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Thread: Race for the White House

  1. #1

    Default Race for the White House

    January 22, 2007

    Rush of Entries Gives '08 Race Early Intensity


    WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 — Two years before the next president is inaugurated and a full year before the first vote is cast, the contest for the White House is off to a breathtakingly fast start, exposing an ever-growing field of candidates to longer, more intensive scrutiny and increasing the amount of money they need to remain viable.

    On Sunday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, held her first campaign event, highlighting her focus on health care a day after declaring her plans to run. Another Democrat, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, entered the fray, the eighth member of his party to do so. And the day was not terribly different in its pace of activity from many others in recent weeks.

    The scale and swiftness of the action has the potential to upset the traditional timetables and conventions of presidential campaigning.

    John Weaver, a senior adviser to Senator John McCain’s presidential effort, said the intensified announcement season and compressed primary calendar would force campaigns to develop a strong national apparatus and well-organized field efforts state by state.

    “It makes it nearly impossible for a dark horse candidate to break out of the pack and challenge the front-runner(s) and thus isn’t healthy for the process,” Mr. Weaver wrote in an e-mail message on Sunday. “All of these states, who are moving up early, want to play and have an impact. But oddly enough, it ultimately will limit the legitimate candidate choices for the nation at large in the primary process.”

    The candidates could be forced to move more quickly to take positions on big issues, stripping them of the chance to run on more gauzy platforms in the early stages and therefore exposing them to more direct criticism from rivals, interest groups and the news media. They will face earlier encounters with one another — New Hampshire and South Carolina are planning full-scale debates this spring — that will require them to display both policy expertise and a comfort level in front of the cameras.

    They will be getting intensive scrutiny from opposition research operations, the news media and the public for that much longer, increasing the chances that a gaffe or position change could harm their campaigns. Deep into competition for experienced staff members, most candidates are already putting together operations in multiple states.

    Kevin Madden, press secretary for the exploratory committee set up by former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a Republican, said his organization was already “beginning to put our teams together” for the early contests in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Michigan and several states beyond. “It’s happened at a very advanced pace,” Mr. Madden said, “but you can’t complain and wring your hands. You just have to work harder, faster.”

    Because they do not want competitors to be raising money unchallenged, more candidates are declaring their intentions earlier, which in turn means the entire field needs more money to sustain campaigns for a longer time.

    There are now a dozen serious contenders from both parties competing in a presidential race that for the first time in more than half a century will not include an incumbent — either the president or the vice president — on the ballot or even a definitive front-runner.

    “Crowded fields force early announcements,” said Jennifer Palmieri, an adviser to John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who is seeking the Democratic nomination. “Candidates are concerned there will not be enough oxygen left for them if they wait too long. Having crowded fields in both parties has exacerbated this phenomenon.”

    Just hours after Mrs. Clinton made her candidacy official on Saturday, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas joined the race for the Republican nomination. Last week, Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, opened a presidential exploratory committee, emphasizing the wide-open nature of the race.

    The early start of the presidential race may make it difficult for the new Democratic leaders in Congress to generate public support and media attention for their agenda. Seven sitting members of the House and Senate have declared their candidacies and several others are said to be considering it, distracting them from legislative business and drawing news coverage away from Congress and out onto the campaign trail.

    John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and president of the Center for American Progress, said some of the early candidates surely recall the lesson of Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the Democrat who waited to jump into the last presidential race until the fall of 2003.

    Given the lateness of his entry, and his limited resources, General Clark decided to skip the Iowa caucuses and focus on the New Hampshire primary. Iowa became an unexpectedly fierce contest, with John Kerry emerging as a winner and quickly rolling on to victories in New Hampshire and other early primary states.

    “You need to get a foothold early and organize and get people to rally around you and your message,” Mr. Podesta said, “and the need to build momentum is real.”

    The candidates and the early primary states are chasing each other in a mad circle, with two new states, Nevada and South Carolina, squeezing into the first weeks of the primary calendar. A number of other states, including California, New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois, are considering moving up their primaries so that they are not left out of the nominating process. With their expensive media markets, these states could quickly bankrupt candidates who have trouble raising money.

    The intensity of the early action is fueled in part by President Bush’s political weakness, brought on largely because of the unpopularity of the war in Iraq.

