Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Gop Attacks On Obama -- Sneak Preview!
January 05, 2008

Towards the end of the Republican debate tonight, we got a nice preview of how the Republicans will go after Barack Obama if he's the nominee.  Mitt Romney attacked Obama as a hopeless liberal, because -- among other things -- he would spend billions of dollars on a new health care program.  (For why that's a good idea, see my item below.)  The rest -- save one -- went after Obama as dangerously inexperienced, particularly on issues of foreign policy.  I thought it interesting that when Giuliani made his version of the argument, he read off a list of candidates who did have the requisite expe

In Which I Feel Sorry For Romney (sort Of)
January 05, 2008

One irony of this campaign is the fact that Mitt Romney's critics have generally said more nice things about his Massachusetts health care plan than he has.  When I saw Romney on the campaign trail, early in the campaign, he'd mention it among his accomplishments but seemed determined to avoid any discussion of the details -- most likely, because it wouldn't play so well with the Republican base.  But the health care discussion in tonight's debate forced Romney to talk about details -- and, to his credit, he finally did, explaining why it was important to have an "individual mandate" requirin

Romney Goes Negative ... But On Whom?
January 04, 2008

Just in from the Mitt Romney campaign, here's the transcript of a new radio ad they are airing in New Hampshire: ANNOUNCER:  "Remember?  Last time John McCain attacked President Bush's integrity." JOHN MCCAIN:  "His ad twists the truth like Clinton.  We're all pretty tired of that." ANNOUNCER:  "Comparing Bush to Clinton?  He was wrong then, and he’s wrong about Mitt Romney now. "The truth?  'McCain is not as conservative as Romney.' "'He voted against the Bush tax cuts.' "On immigration, McCain supported this year's amnesty bill. "Higher taxes, amnesty for illegals. "That's straight talk for

Why This Is No Ordinary Win
January 04, 2008

I'll leave the strategic implications of tonight's outcome to the professional speculators on television. But, as a supporter of progressive causes, I'm struck by how different this feels from the 2004 Iowa race -- when the late implosion of the front-runner (Howard Dean) handed the contest to a candidate (John Kerry) whom almost everybody understood to be a severely limited politician and about whom almost nobody was actually enthusiastic. You can't say that about what just transpired.

I Think They Call This Feeling "clinton Fatigue"
January 03, 2008

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.

Nbc Calls It For Obama
January 03, 2008

 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

Nbc Calls Gop Race For Huckabee, Too
January 03, 2008

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

Clinton V. Obama On Swing Voters, Epilogue
January 03, 2008

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.

Closing Messages--and Closing Doubts
January 03, 2008

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.

Why Hillary Could Win Swing Voters
January 02, 2008

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.)