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The Goddamn Caucus

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Rudy Giuliani Braves the Delegate Dance of Doom

Rudy Giuliani
Today the Times plays the delegate game with Rudy Giuliani. “If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” historian and sometime Giuliani adviser Fred Siegel told the paper. That logic has a victory in Florida giving the former mayor the additional 183 delegates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (though it blatantly disregards how this race has proven that one primary can have little or no influence on the next). That would give Giuliani 15 percent of the delegates he needs (not counting Florida's 57). It's a boost that would not be insignificant, but the paper also reports that even Giuliani's staunch supporters in the Northeast are worried, and that McCain is edging ahead in New Jersey. (And, hilariously, the Associated Press has taken to calling his Florida campaign a "Hail Mary.") But as more and more news outlets are revving up their Giuliani Campaign Deathwatches, it's almost as if they, too, forget the lessons we've learned. Sure, all looks bad for him right now, but it did for McCain in late 2007, and it did for Hillary just before New Hampshire. No one can predict what's going to happen, not even those goddamned delegates. Even at Home, Backers Worry About Giuliani [NYT] Earlier: In 2008 Primary Race, Delegates Take the Lead, Heilemann on Michigan's Republican Goat Rodeo: Is Rudy a Mad Genius After All?

Blogging ‘The Colbert Report’

Colbert
Last night, like you, we were thrilled to sit down and watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as they returned from their WGA–strike-induced hiatus. It was going to be great, we assumed. Either that, or it was going to suck, which would also kind of be great, in the whole "this will get us a lot of mileage by the office soda machine tomorrow" kind of way. So we tuned in, AND, in a Daily Intel first, we IMed about it with our culturally superior colleague, the Vulture blog. As it turned out, the two shows weren't all laughs and rubber faces. In fact, The Daily Show turned out to be a bit of a tough act to swallow (and follow; as a lead-in, it must have cost The Colbert Report some viewers). Since Vulture knows more about the nuances of the writers' strike, they are hosting our conversation about Jon Stewart's somber effort. But below, here's what Vulture editor Dan Kois and Intel editor Chris Rovzar had to say about last night's glorious episode of Colbert: Kois: HAHAHAHAH. "This is the ColberT ReporT." Rovzar: HAHAHA. We're already laughing! He pronounced it the white-trashy way. Kois: Wow. Rovzar: Did you read that GQ story about when he changed his last name at Northwestern? I loved that. Kois: No! Rovzar: It used to actually be COLbert. With the "t" pronounced, when he grew up in South Carolina or whatever Kois: So he just did it to be intentionally snooty? Awesome. ColBERTian, actually.

An Imaginary Obama-Huckabee Matchup

Huckobama

Of course, there's no way of knowing what will happen to Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee next week or during any of the following primaries. Hillary, we're guessing, has a lot of tricks left up her sleeve, and McCain and Romney are sure to make a surge in less evangelical states like New Hampshire, Michigan, and Nevada. But, if the thus-far-imaginary Huckabee-Obama contest were to one day take place, the Huffington Post has poll data from before the caucus. SurveyUSA polled voters in a handful of swing (and non-swing) states about a potential general election between the Illinois senator and the former Arkansas governor. Here are some of the more interesting results: Obama gets: Wisconsin by 16% Iowa by 13% Oregon by 11% Virginia by 9% Minnesota by 5% Ohio by 1% Huckabee gets: Kentucky by 13% Missouri by 2% New Mexico by 1% Now, that's not all of the potential swing states, and in general it doesn't really mean anything. But you were kinda wondering, weren't you? Huckabee vs. Obama: Who Wins? [HuffPo]

Hey, Did You Know Bloomberg Had a Say in Iowa, Too?

Bloomie
After barely allowing the spotlight to wander off of him yesterday during the Iowa caucus, Bloomberg is at it again, inserting himself into the presidential discussion. During his weekly call-in talk show with John Gambling on WABC-AM, Bloomberg opined on the results from the Midwest and on why he thinks the candidates aren't really telling America what it needs to hear. Some highlights: • "I think you can't read an awful lot into any one state's election." • "I have no idea who’s going to win. I’m not in the business of handicapping." • "[The candidates] are unwilling to face the big issues, and take the risks, and give it straight to the public. And that's not good for democracy, and it's certainly not good for America." • "There's [no issue or solution] without cost that is facing us. And it's just … You know, the people running for office always say, 'I don't want to bring that up now. If I do, I won't get elected. But if I don't mention it and get elected, then I can do the difficult stuff.'" • "I would just like to get [the candidates] to address the important issues with more specificity of what they'd actually do to solve the problem of who's going to pay for health care, and what are we going to do overseas, and how are we going to keep our economy — which seems to be slowing down — how we're going to get that going again, and how we're going to make sure that everybody shares and that the tax burden is fairly distributed." Is this going to happen after every primary? The "What Does Bloomberg Think?" hour? Because, if so, at this rate he's going to be in the electoral dialogue way more than Giuliani. Without paying a dime. Bloomberg Parses the Iowa Results [NYT] True To Form, Bloomberg Downplays Iowa, Criticizes Process [NYO] Related: Bloomberg: Primary? What Primary? & Noncandidate Bloomberg Just Happens to Have Better Ideas Than the Real Candidates

It's Obama and Huckabee, With a Wink and a Smile

Obama
Amiable candidates Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee have been projected the winners of the Democratic and Republican Iowa caucuses, respectively. The Associated Press, ABC News, Fox News, the New York Times, and many other outlets have already called the competition, the first in the long presidential primary season ahead of us. On the Democratic side, New York Senator Hillary Clinton is vying closely with John Edwards for second place. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, who never made much of an effort in Iowa, trails behind several other candidates in the Republican race, including first runner-up Mitt Romney. Now go to bed and get some rest. Haven't you been reading blogs enough for one day? Obama, Huckabee Victorious in New Hampshire [AP]

Low Temperatures, High Drama: Inside the Iowa Press Corps

Iowa Press
As you know, everyone who's anyone in politics is in Iowa right now. But so is everyone who's no one! That's right, we're talking about the press, the unwashed mass following the candidates around, scribbling and taping and snap-snapping as Hillary, Obama, McCain et al spout platitudes, stuff themselves full of local cuisine and generally attempt to maintain a grip on the love handles of the elusive midwestern vote. That's who we want to know about. We've had enough of Billary and FreJeri Thompson and KuciniHottie. What about the writers, anchors and bloggers who make them who they are?? (Or at least tell us who they want them to be?) For those of you with a lurid curiosity about these sick characters, we did some digging into what the Iowa press corps is up to. And not just the Dana Milbanks and the Adam Nagourneys. (Spotted! The NYT staff having dinner at Lucca, the Italian place in Des Moines' "East Village" that Ad Nags raved about in the travel section a few weeks ago.) We mean everyone. Take Jodi Kantor from the Times, for example.

Bill Clinton Pulls a Karl Rove

Clinton

Late yesterday, Bill Clinton made an interesting statement while stumping for Hillary in Iowa. He predicted Mike Huckabee (who, like Clinton, hails from Hope, Arkansas) would win the Republican caucus today and even gave him a sort of hedging endorsement. From the Sun:
"Governor Huckabee has got a little hometown pride going because it looks like the Iowa republicans are going to give him the caucus." … "He looks to me like the only one who can tell a joke. It's a pretty dark crowd." … "You know he was underestimated. He's got on well here and it doesn't surprise me."
That's weird, huh? Especially since in some polls (like one in Arkansas, for example), Huckabee is the only candidate who poses a threat to Clinton's wife, Hillary. It's odd that Bubba would add his weight to Huckabee's momentum. Except, wait a minute, isn't this familiar? Didn't Karl Rove and President Bush sort of tout Hillary herself as an inevitable Democratic choice, thus playing into her "de facto nominee" primary strategy? Rove and Bush did it because they assume Hillary's negatives will take her down in the general election, so they felt safe encouraging her. Does former president Clinton feel that Huckabee is already flawed enough that he can't win in a national election? Or does he know something we don't (other than, you know, how to run a country) that might come up later? We're not sure. All we can tell you is you're lucky we're not drinking already. President Clinton Predicts Huckabee Win in Iowa [NYS]