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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Zogby's Take on the GOP Race

Primary 2008, Part II: The Republicans: In Search of a Front Runner
By John Zogby, President and CEO, Zogby International

If we have learned one thing this year in American politics, it's that there is no such thing as an inevitable President. In my last column, I outlined my thoughts about the Democratic presidential candidates - now, the Republicans.

Rudy Giuliani: I believe Rudy had a flawed strategy right from the outset. The whole idea was that his name recognition and national numbers would turn him into the inevitable candidate and that he needn't spend time in or worry about Iowa or New Hampshire because his national numbers would just automatically lift him up. If for some reason they didn't, he would be a sure shot to win in Florida, and then proceed into the big states on February 5, where he would automatically have the money on hand to be able to compete in the television markets of New York and California and umpteen other states.

I always thought that was a mistake, because Iowa is extremely important, and a loss there, particularly an embarrassing loss, would produce several days of negative stories. The primary system is all about momentum and I think everyone is beginning to see that. He can still win the nomination, but even he has begun to see that he might end up in fourth- or even fifth-place in Iowa, third- or fourth-place in New Hampshire. Now, he's even down in Florida, because someone else - Mike Huckabee - has gained momentum in Iowa and built on it nationally.

Mitt Romney: Romney, interestingly, had the exact opposite strategy of Rudy: to spend a lot of money in the early states and build a compelling lead, so he'd roll in Iowa and New Hampshire, and then carry that momentum with him. And for a while it looked like that was working. He can still win the nomination. I suspect he will end up doing well in Iowa and he continues to lead in New Hampshire and is among the leaders in South Carolina and Florida. What he did not count on was Mike Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee: In addition to Huckabee's numbers going up dramatically in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, we've also seen a dramatic decrease in the numbers of undecideds among Republicans. Translated: Many conservatives have told us they were unhappy with the field of candidates and were looking for a conservative leader and winner. Frankly, they hadn't considered Huckabee because he just didn't look like he had a chance. You combine his strong numbers with conservatives and respectable showing among independents and moderates, because he appears to be so affable and rational, and the Republicans right now are experiencing a Mike Huckabee "boomlet." The key question, is, however, are these just Huckabee's few days in the sun, at a time of the year when daylight is at its shortest?

John McCain: Talk about a little boomlet. John McCain seems to be getting his now, too. His candidacy bottomed out several months ago for a number of reasons, including internal campaign disputes and overspending, as well as a redefinition of McCain that undefined the John McCain of 2000: the war hero, the maverick, the straight-talker. But for those Republicans who want to believe that the surge in Iraq is working, that issue is less on the table, no longer hurting McCain, and he's very much back to being the maverick warrior. McCain's numbers in Iowa are disastrous, because he never campaigned there and he opposes ethanol subsidies. But he may just do better than expected, moving into third or fourth place, then on to New Hampshire where he runs a respectable second for now. His biggest problem is he has no money.

Fred Thompson: I've never seen the point of his candidacy. I still don't get it. There are some who suggest that he's caught some fire and he could come in second or third place in Iowa, as Huckabee or Romney fades. But right now, his candidacy has all the qualities of Baltic Avenue in a Republican sea of St. Charles Places. (Note: If Thompson wins the nomination, my comments here are for entertainment purposes only.)

Ron Paul: He's going to do better than anyone expects. Look to Paul to climb into the double-digits in Iowa. Why? He's different, he stands out. He's against the war and he has the one in four Republicans who oppose the war all to himself. Libertarianism is hot, especially among free-market Republicans and 20-somethings. And he's an appealing sort of father figure. He's his own brand. All he needs to do is beat a couple of big names in Iowa, then New Hampshire is friendlier territory. After all, the state motto is "Live Free or Die."

Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Alan Keyes are also running and they have no chance.

There is a real possibility that there will be no clarity on the Republican side after February 5. The best-laid plans of front-loaders may have backfired. Figure out that mixed metaphor.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 08:34 PM
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I think Tancredo's ripe for a come-back...be on the look-out for a big win
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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The article was published 12/21, the day after he dropped out.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 09:13 PM
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Mike, Mike, Mike. Number ONE in the Republican polls. Is this suppose to be a Christmas gift for the Democrats [and the Nation as a whole]???

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PELLA, Iowa (CNN) -- A senior aide to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee admitted Friday that the former Arkansas governor had "no foreign policy credentials" after his comments reacting to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto raised questions.

During an event Friday in Pella, Iowa, Huckabee said the crisis sparked by Bhutto's death should lead to a crackdown on illegal immigrants from Pakistan.

The Huckabee official told CNN that when he said that, Huckabee was trying to turn attention away from scrutiny of his foreign policy knowledge.

Huckabee's foreign policy credentials have been under a microscope since the candidate admitted that he was unaware of an intelligence report that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program earlier this month.

"In light of what happened in Pakistan yesterday, it's interesting that there are more Pakistanis who have illegally crossed the border than of any other nationality except for those immediately south of our border," Huckabee said Friday.

Americans might "look halfway around the world and say, 'How does that affect me?' ... We need to understand that violence and terror is significant when it happens in Pakistan, [and] it's more significant if it can happen in our own cities. And it happens if people can slip across our border and we have no control over them."

"The immigration issue is not so much about people coming to pick lettuce or make beds, it's about people who could come with a shoulder-fired missile and could do serious damage and harm to us," Huckabee said, "and that's what we need to be worried about."

The Huckabee official said he told Huckabee that his reaction to the crisis in Pakistan will be the story for the next several days, and until he is "briefed and up to speed" on Pakistan, a good place for Huckabee to draw the line is on illegal immigration.

