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Clinton Lands Another Top Democratic Operative

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has signed on Democratic operative Mike Henry to her presidential campaign-in-waiting, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. Henry, who handled the independent expenditure ad campaign for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2006 cycle, will reportedly serve as deputy campaign manager.

Prior to his work at the DSCC, Henry managed the 2005 campaign of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D). During the 2004 cycle he managed the primary campaign of wealthy businessman Blair Hull in Illinois. As any political junkie knows, Hull was at one time the frontrunner in the Democratic primary but revelations concerning his divorce destroyed his campaign. The eventual winner turned out to be a little known state senator named Barack Obama. It seems likely that in addition to his other attributes, Henry's intimate knowledge of Obama might be a very valuable commodity for Clinton.

Henry has also served a campaign manager for Maryland Del. Mark Shriver's unsuccessful bid for the House in 2002, served as field director for Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in 2001 and managed Sen. Bill Nelson's (D) Senate race in Florida in 2000.

Henry's hiring is the latest in a series of moves by Clinton to build a professional presidential campaign staff. She has signaled that longtime loyalist Patti Solis Doyle will head up her campaign, and she has reached out to other well-regarded party operatives, including Jonathan Mantz, who is expected to serve as national finance director; communications adviser Phil Singer; and Karen Hicks, who will be charged with building Clinton organizations in early voting states.

Democratic insiders familiar with the Clinton campaign preparations expect more staffing commitments to come to light in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Sen. Clinton's presidential hopes received a small boost today thanks to a new Newsweek poll that -- for the first time -- showed her leading the three leading Republican candidates. She had a 50 percent to 43 percent edge over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a narrow 48 percent to 47 percent lead over former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and a big 58 percent to 32 percent lead over Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.).

The survey, which was conducted for Newsweek by Princeton Survey Research, was in the field Dec. 6-7 and tested 1,000 adults -- not an ideal sample, as it did not screen for registered or likely voters. The poll had a 4 percent margin of error.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 18, 2006; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Giuliani the Un-nominatable?


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Posted by: Austen | December 31, 2006 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is coming along nicely because she has slowly but surely been building a campaign for a long time. She has top donors and experts on her side and there has never been a woman president. Lots of people, including some men, think it is time to open the door to women.
Hillary was active in both of her husband's campaigns and has been though more mud slinging than any other candidate. She is tough.
Her very middle of the road stances will gain voters from both sides.
He stance in favor of the Iraq War is a detriment, but not against McCain who is gung-ho Iraq War. Hillary is no where near as pro-Iraq War as McCain.
I really like Edwards and would probably vote for him, but he doesn't look like a viable candidate right now. I think Edwards and Hillary are the best the Democrats have.
Obama is wet behind the ears, Richardson is simply not skilled enough at governing, and Vilsack is too much unknown. Though Richardson may have cache among Hispanics and Latinos, he is no manager and has proved it.

Posted by: Southern Girl | December 21, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The first Democratic debate is in April in South Carolina.


Posted by: Rob | December 19, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Nissl, thanks for pointing that out about Soros and Buffett supporting Obama's campaign.

It is interesting that Obama is the candidate of choice for both of these men, whose hugely successful economic MO's take ethical behavior to be a sine qua non. This says something about Obama's own MO.

Posted by: Golgi | December 19, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I don't think the social conservatives are alone on that. There are a lot of liberals who would also rather lose than compromise too. Look at 2000; enough people voted for Nader that they cost Gore the election.

The problem is that our electoral system only supports two parties. So people have to either compromise their ideals, waste their vote on a third party, or just not vote.

Posted by: Blarg | December 19, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I said it before, I'll say it again. Hillary Clinton as Democratice nominee will be a disaster for the Democrats. I have many reasons for this belief, but the most compelling is there should be NO MORE CLINTON presidencies and MOST ESPECIALLY NO MORE BUSH presidencies. That will be the underlying, constant thread of her candidacy. If I will never vote for her, as a tried and true Democrat, she's got a problem.

Posted by: Kim from Va Beach | December 19, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse


Of course, various "leaders" of social conservatives do not necessarily speak for social conservatives. But as I noted, I agree that there may be enough Republicans willing to stick with the old approach until it loses one or more additional times.

