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Understanding Ames

The Ames Straw poll is now just 22 days away. This beauty contest for candidates is being viewed as a major political event, even though Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have bowed out and Fred Thompson probably won't participate.

As you might imagine, each campaign is playing an intense version of the expectations game, seeking to ensure that, whatever the result, they can claim success after the Aug. 11 contest. But not everyone can be a winner. (Or to quote The Simpsons: "Gentlemen, you've both worked very hard. And in a way, you're both winners. But in another more accurate way, Barney is the winner.")

If history is any guide, the straw poll will winnow the field of GOP candidates. In the month after the 1999 Straw poll, the field was pared by four with Lamar(!) Alexander, Dan Quayle, Elizabeth Dole and Pat Buchanan all stepping aside.

This time around several leading candidates -- including former Govs. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and Tommy Thompson (Wisc.) as well as Sen. Sam Brownback (Kans.) -- have painted Ames as a make or break moment in their campaigns. If any of these candidates finish below third at Ames, it's hard to imagine them continuing on in any serious way.

So who's got the most to win and lose at Ames? Here's The Fix's look at each of the candidates, how much time and money they're spending on Ames and what you can expect to happen on Aug. 11.

Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor is the heavy favorite heading into Ames thanks to the absence of Giuliani, Thompson and McCain as well as the strong organization Romney has built in the Hawkeye State. And, from what we hear, Romney is sparing no expense when it comes to his straw poll effort. Publicly, the Romney campaign says its goal is to simply win the Straw poll. Privately, they would like to get more than the 7,418 votes then Texas Gov. George W. Bush received in 1999. Barring an unforeseen political tsunami (and these things do happen from time to time), Romney will win at Ames. But how big a margin is enough?

Mike Huckabee: Ames may be Huckabee's last, best chance to make a serious move in this GOP primary race. He has spent scads of time in the state of late -- including a five-day trip last week -- and his socially conservative profile and religious background should play well with those most likely to travel to Ames for the vote. "What Governor Huckabee needs to do is exceed expectations on the day of the straw poll," said campaign manager Chip Saltsman. The problem for Huckabee is money; he raised just $766,000 in the second quarter and ended June with just $373,000 in the bank. For Huckabee to raise the bare minimum of cash he needs to compete with the big boys in next year's Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primaries and beyond, he needs a breakthrough on Aug. 11. That means finishing a strong second.

Sam Brownback: Brownback's profile seems tailor-made for the Ames Straw poll. He is not only one of the leading conservative voices in the Senate but also hails from neighboring Kansas -- a proximity that allows him to make a compelling case that he better than any of the other candidates understands the plight of everyday Iowans. And yet, Brownback's low-key style hasn't seemed to resonate yet in Iowa or any other early state. Brownback's straw poll strategy seems to be to raise questions about Romney's true conservative credentials in hopes of peeling off enough to catapult him into second place.

Tommy Thompson: The former Wisconsin Governor has the most to lose (or win) at Ames. From the start, he has put Iowa at the center of his campaign and has devoted the limited resources he has raised to introducing himself to voters in the state. His campaign is currently running a 60-second radio ad touting Thompson's hard-line position on immigration, a stance that they hope will help him win over base voters. Thompson "hopes for a very strong performance on August 11," said Iowa adviser Steve Grubbs. What does that mean? Thompson thinks he can win, while his campaign is pitching a second place showing as a victory, according to Grubbs. Anything lower than second and Thompson isn't long for the race.

Duncan Hunter: In theory, the California Congressman's message -- strong military, strong opposition to illegal immigration -- should play well among straw poll attendees. In practice, he's got next to no money to communicate those positions to a group of voters who don't likely know who he is.

Tom Tancredo/John Cox/Ron Paul: All three of these men are running more of a cause than a campaign. For Tancredo it's illegal immigration, for Paul it's libertarianism, for Cox it's who knows what. As a result, it's hard to analyze what impact if a stronger or weaker than expected showing could have on their candidacies. Paul could be something of a sleeper; his performances in the debates has created a national following of sorts around him and he has enough money to play semi-seriously in the straw vote if he is so inclined. Tancredo has said unless he finishes in the top five at the straw poll, he will likely end his candidacy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 20, 2007; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Democrats Gather in S.C. for CNN/YouTube Debate


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Posted by: aktm uwjnrxl | August 14, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: wgzl ncwpmaygj | August 14, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Ron Paul is "running more of a cause than a campaign?" Don't tell that to the 25,000+ volunteers who are becoming active in their local Meetup groups.

