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McCain Inks an Iowa Vet

After skipping the Iowa caucuses during his near-miss presidential bid in 2000, Arizona Sen. John McCain knows he must make a strong showing in the Hawkeye State if he hopes to capture the Republican nomination in 2008.

McCain took a major step toward that goal tonight by inking Dave Roederer, a major political player in the state, as the Iowa chairman of his Straight Talk America political action committee.

In a release announcing the hire, McCain praised Roederer as a "devoted Republican" and added: "I look forward to working with him to determine how Straight Talk can best help our party's candidates in Iowa as the 2006
elections draw closer."

Of course, the Roederer signing has MUCH more to do with the 2008 presidential campaign than the 2006 midterm election. Roederer was the chairman of the Iowa re-election campaign of President George W. Bush and has long ties to former Gov. Terry Branstad (R).

Roederer joins an impressive roster of operatives with close ties to Iowa who are already on board with McCain. Terry Nelson, an Iowa native and political director for the 2004 Bush campaign, is a senior adviser to the PAC. Iowa state Sen. Chuck Larson, a former Republican Party chairman and Bush Ranger in 2004, also works for Straight Talk.

The only other candidate with such breadth of political experience in the Hawkeye State is Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who announced a 50-person Iowa advisory committee in June. Romney's lead strategist in Iowa is Doug Gross, the party's 2002 gubernatorial nominee and a former aide to Branstad as well as former Gov. Robert Ray.

As we've written previously on The Fix, New York Gov. George Pataki has impressed operatives in Iowa (and even signed on a few), but his team at the moment is no match for those of McCain and Romney.

Remember that the major fight right now among aspiring presidential candidates is for staff talent -- specifically in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The more talent McCain and Romney are able to scoop up before the midterm elections, the more difficult it will be for any other Republican candidate to seriously compete with the two frontrunners in Iowa and beyond.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 21, 2006; 9:02 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I spoke too soon last night. McCain has sold out again.

Posted by: Sharytn | September 22, 2006 8:32 PM | Report abuse

mikepcfl says "Are there any Dems out there with a message other than "We aren't them"?"

I am really, really hoping Feingold gains some traction in the 08 race. Some describe his style of politics as "Progressive Libertarianism." I think the message of promoting a small, less-intrusive government that includes some vital safety net programs would be powerful to the majority of Americans.

Posted by: bsimon | September 22, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I would love to find an Indie candidate to support. Clark has some very strong points. To be honest, I really dont know much about him. I generally like McCain and he would be my top choice as of now. But his pandering to Fallwell and friends has concerned me. Maybe it is the price he feels he has to pay? If so, it confirms all we've written in these posts. I wish Powell would change his mind and run as an independent.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | September 22, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Dan W and Mikepcfl - I am in your camp, an independent disgusted by the two major parties. I have voted for independent presidential candidates in the past - Anderson in 80 and Perot in 92 (I never really thought he should be president but I was angry about the deficit). I am looking for a realist - both on fiscal and national security policy and someone who is moderate on social issues. I was for McCain in 2000 but he is still well to the right of my views. The only current potential moderate Democratic candidate is Wesley Clark. He proved to be a poor campaigner in 2004 but he has been actively campaigning for Congressional candidates, so perhaps he has learned something. I do not think a governor can be a viable Democratic candidate in 2008. My opinion is that the Democrats have lost 5 of the last 7 presidential elections because too many moderate voters do not trust them on national security. I think it will be very difficult for a governor to overcome this national security image problem.

Posted by: JimD in FL | September 22, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse


That means all of us Indies need to pick a candidate and get them nominated.

Unfortunately on the Rep side we have McCain and Romney. Without Juli I don't see any other candidates having a realistic chance.

Romney is a truly in bed with the Religious right and McCain can't decide if he wants to be a maverick (which the Indies seem to love) or gain the support of the Rep base.

Being in Mass, I am not too thrilled with Romney. He seems to be trying to appease both the extreme right and the extreme left rather than find some sort of compromise in the middle. The country cant afford that kind of policy.

McCain has long been my favorite but his march to the right has me quite concerned and left without a real candidate.

Are there any Dems out there with a message other than "We aren't them"?

Posted by: Dan W | September 22, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I think many of us are moving that way. The only problem is that during an election, we have to choose from one of the major party candidates. Very rarely is there a viable independent. At this point we have to take part in the nominating procedures or else we are stuck with whoever the party establishment chooses.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | September 22, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse


"3. The fiscallly conservative/socially libertarians (really need a name)."

We have a name. We are called "Independents" now.

