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Indiana: An Emerging Purple State?

It's easy to forget amid the granular coverage of the primary horserace that once the nominees are chosen -- some time in late January or early February-- we will be faced with the longest general election in modern political history.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the nine-month slog will focus primarily on 10-12 battleground states -- Ohio, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota to name a few -- that have been at the epicenter of the last two presidential elections. (Michael Barone detailed the even-steven split of the American electorate first and best in his essay "The 49 Percent Nation.")

But what if that conventional wisdom is wrong? What if continued discontent with President Bush and the war in Iraq is in the process of fundamentally altering the playing field -- broadening the number of states that are potentially in play for the Democratic nominee?

A new poll out of Indiana should give hope to Democrats who believe Bush's eight-year tenure and the continued unpopularity of the war in Iraq has fundamentally altered the partisan composition of the country.

The survey, which was conducted by highly regarded Iowa-based pollster J. Ann Selzer, showed broad dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and the state as well as with the current President and Indiana's Republican governor.

Just 20 percent of the sample said the nation was headed in the right direction while 74 percent said it was off on the wrong track; the numbers were only slightly more optimistic when it came to Indiana with 35 percent saying the state was moving in the right direction and 57 percent believing it was off on the wrong track.

Asked whether they approved of the job Bush was doing, a meager 28 percent said they did while 66 percent voiced disapproval. Those broad number were reflected on nearly every major issue; just 28 percent approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, 25 percent approved of Bush's work on the economy and just 17 percent approved of his handling of immigration policy. The lone issue on which more Indianans approved than disapproved of how President Bush handled a matter was on the "fight against terrorism." Forty-eight percent backed Bush and 46 percent did not.

The numbers were better but still challenging for Gov. Mitch Daniels. Forty-percent of the sample approved of the way he was handling his job while 50 percent disapproved. Daniels also trailed both of his potential Democratic opponents; architect Jim Schellinger led Daniels 44 percent to 40 percent while former Rep. Jill Long Thompson held a more narrow 44 percent to 43 percent edge over the incumbent.

Other poll questions offered more of the same.Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they would vote for a "Democratic candidate" while 32 percent chose a "Republican candidate." And, when asked whether they would support a Democratic presidential ticket that included homestate Sen. Evan Bayh (D) as vice president over a generic Republican ticket, 47 percent opted for Bayh while 33 percent chose the Republican ticket.

Those poll results are all the more striking when put in the context of Indiana's past political proclivities. The last time Indiana voted for a Democrat for president was 1964 when Lyndon Johnson drubbed Barry Goldwater, 56 percent to 44 percent. Since that time, the best any Democrat has done in the Hoosier State is 46 percent by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential race. George W. Bush carried the state with 57 percent in 2000 and 60 percent in 2004.

Despite those daunting numbers, Indiana was at the heart of Democratic gains in 2006 as three Republican incumbents -- Reps. Chris Chocola, John Hostettler and Mike Sodrel -- were all defeated for re-election.

The question raised by those gains as well as the poll numbers cited above is whether Indiana is following the path of Virginia from a red to a purple state in federal elections. And, if Indiana is emerging as a competitive state at the presidential level, are there other states that have long been considered Republican strongholds that are moving in that direction as well?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to remember that it's never prudent to put too much weight and meaning behind a single poll or a single election. Change in partisan viewpoints happens slowly and it's just as possible that 2006 was a one-time deal as that it signaled some sort of real shift in voters' attitudes toward the two parties. It's also possible that voters' discontent with Bush and the war are tied to him as an individual and that with him gone from the ballot in 2008, Republican elected officials won't be punished for voters' feeling about the former chief executive.

Still, the poll raises interesting questions about just what the national landscape will look like in two months time when the two parties have selected their nominees. The poll also serves as a potent reminder that conventional wisdom in politics is often, but not always, right.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 27, 2007; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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Comments

"The fact is, governments are not PROFIT-DRIVEN. As a result, they are very WASTEFUL."

Mike, have you ever worked in the private sector? Waste happens in for-profit companies, not just in government. Your claim otherwise is based on an article of faith, not fact.

Posted by: bsimon | November 29, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't aware it was the government's duty to observe, or make us observe, religious holidays--especially when we don't belong to the religion in question.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 29, 2007 3:28 AM | Report abuse

OH

I get it.

I have to defend the "goal post", which is blowing $1,000 in Las Vegas.

I don't have the luxury of defending ALL the possible uses for that $1,000, ONLY the "goal post".

I'm sorry, I have this bad habit of cheating.

The fact is, governments are not PROFIT-DRIVEN. As a result, they are very WASTEFUL.

That $1,000 is probably $267.87 by the time it reaches a bridge to NOWHERE.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"A bridge to nowhere is an UNPRODUCTIVE asset.

An investment, or a start-up business, is a PRODUCTIVE asset."


There you go moving goal-posts again! Your first example was blowing a grand in Vegas - does this qualify as an 'investment' in a 'productive asset' in your world? And you ignored the point - that when the gov't spends a grand on a construction project - that grand isn't 'buried in a coffee can' to use your term, it is paid to individuals and companies for goods & services (i.e. labor, concrete, steel, etc). In other words, the money is floating about the economy, the same that it is if some yahoo loses that grand on a roll of the dice at the craps table.

For being such a self-professed expert on economics, you sure don't seem to get it.

Posted by: bsimon | November 28, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

because circulation does not equal circulation.

A bridge to nowhere is an UNPRODUCTIVE asset.

An investment, or a start-up business, is a PRODUCTIVE asset.

