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The Fix Heads to Iowa

Joining every other political reporter on earth, The Fix is headed to Iowa this afternoon.

Expect posts throughout the weekend and in the run-up to the caucuses on Thursday night. In other news, The Fix has begun growing his caucus beard -- no shaving until we know the identity of the two party nominees!

Looking for some Saturday reading?

Make sure to check out two stories in the Post. One details how the path to the GOP nomination has grown more complicated for former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) in recent weeks; the other piece looks at the increasingly pitched battle between former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for the title of "change" candidate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 29, 2007; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Just read the linked article. The list of people involved are the kinds of moderates I like. I voted for John Andersen in 1980 and for Ross Perot in 1992, so I am quite willing to go for a moderate third party. I would hope one of the major party candidates embraces this group and mounts a campaign aimed at uniting the country. I won''t hold my breath though.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse


I have not studied the polls myself. I was driving around the other day listening to a group of pollsters unaffiliated with any candidate on the POTUS-08 XM radio channel. They referred to a study of recent elections in which African American candidates' actual vote totals were compared to the last pre-election polls and there was no gap between the polls and the votes. The pollsters said that Harold Ford's actual vote was in synch with the polls. So it would appear that we no longer need to "mind the gap" (as the lady on the London Tube says) when discussing African American candidates. These pollsters also said that all the polls they had seen indicate that Barrack Obama is electable. And, as I said before, it was the pollsters who made the comment that anyone who would vote against Obama on racial grounds probably would not vote for a Democratic candidate anyway.

I actually think liberals like to believe that the country is more racist than it actually is. Racism still exists but it is nowhere near as pervasive as it was 40 years ago. A black candidate like Obama or Powell is, IMHO, very electable. Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson would not be electable. A black candidate who campaigns on racial grievances is polarizing. A black candidate who campaigns as a uniter actually appeals to the better nature of lots of folks who want to believe that racism is totally a thing of the past.

I think Texas has always been fundamentally different from the Deep South states. There were never any Bull Connors (at least that I am aware of). I think that a lot of the Western attitude obtains there to leaven the Southern attitude. Of course this is coming from someone who has spent about a total of, at most, two weeks in Texas in my nearly 56 years.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes & jimd52: The two early states, Iowa & NH, are among the non racist states, if you will. Then the southern and some Midwesterners come into play and that is where the race issue is more prevalent. rdweliwita, Makes a good point of how this is in different parts of the country, Md. with Steele and Tenn. with Harold Ford are classic examples. Most of the black friends I mentioned were 100% in their support of Colin Powell. This to me means where race is an issue, the Repubs are far more likely not to vote for a black person, and far more likely to vote against, simply because of race.

Posted by: lylepink | December 30, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 30, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Jim, your recitation of Southern Politics post V.O. Key is elegant. However, in TX, we elevate class over race and have a black R Chief Justice and a black R Chair of the RR Commission [regulates the oil industry]. So I do not see much overt racism. But polling, including that associated with the Ford race in TN, indicates to me that in some states a black candidate would have to run stronger than a "comparable" white candidate to win. Do you agree, and do you think the "differential" is now surmountable? I do think it is surmountable, but I am in a state where it has not been an issue in recent years.

Bhoomes, I know your guy has been Romney. Someone posted a poll here that said a Mitt v. HRC race might draw a 6% vote. Since I would be one of the 6% who vote no matter what, try to sell me on Romney.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 30, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse


I have heard a number of reports from pollsters unaffiliated with any campaign that Obama IS electable.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

One other point - Rove's use of the racial card against McCain in South Carolina was in 2000 - not so long ago.

BTW, anyone who tries to maintain Rove wasn't behind that is hopelessly naive.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse


I do not deny the amazing progress in race relations over my lifetime (I'll be 56 next month). I do not deny the enthusiasm for Condi (since diminshed) and, in the past, Colin Powell (although the 'movement' conservatives started to mount a campaign against him for the sin of moderation). I would vote for Powell in a heartbeat.

