Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

Who Has More Paths To The Nomination?
December 29, 2007

Just a quick thought about what Iowa may or may not accomplish for the Dems. First, the three easy scenarios: 1.) Hillary wins by more than a point or two, in which case the race is basically over. 2.) Obama wins convincingly (five points or more), in which case it starts looking pretty good for him and Edwards is done.

The Wizard of Iowa
December 28, 2007

“It’s an exciting time to be alive,” Bill Clinton exclaims. No seven words would sound more banal in the hands of a lesser politician. Clinton says them with the wonderment of a toddler who just learned to walk--at least if that toddler could speak in complete paragraphs and had a sponge-like memory for detail. “When I ran for president the average cell phone weighed five pounds,” he muses. “Go figure. You know how many sites there were on the Internet? The whole shebang? Fifty.

Rolling The Dice With Obama
December 28, 2007

Coralville, Iowa I just went to an Obama event near Iowa City--not far from the University of Iowa and legions of young voters rumored to favor the senator from Illinois. (The Obama campaign says there were about 900 people in attendance.) The first thing that struck me was how explicitly Obama rebutted the preparedness argument Bill Clinton made recently on Charlie Rose. Yesterday in Des Moines, Obama alluded to it only elliptically: "The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result," Obama said.

Obama's Closing Argument, Cont'd.
December 27, 2007

I just had a chance to read over the "closing argument" speech Obama delivered in Des Moines this morning. With the caveat that I didn't actually hear him deliver it, it read more impressively than I expected based on those talking points I mentioned earlier.

Obama's Closing Argument
December 27, 2007

I didn't see a whole lot new in the talking points Mark Halperin says are the gist of Obama's retooled stump speech, but this nugget did stand out a bit: The truth is, you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Obama’s experience is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. But those are not Obama’s words.

Obama Moving Up In New Hampshire
December 23, 2007

The Democratic half of that Globe poll I just mentioned shows Obama pulling ahead in New Hampshire--he edges Hillary 30 to 28. (He's up nine points and she's down seven since early November.) Two things jump out at me in the Globe's write-up. First, I suggested in my recent Obama piece that he could hold his own with blue-collar voters. The Globe finds evidence of this, too: One of the major shifts in the Democratic race came in New Hampshire's biggest city, Manchester, which is home to many blue-collar voters.

As For The Republican Muddle In Iowa
December 22, 2007

Speaking of Iowa muddles, Jonathan Martin does a nice job sorting out where things stand on the Republican side heading into the home stretch. Key grafs: Huckabee: The major question now looming over his surge -- is it for real?

Obama Gets (more) Meta
December 22, 2007

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.

Is Huck Going To Lose His Cool?
December 21, 2007

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.

Obama And The Airborne Toxic Event
December 21, 2007

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.