Richardson does have people here, too.

All six presidentials are here. Sorry, Kucinich and Gravel. How many times have they actually stepped foot in this state this campaign season? Hillary Clinton is the one candidate not to have a spouse by her side. She did bring Quincy Jones. I met him outside the men's room. He's shorter than I thought.

Has Anyone Seen My Mo?

Nine-thousand dinner guests. Six Presidential candidates. Everyone's looking for momentum. What do you call it when momentum goes in reverse? Two candidates may have a little taste so far this weekend.

John Edwards got booed from part of the crowd at John Mellencamps's concert Friday night in Des Moines. The former "Cougar" invited Edwards up on stage and some of the crowd must not have been in the mood for some John with their Jack and Diane (Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson happened to be in the crowd with her notebook). Will this all take away a little of the steam of the 10,000 person endorsement Edwards just received from the Caucus for Priorities?

Then, there's the confirmation of Clinton's plant at the plant in Newton. Props to the Grinnell student newspaper, the Scarlet and Black. The Clinton campaign now admits to planting a global warming question with a student in the crowd at a bio diesel plant. The Associated Press reports the Clinton campaign first denied this but then later admitted it. Are we going to have to start interviewing people in the audience to make sure their words are actually their thoughts?
BTW, Clinton's people say their candidate didn't know about all of this.

Friday, November 09, 2007

An AmeriCone Dream for John Edwards?

This afternoon, Sen. John Edwards officially accepted the endorsement of "Caucus for Priorities," a 10,000-member political group focused on reworking the budget and reducing military spending.

Ben Cohen is the founder of the group and he's probably better known to most by his product which graces the shelves of your grocer's freezer section. He puts the "Ben" in Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Back in March B&J's unvieled a new flavor of ice cream for Comedy Central pundit and shortlived presidential candidate Stephen Colbert called "AmeriCone Dream," which top-secret recipe includes "fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl."

I asked Mr. Cohen after today's press conference when his ice cream company would be announcing Sen. Edwards' flavor - since he's a real candidate and all.

He says there is no plan yet, but if he were to have his own B&J's flavor it would surely not be "fluffy," perhaps something more solid like "Captain Courageous Crunch".

No word yet on any deal in the works with Quaker Oats.

Sorry, Parrotheads

The Iowa offices of the Dem Prez campaigns are bragging about their pre- and post-party gatherings on this Jefferson Jackson Dinner weekend. But apparently, one of the hot rumors floating at the top of drink glasses across town is not true. Chris Dodd's Iowa Communications Director Taylor West told me Jimmy Buffet is NOT coming to town on Dodd's behalf. She says she's not sure where that rumor got started.
But I am told there will be Biden burgers and Biden brats a-plenty. Plus, Obama has R & B Grammy award winning singer/songwriter John Legend. And Edwards has Grammy award winning banjo player, Dr. Ralph Stanley (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Richardson Backs Grassley

Bill Richardon's folks just put this out...

Governor Richardson Statement on Farm Bill Subsidy Caps

PORTSMOUTH, NH-- New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson today released the following statement on the Dorgan-Grassley Amendment to the farm bill:

"I have been talking about my position on subsidy caps for months now. There must be a hard cap of $250,000 on payments to individual farmers and their spouses, and we must close every loophole. It is essential that the Senate vote yes and pass the Dorgan-Grassley Amendment. Excessive subsidies are just another form of Washington corporate welfare. They must stop.
"Excessive farm payment subsidies are bad for small family farmers. They are bad for American taxpayers. They are bad for just about everyone except for the giant agricultural corporations that they support. I strongly urge the Senate to do the right thing and cap these subsidies."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bio, Part 4

Dennis Kucinich hits cleanup at this event. He's not here. They've called for a 5 minute break. I wonder if the people here will stick around.

Bio, Part 3

Joe Biden bats third in this conference. He's jogging to the podium. He's now out of breath. He apologizes. He said he was talking about Pakistan with Chris Dodd off-stage.

