Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

The South Carolina Debate
January 11, 2008

A couple quick thoughts about the GOP debate: 1.) There was a lot of talk going into last night about how Fred Thompson would be gunning for Mike Huckabee's head. Thompson didn't disappoint. He bashed Huckabee on taxes and spending, on his liberal foreign policy instincts and soft immigration record, on his National Education Association endorsement. He also lectured Huckabee about why we need to subsidize the Pakistani military, not-so-subtly suggesting that Huckabee was in over his head.

A Final Question About The Bradley Effect
January 10, 2008

Mickey Kaus and Polipundit have already contemplated the reverse Bradley Effect in Iowa. I wonder if there might be a different kind of reverse Bradley effect, this time in South Carolina. Is it possible that some black voters would tell pollsters they support Hillary (or that they're undecided) because they don't want to sound like they're  voting mainly out of racial solidarity, even though they actually intend to vote for Obama?

The Second-thought Election
January 09, 2008

We heard a lot about change versus experience in the four-plus days between Iowa and New Hampshire. That's obviously a relevant dichotomy. But a better way to think about the Democratic race is as a batte of second thoughts. That is, the winner will be the candidate who better weathers voters' second thoughts about their voting decision.  I think it's safe to say that voters' second thoughts about a second Clinton era helped fuel Obama's victory in Iowa. Then, in New Hampshire, second thoughts about whether Obama should be "annointed," as he put it, probably contributed to his defeat.

Last Night In Pictures
January 09, 2008

Just figured I'd pass along a picture from last night since I was too frantic re-writing to do a real post about Obama's speech: Also, I love this shot of his head bobbing amid the groupies: That's all. --Noam Scheiber

Introducing The Bradley-effect Effect
January 09, 2008

I had two thoughts when I woke up today: 1.) Isn't it strange that "Hardball" is on so early? (Turned out it wasn't--you lose a little perspective when you wake up at three in the afternoon.) 2.) Whether or not we observed the Bradley Effect last night (and I'm not convinced we did, though I'm open-minded), maybe the more important question is: What's the effect of all this Bradley-Effect talk? Call it the Bradley-Effect Effect. Even if it existed, I think the first-order Bradley Effect was pretty small last night.

The Richardson Factor In Nevada
January 09, 2008

I'm going to get into this a bit in my upcoming print piece, but it's worth considering that Nevada is, like Iowa, a caucus state, where organization tends to be rewarded and where, as Obama campaign manager David Plouffe argues, his team is incredibly well-organized. (Though I've heard that team Clinton has a solid organization there, too.) Another thing to keep in mind about Nevada: Everyone talks about the importance of the culinary workers endorsement, which Obama just received.

Yes We Can
January 09, 2008

One other quick thought--I heard a lot of television pundits talking tonight about how Obama's new refrain, "Yes We Can," was a nod to Latino union members in Nevada--an embrace of Caesar Chavez's "Si Se Puede" mantra. That may be true, but it was also a major staple of his Illinois Senate campaign in 2004. (He said it in a few of the ads he ran in that race.) So it's hardly a new flourish for him... --Noam Scheiber

How'd Obama Lose? Ask Barry Bonds
January 09, 2008

A couple quick thoughts on what happened tonight: 1.) As I mentioned earlier, I think John Edwards played more than a trivial role here. Between double-teaming Hillary at Saturday's debate and punching her in the nose (rhetorically) after her brush with tears, I think he evoked a certain amount of sympathy for her, particularly among women. That dovetailed with voters'--again, particularly female voters'--reluctance to see her get bounced from the race so quickly, which the media told them was about to happen (and almost seemed to be rooting for).

More On Why It's So Close
January 08, 2008

Two theories about what's going on on the Dem side: 1.) It really is going to be a nail-biter--the polls over-sampled independents, who ended voting in the GOP race (for McCain) at a much higher than expected rate. (The Prospect's Tom Schaller, standing right next to me, suggests people assumed Obama had it wrapped up and wanted to put McCain over the top.) 2.) Obama will win--several precincts ran out of Dem ballots today because of a surge of independents who wanted to vote for Obama. You'd expect those precincts to come in late--since they had to wait around for ballots. P.S.

How Edwards May Have Helped Hillary
January 08, 2008

One thought: if the tears do turn out to have mattered--and I have no idea how we'd ever prove it--how much blame/credit does John Edwards deserve? The guy came out and kicked hillary in the teeth for her show of emotion--going on at length about how the presidency's a tough job, how you have to be tough to do it, etc. It wouldn't shock me if that didn't go over very well, particularly among women. (And exit polls show a big Hillary advatange there.)