Washington, Iowa There's always been a touch of meta in Obama's famous "fired up/ready to go" story. (Anyone who hasn't heard it can watch him tell it here. Fast forward to about 2:50.) In the couple of weeks since I last saw him, though, the meta's gone off the charts. Here's how he wrapped it up today: For the rest of the day, even after I left Greenvillewood, every time I saw my staff, I said, "Are you fired up?" They said, "We're fired up! Are you ready to go, Senator?" "I'm ready to go!" That used to be where the story ended, but it's taken a life of its own.
Iowa City, Iowa One of the big topics of conversation among the reporters following Huckabee is if or when the famously thin-skinned governor will lash out at someone in a way that sets him back. I personally don't think it's going to happen. The Huckabee campaign isn't the most disciplined operation, to say the least. And Huckabee is hardly the most disciplined candidate. (That honor probably goes to Romney--or at least it did before the "definition of saw" fiasco.) But if there's one thing Huckabee knows absolutely can't happen, it's some kind of blow-up.
Davenport, Iowa I'm sitting in an empty auditorium in downtown Davenport with a bunch of disappointed journalists. Disappointed because Obama's event here today has been cancelled on account of fog. It was apparently too thick for Obama's plane to land, and so he touched down in Chicago and is now driving to Eastern Iowa to try to make an event later this afternoon. But the kicker, as Ben Smith informs me, is that the fog is apparently toxic.
Via Jonathan Martin, I see that Huckabee is going even further than I'd noticed yesterday in trying to rile up evangelicals in his battle with the "Washington to Wall Street axis." Here's what he tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's ubiquitous David Brody in an interview on the CBN site today: There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street and they sort of live in their protected world, and frankly for a number of years many of them thought of people like me--whether it was because we were evang
Ames, Iowa What can you say? When I looked in on Mike Huckabee in Iowa this summer, he was at single digits in the polls and, even on his best days, only merited the odd paragraph of MSM coverage. Now, of course, there are literally dozens of reporters hanging on his every word. (See photos below.) A couple interesting tidbits from today: 1.) Asked about Romney's attacks at a press avail in the parking lot of a West Des Moines shopping mall, Huck waxed magnanimous. Sort of. "You need to look [at it] with some sense of sympathy," he said.
Jonathan Martin speculates that Tom Tancredo is about to drop out of the race. He says the endorsement of Fred Thompson by Rep. Steve King, the Eastern Iowa immigration hawk and longtime Tancredo ally, was a possible the coup de grace. Which raises a question: Would Tancredo himself endorse Thompson? I imagine we could see some real Fred-mentum here if that happened. (On the other hand, maybe Tancredo will just be bitter about King's Thompson endorsement...) --Noam Scheiber
Obviously the McCainiacs have to be somewhat pleased with this latest WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll showing him at 22 percent in the state to Romney's 34 and Giuliani's 16. The thing that would most comfort me I were a McCain staffer is that Giuliani appears to be dropping. My guess is that that will continue as Rudy scales back his spending in the state, which should benefit McCain, since the independent types who supported Giuliani are more likely to migrate to McCain than Romney. (At least that's my hunch.
There's been a lot of talk recently, particularly in elite conservative circles, about the disaster that will befall the GOP if Mike Huckabee wins the party's nomination. There may or may not be something to that. But I think people are overlooking the disaster that may befall the GOP if Huckabee loses the nomination. Particularly if he loses it at the hands of a budding effort by DC and New York-based conservative elites--or, as Marc Ambinder puts it, the same coalition that torpedoed the Harriet Miers nomination.
Marc Ambinder has an interesting nugget: Michael Whouley, the legendary Democratic organizer (Clinton '92, Gore '00, Kerry '04) who's working for Hillary and whom Mike profiled here, is spending his days shoring up Hillary's New Hampshire operation, not working Iowa as you might expect. As Ambinder says, it could be a sign of confidence about the caucuses.
I know Jason has a piece about McCain in the upcoming issue, so I won't dwell on him too much. But this Times story really does make you think McCain's gotten so many favorable breaks lately that he may be able to pull off a New Hampshire upset.