Posted by: DTM | December 19, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Whoever it is that is posting without their name should have some consideration of the rest of the folks here. Agree or disagree with any of us but at least give us some idea of who you are. You appear to be well informed so I can only assume you are in the catagory of those I mentioned earlier that are afraid to state a preference in a public or private forum. Could that be your problem and you just cant bring yourself "out of the closet" sort of ??.

Posted by: lylepink | December 19, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Wash Times reports on an alleged Saudi report on Iran's 'state within a state' in Iraq. Of alleged particular concern to the Saudis, SCIRI and the Badr Brigades, whose leader just visited the White House.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

To break it down and possibly over-simplify it, the Shiia follow the bloodline of Mohammed and the Sunnis follow the Qur'an and the Hadith, a sacred Muslim text that details the words and actions of the Prophet Mohammed. Conflicts arose from this disagreement between the two sects culminating in a bloody civil war in 656. Differences hardened and the religion formally split five years after the outbreak of the war.

Since the split, several religious differences have emerged between the two groups. Shiites, for example, have more of a formal religious hierarchy than Sunnis do. For Shiites, those who are descendants of the prophet are particularly important and are often looked to for spiritual and social guidance. For Iraq's Shiite population, for example, the clerics Ayatollah Sistani and Muqtada al-Sadr are prominent, influential figures because of their positions as descendants of Muhammad. In the picture, you'll notice that both Sistani (in the banner to the left) and Sadr (right) wear black turbans around their heads, a symbol that shows lineage to the prophet.

For Sunnis, on the other hand, there does not exist the same religious hierarchy. To them, elevating descendants of the prophet to positions of power is an incorrect interpretation of the will of God. Instead, they hold the Qur'an and the teachings of Muhammad to be the primary sources of information on Islam. Shiites and Sunnis also disagree somewhat in their interpretation of certain passages of the Qur'an and the Hadith (the words and actions of Muhammad) and they also differ in the manner in which they pray.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"If the Republican Party wants to send the social conservatives home for good, all they have to do is nominate Rudy Giuliani," said Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist minister and president of Vision America. "It's an insult to the pro-Christian agenda."

as you see, dtm, the 'social conservatives' would rather lose than compromise. the question is, how much power do they have over the R leadership? up to now, it's been a lock.

Posted by: drindl | December 19, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I think Wynn is right on the strategic issue: the party which nominates the person who can best convince voters he or she will take us beyond red-state/blue-state politics will win the general election. And Giuliani currently appears to be the Republican's best bet for that task.

On the other hand, Wynn may be wrong about what Republicans have concluded--it may take one or more additional lost elections before they rally behind such a strategy.

Posted by: DTM | December 19, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

NEW YORK Marine Maj. Megan McClung, a public affairs officer who became the highest-ranking woman killed in Iraq when she died two weeks ago, had been escorting Oliver North and a FOX News crew through Ramadi just moments before a roadside bomb took her life, a military spokesman told E&P on Monday.

Posted by: what a waste | December 19, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

--i thought bush said he listened to the generals? that they decided how many troops. what happened to that?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The idea of a much larger military deployment for a longer mission is virtually off the table, at least so far, mainly for logistics reasons, say officials familiar with the debate. Any deployment of 40,000 to 50,000 would force the Pentagon to redeploy troops who were scheduled to go home.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

This is precious--we 'win' in Iraq by sending in 50,000 more troops and then keeping all of them there -- permanently. Genius!

"Why would the Keane-Kagan plan succeed where earlier efforts failed? It envisions a temporary addition of 50,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. The initial mission would be to secure and hold the mixed Baghdad neighborhoods of Shia and Sunni residents where most of the violence occurs. Earlier efforts had cleared many of those sections of the city without holding them. After which, the mass killings resumed. Once neighborhoods are cleared, American and Iraqi troops in this plan would remain behind, living day-to-day among the population."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Not that such early polls mean anything, but the New York Post goes wild over a survey showing Hillary beating John McCain, 50 to 43--assuming, of course, both get nominated.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans do understand it is political suicide to keep this red-state, blue-state thing going any longer," said Barry Wynn, former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and a recruit to Giuliani's banner. "We need someone competitive in all 50 states."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week found that Republicans give Giuliani an early lead over Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is far ahead of the former mayor in organizing a national campaign.

