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And the Winner Is...

The Fix's Chris Cillizza weighs in on The Des Moines Register endorsement:

The Des Moines Register endorsed Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Republican Sen. John McCain this evening, handing Clinton and McCain a boost of momentum with the crucial caucuses less than three weeks away.

The Register's endorsement is one of the most coveted prizes of the presidential primary season. All three of the frontrunning candidates in Iowa -- Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) -- as well as many, many of their surrogates lobbied hard for the endorsement, believing, perhaps rightly, that a stamp of approval from the Register could put them over the top in this tight race. (Read Jeff Zeleny's terrific piece in the New York Times for more on the courtship efforts, especially by Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.)

In 2004, the Register backed Edwards who at that point was still running behind better known candidates including former Gov. Howard Dean (Vt.), then Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) and Sen. John Kerry (Mass.). Buoyed by the Register endorsement, Edwards surged in the final three weeks of the campaign, placing a strong second to Kerry and eventually winning a spot as the Massachusetts' Senator's running mate.

Four years earlier, the Register's endorsement had far less impact. It chose former Sen. Bill Bradley (N.J.) over then Vice President Al Gore but Gore rolled to a 63 percent to 35 percent victory.

Poll after poll shows the Democratic race within the statistical margin of error. On Friday alone, two polls came out; the first, conducted by Hotline/Diageo had Clinton and Obama knotted at 27 percent and Edwards slightly behind at 22 percent. The other survey, conducted by Research 2000 for the Quad-City Times showed Obama with 33 percent to 24 percent each for Clinton and Edwards.

Unlike in 2004, when the field was incredibly wide open, it's hard to see anyone outside of the Big 3 winning Iowa due to the large amount of money they have spent in the state on advertising and organization coupled with the loyalty each exerts on a base of at least 20 percent of voters.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 15, 2007; 9:11 PM ET
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Next: Bill Clinton Questions Obama's Experience


Didn't Hillary promise to visit all 99 Iowa counties?

"The hasty change in plans for Iowa seemed to sum up the current state of the Clinton campaign - a flashy, expensive idea designed to grab attention quickly brought back to earth by the realities of the Mid-Western state." Telegraph (U.K.)

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 16, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

A bit surprising I must say. It's a disappointing, risk-free choice.

Posted by: holzhaacker | December 16, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"Obama was endorsed--not a few hours previous--by the dominant paper in New England"

We're well aware of the pressure exerted on the ladies of the DMR to endorse the Clintons rather than Edwards (again) or Obama.

Did the pressure extend to the timing of this endorsement to blunt the impact of the Globe's endorsement of Obama?

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 16, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Not to sound confrontational to fishwraps all over the country, but how many people still read newspapers, and how many of those people are such kool-aid drinkers as to vote for a candidate which it endorses?

John McCain? He's the most anti-farmer candidate in the field. Is it because he's the only one ahead while polling head to head against Hillary? It makes no sense.

Posted by: tonyjradco | December 16, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I was shocked to see the Register give its GOP endorsement to John McCain. McCain pretty much gave up his Iowa campaign to concentrate in New Hampshire. He is against some bread and butter issues in Iowa like ethanol. Romney and Huckabee must be disappointed.

Posted by: rogden71 | December 16, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Now it is the 21st century. We are on the Internet all the time. Nowadays, we can learn things much quicker and have extensive information resources at our finger tips. We used to rely on political pundits or editorial pages, because these fellows had access, which we didn't have. Now, because of the Internet we all can gain information quickly, even insider information. This has taken away the monopoly of a select few who control and filter the information for us. As a result, we no longer consider political pundits or editorial pages as authorities because many times our collective common sense can be more accurate and better. (Don't forget it is the nation's information elite who blindly gave Bush the go-ahead for the Iraq War.)

Part II Plus, the abundant information resources and the readily available information shorten our learning curve. In the past, if it took 5 years to learn/know something, now probably 1 year. Since everybody has become smarter than previous generations, what is required of a leader is not so much "past experience," but the ability to digest new information, build consensus, and make accurate judgment. That's why we have many CEOs or founders of the companies such as Google and Yahoo in their 30s. Does lack of "past experience" prevent them from building many of today's great companies? This can apply to a political candidate too. Should the length of a candidate's "past experience" be the determining factor of his/her qualifications? Is the "past experience" a burden or an edge of a candidate? (see Part III later)

Part III Hillary and McCain consider their "past experience" as their strengths. But their experience is mainly in the 20th C., which might not be relevant in this drastically different 21st C. (don't forget how quickly Internet has revolutionized the world, and it is still in its infancy). In addition, Hillary and McCain's ideology was shaped by the 20th century, which might be a burden not a plus in the 21st C.

