Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

Tonight's Gop Debate--capping A Lousy Weekend For Mccain
January 07, 2008

If you read one thing about the Republican race and the GOP debates this weekend, read Joe Klein's post about John McCain. Klein argues that it was basically a "lost weekend" for the straight-talker: The polls still have John McCain comfortably ahead of Mitt Romney in the New Hampshire primary, but I don't believe them. For one thing, McCain has just dragged himself through two of his worst debate performances ever.

Can Someone Explain Mark Penn To Me?
January 06, 2008

Just a quick word about Mark Penn, Hillary's pollster and chief strategist. Based on everything I've heard and read, Penn genuinely didn't believe the Des Moines Register poll showing Obama up big prior to the caucuses. That, and not just campaign spin, is why he spent so much energy bashing it. Which is fine--everyone makes mistakes.

Das Bounce
January 06, 2008

The latest CNN/WMUR poll shows Obama up 10 points--39 to 29--over Clinton. Edwards at 16. My hunch is that we haven't seen the crest of this wave yet. As I noted yesterday, Sunday's probably the best day to get an accurate picture of what's going on, but we only got half of Sunday in this poll. A nation awaits the next Mark Penn memo... --Noam Scheiber

The Inevitable Turmoil In Hillaryland...
January 06, 2008

Time's Karen Tumulty has some great reporting about the turmoil within the Clinton campaign: The scope of Barack Obama's victory in Iowa has shaken the Clinton machine down to its bolts. Donors are panicking. The campaign has been making a round of calls to reassure notoriously fickle "superdelegates" — elected officials and party regulars who are awarded convention spots by virtue of their titles and positions — who might be reconsidering their decisions to back the candidate who formerly looked like a sure winner.

The Boston Herald Chooses Sides
January 06, 2008

I knew something was missing in Iowa, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it till I saw this (sent out by the Edwards campaign): Oh, how tedious life would be without the tabloids... --Noam Scheiber

More Debate Wrap-up
January 05, 2008

Some thoughts: 1.) One way or another, Hillary's "angry moment" is clearly going to be the take-away from this debate. My sense was that she came a tick or two away from really snapping, and that can't be good for getting back into this race. Having said that, I think it's possible that it could play another way: Maybe the average voter sees Edwards rushing to double-team her and thinks it was a little over the top. Maybe it even triggers the same gender dynamic that backfired so famously against Rick Lazio in 2000. Now, both of those things would have been more likely had she kept her cool.

Too Much Romney-bashing
January 05, 2008

A quick thought on the GOP debate: Mitt-bashing has been a preoccupation of this blog*, and it was out in full-force tonight. Huckabee kicked off the proceedings after Romney told him to worry about explaining his own position "and I'll explain mine." (No transcript yet, so I've got to rely on my rough notes.) Huck's quick response: "Which one?" He went on to accuse Romney of calling for a timed withdrawal from Iraq before becoming a devout supporter of the surge and staying the course.

Trust Me, There's A Bounce
January 05, 2008

Just a quick thought about that new CNN/WMUR poll out tonight showing Hillary and Obama tied in New Hampshire. Clinton pollster Mark Penn holds it up as evidence that there's no Obama bounce coming out of Iowa. This strikes me as preposterous. We're talking about a poll conducted Friday night and during the day on Saturday. Why is that a problem? Two reasons: 1.) There's no way the full brunt of the Iowa result had trickled down to the average voter by Friday night.

Remember That Boston Globe Endorsement?
January 05, 2008

Something else to keep in mind: At the time it came out, The Boston Globe's Obama endorsement felt like a consolation prize--not nothing, certainly, but thin gruel alongside the Des Moines Register endorsement that appeared the same night and went to Hillary. Now it's paying some pretty serious dividends, if one can judge from the Obama camp's use of it. The endorsement is plastered all over their latest ad: I can't say it's going to hurt him...   Update: That Obama video doesn't appear to be working at the moment. You can view it on the Obama site here. --Noam Scheiber

Did Hillary Luck Out With Time Magazine?
January 05, 2008

A pair of random Hillary thoughts: 1.) Is it possible that Hillary has caught a big break from Time's new publication schedule? Since its re-launch about a year ago, Time has closed its weekly print issue on Wednesday night and hit news stands Friday. Newsweek continues to close Saturday night and hit news stands Monday. Now, obviously, the big news-weeklies don't pack the punch they used to. But I have to think that glowing coverage from both of them would have, in addition to effectively giving Obama millions of dollars in free direct-mail, created a mini-sensation on television, too.