Why does Rudy Giuliani get more credentials on homeland security than you do? You've been a governor," the Huckabee campaign official said he told the candidate.

The campaign official admitted that Huckabee's tough immigration talk is also aimed at helping him win male GOP voters in Iowa -- a bloc the official concedes the campaign has been losing ground with.

Huckabee said 660 Pakistanis entered the country illegally last year. When asked by a reporter the source for that statistic, Huckabee appeared unsure, saying, "Those are numbers that I got today from a briefing, and I believe they are CIA and immigration numbers." The Huckabee campaign later said the figure came from a March 2006 report by The Denver Post.

But the Border Patrol told CNN on Friday that it apprehended only "a handful" of illegal immigrants from Pakistan in 2007.

The number of illegal immigrants from Pakistan deported or apprehended is not mentioned in the latest report from the Department of Homeland Security/Office of Immigration Statistics. In 2005, the nation did not make the list of the top 10 sources of illegal immigrants. The previous year, Pakistan was the last country listed, but no specific numbers were given.

Huckabee is the GOP front-runner in Iowa, according to most polls. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll conducted December 20-23 and 26 has Huckabee leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 36 percent to 28 percent among likely caucus goers. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 7 percentage points.

As the campaigns enter the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses on January 3, Romney has gone on the attack against Huckabee, particularly focusing on his record on illegal immigration issues while he was Arkansas governor.

Huckabee's Friday comments on immigration came after he appeared to make another gaffe Thursday, when he seemed to suggest incorrectly that Pakistan was under martial law.

While commenting on Bhutto's death during an Orlando, Florida, press conference, Huckabee told reporters that the United States' first priority should be to find the responsible parties.

"But the most urgent thing to do is to offer our sincere sympathies and concerns to the family and to the people of Pakistan, and that's the first thing we would be doing other than, again, trying to ascertain who's behind it, and what impact does it have on whether or not there's going to be martial law continued in Pakistan, suspension of the constitution," Huckabee said. "Those are concerns that the United States certainly should have."

Later Thursday, at an event in West Des Moines, Iowa, Huckabee told CNN that "it was not that I was unaware it was suspended, two weeks ago, lifted. ...The point was, would it be reinstated, would it be placed back in? All of the aspects of martial law have not been completely lifted even now. There's still a heavy hand Musharraf has used."

Conservative critics immediately pointed out that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf lifted the country's state of martial law roughly two weeks ago.

The slip "ought to be really bad news for Huckabee," said the National Review's Jim Geraghty, writing on the magazine's Web site. "I'm not sure how big assassination-related news will play in the first primary states. Still, I think those misstatements will exacerbate the Huck/Not Huck divide in GOP circles." The National Review has endorsed Romney.
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But CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said the debate over whether Huckabee has command of the nuances of the Pakistan crisis would have little impact on his support.

"Mike Huckabee is a populist. His comments on Pakistan reflect a populist understanding of the crisis, which, is to say, not much," Schneider said. "Sure, the political establishment is snickering, but I doubt that his misstatements bother his supporters much."

Foreign policy gaffes plague Huckabee - CNN.com

You have to wonder if he knows that there is a difference between Sunni and Shiite?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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During an event Friday in Pella, Iowa, Huckabee said the crisis sparked by Bhutto's death should lead to a crackdown on illegal immigrants from Pakistan.
C'mon! You got that from the Onion, right?!?

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 09:31 PM
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C'mon! You got that from the Onion, right?!?
It is why I put the CNN linkie on the article. There was also an article in Reuters that was similar but a bit kinder.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 09:36 PM
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I think Bhutto's death could seriously rearrange the outcome of both early primaries and beyond, when voters begin to focus on the terrorism issue instead of the "floating cross" and other non-issues.

Don't believe everything you think
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 11:15 PM
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I think Bhutto's death could seriously rearrange the outcome of both early primaries and beyond, when voters begin to focus on the terrorism issue instead of the "floating cross" and other non-issues.
The personal stuff is going to HAVE to go away soon. It is just getting too stupid for words.

But as important as terrorism is, I do think that James Carville hit it on the head in 1992 when he put a big sign on the Clinton campaign headquarters wall "It's the Economy, Stupid!" That is going to be the make or break issue, no matter how hard Rudy and Romney try to make it terrorism. If the economy falters hard, 3000 killed will seem like nothing [and it will all be home grown].

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2007, 12:50 AM
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The personal stuff is going to HAVE to go away soon. It is just getting too stupid for words.

But as important as terrorism is, I do think that James Carville hit it on the head in 1992 when he put a big sign on the Clinton campaign headquarters wall "It's the Economy, Stupid!" That is going to be the make or break issue, no matter how hard Rudy and Romney try to make it terrorism. If the economy falters hard, 3000 killed will seem like nothing [and it will all be home grown].

I so agree with this. Sad to make 3000 seem insignificant.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2007, 07:39 AM
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The personal stuff is going to HAVE to go away soon. It is just getting too stupid for words.

But as important as terrorism is, I do think that James Carville hit it on the head in 1992 when he put a big sign on the Clinton campaign headquarters wall "It's the Economy, Stupid!" That is going to be the make or break issue, no matter how hard Rudy and Romney try to make it terrorism. If the economy falters hard, 3000 killed will seem like nothing [and it will all be home grown].
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I so agree with this. Sad to make 3000 seem insignificant.

You 2 Gentlemen obviously need a pep talk or maybe an atitude improvement course given by the Jayhawk.........
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