A recent poll of Republicans gave former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani an early lead for the presidential nomination over Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

Despite that lead, conservative party strategists and activists in key primary states are skeptical and warn that the socially liberal Republican faces a difficult campaign. They question whether a Republican who has had one marriage end in annulment and another in divorce, and favors abortion rights, gun control and immigrant rights, has much retail appeal in the evangelical and deeply conservative reaches of the GOP.

"If the Republican Party wants to send the social conservatives home for good, all they have to do is nominate Rudy Giuliani," said Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist minister and president of Vision America. "It's an insult to the pro-Christian agenda. . . . He's going to spend a lot of money finding he can't get out of the Republican primaries."

Posted by: interesting... | December 19, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you lyle, I remember Vietnam. So many friends and family who never came back, or came back shattered, broken -- and for what? What did all those deaths achieve? Absolutely nothing. We pulled out, let the Vietnamese work it out for themselves and now they are our trading partner.

We stayed in Vietnam as long as we did for the same reason we're staying in Iraq -- some macho chickenhawks don't want to be embarrassed by 'losing'. Well I got news for them -- we lost a long time ago, simply by the fact that we've been pinned down there, bleeding lives and our children's future for all these years. We wasted all these resources and things just continue to get worse.

But will bush ever leave? Never. No matter what happens. He's decided that's somone else's problem. All he will ever do is send more troops, no matter what the people of this country think. Because you see, he's The Little Prince:

'Public opinion is clear on the next moves: 52 percent want a withdrawal on a fixed timeline, while only 12 percent want to deal with the growing civil war in Iraq by sending more U.S. troops. By and large, the L.A. Times poll of 1,429 Americans found that most favor approaches that were proposed by the ISG and immediately rejected by President Bush, such as talks with Syria and Iran, backed by 64 percent.

And yet, in the face of a real mandate -- unlike the 51 percent "mandate" that returned him to office in 2004 -- Bush's new plan is apparently to go the route backed by fewer than one out of eight Americans, and send more troops, perhaps as many as 20,000, making some war-weary troops stay longer in Iraq and sending over new ones on an accelerated schedule. '

Posted by: drindl | December 19, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

--This guy stole $2 billion taxpayer dollars... and they just let him walk..

Everybody goes inside with news that Iraq's former electricity minister, who is a citizen of both the United States and Iraq, escaped from Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday. He was being held on corruption charges. The LAT gives big play to Iraqi officials who say U.S. security contractors helped Ayham Samaeraei escape, but the NYT is more skeptical and cites the denial of U.S. officials. It is unclear exactly how he managed to escape the most heavily fortified area of Baghdad, but the NYT makes clear Samaeraei wasn't exactly kept in tight security and the paper describes how he wasn't even locked up in a cell. Police officers meant to keep an eye on him didn't inform anybody he was missing until several hours later.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I have spent some time on the Iraq war issue and have as yet not found anything remotely resembling an agreement on what should be done. My own personal thought is to get out yesterday, the lives of our own men and women alone justifies getting out of there not to mention the lives of the innocent folk in Iraq. Bottom line is how can anyone equate the losses in lives and treasure for the benefit of so few that are profiting from this crazy decision to go to war in the first place.

Posted by: lylepink | December 19, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

According to the Post's sources, the joint chiefs think the White House is pursuing the idea of a surge because there are few other possible options. Meanwhile, they are adamant that increasing the number of troops in the country would create more problems than it solves for the U.S. troops in Iraq. The only real option on the table regarding any kind of surge, would have to involve a specific timeline and mission, which military leaders worry could be exploited by insurgents.

The Pentagon report found there were an average of 959 attacks against Americans and Iraqis every week from August until November, which amounts to a 22 percent increase. "The violence has escalated at an unbelievably rapid pace," the director of strategic plans and policy for the joint chiefs told reporters. The report goes on to say one of the main reasons why Shiite militias have become so deadly is they have received help from some inside Iraq's security services. While confidence in the Iraqi government is decreasing, Sunni and Shiite militias have gained legitimacy among the people by protecting neighborhoods and providing relief supplies.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post leads with word of an intense debate brewing within the Bush administration over whether there should be a surge of troops in Iraq. Some officials at the White House are promoting the idea of an increase, while the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously disagree with that strategy. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with the latest quarterly report on Iraq by the Pentagon that said violence in the country reached its highest level on record. It also concluded the biggest threat to progress in Iraq is the Shiite militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and not al-Qaida.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

To elaborate on Robert Morrow's point, it seems to me that going into the primaries, there will likely be at least 1-3 other candidates besides Clinton who will already have enough money accumulated to keep competing for several primaries. Accordingly, at the very least those people will be in a position to build additional support while the early primaries unfold, along with anyone else who does particularly well in the early primaries.

