Could Clinton or Edwards have beaten Obama in Iowa?

On January 3, 2008, roughly 240,000 Iowans attended Democratic precinct caucuses, and at least 90,000 of them ended up in Barack Obama’s corner.

However we felt about Obama during the primaries or the general election campaign, whatever we think about his substantive and symbolic actions since the election, we can all agree that he would not be sitting in the Oval Office if Iowa caucus-goers had put him in third place, or even a distant second.

I started writing this diary several times last year. I kept abandoning it because emotions were so raw on Democratic blogs that I felt the piece would only ignite a flamewar. Since more than a year has passed, I decided to try one more time.

I do not mean to start an argument or pretend that I have all the answers. I just enjoy thinking about counterfactual history (such as this or this).

After the jump I will try to figure out whether Hillary Clinton or John Edwards could have beaten Obama in Iowa.

There are three ground rules for this thread.

1. This diary accepts that Obama legitimately won the Iowa caucuses.

I know some people out there still think the “Chicago machine” stole the caucuses by busing thousands of people into Iowa to caucus for Obama. I don’t like the caucus system any more than you do, but given the rules of the game, I am absolutely convinced that the Obama campaign won it fair and square.

In preparing this piece, I talked (off the record) to many former staffers and volunteers for Clinton and Edwards, as well as Iowa political insiders who were not directly involved in any of the presidential campaigns. None of them suggested that Obama won because of cheating. My many friends who volunteered for Clinton or Edwards in Iowa also agree that the Obama campaign simply out-organized its competitors.

No doubt some out-of-state residents sneaked in to caucus for Obama. However, the Des Moines Register reviewed voter records and concluded that very few ineligible voters participated in the Iowa caucuses. I do not believe the Obama campaign could have orchestrated dozens of fraudulent caucus-goers in each of a hundred or more precincts without being found out. Keep in mind that many precinct chairs (the people who run the proceedings) were backing either Clinton or Edwards.

I have heard that in certain precincts, Obama organizers were overly aggressive in bringing supporters of non-viable candidates to the Obama corner during realignment. But even this Edwards supporter, who complained after seeing it happen, accepted that Obama won the caucuses because of a superior message and “monumental” organization to turn out first-time caucus-goers.

I also heard some grumbling about Obama groups dragging out the counting process in the hope that less-committed supporters of other candidates would get fed up and go home before the final count. But the counting took a long time almost everywhere because of the high turnout and how difficult it was in some packed rooms to keep the preference groups separate. Add this annoyance to the list of problems with the caucus system, but don’t blame it on Obama.

The bottom line is that these unfortunate incidents are unlikely to have changed the outcome of the caucuses. The Iowa Democratic Party does not release raw numbers indicating the level of support for each candidate, but Obama had approximately 20,000 more voters stand up for him than either Clinton or Edwards (this includes people who initially backed non-viable candidates but went to Obama, Edwards or Clinton as a second choice).

As for busing college students from other states back to their Iowa campuses on January 3, that was fair, because students enrolled at Iowa colleges are allowed to caucus in Iowa. Qualitatively, there is no difference between the Obama campaign helping students get back to Iowa City from Chicago and my giving an elderly neighbor a ride to our precinct caucus. The caucuses never should have been scheduled so soon after New Year’s anyway.

What about all those students who grew up in Iowa but were enrolled at out-of-state colleges? Many were home visiting parents and consequently were able to caucus for Obama. Again, this is permitted by the Iowa Democratic Party. My brother and I attended an out-of-state university in 1988 but came home to caucus for Senator Paul Simon.

What about the independents and Republicans who changed their party registration on caucus night to support Obama? We can debate whether primaries and caucuses should be “open” or “closed,” but the Iowa Democratic Party’s rules clearly allow party-switchers to participate in precinct caucuses. If Obama’s campaign did a better job of turning out non-Democrats, so be it.

What about all those people no one seemed to know at their precinct caucuses? The turnout was astonishing, but it would be wrong to assume that all those first-timers were for Obama, or that they didn’t really live in the neighborhoods where they caucused. The number of people who ended up in the Clinton and Edwards corners exceeded 140,000, which would have set a record for Iowa Democratic caucus turnout even if everyone else had stayed home.

The Clinton campaign mobilized huge numbers of people who had never attended a caucus before (more on that below). Even without any new voter strategy to speak of, Edwards ended up with a lot of supporters his campaign had never directly contacted. I had been working my precinct for months and still had people in our Edwards group whom I’d never met before January 3. The blogger fladem volunteered in a West Des Moines precinct on caucus night. He told me later that the Edwards campaign gave him a list of 34 supporters it had identified in the precinct (only 15 of whom showed up), but even before realignment 77 people joined the Edwards group.

My point is that a lot of Iowans came out of the woodwork to participate in the caucuses. Evidence indicates that the overwhelming majority of them were eligible voters. Political activists didn’t recognize a lot of people in the caucus rooms, but that does not mean cheating was widespread.

If you happen to believe that Obama didn’t really win Iowa, I probably haven’t changed your mind, but I ask you not to hijack this thread with your conspiracy theories.

On to my next ground rule:

2. This diary is about what Clinton or Edwards could have done (if anything) to achieve a better outcome last January 3, assuming the Obama campaign executed its strategy as well as it did.

Obviously, Obama could have lost Iowa in any number of ways we could spend all day imagining. What if he hadn’t raised enough money to open all those Iowa field offices? What if he’d flubbed his speeches at the Harkin Steak Fry and Jefferson-Jackson dinner? What if he’d been caught with a hooker at the Hotel Fort Des Moines? This kind of speculation doesn’t interest me.

For the purposes of this diary, I assume that Obama would have run an equally effective campaign, raising a ton of money, hiring highly capable staff, adopting the same strategy of targeting Iowans who had never attended a caucus, giving the same well-received speeches, not making any huge gaffes in the debates. Under those conditions, I am exploring what the Clinton and Edwards campaigns could have done to win Iowa.

3. This diary is about things Clinton or Edwards could have done differently in 2007, not about factors that affected the outcome but were beyond their control by the time the campaign heated up in Iowa.

For example, Hillary’s vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq created the opening for a candidate like Obama, but by 2007 there was no way for her to change that vote. I’m less interested in speculation like, “Hillary would have won if she’d voted against the war in 2002” and more interested in speculation like, “Hillary would have gained more credibility with anti-war Iowa Democrats if she had apologized for her war vote and lobbied for a timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.”

Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer recurrence unquestionably created problems for Edwards in Iowa, which is why his first major television ad emphasized his commitment to the campaign despite her illness. But there was nothing Edwards could do about that.

With those parameters in mind, I’ll discuss the key mistakes and miscalculations made by the Clinton and Edwards campaigns and then consider some specific counterfactual questions.


When I asked former staffers and volunteers an open-ended question about what might have changed the outcome in Iowa, nine times out of ten the first thing people brought up was the failure to anticipate how large the voter universe would be. Howard Dean’s new-voter strategy had flopped, and most experienced hands assumed that Obama’s would fail too.

Throughout 2007, the Edwards campaign assumed that about 135,000 people would caucus in Iowa. That would have been about 10 percent higher than the previous record turnout. Many former Edwards supporters believe that this strategic error doomed the campaign. Precinct captains and field organizers called through and canvassed the same voter lists again and again. In the final weeks, we were irritating people by contacting the same group who had heard from us many times and had mostly made up their minds.

Field organizers who expressed concern about apparently growing support for Obama were told not to worry, because most of those people would never come out on a cold night in January. The Edwards’ campaign’s internal numbers showed he was winning. He probably did win among Iowans who had caucused before, and in many areas he exceeded his campaign’s “vote goals,” but it wasn’t enough. In my precinct, the campaign estimated Edwards would need 110 supporters to win four out of the six delegates. We ended up with more than that, but it was only enough for two delegates.

Several former Edwards staffers I spoke with were surprised that he did as well as he did (ending up with more than 70,000 supporters after realignment), given how little his campaign did to reach out to new voters. I heard many comments along the lines of, “Finishing second was a major victory.” I also thought Edwards would be blown out of the water in the unlikely event of turnout over 200,000.

Clinton’s problem was different. Her top supporters and staff realized early on that she was behind in Iowa and needed to change the equation. Consequently, her strategy did not rely so heavily on experienced caucus-goers. On the contrary, the Clinton campaign implemented some ingenious strategies for mobilizing first-timers, which worked fairly well.

A common refrain from shell-shocked Clinton volunteers I spoke to in the weeks after the caucuses was, “We thought we had enough.” If you had told me in advance that Hillary would end up with more than 70,000 people in her corner, I would also have expected her to win. The achievement is even more impressive given that Clinton did far worse than Obama and Edwards in terms of second choices. If the Iowa Democratic Party did not have a 15 percent threshold rule, forcing supporters of minor candidates to realign, Hillary probably would have finished ahead of Edwards and not very far behind Obama.

Why did Clinton’s new-voter strategy fall short? A few volunteers I spoke with felt the campaign had focused too much on the demographic groups that strongly supported Hillary: voters over 50, especially women. One person from a different part of the state told me she had suggested some outreach ideas for young professionals, only to be told by staff that “Our people are older.”

The failure to appreciate Obama’s potential to expand the electorate led to another major error: both the Clinton and Edwards campaigns were too quick to write off Obama’s chances in Iowa.

In June and July 2007, all three campaigns conducted statewide canvassing. The door-knockers for Clinton and Edwards were mostly working from a list of previous caucus-goers, perhaps including some primary voters too. If I heard it once, I heard it twenty times, from Clinton volunteers as well as fellow Edwards supporters: Obama was way behind, especially once you got outside major cities. My field organizer told me in July that Clinton was Edwards’ only competition in Iowa: “We know it, they know it, and the Obama people know it.”

Staff from other campaigns knew that Obama field organizers and volunteers were canvassing lots of people who had never attended a caucus, as well as people who had never been registered Democrats. But again, experienced hands assumed that relying on new voters was never going to be a winning strategy for the Iowa caucuses.

Some Clinton volunteers were frustrated that Hillary did not spend much time in Iowa during the summer of 2007, aside from a swing through the state with her husband in early July. Later, some interpreted this to mean that Hillary was never serious about winning Iowa. I was not privy to high-level discussions within the Clinton campaign, but my hunch is that they simply weren’t worried about Obama and figured losing to Edwards wouldn’t be a big problem, if it came to that. In any event, Clinton moved into the lead in some Iowa polls during the summer.

The Clinton and Edwards campaigns also had poor outreach to key Democratic-leaning interest groups, with the exception of organized labor. I am involved with many environmental non-profits and am acquainted with lots of people from other progressive advocacy organizations. Time and again, Obama’s field organizers would be the only campaign staff represented at events hosted by these groups.

A friend and fellow Edwards precinct captain continually complained that Obama had much better outreach to the peace community. Staffers reassured her, “We have Ed Fallon.” Fallon has great connections among Iowa peaceniks going back to the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s, but his endorsement of Edwards wasn’t going to single-handedly bring all those people along.

Representatives of progressive advocacy groups found it easy to meet with Obama’s senior staff in Iowa. The campaign seemed receptive to their input about policy. When the same people tried to meet with the Clinton campaign, they sometimes had their scheduled meetings postponed at the last minute, or they would show up and end up meeting with junior staffers because the senior staff had more important business at hand. Some of the Clinton staff who had not worked in Iowa before came across as condescending. One sustainable farming activist told me that the Clinton staff from the east coast “would look at you like you had sh*t on your shoes.”

Because the Clinton and Edwards campaigns were slow to realize Obama was a threat in Iowa, they gave their volunteers virtually no talking points to use with voters considering Obama. So, the week after the caucuses I talked with a politically active member of the LGBT community in Des Moines who had never heard of the Donnie McClurkin fiasco. Some board members of an environmental non-profit caucused for Obama, not knowing that he was open to expanding nuclear power and had voted for George Bush’s energy bill in 2005. Some people in the peace community were unaware that Obama had voted for Iraq War supplemental funding bills with no strings attached.

Whatever your pet issue was, the Obama campaign probably had a staffer working to show you he would do something you liked. The Clinton and Edwards campaigns had less personal contact with activists and gave their staff and volunteers little specific guidance on how to persuade voters that Clinton or Edwards was better than Obama on this or that issue.

Obama’s large paid campaign staff presumably made it easier to reach out to interest groups. I know I wasn’t the only volunteer who encouraged the Edwards campaign to send staff to certain events being hosted by non-profit groups. Unfortunately, the field organizers had so many other required tasks that taking a few hours to attend one of these events was usually not feasible.

I learned months later that the Edwards field organizers spent untold hours searching for supporters who fit into certain categories: doctors for Edwards, veterans for Edwards, rural firefighters for Edwards, hog farmers for Edwards. Unfortunately, those lists seem to have been compiled solely for the purpose of sending out a press release and generating some favorable media coverage and material for the campaign website.

Outreach on college campuses was not very strong either. Granted, Clinton or Edwards were never going to win among college students, because Obama’s branding as the young voters’ choice was phenomenally successful. Still, the other candidates could have done more to keep Obama’s margins down with this demographic. One Edwards field organizer in a different part of the state told me his office mostly ignored the local community college campus, on the assumption that Edwards wasn’t the youth candidate and none of those kids would show up on caucus night anyway.