In recent weeks, Ron Paul has spoken to 600+ in Missouri, 1,000+ in Iowa, 1,000+ in California, 600+ in Nevada, and 1,000+ in South Carolina. Similar rallies and fundraisers are planned for Texas and Pennsylvania in the next few weeks.

Sounds an awful lot like a real campaign to me....

Posted by: Lex | July 24, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Nitpicking. Kansas and iowa are 50 miles apart.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Kansas does not neighbor Iowa. Not real big on fact checking, are you Cillizza?

Posted by: Ian | July 23, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

'There is a difference in the political reality: a healthy chunk of the national political press corps doesn't like John Edwards.

Fairly or unfairly, there's also a difference in narrative timing: when the first quarter ended, the press was trying to bury Edwards. It's not so much interested in burying Romney right now -- many reporters think he's the Republican frontrunner.'

--Marc Ambinder, rightwing hack and friend of CC's, one of the architects of ABC's hardright tack in the last few years...

'He spent four years in the ABC News Political Unit and was one of the founders of ABC's "The Note'

..admitting that the press hates John Edwards, just as they did Al Gore and John Kerry, and admitting that they are going to give MItty a pass for his $400 makeup jobs because they are trying to make him a frontrunner.


Posted by: HOW IT WORKS | July 23, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Federal investigators have uncovered what they describe as a sweeping network of kickbacks, bribes and fraud involving at least eight employees and subcontractors of KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary, in a scheme to inflate charges for flying freight into Iraq in support of the war, according to court papers unsealed yesterday.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Boko - Thanks for the first good laugh on a Monday a.m.!!!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | July 23, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone even care about these straw polls, other than the press becuase it's late July and verrrrryyyy slow news-wise?

And maybe it was MikeB who said that Iowa and NH have such an outsized impact on the primary process, just because they continually jigger their calendar in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

Nothing wrong with either state, so don't flame me if you live there; it's just that, I don't see the charm or romance of the 'retail politics' and nostalgia as justification for continuing a process that has become soooooo OBE. With the internet and multiple broadcast options these days, we should move on to something better, maybe a 1/4-of-the-country rotation I've heard about elsewhere.

I'm sure the buggy whip manufacturers were mad when the automobile became prevalent in America too; doesn't mean we need to continue to pump up a stupid system.

Posted by: JD | July 23, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin--Aha, I see what you mean.

I would not characterise Paul's record as "rocky" although it is pretty harsh. His opposition to spending and rigorous adherence to the constitution as he sees it produces some interesting votes--for example, "nay" on awarding a medal of some kind to Rosa Parks because he did not see a case for the public funding of it (he did offer to split the tab personally with the other congressmen, though.)

Most of the Paul supporters seem to embrace this ideology although there is that strange contingent I mentioned. I will agree with you, though, there is no way Republicans will elect a classical liberal federalist.

Posted by: roo | July 22, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon, Good one!

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 22, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

roo - I meant that statement at two levels.

First, I do not believe that hard core libertarians on either the left or the right [and there are hard core libertarians of every political persuasion that requires recognition of rights for the individual] are more than five per cent of registered voters in either party.

Second, Paul has had an unusual and rocky history as a congressman that should invite closer scrutiny. That history would probably not frighten libertarians but it would keep his numbers from growing among those who do not consider themselves driven first by the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 22, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter, Romney intends to save money on buses by strapping voters to the roof of his car. Romney supporters have been asked to be sure to use the bathroom before taking the ride.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 22, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin--"Paul has caught on with certain libertarians who do not know him well but I suspect that if all of them vote for him he cannot reach 5% in a poll of Rs."