    “If Bush were doing well and had a continuing ability to get things done and command the national stage, I think there would be far less focus on the campaign,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.

    While presidential campaigns have been getting gradually longer over the past few decades, the acceleration in the 2008 cycle is particularly pronounced. The first President Bush announced his candidacy for the 1988 Republican nomination in October 1987; the eventual Democratic nominee in that election, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts, had declared six months earlier.

    Bill Clinton formally announced his candidacy for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination on Oct. 3, 1991, about three and a half months before the Iowa caucuses. George W. Bush announced his exploratory committee for the 2000 presidential race in March 1999 and began his campaign in June 1999.

    By comparison, Mr. Edwards of North Carolina, the 2004 vice-presidential nominee, has traveled to Iowa 16 times since the beginning of last year, building his organization there in hopes of scoring an early triumph that carries him into the next contests.

    “The earlier process will reward candidates who truly have a succinct, credible, authentic and passionate message which can sustain itself over the long nature of the campaign,” said Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004.

    He also said that in 2007 candidates would be rewarded by scoring points in “nonvoting events” such as media attention, their standings in the polls and the size and response of crowds, because those sorts of factors will help winnow the field more than the primaries still a year away.

    Despite the intense focus by most candidates on showing that they can raise the money to run a long and expensive campaign, having a big bank account, Mr. Dowd argued, may actually not be as important in the early stages of this presidential cycle as it was in previous ones.

    “It’s for two reasons: the early process will not involve paid media as much, and new technology allows little cost to talk directly to voters,” he said. “And the early process will make it more important for a campaign to know how to respond to knowable and unknowable events in next 12 months.”

    Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Representative Richard A. Gephardt in 2003 and Senator John Kerry in 2004, warned that candidates and their aides, no matter how tired they become, would have to stay on their toes because any misstep might be captured on tape and circulated on the Internet.

    “Every move they make in Iowa and New Hampshire will be on YouTube,” Mr. Elmendorf said. “The only certainty by January ’08 is that people will be pretty tired.”

    Besides taking a toll on the declared candidates, the length and cost of current campaigns also deters potential entrants. Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia were considered among the brightest Democratic prospects, but both declined to run. They cited the crowded field, the endless burden of fund-raising and the brutal personal cost of today’s presidential campaigns.

    Robin Toner and Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting from Washington, and Adam Nagourney from Atlanta.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  2. #2


    2008 Like It’s All Weekend: Clinton and Brownback and Richardson

    By Sarah Wheaton

    Today’s news is some of the biggest of the whole primary season, and yet it is perhaps the least surprising. People have been talking about the possiblity of Hillary Rodham Clinton someday running for president since, gosh, maybe when she was appointed by her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, to fix the health care system in the mid-1990s.

    Mrs. Clinton has been doing everything in her considerable power to make her latest effort, running for the White House, more successful than that other one.

    She is clearly betting on a successful fundraising effort, at the very least. The Hotline discovers that she has apparently decided to forego federal matching funds for both the primaries and the general election, meaning there is no cap on how much she can collect.

    Mrs. Clinton’s entrance in the race adds to an already historic field. Senator Barack Obama, who is black, formed his exploratory committee earlier in the week and is expected to make his candidacy official on Feb. 10.

    Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is of Mexican heritage, is expected to open the door on his presidential aspirations during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” tomorrow.

    Thus now seems like an appropriate time for those classic questions: Is America ready for a black president? A female? A Hispanic? What about a combination in a presidential/vice-presidential ticket? At the bottom of this post feel free to offer your thoughts about who would make the most effective ticket, in either party.

    In a show of good sportsmanship, Mr. Obama sent out a release just long enough to get him in the papers (and this blog, evidently):

    Senator Clinton is a good friend and a colleague whom I greatly respect. I welcome her and all the candidates, not as competitors, but as allies in the work of getting our country back on track.

    Mrs. Clinton expressed similar sentiments when Mr. Obama made his announcement last week.

    But today we can’t help but feel bad for Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican. His announcement in Topeka today was completely overshadowed by Mrs. Clinton’s.

