A Fading FEC and Obama's Ground Game
Matthew Mosk reports on the consequences of the standoff between President Bush and Congress over appointees to the Federal Election Commission:
The federal agency in charge of policing the torrent of political spending during the upcoming presidential primaries will, for all practical purposes, shut its doors on New Year's Eve.
The Federal Election Commission will effectively go dark on Jan. 1 because Congress remains locked in a standoff over the confirmation of President Bush's nominees to the panel. As a consequence, the FEC will enter 2008 with just two of six members -- short of the four votes needed for the commission to take any official action.
"There is, in effect, nobody to answer the phone," said Robert F. Bauer, a leading Democratic campaign finance lawyer....
Seven presidential candidates have applied to receive public matching funds for their campaigns, but they may not be able to access the money until the FEC certifies their requests. That takes four votes.
Anne E. Kornblut and Alec MacGillis find that "After months of discussion within her campaign over how heavily she should draw on her husband's legacy, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is closing out her Iowa and New Hampshire campaigns in a tight embrace of Bill Clinton's record, helping fuel a debate about the 1990s with Sen. Barack Obama that she thinks she can win."
Shailagh Murray and Peter Slevin examine Barack Obama's ground game:
Obama's strategy is one part message, one part elbow grease, following the Iowa maxim "organize, organize, organize, and get hot at the end." Obama will spend the campaign's final days rallying Democrats in gymnasiums and auditoriums. But behind the scenes, the onetime Chicago community organizer has dispatched an army of paid staff and volunteers occupying a record 37 offices across the state to wage a more personal battle for support, one wavering teacher at a time.
In Style, Libby Copeland looks at the mercurial force that is political momentum, concluding: "the term momentum is like Silly Putty for political consultants, stretchable to fit any meaning. It is based on polls and fundraising and coverage and other things measurable, for sure, but it is also a feeling, which means it's like "buzz" -- completely real, unless it isn't."
And The Fix notes that Hillary Clinton has picked up former America Coming Together Ohio state director Steve Bouchard to head her South Carolina operation (the state goes to the polls on Jan. 26).
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