Take economics 101.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"That trip to Vegas helps America. That retirement account investment also helps America. But that $1,000 earmarked for Ted Kennedy does NOT help America."

If the gov't spends that $1000 on an unnecessary bridge in alaska or silly museum in upstate NY, it is keeping that $1k in circulation. How is gov't spending any different from keeping it in circulation via private spending? Construction jobs keep the economy moving just like losing a bet in Vegas or sticking it in an index fund in an IRA.

Posted by: bsimon | November 28, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike -- I'm a lawyer. Please let me know when the government precluded you from saying marry christmas to anyone or fined you for placing religious symbols on any private property you own. That was a violation of your constitutional rights and I'd be happy to refer you to a good civil rights attorney.

As to christian extremists vs islamic extremists, I believe Timothy McVeigh was a regular church going christian. So are the "christians" (and the use of quotes is important here) who bomb abortion clinics. Extremists of all stripes are, by definition, lethally dangerous. I see ZERO distinction between them, because christian extremists ARE NOT REAL CHRISTIANS. How you can spin that statement into an attack on either america or your practice of real christianity is baffling to me.

Posted by: _Colin | November 28, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"bsimon -- maybe we are bickering, but 1% is huge. Financial managers measure success in "basis points", which is 1/100th of ONE percent. And beating a benchmark by "5 basis points" is a success.

I can't overstate how huge 1% is, especially over the course of your life.

That 1% doesn't just sit in buried coffee cans dude. It helps us all. Each and every one of us."

You're moving the goalposts, dude. Your earlier post used the term "change people's behavior" with regard to a 1% tax rate increase -- individual income tax rate is what we are talking about, right? Now I know for a fact that there is no evidence to support that, so can we move on?

And your inability to admit the regressivity of a shift from an income tax to a consumption tax makes me question your claim to being an accountant.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 28, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Not only is that not true in all cases, but it is my freedom to do with that $1,000 as I please.

At least you're not claiming it's getting buried in the back yard.

That trip to Vegas helps America. That retirement account investment also helps America. But that $1,000 earmarked for Ted Kennedy does NOT help America.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"maybe we are bickering, but 1% is huge."

Depends on the context. If you're talking about investment returns, the difference between a 5% & 6% return, compounded over time, is certainly huge. In terms of compensation, or the tax rate, I think its less so. For instance, most people - when they get a raise, don't dump the increase into savings/investment, they spend it. A guy making $100k/yr, upon receiving another grand, doesn't usually think "Aha! that's another grand for my retirement!" they think "That's half of my trip to Aspen!"

Posted by: bsimon | November 28, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This is kind of ridiculous.

I love this blog. It is my homepage and this is the first article that seems to be ridiculous to me.

It all depends on who the nominees are. If the dems put up Hillary, there is no way Indiana will be a swing state. I dont think it will be one anyway, but with Hillary, there is literally no chance.

I think that this is a little premature.

Posted by: Normscoffee | November 28, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Jim -- I'm not saying conservatives go to church and liberals don't. But Rosie telling America, with a straight face, that Christian extremists are just as dangerous as Islamic extremists is not only outlandishly wrong, but it demonstrates her fear and mistrust of Christianity.

By the way, thank you for your service to our nation. I still don't think centrists move us forward.

Colin -- there is a difference between an athiest and a liberal who relentlessly attacks religious symbols and pushes them out of society.

When I go to the mall I see "happy holidays", "holiday season". Christmas isn't about gifts, Colin, it's about CHRIST - CHRISTmas. And if you can't say "CHRISTMAS", all the frosted red and green in the malls doesn't matter.

Of course you can be a good American and an athiest. It just so happens that athiest liberals hate our troops, Christians, and CHRISTmas. I just happen to see a correlation between anti-American activity and anti-religious activity.


bsimon -- maybe we are bickering, but 1% is huge. Financial managers measure success in "basis points", which is 1/100th of ONE percent. And beating a benchmark by "5 basis points" is a success.

I can't overstate how huge 1% is, especially over the course of your life.

That 1% doesn't just sit in buried coffee cans dude. It helps us all. Each and every one of us.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Polls in Indiana and Kentucky have long been the first to close on election night, at 6pm Eastern.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 28, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike writes
"If you can't argue my point, you don't have the right to change my point into something you can argue against."

Uh, likewise.

"1% would change many, many people's behavior."

I disagree. At this point, there doesn't seem to be any data to support either point, so we can keep bickering or move on. I only commented in the first place because I think its ridiculous to argue that a lot of people would behave as you say you would: "Tax me for working more, I'll work less." Though it entirely depends on how large that tax change is.

Posted by: bsimon | November 28, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

People from Indiana are called HOOSIERS; not the made up non-word "Indianians"! When will the East Coast elite ever wake up and understand this?? Not one person in Indiana wants to be called "Indianian"! The state's nickname is the Hoosier State. Its college sports teams are called the Hoosiers. Its license plates not that long ago bragged Hoosier Hospitality. Spend time in Indiana, talk to people there, talk even just to its representatives in Washington, and you will quickly, and finally, learn that Hoosier is the correct term.

Clinton came within 5 points of winning Indiana against Dole in 1996. Republicans have won the state easily in part because Democrats haven't bothered contesting it. Remember this is the state that elected liberal Sen. Birch Bayh three times, and had Democratic governors for 16 years (1989-2005)--almost 20 considering Mitch Daniels' win over Joe Kernan was fairly close. The numbers on other issues like universal health care, fuel efficient cars, and gay marriage are no surprise. They're pretty in line with where the country as a whole is going.