The Clinton campaign disastrously suggested that Obama was trying to “manipulate” the process by encouraging out-of-state students to come back to campus on January 3. Clinton ended up not even reaching the 15 percent viability threshold in a number of college-town precincts.

The Clinton and Edwards campaigns also were out-hustled when it came to recruiting opinion leaders.

Nothing illustrates the Obama campaign’s determined pursuit of prominent Iowa Democrats better than this passage in a New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza:

Obama, who had sometimes seemed to eschew the details of campaigning which Clinton appears to revel in, has become more enmeshed in the state’s idiosyncratic politics. Consider the conquest of Gordon Fischer, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. Every campaign wanted Fischer’s endorsement, but the Obama campaign pursued him relentlessly. At a recent lunch at the Des Moines Embassy Club, a restaurant on the forty-first floor of the tallest building in the state, Fischer explained how Obama’s Iowa operatives used his closest friends to persuade him to back Obama. One, Lola Velázquez-Aguilú, managed to decorate part of Fischer’s house with photographs of Obama that featured thought bubbles asking for Fischer’s endorsement. (“Has anyone told you how great you look today?” an image of Obama taped to a mirror said. “So, are you ready to sign a supporter card?”) When Obama staffers learned that the late Illinois senator Paul Simon was a hero of Fischer’s, they asked Simon’s son-in-law, Perry Knop, to call Fischer and make the case for Obama. At one point, Obama himself invited Fischer onto his campaign bus and told him that he had to stay aboard until he agreed to an endorsement. When Fischer insisted that he had to make the decision with his wife, Monica, Obama demanded Monica’s cell-phone number, and he called her at once. “Monica, this is Barack Obama,” he said when her voice mail came on. “I’m with your husband here, and I’m trying to go ahead and close the deal for him to support my candidacy. . . . Discuss it over with your man. Hopefully we can have you on board.” The Fischers were sufficiently impressed to endorse him, two weeks later. “I think the Iowa campaign has been run better than the national campaign,” Fischer said.

When I showed that paragraph to my husband a year ago, his first reaction was that Fischer had inadvertently made a really strong argument for scrapping the Iowa caucuses. No doubt many of you are nodding your heads.

The Obama campaign just worked harder to win over those who could influence others, and not only well-known people like Fischer, state legislators, city and county officials. Iowa blogger John Deeth posted this remarkable anecdote the day before the caucuses:

After the Clinton rally last night in Iowa City, a Clinton precinct captain sighed in frustration and, insisting on anonymity, shared this story.  The precinct captain’s friend, a school principal, had said he was trying to choose between Clinton and Barack Obama.  He was on his way into the rally when his cell phone rang.  It was Obama.

Not a campaign staffer, a volunteer, or a robo-call.  It was Barack Obama himself.

The personal request proved to be sufficient, as the principal pledged his support directly to the candidate, turned on his heels, and walked out of the Clinton event.

Now, we all know Iowans are spoiled, and I’ve heard some stories of Clinton calling individual Iowans, albeit Iowans of the elected official rank.  But the Clinton precinct captain told this tale as an example of frustration with the top-down organization of the Clinton campaign.  An Obama precinct captain was able to get the word up through the county and state structure that this principal, not a party activist but certainly a neighborhood leader who’d look really persuasive standing in the Obama corner at his precinct, could be persuaded by a few words from the candidate.

The Obama campaign also kept after some opinion leaders who had endorsed other candidates. A well-known surrogate for another candidate told me that people representing the Obama campaign were still calling as late as two weeks before caucus night, trying to get this person to switch sides. I assume similar lobbying was going on all over the state. Late conversions created good publicity, such as when a Lee County supervisor who had been a county chairman for Edwards endorsed Obama in November.

While the Clinton and Edwards campaigns had some common problems, each campaign also made some unique mistakes. Here are some complaints I heard from Hillary’s former volunteers, precinct captains or low-level staff.

As I’ve mentioned above, Clinton was perceived not to be spending enough time in Iowa during the summer and early fall. She didn’t hold many rallies outside the cities and opened most of her small-town field offices two months after Obama had offices up and running in the same communities. (Edwards also opened many of his field offices late in the game, but that was due to scarce resources, not strategy.)

Clinton’s campaign was less of a grassroots operation than Obama’s. Several people independently used the word “top-down” to describe it to me. Staff at smaller field offices had little flexibility when it came to outreach or publicity and often felt out of the loop. One person told me about the day when staff found out at 8 am that Bill Clinton was doing a rally in the town at 1 pm that day. They sent volunteers to hand out fliers at grocery store parking lots in the freezing cold, in a desperate attempt to build a crowd on such short notice.

The setup of the typical Clinton rally put a lot of distance between her and the voters. I assume the Secret Service had a lot to do with this practice, so I wouldn’t blame the Clinton staff. Nevertheless, it made Hillary seem remote to caucus-goers who were used to seeing the various candidates in person.

Compounding this problem, Clinton rarely took questions from the audience at her Iowa events. The cautious strategy made sense on one level; why risk making a gaffe when Clinton was so far ahead in so many other states? On the other hand, not answering questions from the public goes against Iowa’s “political culture.” When Clinton started to draw some negative attention for this habit, her staff planted questions at a Grinnell College event, leading to a devastating national media cycle or two.

Adding to the sense of remoteness at Clinton events, the candidate was almost always introduced by either former Governor Tom Vilsack or former First Lady Christie Vilsack. Some volunteers felt it would have helped to give a more prominent role to local officials or hometown state legislators at these venues, since they were personally acquainted with more of the audience members.

As for the Edwards campaign, I mentioned the most important problems above, but a couple of other glitches repeatedly frustrated volunteers.

The field organizers did an excellent job for the most part, but there was a disconnect between people who signed up online to volunteer and the field offices that could have used their help. This Edwards supporter from tiny Strawberry Point articulated the problem well:

I know just from other comments on DKos that I’m not the only one that experienced frustration due to inept organization and/or coordination between the national and local effort in the Edwards camp.  After filling out a ton of forms on the website I wasn’t contacted once over the phone and only had one email to show for my efforts about a week later.  I never got any details about canvassing nor did I even get directions to the phone banking site.  Contrast this to the Obama campaign touching base every few days through a LOCAL organizer inviting me to meetings, asking if I would caucus, etc.  Then on caucus night the Edwards campaign was the only one without a clear organization while Obama had a group of at least 4 20-somethings that were obviously well-trained by the campaign and had made the 1+ hour trek to a town of 1200 people in northeast Iowa  from Illinois.

Nothing irritated me more than the way Edwards ran excessively late to almost all of his campaign events. Even committed supporters didn’t appreciate it when the first introductory speaker wasn’t on stage nearly an hour after an event’s scheduled start time. A lot of undecided voters got fed up and left before hearing the candidate speak.

I remember other precinct captains bringing this up during conference calls with senior Edwards staff in Iowa. They were hearing complaints from friends and neighbors.

Why was Edwards so late all the time? If you compared the candidates’ public schedules, Edwards almost always had more events packed into each day. It was great for communicating with voters, but if a media availability in the morning ran late, he was behind all day. Edwards also fielded lots of questions from the audience, which generally made a good impression, but it made it hard to catch up once he fell behind.

Someone high up on the chain of command should have put a stop to the overscheduling. The Edwards campaign placed a lot of importance on holding events in all 99 Iowa counties. Retail politics in small towns is great, but as we saw, Obama was able to win Iowa without visiting all 99 counties. (I’m not even sure he hit 70 counties.)

Now, on to the fun part–the questions no one can answer. I look forward to reading your take on these in the comments, no matter which presidential candidate was your first choice.


What if Clinton or Edwards had done more to target first-time caucus-goers?

Many former Edwards supporters believe underestimating the potential turnout by 100,000 people fatally flawed his campaign. What if he’d realized early on that the voter universe would be much larger than in 2004? I suspect he would have done better on caucus night, but lack of money would have been a problem. Obama and Clinton in effect had unlimited funds to spend in Iowa, and Edwards would have had trouble matching their outreach to people who had never caucused before. That’s an enormous pool of voters.

Also, the Edwards core message (the system is rigged because corporations have too much power in Washington, and we need to fight to take that power away from them) was in my opinion much more appealing to the Democratic party faithful than to no-party voters or Democrats who hadn’t previously gotten involved in the caucuses.

As I wrote earlier, the Clinton campaign did a lot to identify and mobilize supporters who had never attended a caucus. Perhaps her staff could have reached out to voters under 50 a little better, but I think they were working this angle as hard as they could.

What if Clinton or Edwards had done more to target independents and Republicans?

All the candidates had some supporters who were registered Republicans and independents, but Obama unquestionably did the best among those groups.

I think Clinton’s potential to expand her support among Republicans and independents was limited. Lots of Republicans have practically an allergic reaction to the Clintons. Multiple polls indicated that Iowa’s independents didn’t like Hillary as much as they liked Obama. I can’t imagine that it would have been a wise use of her campaign’s resources to focus more on non-Democrats.

Edwards probably could have improved his showing with independents if his campaign had reached out to them more, but again, lack of resources was a problem. Going after Democrats who hadn’t caucused before would have spread his organization very thin, to say nothing of independents. Also, the Edwards rhetoric about fighting corporate power and supporting organized labor was tailored to the Democratic base. It was never likely to appeal much to independents or Republicans. Obama’s appeals to post-partisanship and empowering rhetoric (“we are the change we’ve been waiting for”) was much better suited to voters who were not partisan Democrats.

What if someone had gone negative on Obama before Iowa?

As Obama picked up momentum in the fall of 2007, no one was making any kind of case against him with Iowans. Conventional wisdom says you don’t go negative in a multiple-candidate environment, because the support candidate A drives away from candidate B is likely to flow toward candidate C. On the other hand, if you’re Hillary, losing Iowa to Edwards would not do nearly as much damage as losing to Obama. Should her campaign have done more to get negative information on Obama out there?

Interestingly, only one political insider told me Clinton’s biggest mistake was not going hard negative on Obama before the caucuses. This person didn’t work on any of the 2008 presidential campaigns but has extensive experience working on other campaigns. Most people I spoke with said going negative on Obama would only have backfired.

Howard Dean hit his high-water mark in Iowa about six weeks before the 2004 caucuses, but in that case the national media amplified and lent credibility to rival candidates’ attacks. In all likelihood the national media would have responded very differently to attacks on Obama. Clinton would have been called “desperate” and hypocritical.

Since Edwards had no path forward but to win Iowa, I can’t see how it would have helped him to go after Obama before the caucuses. The national media already disliked Edwards and would have ripped him to shreds. I remember people accusing the Edwards campaign of racism just for saying that Edwards would be the Democrats’ strongest general-election candidate.

As I wrote earlier, I do think both campaigns needed to get their volunteers more “talking points” about why Clinton or Edwards would be better than Obama on this or that issue. Those would have been useful during direct voter contacts like canvassing and house parties, not as part of either campaign’s message through the media.

What if Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments had been widely publicized before the Iowa caucuses?

When “God damn America” was all over television last March, I talked with a lot of Iowans about how that level of publicity for Wright might have affected the caucuses. I didn’t find any consensus. I believe that if the national media had wanted to bring down Obama the way they wanted to bring down Dean, they could have hurt him badly by making Reverend Wright a big story in November and December 2007. It wouldn’t have put off the Iowans who strongly supported Obama, but there were plenty of people who drifted toward Obama because they thought he was more electable than Clinton or Edwards. The Wright clips would have made those people think twice. Few Democrats actually care what Obama’s pastor said, but lots of Democrats worried about other voters being offended by these comments.

Many of my politically active acquaintances think Iowans wouldn’t have cared much about Reverend Wright, and Obama could have brushed it off as a personal attack or an attempt to distract from the important issues.

What if Clinton had apologized for her Iraq War vote?

I thought it was a mistake for Hillary not to follow Edwards’ example and apologize for voting to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. However, opposition to Clinton among Iowa Democrats was rooted in a lot more than her stand on Iraq. I don’t think she would have changed the equation by apologizing. Remember, John Kerry and John Edwards beat Howard Dean in the 2004 caucuses without expressing regret for their AUMF votes.

What if Clinton had skipped Iowa?

In May 2007, when early polling showed Hillary behind in Iowa and with high negatives, Clinton’s deputy campaign manager Mike Henry wrote a memo recommending that the campaign

pull completely out of Iowa and spend the money and Senator Clinton’s time on other states […] If she walks away from Iowa she will devalue Iowa – our consistently weakest state.

John McCain in effect pulled out of Iowa and was able to win the Republican nomination. What about Hillary?

I find this question particularly difficult to answer. If Hillary admitted that she could not win among Democrats in a swing state, how could she make the case that she could win across the country? During the summer of 2007, Clinton’s aura of inevitability was an asset to her, and admitting weakness in Iowa would have undercut that.

Some former Edwards staffers believe he might have beaten Obama if Hillary had not seriously contested Iowa. Both Clinton and Edwards did much better among voters over 60 than Obama. However, thousands of the people who caucused for Hillary would never have shown up on January 3 if her campaign had not been active in Iowa.

Among the Clinton supporters who would have caucused anyway, some would have preferred Edwards, but I don’t think he would have dominated this group–not enough to overtake Obama. A lot of older voters were attracted to Clinton’s experience and would have gone to Bill Richardson or Joe Biden as a second choice. Maybe those candidates would have been viable in a lot more precincts without a strong effort from Clinton.