I found this an odd statement. The Republicans and Libertarians who support Paul are broadly the most well-informed voters I know although there is a bizarre contingent of fairly hard leftists that clearly DO fall under your criterion by supporting Paul. I think they are just awestruck by someone who seems, I dunno, genuine and honest.

In strict policy terms I am quite far off from Paul but I think his support for individual liberties and his dare I say rational approach make him the least dangerous of all the Republican candidates.

And if it gives you an idea of my leanings, puts me at -9.03, -6.43. I believe the term is "anarchosyndicalist" :D

Posted by: roo | July 22, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hold the phone on the straw poll predictions.... evidently Romney's been out to lunch and just found out that McCain and Rudy aren't going to participate.

Becuase, Romney just "announced" that because of McCain and Rudy not competing in Ames he is scaling back his efforts for the event.

Hmmmm.... since his stated reason is so lame.... is he running out of money or perhaps can't fill his buses?

Romney is also taking aim at Brownback, dissing his pro-amnesty stand, so he must be afraid of his competition. Brownback has 50 staffers in Iowa and making inroads with social conservatives.

Just thought you would want to know...

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 22, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

With all the money that Romney is spending it seems that it would be a pretty big upset if he did not come out on top.

Posted by: publius | July 21, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Mike B.... Anyone who describes Iowans as "hicks" can't be that familiar with the state.

If by "hicks" you mean farmers.... most are businessmen with large investments in land and mega-machinery, business plans, computerized management systems, and a neighborly way of life.

Magazines like Forbes routinely rate the greater Des Moines area as one of the best places to work and live in the country, Our education system is considered superior and people pay attention to political issues.

Recently, big business in the greater Des Moines area tried to dazzle through a 1% sales tax in exchange for "property tax relief." Voters lauaghed all of the way to the polls and defeated the measure by a whopping 85%.

We're first in the country because we are a representative mix of the U.S. citizenry and are interested in the issues and the candidates.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 21, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, Iowa does not always follow what the media says. Its not their fault if the rest of the states act like lemmings and fall in line. Iowans do not control a voter from Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Ohio, wherever from continuing to make contributions to their candidate. But for some reason, the rest of the states act like lemmings. And, by moving the big state primaries up, you have either two options:

1) Iowa and New Hampshire importance grows larger; or

2) You have a primary where money rules

Well, MikeB, where should we go first? Does it even matter? If people stuck by their candidate no matter how they do in the early state, they could still have some impact.

Posted by: vahawk | July 21, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, Iowa does not always follow what the media says. Its not their fault if the rest of the states act like lemmings and fall in line. Iowans do not control a voter from Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Ohio, wherever from continuing to make contributions to their candidate. But for some reason, the rest of the states act like lemmings. And, by moving the big state primaries up, you have either two options:

1) Iowa and New Hampshire importance grows larger; or

2) You have a primary where money rules

Well, MikeB, where should we go first? Does it even matter? If people stuck by their candidate no matter how they do in the early state, they could still have some impact.

Posted by: vahawk | July 21, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You obviously didn't learn anything while there, nor listen to a word any Iowan said.

Iowa politics are very much the opposite of what you describ: "what passes for common wisdom there is slightly to the right of some old Nazi nonsense."

This is, of course, wholly incorrect. Even conservative Iowans are more cosmopolitan than most New Yorkers, and more open, tolerant, and non-judgmental than anyone/(generally) in the NY-NJ metropolitan region.

Your quickness to judge and put down is a textbook case in point. Somehow you think you've rationalized a roblem with American democracy; and your solution is to eliminate the other guys' voice. This fundamental cultural deviation from defining American traits & characteristics has always been the downfall East Coasters and an Achilles heel to the country as a whole.

It's a matter of taking whatever you can get away with before finding out what the people around you might want or need. Be it at the social, neighborhood school, city, or state scale. It's about ramming your opinion down everybody's throats without bothering to ask what that guy over there thinks.

Not a recipe for fruitful debate. Which would be your point, as well as your purpose.

