Jason Zengerle

Senior Editor

As someone who works from a home office--and who, at this moment, is actually working from a coffee shop due to the fact that my family is in the midst of moving apartments and my home office doesn't currently exist--I probably should be upset that The Des Moines Register has decided to exclude Dennis Kucinich from tomorrow's debate on the grounds that his Iowa field director works out of his home. But I'm not.

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From today's NYT article about Hillary's struggles in Iowa, this is a bit of a damning admission from the candidate, isn't it? “I always thought that Iowa would be a challenge,” she said, “and I’m personally really pleased with how far I’ve come, never having done this with Bill. I’ve really been working to understand what was necessary to run a competitive campaign.” [Emphasis added.] Is this what Hillary means when she talks about experience--things she watched her husband do? And if he hasn't done them before, she's basically clueless?

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Isiah Thomas tells his detractors that if they want someone else to run the Knicks, they'll have to pry the job from his cold, dead hands: "I fight till I die. It's not about giving up or quitting. To me, it's win or die. I literally mean death, I don't mean 'walk away.' I mean death. That's how I have coached." Good thing for Isiah there aren't any, uh, passionate Knick fans out there.  --Jason Zengerle 

Ed Kilgore puts his finger on an interesting phenomenon that he deems the Iowa "Pre-Bounce": Huckabee has run no broadcast ads outside Iowa, and precious few even there. He's barely campaigned outside Iowa.

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Here's something you don't see every day. Mitt Romney goes negative on Mike Huckabee in Iowa, and John McCain is the one who fires back on Huckabee's behalf. From a statement by McCain's Iowa chairman Dave Roederer that the McCain campaign sent out last night: News that Mitt Romney will launch a new attack ad tomorrow is another move by a campaign that continues to insult Iowa voters. Iowa families should not be subjected to this negative style of campaigning, especially during the holiday season. Governor Romney has flip-flopped on several major issues that voters care about.

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So much for Mike Huckabee's "benign" side. Here's his new immigration ad that's going up in Iowa.  Somehow I don't think this one will be airing on the Upper West Side. --Jason Zengerle 

He's got Stephen Hayes's love. I think Hayes's cover story on Obama in the new Weekly Standard is a pretty fascinating document--mainly because it's such a puff job. Indeed, from the gushing (and by now familiar) recitation of Obama's life story to the laudatory quotes from Obama supporters, Hayes--aka Dick Cheney's biographer and Fred Thompson's cheerleader--has nary a negative word to write about the Illinois Senator. Maybe Hayes just has a soft spot for Obama because he's related to Cheney, but I think his fondness for Obama is better explained by this passage from his piece.

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I'm not really sure what to make of Frank Rich's Valentine to Mike Huckabee in yesterday's Times. On the one hand, Rich is able to cite plenty of evidence that Huckabee does represent a more palatable and Christian (in the best sense of the word) version of evangelical conservatism: Attacked by Mr. Romney for supporting an Arkansas program aiding the children of illegal immigrants, he replied, “In all due respect, we’re a better country than to punish children for what their parents did.” It was a winning moment, politically as well as morally. And a no-brainer at that. Given that Mr.

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It's starting to look that way. It used to be that the Republican candidates intoned the words "Hillary Clinton" like a mantra of sorts, but I'm pretty sure her name wasn't mentioned once in last night's GOP debate. And I noticed an interesting new hedge in a post-debate statement by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis: "John McCain is the only conservative who can beat Senator Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat next November.

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Mccain As Shrink

Portsmouth, New Hampshire--I can't say I've ever understood why people with deep, deep troubles go to campaign events to unburden themselves to politicians. My guess is that they do it after they've tried--and failed--to seek relief in numerous other places. Today, one such person came to a John McCain campaign event, and while these sorts of things are usually incredibly awkward to watch, this one was almost inspiring. McCain was almost finished with an hour-long forum on the environment in Portsmouth when a severely disabled man named Greg indicated that he wanted to ask a question.

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