However, first of all, I was repeating the pollsters' assertion that voters who would not vote for an African-American over race would not likely vote Democratic anyway. Secondly, the Democratic party is generally seen as the party of African-Americans. People in this day and age who are so racially prejudiced probably would not vote for a party so identified with African Americans. However, that segment of the population is far smaller than it was 20 to 40 years ago.

By the way, my main point in that post was that the pollsters were discussing a significant bit of racial progress - the disappearance of the gap between black candidates' poll results versus actual election results as demonstrated in several 1980's and early 1990's elections - Bradley for governor of California, Wilder for governor of Virginia and Gant for senate in North Carolina. They were discussing polls that clearly showed that Obama is electable.

You seem to be accusing some Democrats, as you put it to lylepink, of being racist for supporting Hillary Clinton over Obama. Now, if the choice for me were between Clinton and ANY other candidate in the Demcoratic party except Edwards, and I HAD to vote in the Democratic primary, I would vote for the other candidate. However, a lot of Democrats, for one reason or another, do support Hillary for an array of reasons. These Democrats would certainly vote for Obama in the general election if Obama becomes the nominee.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

JimD52: You know your history fairly well and I do not dispute anything about your analysis of history but what I do dispute is that it is HISTORY, and is not accurate for the times. Surely you must agree this country has changed dramtically from the Mid 20 century otherwise we would not even have a African-American even close to be taken seriously. A lot of republicans including myself would like to see Condi Rice as our VP nominee. LYLEPINK: Obama has plenty of African-American support and the only reason he doesn't have more is because a lot of African-Americans do not believe a Black man can win. Iowa will tell us whether the whites in your party would be willing to vote for a black man over a very corrupt, inexperience political Hack. (Hillary) Polls have consistly showed the half of America hates her guts and would not vote for her under any circumstances. You are seriouly in denial if you believe otherwise.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 30, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse


I want to add a few points to our discussion above.

1. I am a centrist who is registered as a Republican mainly because the Republican primary is THE election for local offices where I live. I have voted for D's and R's over the years - more for Rs for president and congress during the Cold War. I am basically to the left of the Republicans and to the right of the Democrats. I don't like either party very much.

2. As I said, Southern whites deserted the Democratic party in droves after the Civil Rights Act was passed. The Republican party made a concerted effort to bring these people into the GOP. Nixon began this with the infamous Southern Strategy. The appeals got more blatant under the influence of Lee Atwater.

3. Strom Thurmond, the man who ran for President in 1948 on a segregationist platform, joined the Republican party. Jesse Helms, who rose to prominence as a TV commentator supporting Jim Crow laws, was elected to the Senate as a Republican. His campaigns made some overtly racist appeals.

The tragedy in all this is that without Republican support the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act would never have passed. Civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, had been stalled in Congress for years due to the power of entrenched Southern Democrats.

I do not believe the party, as a whole, is racist but certain Republican politicians have made calculated appeals to racists over the years. The G W Bush campaign certainly played on racism in the 2000 SC primary with the notorious push polling about McCain's black daughter. (The sad thing is Bush has been more proactive about trying to reach out to African Americans than most any other national Republican over the last 8 years). Even Reagan began his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS with a speech on STATES RIGHTS. That was the code word for the segregationists from Brown v. Board of Education on who were resisting federal integration efforts. Philadelphia, MS was the scene of one of the most notorious murders of civil rights workers in the early 60s. Choosing that location to discuss that topic was an overt appeal to segregationists.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

How about Joe Biden? As has been said in this newspaper and others, the truth is that he has more foreign policy knowledge, contacts, depth and breadth than all three of the front runners put together.

It seems that Ds are voters who tend to put domestic policy first, almost without regard to world affairs. That is the only explanation for the three "front runners".

I am not praising Rs here. Only John McCain among them can point to any foreign policy experience at all. The Ds have Biden, Dodd, and Richardson.

But the Ds do not care. Biden, Dodd, and Richardson are not their front runners.

The Rs do not care - their front runners are Giuliani and Romney and still another former governor of a state with a smaller population than the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.

