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Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007 - 21:17:30

Detente

Hill's Angels, including my daughter Muriel, or is it Martha, who lives in Newark, or somewhere near there, are partying tonight in Des Moines, or maybe Dubuque.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 21:09:28

Smokin'!

By the same 2-1 vote that it had earlier approved the plant, the Arkansas PSC today refused to rehear its decision to let an old-fashioned, poison-belching, coal-fired power plant be built in Hempstead County, though most everyone else in the civilized world has taken a dim view of such installations.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 21:09:28

Smokin'!

By the same 2-1 vote that it had earlier approved the plant, the Arkansas PSC today refused to rehear its decision to let an old-fashioned, poison-belching, coal-fired power plant be built in Hempstead County, though most everyone else in the civilized world has taken a dim view of such installations.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 19:04:49

A Huckabee-McCain Deal?--UPDATE

At today's press conference, Mike Huckabee said that the moment in the campaign that made him make the negative ads that will never run was Mitt Romney's New Hampshire attacks on "an American hero," John McCain.   It leads one to wonder whether some sort of deal is being cooked up between McCain and Huckabee in the caucuses here.  Thoughts on that on the jump.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 18:28:22

Michelle Obama, the Politics of Turnout, and the Politics of Race

We made it out of Des Moines to head about an hour east to the great little college town of Grinnell where Michelle Obama had an event at a retirement center a few blocks from the Grinnell College campus.  Check the jump for a report.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 18:13:44

Did Huckabee Jump the Shark?

When once-popular television shows reach a point of ridiculousness in story line from which they will never recover, they are said to have "jumped the shark" (a reference to Fonzie's waterski jump moment on Happy Days).  Some observers, including ones Max links below, are suggesting that today's fairly interesting press conference when he decried negative ads then showed a negative ad is that moment for Mike Huckabee.  One such observer is one my fellow travellers on my Iowa trip, Tom Schaller, writing in the American Prospect.  I tend to disagree.   While it was a fairly risky strategy, it may pay off for a few reasons.  First, Huckabee's truest believers are likely to buy his critique and believe it to be sincere.  This will give them energy to stay fired up for the caucuses and remind them of the nonconventionality and faith-based politics that has drawn them to Huckabee.   In addition, we know from a lot of research that negative campaigning tends to reduce turnout.  The Republican side in Iowa already has a turnout problem, only accentuated by the high energy and generally positive campaigns on the Democratic side.   Huckabee knows that if the GOP caucus comes down to turnout created purely through organizational strength, Romney will win.  Thus, turnout needs to be relatively high so Huckabee can take advantage of the generally positive views of him among Iowa voters.  An all-out negative war probably only benefits Romney.  

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 17:35:06

McFadden will play

But the UA has no intention of explaining any of the details about that Escalade Heisman runnerup Darren McFadden has been trucking in.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 17:07:49

Huckabee meltdown?

That's how one analyst describes the Huckster's playing a negative ad at a news conference to announce he was not going negative.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 13:24:03

You get what you pay for

Today’s series of Huckabee events was announced late last night.  But, that’s pretty early for the Huckabee folks.  There’s been growing frustration here among the traveling press that Huckabee events seem to appear and disappear out of thin air, although a media link finally was added to the campaign website today.  It’s clear that Huckabee still lacks a basic campaign organization to get done the essentials of modern campaigning.  Is that a problem?

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 13:09:35

Enough Is Enough!

Mike Huckabee has a series of events scheduled for today.  Since it was about 15 degrees and I needed to catch up on sleep, I didn't make it up for his 7:15 a.m. run here in Des Moines.  But, I did make it to a noontime press event at the downtown Marriott, the city’s largest hotel, where the Governor planned to unveil his closing television ad for the caucus campaign.   But, things didn’t work out that way, as he announced he wasn’t going to run the negative ad, after showing it to about 75 national reporters.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 12:21:59

Fayetteville rabble-rousing

I hadn't checked The Iconoclast in several days. I missed a lot. The perspicacious Fayetteville blogger hasn't taken a holiday.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 11:43:46

Iowa at ground level

I"ve mentioned that my daughter Martha, 28 on Jan. 16, took a week off from her investment banking job in New York to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 11:43:46

Iowa at ground level

I"ve mentioned that my daughter Martha, 28 on Jan. 16, took a week off from her investment banking job in New York to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 09:51:18

'People don't always understand his humor'

A fascinating and tough interview of the potential future first lady of the U.S., Janet Huckabee, by a reporter for an Iowa website.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 09:34:44

Did I say a slow news day?

Not in Phillips County, where county government is prepared to shut down because of a divided Quorum Court.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 08:50:07

The year in review

With another slow news day in store -- apart from presidential politics -- I thought it might be a good time to throw open a line for a review of 2007 by blog readers.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 07:25:06

The morning Huck

ACTS OF GOD: LA Times replays the legislative dispute when then-Gov. Mike Huckabee rejected age-old language in law relating to insurance coverage of natural disasters.

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 01:14:01

"Let's Go Change the World"

Apologies for the delay in a report on tonight’s Obama event.  But, after that event there were good conversations to be had with the national reporters covering this fascinating caucus at Centro, the most active bar/restaurant for this year’s caucus.  There was a full house (about 750 folks) at the fourth and final Obama event of the day—a nighttime rally at a middle school gym on the south side of Des Moines with a crowd that was diverse by Iowa standards.   One interesting Arkansawyer sighting in the crowd: Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk Pat O’Brien, in Iowa for the week to campaign for Obama.   Introduced by fellow Iraq War critic North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, Obama gave the speech that he’s used for the last several days to make the “closing sale” with Iowa voters.   The speech simultaneously responds to the critiques of both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, attempting to flip his rivals’ charges back on them.   In response to Clinton’s charge that Obama lacks the necessary experience for the job, Obama says that it is “experience rooted in lives like yours” rather than Washington experience that matters; the question that voters should ask is not who can “play the game better,” but instead who can “put an end to the game playing in Washington.”  Presenting his own soft populist tones that sound much like Bill Clinton rhetoric from the 1992 campaign, Obama answers Edwards’ criticism that he is “too nice” to fight the special interests by saying that “we don’t need more heat; we need more light” in those battles with special interests in Washington.  I have only seen Obama in person once before—at a outdoor rally in Austin, Texas, in the spring with one of his largest crowds of the campaign until the recent Obama/Oprah tour that drew throngs in three states.  While the Austin crowd was incredibly high-energy, Obama himself was somewhat low-energy that day suggesting he was not yet up to the strenuousness of nonstop campaigning.   Although working from a prepared text, tonight’s Obama was much livelier, showing that he’s now prepared to tackle the marathon of public events that is modern presidential politics.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 17:00:00

An Observer in the Hawkeye State

I’ve arrived in Des Moines to get my first taste of the Iowa caucuses in the days ahead.   It was a beautiful day for a long drive north--through southwest Missouri where trees had been snapped by what must have been a brutal ice storm and, beginning about Kansas City, through the snow on the fields on each side of the highway.  Deepening as I moved north, the snow became truly gorgeous about the Iowa line.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 11:01:41

The mushy middle

The idea of a third-party candidacy movement advances, pushed by, who else, David Broder. If he's for it, you have to believe he assumes it would damage Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. If the candidate is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it might.

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