Posted by: Dan W | September 22, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I pretty much agree with Truth Hunter on McCain. I've been trying to find just what the deal is on this and the best thing I can come up with is they are going to pass a law that will in effect make legal the crimes they have already commited or alleged to have committed. Frankly I am stumped as to how this could be done.

Posted by: lylepink | September 22, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

McCain caved. He was just test-driving his Straight Talk Express on his "stand" over interrogations and the Geneva Conventions.

The "compromise" is that Bush gets the major role in deciding interrogation guidelines, we will still have secret detention sites, "suspects" can't protest imprisonment or have recourse for mistreatment.

Ever wonder why world wide democracy is on the decline under King George's reign... some example. McCain is just hoping voters will remember the grandstanding and forget the actual accord.

So is the GOP the party of the elephant, or the lemming?

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 22, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

crooked voting machines...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

JEP says "Wonder who the Republican candidate in 08' (doesn't matter who it is, the bosses are the same) will be working for?"

Is it time for a rousing rendition of "Won't Get Fooled Again?"

A lot depends on whether the GOP rank & file can recover their party from the religious right. All signs point to 'no.' Which, if you're a Dem, could be good news. Though considering the Dems have similar problems where they cater to the fringes in the primaries, then expect to win independents, moderates & crossovers in the general, one can't help but wonder how either party continues to win an election.

Posted by: bsimon | September 22, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

There was a comment earlier that McCain would not pass muster among "grassroots conservatives." But who are the grassroots? I believe the Republican party is made up of 3 wings. 1. The Religious Right 2. The Neo-conservatives 3. The fiscallly conservative/socially libertarians (really need a name).

The first two groups have combined to nominate Bush and his agenda of the past few years. They are responsible for Iraq, the increase in the deficit, the hostility in the culture wars, and many of the divisive issues facing America today. Group 3 really must mobilize in 2008 to take back the Republican Party.

It's not a coincidence that McCain, Warner and Graham all have military experience and they were the Republicans who stood up to Bush on the interogations. Right now, this group can not match the neo-cons and the religious right, but hopefully this wing will come out strong in 2008. I think the momentum in the party is moving in that direction and there will be many more confrontations such as the one over the interogation bill.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | September 22, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The October Surprise Rove has been talking about..

'As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have issued orders for a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.

As Time writes in its cover story, "What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. is preparing for war with Iran."

According to Lieut. Mike Kafka, a spokesman at the headquarters of the Second Fleet, based in Norfolk, Virginia, the Eisenhower Strike Group, bristling with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has received recent orders to depart the United States in a little over a week. Other official sources in the public affairs office of the Navy Department at the Pentagon confirm that this powerful armada is scheduled to arrive off the coast of Iran on or around October 21.'

Posted by: drndl | September 22, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The company was authorized to put together ballots, program machines and train poll workers across the state - all without any official supervision. "We ran the election," says Hood. "We had 356 people that Diebold brought into the state. Diebold opened and closed the polls and tabulated the votes. Diebold convinced (Georgia Secretary of State Cathy) Cox that it would be best if the company ran everything due to the time constraints, and in the interest of a trouble-free election, she let us do it."
So basically, there was a deal where Diebold had free reign over the entire Georgia election process for 2002. Which included training the workers, setting up the machines, counting the votes, and, well, just about everything else.

And then Diebold's election unit president stepped in and made the story even more interesting:

Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."
And thanks to the agreement between Cox and Diebold, there was no need to certify the change to the software, since Diebold was pretty much running the election process - at least the administration of it.

"It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

'There is an even bigger story in that article - an admission by a Diebold consultant that machine software was altered in 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties on the day of the election.

If anyone remembers the 2002 election in Georgia, that is the one where Max Cleland's five to six point lead was erased overnight to a seven point loss, leading to a miraculous win by Saxby Chambliss, which even describes his come from behind win as "stunning and historical" in his Senate website.

And while many indicated that this was due at least in part to an infamous advertisement that compared Cleland (a war hero) to Osama Bin Laden, there was always a cloud hanging over this election as this was the first year of the Diebold machines in Georgia, and it just not passing the "smell test". '

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

You still believe that phony BS? You are gullible. I'm sure you think Hillary killed Vince Foster too. But it's no use talking to you. You're one of the approximately 30% of people in this country who are beyond hope, totally braindead. I give up.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

So is this what your side is left with, hoping some scandal will take down the republicans because your party has nothing to offer the public. Say what you want about Barbara Bush or George or Cheney, but that Clinton was a RAPIST cannot be denied by any spinning. Being a woman, I'm shocked that you would condone women being raped. I guess when you are a blind partisan, your willing to countenance just about anything in pursuit of your sick agenda.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 22, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

So your president has been fighting for the power to do inflict
'violence to life and person," such as death and mutilation, as well as cruel treatment and "outrages upon personal dignity."
'Negotiations then turned to the amount of time that a detainee's suffering must last before the treatment amounts to a war crime. Administration officials preferred designating "prolonged" or permanent mental or physical symptoms,'

But in the end, the draft legislation would give the president explicit authority to interpret "the meaning and application" of the relevant provisions in Common Article 3. In other words, the perpetrator of the crime is allowed to decide whether what he's doing is a crime.