Of course, if any one candidate, be it Clinton or anyone else, convincingly wins enough of the early primaries, that may create a consensus candidate who will be tough to beat regardless of how long everyone else can afford to compete.

Posted by: DTM | December 19, 2006 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Who says Hillary is such a lock for the Democratic nomination? Once she starts losing a few of those early primary states, someone else is going to get a LOT of money and free publicity. I think that when Hillary starts to drop in the primaries it will be a very ugly, fast departure reminiscent of the time they threw water on the Wicked Witch of the West.

Posted by: Robert Morrow | December 19, 2006 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Tom Vilsack obviously would have to win in Iowa in order to be taken seriously afterward. But he's too weak in Iowa, and after two terms as governor, there's no reason to think that's going to suddenly change now. So why is he running?

Vilsack's goal almost certainly is to nullify Iowa, allowing fellow Democratic Leadership Committee member Hillary Clinton to survive a poor showing there. But Vilsack's terrible polling in Iowa is seriously undermining that strategy.

No one can claim that Vilsack took Iowa out of play, which means all of the candidates have to make their case to the voters and compete in Iowa, or it will be obvious to everyone that they were ducking a fight and trying to cherry-pick contests.

Posted by: Rob Thompson | December 19, 2006 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Tom Vilsack obviously would have to win in Iowa in order to be taken seriously afterward. But he's too weak in Iowa, and after two terms as governor, there's no reason to think that's going to suddenly change now. So why is he running?

Vilsack's goal almost certainly is to nullify Iowa, allowing fellow Democratic Leadership Committee member Hillary Clinton to survive a poor showing there. But Vilsack's terrible polling in Iowa is seriously undermining that strategy.

No one can claim that Vilsack took Iowa out of play, which means all of the candidates have to make their case to the voters and compete in Iowa, or it will be obvious to everyone that they were ducking a fight and trying to cherry-pick contests.

Posted by: Rob Thompson | December 19, 2006 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Nissl: Thanks a bunch. This is a poll that shows the hidden folks out here that I have been talking about for about three weeks now. A couple times I have stated a lot of folks that actually do support Hillary would not do so in public or private forums just as those that oppose McCain but for opposite reasons. For whatever one may or may not agree/disagree this is something that is most often overlooked by those that are actually afraid to state their opinion. Be it jealous, envy, fear, or other words that are/is being used the fact remains that it is out there and I cannot explain or understand it but know it is there.

Posted by: lylepink | December 18, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comments all.
The story line about the invisible primary is very compelling.
Add that to two landslide wins in a big state and one can start to see the makings of a bandwagon.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | December 18, 2006 8:37 PM | Report abuse

To talk about the newsweek poll and place any weight to it is a big mistake that will take us down the wrong path. we need to be looking at likely republican and democrat primary voters, not a random sampling of 1000 people. I'd bet you'd see romney poll better, and if you tested likely general election voters, you'd see a close race between hillary and anyone. And that's before the non-mccain/giuliani republican candidates have reached out to general election voters.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I think that Clinton or Edwards will win Iowa.

Believe it or not, Vilsack was NOT that good of a governor for IA, and a lot of people in IA don't like him. In the general election, he would probably lose his own state to someone like McCain.

Do some Googling about Vilsack. A lot of Iowans, including Iowa Democrats, don't like him for various reasons.

And even if Vilsack DOES win IA, it will not mean much since it is his own state.

But I doubt he will win IA, and he certainly will not win ANY other primary.

At this point, I think Edwards is the biggest challenger to Clinton, UNLESS Clark gets into the race.

In that case, he will have to work HARD to convince the Democratic base that Hillary is not electable and he is.

Will Clark run? Perhaps. With Bayh out, one of Clark's main potential rivals for the moderate label is out. Warner's decision to not run has also benefitted Clark.

But Clark's ONLY way to win is to convince the liberal base to rally around him, since he was against the war from the beginning, and he is the only Dem who is electable.