Posted by: Rich | July 21, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I *have* been to Iowa and what passes for common wisdom there is slightly to the right of some old Nazi nonsense. I could say the same thing about Vermont and some of these other hick places that the press seems to worship. Look, anyone with a brain and able to pass a literacy test can determine that the opinions of people living in these places do not represent the views of most American's. The sole reason we even listen to them is because they manipulate their silly primaries and caucus' before anyone else. If they were held at the rest of the country, no one in the press would waste any ink on them at all. I maintain, since they are out of the mainstream anyways, just ignore them. Romney, for all of the blathering in the press, represents the views of a very few far right wing but cases in places like Iowa and Utah. Minimize the input of these silly people and he wouldn't be in the picture. I could al ost say the same thing about East Coast liberals and Hillary Clinton. East Coast liberals DO NOT represent the views of West Coast liberals.

Posted by: MikeB | July 21, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Please, will someone explain to me why we care about Iowa voters? Have you even ever been to Iowa? This is one of the most boring places on the planet . . . . is becasue you dufus' in the press waste print ink on them.
Posted by: MikeB | July 20, 2007 06:06 PM

Because they're better than you. Smarter, better-educated, and with better political instincts. More respectful.

The Iowa primaries have routinely corrected the conventional "wisdom" put forth by the media and by a woefully misguided DC political Establishment.

They've got a better handle on what's best for the country. They've got a more accurate understanding of what the country thinks.

Why do you ask?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

MikeB - where are you from? have you ever been to Iowa. I am frm there and recently moved to the DC area. I have been to events where the people can ask the candidates questions in both Iowa and Virginia. Guess what, there was a wider range of questions in Iowa than Virginia. Not only that, there are very few farm questions. Its nice to see you stereotyping a state like that. You might want to actually travel to the state and see an event before you make yourself look like an idiot like that.

As for Iowans, the Democratic side is very excited about their choices. It is hard to find Republicans who are excited as the Dems. I think its "the-less-of-the-evils" type caucus going on there.

Posted by: vahawk | July 21, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"According to a new AP poll, the most popular presidential candidate among registered Republicans is 'none of the above.' At the moment, Rudy Giuliani is running third, just behind 'Good Lord, not him.'" --Conan O'Brien

"In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said his dreams of becoming a priest ended when he realized he couldn't give up having sex. Ironically, that's also what ended his first and second marriages." --Jay Leno

Daily Show correspondent John Oliver, on lightning striking when Rudy Giuliani was speaking about abortion at the GOP debate: "No, it was not a coincidence. That was divine endorsement. Or, in this case, God saying, 'Vote for anybody but Rudy Giuliani.' And God said onto the people of New Hampshire, 'a thrice-married New York City cross-dresser, oh, for the love of me.'"

"Other frontrunners tried to turn a blue background into a red bona fide [on screen: Rudy Giuliani saying, 'According to George Will, I ran the most conservative government in the last 50 years in New York City']. Wow. You ran the most conservative government in 50 years in New York City? Congratulations on being the thinnest guy at fat camp." --Jon Stewart

"When reporters of the Associated Press recently asked some of presidential candidates what their favorite reality shows were, Mitt Romney said 'American Idol.' Joe Biden said he didn't have a favorite show. And surprisingly, Rudy Giuliani picked 'Wife Swap.'" --Jay Leno

"Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is paying his wife $125,000 a year to help him write his speeches. She's writing his speeches for him ... and you can tell. Like last week, he gave a speech about what awful b**hes the first two wives were." --Jay Leno

"Rudy Giuliani ... now leads Senator McCain in the latest polls by 22 points. 22. Or, as Giuliani himself might phrase it, 'Twice the number of points as the day of the month on which the World Trade Center was attacked while I was mayor. Did I mention I was mayor ... when the world was attacked ... on 9/11?'" --Jon Stewart

"In a speech in Alabama, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said the one thing about him that you can count on is that we he makes a decision, he sticks with it. You don't believe him? You can ask either of his two ex-wives." --Jay Leno

"Giuliani said he wants to make it clear he is not in favor of gay marriage. He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, no matter how many times it takes them to get it right" --Jay Leno

"Rudy Giuliani says the press can attack him all they want, but they should lay off his wife. Giuliani added, 'I just mean this wife. It's open season on the first two.'" --Conan O'Brien

