Friday, November 30, 2007

Obama-Bloomberg 2008?

There has been some speculation after a Bloomberg Obama meeting in New York City that we could see a ObamaBloomberg ticket running for the Democratic nomination.

Although I wouldn't bet on this as "likely", it's certainly a very interesting possibility. Obama has shown a lot of traction in Iowa where today's CNN poll numbers had Obama and Clinton in a virtual dead heat, but he's losing in New Hampshire and things appear to get worse for him after that as South Carolina is clearly in Clinton land. Bloomberg's popularity in the east could further diffuse the Clinton juggernaut, and Bloomberg's billion-fat wallet could fund a lot of campaign advertising.

Clinton Campaign Hostages probably safe

Network news was reporting that the hostages taken at Hilary Clinton's campaign HQ in Rochester, NH were safe, but the press conference a few moments ago suggested there may still be hostages in thebuilding.

The fate of the hostage taker is not clear, though he was reported to have something strapped to his chest and calling it a bomb, and was asking to talk to Senator Clinton.

As of 4:45m EST the police are still surrounding the building, a bomb squad is on the scence, and presumably only the hostage-taker remains inside the building thought that is not clear.

Breaking news: Possible Hostage taken at Cliton Campaign office in NH

Reports are coming in from Rochester, NH that hostages have been taken at Hilary Clinton's NH campaign office. Clinton is *not* in that office, but it appears 2 people have been taken by a man claiming to have a bomb.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giuliani in Republican debate - I'm not just about 9/11. Thompson still languishing in delivery and in polls

Giuliani very effectively answered the YouTube question asking about whether he is running only on his 9/11 record. Giuliani cited his history of New York City service including prosecution of complex cases, reductions in welfare and crime and abortions, and working with New York's enormous global economy.

Thompson, on the other hand, showed his characteristic debate problems - a slow and somewhat rambling style of delivery combined with what always seems to be a limited grasp of the nuances that underly so many complex political issues. Thompson is no Ronald Reagan and I think he has little chance of a late surge in the polls.

Romney, Huckabee and the Republican debate

Mitt Romney was not "weak" in tonight's debate but he didn't really shine either. In fact the candidate that really seemed to stand out as a forceful and thoughtful proponent was Mike Huckabee, perhaps an indication of why he's surging in many polls.

Huckabee appeared the most poised as he addressed issues like religion and the death penalty.

As candidates often do, Romney carefully parses many answers carefully to avoid damaging sound bites. His exchange with McCain over torture and waterboarding left one wondering if Romney is willing to take a strong stand, though his abortion statements seemed to please the crowd when he said he was wrong to be pro-choice early in his career and is now emphatically pro-life.

McCain - we are winning in Iraq

John McCain has stuck to our guns in Iraq, and argued in tonight's debate that the surge is now working and America must stay the course in Iraq. "If we continue this strategy we can succeed", "There is a lot at stake" "Let us win, let us win".

For a deep and thoughtful view of John McCain see his Charlie Rose interview of last night, which offered some of the best insight into the character and policies of McCain as Presidential candidate. Charlie Rose, PBS

Republican YouTube CNN debate

Tonight the Republicans debate was hosted by CNN and YouTube. Anderson Cooper did a stand up moderating job. I'm not enamored with the YouTube format, feeling that the questions tend to be quirky or sort of "gotcha!" style rather than a thoughtful reflection on the perils and promises of our American democracy.

But who am I kidding? The American elections are more an entertainment and marketing excercise than a study in debate and democracy, and tonight was no exception to that as YouTubers did ask some good questions like "what will you do about Black on Black violence" and "What would you do to repair the image of America" in the eyes of the world?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giuliani still leading nationally

Rudy Giuliani is still the clear Republican frontrunner. Here at President Picker we are predicting a Mitt Romney win based on what we predict will be early victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, but this is speculative. In national polls Giuliani is still clearly ahead of Romney, and it's possible the early primaries will not presage any victories in the much larger state primaries that will come later in the season.

What is remarkable is that the decision is now upon us. In only six weeks the primary season begins with the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary follows shortly thereafter.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barack "Tech" Obama at Google

Over at Webguild there is a recap of Barack Obama's talk with Eric Schmidt over at the Googleplex in Silicon Valley. Obama has some good ideas for tech and Lasandra Brill has noted these points by Obama:

Pro Net Neutrality
Technology can bring governmental transparency
Appoint a Chief Technology Officer for the nation
Boadband internet access for all
Digital Privacy Protections
Electronic Health Records

Sounds like a good start!