So when this editorial board considered Hillary and McCain have more experience as the reason for their endorsement, we cannot help but lament that in this Internet age these editorial board ladies still used such a conventional way to determine our future leader. We don't doubt their seriousness, but are disappointed by their conservative thought process and lack of bold vision for our future leader.

We must remember what these ladies referred to is the "PAST EXPERIENCE." We should ask ourselves is the experience in the past still so relevant now when the world is moving faster than ever? Will the ideology formed in the 20th C. be a burden? Should we worry about what kind of vision the future leader can provide us when he/she is so learned and conditioned by the past?

Posted by: wenmay2002 | December 16, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

am voting for sen. clinton for the very same reasons the des moines register ebdorsed her. i made up my mind a long time ago. i would like to add that she is way more electable in the general election than obambi would ever be. he needs to do a mot more serving & learning before even thinking about qualifying for the top job in the world!

Posted by: mikel1 | December 16, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

HRC for president!
BO for preacher!

Did you all know Obama opened the S.Carolina Oprahfest with praise to God.... he's whatever will sell!

Posted by: newagent99 | December 16, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I was watching Washington Journal this morning with the editor of the DMR as a guest, as well as reading the comments on the DMR online, and judging from the comments on both it seems the DMR is taking alot of hits for this.
Within an hour or two of the endorsement coming out and posted online, there were pages and pages of angry and negative comments over the endorsement of hrc. If this is an indication of how Iowa feels about Hillary, she is not going to win the caucus.
The callers on WJ were just as upset over that endorsement. Seems the DMR sold out their principles and now have a firestorm on their hands. If they went with Biden, or Obama, ect., they would have average comments but, this endorsement of hrc is like 90% against.

Posted by: vwcat | December 16, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I admire the Des Moines paper stands on it own. The editorial board concludes what this country needs and Clinton is the Democrat candidate best to deliver it. Des Moines indeed is a smaller paper, but it is so big in the sense that its editorial boards would NOT be influenced by the "much bigger" paper, when the bigger paper is wrong.

The endorsement to Obama "by the dominant paper in New England" is a very WEAK one. The Globe's editorial board stated that it endorse because Obama's less experience that experience ".....has tended to give them a sense of government's constraints. Obama is more open to its possibilities."

This endorsement could have been given to G.W. Bush that he has had no "constraints" (benefited from lack of experience) therefore, abundant "openness to possibilities" - the results are that US owns The Iraq War; the low esteem in world stage and endless domestic misgivings to US environments, middle class and poor children; the lists goes on....

Posted by: sangliu | December 16, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

It's time to Rise and Shine again.

Barack Obama for a better America.

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 16, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Nation Magazine said this about the Des Moines Register endorsement:

Frankly, the Register's arguments for Biden read better than any the paper could muster for Clinton. But nothing the editors are saying about this year's candidates -- including the paper's pick -- is nearly so convincing as the case the Register made for Edwards four years ago.

Unfortunately, now that Edwards is not just delivering vague speeches about "two Americas" but actually addressing the role that corporate power plays in fostering economic and social inequity, he's too "harsh" for the Register.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | December 16, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hmm--Hillary's experience. You mean like that wonderful health care attempt in the mid-90s? Yeah, how'd that work out for us? Maybe if she hadn't actually been a secretive control-freak on the order of Darth Cheney, something constructive could have been done there, but hey, she's "experienced."

Maybe the folks from the Imperial Palace HQ in Arlington need to get out of the Beltway a little more. Then perhaps they'd realized that 50% of the electorate will NEVER vote for her in a general election, precisely because of their experience with HER. How exactly does her "experience" overcome this disadvantage?

Clinton fatigue has set in. It's time to turn the page.

Posted by: elroy1 | December 16, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Here is the difference for the Hillary spinners out there. Hillary works for change on paper, Obama works for an actual change in peoples lives. One is theory, (Hillary's idea of heavy lifting) versus Obama's who's work is practical and relevant and community based.

The endorsement by the DMR is irrelevant.

Posted by: dpsa27 | December 16, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Boy, are we Iowans shocked at what many of us see as the Des Moines Register's sloppy 'reasoning' in deciding to give their so-coveted endorsement to Hillary! With all of her negatives, and with so many potential caucus-goers -- the ONLY 'voters' who actually matter here, remember, i.e., the 25% of Dems who'll show up on caucus night for a couple of hours to argue the case for their chosen candidate -- already saying that they'll support ANYbody BUT Hillary, this comes as a big surprise.

The Register's '04 endorsement of John Edwards carried so terribly much weight with the Iowa public because it was such a surprise, AND was such an incredible rave-up of all of the positives of Edwards' candidacy -- very different from this pretty weak backing of Hillary.