"We're now finding out where all the candidates met their spouses. Barack Obama met his wife at a law firm. John McCain met his wife at a Naval officers dance. And Rudy Giuliani met his third wife when he was cheating on his first wife with his second wife." --Jay Leno

"Rudy Giuliani, the Republican frontrunner, was in the news today. ... We thought Rudy Giuliani was [his third wife's] second husband. It turns out it's her third husband. He'll never forget 9/11. But anniversaries, he's got to write those down. ... In addition to this, Rudy's first wife was his cousin. And they say a New Yorker can't win in the South." --Bill Maher

"While you folks were applauding, Mrs. Giuliani remembered another marriage." --David Letterman

"Rudy Giuliani has defended Newt Gingrich, saying it's okay Newt had an affair and that no one is perfect. That's when you know the Republicans are in trouble -- when a guy with three marriages and an affair is defending the guy with three marriages and two affairs, so they can team up and beat a Clinton." --Jay Leno

"You all excited about the 2008 presidential election? There's some interesting potential matchups. For example, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. ... On the one hand, you have a pushy New Yorker with a history marital problems. Or, you have a pushy New Yorker with a history marital problems." --David Letterman

"The field's already getting crowded with candidates. Everyone knows about Hillary and McCain, but who else has a shot? On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani. Hero. 9/11. Time person of the year. Member of the comb over club. But also a member of the New York, divorced, pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-stem cell research, gay-friendly wing of the Republican Party. I'm sorry, did I say wing? I meant room. Did I say room? I meant corner. Did I say corner? I meant table -- for one." --Jon Stewart

"In 2008, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, may run for president. And if elected, he'll take a no-nonsense approach to Iraq. And the first thing he's going to do over there is get rid of the squeegee guys." --David Letterman

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 21, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

McCain is in Iowa this weekend, the first time since early June, trying to mend fences and regroup.

And, Hillary asserted to the staff at the Des Moines Register that "I can win."

She's obviously trying to overcome the "is she electable" factor important to many Iowa caucus voters.

Hillary stating "I can win" reminds me of Nixon's "I'm not a crook." If you have to say it.....

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 21, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: telegu | July 21, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please go to:

"Executive privilege" claim in US attorneys' case

White House asserts sweeping power to defy the law

By Bill Van Auken

The Bush administration has claimed virtually unlimited power to defy Congress and federal law in its rejection of congressional attempts to secure information related to the politically motivated firing of nine US attorneys.

The Washington Post reported Friday that officials in the administration have insisted that "the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege."

The report came one day after a House judiciary panel indicated that it is moving closer to bringing contempt charges against White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten over his refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents sought in the probe of the federal prosecutors' purge.

The House subcommittee voted 7-to-3 to reject the White House contention that Bolten's stonewalling is legitimized by Bush's assertion of executive privilege. The Bush administration has made the sweeping claim that virtually all communications involving decision-making within the administration are protected as confidential discussions involving the US president.

Similar claims have been made by the administration in rebuffing subpoenas issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding documents from the Vice President Dick Cheney's office, the Justice Department and the National Security Council regarding the National Security Agency's secret and illegal domestic spying operation.

In addition, the White House has instructed Bush's former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to refuse to respond to a congressional subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on the attorney firings. It was Miers who initiated the process that led to the firings of the nine prosecutors, when she proposed that all 93 US attorneys be dismissed after Bush's reelection in 2004.

The administration and the Republican right have advanced a thesis known as the "unitary executive," under which all executive branch officials, including the US attorneys, are to be considered extensions of the president's personal power. This means that Congress cannot mandate an executive agency or department to carry out actions opposed by the president--such as initiating the prosecution of a top official for contempt of Congress.

"Those claims are not legally valid," the House panel's chairwoman, Linda Sanchez, a California Democrat, said after Thursday's vote. "We are hopeful that the White House will come to the conclusion that is better for them to cooperate than continue this confrontation."

Sanchez's claims were substantiated in a confidential report drawn up by the Congressional Research Service, Congress's non-partisan research arm, dated July 5 and entitled "Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments."