Why Romney Will Win the Republican Nomination

President Picker predicts that Mitt Romney will soon be the clear front runner in the Republican primaries, and that Romney will go on to win the nomination. There are several key factors that suggest a Romney win:

First, Fred Thompson has not turned out to be the "Ronald Reagan" his supporters insist he is. Thompson generally appears tired and irritated and impatient with the process, which probably goes against much of the grain of his Limousine Hollywood Conservatism. Like Giuliani Thompson carries more than the normal personal baggage of a presidential candidate, and although conservatives are generally very forgiving of any heterosexual personal transgressions of fellow conservatives this challenge takes a toll with voters on the fence.

With McCain now pretty much out of the picture due to his Iraq war support and money problems, Giuliani is Romney's key competition, and Giuliani will prove no match for Romney. Among the many reasons are Romney's (sincere I assume) born again anti abortionist stance which makes it easy for core conservatives to overlook his Mormon religion. Also, Romney is brilliantly downplaying his religion as a factor in the race. Mormonism is controversial, especially among bible belt conservatives, but if Romney can stress his legitimate claim to solid family values and strong religious beliefs he'll be able to successfully continue to downplay the specific beliefs that might offend other conservatives. Clearly his anti abortion stance will trump Giuliani's pro choice stance and clearly this is more of a factor for conservatives than Mormonism.

Lastly and most importantly Romney is the most *presidential looking* of the candidates. Even those of us who claim to maintain impartialy with respect to looks and demeanor .. do not maintain impartiality. Reagan and Clinton were masters at looking and acting presidential, and both got more credit for this than is commonly recognized. As the election heats up and advertising hits national markets, look for Romney to get a boost simply because he looks and acts very presidential.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Democratic Las Vegas Debate

Hilary wins, game over.

The interesting race now among the Democrats is for the Vice Presidential spot. Tonight and before Bill Richardson seems to be the most enthusiastic of the "VP Candidates", but I'd now lean very strongly to guessing Hilary will pick Obama. This will energize the ticket with those who would otherwise be discouraged to see the "old Democratic guard" come back into power and also will allow Hilary to play a far more conservative role in the general election while Obama can be her clear "liberal card". Look for a Clinton Obama ticket.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Giuliani vs Romney and Clinton vs Obama

OK, I think even the probable winners are clear now (Romney and Clinton), but it's very hard to think any of the "third place" folks have much of a chance now. Some suggest we may see a repeat of the democratic primaries where John Kerry came out of early poor shows to capture the nomination, but the ballgame is very, very different now. First, Clinton is the "heir apparent" to the nomination for the Dems, and it would take simply *enormous* political risk not to back her if the campaigns heat up. You don't build up decades of political capital for nothing, and I can hardly see mayors and governors come out of meetings with Bill Clinton telling him they are not going to publicly support Hilary.

Pundits love races, so people like Chris Mathews are enthusiastically hoping for a horserace and overplaying Obama's recent poll successes in Iowa. He's not talking enough about the fact that even if Obama squeaks by with an Iowa win (unlikely), this won't leave him with enough time and money to spend in the upcoming primaries. The "must take Iowa" strategy was probably wise, but I'm guessing from the polls it's taking it's toll on the Obama campaign. If Obama loses in Iowa he's pretty much out. If Obama wins in Iowa it's an enormous uphill struggle to capture votes in even one of the next several primaries. Ergo..... Clinton wins and this will be clear soon. Dems don't want to be fighting when they can be bashing Bush and the Republican nominee.

Next: Why Romney will win the Republican nomination

Saturday, November 03, 2007


When Oprah, one of the world's most influential entertainment celebrities, announced that she'd be backing Barack Obama in the democratic presidential primary many thought this would be a huge benefit to the Obama campaign. Some seemed to think this was the boost he needed to catch up to Hilary Clinton in the polls.

However Oprah's endorsement didn't do much if anything to lift Obama out of a distant second in the democratic race.

Why? It now seems clear that Oprah's legendary influence does not extend into the political realm. I'm guessing there are two key factors here: First, viewers already have their political minds made up for the most part. They'll take Oprah's advice for books or lifestyle or personal training or (sometimes) for the virtues of dieting, but they simply won't change their mind about "important" things. Also, I'd guess the Oprah democraphic lines up strongly with support for Hilary Clinton and those viewers like Clinton for much the same reasons they like Oprah.