Will this happen? Possibly. But it's also likely that Hillary may pressure or convince him to not run at all. After all, potential rivals to Hillary who are much stronger than Clark, like Bredesen, Bayh, and Warner, have been scared off and bowed out.

Alternatively, Richardson, Biden, Clark and Vilsack might wind up splitting the moderate Dem votes, clearing the way for Hillary.

Edwards has name recognition, but no money, little campaign infrastructure set up, and then there is the experience issue.

If he had served one more term in the Senate, Edwards would be formidable against Hillary.

Also, I think Edwards has positioned himself too far to the left, and will be vulnerable to Clinton attacking him from his right.

I think Edwards and perhaps Richardson will make strong primary challenges to Clinton, but they will be steamrolled.

Hillary is simply TOO strong. She has too much support, too many operatives lined up, too much campaign infrastructure ready to go, WAAAAY too much money.

I don't think any other Dem will be able to stand up to her.

The only Dem who MIGHT have a chance to beat her by attacking her electability is Clark.

And she will probably pressure him to not run.

The first primary is only a little over a year away, and the first debate is in this coming May.

So if there are any other candidates (like Clark or Gore for the Dems or Sanford for the GOP) waiting and mulling a run, they had better get out there.

But I think that all candidates who will run have already indicated it, and are already being mentioned.

Notice that I have not included Obama as likely to get any spot on the ticket.

I see him as all hyped up by the media, and he will deflate like a balloon when his voting record, his past, his business deals, his background, his personal history, and his electability and qualifications come under scrutiny. I doubt Obama will ever be Pres or VP.

Forget him.

Posted by: William | December 18, 2006 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Another thing about Hillary. She's been sucking up to the Israeli lobby. They are warmongers in the Neocon tradition. I really don't want our country to be shills for the Likudniks as opposed to taking care of our interests first.

Posted by: Ellen | December 18, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Nissl, I think Vilsack will perform well b/c most polls I have saw came out before he actually announced he is running. Vilsack will win Iowa. Alot will change between now and the end of the Iowa primary campaign. By then, I predict the Obama rise to have fallen and Vilsack will win Iowa. Then Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire should narrow the field. I still think Vilsack wins Iowa. Edwards wins South Carolina. Clinton will win New Hampshire. Then Nevada will be competitive with Clinton's contacts and Edwards labor ties there.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The Poll showing Hillary leading McCain was a newsweek poll. You can pull it up quickly via google news.

Clinton 50
McCain 43

Clinton 48
Giuliani 47

Clinton 55
Romney 25

Personally, I'd wait another poll or two to draw any conclusions.

Posted by: Nissl | December 18, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Just heard something about a poll out showing Hillary leading McCain but did not catch where or what org. was taken it. Any info on this will be appreciated.

Posted by: lylepink | December 18, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

William, why don't Obama or Edwards have a shot at Clinton? I'd like to hear some more detailed thinking. Hillary certainly has some structural advantages, but they don't mean much if primary voters decide she's unelectable.

Early polls have Edwards up big in Iowa, and he took SC last time. He's making a strong play for organized labor, which has a major influence on the Nevada vote.

Obama might decide not to run or fall apart, but on the face of it Obama's qualifications aren't really more minimal than those of Edwards, Romney, or Giuliani. On the other hand, the experience of McCain can easily be turned into an age issue, which early polling indicates is far more disadvantageous than being black, female, or even Mormon. Clinton's longer history works against her, i.e. Iraq war vote and ongoing "Bush/Clinton dynasty."

As far as other issues, the Rezko deal is unlikely to be used much against Obama by either Clinton (Whitewater) or McCain (Keating). He's got a lot of big donors starting to line up; Soros, Buffett, etc. The early lead he opened up against Jack Ryan, and the massive margins he eventually won by against Keyes, shows that he's pretty good at getting elected.

Posted by: Nissl | December 18, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Reason, Vilsack is polling in the single digits in Iowa, far behind Edwards, Clinton, and Obama. What makes you think he's likely to win?

Gore won't run, and Edwards is positioning himself as the populist/left candidate despite having a slightly more conservative voting record than Clinton or Obama.