The document, while not issued publicly, was posted earlier this week on the web site of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.

The report states in part that "recent appellate court rulings cast considerable doubt on the broad claims of privilege posited by the OLC (the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel) in the past and now by the Clement Memo." The document to which the report refers is a memorandum issued June 27 by Paul D. Clement, the Solicitor General and Acting Attorney General in matters dealing with the fired prosecutors, claiming virtual blanket immunity under executive privilege and baldly asserting that "congressional interest in investigating the replacement of US attorneys clearly falls outside its core constitutional responsibilities."

The document, drafted by the CRS's specialist in American public law, Morton Rosenberg, went on to cite two court rulings against the Clinton administration, the Espy and Judicial Watch cases, asserting that they "arguably have effected important qualifications and restraints on the nature, scope and reach of the presidential communications privilege."

In particular, Rosenberg insisted that these cases found that "the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority" trumps an assertion of executive privilege.

The response of the Bush administration to such findings is to assert even greater extra-constitutional powers, essentially declaring that once executive privilege is claimed, the White House is answerable to neither the Congress nor the courts. It has made it clear that it is prepared to openly defy the law in order to impose this interpretation.

Under federal law, once the House or Senate issues a contempt citation against an administration official, it is submitted to the US attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."

For the rest please go to:

Posted by: che | July 21, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

i hope if tancredo drops he endorse duncan hunter

Posted by: alex | July 21, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Ames will grant a huge boost to Romney. He will likely win convincingly. Huckabee will likely stay in the race. I'm now convinced Huckabee is running for VP. If he's actually running for President, he will likely withdrawl and decide if he wants to challenge Pryor for the Ark. senate seat in 08'.

Ames will be the end for Tancredo, T. Thompson and Sam Brownback. Tom Tancredo will go back to Colorodo and run for his congressional seat in 08. T. Thompson will drop out and then decide if he'd like to take a shot at Doyle in 2010 for governor of Wisconsin again or challenge Russ Feingold for a US senate seat. I believe Thompson would like to enter national politics, and would make a great candidate in 2010 against Feingold. Tancredo would retain his congressional seat in 08', and may try to run for US senate in 2010. Then again, he may just stay in the House. Sam Brownback can withdrawl his name from the race after the Iowa straw poll and still save face in his home state of Kansas. He will remain a US senator in 2010, when he has said he's retiring. There will be an open governor's race in 2010 in Kansas, and that would give Brownback a chance to gain executive experience and try again down the road. Whatever the case, all 3 of these guys could pull out and continue their political careers if they do it now.

Posted by: reason | July 20, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the great GOP bus-in. Let's not kid ourselves, this is purely a test of organization, pure and simple.

I heard on the radio today that Ames is preparing to accommodate at least 500 buses, plus who knows how many hundreds of vehicles.

You can be sure each bus carries a particular candidate's supporters, so organization is the name of the game.

Although all candidate names will be on the ballot, including Rudy, McCain and Fred, obviously without an organizing push they won't garner many votes.

Each ticket for admission is $35.... you can imagine how many tickets those who want to make a big showing, like Mitt, have puchased for the faithful. The Iowa Republican party expects a crowd of roughly 40,000.

Which is a drop in the bucket when compared to the attendance at the Iowa State Fair which will be going strong at the same time.... and fair goers traditionally expect to meet, or at least greet, the candidates.

Wonder how McCain especially can write this off.... no Straw poll, no Fair, no chance.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 20, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Proud American, I have voted democrat all my life, but I can safely say I would be happy with Ron Paul as president. I find all the top tier candidates of either partyess than ideal. The repugs are all warmongerers who would be similar to Bush and Hillary is just a bit too cozy with lobbyists and Aipac, as well as Ruperty Murdoch.

Posted by: Bo | July 20, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

No respect for Congressman Ron Paul, yet? How much money have people spent that was not part of the official numbers? Every time a new member comes to a sign waving with their shirt, signs, buttons, bumper stickers, etc that they BOUGHT, you know who they will vote for. Romney is lucky to give his junk away. How much will his bill be to buy Ames? Eveyone but Ron Paul runs their campaigns just like they would run our gov't: Spend every dime and them some. Closing in on $9 TRILLION for our national debt, but still Washington doesn't care.
Ron Paul will be the NEXT President.