If Edwards had realized early on that Obama, not Clinton, was his main competition in Iowa, his strategy might have changed significantly in unpredictable ways. But I still think his campaign would have underestimated Obama’s ability to turn out new voters.

What if Bill Clinton had campaigned more in Iowa?

Clinton surged in Iowa polls after her first major tour around the state with her husband in July. Should she have traveled with the former president more in Iowa, or should she have had him do more events in Iowa during the weeks that she was tied up in Washington on Senate business?

For what it’s worth, very few Clinton supporters I know believe her campaign should have used Bill Clinton more. A lot of people did support Hillary because they liked the idea of “two presidents for the price of one,” but she needed to demonstrate her own leadership potential. She couldn’t afford to be seen as running for her husband’s third term. Also, her campaign benefited from the strong desire of many to see a woman elected president, and giving Bill Clinton too prominent a role in the campaign would have undercut that message.

What if we’d never heard about Edwards’ $400 haircut?

Ask any former Edwards volunteer or staffer how many voters immediately brought up the $400 haircut the second you mentioned the candidate’s name. It was a nightmare that no amount of self-deprecating humor or clever YouTubes could end.

In November 2007 I attended a big rally in Des Moines. Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne played a few songs to get the crowd going, then Edwards gave a great stump speech. When he opened it up to Q and A, the second question from the audience was basically, “Why should I believe you’re authentic when I hear about things like the $400 haircut?”

What if Edwards had never gotten that haircut, or at least had not listed it on his FEC disclosure form?

I take a contrarian view on this question. Marc Ambinder famously admitted that when the haircut story broke at the end of the first quarter of 2007, it took off because “the press was trying to bury Edwards.” In the same piece, Ambinder observed, “fairly or unfairly, a healthy chunk of the national political press corps doesn’t like John Edwards.”

If not the haircut, some other conspicuous consumption by Edwards would have been flogged to death by journalists seeking to “bury” the candidate. In fact, they already had all the ammunition they needed in Edwards’ huge North Carolina home.

I don’t know when the Edwards home was completed, but it first started making national news about two months before anyone heard of the haircut. A lot of politically-active Iowans were turned off. This is an excerpt from an e-mail I received in February 2007 from an acquaintance who has volunteered for various political and environmental causes in Iowa:

It would be very hard, if not impossible, for me to vote for him now.  I was hedging before (the alternative of Hillary was helping him more than anything), but that house is exactly the over-consumptive lifestyle that constitutes my #1 pet peeve.  He could  have built a 5000 sf home that was 100% energy and carbon neutral with that money and set a desperately needed example 🙁

Energy efficient or not, 6,000 sf per current resident is ridiculous.  It’s just plain symbolic of the worst habits of American wealth  🙁  For me, it’s not necessarily the fact that he built it now, but that he would consider building it EVER that I find most disappointing.

If you never liked Edwards, the big house confirmed your belief that he was just a rich phony talking a good game about helping the poor. But from my perspective, the house did more harm with the Iowans who liked Edwards. I have no data to back this up, but my impression was that early in 2007, the people who had caucused for Edwards in 2004 tended to lean toward supporting him again, while being open to hear what other candidates had to say. After the house story broke, and was reinforced by the $400 haircut, a significant number of those people started leaning toward finding a different candidate.

What if Edwards had raised more money?

Edwards raised a respectable amount of money in the first quarter of 2007, but he was well behind Obama and Clinton. The haircut story severely damaged his second-quarter fundraising, which compounded his problem getting journalists to take him seriously as a contender. Redeploying some staff from Nevada to Iowa was not enough to solve the campaign’s money problem. In September, Edwards reversed course and opted into the public financing system. Taking public financing was not a salient issue with many Iowa voters, as far as I could tell, but it was a huge deal to the journalists and bloggers who followed the campaign closely. I know that Obama volunteers were telling undecided voters that Edwards would never have enough money to beat Hillary or a Republican because of the spending limits that came with public financing.

What if Edwards had raised enough money to compete with the others without taking public matching funds? I asked quite a few former Edwards staffers whether they though lack of resources was a major problem. Of course everyone would have liked to have as many field offices as Obama, and there was enough work to keep a much larger paid campaign staff busy. However, the consensus seems to be that even if the Edwards campaign had had significantly more money to spend, the money would have gone toward targeting the same narrow voter universe, or running more advertising on airwaves that were already oversaturated. I tend to agree.

What if Edwards’ extramarital affair had been exposed during 2007?

Clinton’s former communications director, Howard Wolfson, made a big splash in August by suggesting that Edwards’ cover-up of his affair with Rielle Hunter cost Hillary the Iowa caucuses and therefore the Democratic nomination. I don’t think so.

If the affair had become public knowledge, the Edwards campaign would certainly have imploded. But having talked to hundreds of people who caucused for Edwards, I am convinced that more of them would have switched to Obama than Clinton. Probably Obama would have won Iowa by a larger margin.

A significant number of Edwards supporters didn’t like either of the front-runners, so maybe Biden, Richardson or Dodd would have been able to reach the 15 percent threshold in a lot more precincts. Clinton would still have been in second place.

(Note: for those who are wondering, yes, I was angry and disappointed upon learning about this affair.)

Thanks to everyone who made it to the end of this very long diary. I hope we can keep it civil in the comments.  

Iowa caucus memories open thread

A year ago tonight, nearly 240,000 Iowans spent a couple of hours in overcrowded rooms during the Democratic precinct caucuses.

Thousands of others came to freezing cold Iowa to knock on doors or make phone calls for their presidential candidate in late December and early January.

Share any memories you have about caucusing or volunteering in this thread.

After the jump I re-posted my account of what happened at my own caucus. I was a precinct captain for Edwards.

As if I weren’t already feeling enough pressure, Jerome Armstrong, his friend Trei the videographer, Ben Smith of Politico, and a college buddy of John Edwards were all observers at my precinct caucus. Jerome gave the short version of the evening’s events here, and posted the multi-media recap here. (You can’t see me in any of the photos, but Mr. desmoinesdem is in one–I won’t say which!)

I got to my precinct a little after 6 pm. Quite a few voters had already signed in. I walked in the room and immediately saw a woman who had never caucused before sitting in the Hillary corner. I had failed to turn her out to the 2004 caucus despite multiple contacts. At that moment I thought it might be a big night for Hillary.

I saw the Richardson precinct captain setting up chairs and asked him about the reported deal to send support to Obama. (We have known each other since we both volunteered for Kerry four years ago.) At first he smiled and said he couldn’t reveal internal communications from the campaign, but then he confirmed that he had been instructed to steer voters to Obama if Richardson was not viable.

I saw the Biden precinct captain and asked him if he had been told to send support to Obama. He denied getting any instructions like that from the campaign.

I started checking Edwards supporters off my list as they came in the room. I had a list of about 50 firm supporters, plus a few dozen people we thought might be leaning our way. I was supposed to start making calls to supporters who were not there yet, but it was hard to find time, because so many Edwards supporters, including many I’d never met or spoken with, were coming to our area of the room.

I decided on the spur of the moment to focus on talking with the Biden, Dodd and Richardson supporters I recognized. I figured it was a safe bet that most of them had not heard any reports about a deal with Obama. Many of them had told me before the caucuses that Edwards was their second choice, and I wanted to get them to confirm that to me before they heard any instructions from their precinct captains.

One elderly woman apologized to me, because she’d signed a supporter card for Edwards earlier in the fall, and I’d given her a ride to an Edwards town hall meeting in November. In the last two weeks she decided to caucus for Biden, and she told me she almost didn’t show up because she was worried I’d be angry with her. I told her that of course I wasn’t angry, everyone has the right to change her mind, and Biden was a strong candidate. I asked her to keep us in mind if she needed to make a second choice, and she promised that she would be there for us.

So I shuttled back and forth between different groups, greeting new arrivals to the Edwards area and trying to touch base with people who were undecided last time I heard from them. I also handed out the bottled water I brought along, because it was getting stuffy in the room.

In theory, the caucus was to be called to order at 6:30, but so many people were still arriving that our temporary precinct chair waited until almost 7:00 to call us to order. The first items on the agenda were the election of a precinct secretary and permament precinct chair (this is basically a formality–the temporary chair is almost never challenged for this position). The precinct chair was backing Clinton, but the secretary was a rock-solid Edwards supporter.

A few minutes after 7:00, the last voters had been signed in, and they announced the total turnout for our precinct. Four years ago, we had a pretty good turnout of 175. I scoffed at the Des Moines Register poll’s prediction that 60 percent of caucus-goers would be first-timers. In that comment, I calculated that we’d need more than 300 people attending our caucus in order to have 60 percent of them be first-timers. Well, the joke was on me, because the turnout at our caucus this year was 293.

We had people in the Edwards and Clinton groups who had never caucused before, but there’s no question that the Obama corner had the largest number of first-timers. It was stunning. The chart I got from my field organizer, showing how many supporters we’d need for 1, 2, 3 or more delegates depending on how many people attended the caucus, didn’t even go past the 260s.

After the first division into preference groups, the totals were: Obama 86, Edwards 83, Clinton 63, Richardson 28, Biden 24, Dodd 9, uncommitted 2, and Kucinich 1. To be viable, candidates needed 44 supporters.

I asked people in the Edwards group to help me by approaching their own friends in other groups. At first the Richardson and Biden groups were not budging. They were trying to get people to come over from Clinton, using the logic that Clinton was way below the level needed for two delegates but could spare some supporters while remaining viable. However, the Clinton volunteers kept everyone in their corner.

Realizing they had no chance to get to the 44 people needed for viability, Richardson’s precinct captain told his group about the campaign’s strategy to go to Obama, adding that they could make up their own minds. I didn’t get an exact count, but I’m pretty sure Edwards got at least as many of the Richardson supporters, if not more. We also got a large number of the Biden supporters (including his precinct captain), part of the Dodd group, and the Kucinich supporter, who was planning to come over to us all along.

After the second division into preference groups, Edwards had 115, Obama had 104, and Clinton had 72. At first we thought we would get 3 delegates, with 2 for Obama and 1 for Clinton. However, the delegates are apportioned according to the following formula: number of supporters in group times number of delegates assigned by precinct (6), divided by total number of caucus-goers (293). That worked out to 2.35 for Edwards, 2.13 for Obama, and 1.47 for Clinton. We all got rounded down: 2 Edwards, 2 Obama, 1 Clinton.

But our precinct has to assign 6 county delegates. The precinct chair consulted the Democratic Party’s rule book while I looked over her shoulder. The precinct secretary re-did the math on her calculator as I watched. The book said that in our situation, the last delegate goes to the candidate with the decimal point closest to 0.5. Clinton was that little bit closer to 2 delegates than we were to 3 delegates.

It’s similar to what happened in my precinct in 1988. The delegates split 2-2-2 despite a fairly large difference in size between the largest and the smallest preference groups. That’s the caucus system for you.

In retrospect, the Edwards and Obama groups would have been better off helping Richardson to be viable. Then the delegates would have been split 2 Edwards, 2 Obama, 1 Clinton and 1 Richardson. But there was no way to know that, and during the realignment of course the Edwards and Obama groups were focused on attracting enough supporters to win that third delegate.

I sat down with a calculator the next day. To change the math in our favor, we needed 4 people from the Clinton group, 7 people from the Obama group or 10 people who didn’t show up to turn out and stand in the Edwards corner. I am still frustrated that I could not get Edwards that third delegate we were seeking. We exceeded the campaign’s “vote goal” for the precinct, but because of the overwhelming turnout, it wasn’t enough to win the precinct.

Every day I walk the dog by the homes of people who failed to show up last Thursday, despite telling me at some point that they supported Edwards. Several of those people either signed supporter cards or put up yard signs. Would it have helped to knock on those doors one more time, or call them again at the last minute? I was concentrating on people I considered to be less reliable voters.

Although the results in my precinct and in Iowa as a whole disappointed me, I did enjoy the caucus experience. The energy in a room packed with committed Democrats is amazing, and the competition was friendly and fair in my precinct (which, sadly, was not the case in some precincts). I don’t expect Iowa to start the presidential nominating process in the future, but I will continue to appreciate the friends and neighbors I met during my work as a precinct captain.

[NOTE from desmoinesdem, January 3, 2009: Now that Obama won the presidential election, Iowa has a much better chance of staying first in the nominating process.]

Year in review: Iowa politics in 2008

I do most of my writing at the Iowa progressive community blog Bleeding Heartland.

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

January 2008

The Iowa caucuses dominated the beginning of the year. In the ninth and final diary in my series on how the Iowa caucuses work, I responded to arguments in defense of what I consider flaws in caucus system.

I supported John Edwards and was impressed by some of Hillary Clinton’s campaign tactics, but on the whole January 3 was obviously Barack Obama’s night.

Chris Woods posted some early analysis of the Iowa caucus results. Barack Obama won 41 counties, John Edwards won 29 counties, Hillary Clinton won 25 counties and four counties were ties.

I was frustrated by my failure to secure a third delegate for Edwards in my precinct.

Chris Woods lamented the Iowa mainstream media’s lack of interest in political blogs.

Iowa Republicans were already downbeat about their election prospects, having failed to recruit a credible candidate against U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. Republicans in the state legislature fell behind Iowa Democrats in fundraising.

