Barron YoungSmith

It's not that we expect politicians to have squeaky-clean donor lists. You try running for office without, at one point or another, taking money from someone you probably shouldn't. Even Barack Obama, Mr. Clean, has Tony Rezko. But the Frank Giustra-Kazakhstan-Uranium affair, blown open by The New York Times last week, serves as a reminder that the relationship between the Clintons and money has not always been lily-white.

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While it may have seemed innocuous, John McCain's answer to last night's debate question, "Would Ronald Reagan endorse you?" should be enough to unnerve (though perhaps not surprise) any Cold War historian not firmly committed to Reagan Victory School-hackery. When asked the same question, Romney took the chance to preen about immigration and Mike Huckabee talked about sunny optimism. McCain, however, harped on two important but relatively obscure episodes in the annals of U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiation: "Ronald Reagan came with an unshakable set of principles, and there were many times

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Primary Talk

While it's hard to track public opinion shifts sans polls, Michael Sean Winters at America: The National Catholic Weekly has a glimpse of the talk among elite Democratic Washington: I went to dinner with three friends last night in Bethesda, just outside Washington. We began talking about the Democratic primaries and about how disgusted we were with the Clintons' campaign tactics, especially Bill Clinton's dismissive equation of Obama's South Carolina victory with Jesse Jackson's wins there in 1984 and 1988. ... Then something funny happened.

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Edwards Drops Out

He's going to announce in New Orleans at 1pm, Eastern. No immediate endorsements planned.  --Barron YoungSmith

Not long ago, TNR's Jon Chait blasted the NYT for reporting John McCain's claim that, "Every time in history we have raised taxes it has cut revenues"--without pointing out that assertion is patently false: The amazing thing is that New York Times, which printed McCain's quote, made no effort whatsoever to ascertain the truth of his point. Just the typical, "McCain says earth is flat, and meanwhile in other news..." stuff. ...

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Duke It Out!

It's no secret that the Democratic presidential campaign has grown ferocious over the last few days: both the Hillary and Obama camps have griped of unfair treatment, Bill goes red-faced if someone looks at him wrong, Barack's tired of 42's haranguing, not to mention the name calling. Last weekend, the animosity between the two camps--who, it should be noted, have very similar policy positions--spilled over (way over) onto the comments section of our blogs.

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In case you haven't read our South Carolina coverage this week, here's a roundup. In her jaunt around primary country, Eve Fairbanks encountered Southern yuppie prudery and creative ways of breaking the wall between church and state. After Romney's Michigan upset, she attended a Mitt Romney revival that evoked a U2 concert and discovered a new phenom: pro-Romney women in heat. Of course, the main S.C. attraction is campaign dirt.

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If you aren't yet emotionally invested in '08 race, don't worry: Josh Patashnik and I are putting our money on the line in an attempt to up the human stakes of tonight's primary--specifically, the loser will buy the winner lunch. Based solely on an NYT piece that quoted Romney promising Michiganians that he'll rebuild the auto industry--and McCain telling them they're basically fucked, but he's committed to giving them job training--I say Romney pulls a Hillary, clinching Michigan by a large margin. (It looks like Jon Cohn also thinks Romney finally found his voice...

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Today's NYT piece on Obama courting Hispanics: At a rally of the culinary workers' union in the shadows of the Strip here one night, Senator Barack Obama pumped his fist and chanted with the crowd, "S

This Saturday, most politicos are either looking forward to the New Hampshire primary or recovering from several nights of Obama victory-inspired sex. But the truly fanatical among us are watching today's Wyoming Republican caucuses--an event with rules more arcane than Iowa's, zero public polling, and even the possibility of an upset by Ron Paul or even (perish the thought!) vigorous Wyoming campaigner Duncan Hunter. Wyoming will actually produce 12 RNC delegates, the same amount as New Hampshire.

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