Carl Levin in 1996 and 2002. Debbie Stabenow in 2000 and 2006. Jennifer Granholm in 2002 and 2006. The MI House of Representatives in 2006. Al Gore in 2000. John Kerry in 2004. Bill Clinton in 1996 and 1992. Yeah, I don't know what gives those CRAZY moonbat Democrats the idea that they could EVER win statewide office in Michigan. Actually, I wonder how the GOP would think it can win anything in MI anymore.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 28, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Mike -- here's a very basic question for you. Can an atheist be a good american? Or, as a slight variation, can a non-christian be a good american? Some of your statements yesterday and this morning make me think you would say no. I hope I'm wrong about that, but the idea that the problem with american politics today is that we don't have ENOUGH religion intermixed with government strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

Also, to the extent that you think that christian religious symbols are being driven out of society I would suggest that you take a walk through your local mall approximately ten days BEFORE Thanksgiving. You'll find that Christmas is alive and well, despite what Bill O'Reilly says. [As an aside, I really wish we could wait till the day AFTER Thanksgiving to put up decoarations. Maybe we get get O'Reilly fired up about that]

Posted by: _Colin | November 28, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Mike

I am not a liberal and I am not a Democrat - in fact, at the moment, I am a registered Republican (although that has more to do with voting in the primary which really determines local offices here). I am a church goer (choir member even), small businessman and a retired naval officer. I voted Republican in most presidential elections over the last 30 years. I am one of those centrists who have never helped America one way or another.

I would make one point on this conservatives are religious/liberals are godless thing - the demographic group that attends church more regularly than any other overwhelmingly votes Democratic - African-Americans.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 28, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I figured the promise of a VP nomination was why Bayh came and went as fast as he did last December.

Posted by: cmhagan | November 28, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

jimd52 -- Ayn Rand was athiest you're right. Hers is an articulation of conservatism without God, not *the* definition.

For every athiest conservative you can point out, I can point out 100 liberals who push God out of our money, our pledge, and our laws. Christ out of Christmas, gay childrens stories in 2nd grade.

These would be the same big-government liberals who believe in the infallibility of the State and her many programs.

By the way, I'm not trying to offend anyone. There are certainly plenty of Democrats who don't fit this model.

My fiance, for one. Imagine this -- a Democrat who wears the American Flag and stands up for the pledge (see Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton), who supports our troops and understands terrorism, and who hates moveon.org for destroying her party. A Democrat who roots for America and wants to win the war.

Hard to imagine, I know.

I don't think you or Colin or claudialong are Godless Statists. But I do think liberalism is more than a political ideology. And, perhaps, so is conservatism.

I know it's unpopular on this blog to not be a "centrist" or an "independent". But like I pointed out this summer, those people have never helped America one way or the other.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

bsimon writes " But I'm smart enough to understand that endlessly cutting taxes while raising spending is a fiscal disaster."

If I have to defend endlessly cutting taxes while raising spending, you have to defend endlessly raising taxes while uselessly spending.

No one is saying Bush is correct and cutting taxes, while *simultaneously* raising spending is responsible, bsimon.

I said that from the start.

If you can't argue my point, you don't have the right to change my point into something you can argue against.

1% would change many, many people's behavior.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 28, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

To answer Steve's questions:

1. I do believe Indiana's polls are among the first set of states' polls to close.

2. Carson is retiring at the end of her term.

3. Bart Peterson's loss had nothing to do with party, Greg Ballard won because there were lots of problems with Indianapolis (crime, economy, etc.) and voters didn't believe the Peterson administration was doing enough. I wouldn't ascribe it to a Republican success as much as a Democratic failure.

Posted by: mutanttoasterfiend | November 28, 2007 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Three questions about Indiana politics:

1) Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't polls in Indiana the first to close (or tied for first) during presidential and mid-term elections.

2) What is the latest developments concerning Rep. Julia Carson? I understand that she announced that she is terminally ill.

3) What does the GOP victory in the Indianapolis mayorality race mean? I would think that the revived Indianapolis GOP would put the Carson seat in play when it becomes open.

Any comments?

Posted by: stevekarlinchak | November 28, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

KOZ - I'll bet you lunch that Clinton looses Oregon against any Republican but Romney. Heck, I'd bet that she looses in a landslide all across the country if she is the nominee. I've worked as a Democratic door knocker and general campaigner for long enough to know a looser when I see one and Clinton isn't just looser, she's political suicide for Democratic candidates across the board. She will activate/energize Republican's as no one else can and she simply is unacceptable to most moderate and liberal Democrats or Independents. I suspect that is why she is being handled with kid gloves by the Republican's for now - she and her delusional nutty supporters are their last best hope.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 28, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike writes
"1% point is not negligable, bsimon. Especially to anyone who understands the power of interest, the dollar, and time."

Negligible is your word, not mine. I said it wouldn't change behavior. I'd rather not pay taxes either, but I prefer more still to not have random infrastructure failures. I think borrowing against my children's future to fight wars in Iraq & Afghanistan is irresponsible. Like all the 'club for growth' types I'd like something for nothing too. But I'm smart enough to understand that endlessly cutting taxes while raising spending is a fiscal disaster.

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I live in Indiana and agree with the other Hoosiers who posted here that the state will likely go Republican in '08. Here are my reasons why:

1. The Indiana results from the midterm have to be put into some perspective. For example, Baron Hill (who defeated Sodrel in November) is a relatively conservative Democrat. Moreover, Hill and Sodrel have basically traded the seat back and forth over the last six years. So Hill's victory wasn't really as significant in terms of a partisan watershed as national analysts may think.