    “Today, my family and I are taking our first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House,” he said, alluding to Dorothy, that other famous, albeit fictional, Kansan. Much of his speech centered around the idea of using “our greatness for goodness.”

    Attempting to position himself to the right of the Republican field, Mr. Brownback hit on classic conservative themes, including opposition to gay marriage and hostility to taxes. He is scheduled to appear at the March for Life, an anti-abortion rally held annually on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Somewhat unconventionally, Mr. Brownback also addressed fighting cancer specifically in the speech, calling it the “No. 1 fear in America.”

    Other candidates are also active this weekend. Tom Vilsack and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, both Democrats, have been paying visits to New Hampshire. And if you want more of Mrs. Clinton, she’ll be on CNN’s “This Week at War” on Sunday at 7 p.m.

    Blogtalk on Clinton

    Mrs. Clinton said she wants to start a “conversation” during her announcement, and she’ll hold a series of Webcasts next week. But the blogosphere is already talking. Lefty blogs tend to mirror much of the ambivalence (and, in some cases, antipathy) Democrats seem to have toward Mrs. Clinton, much of which stems from concerns that she might not be able to win a general election.

    “If Democrats are again seen as the supporters of such excessive bureaucratic meddling in people’s lives as was seen in Hillary Care,” frets Ron Chusid, referring to her efforts during her husband’s administration at Liberal Values, “we can look forward to another long period of Republican dominance.”

    Steven Benin, who notes that he’s not endorsing a Democratic primary candidate, thinks Mrs. Clinton is well-prepared for a national campaign. From his Carpetbagger Report:

    [W]hen Clinton said she knows how Republicans “think, how they operate, and how to beat them,” she’s absolutely right. Indeed, it might be one of her most compelling selling points.… There’s a “toughness” intangible candidates bring to a national race, and I think Clinton has more of it than anyone else in the country.

    On the right, blogs seemed more interested in analyzing the timing of Mrs. Clinton’s announcement, in multiple senses.

    Mark Finkelstein, a NewsBuster, initially thought he spotted blooming flowers in the background of her video and suggested it had not been filmed recently, though he later backed away from the charge.

    At RedState, AmandaBCarpenter saw cautious strategic timing by the Clinton camp in the Saturday announcement. “Surely, her news will command the attention of all the Sunday morning talk shows and for now Hillary is safe from the media that is sure to scathe her.”

  3. #3


    January 21, 2007, 11:39 am

    2008: Senator Clinton Casts a Long Shadow

    By Kate Phillips

    You would’ve thought Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the room on some of the news shows today, given how much her presidential exploratory announcement on Saturday dominated and infused interviews with other potential 2008 contenders. What a difference a few days makes, as she pretty much shoved aside Senator Barack Obama’s exploratory announcement last Tuesday.

    Senator John McCain, who in recent polls has been neck-and-neck with Mrs. Clinton for the presidency, said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Mrs. Clinton would be a “very formidable candidate.”

    He said any candidate who becomes the nominee of the party should not be underestimated, and said Republicans made that mistake in assessing the prospects Mrs. Clinton’s husband in 1992.

    On ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos broadcast interviews with both Senator Sam Brownback, the conservative Republican from Kansas whose announcement on Saturday was completely overshadowed by Mrs. Clinton’s, as well as Gov. Bill Richardson, Democrat of New Mexico. Mr. Richardson issued a video statement today (in English and in Spanish) making clear that he intended to seek the Democratic nomination.

    Asked how he would run against Mrs. Clinton, Senator Brownback said, “on issues and ideas.” Mr. Stephanopoulos also resurrected an incident that was recounted in The Atlantic magazine awhile back, in which Mr. Brownback apologized to Mrs. Clinton at a Senate prayer group meeting. He said he had come into Congress in 1994, with a deep hatred of the Clintons, and at the prayer group meeting, he sought forgiveness for having hated her. “It was wrong for me to do what I’d done,” he said today.

    Now that he’s gotten to know her a bit in the Senate, he said he had found her to be bright and talented, but added that clearly, someone who has undergone years of public exposure developed a shield that made it hard to get to know her or him.

    On other potential Republican candidates, Mr. Brownback said he believed it would be “tough” for someone like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, considered an abortion rights supporter, to win the G.O.P. nomination.