Biden seems to be speaking very softly.

"We don't need to wait for hydrogen cells." "Build it and they will come." He's talking ethanol and switch grass.

$100 per vehicle, it would cost, he says, to make every vehicle a flex-fuel vehicle.'

Increase fuel economy standards. Add 1 gallon per year for 10 years.

Wants to spend $50 billion over first four years to invest in alternative energy.

"The American people aren't afraid to take this on."

Says, what if he would have been Prez during 9/11? Who would have opposed him if he asked people to sacrifice to help lessen demand on foreign oil?

Question: Role of federal government in education.

"Earlier you start a child in school, the better they are."

We must pay graduating college seniors who want to be teachers the same we pay engineers.

He's starting to get worked up a bit.

"Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget. And I'll show you what you value." "I value education."

Corn-based ethanol will kick start the search for alternative fuels.

Role of federal government is to provide infrastructure. He says there isn't the infrastructure right now for wind energy.

Biden just said his state of Delaware does more agriculture than Iowa. No applause.

He closed by complimenting them for bringing together the Iowa Farm Bureau and The Iowa State Education Association.

Bio, Part 2

Dodd is up next... The moderator introduced him. Oops. he's not coming out yet. Moderator says he needs a minute. Silence... Here's Dodd.

Dodd started by saying it's good to be back in Ames. He was here he said for the Iowa-Iowa State game. He said everyone asked him he he was rooting for. He said the Red Sox. Pretty safe answer now that the World Series is over. (And since they won)

Dodd told the crowd how he and his family have temporarily moved to Iowa. His six-year-old daughter, Grace, just began kindergarten this morning. He seemed to stumble around the name of the school. I have no idea what, if anything, he said.

Iowa can become to renewable energy what Texas has become to oil.

$1 billion for advances in bioscience.

Reminded that he is the only candidate to call for corporate carbon tax. "Corporate carbon tax makes sense."

Rural won't be left behind. It'll be the engine behind it.

Raising Pell Grant by $100 per year.

Talks about how he's worked with Republicans in Washington.

Question for Dodd from audience: What's the appropriate role of federal government in promoting education?

No Child Left Behind is an example of federal mandate of 'pay-as-you-go" Invest in schools. Don't walk away from them.

Wants 50 mile-per-gallon standard in automobiles by 2017.

Closes by asking Iowans to vote for him. McCain didn't do this.

Bio for 5. Make that 4.

Iowa State University's Biobased Industry Outlook Conference in Ames. That's a mouthful, eh? That's where we are tonight. Supposed to be 5 candidates. Edwards is running late from his other events. Won't make it. We're down to 4.

John McCain is up first...

McCain said Iowans will hear opponents say he is against Iowa. (I don't recall hearing a candidate say that yet. I'll have to keep listening)

McCain: he's opposed to subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. But any subsidies. Doesn't matter if they're in Arizona. That's his home state.

He says if elected Prez, country won't need subsidies. He'll set limits on carbon emissions.

"Globalization is here. Global is an opportunity and not a threat." "American farmer can compete with anyone. Period."

"I know you've heard before that subsidies to Big Oil will eliminated... I'm not going to make promises that aren't in America's best interests."

We need a candidates who hasn't changed his moral convictions. ( I didn't put quotes around this one. It's close to the quote, but not exact. Safe to say, I'd expect, this was a little shot at Mitt Romney for changing positions on abortion rights, gay rights and gun rights.)

"I'm the only conservative Republican who can beat the Democrat (nominee)."

Question about how to reduce dependence of foreign oil...
reduce greenhouse gases.

"When I look inside (Vladimir) Putin's eyes, I see a 'K', a 'G' and a 'B'"

Talks about need for nuclear power.
Electric cars.
"Obviously ethanol."

Awkward ending. The moderator thanked McCain. He didn't think it was over yet. In his defense, the moderator did tell McCain he had three questions for him. I think he asked only 1 question.