It seems strange to relitigate a fight from the 2008 GOP presidential primary, but perhaps many Republicans’ minds are on the notion of multiple conservative candidates dividing the vote in South Carolina, leaving the “Establishment” choice a path to victory.
Mike Huckabee said on Fox News yesterday that John McCain asked Fred Thompson to stay in the race in South Carolina, in order to divide the conservative vote. McCain beat Huckabee in South Carolina by 3 percentage points.
“John certainly encouraged Fred to stay in,” Huckabee said. “I think everyone understood, Fred knew he wasn’t going to get the nomination . . . Many people in the McCain camp have since confirmed, he said, ‘please stay in, I need you in South Carolina,’ primarily in the upstate where I had my strength, but you know, that’s politics. That’s what happens.”
“Minding my own business, having my second cup of coffee, contemplating the election in general terms and the future, and Mike wanted to revisit the campaign last time,” Thompson said, smiling. “What Mike said is fine, except for one thing: there’s not one shred of truth to it! Senator McCain and I never had a conversation about staying in the race, staying out of the race . . . Mike’s been around long enough to know not to inhale that stuff too deeply . . . It’s just a little rewriting of history that’s unnecessary.”
When Huckabee made his charge, he said it without any visible bitterness. Perhaps believing this claim is part of how Huckabee made his peace with the experience of running for president, enjoying some early victories, and then falling short. Even for the most thick-skinned and confident candidate, an electoral defeat must be an intensely personal rejection. After all, the name on the ballot isn’t your campaign manager, your advertising director, your press secretary, or anyone around you; it’s your name. So it’s not surprising that a candidate might look for some explanation that would shift the cause of the defeat from their own mistakes, missteps, or overall inability to persuade voters to some outside force or confluence of events.
People in politics, like people everywhere, often choose to believe conclusions that are convenient or reassuring and tend to ignore inconvenient facts and harder truths. The candidates who fail to win the Republican nomination in 2012 may very well conclude that their bid was unfairly impeded by the collusion of their foes. (Quite a few times on Twitter, I’ve seen Michele Bachmann referred to as a stalking horse for Mitt Romney, a surrogate attack dog who takes on the unpopular duties in exchange for reward later. But if she were an agent of the Romney campaign, why would she drop out so early? Why wouldn’t Romney keep her in the mix to attack his rivals to South Carolina and beyond?)
[John] Edwards, his wife, Elizabeth, and their three kids race around Iowa in a frenzied final campaign swing that takes him to many of the 99 counties of the state, he is drawing big crowds in spots like the Giggling Goat in Boone.
John Edwards’ finish: 29.7 percent of the vote, second place, barely ahead of Hillary, 8 points behind Barack Obama.
At times uncharacteristically enthusiastic, [Fred] Thompson spoke optimistically about his positive momentum in the state. “The crowds have been better and better and better, and enthusiasm is building and building and building,” he told a crowd of about 200 at a hotel in West Des Moines. “We’re going to have a wonderful day and a wonderful night.”
Fred Thompson’s finish: 13.4 percent of the vote, third place.
It’s Iowa, the final days and hours before the caucus. Of course people will show up to see the candidate. That doesn’t mean that they’ll support that candidate in the caucuses!
Over on the home page, Fred Thompson talks about how the narrative of “no fire in the belly” was shaped on his 2008 campaign – regardless of the actual facts in the anecdotes that drove that narrative.
Based on his experience, candidates should never ride in a golf cart in order to reach a live CNN interview in time; it instantly becomes ipso facto evidence of a candidate’s laziness.
His tales remind me of back in December of 2007, and the controversy surrounding Politico’s coverage of a Thompson visit to an Iowa firehouse that simply didn’t match the video of the event. I suppose if you go to a candidate event seeking awkwardness, discomfort, reluctance and off-key notes, you’ll see what you want to see. A good reporter should at least try to clear his mind of preconceived notions and just report what he sees.
On the ubiquity of structures, buildings, roads, and other projects named after Robert Byrd in West Virginia, I am told this perfect anecdote: “Fred Thompson jokes about traveling through Mississippi with Trent Lott a few years ago, and noticing how Lott’s name was basically plastered over all sorts of buildings, roads, bridges, schools, and what not. They passed through one particularly Lott-heavy town, and Thompson notices a school with some nondescript name, and says, ‘Hey, Trent, you missed one.’”
UPDATE: David Castillo, GOP candidate in Washington’s 3rd congressional district, writes in: “If elected, I will introduce legislation that will forbid any building, road, museum, etc. built with federal dollars from being named for a living member of Congress or family member.I am thinking about calling it the Stop Naming Our Buildings (SNOB) Act.”
A new poll out in Colorado puts Obama’s approval/disapproval split at 48 percent/47 percent, in a state he carried 53 percent to 44 percent last year. A couple other interesting nuggets: The leading Republican gubernatorial candidate is former congressman Scott McInnis, the leading Republican senatorial candidate is Jane Norton, and current Democratic governor Bill Ritter is in trouble. “A strong majority (56 percent) say it is time for a new person, while 33 percent say he deserves reelection, and 12 percent are unsure.”
