Jonathan Cohn

Senior Editor

Random note: After Clinton finished her concession speech and the crowd behind her began to scatter, I noticed Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC chairman famous for his fundraising capers, walking across the stage.

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 MSNBC just called the Dem race for Obama.  Chris Matthews is ebullient, calls it a "projectile victory" (for which Olbermann gives him the business).    --Jonathan Cohn

Olbermann announced it on MSNBC, right at the top of the hour.  I assume other networks will follow shortly, if they haven't already.  --Jonathan Cohn

OK, this is my last word on the great swing voter debate, which I inadvertently started yesterday.  Actually, it's not so much my word as John Judis' word, as published in the online pages of the Guardian.  In a new article, he and frequent collaborator Ruy Teixeira break down the independent vote. It's worth reading in full, but this paragraph--about the preferences of independent voters in New Hampshire -- really caught my attention: Even when Hillary Clinton was well ahead in the polls, these voters preferred Barack Obama.

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Overnight all three of the leading Democratic presidential contenders began airing “closing messages” to the caucus-goers of Iowa. All three spots are quite good--a reminder, I think, of just how strong this field of candidates is. But I was struck by how perfectly the advertisements captured the essence of each campaign, warts and all. . Start with Clinton's spot. It's the least lyrical of the three. You'll hear no memorable phrases, detect no compelling narrative.

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My colleague Jonathan Chait suggests, gently, that I am off my rocker for even suggesting that Hillary Clinton might have more appeal to swing voters than Barack Obama.  While I’m hesitant to engage Jon over this – my primary purpose in writing that item was to show why Obama’s support among independents was impressive, regardless of what actually happens on caucus night – I just can’t resist the opportunity to rekindle our little quadrennial tradition.  (Loyal readers may remember that Jon and I, who agree on virtually everything in politics, went a few rounds over Howard Dean in 2004.)   

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For those who spent the past 36 hours celebrating (and recovering) rather than obsessing over presidential politics, the big news over New Year's was the final Des Moines Register poll.  Released just hours before the end of 2007, it showed Barack Obama increasing his lead in Iowa over fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. But even before theRegister's morning edition began hitting doorsteps, both the Clinton and Edwards campaigns had put out their counter-spin.

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Good Mitt, Bad Mitt

Manchester, New Hampshire--The early conventional wisdom is that Thursday’s tragedy in Pakistan will help the Republican candidate with the most foreign policy experience (John McCain) and the one most associated with 9/11 (Rudy Giuliani). For all I know about the dynamics of Republican primary politics, that’s correct.

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I'm not going to offer an opinion on who "won" the Democratic debate because the question seems pointless to me. (What does it mean to "win" anyway?) But I can pinpoint a winner from today's report on steroids in baseball. It's Barry Bonds. The report, which culminates a twenty-month-long investigation by former Senator George Mitchell, details just how pervasive steroid use in baseball was starting in late 1980s.  It implicates everybody -- owners, general managers, the players union.

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With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, it's important to scrutinize the health care reform plans of the leading Democratic presidential candidates.  But it's also important to keep these differences in perspective.  Hillary Clinton and John Edwards would require everybody to obtain insurance, Barack Obama wouldn't.  But they're all talking about the same goal: Covering every single American though some sort of government action.  And their plans still have a great deal in common.  That's a good thing. You almost never hear that kind of talk on the other side of the aisle.  With a few i

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