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From the Post Politics Hour

Columbus, Ohio: If I remember correctly, Thompson originally announced that he was going to announce his decision on running for president on July 4. That came and went. Then he announced he's going to announce his decision next week. Then he steals his own thunder and announces to his own supporters, but it's only semi-official. He is still "officially" set to announce on the Sept. 6. Why are Republicans so excited about a candidate who can't even decide if he wants to run and can't even stick to a simple plan to announce it? I'm tired of him already! If he runs his campaign the same way as his "pre-campaign," Rudy and Romney must be feeling a bit more confident today. Fred Thompson Confirms Bid for GOP Nomination (Post, Aug. 31)

Anne E. Kornblut: You are not the first person I've heard pose this question. Now, it must be said, all the candidates like to take several "bites at the apple," as it were -- announcing they're going to announce, then actually announcing -- in order to maximize free media coverage. But there is another view that Thompson may be wearing a little thin with this routine. Will be interesting how he actually does it next week....

Oak Park, Mich.: In the new McCain video his wife says that as a military mom she wouldn't want her sons serving under anyone else. This seems like a very effective message. What took them so long?

Anne E. Kornblut: Nice observation. It plays on a couple of McCain's strengths: that, unlike Romney, he has a child in the service; that McCain himself is a veteran; that his wife is a credible voice for his campaign. Earlier this week, we wrote an item about "military moms," which Jennifer Donahue, a political analyst at St. Anselm in New Hampshire, has identified as a key demographic for this election -- and Cindy McCain is one. As an aside, I may be the last person in America to think this, but I still think it's too soon to write McCain off.

Maryland: How much planning do you think each candidate is putting into drafting a workable plan to get out of Iraq if the war is still ongoing by election time? I would think that anyone who is elected is going to be under tremendous stress starting Jan. 21, 2009 to do something about the war. The next president could be the first without a honeymoon period, but a successful exit strategy could buy a lot of good will early on. Are they planning, or are they hoping it will be pretty much over by then?

Anne E. Kornblut: My sense is that it is different for each candidate, but certainly on the Democratic side (which is the side I am tasked to pay most attention to)the candidates are increasingly talking about how they would proceed with specifics. Sen. Clinton has said she would draw down troops but leave some in place to fight terrorists, perhaps in the northern Kurdish areas; Obama talks, too, about having to get out as carefully as we got in carelessly; Edwards has specific numbers of troops he would bring out and in what order. Of course, all that could change if a new president were to take office and events on the ground had changed. But they are not expecting that it will magically disappear before January 2009. Quite the opposite.

By Post Editor  |  August 31, 2007; 12:24 PM ET
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