Posted by: Proud American | July 20, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

What does simpons and family guy have against rupert murdoch and Fox "news"? Must be serious since he pays their bills

"NEW YORK In an interview in this coming Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons," declares that while he gets along well with Rupert Murdoch -- who owns the network that airs the TV show -- he doesn't want him to buy the Wall Street Journal.

"I think he owns enough," Groening says. But he recalls Murdoch being "gracious every time I've met him" and even going along with his animated appearance on the show with the entrance line, "I'm Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant."

"The Simpsons Movie" opens next week.

According to an early review, the movie at one point includes a "news crawl" along the bottom of the screen, which reads: "Watch 'Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?' on Fox. That's right, we even advertise our shows during movies now."

Groening also explains why he makes Arnold Schwarzenegger president in the movie ("We needed a president that would make peope laugh") and admits he has never voted for a winning president in real life "with the exception of Al Gore."

He also discloses that movie will reveal which state Springfield is actually in by showing what borders it -- including Maine and Kentucky."

Posted by: rufus | July 20, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Please, will someone explain to me why we care about Iowa voters? Have you even ever been to Iowa? This is one of the most boring places on the planet and the people there are pretty reflective of the flat, boring environment in which they live. Of course they will vote for Romney. They'd vote for Herman Goring or Adolf Hitler if you gave them the chance. Chris, the ONLY reason people pay any attention to this collection of nerdowells, is becasue you dufus' in the press waste print ink on them.

Posted by: MikeB | July 20, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

'After all, she actually paid loads of dough to get her face to look like that. I usually just stick the dog's head out the window of the car for that effect.'

The kindergarten level of discourse of the gop today.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course when we stop, his eyes go back into his head and his cheeks spring forward. not so with gen Pelosi.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

dingbat pelosi - generalissima of the moonbat brigade

Call it for what it is.

After all, she actually paid loads of dough to get her face to look like that. I usually just stick the dog's head out the window of the car for that effect.

Posted by: hateful and juvinile | July 20, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

These polls aren't worth the straw they're taken with.

BTW Zouk, that's Speaker Pelosi to you!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If Ames is a 'beauty contest' the Pretty Mitty will surely win, with his $400 makeup jobs.


Why the silence? I'm sure if Hillary were spedning $400 on makeup it would be on every front page in the country...

Posted by: lying corporate media wh*res | July 20, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

A pack of pathetic losers, liars, adulterers and panderers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Gee Chris, you'd think after raising $2.9 mil you would have a little more respect for Ron Paul than lumping him in with John Cox of all people.

But that's okay. Keep our expectations low. We'll be happy to suprise you.

One thing should be pointed out: This year's straw poll rules have been changed. In 1999, the event was opened only to registered Iowa voters. This time around its all Iowans, anyone who shows up, pays the $35 entry fee and shows their Iowa drivers license. This will help Ron Paul a lot because he can get a great deal of support from Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists and others who don't vote to often who would probably be reluctant to attend what they would perceive as a GOP event if it was just open to registered voters.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | July 20, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

'Is Party loyalty strong enough to fend off
impeachment talk for an Administration bound to test the limits of its authority?
Which precedent would be the worst: an unchallenged Executive branch, an Executive Branch unsuccessfully challenged by Congress, or an Impeachment that led to either compliance or Removal?'

What can be worse than a president who says he has unlimited power? How is that different from King George or Stalin?

And what the hell is he likely to do next if he feels that way? You know, Mark, that a nuclear WW3 is not an abstract issue... and both he and Cheney are mentally delusional. I find them more terrifying every day.

Posted by: drindl | July 20, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Ron Paul is in a good position to play the part of a spoiler in Ames, i.e., he could eliminate or damage some of the serious candidates -- even though he doesn't (and will never) have a serious chance at the GOP nomination himself.