2. The real question is -- will the Dems nominate someone that is palatable to rural moderates (or conservatives). Would Evan Bayh on the ticket be enough for pro-life, NASCAR dad Democrats to hold their nose and vote for Hillary?

2b. I don't care how "highly regarded" the pollster is, the ability of the poll to forecast '08 is limited. I didn't see one question in the poll inquiring into Hillary's negatives in Indiana (which I would bet surpass her negatives nationwide). Is there a poll of how Indiana would vote in a Rudy vs. Hillary general election?

Posted by: heartlandmoderategal | November 27, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I would add that many "movement conservatives" of a certain age (over 50 - the age group I belong to) were deeply influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand who was hostile to religion.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 27, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

"Whereas, Christians call on God for strength, courage, protection, and grace, liberals push God out of the picture, and substitute the State.

Thus, liberalism is not so much a political movement, inasmuch as it is a religious movement - a worshiping of the State, as the protector and guidor of a lost and hopeless mankind."

Mike - do you seriously believe that? I certainly know many agnostic conservatives and religious liberals. The breathtaking disregard for facts inherent in that statement is mind-boggling.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 27, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

CC, as a native son of Indiana, I must point out that there is so such word as "Indianan". We're Hoosiers. Other than that, great post, I sure hope we're moving leftward.

Schellinger in '08!!!

Posted by: mutanttoasterfiend | November 27, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

jaymills, the book I am re-reading is called

"The Fairtax Book"

by Neil Boortz and John Linder.

It may be the most popular book on the subject. It is an easy read, but one must think about each of its assumptions.

When I read it early 2006 I thought that some of its assumptions were very flawed.

After I read it again, I intend to discuss it with an economist friend or two.

To be fair, I also thought the concept was appealing, in many ways. It is MH's candidacy that is driving me to re-read it, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 27, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Jay,

I think a good starting point is Neal Boortz's book, which can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0060875496/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-0233790-8513449#reader-link

I must admit I never finished it, though it is a relatively short read.

This is the same book Mark talked about above, with which he disagreed on some assumptions, which I am sure he will eventually recall and share with us all.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Rah-rah team spirit b.s. aside, anytime those wrong-track numbers are this high, the party in the White House is going to pay. I'd like to see state-by-state numbers in all 50 states. I suspect that the 50/50 divide of '00 and '04 has broken down, and that there's a whole lot of bluish-purple out there, including in some previously solid red states.

Posted by: novamatt | November 27, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

sorry bout that folks, figured that i step away from the computer and take a breather.

but fortunately the troll has a point, time to start a blog.

marine mike- since i didnt see jd here, i figured you would know a few things about the flat tax, any books on flat tax(or fair tax) for a neophyte? i heard a few things about it from MH a week or two back and i wanted to know more.

bsimon-i would have to concur with your comment on the earlier thread about living in snowstates, except it was 29 and sleet(bleh)

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

It's hoosiers, not indianians, Chris. You just made anyone from Indiana who read this cringe.

Posted by: aaasen | November 27, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The MA state legislature is considering a ban on spanking.

So now I can't even raise my kid the way I want to. Mommy bureaucrat has to tell me how.

Mark, it may be a continuum, but there are a lot of people concentrated on one side, and they are dragging us all in their direction.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

One more thing -- what do you think "rich people" do with their money?

Bury it out back in coffee cans?

Put it in a mattress?

Seriously.

If you don't understand how investment and reinvestment works, you probably shouldn't be talking about taxation or financial matters, much less casting a vote.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- Although I really do believe what I wrote above, perhaps it was a little over the top.

Regarding the fair tax, I can tell you from a former accountant's perspective, it is a great idea. If the tax law is so riddled with special interests, and so burdened with technicalities, that a CPA can't understand it without clarifications from a massive, bloated, agency like the IRS, the average citizen doesn't stand a chance.

The "middle class" argument is a standard talking point, but is never backed up with facts or research.

If you don't think rich and middle class folks do tax planning, you are either a poor financial planner yourself or just plain ignorant.

1% point is not negligable, bsimon. Especially to anyone who understands the power of interest, the dollar, and time.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

What is amazing to me about the Zogby poll is that the Clinton cmapaign wrote THE article disparaging the methodology of the Zogby poll and *everyone* bought it. No disclosure about Mark Penn working for the campaign, not even a mention that he had a hand in writing the piece. The press just "bought it" and printed it as if it were gospel and everyone ran around denigrating Zogby's methodology, the poll results, etc. And the whole crtique turns out to be a flat out lie, made up garbage and people bought it. I am going to sit back, Chris, and wait for the Post to publish and apology that they were used by the Clinton campaign and an explanation of exactly how that all transpired (P.S. everyone, don't hold your breath. The Post isn't up to admitting that they were used by a bunch of politcal hacks.)

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 27, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Much like putting a lobster in a pot with cold water and slowly heating him, a few percent here and there eventually leads to death."

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Tax arguments always kill me. Reagan had a point when he slashed taxes after taking office. They were too high. He was also reponsible when he then RAISED taxes in '86, because they'd been cut too much. Nobody likes taxes; god knows I don't revel in paying mine. But they're a necessary evil that, it strikes me, ought to have a moderate progressive structuring. How exactly that is controversial utterly eludes me.

As far as the fair tax goes, the net effect is to drastically shift the tax burden onto the middle class and away from the wealthy. There are advantages to the system, as it really would reduce the complexity of our tax code. But it would be a regressive change. Personally, I'll pass.

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
"But little changes of 1 or 2%? I can't see them having any significant effect on behavior."

Since the last year of Reagan, it has gone from 28% on income over 32,450 to 35% on 311,950 which is definitely an upward trend. Much like putting a lobster in a pot with cold water and slowly heating him, a few percent here and there eventually leads to death. One or two percent may not make you work less - yet. But it is one or two percent less that I have to spend on my kids, wife, donate to charity, start a new business, pay my mortgage, save for retirement, etc (were I to fall into that top category). My other problem is that it is a lot easier to move money off-shore these days - 25% of something is better than 30% of nothing.

FWIW, around the time the tax rate started in 1913, the top rate was 7% for taxable income over $500,000 (in 1913 dollars or over 10,000,000 today!).

Posted by: dave | November 27, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- speaking of polls, will you ever share with us those "secret" polls you looked at during the last election cycle that caused you to predict GOP gains in both the Senate and the House? To my knowledge, you and Karl Rove were the only ones who had access to that info...

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Seems to be practiced by the Hillary camp as well. Polls are only reliable if they enforce my point. otherwise they are just polls of idiots.

hillary - live by the poll, die by the poll. good riddance.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Are you telling me that squishy blue Oregon will pull the lever for Rudy instead of hillary (d). Or any D. I am skeptical. Maybe she will only win DC, MA and MD. But since its an R, it is NO mandate. there will be a stat that Kruggman can use to claim that a 48 state run is a fluke and deserves no respect. for example, did you know that in one county in every red state, if x% (say a single digit number for effect) had voted the other way, hillary would have won. In some states and some counties this is less than x00 people. See -so rudy only won by a couple hundred people, even with a 48 state sweep. and they were all dumb red-state rubes who don't even understand their own desires. hillary should now be considered the co-president and consulted on all matters, according to the NYT.

this is state of the art Dem statistics as practiced (but never perfected) by that lying shill Kruggman.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I have re-borrowed Boortz's explanation of "Fair Tax" so that I can refresh my memory about it. When I first read it, I thought some of its basic assumptions were incorrect. But I am now so fuzzy on my recollection that I need a refresher.

Mike, the belief in self-reliance and personal responsibility is the cornerstone of an optimistic, "can-do" America.

The belief that government can play an appropriate role in sparking American ingenuity and creativity can co-exist with
these values. I give you Texas A&M University - a land grant college - designed to make ranches and industry more productive, as the prime example.

I think the question on fiscal liberalism vs. fiscal conservatism is one of line drawing. At the left extreme, we would have government ownership of the means of production and distribution. At a nearer left outpost, we would have the "safety blanket."

At the right extreme, we would have no public schools, no public libraries, no land grant colleges, no interstate highway system, and no federal air traffic controllers.
At a nearer right outpost, we would simply privatize the safety blanket and seek market based solutions for problems as they arise.

Seen as a continuum, it is easier to discuss the matters with my fellow Americans who are strewn all along it, than it is to presume that any of them buy into one or another of the outposts on the trail.

I know that I prefer market based solutions, but that I do not always think they are plausible. I know that I greatly respect Jack Kemp for his serious attempts to find market based solutions. I know that I am always reminding my sister that there is no federal right to an education and that wanting federal intervention in state education matters places the control of schools ever further from home and threatens federalism at its core [more a political than an economic issue, of course].

But I do not know where you are on the continuum of fiscal policy, because sometimes you seem to jump at every red herring.

Also, I looked at that "Obama" website and they were making fun of him for saying
Iowans were "surprisingly" smart.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 27, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

All - This press release just came out from Zogby. It is in answer to Clinrton's spin doctors attacking the reliability of the recent Zogby poll. Also, in a followup, the article denigrating it WAS actually written by a Clinton campaign insider. It gets more and more interesting!
Oh well, the press release:


All is fair in love and war, the centuries-old proverb states. Politics is not included, but given the way the game is played in modern-day America, maybe it should be. That's the sense I had again this morning watching Mark Penn, the chief political strategist for Democrat Hillary Clinton, denigrate our latest Zogby Interactive survey simply because it showed his client in a bad light (Link to Latest Poll Number). Penn made the contention on the MSNBC morning news program hosted by Joe Scarborough (Link to Video)

Penn mischaracterized this latest online Zogby poll as our first interactive survey ever - a bizarre contention, since we have been developing and perfecting our Internet polling methodology for nearly a decade (Zogby Intreractive Methodology), and since Penn's company has been quietly requesting the results of such polls from Zogby for years. We always comply as part of our pledge to give public Zogby polling results to any and every candidate and campaign that asks for them. What is interesting is that no other campaign has made as many requests for Zogby polling data over the years than Penn has made on behalf of Clinton.

Because Mark Penn is a quality pollster himself, we chalk up his contention that our poll is "meaningless" as a knee-jerk reaction by a campaign under pressure coming down the stretch. Several other polls - Zogby surveys and others - have shown her national lead and her leads in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire have shrunk. This is not unusual. These presidential contests usually tighten as the primaries and caucuses approach.

Fritz Wenzel
Director of Communications
Zogby International

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 27, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

KOZ - I don't know about the other states on your list but I can pretty much guarrantee that Clinton wont win Oregon unless Romney is her opponent. I live here and the state Dem's loathe her.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 27, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Mike -- I won't speak for "all liberals," (i'll let you do that, since you apparently have us figured out) but your stereotypes regarding anyone to your political left are pretty ridiculous.

First, I go to church every week, which is one more than most of your presidential candidates. My faith informs my progressive views. So the idea that I'm worhshiping the state rather than God is both silly and rather offensive.