Dan Balz of the Washington Post seems to think that California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s sparse voting record — there’s some dispute as to whether she was registered to vote before 2002 — is a major scandal, one that requires “more than an apology.”
Just to clarify, Tim Geithner and Charlie Rangel can forget to pay taxes, Bill Clinton can avoid impeachment, Marion Barry can go back to the mayor’s office, David Vitter and Mark Sanford can retain their offices, Michael Vick can play football again . . . but the lady who didn’t vote for most of her life — she’s the one who’s really in hot water. She’s unfit to join the ranks of America’s governors, the proud group that has included Rod Blagojevich, Eliot Spitzer, Jim McGreevey, John Rowland . . .
Why? This country is full of Americans who ignore politics on a day-to-day basis and has plenty of people who don’t vote or rarely vote. Sure, I suppose it’s preferable that a candidate know a bit of modern political history, and have a sense of who preceded her. But large swaths of Americans are politically apathetic, and I don’t think that a long time in that realm – while taking a company to new heights in the private sector — ought to be some sort of political scarlet letter.
The fact that Obama is going signals that Chicago is getting the Olympics, right? Would Obama go if he hadn’t been told that his attendance was the difference-maker? Would the IOC have the nerve to reject the hometown of the president, after every international elite spent the last two years telling Americans to elect this man?
And with allied reinforcements in Afghanistan few and far between, Iran shooting off missiles, trade wars brewing with China, Mexico, and Canada, and Russia ignoring the “reset button,” doesn’t Obama need a big foreign win right now?
If Chicago doesn’t get the Olympics, we’ll hear a lot of people noting that Obama can’t find time to meet with General McChrystal to decide on his Afghanistan plan, but he could find the time to go Denmark to get rejected . . .
As I noted on Twitter, the two Democrats running for governor this year, Jon Corzine in New Jersey and Creigh Deeds in Virginia, have run almost entirely negative campaigns since the primaries ended. Complaints from the usual mainstream-media suspects aren’t completely missing, but they seem pretty quiet this year.
Despite lacking any real fireworks, much less a discussion of the important issues facing Virginia, the gubernatorial campaign between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds has been a dirty one.
And mostly, the camp to blame for the grime has been Deeds.
After a come-from-behind victory over frontrunner Terry McAuliffe in the party primary primary in June following his surprise endorsement by The Washington Post, Deeds has run a lackluster campaign devoid of any real discussion of any real issues.
He ignored multiple requests from McDonnell for an expanded series of debates across the commonwealth, and he tried to change the ground rules of the debates he did agree to at the last minute.
A 20-year-old grad school paper emerged as his main avenue of attack on McDonnell, rather than McDonnell’s own record as a legislator and attorney general. The thesis was an easier weapon to wield than the weighty issues Deeds has consistently ignored in his relatively few broader conversations with the Virginia electorate.
The Republican, McDonnell, is starting to run on this; we’ll see if it has any impact on the polls.
Finally, they will argue you are pro-breast cancer and anti-mammogram.
Chris Christie pushes back with this web video of supporters who have survived breast cancer:
I’m a political nerd. I like ideas. I like arguments of ”this approach to a problem works better” or “that approach doesn’t work.” I don’t particularly like ad hominem attacks, and I don’t like seeing one side argue that the other is pro-cancer. I don’t particularly like seeing personal testimonies about surviving breast cancer and describing chemotherapy in campaign ads, because they’re not really about whether one idea is better than another; Jon Corzine wants us to think Christie’s a heartless SOB, and Christie’s ad aims to tell us he’s a sympathetic, caring guy.
Will Corzine’s attack work? Most of his ads haven’t moved the numbers much yet, but who knows? Perhaps enough attack ads can bludgeon the electorate into submission . . .
I know there are those who are skeptical of Rasmussen’s robo-pollsters, but for what it’s worth, their latest poll puts Obama’s health-care plan at its lowest yet – 41 percent support, 56 percent oppose . . .
It makes me, and a couple other football fans with long memories, chuckle when we hear a Democratic state senator calling New York governor David Paterson “toast,” because the first time I heard that nickname was in association with another man with the same name (give or take a t): cornerback Elvis Patterson, who earned the nickname because he was burned so frequently.
Interestingly, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) is saying that the White House effort to oust Paterson is “sophomoric.”
Before his speech, Wilson told club members he had a “town hall moment” when he yelled out “you lie” after Obama said health care legislation would not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
“I fully respect President Obama,” Wilson said. “There is a right place and a right time to make your statement.”
Wilson handed out “Let’s Go Joe” stickers, while club members circled around and showered him with support. Many noted the array of signs for him at recent rallies and at the TEA Party March on Washington on Sept. 12.