Remember Pat Buchanan in 1996? There was no way Buchanan was ever going to be the GOP nominee. However, he knocked Phil Gramm out of the race by defeating him in the Louisiana Caucuses and nearly sunk Bob Dole (the eventual nominee) by defeating him in New Hampshire.

If Paul finishes a close second to Romney in Ames, that could cause Romney's campaign to begin unraveling. It would also knock out at least two of the other candidates.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | July 20, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sheehan to run against Pelosi. I can't wait to see the ballot:

Pelosi (dingbat)
Sheehan (moonbat)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Suppose Brownback, Hunter, Tacredo and Cox drop out after the straw poll. My sense is that Huckabee and Thompson have resumes that exceed their popularity.

Paul has caught on with certain libertarians who do not know him well but I suspect that if all of them vote for him he cannot reach 5% in a poll of Rs.

Does the 6 or 7 person race that is left look any different than it does today by reason of Ames?
On another note, the news from DC is about an expected broad claim of executive privilege that relies on the fact that the judicial enforcement arm of the USA is within the Executive branch. If I remember correctly, in the Cherokee cases, when the Supreme Court first ruled in favor of the Indians, Jackson said something like "Justice Marshall has rendered his opinion. Now let him enforce it."

Colin, do I remember correctly?

Is Party loyalty strong enough to fend off
impeachment talk for an Administration bound to test the limits of its authority?
Which precedent would be the worst: an unchallenged Executive branch, an Executive Branch unsuccessfully challenged by Congress, or an Impeachment that led to either compliance or Removal?

I do not know the answer to that question but I wish I did not have to contemplate it at all, seeing as how there is actual business to be done that will come to a standstill if Congress decides that either of the latter two courses are prefereable.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 20, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris says
"Publicly, the Romney campaign says its goal is to simply win the Straw poll. Privately, they would like to get more than the 7,418 votes then Texas Gov. George W. Bush received in 1999. Barring an unforeseen political tsunami (and these things do happen from time to time), Romney will win at Ames. But how big a margin is enough?"

Anyone from Iowa care to comment on the political environment there now vs. in 2000? I'm curious about how many people actually get involved in these straw polls and whether the turnout is expected to be similar to 2000 numbers, higher, or lower.

Posted by: bsimon | July 20, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris, let me be the first to offer my prediction for the Ames Straw Poll:

1. Romney
2. Paul
3. T. Thompson
4. Huckabee
5. Brownback
6. Tancredo

Analysis: Romney's strong win will solidify his standing in the Iowa polls. Paul's second place finish will give him little more than short-term bragging rights. Tommy Thompson's third place finish will give him just enough encouragement to hang around for a while, perhaps through the real Iowa Caucuses in January. Goodbye Huckabee, Brownback, and Tancredo.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | July 20, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

If elected, I will win the war, clinton said. not the war in Iraq, the war against the US military

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president, had asked the Pentagon to detail how it is planning for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

Eric Edelman, the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, offered a sharply worded response, saying such discussions boost the enemy.

"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote

Posted by: we surrender to everyone but the Pentagon | July 20, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

the intellect of the left^^^^^

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

President Bush will undergo a colonoscopy Saturday and temporarily hand presidential powers over to Duck Hunter Dick (known as Oil Slick Dick to his energy industry friends).

Snow told reporters Friday that Bush will have the procedure done at his Camp David, Md., mountaintop retreat. Because the President will be under the effects of anesthesia, he once again has elected to implement Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Tricky Dick will serve as acting president until Bush notifies authorities that he is ready to reabuse his powers. Hide your ducks. Keep your eye on Leaky Dick!! He is expected to spend the time shredding documents and ordering US military special forces to cover up all evidence of his high crimes in office.

Tubb said two polyps were discovered during examinations in 1998 and 1999 while Bush was Executioner of Texas. That made Bush a prime candidate for rectal scrutiny.

Senior White House advisor Pastor Ted Haggard wished Bush the best with his rectum. The Presidential Prayer Team will be holding a national prayer for George Junior's colon on Sunday at 10 am.

Posted by: Sam Brownnose and Co. | July 20, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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