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Daschle to Iowa (Again)

Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle (D) just keeps popping up in Iowa.

The ex-Senate minority leader headlined the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Nov. 5, and he will be back in the Hawkeye State on Feb. 1 for a speech at Iowa State University in Ames.

Can Daschle raise the money it takes to field a strong presidential campaign? (File photo)

Daschle will keep a busy speaking schedule between now and then. He will be in California for a series of four speeches in four days from Jan. 9-12, and then will be in New York City on Jan. 19 to keynote the spring orientation dinner at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy. In both California and New York, Daschle will meet with individual donors to solicit funds for his leadership political action committee -- New Leadership for America.

Daschle's schedule continues to spur speculation that he is planning to run for president in 2008 -- after backing away from a national run in 2004.

Steve Hildebrand, Daschle's lead political adviser, refused to address speculation about the South Dakotan's national intentions. "Tom is continuing to be very aggressive at helping candidates all across the country and is continuing to keep a high profile and using his voice to promote a progressive agenda," said Hildebrand.

So does Daschle have a chance to make an impact in the Iowa caucuses? Maybe.

Daschle has two major assets. First, since South Dakota borders Iowa, he can paint himself as someone who uniquely identifies with Iowa's need and concerns -- especially when it comes to agriculture.

Ed Skinner, an attorney and powerful political player in the state's Democratic politics (and a friend of Daschle's) said that "a number of the issues [Daschle] has worked with were important all over the Midwest." Skinner and Daschle sat down for breakfast on Nov. 6 in Des Moines, though the former senator's potential presidential bid was not broached, Skinner said.

Daschle's other primary asset is Hildebrand, who is considered a top campaign operative in the party and has considerable Iowa experience, having secured a victory for Vice President Al Gore over former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley (D) in the state's 2000 caucus.

"Steve Hildebrand is very close to Daschle and has a lot of experience in Iowa and that makes [a Daschle run] a more real possibility," said Iowa Democratic consultant Jeff Link.

Daschle's potential hurdles are relatively clear. When he considered the race in 2004, he was one of the most visible and powerful figures in the Democratic Party. With his loss to Sen. John Thune (R) in 2004, Daschle no longer holds a political office and will have to overcome the perception that he is yesterday's news.

In addition, Daschle must show that he can raise money now that he's out of office using New Leadership as his primary fundraising vehicle. Hildebrand said the PAC gave out $230,000 in 2005 to Democratic candidates.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 6, 2006; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Friday Line: Momentum for Senate Democrats
Next: Is DeLay Losing Support in House GOP Caucus?


I would just like to clarify that the Daschle/Thune senate election in 2004 was a very sad campaign. The only reason Sen. Thune beat Daschle was because of negative campaigning and the focus of social issues that hold no relevance in the US or South Dakota. It was a dirty race and many South Dakotans are embarrased at the campaigning of Thune.

Regardless, I don't know if Daschle would stand any chance of being the Democratic nominee for president. I feel that he has a very good chance of being nominated to either VP or possibly even a cabinet position. If he is selected as the nominee, he will definitely have my support. He has done so much for the state of South Dakota (people not from SD can't deny this) and he will do so much for our nation.

Posted by: Scott Buhl | March 31, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: World business for sale | January 27, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I am from North Dakota, and with Dashel moving from a $1 million mansion in DC into a $3 million mansion, the people saw Tommy was no longer representing the common folk in South Dakota but had fallen into the Potomac of Rich fat cat Democrarts. Where did that money come from to increase Tom's lifestyle? From the wealth accumulated by his lobbyist wife Linda. How much did she get during her Boeing lobbyist days and was she part of that scam which lands Darlene Druyun in prison for trying to help organize the Tanker Lease deal? People forget Darlene was in the Pentagon during the Clinton years, so I can't blame her corruption on the GOP or the Dems. But I wonder how much pressure will be placed on Tom's wife Linda to show their past tax returns, (as all other president candidates must) and how their lifestyle has become luxury instead of middle class. The voters of S. Dakota voted for President Bush in 2000, and were disgusted at how Tom blocked judges who did not measure up to the standards of Democrats. But he forgot the voters elected Republicans to the majority of the House, the Senate, and the White House. If Tom runs for president in 2008, he will be like his hero McGovern who ran for president in 1972. Tom needs to remember that McGovern failed to win his home state in 1972 and carried only Mass. and DC. Tom also considered a run for president in 2004 and quickly slinked back to the Senate with his tail between his legs early on. Yes, he did, because I have the CNN interview about him looking at the race while he sat next to Linda. Tom needs to return back to S Dakota and make amends instead of trying to become a national leader, it won't happen if the homestate won't support him. And they don't.

Posted by: Crystal Dueker | January 9, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Even though I am from California, I am a big Tom Daschle fan. He carries himself with aplomb and is one of the great mensches in politics. For people to claim to want clean government and integrity in politics and then not vote for Tom Daschle is the height of hypocrisy. Don't count him out if he runs for President and even if he doesn't win; he would make a great Vice Presidential candidate like another poster mentioned as he has zero ego and would lift the Democratic Party with him. Yes he lost his last election, but that was more to do with South Dakota being a very red state and a mean-spirited campaign by the Republicans. Ex-Senator Daschle is too nice a person to fight fire with fire so he got burned. Not that fighting fire with fire would have helped him as it would have not matched his style. However, I do think he has a chance to either, with momentum from an Iowa victory, win the nomination and be the next President of the United States or at least be strongly considered for Vice President.

