A few thoughts on Clinton I and the prospect of Clinton II:
had a feeling we would never get rid of him. When watching the
inaugural ceremonies in 2001, when Bill Clinton lingered, and lingered,
and lingered a bit longer, I knew that not only would he not go away,
but that the media wouldn't let him. This week the Vast Right Wing
Conspiracy celebrated its ten year anniversary and the woman who coined
the phrase looks poised to return with Bill Clinton to the White House.
Considering how reluctant they were to leave it, it is no surprise they
are fighting so hard to return. What remains to be seen is whether or
not the public is ready for Clinton II.
For those who have forgotten, Bill Clinton made the tackiest of departures.
He sucked up the final moments of his presidency by delivering a
1000 word speech using the words "I" or "me" 56 times and instead of a
single goodbye, embarked on a full-fledged goodbye tour. I guess that's
what you do when you are convinced you are a rock star. Jonah Goldberg
writing at the time described the way Clinton "tried to deprive the new
president the limelight" by quoting Mayor Daley. "In the past, they
shook hands, the (former) president went to a helicopter, and that was
it. This was different. He had a rally at the airport, a rally in New
York and a rally at his home. It was really different, really unusual,"
Daley said. "That's his style. He wanted two or three more parties."
Goldberg went on to quote Bill Clinton from the airport rally: "You see
that sign there, 'Please Don't Go'? I left the White House, but I'm
still here. We're not going anywhere."
In the most recent debate in New
Hampshire, when he wasn’t hurting Hillary’s feelings, Barack Obama was
busy giving his GOP opponents a powerful piece of ammunition. His
response to one question in particular not only displayed an ignorance
of the past couple years of action in Iraq and insulted those in the
U.S. military, but also gave opponents a nifty little video clip for
future campaign ads.
With lower casualties in Iraq and a level of success attributed to
the surge that even Jack Murtha eventually had to acknowledge, many
(including me) have speculated that Iraq would not play as big a role
in this presidential election as earlier thought. Obama’s response to
the question about the success of the surge made it clear that Iraq is
going to continue to be a relevant issue in the current campaign and if
it isn’t, Republicans might want to make it one.
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A pregnant Marine missing for nearly a month is dead, and investigators were seeking a fellow Marine she had accused of sexually assaulting her, authorities said Friday.
Authorities had not recovered the body of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach, but they believed she was buried in a shallow grave in a residential area of coastal Onslow County, Sheriff Ed Brown said.
The suspect, 21-year-old Cpl. Cesar Armando Lauren, has declined to meet with investigators and is not in custody, he said.
"They don't know where he is," Brown said of the suspect. "He's gone."
Fox News just called New Hampshire for McCain with only 12 percent
of precincts reporting. Those exit polls must be pretty definitive.
It appears the Obama-Clinton race is going to be closer than most
predicted this week. Obama has been built up so much that even if
Hillary loses, she could still be seen as a "comeback kid" if it is
Update 9:00: With 26 percent of precincts reporting Hillary leads Obama 40 - 34 percent. I have to agree with what Ace said:
I think the Old Gal just might win. And that would make it a good night.
Think about it: She might be standing in the way of history, and of hope itself. Not Republicans. But Hillary.
And won't that be special?
Brit Hume said the exit
polls showed Hillary a close second finisher and he just asked Michael
Barone whether or not, based on the numbers he was seeing, Hillary
could still win. Barone said it was possible.
If Hillary does win, my best guess about the discrepancy between
the exit polls and actual results would not have anything to do with
polling methodology. I think the frenzy that has surrounded Obama in
the media the past week would be to blame. Think about it. Would you
want to admit to voting for Hillary when you could claim to have voted
for the rock star? Then why not go ahead and vote for him in the
privacy of the voting booth? I am sure you can imagine lots of reasons
for that. Unfortunately, most of us at one time or another have, for
one reason or another, voted for someone we would rather not admit to
having voted for. This is going to be an interesting night.
Update 9:30: 43 percent of precincts are now reporting and Hillary's lead has shrunk to two percentage points ahead of Obama.
is blogging from the McCain event. She was at Romney's earlier. She
said McCain was subdued. I told her he was making the longest primary
speech ever. He probably wasn't, but it seemed that way and when I said
that he was not finished yet.
Update (9:40 p.m.):Bill Kristol just said that the
late exit polls he just recently saw show a deadheat with Clinton with
a slight edge. Hillary is now up three percentage points with 47
percent of precincts reporting. So, now that the late exit polls are
showing Hillary winning I guess my theory of people lying to the
pollsters is wrong. I think Mary Katharine and Amanda Carpenter might have the answer to the possible Obama loss.
what's up with Clinton leading, huh? This election has been nothing if
not humbling for pundits. Sounds like grown-up voters came home to
Hillary instead of getting caught up in Obama-mania. Or, as my
colleague Amanda posits: "All the young people went to the Obama
victory party and were too busy drinking to vote. Kinda like a really
awesome tailgate where you forget to go to the game." Heh, I know that
feeling. Odd that the young people would come out in Iowa, where it's
comparatively difficult to vote, and not in New Hampshire.
Update (10:10 p.m.): With 62 percent reporting, Hillary is up by three points.