Second, bsimon has elegantly noted how silly it is to argue that a modestly progressive tax system disincentivices work. I make a comfortable living and hope to make more in the future. The fact that I'll pay more taxes on those increased earnings isn't discouraging me in the least. Maybe it's you who are underestimating americans' work ethic.

Third, thanks for informing me of what my viwe of humanity is. Apparently I think of people "as fundamentally weak, flawed, and unintelligent people who need government to help them live their lives to their full potential."

Here I was thinking that people are fundamentally resilient, flawed but courageous (see, you were right about flawed), intelligent, and willing to work endlessly if given a fair shake. Good to know what I REALLY think.

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I've lived and worked in Indiana politics for several years and find this article rather interesting. The North portion of the state, specifically those areas the toll road runs through, are very unhappy about a number of Daniels initiatives. However, south of Indy he still remains quite popular. The biggest issue in Indiana is property taxes, hands down. This is from a number of internal polls within the state. Unfortunately, the Gov. is probably going to squeak this one out. I would bet the bank, that come next year, Indiana will once again vote republican for President. It's truly unfortunate.

Posted by: stu3177 | November 27, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike writes
"Whereas, Christians call on God for strength, courage, protection, and grace, liberals push God out of the picture, and substitute the State."

What about the Christian Liberals? What did the big J say, render unto Caesar that which is Caesars and unto God that which is God's? Sounds like a powerful argument for seperation between church & state. Caesar has no place in God's house & likewise God doesn't belong in Caesar's.

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"Tax me for working more, I'll work less."

If your personal tax rate moves from 25% to 26% not for working more, but for working the same amount; do you work more, less or the same? My guess is that nobody changes their behavior on such a tax rate change.

When Reagan argued for changing the what, 70%?, top rate with the above argument, it made sense; lowering the top rate from something north of 70 to something south of 45 would be a boon to productivity. But little changes of 1 or 2%? I can't see them having any significant effect on behavior.

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

A lack of support for pro-life, pro-gay, pro-illegal, anti-gun, Rudy does not equate to "purple".

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Mike - the apparently also need the nanny-state to intervene to run a blog and save them from the evil doers, to run a radio station into the ground, to avoid spilling hot coffee. to tell them which doctor, to educate them, to save for their retirement, to pay their medical bills, to design toilets, to teach their children, to distrubute condoms, to eliminate religion, to squash all non-liberal dissent, etc.

We are all such victims. help us oh wise and powerful hillary. Get those rich folks money and give it to us.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris there is so much evidence that states that were very red in 2004 are now very purple. Check the latest polls out of Tennessee and Georgia for example, where Giuliani is up by 3 and 4 only on Clinton: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/11/three-states-that-were-not-close-at-all.html

Or the most recent poll from Texas two weeks ago that has Clinton within single digits: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/11/tuesday-polls-add-texas-to-list-of.html

And the most stunning keeps being Kentucky, where Clinton is emerging with a pretty consistent lead: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/11/morning-polls-clinton-leading-in-yet.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | November 27, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, there is another worldview that sees humanity as fundamentally weak, flawed, and in dire need of salvation:

Christianity.

Whereas, Christians call on God for strength, courage, protection, and grace, liberals push God out of the picture, and substitute the State.

Thus, liberalism is not so much a political movement, inasmuch as it is a religious movement - a worshiping of the State, as the protector and guidor of a lost and hopeless mankind.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Bush's big government is a straw man because most of us conservatives are pissed off about it.

At some point in your life, "too bad" is the end of the line. No, it's not a solution, it's a result. A result of your poor choices.

People are motivated by incentives. Take away my incentives, and you change my behavior.

Tax me for working more, I'll work less.

Reward me for failure, I'll fail more.

Give me free doctors, schools, privacy and protection for breaking the law, I'll swim across that river.

etc, etc, etc.

"too bad, so sad" MUST be the end of the line, because all of those "rich" folks we hate so much are only so rich.

You're right, I don't think "liberals"/"progressives"/"Word-of-the-day" left-wingers are racist. But the point illustrates your view of humanity -- as fundamentally weak, flawed, and unintelligent people who need government to help them live their lives to their full potential (which is of course, also defined by that same government).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- meant to comment but was too frazzled most of the day.

Your interpretation makes sense to me, without looking at the applicable statute itself. Apparently, the Democratic Secretary of State also agrees with you -- although the state's AG does not. I suspect a court would credit your view if Barbour's actions are challenged.

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- You've truly taken oversimplifying to a whole new level. Kudos sir!

Seriously, keep pushing your agenda. In the mean time, the ever growing center-left coalition that's forming will elect more democrats committed to addressing the problems people care about.

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
I think you are missing an option or two:
4) different and worse
5) similar direction but more competent (my choice).

I have a hard time imagining that this is going to be a "stay at home" kind of election but it could be.

Posted by: dave | November 27, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

AggieMike, you were absolutely right on The Game, but because I agreed with you, I was too.

Colin, did you ever get to opine on the 12pm 1-1-08 issue for Lott? If you have no idea what I am talking about, I will resurrect the
posts from me and bsimon.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 27, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and its sort of hard to take GOP talking points about "smaller government" seriously when GWB has grown the size of the federal government more than any president since LBJ. And, FYI, that's true even if the Iraq war is taken out of the equation. Not exactly a "fiscally responsible" legacy to say the least.

As a final aside, Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt are two of my favorite presidents. I'm a committed deficit hawk who doesn't think the government should EVER run up deficits absent true emergency. If I'm a "liberal," what does that say about the modern GOP?