I was hoping the legislature would put some balance in our state’s transportation planning, but the powers that be wanted to spend virtually all the new money on road-building.

Secretary of State Mike Mauro did us all a favor by proposing a bill to require paper ballots in every Iowa precinct.

I took a stab at explaining why Iowa has never elected a woman governor or sent a woman to Congress.

Yet another study confirmed that runoff from conventional farms in Iowa is a major contributor to the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Former Governor Tom Vilsack called for more action to combat global warming.

Noneed4thneed called for more leadership from Chet Culver on conserving energy and making Iowa the renewable energy capital.

A report by the American Wind Energy Association showed Iowa falling to fourth in wind power.

Environmental advocates arranged for world-class expert testimony before the Iowa Utilities Board against a proposal to build a new coal-fired power plant near Marshalltown.

Ed Fallon announced his candidacy for Congress, and I explained why I planned to support him against six-term incumbent Leonard Boswell in the third district primary.

I was a respondent in a long poll commissioned by Boswell’s campaign, which tested some of Fallon’s messages against the incumbent.

I called for fixing the problems with the Iowa caucuses and learned that the Nevada Democratic Party adopted slightly better caucus rules than ours. (Unfortunately, precinct chairs in Nevada were poorly-trained, and the caucuses were a fiasco in many precincts.)

I was disappointed when Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, even though I knew he had no chance of winning the nomination.

February 2008

What started out as a routine illness put me in the hospital for a week. Things might have taken a very bad turn if I had waited longer before seeing a doctor. I told the story here: My health insurance may have saved my life.

Noneed4thneed discussed the connection between anti-tax zealots and local roads that are in terrible condition.

Renewable Rich sounded the alarm about attempts by state legislators to define nuclear power as a form of renewable energy. Fortunately, that bill was not approved.

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women supported a bill that would make it easier for working mothers to breastfeed. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it out of committee in the Iowa House.

Senator Tom Harkin stayed neutral in the Clinton-Obama contest and said the Democratic Party should eliminate superdelegates from the presidential nominating process.

I was already getting tired of safe incumbent Harkin’s repeated fundraising appeals, and there were dozens more to come before the year was over.

Democracy for America endorsed Ed Fallon in the third district Congressional primary.

Boswell was among 21 House Democrats who worked with Republicans to do George Bush’s bidding on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But he stepped up his constituent outreach by helping my suburb, Windsor Heights, secure a unique zip code.

Fourth district Congressional candidate Kurt Meyer started posting diaries occasionally at Bleeding Heartland.

Secretary of State Mauro ran into opposition from Chet Culver over his efforts to require that all voting machines use paper ballots. However, the governor soon got behind a plan to eliminate touchscreen voting machines.

I argued that a new law requiring all Iowa children to be tested for lead is worth the cost, not only because lead harms children. It seems that exposure to lead may diminish the functioning of the aging brain decades later.

Iowa joined California’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency “for its legal action which denied states’ rights to adopt vehicle emissions standards to regulate global warming emissions.”

Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy paid a fine to settle an ethics investigation.

Noneed4thneed alerted us to a corporate-funded advertising campaign targeting five first-term Iowa House Democrats. (Four of the five won re-election in November, but Art Staed lost by a heartbreaking 13 votes.)

I reflected on a year without Steve Gilliard, whose News Blog I used to read daily.

March 2008

Governor Culver rejected federal funds that had strings attached to require “abstinence only” sex education.

The Republican 501(c)4 group Iowa Future Fund ran untruthful ads against Culver without disclosing its donors, but Iowa law does not require political ads to be true.

In a party-line vote, the Iowa House rejected a Republican effort to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage up for debate.

Tom Harkin introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2008 in the Senate.

Congressman Steve King of the fifth district made his infamous comment about how terrorists would be “dancing in the streets” if Obama were elected president.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s list of top House targets did not include any of Iowa’s Democratic-held seats.

Ed Fallon came out against new coal-fired power plants proposed for Marshalltown and Waterloo, while Boswell declined to take a position on the issue.

Boswell used his franking privilege to send glossy campaign-style flyers to voters in the third district, and the Des Moines Register called him on it.

Boswell defended his vote for the bankruptcy bill, which was unpopular with many liberal Democrats.

Boswell also changed his stand on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and touted his record on supporting the middle class.

A national LGBT rights group endorsed Fallon.

Boswell’s campaign sent out a mass e-mail saying Fallon is “no Democrat.”

I explained why I thought Fallon would be a more effective representative than Boswell.

Fourth district Congressional candidate William Meyers started posting diaries here and continued to do so throughout the primary campaign.

Noneed4thneed encouraged Bleeding Heartland readers to support first-term Democrats in the Iowa legislature who were targets of a corporate-funded advertising campaign.

A report from Families USA estimated how many Iowans die prematurely because they lack health insurance.

I wrote about the disparities in c-section rates in Iowa, depending on where a woman lives and in which hospital she births.

Speaking of babies, I gave some reasons to use cloth diapers.

April 2008

A Polk County judge ordered Secretary of State Mauro to stop providing voter information in languages other than English, proving that the English-only bill Governor Tom Vilsack signed in 2002 was more than symbolic.

Chet Culver signed the law banning touchscreen voting machines in Iowa.

Our state’s Republican representatives in the U.S. House, Steve King and Tom Latham, voted against a federal bill on verified voting.

After reviewing voter records, the Des Moines Register concluded that very few ineligible voters participated in the Iowa caucuses.

The U.S. House approved a “plain language” bill sponsored by Congressman Bruce Braley of the first district.

I discussed how much money in earmarks each member of Iowa’s Congressional delegation secured in 2007.

The Iowa legislature approved a major new transportation bill without putting additional funds into public transit or stipulating that road money be spent on fixing existing infrastructure.

I urged Culver to veto a bill seeking more study of the livestock odor problem instead of action, but he signed it.

The legislature also approved a ban on smoking in most public places, with a few exemptions, such as casino gambling rooms.

I suggested 10 ways for smokers to stop whining about the smoking ban.

Mrs panstreppon speculated about the political ambitions of Bruce Rastetter, a businessman and funder of the anti-Democratic 501(c)4 group Iowa Future Fund. The Iowa Future Fund had been running television ads attacking Chet Culver.

Mrs panstreppon also wrote about the new Republican 501(c)4 group Iowa Progress Project, which was created to replace the Iowa Future Fund.

The Des Moines Register razzed Culver for staying at Bill Knapp’s Florida condo without paying the full market rental rate.

I wrote a four-part series on the Boswell campaign’s efforts to question Fallon’s ethics and explored the differences between Fallon and Boswell on farm issues.

Progressive Kick created an entertaining website highlighting Boswell’s voting record in Congress.

Fallon blasted Boswell’s vote for the Military Commissions Act, which gave the president the authority to determine what interrogation techniques are “torture.”

Boswell’s campaign sent out positive direct-mail pieces on the economy, Iraq and health care. His campaign also sent two direct-mail pieces in one week highlighting Fallon’s support for Ralph Nader in 2000. I transcribed them here and here.

Polk County voters rejected a plan to borrow money to build a new courthouse.

A sign that the housing bubble had well and truly burst: Iowa’s largest home-builder ceased operations and laid off its entire staff.

Mixed-use developments are good for people, business and the environment.

I weighed in on a local hot topic when Pizza Hut fired a Des Moines delivery driver who shot an alleged armed robber. (The restaurant chain does not allow drivers to carry guns.)

In honor of cesarean awareness month I wrote about how to avoid having an unnecessary surgical birth.

I advised readers to drink tap water, but not from plastic bottles and to avoid using baby bottles containing bisphenol-A.

On the last day of the month the Iowa Utilities Board approved an application to build a new coal-fired power plant near Marshalltown.

May 2008

I was extremely disappointed that the Democrats on the Iowa Utilities Board voted to approve a new coal-fired power plant.

I weighed in on why Hillary Clinton lost Iowa and eventually the nomination.

An article by Joe Trippi got me speculating on whether John Edwards should have stayed in the presidential race longer.

Tom Harkin gave some reasons to be concerned about John McCain, and I added ten more reasons not to vote for the Republican nominee.

I discussed why John and Jackie Norris were important early Obama supporters in Iowa and pondered which presidential candidate had the best celebrity supporters.

The removal of Lurita Doan as head of the General Services Administration reminded me of one of Bruce Braley’s finest moments in Congress.

Governor Culver signed into law a bill that establishes a statewide 1-cent sales tax for school infrastructure.

Prevention First discussed the Healthy Families project’s successful attempt to persuade state legislators to increase funding for family planning.

Sadly, no prominent Iowa Democrat stood up for repealing Iowa’s English-only law.

I welcomed the prospect of a court challenge against the smoking ban exemption granted to casinos.

A Des Moines Register report on the Culver administration’s alleged horsetrading with lobbyists was troubling.

In the fourth district primary, Becky Greenwald introduced herself to Democrats as “the girl next door.”

As the third district Democratic primary race heated up, Fallon highlighted his early opposition to the war in Iraq and portrayed himself as “new energy for Iowa.” He also urged Boswell (a Clinton supporter) to endorse Obama for president.

Fallon and Boswell clashed over ethanol, and Fallon called for a moratorium on new confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Boswell refused all invitations to debate Fallon.

He highlighted Al Gore’s endorsement in direct mail and reminded voters that Fallon backed Nader.

Noneed4thneed argued that Boswell is not a loyal Democrat on the issues that matter most.

A 527 group bankrolled by a central Iowa developer accused Fallon of not protecting kids from sex offenders, not supporting ethanol producers, and not protecting kids from sex offenders (yes, there were two dishonest direct-mail pieces on Fallon’s vote against residency restrictions for sex offenders).

The Southeast Iowa Lutheran Synod showed real leadership on global warming.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production published damning reports on conventional livestock production in the U.S.

An editorial by James Howard Kunstler on “Driving Toward Disaster” inspired this post on how to reduce Americans’ vehicle-miles traveled by car.

In honor of asthma awareness month, I suggested 10 ways to combat asthma.

I paid tribute to my friend and fellow activist LaVon Griffieon on Mother’s Day.

I gave parents some ideas about good books to read to children.

June 2008

June 3 was primary day in Iowa. I wrote up Boswell’s final radio ad as well as his campaign’s pathetic attempt to portray Fallon as unconcerned about meth.

I received two push-polls targeting Iowa House district 59 candidate Jerry Sullivan.

On election day Becky Greenwald easily won the four-way primary in the fourth Congressional district, while Boswell easily defeated Fallon in the third district. Mariannette Miller-Meeks narrowly won the Republican primary in the second district. Christopher Reed barely edged out two Republican rivals for the chance to get crushed by Tom Harkin.

Although Boswell wiped out Fallon by 20 points, I still believe the primary challenge was worth the effort. (At least my suburb got its own zip code.)

I urged unsuccessful fourth district candidate William Meyers not to make the mistake of running for Congress as an independent.

After Republicans nominated Miller-Meeks and Democrats nominated Greenwald, I again discussed some reasons why Iowa has never elected a woman to Congress.

I was confident that the third district Congressional race would not be competitive in the general election.

Dubuque and the Quad Cities moved one step close to passenger rail, thanks to work by Bruce Braley on the House Transportation Committee.

Activists for organized labor in Iowa were still mad at Chet Culver two months after he vetoed a bill that would have expanded collective bargaining rights.

I started making the case for supporting fifth district Democratic candidate Rob Hubler against “Jackass Award” winner Steve King.

Meanwhile, King chastised Scott McClellan for revealing misconduct inside the Bush White House.

Bleeding Heartland readers weighed in on potential future leaders in the Iowa Democratic Party.

Chris Woods examined the relationship between climate change and the Iowa floods and offered his take on how Iowa should pay for flood recovery.

I advocated an investigation into why the Des Moines levee that failed was never fixed after the 1993 floods.

I was taken aback by some conservative bloggers’ views on flood relief and discussed our disagreements here and here.

Also in connection with the historic flooding, I urged readers not to use chlorine bleach to clean flood-damaged surfaces and not to use DEET-based mosquito repellents.

Noneed4thneed called attention to a report on how special interests spent big money to influence Iowa lawmakers.

The Iowa Values Fund seems not to have been good value for the taxpayers’ money.

I disagreed with Iowa Utilities Board members who argued that meeting future electricity needs will require more coal or nuclear power.

Less than three weeks after winning the primary, Leonard Boswell voted with House Republicans to approve the new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Chris Woods explained what was wrong with the FISA “compromise.”

Iowa Voter informed us that Chuck Grassley misled a town hall meeting audience on FISA. I linked to a bunch of commentaries on Obama and the FISA bill.

Opponents of the public smoking ban annoyed me when they called the new law “Soviet”  or “fascist.” Anyway, fears about the smoking ban’s impact on business were unfounded.

The US Department of Agriculture in effect told honeybees to drop dead.

I learned from noneed4thneed that Marshalltown passed an ordinance to reduce the use of plastic bags.

After reading a diary by nyceve on how insurance companies punish women who have had cesarean births, I posted more advice for pregnant women seeking to reduce their risk of having a c-section.

I had some friendly advice for Obama volunteers on how to talk to non-supporters about Obama.

I posted my take on what any Democrat should do if you get push-polled or message-tested.

July 2008

News that the Obama campaign would be running the GOTV operation in Iowa made me worried about the potential effect on down-ticket Democrats. (Sadly, the election results validated several of my concerns.)

