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Grassley on the Presidential Field: Clinton Hard to Beat, Huckabee "Catching On a Bit"

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa (Washington Post)

DES MOINES - In 1996, Bob Dole credited Charles Grassley's endorsement as a key reason that he won the Iowa caucus and clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

This year, the popular veteran Iowa senator said he may skip picking a favorite, because he's skeptical that any Republican in the field can put away Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like many of his GOP friends, Grassley believes she can be defeated, and with greater ease than some other Democrats in the field. But Grassley is still waiting for Mr. Right. "I want to know who can beat Hillary," Grassley said over a breakfast fit for the farmer that he is - three eggs, four sausages, and five pancakes.

Grassley's ideal is a Republican who can preserve the party's strength in red states, but also compete in some of the more conservative blue states - the formula President Bush used in 2000. The war in Iraq has made the political environment hostile for Republicans, Grassley conceded, but the general election is still a year away. And Democrats haven't exactly enhanced their status since winning control of Congress in November.

"I see (Rudy) Giuliani," said Grassley. "'I'm cognizant of the fact that he's high in the polls. But is he strong enough to bring us over the top in those (moderate) states? Giuliani will be stronger in some blue states, but he may not win them - as opposed to somebody who may not have a chance in the blue states, but getting us enough votes out here to win."

There is a darkhorse candidate in the GOP field. "I think the guy who could surprise everybody is Huckabee," Grassley said, referring to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a second-tier candidate with minimal resources, whose support has been rising. "He seems to be catching on a little bit. His presentations are good. He fits in well with social conservatives."

Huckabee is the guy who matches up best with Iowa Republicans, Grassley said. "It's demeanor, background, personal beliefs, friendliness, stuff like that. How he conducts himself, things of that nature. I'm talking about who fits in with the average Iowan, who are they going to feel comfortable with."

So why not endorse him? Because, Grassley explained, he's not yet a national contender. "If he had $10 mllion to spend on television, to reinforce what he tells you personally, then I think it would make a difference," Grassley said.

Grassley said he is surprised that two darkhorses on the Democratic side - Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson - aren't attracting more support in Iowa. The two longtime public officials would seem to make strong general election contenders. But Grassley warned Republicans to be careful of what they wish for with Clinton. "We've always been taking the Clintons for granated," said Grassley. "We can't take them for granted anymore. They're tough competitors."

--Shailagh Murray

By Bill Hamilton  |  November 10, 2007; 3:56 PM ET
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To Reinforce Outsider Image


They Said It: Thompson Social Security Plan Applauded as 'Courageous,' 'Honest,' and 'Substantive'

Courage & Honesty

Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson's plan to save Social Security and protect seniors, which he introduced Friday afternoon in a Washington, D.C., hotel, differs starkly from standard election year pablum on the subject in one key way: He's actually treating voters like adults. (ABC, 11/9) seeking to show he is willing to take on tough issues if elected in November 2008, telling a news conference in Washington he was the only candidate to offer an extensive Social Security plan. (Reuters, 11/10)

"You certainly have to admire his courage for putting this out," said Alan Viard with the American Enterprise Institute. (Tennessean, 11/10)

Supporters contend that Thompson's willingness to take on the so-called third rail of politics will impress voters. (Bloomberg, 11/10)

Conservative economic experts applauded Thompson for offering specifics on an issue considered to be politically dangerous. (Tennessean, 11/10)

"He's not afraid to be brutally honest with the American people about the challenges that lie ahead," said Representative Zach Wamp, a Tennessee Republican who is working to recruit supporters for Thompson. "People can tell the difference between a strong leader telling the truth and a weak leader talking politics." (Bloomberg, 11/10)


[Thompson is] the first candidate of either party to offer a detailed proposal to fix the nation's retirement system. (WP, 11/10)

The Republican candidate laid out a detailed, four-page proposal (WSJ, 11/10)

Mr. Thompson's plan...was more specific than what the Bush White House put on the table when it sought to overhaul the system. It also varied substantially from the traditional conservative approach of focusing primarily on personal investment accounts. (NYT, 11/10)

Economist Jason Furman said Thompson deserves credit for offering a detailed plan to address the projected Social Security shortfall...(Bloomberg, 11/10)

In discussing policy, Thompson was in his element. (Politico, 11/9)

He'd prefer to talk about substance. (Politico, 11/9)

Thompson's plan draws on ideas favored by conservatives: a reduction in benefits, rather than an increase in payroll taxes; and a shift toward private accounts, rather than government-provided payments. (WP, 11/10)


[Thompson] ventured Friday into an area few rivals have tread: advocacy of a fundamental overhaul of Social Security. (WSJ, 11/10)

Although all of the presidential candidates have spoken, when asked, about the need to fix the Social Security system, none has offered such a detailed plan nor talked so eagerly and often about the issue. (WSJ, 11/10)

Among Republicans, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have talked in general terms ... but none has offered a specific plan. (WP, 11/10)

Mr. Thompson is the only one of the Republicans running for the White House who has made Social Security a central theme of his campaign. (NYT, 11/10)

He is the only presidential candidate so far to make Social Security an anchor of his campaign. (WSJ, 11/10)

But with less than two months before the 2008 voting begins, candidates have generally been reluctant to confront the Social Security issue. (WP, 11/10)


Saving and Protecting Social Security
A Plan to Ensure Retirement Security for All Americans

Posted by: fkpaxson | November 12, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The most important issue is immigration.Without something being done we want have a country.

