Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Stakes High Going into Final Democratic Debate

Democrats will debate in Des Moines this afternoon, and this time it could be for all the marbles.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton needs a stellar performance to stabilize her position in Iowa and put her once-inevitable candidacy back on track.

Sen. Barack Obama will walk on stage with real momentum, but a lackluster turn could restrain his growth in Iowa and beyond.

Former Sen. John Edwards, polling steadily in third place, has played good cop and bad cop in previous debates. Which John Edwards will show up today?

For the second-tier candidates, Sens. Joseph Biden, Christopher Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, today's debate represents their last chance to compete head-on with the frontrunners for the large number of undecided Democrats who could well tip the balance on Jan. 3.

The showdown starts at 2 p.m. EST, and will set the tone for the final sprint until Christmas. Democratic campaign aides believe the debate also could influence the Des Moines Register endorsement, expected this weekend and one of the great Hawkeye mysteries of the moment. With six well-qualified candidates in the Democratic field, observers believe the Register's nod could influence Democratic caucus goers even more than it likely did in 2004, when the newspaper backed Edwards, who wound up finishing second.

The debate today will be a tad cozier, with Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel both absent. That's because they didn't meet one of the Register's requirement that candidates had to open an Iowa campaign office as of Oct. 1.

The debate airs live on C-SPAN3. (Don't look for it on ESPN -- the action in Des Moines coincides with the release of George Mitchell's report on steroids and baseball.)

--Shailagh Murray

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 13, 2007; 10:55 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Now Playing: An Anti-Clinton Ad?
Next: Campaign Ads a Clinton Family Affair


Hillary's campers suggest that she's ready to hit this one out of the park.

Meanwhile the next SwiftBoat attack is being prepared for launch off camera.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

There is no better common ground issue than helping small businesses to be formed and thrive. Nothing helps minorities and women more than this. Small business is the engine of our economy that pays for everthing else. Over 90% of the new jobs in the USA this year came from small businesses. The best way to get more funds for healthcare, the environment, stem cell research, energy alternative research, education and defense is to promote thriving entrepreneurship. See The Entepreneurship Party at for a 3rd party choice. We are endorsing Bill Richardson for the Democratic Primaries and Mitt Romney for the Republicans as the best candidates for small business. We believe our own candidate - see candidates is best.

Posted by: hleonhardt | December 13, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Des Moines Register's decision to exclude Kucinich from the debate is arbitrary and outrageous. No wonder he's been labeled "unelectable." How is one supposed to get elected when he can't even get any air time, either because debate moderators refuse to ask him any questions or because outfits like the Des Moines Register exclude him all together? Kucinich is a voice of reason sorely missing in this campaign. Let him speak!

Posted by: ajacobs | December 13, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The Register was mistaken when it stated Kucinich is being disqualified for not having staff in Iowa. Marcos Rubenstein, the Iowa State Coordinator for the Kucinich Campaign, has been working 80 hours a week, full-time, in the Hawkeye State since March of 2007 and has been listed in the Comprehensive FEC Report. The Register most likely did not read this report and was working off of other information, as they later retracted their statement after I spoke with them.

So, the reason for disqualifying him is now, officially on their website, because Rubenstein does his work from his own office instead of from a rented storefront window.

Seems like a damn flimsy excuse to be excluding people from debates. If there were still a few journalists in this world, the Register would never get away with this.

Posted by: sanjays.seth | December 13, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company