AlanF cross-posted this excellent piece on tips for volunteers who knock on doors for a political candidate.

I offered readers five reasons to get involved in state legislative races.

Senator Tom Harkin held an online voting contest to determine which Democratic statehouse candidates would receive contributions from his campaign fund.

Second district incumbent Dave Loebsack signed on to a letter urging Congress to address transportation issues in forthcoming legislation on climate change.

Relations between Senator Chuck Grassley and social conservatives in the Republican Party of Iowa had seen better days. Some of the tension stemmed from Grassley’s inquiry into the tax-exempt status of some television-based ministries.

Leonard Boswell spent two weeks in the hospital after having surgery.

Becky Greenwald criticized fourth district incumbent Tom Latham for his loyal Republican voting record on Iraq and other issues.

I argued that Greenwald had a real chance to beat Latham, but the incumbent’s money advantage would be her biggest obstacle.

Latham put up a statewide radio ad on the need for more off-shore oil drilling.

I contrasted Bruce Braley’s record of delivering for his constituents with Steve King’s.

King kept making offensive comments regularly and showed that he has no interest in genuine Congressional oversight.

SW Iowa Guy, a fifth district resident, gave us a window onto a conference call with King.

Joe Trippi signed on as a consultant to Rob Hubler’s campaign.

A particularly horrible Associated Press story on how “Pet owners prefer McCain over Obama” inspired this post on confounding variables in opinion polling.

I posted Four comments and a question on the bad blood between Culver and organized labor.

Markos Moulitsas bashed me on the front page of Daily Kos.

I shared some thoughts on a new advocacy group seeking to repeal Iowa’s public smoking ban.

Iowa environmental groups encouraged state regulators to make utilities do more on energy efficiency.

I went over some reasons to buy local.

One of my occasional posts on parenting laid out some reasons to “wear your baby”.

August 2008

The revelation of John Edwards’ affair stirred up conflicting feelings for me, as for many other former Edwards volunteers. I posted ten words I thought I would never write and a precinct captain’s reflections on the Edwards story.

Edwards’ political career may be over, but his presidential campaign’s slogan lived on.

After getting more fundraising appeals from Tom Harkin (whose Republican challenger had only a few hundred bucks in the bank), I advocated a Use it or Lose it campaign to encourage safe Democratic incumbents to give more money to Democratic campaign committees.

Jason Rosenbaum asked readers to contact their representatives in Congress on health care.

Former Republican Congressman Jim Leach endorsed Obama for president. Leach later addressed the Democratic National Convention and headlined numerous “Republicans for Obama” events.

I suggested five ways Bleeding Heartland readers could help Rob Hubler’s campaign against Steve King.

Giant chickens started showing up outside King’s campaign events after he refused to debate Hubler.

I felt a special legislative session to deal with flood relief was warranted, but it never happened.

The Cedar Rapids-based Rebuild and Grow organization offered its own flood recovery action plan.

The Iowa Fiscal Partnership released a report on why property tax cuts are the wrong approach for flood relief.

Chuck Grassley made some shameful comments favorably contrasting flood victims in Iowa to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Unfortunately, conventional agriculture interests trumped environmental concerns on the state’s flood recovery panel.

I posted some thoughts on how to reform the Democratic presidential nominating process.

I was impressed after attending one of the Obama campaign’s outreach events for women.

I argued that Joe Biden would be a good surrogate for Obama.

A conservative baby-sitter helped introduce my five-year-old to the concept of political pluralism.

Comparing the presidential campaigns’ ground games, I became convinced that Obama’s small-town outreach would crush McCain’s.

I posted a few questions on factors that could skew polls of the Obama-McCain race.

Caught up in the excitement of the Democratic National Convention, I finally gave some money to Obama’s campaign.

I was immediately convinced that Sarah Palin would become McCain’s gift to Democrats and noted that not all evangelical conservatives were thrilled with her candidacy.

Chet Culver criticized labor practices at the Agriprocessors meat-packing plant in a newspaper editorial, and the company responded.

I discussed another failure of employer-based health insurance as Whirlpool “filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to cut the medical benefits of thousands of retired Maytag workers.”

A well-known political scientist at the University of Iowa took his own life while under criminal investigation for allegedly giving students higher grades in exchange for sexual favors.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa warned about a proposed Bush administration regulation that would restrict access to contraception. (The administration implemented that new rule in December.)

I was annoyed that my son’s public school encouraged parents to buy Tyson chicken products.

Marvin Pomerantz, one of the most influential Iowa Republicans in the last 40 years, passed away.

September 2008

As September began I was thankful Iowa’s first Congressional district was not competitive, freeing me of the responsibility to write most posts on the idiot who ran against Bruce Braley.

Obama started running radio ads on abortion in Iowa and several other states.

American007 posted this excellent summary of Sarah Palin’s record in Wasilla.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer headlined Tom Harkin’s Steak Fry, but Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge gave the most memorable speech of the day.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put IA-04 on the list of “emerging races” and declared IA-05 a “race to watch.”

EMILY’s List finally endorsed Becky Greenwald two days after I posted this piece wondering why they hadn’t done so already.

The following week Greenwald went up on tv with a biographical ad that depleted her campaign coffers while doing little to boost her support.

Tom Latham’s first television ad highlighted his big “achievement” on health care: co-sponsoring a bill that never made it out of committee. Greenwald’s campaign exposed Latham’s real record on health care in a press release, but unfortunately lacked the cash to put up a response on television.

I saw Latham’s ad as proof that he expected a big Democratic wave and was positioning himself accordingly on traditionally “Democratic” issues.

Tom Harkin posted this diary on McCain’s “crusade against renewable fuels.”

There was plenty of hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle when the U.S. House passed an energy bill designed to give Democrats cover on the offshore oil drilling issue.

I again encouraged readers to get involved in the Iowa statehouse races.

While the presidential election still looked like a tossup, I discussed what would happen if neither candidate received 270 electoral votes.

I made the case for voting early here and here.

Annoyed by the fundraising appeals I kept getting from safe Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell, I asked Bleeding Heartland readers to tell Boswell to give more to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

I argued that Democrats can win and hold districts like Iowa’s fifth. (Unfortunately, Hubler was not among the Democratic challengers who won deep-red Congressional seats this year, most notably in Maryland’s first and Colorado’s fourth districts.)

As a Democratic wave election appeared more likely, I wondered which Democratic pickups would shock us the most. (As it turned out, the most surprising pickup was probably in Virginia’s fifth Congressional district. We also had surprisingly narrow losses in California’s fourth and 44th districts.)

I thought labor unions were right to focus their political spending on the Iowa statehouse races and withhold contributions to Chet Culver’s re-election campaign for now.

The Sierra Club created an online petition for Iowans urging energy providers to invest in clean sources for electricity generation, not coal.

Environmental groups called on utilities to do more to save energy.

Renewable Rich summarized a report showing how clean energy can create thousands of new jobs in Iowa.

I went over some ways to improve the Iowa caucus system.

A grassroots group in Cedar Rapids organized volunteers every weekend for flood recovery work.

An advocate for factory farms stepped down from the state Environmental Protection Commission.

Former John Deere employees filed a class-action lawsuit in Des Moines that underscored the failures of our employer-based health insurance system.

I called for ending Iowa’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to water quality.

I had a feeling that the Wall Street bailout was a terrible idea and “a trap that will enrich a bunch of people while doing little to help the overall economy.”

There was a highly contentious election for the Des Moines school board, followed by an ill-advised attempt to censure the black sheep of the board. I found the lack of oversight on the Des Moines School Board disturbing.

A newspaper article on an abstinence club at my old high school inspired this post on why even abstaining teens need comprehensive sex eduction.

I explained why Iowa native Justin Roberts is our family’s favorite children’s musician.

October 2008

All three Iowa Democrats in the U.S. House voted for the second version of the Wall Street bailout package, while Iowa’s two Republicans voted no. The bailout became a central issue in Tom Latham’s campaign advertising after Becky Greenwald unwisely said she would have voted for the revised bailout package. Senators Harkin and Grassley both voted for the bailout.

I offered some advice to disappointed party activists on What to do when you don’t care for your party’s nominee. Bleeding Heartland user lorih followed up by explaining why she started volunteering for Obama despite her deep disappointment that Clinton did not win the nomination.

I continued to speculate on factors that might affect the accuracy of polls on the presidential race.

The third quarter Federal Election Commission filings showed all the incumbents in Iowa’s Congressional delegation with big money leads over their challengers, foreshadowing the double-digit victories all the incumbents posted a few weeks later.

I kept urging our safe Democratic incumbents to “Use it or Lose it” by donating some of their excess campaign cash to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Although I considered the second district race uncompetitive, I covered some key issues and events in Dave Loebsack’s campaign against Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

Again I examined the reasons underlying Iowa’s failure to elect a woman to Congress.

Bleeding Heartland supported the Obama campaign’s strong push for Iowa Democrats to vote early (including an early voting RV tour). As it turned out, strong early voting saved several Democratic statehouse incumbents.

Tom Latham debated Becky Greenwald twice on the radio during October; I analyzed the candidates’ performance in the debates here and here.

Latham ran tv ads pounding Greenwald on the bailout, while the Democrat (lacking money for tv) had to make do with web ads and press releases highlighting Latham’s record on various issues.

Not long after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee upgraded the races in IA-04 and IA-05, I urged Bleeding Heartland readers to get serious about expanding the field by supporting under-funded longshot Democratic Congressional challengers.

Steve King continued to embarrass himself and all Iowans.

Although the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped for, I have no regrets about encouraging Democrats to back Rob Hubler’s campaign.

Speaking of longshots, little-known Republican Senate candidate Christopher Reed blew it in his only debate with Tom Harkin.

Harkin gave more cash to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. His campaign also launched a contest where Iowans could nominate county party organizations that deserved extra money for GOTV efforts. (Marion, Muscatine and Linn counties ended up winning.)

Mark Langgin urged Bleeding Heartland readers to support Democratic candidates for the Iowa House in light of a Republican focus on the House races.

The Republican 501(c)4 group American Future Fund exploited loopholes in rules governing political advocacy groups in order to run campaign advertising in targeted Iowa House districts.

The perils of leaving any Republican unopposed were exposed when news emerged that an incumbent Iowa senator with no Democratic challenger had previously been charged with a prostitution-related crime.

The Iowa Democratic Party kept producing videos on why McCain would be bad for Iowa.

I was puzzled by John McCain and Sarah Palin’s visits to Iowa late in the campaign, despite poll after poll showing Obama above 50 percent in Iowa, with a double-digit lead over McCain. In fact, a series of missteps by McCain got me wondering whether the Republicans should have nominated Mitt Romney.

The not-so-classy McCain used the Iowa floods in his campaign’s robocalls and direct-mail pieces.

Polk County Democratic activists gained national attention by holding a clothing drive for the DAV across the street from a Palin rally in Des Moines.

I went over some tips for phone bankers trying to recruit volunteers.

I supported a referendum on taking the word “idiot” out of the Iowa Constitution. (There was no organized opposition to that referendum, and it passed easily.)

For the first time in my life, the Des Moines Register endorsed the full slate of Iowa Democrats running for Congress. Ed Fallon urged his supporters to vote for Boswell in an e-mail that linked to the Register’s incredibly lukewarm endorsement of the incumbent.

Obama made one last stop in Des Moines shortly before election day.

Iowa Voter noted that the Brennan Center gave Iowa high marks for election readiness.

Jason Rosenbaum contributed this guest post on why health care reform matters. Rosenbaum was involved with the Health Care for America Now Coalition, which kept up the grassroots pressure on Senator Chuck Grassley to support universal health care.

I attended a commitment ceremony for a same-sex couple who had gotten married in California a few months earlier.

November 2008

Obama won Iowa convincingly, but his 9-point margin was smaller than the 17-point lead he had in the final Des Moines Register poll of the campaign.

Democratic gains down-ticket were somewhat disappointing in Iowa, as in quite a few other states.

I looked at some reasons why Becky Greenwald lost to Tom Latham by more than 20 points in the fourth Congressional district.

It was weeks before recounts finally confirmed net Democratic gains of three seats in the Iowa House and two seats in the Iowa Senate.

Unsuccessful Congressional candidate Rob Hubler criticized the statewide GOTV effort in an e-mail to supporters. Hubler’s son lost an Iowa House race by only a few hundred votes in the Council Bluffs area.

I was particularly disappointed when Democrat Jerry Sullivan lost in my own district by fewer than 100 votes. He had been the target of negative advertising as well as last-minute robocalls and lit drops.

In the good news column, Democratic incumbent Eric Palmer won re-election in his House district despite Republican attempts to disenfranchise Grinnell College students who voted by absentee ballot.

Jackie Norris accepted an offer to become Michelle Obama’s chief of staff.

The presidential election results convinced Josh Goodman of that Iowa is now the best bellwether state.

Likely future Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal reached out to social conservatives while visiting Iowa.

Meanwhile, the divided Republican Party of Iowa began work on turning the party’s electoral fortunes around by replacing its leaders in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate.

I suspect Democrats would benefit if Iowa Republicans take the advice of a leading social conservative.

Some Iowa Democrats grumble about Governor Culver, but I argued here that their discontent will not rise to the level of a primary challenge in 2010.