We independents may have to again suffer through holding our nose while you give us Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, or John Edwards and Mitt Romney. And if those are the choices, America may not be able to climb out of the hole that my former Governor has dug.

Imagine any R but McCain working with a Democratic Congress and you will get the picture of gridlock that dwarfs even your hours at the intersection of US 101 and IH10 in L.A.

Imagine HRC or Edwards reaching out to Rs to find 60 votes in the Senate and you have a very strong imagination indeed. While HRC has made friends in the Senate, she still engenders a non-cooperative attitude among Rs. Think of HRC and Rudy in a campaign and you have the tabloid 24/7 dream of scandal and rumor.

On the other hand, Biden and Dodd both have worked long and hard across the aisle, as has McCain, and they would all know how to marshal those 60 votes.

I have withheld criticism toward Sen. Obama because he does seem to understand what reaching across the aisle to get something done is about. He also has gathered some strong policy people behind him. That he would not be my first choice is clear - but against any R but McCain I would consider him strongly, and I think many independents share my sense of him as thoughtful and willing to listen to other views.

I assume that skin color still affects more than one per cent of the elctorate in several states and Obama would have to run maybe two or three points better than he would have if he were not of mixed ancestry, in some states. I hasten to add that I have seen no evidence of this among my acquaintances at all and am going by polls I have seen in recent years, as well as the Harold Ford loss mentioned above.

Enough. Happy New Year!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 29, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Your following comment can be argued-
"Also, anyone who would vote against an African-American candidate on the basis of race is not likely to vote for a Democrat of any race."

Here are some of the points;
(1) Such people could stay away from voting for the candidate of their party (one reason: because their not happy with what they have), if the Democrats have a non-black in their ticket. On the other hand, if the Democratic candidate is black such a group could goto the polls and vote for their party candidate simply to block a black person becoming the President.
(2) In the 2006 Maryland Senate race, some racist Republican voters, living in the Eastern shores of the state, even voted against their candidate - Steele, simply because he is a black.

These are some of the possibilities that could come into play if Obama ran on the Democratic ticket.

Posted by: rdweliwita | December 29, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree 100% with lylepink's opinion on Obama.
I am a colored person and a strong Democrat. I have never voted Republican. I love to see a Black President in this country, so I have nothing against Obama becoming the U.S. President.

However, at the same time, I don't want to see a Republican grabbing the White House for another 4 years and ruin our economy, domestic programs and destroy our foreigh relations while Bin Laden is still out there threatning to blow up all American interests...

For this reason, I am desperately looking for a Democratic President in the White House. I see Obama as the weakest link of all three candidates against a Republican.
His past Islamic connections, and him being black will be exploited by the GOP propaganda machine and put into the ADS during the final weeks of the 2008 Presidential election, when the push comes to shove.

Do you all remember what happened to Harol Ford Jr. in the 2006 senate race in Tennesse? That one particular negative ad. exploiting his race, as a black, brought him down. This is what the Republican party is capable of doing and that is why their supporters want Obama running on the Democratic ticket.

But, with Hillary, what we see is what we get! She has been exposed as the 1st lady already, and we all know her very well. There is nothing new that Republican propaganda machine could find about her that would make the voters surprised.

Edwards, on the other hand, could be a good threat to the Republicans as well, however I am not sure if he would be able to go past the Democratic primaries.

Posted by: rdweliwita | December 29, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

'Obama doesn't(I hope he does)win it will be because of the volvo driving-NY Times readling liberals in Iowa who didn't to take this opportunity to nominate an excellant candidate(Obama) who also happens to be black.'

oh please, could you be any more simple? The 'volvo-driving,' 'new york times reading' liberals? did you forget latte-drinking? you seem to have the whole 2004 R script stuck in your head. I happen to think Obama is an excellent candidate -- but I don't need you, who will likely vote for a moron, out of party loyalty, to tell me that.

Posted by: drindl | December 29, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes: There is nothing racist about it from blacks I have talked to, every one is for Hillary and they agree Obama has no chance at all in 08. While I was waiting for a PET scan a couple remarked "There is just something about this guy." I have the same "Feeling" about him myself and cannot put my finger on what it is, something just does not ring true about him, and this happens every time I see and hear him.