Posted by: 1uncle | November 12, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Before deciding to participate in any grassroots efforts for Mike Huckabee please read the following post on How to Evaluate Huckabee Grassroots Campaigns... Mike Huckabee supporters need to visit to make donations. If you are interested in grassroots then Huck's Army at is the place to go. They have a grassroots fundraising section where you can make a pledge to make a weekly donation at Huck's Army will then send you a weekly reminder to make your donation at the official Mike Huckabee site.

Posted by: ilikemikehuckabee | November 12, 2007 4:11 AM | Report abuse

Get to know Mike Huckabee

Then donate to Ron Paul:

He's the one who's got the money and support!
Huck is no conservative, he just plays one on tv.

Posted by: JaneAitken | November 11, 2007 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Here's Gov Huckabee being interviewed by Glenn Beck check it out:

Posted by: soulsamurai | November 11, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse


Later the transcript has Glaspie saying: "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

Another version of the transcript (the one published in the New York Times on 23 September 1990) has Glaspie saying:

But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late '60s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi [Chadli Klibi, Secretary General of the Arab League] or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.

When these purported transcripts were made public, Glaspie was accused of having given tacit approval for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which took place on August 2, 1990. It was argued that Glaspie's statements that "We have no opinion on your Arab -- Arab conflicts" and that "the Kuwait issue is not associated with America" were interpreted by Saddam as giving free rein to handle his disputes with Kuwait as he saw fit. It was also argued that Saddam would not have invaded Kuwait had he been given an explicit warning that such an invasion would be met with force by the United States.


what difference does this make ????

well loooookeee here little gomers, it's called

setting someone up......

it's illegal. It presents the view that "these people," Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and others....are the problem...

but they have been fostered and created by bushCO und CRONYs. emboldened, fed and protected....

until at the right moment, they become the

"bad guys,"

and somehow it's all right to kill a million people to take them out to spread a special brand of capitalism that doesn't include the people financing the invasion or the people being invaded....

just the perps running the fraud...

George H.W. Bush, James Baker III, Caspar Weingber, Donald Rumsfeld, thedickCHEENIE, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Niel Bush, Liz Cheney, Lynne Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, the Kagans, scrotumous LIbby, John Negroponte, Porter Goss, Elliott Abrams, Otto Reich, Robert M. Gates, Douglas Feith...

civilian deaths enriching INSIDER WASHINGTON....

a single, incomplete example:

The career criminal

The most important of the three appointments is that of Negroponte to the UN. Negroponte spent his entire working life in the service of American imperialism, participating in many of the bloodiest crimes of the post-World War II, including nine years as a State Department official during the Vietnam War and five years in Central America.

Much of his career itinerary reads like a dossier for some future war crimes tribunal:

* 1964-68, political affairs officer at the US Embassy in Saigon;

* 1969-71, aide to Henry Kissinger in the Paris negotiations with the Vietnamese;

* 1971-73, officer-in-charge for Vietnam in the National Security Council, under Kissinger;

* 1973-75, assigned to the US Embassy in Ecuador (he reportedly quit Kissinger's staff, opposing the Paris settlement as too favorable to the Vietnamese);

* 1980-81, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs;

* 1981-85, ambassador to Honduras;

* 1987-1989, deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs, reporting to Colin Powell;

* 1989-93, ambassador to Mexico;

* 1993-97, ambassador to the Philippines.

After retiring from the diplomatic corps, he took a well-paid position as vice president for global markets at McGraw-Hill, the big publishing company.

Negroponte's role is best documented for his term as ambassador to Honduras, a country dominated by US corporations and completely dependent on the US government politically and militarily. The US ambassador in Tegucigalpa is the de facto pro-consul who makes or breaks presidents and generals. At Negroponte's direction the Honduran military provided protection and assistance to the Contra terrorists. With his tacit permission, if not active encouragement, the Honduran military carried out systematic murders of refugees from war-torn El Salvador and among its domestic opponents in Honduras itself.

Posted by: afraidofme | November 10, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I thought Huckabee was a gomer and an antiChristian for wahuh in I_rack...

sort ofa bushCO and CRONYs wannabe corruption waiting to happen...

I was watching a news show yesterday, in which a Washington Times newspaper correspondent was pretending to be neutral...

how is it that George H.W.'s moony based newspaper is treated as_if anything coming out of there is reasonable...

and George H.W. was on the front of the USA Today FRIDAY edition telling the world how

his gomer, littlegeorgieworgie cokesnorting/draftdodger silver spooned piece of shyyte bush...

had ssaved the world from Saddam Hussein... what he neglected to mention was that he set up Sa damm hussein to become a big bad dictator by selling him everything he needed to do that...

George H.W. Bush failed to mention that he and his familiy have been using CIA tactics in_country to win elections...

since George H.W. got reamed by Bill Clinton in '92

George H.W. failed to mention that he _ILLEGALLY_ sold wmd to saddam hussein to train hime, that he had been feeding him like a hunter feeds a deer, deer pellets, to get that deer to trust him...

and April Glaspie, clearly told Saddam Hussein that if he invaded Kuwiat, the United States would look the other way... Sa damm was sucker punched...

SEARCH on April Glaspie, transcript, NYT

don't belee me, I may be crazzeeeeeeee !

check it out, act like a grown up.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 10, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

All Mike Huckabee need to win is a little more money. He doesn't need $10M, $2M will do and we can raise half of that in one day! Help Huck raise $1,000,000 in one day by donating $100 on November 20th!

Posted by: gtb38 | November 10, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree, I could have done without the poor deer head. What is he trying to prove? I couldn't even pay attention to the story. Next time keep such horrible things out.

Posted by: benalis_aunt | November 10, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

What's with the dead animal head on Grassley's desk? Does he think that makes him look like a big man, with wonderful "family values"?

Posted by: dperkins75 | November 10, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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