The guys on Fox News are talking about John Edwards, who evidently
is getting ready to speak soon. Juan Williams is talking about how
angry he is. Bill Kristol said that based on the exit poll info, it
looks like most Edwards voters would go to Obama (that's kinda obvious,
isn't it?). I wonder how long Edwards will stick it out. He has
practically lived in Iowa and New Hampshire the past four years and is
finishing a very distant third tonight. I think that even if he stays
in, it won't be long until his voters are going to start moving to one
of the candidates that is actually going to win.
Update 10:30: Ha. After being reminded that John
Edwards is taking matching funds, Bill Kristol said he should drop out
because he is wasting the taxpayers' money. The pundits then talked
about Elizabeth Edwards' role in deciding how long he stays in, noting
that she is very passionate about politics.
Update 10:34: AP and at least one network have
called the race for Hillary. Michael Barone said Fox is not calling for
her yet because they are waiting for results from the college towns
which could possibly still help Obama squeak out a win.
Update 10:50: Obama is conceding now. So, how did
Hillary pull it out? Was it the tears? Was it because so many
Independents, who can vote in either party's primary, decided to go
with McCain rather than Obama? It would make sense that some thinking
Obama had it in the bag, would decide to vote in what appeared to be
the closer race. It would also explain the bigger than expected margin
Update 11:05: Frank Luntz just said the results he
is seeing show that independents that were going to vote for Obama
switched late to vote in the Republican primary instead.
Hillary is speaking now. She says she listened to voters and found her own voice.
Here is what I am going to take away from tonight -- never think you
have it in the bag when the polls look good and never give up when they
look bad. This is going to be one heck of a long 10 months ahead of us.
Dr. Phil has taken on the challenge of rescuing Britney Spears at her family's request, but it is not clear whether or not Britney is going to go along with it . Should we care? I don't know. It is just really sad.
It is a good thing the days of Britney Spears being followed by little girls was pretty much over even before the latest developments occured. Britney has not been on top of the charts for a while now and has pretty much been replaced by new faces like Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale when it comes to the pre-teen audience. In fact, the pregnancy of Spears' sister, Jamie Lynne, who stars in Nickelodeon's popular show Zoe 101, will probably be more of a challenge for parents to explain to their young daughters than Britney's latest. My girls are seven and eleven and when they catch any mention of Britney Spears on t.v. I think they regard her more as an adult than as the teen pop star she will probably always be in my mind.
I missed the Republican debate, but am still sifting through my many emails from the candidates' representatives. I came in on the Democrats' debate almost an hour ago. I wasn't going to post anything on it, until I heard the comments about the "surge." Charles Gibson told the candidates that there is real evidence that the surge in Iraq is working. (Yep, you read that right. I wrote Charles Gibson. Of ABC News. It shocked me, too.) They showed a short piece about some of the improved security in Baghdad and the dramatic drop in U.S. casualties. He asked the candidates if they were wrong to oppose the surge. Predictably they all said the surge is a failure because there has not been political progress made. Obama said that much of the progress that has been made was due to agreements made between the tribes in the Anbar Province and that those were made (not because of the surge, but) because those in Iraq saw the Democrats win back the Congress in 2006 and decided they would be pulling the troops out so they had to step up. [Update: This portion of the transcript from the debate has been added after the jump. The full transcript can be found HERE Bruce Kesler noted the "stolen valor" aspect of Obama's statement at Democracy ProjectJim Hoft has the video.] I wanted Gibson to point out that even John Murtha had admitted the surge was working, but I guess that was a bit much to wish for.
A couple of other things...
-- Seeing Edwards and Obama team up on Hillary referring to her as the status quo was entertaining. During that segment I wondered if Hillary forgot that the camera was on her the entire time too. The shots of a non-smiling Hillary staring them down was not particularly attractive.
-- Hillary redeemed herself a bit when she later lightened up and answered a question about more people liking Obama by saying it hurt her feelings. She made the point that George Bush was the candidate more people said they wanted to pal around with during previous elections (and we all know how horrible and evil that George Bush is).
Update: I missed the GOP debate, but John Hawkins has a good roundup of the performances of each candidates.
Regarding the surge, Michelle Malkin posted a pretty devastating statement from Romney's camp which consisted of some quotes from Mike Huckabee.
Tonight, Huckabee Accused Gov. Romney Of Not Supporting The Troop:
Huckabee Said He Supported The Surge Before Romney. "I supported
the president in the war before you did. I supported the surge when you
didn't." (ABC/WMUR, [Unverified Transcript], Republican Presidential
Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08)
One Year Ago, Gov. Huckabee Did Not Offer His Support For The Surge:
Gov. Huckabee, January 2007: "Well, I'm Not Sure That I Support The
Troop Surge." MSNBC's NORAH O'DONNELL: "We have a Rudy Giuliani, who
supports the president's plan on Iraq. We have Governor Mitt Romney,
who also supports a troop surge. How are you different from any of
those candidates." HUCKABEE: "Well, I'm not sure that I support the
troop surge, if that surge has to come from our Guard and Reserve
troops, which have really been overly stretched." (MSNBC's "Live,"
Update II: The portion of the transcript mentioned above follows: