The Week in Politics

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In Iowa: A little of this, a little of that.

In Iowa: A little of this, a little of that. Source: Crimmings Light Box hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Crimmings Light Box

All eyes are on tomorrow's Democratic debate in Las Vegas. While Nevada's inclusion on the presidential primary and caucus calendar is an indication that more attention will be placed on the West, the real attention will be on Hillary Clinton and whether she can regain her balance. In the Democratic debate held two weeks ago in Philadelphia, Clinton found herself the subject of a barrage of criticism not only from her fellow Democratic candidates and moderator Tim Russert, but for her somewhat contradictory answers to questions about drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and the fate of her papers while she was First Lady that are still in the hands of the National Archives. Her performance in Philadelphia once again raised the questions of inevitability and electability. Meanwhile, new polls in Iowa show a tightening of that state's caucus, now just 50 days away. While Clinton has a substantial lead nationally, the latest CBS/New York Times poll shows the Democratic contest in the Hawkeye State neck and neck and neck among Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani continues to lead nationally. The GOP news in Iowa is not so much that Mitt Romney leads there — that's been the case from the beginning — but that his closest opponent appears to be Mike Huckabee, the under-financed former governor of Arkansas. Also this week: Hillary gets more bad press ... Obama impresses at Jefferson-Jackson dinner ... a new ad by Tom Tancredo ... and a new Junkie trivia question.

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Answer to the trivia:
Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan

Sent by Mike Ascroft | 2:12 PM | 11-14-2007

Maybe when the media quits reporting as if we're watching an extended horse race, the American people will be more interested. I don't care how much money a candidate has got but their views on the issues.

Frankly - Clinton lost my vote when she voted for the war in Iraq and now toes the Bush line on Iran. Which party did she say she was in?

Sent by Linda | 2:26 PM | 11-14-2007

I know of an older man who has lived in Tennessee for many years, contacted by the John Edwards campaign, asked if they could fly him to Iowa to vote in the caucuses. Is that legal?

Sent by Sara Alenduff | 2:33 PM | 11-14-2007

I am from Sioux City, IA and looking forward to take part in the caucus for the first time. I am giving my support for Barrack Obama because of his judgment his passion that I have seen when listening to his speeches as opposed to the other candidates I have seen. As much press as she is getting I don't know anyone that is seriously considering Hillary. My Issues are Iraq, and scientific research (AIDS, cancer, stem cell, etc.) and rebuilding America's standing in the world.

Sent by Rick | 2:36 PM | 11-14-2007

Hello, I have two questions...
1) What are the arguments against a simultaneous nationwide pimary, followed by a run off, laurels to the majority vote?
2) And a one voter/one vote, damn and dump the electoral college in November?
I am so tired of others choosing my candidate and voting for me...
Thanks, Carol, WI

Sent by Carol Cook | 2:38 PM | 11-14-2007

Linda, I am also concerned about the positions of candidates on the war issue, but the only candidate I'm aware of with an acceptable stance is Ron Paul, and as far as i'm concerned, he's paranoid and completely insane. I'm really concerned with the inconsistencies in his political theory. I really don't know what to do next year. Can we have Dean or Carter back?

Sent by pw | 2:39 PM | 11-14-2007

What's with the anti-Edwards stuff both here in the comments and on the Program? On the program one of your panelists claimed Edwards was "tanking" in the polls when in fact he's within two points of the leader. When another panelist pointed that out, he changed the topic and repeated a false claim that Edwards refused to say he's support Hillary if she came out the winner. In fact he said, "I fully expect to support the Democratic nominee, and I fully expect to be the Democratic nominee."

Sent by Cristobal Palmer | 2:46 PM | 11-14-2007

It*s really annoying to sustain any interest with the MSM*s fixation with Iowa and New Hampshire. Both are small states, no racial diversity-all I ever hear is that people are serious about political affairs in these states. I*m from a modest suburb of Cleveland, but I don*t want any attention paid to Ohio- why not New York,or Florida, or Texas or California, or Michigan? Ken Rudin is an interesting analyst, but with two months to go, there has been enough attention paid to Iowa and New Hampshire. I*m weary of listening to individuals from these states relating their personal encounters with Presidential candidates-these are not interesting anecdotes.Please stop-I will disclose that I*m that small amount contributor to Mrs. Clinton*s campaign. I see that now Governor Spitzer has decided not to pursue the awarding of Driver*s Licenses to undocumented individuals, so since Mrs. Clinton had decided to support Mr. Spitzer*s original Drivers License proposal after a equivocal response to Mr. Russert*s question, she would rationally be permitted to agree with the Governor.Why don*t I think that this is to occur? After all, this is America with all its diversity and problems.

Sent by David Beuoy | 2:56 PM | 11-14-2007

I think Edwards is getting the short end of the stick because he's just not very interesting at the surface compared to the other two leaders he's up against. It's a shame, because he could have a lot to offer. It's just much more fun to talk about the woman and the black man and the possibility of making history. Between the three, we have a lot of strengths, and a lot of weaknesses, but a lot more excitement. Frankly, he's probably a lot more electable simply because we must unfortunately be realistic about the resistance to change in this country; but, he doesn't make for good tv.

Sent by pw | 3:06 PM | 11-14-2007

Carol - Kudos!! Let the popular vote pick the winner or be honest that one person/one vote doesn't apply!

pw - totally on the fence and may just go ahead and vote for a third party simply as protest. Wars aren't the only issue but how many freedoms and economic problems have come from Iraq?

Sent by Linda | 3:38 PM | 11-14-2007

Linda, I agree on the issue of freedoms. It's a foolish thing, but my protest plan includes flying naked. I'm really unconvinced of the utility of using my vote in protest. It's a secret ballot and in the end, all I do is potentially risk getting the worse of the two main candidates by supporting someone else. It's much better to work to shift the system to one of coalitions if that is your aim. I'm really concerned about this trusteeship/mandate view we seem to have developed of our officials. I really want to see a recall passed so our leaders are truly responsible to their constituents. You know, in addition to abolishing the electoral congress. It's time we shift from the states choosing the President, to the people choosing the President. (Which, btw, is not guaranteed in the Constitution.)

But, as to the freedom issue, I'm really concerned that no president will be willing to restore the Constitutional nature of the executive instead of the powers that have been wrested illegally based on some imaginary notion of "rights inherent to an executive". Last time I checked, powers of offices in this country are granted by the Constitution, not some inherent sovereignty. Sovereignty here is supposed to belong to the voters. And, for pete sake, whatever happened to checks and balances?! Of course the Congress can restrict the powers of the President. That's what it's there for!

I'm going to give the candidates another look and see what I can come up with. No one will ever match my agenda perfectly, that's what theoretical liberalism is all about. I am hopeful that if we really commit to it, the marketplace of ideas will eventually produce the best results.

Sent by pw | 4:15 PM | 11-14-2007

What happened to Ron Paul? It was announced that his record fundraising would be discussed on today's extended segment, but you never got to it. This is but one example of why Paul supporters feel that the media is marginalizing him. Thanks anyway though, at least the intention was there. I hope you will get to it in a future program.

Sent by cp | 4:42 PM | 11-14-2007

What makes Ron Paul insane pw? I am an ardent supporter and I fail to see where any of his ideas are insane. Some of the issues he brings up may not be what other politicians care to talk about, but that does not make for an insane person.

He has the most consistent voting record in Congress and I have no doubt he would limit the Executive branches power as President. To me personally, it was so refreshing to find a candidate that actually supports the Constitution and cares about the oath he took to uphold it!

Sent by Rob Steenwyk | 9:09 PM | 11-14-2007

Rob, Ron Paul is inconsistent with a true libertarian position. His insistence on encroaching on the privacy of women is appalling. As a physician, he has some degree of right to input his professional opinion to propose legislation. As a public servant, he is no longer a physician and his opinion about medical care is no longer one of an expert. Not to mention that his claim that 4000 births is a representative sample in any way. More people are born in medium sized cities every day. Just because he hasn't seen any given situation doesn't mean they don't exist. It's insanity to propose that his experience is any kind of representative sample. As though that ought to matter to a true conservative for whom no one's medical information should be open to the government purview.

Further, it's very clear that the isolationist policies of the US following WWI directly contributed to the buildup to WWII. It didn't just happen.

Also, I'm quite convinced that this superhighway business is bupkis. I've only heard about it once before and it was on a conspiracy theory site. Having a potential president as a flat-earther scares me.

Sent by pw | 3:48 PM | 11-15-2007

I live in New York City and it really bothers me that New York has such a small part in choosing the nominee. The best argument for the most populous states going first is that the issues of cities do not get addressed in a small state like Iowa.

Sent by JK | 10:29 AM | 11-16-2007