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hiccup_colin - If your solution is to invent some magical world where you can simply wish the prices of things and then just go ahead and have the "rich" pay for them, you don't get America.

you do not have the right to own your own home at someone else's expense, you do not have the right to unlimited doctors at someone elses expense, you do not have the right to unlimited education at someone elses expense and so on.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mike -- I've never so much as heard of the web site you referenced, let alone read it, but the headline is patently ridiculous and clearly not representative of "liberals," whatever that term means.

The entire genius of the internet -- that it allows ANYONE to voice their opinion -- is, of course, also its weakness since the growing number of blogs create as much drivel and offensive material as they do thoughtful discussion.

The fact that someone associated with a purportedly liberal blog said something offensive regarding Iowans is no more reflective of mainstream democrats than white supremacist blogs supporting republican candidates is reflective of mainstream conservatives.

But you're a smart guy and already knew all of that.

As far as your "personal responsibility" mantra goes, that's fine as far as it goes. But Bill Clinton was onto something when he said that people who work hard and play by the rules ought to be able to afford health care and help create a better future for their kids. The current system has left plenty of working class folks unable to do either and the foreclosure crisis is hitting lower middle class homes.

I respect your philosophical views, even if I don't agree with them. But if the GOP's answer to all of the tangible problems I just listed is "too bad, take some responsibility" ya'll are going to lose not just this election, but a string of elections into the future.

Posted by: _Colin | November 27, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

dave writes
"Their "different" approach does not necessarily translate to a "better" approach, IMO."

If the options are:
1) More of the same
2) Different but not better
3) stay home

what do you do?

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
"Are you predicting that voters will hold their collective nose & vote for the GOP - despite their apparent dissatisfaction with the GOP at this point?"
While I can't speak for residents of IN, I live in the other purple state of VA and I would say that I am not satisfied with the direction of the GOP, in VA as well as nationally. That said, I have a hard time thinking I am going to vote Democratic (with the possible exception of Biden). Their "different" approach does not necessarily translate to a "better" approach, IMO.

Posted by: dave | November 27, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I know this is off-topic, but I occationally wander into extremely telling articles.

This one, from "The Left-Coaster", is entitled:

"Obama Forced To Ask Overall-Wearing Inbreds For Their Votes In Iowa"

I want to know what our "progressive" friends on the Fix think about their fellow liberals' assessment of everyday, average Americans.

Colin, Claudia

I happen to have the view that people can take care of themselves, make decissions for themselves, and should be responsible for their choices in life. People are not some dumb, inbred cattle that must be herded through life by the ruling elite.

I don't see overall-wearing Americans as inbred.

Hence, my like of private healthcare and lower taxes, rather than big government saving the day.

Since it seems to be a slow day on the fix..

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 27, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

My point exactly. the loon on this site actually believes that Wyoming, Mississippi and Indiana will vote Republican - ridiculous, especially considering that hillary will be at the top of the ticket. I expect that many states that could have gone Dem with a normal candidate will swing right this election.

but don't challenge them on it, they will go crying for their mommy. no wonder they want and need the nanny state, all perceived wrongs will be corrected by the authorities.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to echo glenlasbury...

I'm too from Indiana and this state will always vote Republican unless certain planets align correctly...

Either the Republican has to do something incredibly stupid (like say, privatize a toll road)...

Or the Democrat is a HUGELY popular individual (like say someone with a name that rhymes with "Hi")...

But other than that... a poll may say one thing... hell even a bunch of polls may say something... but come November they won't vote for someone they perceive as a "liberal". Those three Democrats who won last November were all moderates...

Posted by: eamon1916 | November 27, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

KingofZouk's reply to Jaymills just confirms what was stated about Zouk.
He simply wants to rant rather than discuss. I normally just read what others write and have visited many sites. What stops people from visiting sites are commentors like Zouk.
It gets tiresome getting past the mindless tripe spouted by those like him and it forces people away from the blogs.
If you have legitmate dialog to aid to the stated thread fine - if not shut up for once.
CC should regulate the repsonses or you'll lose many diehard readers.
The words of a great southern friend of mine fit Zouk perfectly, "He's batsh*t crazy."

Posted by: leon15bum | November 27, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

ok zouk, here's a question, have you even commented on anything today?

no thought not. as for calling me a coward, yeah sure you say that in front of a computer screen a thousand miles away. ill just stay here, and keep e mailing as long you dont make sense.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As I said before - weak Libs - Jay mills being the weakest and the first to cry uncle and send for the authorities. Same thing the Dems do with foreign policy - cry uncle and send for the UN. same thing they do on the talk circuit, childish antics meant to distract from the poverty of their positions.

but having a strong argument and something to say leaves me in the dominant position here. CC knows that and he also knows that you have not offered anything of substance all day, just calling me names instead. typical loony moonbat. why don't you throw a pie at me, that fits your intellect.

I have an idea for you Jay mills, you insipid coward - go start your own blog and censor out anyone who challenges you. it should thrill your sense of power and entitlement. Of course, if it is like the other Lib media products, no one will be paying attention.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

hi Chris, im really enjoying the site, but unfortunately there's one poster thats getting out of hand on the fix. your probably aware of one king of zouk. he's getting to the point where he's becoming nonsensical. anytime a perfectly good conversation gets going he,or she comes in, and starts in on his tiresome rant on democrats, mainly Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi and especially Hillary Clinton. personally if wanted to read posts from people frothing at the mouth about left of center politicans and politics i would have gone to freerepublic. If i may suggest one little change to the fix it would be a ignore button or do what you did to another poster, is to ban him. king of zouk really isnt adding to the conversation, and his trollish behavoir really shouldnt be tolerated by your newspaper.

thanks for listening.

jaymills1124

just emailed only 30 seconds ago, if everyone just cuts and paste my letter to cc then we can go back to the adults having a sane conversation.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"they always overplay their hands."

