Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The 360 View

Ice storms in Iowa
--Candy Crowley

hmmm. the plot thickens..reports of raw nerve endings inside the Clinton campaign from the king of campaigns--Bill Clinton re: his wife's campaign.

Somebody who talks to him every day tells me it's a press-created story and BC is the "calmest person around" cuz he knows ups and downs of campaigns.

Dunno - u gotta consider the source, but this guy has never led me astray. more calls later. btw - clintonites pushing hard on the "untested, unelectable" theme vis a vis Barack. Ice storms and a heated campaign. Cool.

Repeat Offenders
--David Mattingly

Joe Arpaio likes being known as America's Toughest Sheriff. He once gave me a tour of his jail in Phoenix. Inmates slept in un-airconditioned tents, ate bland bologna sandwiches, wore prison stripes circa 1800 and pink underwear. Their only break from the drudgery of the jail was to work on a chain gang. Every inmate I spoke to had something bad to say about Arpaio and his jail. I wonder what it says about Arizona's criminal element when there seems to be so many repeat offenders?

Lennon's Hair
--David Mattingly

In 1964 I was as caught up in Beatlemania as any five year old could be. That's the year I got my first transistor radio and there was a Beatles song playing every ten minutes. My favorite was "She Loves You" because the choruses of 'yeah-yeah-yeahs' were very easy for a kindergartener to sing along to. They were the soundtrack to my childhood but would I ever spend money on a lock of John's hair?--No way. To me, the greatest piece of Fab Four memorabilia will always be their music.

Drew Peterson's holiday spirit
--Lisa Bloom

Ah, it's the season for holiday giving. Who gets our charitable donations this year? The local homeless shelter? Global famine relief? No, wait, here's a new one: how about Drew Peterson's defense fund, just set up online at

You've got to wonder whether the money is, uh, trickling in to support the ex-cop who's left in his wake a string of women who claim they were harassed, stalked and abused, and one dead wife and one missing.

And now more details come to light of his threatening poor Stacy before she disappeared. Reminds me of the sad fact that the most dangerous time for abused women is when they leave, which is why so many stay.

How to win
--Roland Martin

With the GOP field in their last debate, they better be careful not to go negative on Mike Huckabee. He's played the affable guy so well, he'll just brush off the criticism.

What they must also do is get off the abortion-illegal immigration-Iraq focus. Go bread-and-butter. Deal with the housing crisis. Hit high college tuition.

Otherwise, Huckabee will come out of the debate with that goofy grin...and a likely victory in Iowa.

A Governor's Record in the Spotlight
--John King

You hear it in every campaign: governors get elected president, not senators. And recent history suggests it's a saying with merit: Jimmy Carter was a former governor, as was Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton in 1992; George W. Bush in 2000.

The theory goes that, like presidents, governors are chief executives - they run an administration that has to set tax and spending levels and make tough decisions. Plus, senators and members of Congress cast hundreds of votes and little things tucked into big bills can cause headaches. Not to mention being for something before being against it.

It is a trail now being walked by Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in the Republican nomination battle. Both say they are stronger candidates for the GOP because of their experience as governors.

But there is a flip side; their records are front and center in their resume as candidates - and in the critiques of their rivals.

And that can be tough going. Remember Michael Dukakis in 1988? The Massachusetts governor left the Democratic convention well ahead in the polls. But Republicans called his judgment into question by, among other things, raising a case in which he furloughed a convicted killer who, once released, committed heinous crimes.

Statehouse records are fair game, both Huckabee and Romney readily concede, though both also suggest their critics are being selective in what they choose to highlight of criticize, or taking some decisions out of context.

At the moment, the Huckabee record is more in the spotlight because of his rise in the polls. His role in the parole of a convicted rapist who once released raped and killed a woman. And, an area being highlighted in a new Romney attack ad, Huckabee's support for state-subsidized college aid for children of illegal immigrants.

Huckabee labels the Romney ad desperate. Yet he also says he DID support such aid, and to this day believes it is the right thing to do - even though he also concedes his position may hurt him among conservatives who fiercely oppose any government aid that benefits those in the country illegally.

Look for this and other items in the Romney and Huckabee records to be debating topics in Iowa today, and over the final three weeks of the hotly contested race here.

As Ronald Reagan might put it: Here we go again.

Republican Faith
--Drew Griffin

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

Once again Republican faith is in the news. Do Democrats have any faith? Do Sens. Clinton and Edwards go to a church? At what point during a pregnancy does Senator Obama believe aborting a fetus is wrong, first trimester, third? Does Senator Joe Biden agree with his Catholic Church that abortion and gay marriage are morally wrong?

Alas, all unasked and therefore unanswered. In the meantime, we the media will drill down on any religious comment made by those Republican candidates.

Just wondering why…

Late Night on the Campaign Trail
--Candy Crowley

Well, dear readers, I'm sure you would tire of my Minneapolis airport saga, as I try to make it to Iowa. I have. But somehow when I write you it makes me feel that I am not alone here at gate C-23.

Yes, I have abandoned A-5. After striking out twice as a lowly standby, the place lost its charm. The two attempts were punctuated by a wild cab ride to no place and back, a familiar trip to me. I survived without the cab driver committing me, or my producers killing me.

Now, here's the exciting part -- drumroll, please -- a new place for me: 9-B. Yes, I am finally seated on an actual plane. As Pastor Huckabee, perhaps the next President of The United States, might say, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition...(but don't tell the TSA)

What it takes to win
--David Gergen

CNN's new poll showing Mike Huckabee surging into a deadheat with Rudy Giuliani nationwide, consistent with today's national poll in the New York Times, confirms that the Republican race has become the most volatile and unpredictable in modern times.

Traditionally, Republicans like to nominate the party's heir apparent. And they like brand names: a Bush or a Dole has been somewhere on the GOP ticket in every presidential election since 1976!

But this year there is no heir apparent, no one with a brand name. So it's been topsy turvey right from the start, McCain, Thompson, and Giuliani have all seen their numbers cascade downward. Will Huckabee be next? There is no rational way to know.

So what about a completely irrational answer like this: not since Eisenhower have Republicans nominated anyone with more than two syllables in his name, and he went by Ike. So, if he can convince people to call him Mike, well, maybe he is okay.

Who'll win in Iowa?
--Candy Crowley

Somebody in Reagan airport today asked me, "Who is going to win Iowa?" Here's what I told him:

-I was at a big student rally for Barack Obama where he was introduced by a young guy named Josh. Josh said he's going to drive from South Dakota to Iowa January 3rd to caucus for Obama. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton are banking on student turn-out in Iowa. I got to thinking, what are the chances a college student, on winter break, two days after New Year's, is actually going to bother? What are the chances a lot of them will?

-I met a woman in Des Moines, who said she intends to caucus for Obama because she wanted to "slow down Hillary." In the general election, she says she'll vote for the Republican candidate. She hopes it will be Rudy Giuliani.

-I talked to an on-the-ground-in-Iowa politico of many years' standing, who says if it's really crummy weather caucus night, it will favor John Edwards because he has the most support from faithful caucus goers.

And that's why we say: nobody really knows who's going to win in Iowa.
Posted By CNN: 2:09 PM ET

I hope that your experience in the Minneapolis airport won't get you convicted. Stay out of the bathrooms there. ;)
Posted By Anonymous : 5:47 PM ET
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