Which means that the republicans caved to the bloodthirsty dictator who wants to torture people to death to obtain phony confessions so he can go onto to his next pet project, invading Iran. Welcome to the New Soviet Union. The America I grew up with is dead.

Posted by: drindl | September 22, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

That article in US is eyepopping.

12 pages of high crimes and misdeanors, and likely a lot of felonies too. It's truly incredible how much taxpayer's money has been stolen by crooked contractors, and how many congresspeople that have been willing to sell out the security of this country.

Because so many of our most secret programs have been compromised and so much sensitive intelligence sold to our enemies, we are probably more endangered than we ever have been.

Posted by: drindl | September 22, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Clinton a racist, with an office in Harlem? You really say the stupidest things. It's like you go out of your way to be idiotic. But Bush can't help being a racist, he was raised by that horror show of a mother, the one who went golfing the day her little girl died. Like the Allens, they're one sick family.

US News has a report out about the major investigation of criminal defense contractors beng conducted. Most if not all of the targets are repugs, one wonders if that will having any effect on the elections...
'Today, the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Defense Security Service are working with prosecutors to put the finishing touches on indictments against several other defense contractors, and senior defense and intelligence officials, who helped Wade with his corrupt activities. "We have been looking at everybody that's involved," says a federal law enforcement official. "Anytime you talk about defense contracting, it's a huge spider web."'

Posted by: drindl | September 22, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Yea, I agree Drindl, Clinton was enough. we don't need another thin skinnned racist.(and rapist to boot)

Posted by: bhoomes | September 22, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey, you know what? I agree with you bhoomes. I can't stand McCain's ego either. All this showboating about torture--and then he caves and allows the administration to keep using soviet tactics, essentially saying they can torture and murder, as long as they call it something else. Sickening. It was all politics.

And yes, Allen can't stand the heat. He's got serious mental issues which are kind of sad and i would almost feel sorry for him, but then I remember the noose in his office and his viciousness and I'm simply glad he's toast. We don't need another arrogant, angry, thin-skinned little racist in the WH.

Posted by: drindl | September 22, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

michiganformccain:"For more information on Sen McCain" For god sake, we all have more than enough information on McCain as he is always on the airways bashing his fellow republicans. You are wasting your time, this old man isn't going anywhere, we conservatives are looking forward to giving this guy is just deserved payback for his disloyalty to the republican party.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 22, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Of those mentioned so far here, my own personal opinion on them have been stated before and these early favorites appear to have the most important thing missing is the like factor that so many of them dont have with the majority. I LIKE IKE is a good example I remember so well in my youth.

Posted by: lylepink | September 22, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"For the first time, all 400 Gotbucks on the Forbes tally are billionaires,"

We've entered the age of ostentation.

Wonder who the Republican candidate in 08' (doesn't matter who it is, the bosses are the same) will be working for?

Posted by: JEP | September 22, 2006 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The best think McCain has going for him right now is that George Allen has blown up. Romney is not presidential timber regardless of his staff recruitment. Brownback is a dark horse because of his grassroots appeal. Guliani has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do of dating Kate Hudson.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | September 22, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

McCain might be able to snag a few big politicl operatives here and there but the grassroots of the republican party cannot stand this ego maniac. I am seriously disappointed in George Allen, I had no problem giving him a mulligan over the macacau remark but this latest incident where he gets angry again over a question tells me he is not presidential material. I will be Taking a good look at Mitt in case Rudy doesn't run or should falter.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 22, 2006 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget about Michigan too. McCain and Romney have been playing a game of one-upsmanship for about 4 months.

People may disagree with McCain, but once they find out Romney's evolution on abortion, his universal healthcare bill, and gun control bills, conservatives will turn away. Let's not forget one thing McCain has over Romney that EVERYBODY can agree with: foreign relations experience.

With Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Iraq and all the other autocracies threatening our every move, I believe military and international relations will trump all.

For more information on Senator McCain, please visit:

Posted by: MichiganForMcCain | September 21, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan, but McCain did more himself as a presidential candidate this week by being aggressively anti-torture than any inking he did. I can't believe the bar is so high - yet there it is.

Posted by: Sharytn | September 21, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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