    Mr. Brownback, who will be one of the most prominent speakers in the Right-to-Life annual march this week, also said when asked whether former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose position on abortion has changed over the years, had earned the “right-to-life label,” said that would be up to those constituencies.

    Next up on “This Week,” was Mr. Richardson, former Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration, who plans to file papers for an exploratory committee this week. With a burgeoning field of Democratic contenders as star-powered as Mrs. Clinton and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and John Edwards, former senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee, Mr. Richardson asserted that he could be competitive in raising money for a campaign.

    “Most importantly, I can bring this country together,” he said. “I’m a negotiator.”

    For Democrats, in particular, the situation in Iraq has proved particularly problematic, with public support of the war extremely low. Senator Clinton, who opposes the president’s new plan, has waded through tough waters with the left-wing of her party because of her earlier positions favoring the war.

    Mr. Richardson said he was opposed to President Bush’s plan to increase troops in Iraq and believed Congress should exercise “the power of the purse” against financing additional troops. “The next president must be able to get us out of Iraq.”

    Mentioning that Mr. Richardson, if he were elected, would be the first Hispanic president (rounding out this Democratic field of first woman, first black, etc.), Mr. Richardson said he wouldn’t run solely on Hispanic issues. And asked, in a way that tried to get at Mr. Richardson’s more playful side, how he would counter what some consider his “frat boy image,” the second-term governor characterized himself as “friendly.”

    “I’ve never had any scandal in my life.”

  4. #4


    January 21, 2007

    Shushing the Baby Boomers



    THE time has come, Senator Barack Obama says, for the baby boomers to get over themselves.

    In taking the first steps toward a presidential candidacy last week, Mr. Obama, who was born in 1961 and considers himself a member of the post-boomer generation, said Americans hungered for “a different kind of politics,” one that moved beyond the tired ideological battles of the 1960s.

    To make his point, Mr. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois in his first term in the Senate, announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee in a video streamed on his Web site. He is tieless and relaxed and oh so cool.

    Mr. Obama calculates that Americans of all ages are sick of the feuding boomers and ready to turn to the generation that came of age after Vietnam, after the campus culture wars between freaks and straights, and after young people had given up on what überboomer Hillary Rodham Clinton (who made her own announcement on the Web yesterday) called in a 1969 commencement address a search for “a more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living.”

    In his second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Mr. Obama is critical of the style and the politics of the 60s, when the psyches of most of his potential rivals for the White House were formed. He writes that the politics of that era were highly personal, burrowing into every interaction between youth and authority and among peers. The battles moved to Washington in the 1990s and endure today, he says.

    “In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004,” he writes, “I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage.”

    Mr. Obama says he recognizes that the flashpoints of the 60s — war, racism, inequality, the relations between the sexes — still animate American politics and society and remain largely unresolved. And he acknowledges, as a child of a white Kansan mother and black Kenyan father, that his own prominence and prospects would have been impossible without the struggles of those who marched in Selma and Washington. But he argues that America faces new challenges that require a new political paradigm.

    Mr. Obama may be on to something. Surveys — and the stock market — show that the founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both 36, are among the most admired entrepreneurs in America. And no less an establishment institution than the Ford Foundation has indicated that it will look for a leader in his or her 40’s when Susan V. Berresford, the foundation’s president since 1996, retires next year at age 65.

    Plenty of self-loathing boomers agree that their cohort ought to take a “Big Chill” pill and head for that vegan commune in Oregon they have dreamed of. “We baby boomers have been dreadful in the public arena,” the Time columnist Joe Klein wrote in a blog last week.

    On the other hand, Mr. Brin and Mr. Page recruited a tech-industry veteran, Eric E. Schmidt, born in 1955, to run Google’s day-to-day business while they come up with ways to make their brainchild pay.

    And despite the supposed hunger for a new generation of leaders, voters recently elected what is probably the oldest Congress in American history, according to the Congressional Research Service.

    The question most Americans are asking, said Paul B. Costello, 54, who worked on the presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale, is not “When were you born?” but “What have you got?”

