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Richardson Surging? Plus, Hankering For a County Fair

No presidential campaign sends out more press releases than that of Bill Richardson. For Mother's Day, he endorsed mothers. I didn't see what he put out on Arbor Day but I'm guessing it was a passionate defense of trees. Here's one that came in yesterday:

'MANCHESTER, NH -- Governor Bill Richardson has moved past John Edwards into the top tier of Democratic Presidential primary candidates in New Hampshire according to the latest CNN/WMUR-TV poll released today.

'"Voters are learning who Bill Richardson is and are hearing his message and we're very pleased with the position of the campaign," said Dave Contarino, Governor Richardson's campaign manager. "In February 2007, at the beginning of this campaign, Bill Richardson was tied for 6th place at 1% in this poll. To be in double digits in 3rd Place at this point demonstrates genuine momentum." '

'The latest poll results: July 2007 June 2007
Hillary Clinton 36% 39%
Barack Obama 27% 24%
Bill Richardson 11% 11%
John Edwards 9% 14%
Joe Biden 4% 5%
Dennis Kucinich 3% 2%
Chris Dodd * *
Gravel * *
Someone else 0% 3%
No opinion 9% 2%

'The poll was conducted July 9-17 by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and has a margin of error of +5.5%.'

What a surge by Richardson! What "momentum"! But can I just point out that his numbers don't actually budge in these two recent polls. He was at 11 percent in June and is now at 11 percent in July. Sure, double figures are better than single figures, and Richardson is an interesting and formidable candidate, but maybe the campaign is a bit too effusive here. (There's a bizarre fascination in this election cycle with the concept of the "top tier." Can Richardson be in the top tier if he's only 2 percentage points ahead of no-longer-top-tier Edwards in a poll with a margin of error of 5.5 percent?? Or are both now in the bottom tier, looking way up at the stratospheric Clinton and Obama?) (Can I trade my tier in for an ordinary shelf?)

The only significant change over time is that Edwards, who has bet the ranch on doing well in Iowa (and paid little attention to New Hampshire so far as I know), has seen an erosion of his support. Also, "No Opinion" has mounted a rally. Perhaps all the frenetic campaigning in recent months has persuaded more and more voters that they have no opinion about the presidential race.

Face it: Campaign '08 has been going full tilt for almost 7 months and nothing has happened. This is because of the intrinsic problem of having a political campaign without actual voting.


I've a hankering to go to a county fair. My editor wants me to do some interviews for a story, some kind of pulse of America thing, and a county fair would be the perfect location on account of how everyone's in a good mood. Also, there's fried dough, and sno cones, and Bingo, and all kinds of crafts, and usually some kind of canning competition. Like, with vegetables and fruit. Ball jars. My canned beets can whip your canned beets. Plus there's bluegrass music, and all those animals. They're not precious, exotic, fussed-over, solipsistic zoo animals, but real, honest, hard-working livestock. Functional, and good eatin'!

In any case, I came across an excellent site, Breedersworld, where you can see a listing of county fairs. Turns out the Allegany County fair is going on right now. I went to it once and would happily go back. Here's what I'm missing today:

Wednesday, July 18
9:00am 4-H/FFA Swine Judging
10:30am Rabbit Judging
2:00pm Exhibit Buildings Open
5:00pm Rides Open ($2.00 Discount)
Support our School Night
6:00pm 6th Annual "Cruisin At The Fair"
Sponsored by Oldies 107 & WCBC
7:30pm Rick K and The Allnighters- FREE ADMISSION to Grandstand
8:00pm Antique Tractor Parade
10:00pm Exhibit Buildings Close
10:00pm Laser Light Show- Sponsored by Pepsi

Meanwhile, there's another county fair just down the road in Lexington, Va. Tonight is the Teen Battle of the Bands!!! "All teenage backyard and garage bands!" Limited to those between 12 and 17, and without discernible talent. MUST BE LOUD.

Looking over the schedule: What is "Cow Plop Bingo"? "Goat Showmanship"?

The big question: Will they have a press tent? A wireless connection? Is it possible to liveblog a county fair?

[Well, lookie here: Von Drehle has weighed in on the joys of county fairs:

'....What endures is the underlying vitality of the fair, the unapologetic streak of real life. The actual dirt. Genuine food grilled by volunteer firefighters or the high school booster club. Wailing babies. Odd juxtapositions, like the sign on the pig racetrack extolling the love of Jesus. The smell of animal dung. Girls in tight jeans and the boys who ogle them as their fathers visit booths touting dry basements and power tools.

'A day at the fair starts out rampant and eager and ends with balloons sagging and stomachs queasy--which is not a bad summary of life itself. This is why the fair survives, drawing an estimated 150 million visitors in counties and states across the country each summer, in spite of theme parks and arcades of infinitely greater sophistication, in spite of Orlando, in spite of Las Vegas.']


Linky bits:

Remember my story on Bill Gray and the global warming deniers? The subject was worthy of a book. Someone smarter and more energetic would have to write it, of course. Well, it happened: "Storm World," by Chris Mooney, takes a long look at Gray's apostasy. Here's a Gristmill blog item about Mooney's book (with a nice mention of my story).

A memo to Katie Couric, from HuffPo.

Anne Schroeder (former Style writer) has a fun gossip column for The Politico and has more dope on the Obama Girl micro-visit to DC and other doings around town.
More from The Reliable Source, The Examiner, and Jezebel.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 18, 2007; 2:46 PM ET
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Next: Nine Holes At the Local Dog Track

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