Posted by: lylepink | December 29, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

The beard LOL... you're a crack up CC... but dude... you are going to look Amish pretty soon... this nomination could take a while...

Posted by: Boutan | December 29, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I wish the major news orginizations would give equal attention to all of the candidates. Joe Biden is an extremely well qualified candidate. Most people probably think that there are only three people running for the Democrats.

Posted by: MTN35 | December 29, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink they will all drop out in several weeks but sure do not see McCain dropping until the Super Tuesday Primary, and then he will just endorse the obvious nominee. freindships do play a role, so its possible Thompson could drop out after Iowa and endorse McCain. JimD52, make my point again the dems have a chance to nominate an African-American who has a much better chance to win in November than Hillary. If they don't because its because they are simple racists.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 29, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: A lot of us will be up all night and hope you will give us the results of your caucus. This may give us an indication of how the whole state will go. I might add that since Biden most likely won't win how other folks in the caucus see the whole thing.

Posted by: lylepink | December 29, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

jimd52: Glad you cleared that up quickly. As you know we don't disagree very often but, I am thinking McCain or Biden has little to no chance. From checking several newspapers on an almost daily basis, I am becoming more convinced that McCain will drop out and throw his support to Huckabee. I am not 100% sure this will happen, but almost.

Posted by: lylepink | December 29, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I've wanted concensus until now. I hope you break, you Nancy. Be safe.

Posted by: jsu8233n | December 29, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hissl: The POLLS you are looking at are what the Repub party wants you to think. Every Repub I know is hoping and praying for the Dems to be stupid enough, with Repubs help, to nominate Obama. There is something you should pay attention to in what is being said--"Accuse your opponent of doing what you are doing, and in that way you will know what you are doing.". Obama is in reality the weakest of the top Dems now running, and the Repubs have no "Fear" of him at all.

Posted by: lylepink | December 29, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

My overall preferred candidate is Biden.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 29, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse


One more thing, I didn't say they were necessarily Republicans - Independents outnumber D's and R's and there are a number of fringe groups out there.

Secondly, I am a registered Republican who intends to vote for McCain in the Florida primary.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 29, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching POLLS for quite awhile now and find the "Internals", when available, show Obama has no chance of winning in 08. I have stated repeatedly, IMHO, he has ZERO chance of winning in 08. Should the Dem party be so dumb as to nominate him with the support of the Repub party, it will insure another defeat for the Dems. I've been around long enough to know a little bit about voting patterns and this is not the time for Obama. Maybe in 2016 after Hillary serves her two terms as POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink | December 29, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse


It is a fact that many Southern whites left the Democratic party as a backlash against Civil Rights legislation. The comment about people who would vote against a black candidate based on race not being Democratic voters came from the pollsters by the way.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 29, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris, it seems that the other fight today is between Clinton and Obama over electability. Right now, according to the realclearpolitics poll averages, Obama is 4 points better than Clinton against Giuliani, 5 points better against McCain, 6 points better against Huckabee, and 7 points better against Romney. Can you report on whether undecided folks in Iowa are aware of this major discrepancy, and whether they are factoring it into their electoral calculus? How about the fact that Edwards has accepted federal matching funds, which will leave him a sitting duck all the way until August?

Posted by: Nissl | December 29, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Beware Drindl, the Pope has ordered excorcism squads to the field to combat Satanism. Suggest you quit speaking in tongues and hide in your basement for awhile.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 29, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Jimd52: Find your last comment a little offensive, suggesting republicans wouldn't vote for African American: Seems like we put up quite a few sentorial candidates in 06 and if Obama doesn't(I hope he does)win it will be because of the volvo driving-NY Times readling liberals in Iowa who didn't to take this opportunity to nominate an excellant candidate(Obama) who also happens to be black. Its Clinton's bloggers and team members who are going around saying the Clintons are more black the Obama. Obama, Biden of Dodd are candiates who should come 1,2, and 3 respectively. But your corrupt and somewhat racist party will nominate Hillary

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 29, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

There are a number of posters who have claimed that this country would never elect an African-American president. Was listening to a symposium of pollsters on POTUS-08 XM radio channel, and they state that polls show Obama could (not will) win.