Wait, you started talking about Dems, then switched to describing the 'permanent Republican majority.' You need to work on your segues.

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Delusional Dems think they stand a chance of winning in IN, MI.

they always overplay their hands. just like after the last election - a result of the 6 year itch. tried to lose the war 40 times. failed each time. Still no approps bills. can't even legislate but expect to win the Pres. too funny you Libs.

i know you moonbats would prefer not to defend your weak policies, but the voters are on to you. we remember what you promised and never fulfilled. Roll the tape.

shouting your opposition down and opposing free speech only indicates how indefensible your positions are. but keep after me. It may fool most of your imbecilic supporters to still vote for clinton.

you want to forget the graft, the crime, the lies, the cheating, the pardons for cash, the interns under the desk, the trailer trash presidency, the run up to 911 - Dem foreign policy - talk, do nothing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Disillusioned with President Bush's handling of the war, the economy and immigration, nearly half of likely voters in Indiana appear poised to buck 40 years of tradition and vote for a Democratic presidential ticket -- if it includes Sen. Evan Bayh, according to a new Indianapolis Star-WTHR (Channel 13) poll.
The poll of 600 Hoosiers -- including 449 who say they will definitely vote in the November 2008 election -- revealed a growing sense of pessimism, with nearly three-quarters saying the nation is headed in the wrong direction and 28 percent approving of George W. Bush's performance as president.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071123/LOCAL/711230431

looks like glenlasbury is right. me personally i would like to see a governor in a vp slot. last dem to win to win indiana was lbj back in 64.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

glenlasbury writes
"Forget Indiana going for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the Presidential race....UNLESS either of them picks Evan Bayh as their running mate. Then, all bets are off."

Why so? Yes, you said IN is more conservative then beltway types realize. BUT, Mr Cillizza cites an IN poll that shows nearly 60% of IN Republicans dissatisified with the direction of the country under Bush. Given that the GOP frontrunners, thus far, have been trying to out-Bush the President, can they be predicted to sweep IN? Are you predicting that voters will hold their collective nose & vote for the GOP - despite their apparent dissatisfaction with the GOP at this point?

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

bsimon-give me a few min, im sure i can pull up a few head to head match up for indy. but a few things: if IN emerges as a purple state it might benefit obama,considering that IN and IL are neighbors, or if hillary is the nom i suspect she might send out feelers to evan byah as a vp pick. but this certain, dean's 50 state stratergy is working.

off topic, ever notice zouk is going into rufus territory now? he's not even on topic anymore?

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Unlike everyone else who has posted to this thread so far (at least, so it appears), I actually live in Indiana and have for a number of years.

Daniels is in trouble....but if no one else jumps into the race, he will probably pull this one out. He is a very savvy politician, so don't count him out too quickly....and Indiana is far more conservative than many Beltway insiders like Cilizza would guess. (Sorry, Chris; love ya man, but it's true....) Thompson would be an incredibly weak candidate and Schellinger starts out with 0 name ID.

Forget Indiana going for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the Presidential race....UNLESS either of them picks Evan Bayh as their running mate. Then, all bets are off.

Posted by: glenlasbury | November 27, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

how about consider the idea that a hillary nomination will result in a 42 state sweep for Repubs. Or you could send in the junior nominee - Obama. Same result. how the Libs will cry foul again. they never learn. ask President Kerry, President Dean, President gore.

Only the true blue, non-thinking partisan states will fall her way - DC, MD, MA, CA, OR, WA IL, HI, CN

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 27, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I just read that Rudy is touting his success in defeating those nefarious NY squeegee men and bloodthirsty welfare cheats as proof that he is the US's best hope against terrorism.

And people wonder why mayors don't make the leap to the White House.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 27, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"24 potental electorial votes in potental swing states... and a potental dem victory if they spend the time and money campagining in those two states"


Dean's 50 state strategy? The question is whether the eventual Dem nominee can win those states. Maybe the more productive question is _which_ potential Dem nominees could win those states? This is where the state-by-state polling data would be interesting; by I imagine state-specific polls don't exist for anything other than early primary states...

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else it's just another place where the GOP will have to spend more $$ than usual.

The times they are a-changin?

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 27, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Virgina-13 ev
Indiana-11 ev

24 potental electorial votes in potental swing states. now with my amazing powers of basic arthimtic subtract 24 ev from bush's 2004 total

Bush-286-24=262 and a potental dem victory if they spend the time and money campagining in those two states.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Chris writes
"the poll raises interesting questions about just what the national landscape will look like in two months time when the two parties have selected their nominees."

Uh... In two months? So is the race over BEFORE the Feb 5 uber-primary day?

Posted by: bsimon | November 27, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

CC-im thinking indiana is going to turn blue in 08? why? from most of my friends in ft wayne, the privitiziation of the toll road pretty much ended mitch daniel's political asperations. i dont know much about the house races but i expect the dems to hold the pick ups in 06.

"The question raised by those gains as well as the poll numbers cited above is whether Indiana is following the path of Virginia from a red to a purple state in federal elections. And, if Indiana is emerging as a competitive state at the presidential level, are there other states that have long been considered Republican strongholds that are moving in that direction as well?"

sure it could. coloring both Va an IN blue could put a serious electorial hurt for the GOP.

Posted by: jaymills1124 | November 27, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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