Thursday, December 20, 2007

Giuliani released from MO hospital and is OK, Tancredo drops out of race.

Rudy Giuliani was hospitalized yesterday with flu-like symptoms. He's been released from the Missouri hospital and CNN is reporting he has a "clean bill of health", but they don't seem to have much information.

Although there is no reason to believe Giuliani's problems have anything to do with his past cancer, it's clear that health issues could impact this election more than most. John Edwards wife had cancer as did Giuliani, and it is reasonable to wonder what effect a health flare-up would have on these campaigns.

Tancredo leaves Republican field

Tom Tancredo, dead last in the polls, will drop out of the race today. It's not official yet but will happen during the press conference he'll hold before Thursday afternoon.

Tancredo's strong anti-illegal immigration message did not appear to resonate with voters.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to vigorously court New Hampshire voters. Iowa is more a Democratic battleground although both states could provide a huge boost to winners in terms of support as well as the mother's milk of politics - cash.

Donny Deutsch on Christmas Ads

Advertising expert Donny Deutsch was hard on most of the Christmas campaign advertising, suggesting much of it is a waste of time or not really "on message" for the candidates.

I agreed with some of Deutsch's analyses but disagreed with his criticism of the Obama ad, which I'd argue is simply brilliant. Giuliani ridiculously offers off camera people fruitcakes and sits beside a fake santa. Edwards simply offers a short campaign pitch. Clinton is wrapping presents like "National Pre-K" and "Health Care". Not terrible, but smells insincere which is a key Clinton challenge.

The two "stand out" ads are that of Huckabee, which somewhat spookily features a shelf filmed to look like a cross behind the candidate - almost as if they are sending a secret signal to the minions waiting in the wings for a messianic candidate. Deutsch stopped just short of calling this ad out as a dangerous sign of trends in American politics, but indicated he was alarmed by this type of symbolism.

The great ad is Obama's. His picture perfect family sits beside a tree as Michelle wishes everybody well. Obama then suggests it's time to come together rather than apart, and his family almost frames this concept in a greeting card way with the daughters wishing us all happy holidays. Schmalzy? Maybe, but this ad is a brilliant example of reaching the people you want in the way they want to be reached. Obama needs women to vote for him, not Hilary. This is a huge challenge that his campaign is meeting masterfully with Oprah and ads like this.

Republican New Hampshire - Romney v McCain

Mitt Romney has a substantial lead in New Hampshire according to the NBC Wall Street Journal poll results discussed today on Chris Mathews Hardball. As we predicted some time ago Romney is the Republican to watch and the man to beat, as Giuliani's lead dwindles in the face of closer public scrutiny.

Likewise on the Democrat side Clinton maintains a sizable lead in New Hampshire although Obama now leads in Iowa 33% to 29% for Clinton.

President Picker is skeptical of the Iowa poll results showing an Obama lead. Although he may win, we still predict a Clinton Victory, feeling that support for Obama will prove "softer" than support for Clinton. Iowa Caucusing requires a substantial committment from supporters and it's not at all clear that Obama's new campaign troops will be as enthusiastic on caucus night as they have been attending Obama pep rallies with Oprah.