Fred Thompson on Ted Kennedy: "No room to the left of him. And no room to the right of him, either." And the crowd goes wild. Update: When Thompson goes through Giuliani's liberal stances, though, it certainly is effective. --Isaac Chotiner
In order to attend a speech by Bill Clinton in Florida yesterday, a Miami Herald reporter "had to purchase an admission ticket for $50. That money is considered a donation to the Hillary Clinton campaign." Could this be a new frontier in campaign fundraising? Hot candidates in particular could auction off access to their big speeches to the highest bidder. (Imagine Obama selling off media tickets to his first big speech completely ripping into Hillary as a liar and a phony.) The way to make up for this, I would think, is for news organizations to make in-kind deductions after the fact.
Apologies for the light posting today--Mike and I are both crashing on pieces for the magazine; we'll be back to blogging by the end of the day. In the meantime, allow me to recommend three articles by close friends of The Stump. The first is Amy Sullivan's shrewd piece over at Time.com, about how the Huckabee campaign is creating a split between evangelical elites and rank-and-file social conservatives. This is something I can vouch for personally having seen the latter go nuts for Huckabee in Washington on Saturday.
Mud Pit: [Michael Kranish, The Boston Globe]: "The eight Republican candidates for president held a fiery debate last night filled with charges and confrontations about who is a true conservative and 'real Republican' as they defended their stands on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and taxes." Cash Money:[Leslie Wayne and Aron Pilhofer, The New York Times]: "Spending reports filed by the presidential campaigns for the July to September quarter show that Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are all spending about equally. ...
Pretty much everything you needed to know about tonight's GOP debate--and much of what you need to know about the GOP race--happened in the first 15 or 20 minutes. That's when Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace invited each of the leading candidates to attack their rivals--and the candidates took him up on it. The differences in the way the four front-runners responded highlighted a key divide in their campaign strategies. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson swept their deviations from party orthodoxy under the rug, as they have for much of the race, and cast themselves as true conservatives.
Noam's going to have more on tonight's GOP debate in Florida, but here's one quick reaction: The Republicans did Barack Obama, John Edwards, and all the other non-Hillary Democrats a big favor tonight. The candidates mocked and derided Hillary constantly, and the crowd joyously whooped and cheered them on. Some of it was absolutely cheap, as when Mike Huckabee said that Clinton's election would destroy the morale of the U.S. military.
Michael Kinsley channels Jon Chait in making the case for keeping the Alternative Minimum Tax: The Republicans controlled Congress and the White House for six years; they could have made government as lean as they wished and no one could have stopped them. They didn't. It used to be that when they proposed irresponsible or phantasmagoric tax cuts, Republicans at least went through the motions of coming up with some theory about how they would pay for themselves. Supply-side economics--tax cuts would generate new taxable economic activity--often played this role.
This can't be real. And yet it is! (Make sure to look at all of the pictures). --Isaac Chotiner
Who's tougher on dirty movies? This morning Rudy Giuliani bragged that he'd kicked the peepshows out of Times Square. But last night Mitt Romney did him one better: I'm going to fight the modern plague, internet pornography, especially as it effects our youth. You may recall that following the Columbine shooting, Peggy Noonan said that our children are swimming in an ocean of filth she called it: pornography, perversion, violence, sex. It's time we clean up the water that our kids are swimming in. Computer pornography has given new meaning to the words home invasion.
Kate O'Beirne hints at an interesting point involving Fred Thompson and John McCain in the latest issue of National Review. (No free online access.) O'Bierne writes: Some have predicted a "Fred fizzle" that [pollster] Scott Rasmussen is not yet ready to declare; John McCain is the candidate most likely to benefit from a second look by Fred Thompson's supporters, should it appear his candidacy is not as viable as they had hoped. I'd go even further and say that Thompson could end up being the best thing that ever happened to McCain in this race.