Bruce Braley played an active and visible role in Henry Waxman’s successful campaign to be named chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Stranded Wind sounded the alarm about the risk of famine in 2009.

A blogger’s struggle to pay medical bills inspired this post on the need for comprehensive health care reform. Our immoral and ineffective health care system was also the subject of this post.

I was surprised to learn that the Blog Gender Analyzer thinks I’m a man, a topic I explored further in this post at MyDD.

Wisconsin rejected an application to build a new coal-fired power plant, prompting the Iowa Environmental Council to call on Iowa policy-makers to follow the lead of “neighboring states to the west, north, and now east, which have concluded that clean energy makes more economic sense than coal.”

I owned up to a few things I got wrong and right during the long presidential campaign.

December 2008

Tom Vilsack’s nomination for Secretary of Agriculture was big news in Iowa. I covered the reaction to that appointment here and here.

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Varnum v Brien, a same-sex marriage case. jpmassar walked us through some of the legal issues at hand, and I discussed the political implications of the court ruling expected sometime next year.

A week later I posted a recap and analysis of the Varnum v Brien hearing and reaction to it.

Deteriorating revenue projections prompted Governor Culver to impose two rounds of budget cuts. I discussed the merits of some approaches to balancing the budget here.

Culver’s announcement of $100 million in budget cuts the same day he had scheduled a $5,000 a head fundraiser inspired me to make the case for “clean elections” campaign financing.

Speaking of election reform, Sean Flaherty and I wrote about the importance of “verified voting.”

The Democratic leadership in the state legislature released the committee assignments for the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate.

I discussed Congressional Quarterly and Progressive Punch rankings for the members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation in 2008.

Bruce Braley announced plans to form a Populist Caucus and landed a spot on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

I examined how the post-census reapportionment is likely to play out in the 2012 U.S. House races in Iowa.

Organic farming is carbon sequestration we can believe in.

There is no such thing as “clean coal.”

Bleeding Heartland user American007 won our election prediction contest.

I wondered whether it matters who ends up running the Republican Party in Iowa and nationwide.

What did you get wrong? What did you get right? (updated)

We’ve had ten days to decompress from the election. It’s time for a little self-promotion and self-criticism.

What did you predict accurately during the past campaign, and what did you get completely wrong?

The ground rules for this thread are as follows:

1. This is about your own forecasting skills. Do not post a comment solely to mock someone else’s idiocy.

2. You are not allowed to boast about something you got right without owning up to at least one thing you got wrong.

3. For maximum bragging rights, include a link to a comment or diary containing your accurate prediction. Links are not required, though.

I’ll get the ball rolling. Here are some of the more significant things I got wrong during the presidential campaign that just ended.

I thought that since John Edwards had been in the spotlight for years, the Republicans would probably not be able to spring an “October surprise” on us if he were the Democratic nominee. Oops.

In 2006 I thought Hillary’s strong poll numbers among Democrats were

inflated by the fact that she has a lot of name recognition. I think once the campaign begins, her numbers will sink like Lieberman’s did in 2003.

Then when her poll numbers held up in most states throughout 2007, I thought Hillary’s coalition would collapse if she lost a few early primaries. Um, not quite.

I thought Barack Obama would fail to be viable in a lot of Iowa precincts dominated by voters over age 50.

I thought Obama had zero chance of beating John McCain in Florida.

Here are a few things I got right:

I consistently predicted that Hillary would finish no better than third in the Iowa caucuses. For that I was sometimes ridiculed in MyDD comment threads during the summer and fall of 2007.

I knew right away that choosing Sarah Palin was McCain’s gift to Democrats on his own birthday, because it undercut his best argument against Obama: lack of experience.

I immediately sensed that letting the Obama campaign take over the GOTV effort in Iowa might lead to a convincing victory for Obama here without maximizing the gains for our down-ticket candidates. In fact, Iowa Democrats did lose a number of statehouse races we should have won last week.

By the way, if you are from Iowa or have Iowa connections, please consider helping the progressive community blog Bleeding Heartland analyze what went wrong and what went right for Democrats in some of the state House and Senate races.

UPDATE: I wasn’t thinking just in terms of election predictions. I meant more broadly, what were you right and wrong about during the course of the whole campaign? Such as, “I thought Obama was done after Nevada” or “I thought the long primary battle was going to destroy Obama’s chances” or “I thought once Reverend Wright emerged Hillary would win the nomination.”

ePrimary Closes Friday!

I am proud to report that the Texas Democratic Party’s ePrimary Poll has been a huge success. Because of your help spreading the word to our fellow Democrats, in just five short days, over 7,200 Texas Democrats have cast their vote for President!

That’s over five times the number of Texas Republicans who cast their vote in last weekend’s exclusive Straw Poll. And we’re not done yet! With one more day left to vote, all Texas Democrats still have a chance to make their voices heard in the next presidential election.

The enormous participation in the TDP ePrimary Poll is evidence of a Democratic Party on the rise in the Lone Star State. While Texas Republicans had only third-string candidates and embarrassingly low turnout at their VIP-only Straw Poll last weekend, Democrats from every corner of the state are energized by our Party’s strong field of presidential candidates and showing their excitement for 2008 in the ePrimary Poll.

Democrats believe our state and nation are better served when more people participate, and the ePrimary Poll is a way for all Texas Democrats to get involved in the primary process and weigh in as our Party selects a presidential nominee. Tell the country which Democrats you want to see take over the White House!

If you haven’t voted in the ePrimary Poll, there’s still time. Texas Democrats have until TOMORROW at 11:59pm to cast their vote for any one of our Democratic presidential candidates.

Cast your vote for President today!

In 2006, voters sent a message that they are tired of Republican corruption and fed up with the Bush Administration’s failed policies. But unlike Republicans, our Democratic presidential candidates are offering new ideas and a new vision for America. Our candidates are the kind of leaders who can rally Democrats across the country and bring change to the White House.

While Democrats strive to be a Party of hope, Republicans have shown they are a party of hate.  At their flop of a Straw Poll, a select group of Republican extremists chose a third-string candidate whose platform is based on hateful rhetoric. Texas Republicans have once again demonstrated their hostility towards mainstream voters and promoted candidates who seek to divide our state and nation.

Together, we can put a stop to Republican policies that serve their narrow special interests. Vote Now!

And in case you’re still deciding which of our potential nominees to support, I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out the TDP website to learn more about each candidate and read their personal message to Texas Democrats, as well as testimonials from their supporters in the Lone Star State.

If you’ve already cast your ballot and want to see how your favorite Democratic presidential candidate is doing so far, check the TDP website for the latest ePrimary Poll results. Daily updates are posted NOW!

And don’t forget to tune in Monday, September 10th when we announce the ePrimary Poll winner.

The ePrimary Poll is a chance for ALL Texas Democrats to speak out, show the strength of our party and have a real voice in the presidential nomination process. You have until TOMORROW to cast your ballot; click here to vote if you haven’t already, and if you’ve already voted, click here to invite your friends.

Your friend and fellow Democrat,

Boyd L. Richie
Texas Democratic Party Chair

Vote For President Today!

During the Texas Democratic Party’s recent Town Hall Tour, I traveled nearly 10,000 miles and visited with thousands of Democrats.  And I am proud to report that Texas Democrats are unified, energized and eager to win in 2008! 

Like most Americans, Democrats from Texarkana to El Paso are tired of George Bush’s failure and ready for a change in the White House.  That’s why I am very pleased to announce that the Texas Democratic Party is holding our first-ever ePrimary Poll, a weeklong online event that will give Texas Democrats a chance to support their favorite candidate for President. 

Starting today, Democrats across the Lone Star State have the opportunity to cast their vote for any of our outstanding presidential candidates at the TDP website.  After Republican leaders weakened the influence of Texas voters by failing to move up our state’s primary election, the TDP is doing everything we can to ensure Texas Democrats have a say in determining the next president of the United States.  Now is the time to make your voice heard!

If you’re still deciding which of our potential nominees to support, I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out the TDP website, where you’ll find a profile of each candidate, as well as their personal message to Texas Democrats. 

Voting for the ePrimary Poll lasts until 11:59pm on Friday, September 7th, and we’ll announce the winner on September 10th.  But if you want to know how your favorite Democrat is doing, check our website for the latest vote tallies, which will updated daily beginning Tuesday.

It’s no secret that Texas has produced some of America’s greatest Democratic political heroes, and Texas voters have always played a significant role in our nation’s politics. 

The Lone Star State is one of the largest and most populous states in the country – and one of the most diverse.  From the woods of East Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, the widespread cultural and geographical differences among Texas voters are a reflection of the diversity of the country as a whole.  To win in Texas, a presidential candidate must appeal to urban, suburban and rural voters alike and earn support from Texans of every race, creed, and color.

As usual, while Texas Democrats are encouraging voter participation, those Republican politicians in Austin refused to listen to voters who want to have a say in the next presidential election.  Because of the Republican Legislature’s inability to see beyond their own partisan agendas, Texas could potentially be left behind as both political parties choose their candidate for president.  But the ePrimary Poll will give Texas Democrats a chance to weigh in on the presidential nomination process and ensure our voices are heard.

After seven long years of George Bush’s arrogance and incompetence, voters are ready for a President who will chart a new course for America.  Voters are ready for a change, and our Democratic candidates are qualified and ready to lead with new ideas.

Make your voice heard and tell the country which Democrat you want see take back the White House in 2008. Vote NOW!

Your friend and fellow Democrat,

Boyd L. Richie
Texas Democratic Party Chair

Ivory Tower Meets The Campaign Stump

Crossposted from

Once, many of the issues we talk about on this blog were discussed mostly among Rust Belt labor unions or in street demonstrations. But tough questions are increasingly being asked in a variety of places, from the ivory tower to the campaign stump… and in both instances, the focus is on a change in the rules of globalization, rather than perpetuating the stale debate about whether “yes” or whether “no” on globalization. Witness Harvard's Dani Rodrik's new paper, articulating what he says is now the “new orthodoxy” on trade:

We can talk of a new conventional wisdom that has begun to emerge within multilateral institutions and among Northern academics. This new orthodoxy emphasizes that reaping the benefits of trade and financial globalization requires better domestic institutions, essentially improved safety nets in rich countries and improved governance in the poor countries.

Rodrik goes on to push this new orthodoxy further, articulating what he calls his “policy space” approach, allowing countries to negotiate around opting-in and opting-out more easily of international rules and schemes as their development and domestic needs merit. Citing the controversy around NAFTA's investor-state mechanism and the WTO's challenge of Europe's precautionary approach in consumer affairs, Rodrik poses the following challenge to the orthodoxy:

Globalization is a hot button issue in the advanced countries not just because it hits some people in their pocket book; it is controversial because it raises difficult questions about whether its outcomes are “right” or “fair.” That is why addressing the globalization backlash purely through compensation and income transfers is likely to fall short. Globalization also needs new rules that are more consistent with prevailing conceptions of procedural fairness.

And this focus on a change of rules hit the political arena today, with a major policy speech by former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). See here. Among the important points, that thus far are only being articulated by Edwards among the top candidates:

* For years now, Washington has been passing trade deal after trade deal that works great for multinational corporations, but not for working Americans. For example, NAFTA and the WTO provide unique rights for foreign companies whose profits are allegedly hurt by environmental and health regulations. These foreign companies have used them to demand compensation for laws against toxins, mad cow disease, and gambling – they have even sued the Canadian postal service for being a monopoly. Domestic companies would get laughed out of court if they tried this, but foreign investors can assert these special rights in secretive panels that operate outside our system of laws.

*The trade policies of President Bush have devastated towns and communities all across America. But let's be clear about something – this isn't just his doing. For far too long, presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements, agreements like NAFTA, promising that they would create millions of new jobs and enrich communities. Instead, too many of these agreements have cost us jobs and devastated many of our towns.

*NAFTA was written by insiders in all three countries, and it served their interests – not the interests of regular workers. It included unprecedented rights for corporate investors, but no labor or environmental protections in its core text. And over the past 15 years, we have seen growing income inequality in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

*Today, our trade agreements are negotiated behind closed doors. The multinationals get their say, but when one goes to Congress it gets an up or down vote – no amendments are allowed. No wonder that corporations get unique protections, while workers don't benefit. That's wrong.

So, our movement has made real progress when things like Chapter 11, Fast Track and the precautionary principle are even being discussed by politicians and academics in the context of trade policy debates. And hopefully Edwards' raising of these issues will put pressure on the other candidates to follow suit. In the meantime, you can help turn the nice words into action by clicking here.

Republican Rep. Capito (WV-02) takes credit for bolting a locked door

I know we often make fun of lawyers in this country (“What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a bar association convention? The caterer.“). On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for the value of training in law for political leadership. The Clintons (Bill, Yale; Hillary, Yale), Barack Obama (Harvard), John Edwards (UNC), and Harry Reid (George Washington U.) all have law degrees.

Then we have our Republican mis-leadership. There’s George Bush with an Master’s in Business Administration. That’s the same degree that Duke Cunningham and Jeff Skilling have. There’s Rep. Shelley Moore Capito with a Master’s in Career Counseling. That’s the same degree as… well, actually, no one comes to mind. Bush and Capito share a mis-understanding of the law, too. Whereas Bush missed the week in high school civics class about constitutional checks and balances, after six years in Congress Rep. Capito still hasn’t figured out the basic mechanics of when a law is needed.