Furthermore, they were discussing a study of recent polling on elections with African-American candidates that reveals that the vote for African-American candidates, win or lose, has been accurately reflected in the pre-election polls over the last several election cycles. During the 1980's and early 1990's there were several elections in which prominent African-American candidates' performance was significantly below pre-election polls. It would appear we are past that problem. Also, anyone who would vote against an African-American candidate on the basis of race is not likely to vote for a Democrat of any race.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 29, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Chris, when in Iowa look for the biggest snowbank around. When you find it, walk into it and get lost

Posted by: fatboysez | December 29, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

According to the LA Times Hillary has stopped answering questions in the final days. Blaring her campaign song after her speech so that no Q&A time is possible is bad enough but if a person gets close enough to her to ask a question she simply turns and walks away. According to the article Chelsea is doing the same. I would be interested in hearing how Hillary fans defend this behavior. Seems that she will do just enough to get elected and that is the limit of interaction she will provide to the little people.

Posted by: dyork | December 29, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Chris... Will be at a Biden event in Des Moines on Jan 1, do I look for the man with the 5 o'clock shadow to say "hello?"

Looks like the weather will be cold... in the teens. May hurt turnout on Thursday. That will help Edwards somewhat.

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | December 29, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse


'In a piece today on Rudy's use of 9/11 on the campaign trail, Michael Cooper refuses to parrot the mindless conventional wisdom holding that Rudy has an "advantage on terror," something that you hear from pundits and reporters again and again. Instead, Coop does something downright heretical: He refers to actual polling on the question. To wit:

Some polls suggest that Mr. Giuliani may not have a decisive advantage on the issue of terrorism. In a New York Times/CBS News poll in September, Mr. Giuliani's supporters were asked if they thought he would do a better job fighting terrorism compared with the other candidates running for the Republican nomination. A quarter of them said they thought Mr. Giuliani would do a better job than his opponents, but the large majority -- 61 percent -- said they would expect Mr. Giuliani to be about the same as the other candidates when it came to fighting terrorism.'

rudy's new ad, of course, milks 9/11 big time. there's no tragedy big enough he won't exploit it.

Posted by: drindl | December 29, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there will be tons of political "reporters" there, but there won't be a lot of political reporting, just horserace. And, it wouldn't be that difficult for those "reporters" to do real reporting, even despite the fact that almost none of them have any knowledge of other topics.

All they'd need to do is ask experts about the flaws in the policies of the candidates, and then go out and ask the candidates about that. To make those "reporters" feel even more comfortable, they can put it in the "but, some say that your plan does this and that" form.

So, there really is no excuse.

The only way we're going to get real reporting out of IA or NH is if regular citizens ask questions themselves, and then upload the responses to video sharing sites. There are some questions here:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | December 29, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Did you see this Mark? Of course you KNEW the US gov would claim Bhutto was killed by al-queda, for so many self-serving reasons. But how disappointing, that as usual, the press stenographs exactly what they're told.

And how convenient for Mushareff that his only opponent was murdered 2 weeks before the election. What a lucky coincidence. And that she was killed by hitting her head on a sunroof in such a way that the interior of the car was covered in blood. Must be a grassy knoll in there somewhere...

'The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times each lead with the Pakistani government announcing it has intelligence linking the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to an Afghan rebel with links to al-Qaida. The government is also claiming Bhutto was killed by hitting her head on the sunroof of her car, not by bullets or shrapnel.'

Posted by: drindl | December 29, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

' The Fix has begun growing his caucus beard -- no shaving until we know the identity of the two party nominees!'

You'll be looking like a mountain man by that time...

Just think, everyone, once we know the nominees, the real partinship will start -- sigh.

Posted by: drindl | December 29, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Not shaving 'til June?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 29, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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