Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Why Kennedy's Endorsement Matters
January 28, 2008

How will Ted Kennedy's endorsement affect the presidential race? The debate is already well underway. Skeptics note that endorsements don't have the same weight they did a few decades ago, when more voters took their cues from party leaders. Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean four years ago certainly didn't deliver the nomination. But Kennedy's progressive record on economic issues, not to mention his family name, might give him unusual clout with older, working-class white voters -- ones who, until now, have strongly preferred Hillary Clinton.

Was This Obama's Best Speech Yet? Maybe.
January 26, 2008

I'll leave the sophisticated electoral analysis to my more sophisticated colleagues, Noam and Mike.  But I have to say something about Obama's speech, which is the best I've seen him give in a while, if not the entire campaign. That's a high standard, I know, but I think it's true. Tonight's address was every bit as lyrical as the speech Obama gave in Iowa. And it touched on many of the same themes, about healing division and building a movement of voters seeking change. But those themes weren't as front-and-center as they were earlier in the month.

A Kennedy Endorses Obama
January 26, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, as in daughter of the former president, endorses Barack Obama in an op-ed that will run in tomorrow's New York Times -- and is available online here.. Headline says it all: "A President Like My Father." --Jonathan Cohn

Maybe Romney Should Stay In The Private Sector
January 24, 2008

A new Mitt Romney ad running in Florida offers yet more proof of how he's retooled his campaign around the economy -- and how it plays to his strengths as a candidate:   While the ad briefly mentions tax cuts and "conservative change," the primary focus is Romney's biography.  As he says, "I know how America works because I spent my life in the real economy.

Good Insurance Companies--an Oxymoron?
January 23, 2008

Continuing the discussion on health care -- and the lessons of 1994 -- Matthew Yglesias wonders why progressives keep talking about beating up on the insurance companies: In reality, the main measures by which people are proposing to achieve universality -- forcing people to purchase health insurance and providing government subsidies to help people buy insurance -- aren't contrary to the interests of insurance companies at all. ...

Some History--and Hope--on Health Care
January 23, 2008

If Americans decide to elect not just a Democratic president but also an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate this year, then universal health insurance will happen. But since the latter remains an unlikely possibility, at least for now, many very smart people assume that the short-term prospects for passing universal coverage are slim to none.

Obama To Liberals: Trust Me
January 21, 2008

I just watched the insta-reaction from CNN's focus group.  It seems the audience really liked Clinton's determination to push for universal health care (as do I).  By contrast, they were decidedly annoyed when Obama went after Clinton -- as they were when Obama defended his record. Personally, I didn't mind the sparring.  It's a debate, not a dinner party -- aren't they supposed to argue with one another?

Hard Truths And Half Truths On Health Care
January 21, 2008

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards haven't had much trouble convincing experts that their health care plans will reach more people -- and come closer to truly universal coverage -- than Barack Obama's. That's because Clinton and Edwards would require everybody to obtain health insurance and Obama wouldn't. (If you've been sleeping under a rock and haven't heard this debate, read here and here.) But Clinton and Edwards haven't had such an easy time convincing voters about this, because – quite frankly – it's not that easy a proposition to defend.

Is This Debate Too Ugly?
January 21, 2008

Eve, Yes, it did get ugly. But my standards are low. We weren't talking about idiotic process stuff. It was about how they voted on specific measures, their respective approaches to change, and so on. I can live with that. Right now, John Edwards is talking about poverty. And that alone is reason to be thankful he's on the stage, even now.  From the day this campaign began, he's driven the policy agenda--not just by embracing ambitious policy initiatives but also by focussing everybody's attention on people who, frankly, don't get enough explicit attention in politics. --Jonathan Cohn

Sparks Flying In South Carolina
January 21, 2008

Folks, if you're not watching the South Carolina debate, you really should tune in. I can't take notes quickly enough to keep up, so here's a paraphrased run-down of what's just transpired on the second question... OBAMA: Hillary Clinton has been distorting my record -- including what I said about Ronald Reagan in an editorial board meeting, suggesting I praised Republican ideas. CLINTON:  I'm just going by what you've said.  You said the Republicans were the party of ideas and that you admired them for it.

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