Monday, December 31, 2007
The Bloom, and that Huckleberry rose
--David Gergen, 360 Contributor

Stories in the Washington Post and NYT have set off some buzz among political commentators over whether Mike Bloomberg is going to jump into the presidential race.

In my judgment, any short list of the most able public leaders in the country would have Bloomberg on it. Still, I think he is a long way from deciding about an independent race.

The more immediate question for me is whether the bloom is coming off the Huckleberry rose in Iowa. Polls show that he has slipped back into a dead heat with Romney there.

Ed Rollins, his new campaign director, believes that a series of anti-Huckebee ads by Romney are taking their toll because Huckabee doesn't have the money to answer them effectively on television.

But I suspect that his startling responses to the Bhutto assassination are having a significant impact, too. Rarely have I witnessed a major candidate answer questions about a foreign crisis with such ineptness. As AC asks so often, "What was he thinking?"

Huckabee could wind up doing Romney a big favor. Earlier, Romney was expected to win so easily in Iowa that the press might have written it off. Now, if he beats Huckabee, he can legitimately claim a more important victory.

With a three-way deadlock on the Democratic side, the Thursday caucuses may hold more of a key to the nominations than anyone might have thought a few months ago.

Happy New Year to one and all!
Posted By CNN: 5:06 PM ET
  6 Comments
David:

I find it interesting that the whole Bloomberg running as an independent finds its way into the headlines so close to the caucuses and primaries. I am already overwhelmed with all the candidates now, let alone the possibility that more could surface especially as independents. My guess is that I will still continue to flip flop over the candidates even after the Iowa caucuses but it will be interesting to see what happens there, why the people voted the way they did, and whether the results do in fact provide momentum towards a nomination. Wow, what an exciting year it's going to be for us political nerds!

Happy New Year to you too! I'm looking forward to your contributions and points of view in 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 7:50 PM ET
David - The Huckabee surge started right after the CNN/YouTube Republican Debate. Even while I was watching it, I thought Gov. Huckabee came across very well; he was friendly, good body language, presented himself well, and didn't come across as stupid or crazy. I liked him. I still think I would like him. He's probably a nice, fun person to have at an afternoon barbecue. Many people feel the same way about President Bush. But obviously we shouldn't vote for a presidential candidate because he or she would be fun at a party.

Republicans haven't had a candidate that they can all get behind. Fred Thompson has shown himself to be a lackluster candidate, and after the initial rush of support after the CNN/You Tube Debate for Gov. Huckabee, his lack of experience is showing. As you said, the bloom is wearing off.

So we'll all see. Our Nevada caucus is on the 19th. It's going to be an interesting month.

Barbara - Las Vegas, NV
Posted By Blogger Barbara : 7:59 PM ET
Happy New Year to you too. I think we will all have to wait until Thursday or Friday to see who actually wins the big wow.
One thing is for sure, it ain't over til it's over..unless you hit the bottom of the vote tally. Then it's probably lights out for that candidate. Take Care

Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 8:54 PM ET
Happy New Year David. Always appreciate your analysis and remarks.

Huckabee up until a week or so ago really didn't seem to touch on any issues especially foreign policy ones. I wasn't that surprised at his remarks after Beanzir Bhutto's death; they were about what I expected - inept and inexperienced. I don't think Romney was that much better though. of all the candidates that spoke after her death, the only ones that impressed me were John McCain and Hilliary Clinton.

So tell us if John McCain comes in 3rd in Iowa does that really hurt him that much??

Annie Kate
Birmingham, AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 9:09 PM ET
Professor Gergen,

ShALOHA.

I do believe you have some solid points about Mayor Bloomberg, and it appears he may enter the Presidential race soon as an Independent.

If so, may I add, he may become the Democrats' spoiler for Hiliary and Company. He may indeed just give New York to the Red Team in a Three way race in the General election in November 2008.

Iowa may go to Gov. Romney by a hair for the GOP, but the New Hamsphire Primary will highly most likely go for Senator John McCain.

One believes that New Hampshire is the prize Mr. Romney REALLY wants and no matter what happens in complex, icy Iowa, all eyes will sparkle with excitement when John McCain pulls a BIG Primary WIN in New Hampshire.

But, I could be wrong, my brillant former professor at Harvard.

Ari Cole
Harvard Class of 2008
Independent for McCain 2008
Posted By Blogger Ari Cole : 2:02 AM ET
Happy New Year's to you too David! I completely agree with you about the ineptitude of Gov. Huckabee. I was surprised last week to read several things that place him in quitw an extremist corner, such as past statements advocating 'isolating' HIV positive people, encouraging women of America to "submit graciously' to their husbands, and a rather long piece degrading homosexuals contained in the pages of a book he authored. I doubt every much that he's the compassionate, conservative politician that he's making himself out to be. He's not that many steps away from advocating a Christian theocracy in my view. What's amazing is that little seems to stick to his nice guy surface. More seems needed to be done by his opponents and the press to hold his feet to the fire and require him to take some responsibility for his past statements and actions.


~Eleanor
New York
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 5:13 PM ET
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