He said that among his personal favorites were signs that said, “Joe Wilson, the Truth Tzar.”
Of the constituents he’s heard from since the incident, about 1 percent have been angry and 99 percent appreciative, he said . . .
Representatives of the Michigan Republican Party called, Wilson said, to say they were raffling off Joe Wilson key chains.
Beaufort County Councilman Brian Flewelling drew one of the biggest laughs when he yelled “you lie” after Wilson said Flewelling had searched on eBay to see what he could get for his collection of Joe Wilson key chains and found them listed at $1.28 apiece.
I’m sure it made Democrats feel good to give $1.5 million to Wilson’s rival, Rob Miller, but with Wilson raking in $2 million, there are probably other House races where that money could have been more useful . . .
I was a last-minute guest on Howard Kurtz’s “Reliable Sources” this weekend, and I thought this anecdote from CNN’s Ed Henry was intriguing:
HENRY: Sometimes, and I’ll give you one quick story, which is, recently, I was on a health-care segment, and I was on Wolf Blitzer’s show. And I did a segment that was actually pointing out some new poll numbers that suggested maybe the public was turning towards the president. But when I came back to my desk in the White House, on my way back I passed Robert Gibbs’ office, and Gibbs and some of his colleagues were in there, and they were kind of yelling at me, and Gibbs was calling me on the phone because he was angry about it. I went into his office. It turned out that the chyron had said on the bottom — the graphic said something like “Desperate move by the president” to have this speech to a joint session of Congress. And I said, “But did you listen to what I was saying?” And Gibbs said with a laugh, to his credit, “We had the sound off.” So, I mean, I passed that along because . . .
KURTZ: They had the sound off?
HENRY: . . . how could they not be listening to me, Howard? That’s what I was outraged about. Listen to me.
KURTZ: This is what they based their media analysis on?
HENRY: No. But I’m saying — and a lot of people do that. A lot of people — I’m not just picking on Robert Gibbs. He was honest to say, “Look, I had the sound down.” The graphic wasn’t what he liked, but what I was actually saying was the substance of . . .
From where we sit on the right, Obama gets the best press of any president in recent memory. But from where they sit, behind those White House walls, they think they’re constantly victimized. Even when Henry reports good news, they’re focused on the chyron (and think complaining to the correspondent will fix things).
Those of us who thought the press scrutiny of Obama was ridiculously soft last year — all 89 percent of us — have another reason for why the previous cycle’s adoration was harmful: This White House isn’t ready for the usual tough coverage when events aren’t going well for them . . .
The news from Obama in July: “President Obama had more harsh words for Iran Friday in the wake of its contested election, warning the government in Tehran that the world is unlikely to wait beyond September for signs of cooperation on its nuclear program.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, today: “Well, Arshad, we’re going to take it one day at a time. This is an unfolding narrative. As more and more information is shared with the world, as the comments made by Ahmadinejad during his recent appearance, and both before and since illustrate attitudes and approaches that are really at variance with almost universal principles and understanding of historical reality. So we are going to wait and see what Iran says when the meeting is held on October 1st.”
One day at a time, after October first… in other words, the September deadline meant nothing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration violated procedures last year when it approved a knee repair device even though its own scientists recommended against approval, agency officials said Thursday.
The device, called Menaflex, is made by New Jersey-based ReGen Biologics and is used to help surgically repair knee damage — specifically, damage to the meniscus. But, a report released by the agency Thursday found that some FDA scientists had recommended against approval.
“There were numerous departures from processes, procedures and practices, and there were problems with the review process for the device,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, said during an afternoon teleconference.
In addition, the FDA report noted that four New Jersey Democratic lawmakers — Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven R. Rothman — made inquiries to agency officials about the device’s approval status.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a lawmaker calling up FDA and saying, “A company in my state/district has a product up for review; how’s the review going?” But that’s treading a fine line, and influence and corruption are on the other side of the line.
Yesterday, “Vice President Joe Biden delivered a rousing review of the government’s economic stimulus plan in a conversation with the nation’s governors. ‘In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well,’ he said. ‘Thank you, thank you.’”
Apparently Joe Biden’s wildest dreams can only be described as apocalyptic.
Remember Archduke Czar Viscount Earl Pasha Baron Hill, the Indiana Democrat, who wanted those peasants to remember he’s doing them a favor by lowering himself to meeting with the unwashed?
Student: Why can’t I film this, isn’t this my right?
Baron Hill: This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules, and I’ve had these rules . . . (jeering) Let me repeat that one more time. This is my town hall meeting for you. And you’re not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office. Now, the reason why I don’t allow filming is that usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.
Virginia Democratic state Senator Edd Houck, in an e-mail to constituents this week: “Fortunately, Governor [Tim] Kaine’s proposals contain no tax increases… With salaries remaining stagnant or worse individuals losing their jobs, a tax increase is unneeded.”
Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Creigh Deeds, writing in the Washington Postthis week: “I’ll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation — even if it includes new taxes.”