Posted by: Nissl | December 18, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I've got one question for Senator Clinton. Is she going to continue the globalization scheme's of her husband and George Bush? Is she going to continue to export Amercian jobs and technology, import guest workers, is she for any sort of amnesty for illegals? All of these take jobs from American's and place our citizens in a desparate competition with these workers, trading lower wages and medical and sick and other benefits for jobs. This has led directly to an increase in crime, divorce and other damage to families. Either the corporate parasites and the investors who support them, all rats, are treated as criminals and the rest of politcis doesn't mean much.

Posted by: MikeB | December 18, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Ellen, the same folks that nominated Lamont over Lieberman will not let Hillary slide on her vote to go to war in Iraq. Not will she be able to slide with her support for the Iraq war. If Gore runs, this is where he really picks up support from these people. In my view, the biggest challenges to HRC is Gore on the left and Vilsack on the right. Edwards could put up a credible challenge too...he will need to win South Carolina place strong if not win Nevada. I'm guessing Gore won't run, but if he does anti-war activists and environmental groups would back his candidacy. Vilsack is going to win Iowa, and I think Vilsack can build on that and win many southern states as well. Very interesting race.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

You gotta think that Warner is really kicking himself now for getting out of the race. he could compete on the fundraising scale with the goliaths and he was actually presenting ideas....

Posted by: Centrist | December 18, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it. Before the Nov. elections, people were largely concerned about the candidates' stand on the Iraq war. Now, I hardly hear much about it. Are you people gpong to forgive Hillary for completely supporting the war and vote for her anyway? The first question I need to ask any candidate is, "What's your position on the war?" If in favor, that candidate would never get my vote.

Posted by: Ellen | December 18, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I think this article is hilarious, and everyone should at least have a chance to read it. I'd say this were blasphamy if it were mocking anyone but is mocking Cheney so let's all have a laugh:

Washington, DC--An anonymous source in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney has furnished the following transcript of his prayer for Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, who was rushed to George Washington Hospital on Wednesday, December 13 with a brain hemorrhage and is now in critical condition after brain surgery there.

"Sir--and I call you Sir because I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that you're a sir, no matter what these lesbo-maniacs call you, you won't ever find me calling you Ma'am, no sir--anyway sir, let's get one thing straight up front: I don't kneel. Ever. I salute my chief, I salute the stars and stripes, I salute our brave fighting men and women in the war against terror, I even kiss Karl's ring now and then, but I don't kneel to anyone, not even you, and I'm sure you won't take that personally. It's just the way I am. Other presidents and vice presidents before us, you know, have sometimes knelt down in times of crisis. Lincoln maybe, in the civil war. And in the dark days of Watergate, some say, Dick Nixon hit the floor with Henry the K. And I'm sure that Clinton must have tried it once or twice in the hope of staving off impeachment, which of course he never did--though the slimy bastard finally beat the rap, and I have to say I've never forgiven you for letting him do it. But these guys--these oval office kneelers--they all traded away the powers of the office in return for some quick fix. I won't do that. I want to leave this office--the office of the vice president, and the office of the president too, insofar as I control it, which of course I do--I want to leave both offices stronger than they were when we came in. So I don't kneel, sir. I speak to you from a chair in my office that is reserved only for me. And here's what I have to say.

You know, because you know everything--sometimes I think you know even more than Karl, but of course that's impossible--anyway, you know of course that the Democrat party now holds the Senate by a bare majority of 51 to 49. And you know what the Democrat party will try to do us, to the war on terror, to American families, to American values, to the institution of marriage (lay off my daughter, by the way, that's a private matter), to the right to bear arms against all enemies, foreign and domestic (especially liberals), to the whole system of free enterprise, and above all to the Republican party. If the Democrat party takes control of the Senate, they will do all they can to undo what the president and I have done since we took office. They will take back our tax cuts. They will thrust their greedy hands into the pockets of hard-working American taxpayers. They will make the very richest of us--the people who make this economy grow, who build new businesses, who create jobs all around the country, who fund the Republican party and its finest causes, like the war on abortion and the war on gay culture--they will make the richest of us pay even more in taxes than the intolerable pittance we are paying right now. And they will insist that we in this administration fight terror with our hands tied behind our backs, that we tell everyone--al Qaeda included, of course--just where in the world we are holding terrorists, that we charge every one of those terrorists with a specific crime (as if terrorism itself wasn't enough!), that we give every one of them the right to a complete trial, soup to nuts, access to all evidence, even classified information--hell, might as well hand them the keys to the CIA. And that's only the beginning. If the Democrat party takes over the Senate, they'll insist on drastic action against this phony scare called global warming--as if they'd never heard of air conditioning, for heaven's sake. They'll rant and rave about carbon emissions, as if they didn't know that we're all exhaling carbon dioxide every day of our lives (see I know a thing or two about chemistry myself). They'll choke the coal industry. They'll pile one regulation after another on the backs of American corporations until they suffocate. They'll want gay marriage in every state and abortion on demand in every town. Worst of all, they'll try to make us cut and run from Iraq, just when we're about to turn the corner, just when the Sunnis and the Shiites are about to kill each other off entirely, once and for all, and leave the region's oil fields safe at last for American investors.