Case in point: Rep. Capito is crowing about her success in using an obscure legislative maneuver to outlaw something that is already illegal!

West Virginia Democrats had no problem getting it right (emphasis mine):

West Virginia?s other two congressmen?Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall?voted against the measure. Rahall says he opposed the amendment because the program already includes ID requirements and toughening up the standard would be burdensome to many rural and elderly citizens and raise privacy concerns. Mollohan?s office said the amendment was “nothing but political chicanery.”

You know, it’s hard to counter the negative stereotypes the rest of the country has of West Virginia. Rep. Capito isn’t helping any. They noticed up in New York, too: Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) said “It’s all demagoguery.” As Albor Ruiz of the New York Daily News put it:

While the fate of 12 million people, thousands of families and the future of the nation’s economy wait for Congress to do its job on immigration reform, some of its members would rather play games.


“Loopholes in current law, like this housing assistance loophole for illegal immigrants, act as a magnet and invite people to enter our country illegally,” Capito is quoted as saying. “We should not be rewarding those who have come here illegally by awarding them taxpayer-funded services intended for law-abiding citizens.”

Wow! Is she tough! She’s cracking down and closing loopholes! No “illegal” will take advantage of taxpayers on her watch!

Not to rain on her party, but there is one small problem: What loophole is she talking about? Undocumented immigrants already are ineligible for housing vouchers. Under current law, all recipients of assistance are required to be citizens or to prove their lawful immigration status.

Capito can do all the chest-thumping she wants, but there is nothing to crack down on.

Here in West Virginia, the coverage is a mixed bag. Tom Searls article reads like a Capito press release. Yet, he did prominently mention his inability to get a quote from Rahall or Mollohan. Loopy Kercheval’s opinion piece does include quotes from Rahall and Mollohan but it distorts the issue even worse than Capito did.

Capito should be called out for immigration race-baiting and class warfare. Her arguments are full of lies and distortion. Here’s a just a few ways her actions are deceitful:

1. The HUD reform is benign at best and an assault on poor people at worst. It is already illegal for illegal residents to get section-8 benefits. As Rahall noted, her additional ID requirements create an additional burden on those who can least afford it.

If this legislative action has any effect it will be to make it harder for those who are entitled to the benefits to get them. This is an assault on poor people. Republicans like Bush and Capito believe that government cannot help people–this is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy as they make it more difficult for the government to help those who most need help.

2. She provides no evidence whatsoever that there is a problem with Section-8 housing that needs “reform”. The one statistic she quotes in support of this bill has nothing to do with Section-8 housing.

You can be sure if she had any examples of illegal residents receiving Section 8 housing she would have mentioned them. As Mollohan said, this is “nothing but political chicanery.” It is a waste of time, money, and resources.

3. In her floor statement she repeatedly says the tax dollars paying for Section 8 housing come from hard-working Americans. That’s a misleading statement. Tax dollars are paid by not only by hard-working Americans but also by legal immigrants and illegal immigrants who reside and pay taxes in this country.

She knows this. She’s using misleading inflammatory rhetoric to score cheap political points. Rep. Joe Crowley is absolutely right, “It’s all demagoguery.”

This is yet another example of Bush-Capito style mis-leadership. There’s a reason why 75% of West Virginians feel that the country is headed on the wrong-track. Passing do-nothing legislation doesn’t help.

West Virginia need leaders who put their energy into solving the many difficult, significant problems that we face–ending the occupation of Iraq, providing universal health care, and providing social and economic justice for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

It’s time for Bush and Capito to leave office. We can do better.

Cross-posted at West Virginia Blue

Presidential Matchups in North Carolina

Public Policy Polling is out with another poll.  This one is huge, with a lot of results for us to talk about.

But, before I dive into details, check out this quick insert from the Indy Weekly of the Triangle:

Our tracking signals indicate that Dole rarely travels to North Carolina, whereas Miller seems to be in perpetual campaign motion there. And Republicans like Dole are out of favor for sticking so close to President Bush, are they not? We thus conclude that Miller would beat Dole like a tympanic skin-a drum, I believe you call it.

Ok, now that I have your attention, to the poll.  This poll (link at bottom) consisted of 800 likely voters pulled from the voter rolls.

First, lets hit on the big and simple numbers.
Bush’s approval in North Carolina is 37%, with 59% Disapproval.

This number has been fairly consistent for a while.  If anything this number is worse than it has been in the past.

Next up is Elizabeth Dole.

This poll has Dole’s approval rating at 48% approval and 40% disapproval.  Her numbers have been fluctuating at around +5%.  She might have grabbed a point or two because she killed the immigration bill (first thing she has accomplished in months), but I think this is just margin of error fluctuations.

Just for kicks PPP did a matchup poll between Dole and each of the Democratic candidates for Governor.  Dole leads Lt Gov Beverly Perdue 46 to 37.  Dole leads Treasurer Richard Moore 45 to 34.

Neither of them will actually run, but its interesting because this is matchup poll #6 where Dole has polled below 50%.

From the other side of the aisle, Right Wing think lie tank Civitas has a poll out showing slightly different results.  I wont link to their poll unless I have to, for the same reason I wouldnt link to Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly.  However, I will talk about their results.

I do not trust these results, as they are normally as Republican friendly as possible without the group losing their non-profit status.  However, with that caveat, their poll results are really good for us.  They give Dole the same 48% approval rating, but with an impossibly low 28% disapproval.  They also show 22% with no opinion.  They also polled for Brad Miller, showing him with 14% approval, 10% disapproval, 38% no opinion and 38% dont know his name.  Considering Brad has only been in Congress since 2002, this is not too surprising.  It might be a little low, but is about what I expected his numbers to be.  If he is going to beat Dole it will just be a question of whether he can raise the money needed to get his name in front of people.

With all of those caveats, they polled Dole v Miller, and got 46% Dole 31% Miller.  So, a Republican friendly poll against a guy with 24% name ID, and they still cant give her numbers above 50%.  She is in BIG trouble.

Ok, back to the Public Policy Poll.  They did matchup polling between Hillary, Obama, Edwards and Rudy McRomneyson.

Against Rudy
Giuliani 47% Clinton 43%
Giuliani 46% Obama 42%
Giuliani 45% Edwards 46%

Against Romney
Romney 41% Clinton 47%
Romney 40% Obama 44%
Romney 37% Edwards 51%

Against McCain
McCain 44% Clinton 45%
McCain 45% Obama 44%
McCain 40% Edwards 48%

Against Thompson
Thompson 46% Clinton 43%
Thompson 45% Obama 40%
Thompson 43% Edwards 47%

In the crosstabs, Edwards bleeds off more Republican support than either Obama or Clinton.  But, his real strength is amongst independent voters.  Obama does the worst job of holding onto Democrats, but he is buoyed by his support amongst independents.

What is really interesting is the similarities amongst black voters for all the candidates.  Personally, I think these polls might be even better news for us than seem.  Does anyone really believe that Obama would lose up to 20% of black voters to McCain?  Does anyone really believe that on election day 24% of black voters will choose Rudy over Edwards?

All these Republicans have way too many skeletons for that to happen, meaning you can probably safely add 2-3 points to every Democratic result.

Some other thoughts on cross tabs.
Dole’s support amongst women is still much healthier than her support amongst men.  This is something that can be changed just by focusing on her actual record on “women’s issues”. 

Our numbers amongst younger voters are simply astonishing.
Amongst voters between the ages of 18 and 29:
Edwards leads Romney 64 to 33! 
Obama leads McCain 61 to 33!

There is a lot more to swallow, check out the poll for yourself.  There are 12 pages (PDF) of statistical goodness.

A quick personal note to end the diary.  Thank you to the people who donated to Brad Miller yesterday.  The Draft page raised over a 1000 dollars yesterday with donors from Kentucky to NC, and donations from $20.00 to $1000.08  Thank you a thousand times over to those people who put their money where their mouth is.

Presidential Endorsements

This is a diary of Presidential Endorsements that I will periodically update.  It will include those I learn of and I make no pretensions of this being a comprehensive listing.  I welcome comments that update endorsements as the election progresses as I plan to update this diary periodically.  The more eyes we have looking, the more accurate this can be.  I considered piggybacking the 2008 race tracker David set up as adding a line to the bio boxes would not be too time consuming, but will try a diary first.

I am attempting to track Members of Congress, Governors, State Party Chairs, former officeholders, and other politically prominent individuals like George Soros or Donald Trump.

If I missed any candidates in the tabs let me know.  I plan to list the states and sublist by candidate.  Will do Democrats then Republicans.  The primaries are by states so listing by states can show where someone is running strong.

If I am not sure what state someone connects to I will list as unknown under the state of the candidate they’re endorsing until I can place them more accurately.
Unless I can determine their home otherwise, I list anyone connected Hollywood under California, and move them later if I determine where exactly they do in fact live.


Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Artur Davis

-Rep. Terry Everett

-94 & 98 GOP Gov. nominee Winston Blount III
-Rep. Spencer Bachus
-Adjutant Gen. Stan Spears
-Dax Swatek campaign manager for fmr Gov. Bob Riley


-Rep. Don Young


-Raul Yzaguirre – President National Council of La Raza

-Rep. Raul Grijalva

-Rep. Trent Franks

-Senator Jon Kyl
-Rep. Rick Renzi
-Rep. John Shadegg
-Rep. Jeff Flake

-Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff


-Gov. Mike Beebe
-Rep. Marion Berry
-Fmr. General Wesley Clark
-Jimmie Lou Fisher – losing 2002 Gov. nominee
-Mac McClarty – fmr. Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton
-Sen. Mark Pryor
-Rep. Mike Ross
-Rep. Vic Snyder

-Rep. John Boozman


-Sen. Diane Feinstein
-Hugh Hefner – of Playboy fame
-Magic Johnson – Hall of Fame Basketball player
-Rep. Tom Lantos
-Rep. Grace Napolitano
-Gavin Newsome – Mayor of San Fransisco
-Rob Reiner – filmproducer “meathead of All in the Family”
-Filmmaker Steven Speilberg
-Antonio Villaraigosa – Mayor of Los Angeles

Christopher DODD
-Rep. Xavier Bercerra
-Rep. Anna Eshoo
-Steve Martin – a “wild & crazy guy”
-Lorne Michaels – Saturday Night Live producer
-Rep. Doris Matsui
-Paul Newman – actor

-fmr Rep. & St. Sen Leader John Burton
-Seth “Scott Evil” Green – actor
-Don Henley of rock band “The Eagles”
-David Mixner – noted GLBT activist
-Scott Weiner – Board of Directors: Human Rights Campaign

Barack OBAMA
-Jennifer Anniston – actress
-George Clooney – actor
-Tom Hanks – Actor
-Tobey Maguire – Actor

-Michael Douglas – actor

-Rep. David Drier
-Kelsey Grammer – actor
-Rep. Jerry Lewis
-Dennis Miller – comedian
-Fmr. LA Mayor Richard Riordan
-Adam Sandler – actor
-Ben Stein – actor
-fmr. Gov. Pete Wilson

-Chuck Yeager – retired Astronaut

-Rep. Daniel Lungren

-Rep. John Campbell
-Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon


Barack OBAMA
-Frederico Pena – fmr Mayor of Denver and Clinton cabinet member

-Sen. Wayne Allard

-Bob Beauprez – losing 2006 gubernatorial candidate

-Bay Buchanan – political commentator


Christopher DODD
-Sanford Cloud – fmr. Pres. National Conference for Community Justice
-Rep. Joe Courtney
-Rep. Rosa DeLauro
-Stanley Greenberg – Democratic pollster
-Rep. John Larson
-Rep. Chris Murphy

-Rep. Christopher Shays


Joseph BIDEN
-Senator Thomas Carper

-Rep. Mike Castle


-Rep. Alcee Hastings
-Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Robert Wexler

-Jeb Bush Jr., son of fmr Gov Bush

-Rep. C.W. “Bill” YOUNG

-Rep. Ric Keller
-Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen
-Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart
-Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

-Rep. Ginny Brown-gWaite
-Rep. Tom Feeney
-Dorothy Bush Koch – sister of Jeb & President George Bush

-George P. Bush s/o Gov. Jeb Bush
-Randy Enright – Fla. regional Director for RNC
-Rep. Jeff Miller
-Rep. Adam Putnam


-Rep. John Lewis

-fmr. Gov. Roy Barnes
-Shi Shailendra – Atlanta business leader

-Rep. Jack Kingston
-Rep. Tom Price
-Rep. John Lindner
-Rep. Phil Gingrey


-Sen. Daniel Inouye

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Neil Abercrombie


-Senator Larry Craig
-Lt. Gov. Jim Risch
-Rep. Mike Simpson


Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Melissa Bean
-Governor Rod Blagojevich
-Rep. Jerry Costello
-Matt Damon – actor
-Rep. Danny Davis
-Senator Richard Durbin
-Rep. Luis Guiterrez
-Rep. Phil Hare
-Christine Hefner – CEO Playboy Enterprises
-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
-Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
-Rep. Bobby Rush
-Rep. Jan Schakowsky
-Oprah Winfrey

-fmr. Gov. James Thompson

-Rep. Mark Kirk
-Rep. Roy LaHood
-Rep. John Shimkus
-IL. Sen. Minority Leader Frank Watson