Posted by: Jason | January 9, 2006 12:59 AM | Report abuse

As a fellow South Dakotan, I can tell you that the stock of Senator John Thune has risen tremendously in the last few months (and people are forgetting Daschle), with Thune him saving Ellsworth AFB from closure and possibly bringing a huge DM&E railroad project to the state, creating thousands of jobs.

Daschle is yesterday's news here (with some people still driving around with "Dump Daschle" stickers in their cars). I doubt he would win the party's nomination.

But, wouldn't a Thune-Daschle race in '08 be interesting? Thune is already being considered for the NRSC chair and the sky is limit I think for him.

Posted by: Kate | January 7, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, us Democrats are looking for someone that can win in I guess Daschle is out because he can't even win a Senate race. No one likes a loser,which ever Democrat wins the nomination hopefully they are smart enough to pick a man that can even win the race he was in. Hillary will not get the nod, changes her position way too much, too conservative for us Democrats. We might support a centrist like Mark Warner but he has been a centrist all along. She will run to the right of Mark Warner and lose. Wes Clark might get the VP position with his foreign policy credentials. Evan Bayh as a Midwest Democrat who also like Warner can actually win a red state, and is on intelligence, and Armed Service comm. will could shore up the ticket. Warner, Bayh, Clark and even Edwards has a chance to win the nod and pull the general election. Daschle while a good Senator, good man, is a joke for us to have on the ticket. Hillary is not too much better. She won her home state with 55% of vote, Dems usually pull that by way more. She can not even win blue states as easily as Kerry or Gore, how can she win in red states?

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | January 7, 2006 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Daschle will be on everyones short list as a VP, especially is Warner gets the nod.

Posted by: db | January 6, 2006 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Since he's from neighboring South Dakota, anything less than a win will be perceived as failure. Among the party activists that determine victory in the caucus he could never catch fire. I respect his career as a Senator but he'll merely be taking up oxygen better used by candidates with more viability. Iowa would be Daschle's Waterloo.

*Intrepid Liberal Journal*

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 6, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I have said before I have 3 candidates I will be supporting in the primary:

Tom Daschle
Wesley Clark
Hillary Clinton

If Daschle runs, he will have my support. I'm from Florida and I believe he would make a great candidate and would give the top candidates a run for their money.

To say he doesn't have a chance even if he wins Iowa is stupid. John Kerry didn't have a chance either UNTIL he won Iowa, which gave him the springboard to the nomination. If someone other than Hillary Clinton wins in Iowa, we could have an extremely close primary election season.

Daschle in 2008!

Posted by: Josh | January 6, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is a great man and was a great US Senator and Democratic leader. He probably won't run and probably wouldn't win the nomination if he did, but he'd make as good a president as any. It's been a while since someone with his dignity and decency lead our country and Democrats could surely do worse than to nominate someone as respectable as Daschle.

Posted by: Phil | January 6, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Daschle? Running for President? You've got to be joking! The man is a complete, utter, and total has-been; he was humiliatingly defeated in his re-election campaign, and, under his tenure as Senate Democratic leader, the Dems lost seats (as well as their cohesive vision.) Daschle tried to run as a "Bush-lite" candidate in his Senate campaign-- and this is who the Democrats had as a leader in the Senate? How laughable. The man will be lucky if he can even be a kingmaker . . . but, judging from his ineptitude in the Senate, even that prospect is unlikely!

Posted by: The Caped Composer | January 6, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd say Daschle will have an extremely hard time shaking the perception that he's yesterday's news, because he IS yesterday's news. He presided over a loss of the Senate for Democrats and lost re-election in his own state. Does not sound like a dynamite politican to me. I am so sick of retread candidates.

Posted by: Glenn Gervasio | January 6, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

BP -- not necessarily. The Iowa press keeps noting that Iowans don't think of Vilsack as "presidential", and that he will have a hard time in the caucuses. He's definitely a nice guy (and intelligent policy wonk & politician), but he doesn't always come across that way in the media (unlike his winning TV ads 6 years ago, that portrayed him as an average & reasonable guy you'd like to have coffee or a beer with). Daschle has a higher profile as a politician with national experience, and isn't tainted by pre-conceived common perception of Iowans -- he'll come in fairly fresh and able to decide what image he wants to portray.

It's way too early to start betting on the caucuses, though. :-)

Posted by: JJ | January 6, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Iowa is the only state Daschle would have a slim chance at winning, but when Vilsack enters the race that chance is squashed.

Posted by: BP | January 6, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

As a liberal Democrat, I don't dislike Daschle - I tend to largely not think about him at all. Personally I think his chances of getting through a single caucus or primary are about the same as, say, another try by Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: corbett | January 6, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Daschle has absolutely no chance at the nomination. He needs to go back to figure out how he lost his senate seat and then translate that to a successful presidential run. I don't think so!

Please tell me what he can possibly bring to a national audience.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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