Sir, you don't want that, I don't want it, the president doesn't want it, and regardless of how they voted in the last election, the American people don't want that either. That's why I'm praying today for Tim Johnson. If he dies, Governor Rounds of South Dakota--a good Republican, I can assure you of that--will replace him with a Republican, which would give us 50 seats in the Senate, and then of course I could tip the balance in any tie vote.

Johnson is now recovering from his operation, they say, but still in critical condition. And in spite of what we've been told about his chances, I'm betting he's in pain. And even if he survives, even if he has a pretty good chance of full recovery, I'm betting he's likely to end up permanently incapacitated, with the fate of the Senate and the fate of the country and the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance. Don't let that happen, sir. Put him out of his misery. Now.

Now that the laugh is over. I am a Conservative Republican, but view Cheney as a politician's politician that will say anything, and has said anything in his political life, to get elected. I honestly do pray for the recovery of Tim Johnson and pray for his family through their tough times, especially here around Christmas. I do sense a gist of Christian values through how Johnson conducts himself and his past votes, which I'm certain gives he and his family that internal peace Christ brings. I pray that God phsyically heals the senator and gives his family the grace to deal with the situation until then. I urge all of you, whatever party you may be part of, to pray for Senator Johnson and his family as well.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Jonah. While reports about Whales and Staff hirings may not be as interesting as Lines or reports about candidates, the behind-the-scenes action is what makes or breaks a campaign.

A candidate who can line up big donators, party primary activists, and skilled staff and political insiders has a MUCH better chance of winning, and most of those donors, staffers, and insiders want to advance themselves and will not work for losers.

A lot of top GOP operatives were gearing up to work for the Allen campaign, since in August it seemed like he would easily win the primary. Now that he is out, and now that Frist has ruled out a run, McCain has unexpectedly discovered that he is the frontrunner, and has been able to pick up a lot of top GOP operatives, campaign staffers and strategists, as well as donors, since everyone wants to back a winner.

It will be extremely difficult for Brownback and others to pick up any top notch operatives.

Huckabee might have limited success if he runs, but I doubt it.

Romney and Guliani have picked up a number of operatives, but they are fighting an uphill battle against McCain.

Hillary Clinton has been doing the same thing as McCain, but to a greater extent. I predict that Obama will either bow out soon, or be steamrolled, or fall apart. People have realized he is unqualified and unelectable.

With Hillary in the race, no names like Vilsack, who are poorly connected in Washington, will have a hard time.

Richardson and Clark will have a tough time recruiting top operatives as well.

Only Gore would be able to challenge Hillary for top Dem operatives, and he probably wont run.

I see Edwards as unable to win the "invisble primary" as well.

Barring any surprises, it will be Hillary v McCain.

Posted by: William | December 18, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting to see where the operatives are going as one of the early signs of strength. A candidate who is DOA will have trouble recruiting operatives. Not that it means anything, but it is an initial bar to cross.

Another one is donors. Chris, you do it for the republicans from the 2004 rangers/pioneers list, but how about a scorecard of democratic donors so we can see who is signed up with which 2008 campaign? Among the big fish we've seen in the press are Terry McAuliffe (Clinton), Lou Susman (Obama), Mitchell Berger & Fred Baron (Edwards), Joe Cari (Biden)...
How about Peter Buttenweiser, Bernard Schwartz, Alan Solomont, Haim Saban, Orin Kramer etc.

Posted by: Jonah | December 18, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Henry was probably worth signing up just for his knowledge of Obama. I think that Newsweek poll is the first one that's shown her ahead of McCain or Giuliani. A few more like that and perhaps doubts about her "electability" will go away. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | December 18, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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