And THAT endorsement was not given with this much lead-time -- The Register endorsed Edwards in '04 just ONE week before the Jan. 19 caucuses.

I'm guessing that between the loud criticism that this'll surely get from the national punditry, and the possible 'backlash' from the Iowa public itself, that this won't do for Hillary anywhere near the great push that Edwards got at 'the last minute' from the one in '04.

We would have hoped to have gotten better from the almost-completely upper-middle-aged-female editorial board than this. What were they thinking???

Disgusted, in Iowa

Posted by: kmoorman | December 16, 2007 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Here's the problem as I see it: although the Register's endorsement is undoubtly superior, strictly in the temporal sense, why has this posting, like others, exclusively focused on the Clintons' (not particularly shocking) endorsement in Des Moines, as opposed to the fact that Obama was endorsed--not a few hours previous--by the dominant paper in New England, bordering the state that served as catalyst for Bill Clinton in 1992, that was Hillary's supposed "firewall"?

I am an admitted Obama partisan, but that, nevertheless, does not allow for the Post, nor the Times, nor any other paper, to abdicate on its responsibility to engage in reportage proportional to the size of the event.

The Des Moines Register: surely an important possible bellweather of success for the Clintons; but to silence the Globe's penultimate endorsement in NH is surely an egregious abdication of journalistic responsibility and fairness.

Posted by: theobjector | December 16, 2007 5:43 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad the Des Moines Register endorsed Hillary, who is the least experienced candidate next to John Edwards.

Obama has held elected office for 11 years -4 more than Hillary, and 5 more than Edwareds. Obama sponsored over 820 bills while serving in the Illinois senate (from 1996-2004). He authored the most sweeping ethics reform bill passed into law in over 20 years. He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform and increased subsidies for child care. Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.

In 2002 Obama spoke out publicly against the war in Iraq, and proceeded to accurately predict the quagmire of Iraq.

Obama was elected to the United States senate in 2004. In his first year he authored 152 bills, and co-sponsored another 427. These included the Coburn-Obama government Transparency Act of 2006 (signed into law by Bush), The Lugar-Obama initiatives (working with republican, Richard Lugar) aimed at nuclear non-proliferation and conventional weapons threat reduction. He is one of only 2 lawmakers sponsoring a campaign finance reform bill that currently sits in the senate. There are 890 bills in Obama's name since he entered the Senate. He has Cosponsored 1096.

Obama currently serves on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans'' Affairs. He has a degree in International Relations, a Law degree, and taught constitutional law for 10 years.

Posted by: julieds | December 16, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Yes! She has earned that endorsement! It's great that Obama imagines that change can occur, however, Hillary works to create change - she has for 35 years.

Posted by: jtorres138 | December 15, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

The Des Moines Register made the right choice.

Hillary Clinton is by far the best candidate running for President in either party. She is smart and works hard. Just by electing her the United States will make a huge statment about the change we want to see in our government. For the first time in our history we will be able to tell our daughters what we could always tell only our sons= You can grow up to be anything you want-even President of the United States.

Her line in the last Iowa debate brought the point home to many. Some want to demand change, so want to hope for change- she will work for change. And her life shows that she will work harder than anyone else to make our lives better.

It is interesting to see so many in the press join the Repbublicans in attacking Hillary, but she can quote a line from a song from the musical Company- "I'm Still Here" and yes she is, and we are better off because of it.

Hillary will make us proud again to be American and she will run a government that will allow us once again to travel the world and say proudly, I am an American.

Posted by: peterdc | December 15, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a disappointing endorsement. I was personally pulling for Biden. He's the only one in either party I actually like and respect. That said, on the Democratic side, she's really the only other credible candidate in the field, even though I will find it difficult to vote for her. I think she's very much like Kerry in 04. She gives Democrats a decent shot at the presidency, but it's not a slam dunk at all. I think Biden in the general election offers a better chance. I think he appeals to rural and middle-class voters in style and rhetoric. In a recent S. Carolina poll, he's got 10% (does he even campaign there?) and he's drawing on young adults in huge numbers.

If the Register wanted to have an impact on the race, I think a Biden endorsement would have given him the exposure and attention he has lacked the entire campaign. It would have been a way of leveling the playing field for a very qualified and exciting candidate.

I don't think the endorsement of Hillary changes the race significantly, except that it may change some of the negative news coverage she's been getting and allow her to go positive for the next week, rather than plot her next sabatoge attempt on Obama.

Posted by: MNobserver | December 15, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Christmas Eve excitement has come 9 days early this year.

The reason I am a 50 something year old who feels like a 5 year old:

This is one Scrooge swept up by the Christmas spirit.

We the People are about to open a big gift for the entire world!!!

Posted by: Scrooge | December 15, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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