-Rep. Dennis Hastert

-Rep. Donald Manzullo


-Sen. Evan Bayh

-Gov. Mitch Daniels

-James Bopp Jr. – Legal counsel for the National Right to Life Committee

-Rep. Dan Burton
-Rep. Steve Buyer


-Jerry Crawford – noted Dem strategist in Iowa
-Ruth Harkin – wife of Sen. Tom Harkin
-fmr. Gov. Tom Vilsack

-Ed Fallon – fmr. St. Rep. & Dem. Gubernatorial candidate
-Jennifer O’Malley – 2004 Iowa field director for John Edwards

-Joe Earle – Director of Outreach Iowa Christian Alliance

-Andrew Dorr – fmr. political director for Jim Nussle KANSAS

-Sen. Sam Brownback


-Rep. Ron Lewis
-Rep. Harold Rogers
-Rep. Ed Whitfield


-Thomas Boggs – Lobbyist

-Senator David Vitter

-Rep. Rodney Alexander
-Rep. Jim McCrey

-David Duke –  fmr KKK Imperial Wizard


-David Garrity – fmr. DNC member & LGBT activist

-Senator Susan Collins
-Senator Olympia Snowe


-Sen. Barbara Mikulski
-Gov. Martin O’Malley

-Joe Trippi – Howard Dean’s campaign manager in 2004
-Rep. Albert Wynn

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Elijah Cummings

-fmr. Gov. Robert Ehrlich


-Rep. James McGovern
-Rep. Richard Neal
-Joe Wilson – husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame

Barack OBAMA
-Laurence Tribe – noted Constitutional Law scholar
-Paul Weyrich – Free Congress Foundation


-Sen. Debbie Stabenow

-Rep. Bart Stupak

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. John Conyers

-Rep. Candace Miller
-James Tiganelli – Police Officers Association of America

-Rep. Fred Upton

-Rep. Dave Camp
-Rep. Peter Hoekstra
-Rep. Joe Knollenberg

-fmr. Sen. Spencer Abraham


-Scott Benson – Majority Leader Minneapolis City Council
-Rep. James Oberstar

-fmr. VP Walter Mondale

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Keith Ellison

-Governor Tim Pawlenty


-Don Wildmon – (American Family Ass’n)

-Senator Trent Lott


-fmr. Rep. Richard Gephardt

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Russ Carnahan
-Rep. Lacy Clay

-John McCAIN
-Rich BOND – fmr. RNC Chair

-Governor Matt Blunt




-Rory Reid – son of Harry Reid
-Dina Titus – losing 2006 Dem. Gov. nominee

Barack OBAMA
-Floyd Mayweather, professional boxer

Joseph BIDEN
-St. Rep. Steve Shurtleff, Ass’t House Majority Leader

-St. Sen. Betsey DeVries
-Bill Shaheen – husband of ex-Gov.Jeanne Shaheen
-St. Rep. Mary Jane Wallner – NH House Majority Leader

-St. Sen. Peter Burling
-St. Sen. Joe Foster
-St. Sen. David Gottesman

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Paul Hodes
-Gary Hirshberg – CEO Stonyfield Yogurt
-Bishop Gene Robinson – 1st openly gay Epicopalian Bishop

-Steve Marchand – Mayor of Portswouth

-Steve Duprey – fmr. Chair NH GOP
-Peter Spaulding – fmr. NH Executive Councillor

-Barbara Hagan – Frm Rep. & Pro-life acticist

-Sen. Judd GREGG
-Bruce Keough – 2002 GOP nominee for NH Gov.
-Jim Merrill – Attorney in Manchester


-Rep. Rob Andrews
-Gov. John Corzine
-Sen. Robert Menendez
-Rep. Frank Pallone

-fmr. Governor Richard Codey
-A.J. Sabath – fmr. Labor Commissioner
-St. Sen. Stephen Sweeney

Barack OBAMA
-Cory Booker – Mayor of Newark

-fmr. Gov Tom Kean Sr.


-Senator Jeff Bingaman
-Rep. Tom Udall


-Rep. Gary Ackerman
-Rep. Michael Arcuri
-Actress Candace Bergen
-Rep. Steven Bishop
-Rep. Yvette Clarke
-Rep. Joseph Crowley
-fmr. Mayor of NYC David Dinkins
-Rep. Eliot Engel
-fmr Rep. Geraldine Ferraro
-Rep. Kristin Gillibrand
-Rep. John Hall
-Rep. Brian Higgins
-Rep. Maurice Hinchey
-Rep. Stephen Isreal
-Robert Johnson – billionaire founder of Black Entertainment TV
-Billie Jean King – All-time tennis great
-Rep. Nita Lowey
-Rep. Carolyn Maloney
-Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
-Rep. Michael McNulty
-Rep. Gregory Meeks
-Rep. Jerrold Nadler
-Rep. Charles Ragnal
-Senator Charles Schumer
-Rep. Joseph Serrano
-Rep. Louise Slaughter
-Gov. Eliot Spitzer
-Rep. Edolphus Towns
-Rep. Nydia Velazquez
-Rep. Anthony Weiner (candidate: Mayor of NYC)

Barack OBAMA
-Shelia C. Johnson – billionarie co-founder of Black Entertainment TV

-Steve Forbes – Chief executive Forbes magazine
-Rep. Vito Fossella
-Louis Freeh – fmr. Director FBI
-Rep. Peter King
-St. Sen. Andrew Lanza
-Fmr. Rep. Guy Molinari
-Theodore Olson – fmr. Slicitor General
-Rep. James Walsh

-Colin Powell – fmr. Sec of State

-fmr. Sen. Alphonse D’Amato


-Rep. G. K. Butterfield
-Rep. Bob Etheridge
-Rep. Mike McIntyre
-Rep. Brad Miller
-Rep. David Price
-Rep. Heath Schuler
-Rep. Mel Watt

-Ric Flair – Professional Wrestler

-Charlie Black Jr. – longtime GOP political strategist
-Senator Richard Burr

-Rep. Sue Myrick


-Merle Boucher – ND House Minority Leader
-Roger Johnson – ND Agriculture Commissioner
-David O’Connell – ND Senate Minority Leader


-Jerry Springer – fmr Mayor of Cincinnati & Talk show host
-Gov. Ted Strickland
-Rep. Stephanie Tubb-Jones

Christopher DODD
-Rep. Timothy Ryun

Barack OBAMA
-Mike Coleman – Mayor of Columbus
-St. Sen. Eric Kearney

-Phil Burress – “Citizen’s for Community Values”

-fmr Sen. Mike Dewine
-Rep. Stephen LaTourette

-Rep. Ralph Regula
-Dr. John Wilke – Chair Right to Life Committee


-fmr. Gov. Frank Keating
-Rep. Stephen LaTourette


-Senator Gordon Smith

-Vance Day – fmr. Ore State GOP Chair
-Kevin Mannix – fmr. GOP Gov. nominee


-John Street – outgoing Mayor of Philadelphia

-Kate Michelman ex-President of NARAL

-fmr. Governor Tom RIDGE

-Rep. Bud Schuster


-Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Christopher DODD
-Rep. Patrick Kennedy


-st. Rep. Fletcher Smith

-St. Rep. Terry Alexander
-St. Sen. Robert Ford – black leader
-fmr. St. Sen. Maggie Glover
-St. Sen. Darrell Jackson – black leader
-St. Rep. David J. Mack III
-fmr. Gov. Richard Riley
-St. Rep. John Scott Jr.

-St. Rep. Bill Clyburn – black leader
-Bob Coble – Mayor of Columbia
-St. Rep. Chris Hart – black leader
-St. Rep. Lonnie Hosey – black leader

Barack OBAMA
-Ernest Finney – 1st black SC Supreme Justice
-Dick Harpootlian – fmr. Dem. State Chair

-James Dukes – SC director for John Kerry 2004
-Lachlan McIntosh – Executive Director Dem Party of South Carolina

-Karen Floyd – Spartenburg Co. Council
-Jim Miles – fmr. Sec of State in SC, failed 2002 GOP Gov candidate
-fmr. Rep. Arthur Ravenel, father of cocaine fiend Thomas Ravenel
-Thomas Ravenel -disgraced SC State Treasurer, indicted on cocaine distribution charges (SC chair Guiliani campaign when indicted)
-Heath Thompson – SC Political operative
-Barry Wynn – fmr. SC GOP Chair

-Iris Campbell widow of Gov. Carroll Campbell
-Mike Campbell fmr. Lt. Gov candidate s/o Iris

-Caroll Campbell III s/o fmr. Gov.
-Sen. Lindsey Graham
-Secretary of State Mark Hammond
-State House Speaker Bobby Harrell
-St. Sen. Hugh Leatherman
-SC Atty. Gen Henry McMaster
-Richard Quinn – SC political consultant
-St. Rep. Doug Smith (Speaker Pro Tem of the House)
-Adjutant Gen. Stan Spears

-Rick Beltram GOP State Chair for SC
-Sen. James DeMint
-ex-Gov. James Edwards
-ex-Rep. Thomas Hartnett
-Bob Jones III
-Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Mikolajcik
-Terry Sullivan – Fmr. Sen. DeMint campaign manager
-Robert Taylor – Dean @ Bob Jones University
-Paul Thurmond: Charleston Councilman & son of fmr. Sen. Strom Thurmond
-Warren Tompkins – SC politial consultant
-Lt. Gen. Claudius “Bud” Elmer Watts III
-Don Wilton – Spartanburg superchurch pastor

-Rep. Gresham Barrett


-Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin

Barack OBAMA
-fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle

-Governor Mike Rounds

-Sen. John Thune


Christopher DODD
-fmr. Senator James Sasser

-Ted Welch – prolific Southern GOP fundraiser

-Sen. Lamar Alexander
-Rep. Marsha Blackburn
-Sen. Bob Corker
-Rep. John Duncan
-fmr. Rep. & ex-Gov. nominee Van Hillery
-Rep. Zach Wamp


-Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee

-fmr. Rep. & 2006 Dem Gov. nominee Chris Bell
-Rep. Charlie Gonzalez

-Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

-Rep. Gene Green
-Rep. Silvestre Reyes

-Tom Hicks, Owner Texas Rangers
-T. Boone Pickens
-Patrick Oxford – Managing Partner of Bracewell & Giuliani, LLP
-Gov. Rick Perry
-Rep. Pete Sessions
-David Wallace – Mayor of Sugarland

-fmr. Rep. Tom DeLay
-Movie Actor Chuck Norris

-Rep. John Culberson
-Rep. Ralph Hall

-fmr. Sen. Phil Gramm
-James Huffiness: Chair Texas GOP
-fmr. Rep. Tom Loeffler
-fmr. Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher Sr.
-Lance Tarrance Jr. (strategist & pollster)

-Neil Bush – brother of the President
-Rep. Mike Conaway
-Bob Perry – primary financial backer of “Swift Boat Veterans”


-Rocky Anderson – Mayor of Salt Lake City

-Sen. Majority Leader Curtis Bramble
-Gov. Jon Huntsman
-Atty Gen Mark Shurtleff

-Senator Robert Bennett
-Jon Huntsman Sr. father of the Gov.


-Dick Cranwell: Virginia Democratic State Chair

Barack OBAMA
-Gov. Tim Kaine

-ex. Va. Atty. Gen. Jerry Kilgore
-Televangelist Pat Robertson

-Sen. John Warner

-Jay Sekulow: Chief Counsel American Center for Law and Justice
-Gary Marx: Dir. Judicial Confirmation Network
-fmr. Sen. George “Macaca” Allen


Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Adam Smith



-Rep. Tammy Baldwin
-Bill Broydrick – Fmr. St. Rep. Founder Broydrick & Associates
-Georgia Duerst-Lahti, Beloit College Professor, Commentator
-Dane Co., Executive Kathleen Falk
-Mathew Flynn – Fmr. State Chair Wis Dems
-Ambassador & Fmr. Majority Leader Tom Loftis
-Nancy Nussbaum – Fmr. Brown Co. Executive & Mayor of DePere
-Janis Ringhand – Fmr. Mayor of Evansville
-Teresa Villmain – long time Iowa Dem operative

-Dave Cieslewicz – Mayor of Madison
-Fmr. Gov. Tony Earl
-State Senator Jon Erpenbach
-State Senator Bob Jauch
-Dottie LeClair, 2nd Vice Chair Wi. Democratic Party
-State Senator John Lehman
-Rep. David Obey
-State Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts
-Dawn Marie Sass – Wi. State Treasurer
-State Representative Donna Seidel
-State Representative Mike Sheridan, UAW Local 95 President
-State Representative Jennifer Shilling
-State Representative David Travis, Fmr. Majority Leader
-State Representative Amy Sue Vruwink 
-Joseph Wineke – Democratic Party State Chair
-State Senator Bob Wirch

Barack OBAMA
-Rep. Gwen Moore

-Paul Maslin – pollster for Howard Dean

-fmr. Sen. Robert Kasten
-fmr. Gov. Tommy Thompson
-Rick Wiley – ex-Executive Dir. Wi GOP

-Lawrence Eagleburger (Born in Milwaukee) fmr. Sec of State for BUSH I


-Elizabeth Cheney d/o VP Dick Cheney (is she from Wyoming?

District of Columbia

-Deborah Jeane Pelphrey – noted Madame

-Bill Wichterman – Religious Right political operative