    Mr. Costello, director of communications at Stanford’s medical school, said: “I look at these two candidates, Hillary is the star student and Obama is a transfer student and everyone’s saying, ‘Who’s that guy? Oh, cool, wow.’ But yet nobody knows much about him and everybody knows Hillary’s going to be the valedictorian.” He added: “I don’t know that voters really care about these issues of the baby boomers versus Generation X. It’s a nice sort of branding, a marketing thing when you’re trying to create yourself from nothing.”

    Modern presidential campaigns are essentially character tests, and for 20 years or longer the cultural and political divides of the 60s served as presumed signposts to a candidate’s character. Did he protest the war, trip to Hendrix, march in solidarity with women? Or enroll in R.O.T.C., rush a fraternity, join a church? As a young man, Mr. Obama did not have to make many of those choices, and he now has an opportunity to define himself on his own terms and not be instantly caricatured based on personal decisions he made four decades ago. (He has, of course, acknowledged some marijuana and cocaine use in his youth; that does not seem to have dimmed his prospects.)

    “Where you were on these issues really told people who you were,” said Chris Lehane, a former Clinton White House official who is now a political consultant in California. “But 2008 will represent a hinge moment in generational politics, not just because of the prominence of a post-boomer candidate but because this will be the first cycle when a whole new range of issues as big, if not bigger, than the big issues that defined the boomers will be front and center: Iraq, the war on terror, global warming, energy, technology and globalization.”

    While the Obama-Clinton generational dynamic will mostly play out in the primaries, Republican voters will be weighing the candidacy of one of the oldest men ever to seek the presidency, John McCain, 70, the only member of the likely field born before the baby boom’s unofficial start in 1943. (There is disagreement over what birth years define the baby boom; some say 1946 to 1964, but the sociologists Neil Howe and William Strauss consider the boomer bulge to have begun in 1943 and ended in 1960.)

    John F. Kennedy noted in his Inaugural Address in 1961 that a torch had passed to a new generation of Americans, “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.” Kennedy’s cohort, known as the G. I. Generation and born between 1901 and 1924, occupied the White House continuously until Bill Clinton wrested it from George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992. Mr. Clinton turned it over to another boomer, George W. Bush.

    BUT some say that after 14 years of personal and political self-indulgence in Washington and a grinding war, it’s time to say goodbye to the solipsistic generation.

    “Thank you, here’s your gold watch, it’s time for the personal style and political framework of the 1960’s to get out of the way,” said Eric Liu, 38, a speechwriter and policy aide in the Clinton White House who now runs a mentoring program in Seattle.

    And yet Mr. Obama has not demonstrated his leadership beyond eight years in the Illinois Senate and two in Washington. His early opposition to the Iraq war has pleased many Democratic voters, but it is not wholly clear how he would manage an end to the war and deal with global terrorism and other foreign policy challenges.

    The historian and Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. said Mr. Obama had to offer more than a repudiation of the previous generation’s actions. “It depends on what the policies are,” Mr. Schlesinger said. “The New Frontier was the development of the insights of the New Deal.”

    Todd Harris, 35, a Republican political consultant, said he worked in 1999 for the short-lived presidential campaign of Representative John Kasich of Ohio, who was born in 1952. “He was young and new and fresh and we listened to the same music,” Mr. Harris said. “But I’m not sure that works when your country is at war. I think that most people I know in my generation will place a far greater premium on someone’s leadership skills and their ability to guide the nation through turbulent times than they do on what generation that politician came from or what that person recently downloaded from iTunes.”

    Mr. Obama would be foolish to run solely as the anti-boomer, Mr. Lehane said, if for no other reason than that the baby boomers are the largest generation in American history, and they vote.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Fairfax, VA


    All of these candidates are about as exciting as -- well, themselves. ZZZZ

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran
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    Aug 2003


    HC and her well oiled machine will destroy Obama and edwards before they can tell what happens.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6 View Post
    ...her well oiled machine...
    I'm feeling juvenile today, but I have to say I found that funny.

  8. #8


    Until primary season, candidates are more influenced by their counterparts in the other party.

    Separate threads will be started for the primaries.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    By Mike Luckovich
    Friday, January 19, 2007
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  11. #11

  12. #12


    Kerry to bow out of '08 presidential race
    Senator John F. Kerry plans to announce today that he is bowing out of the 2008 presidential race, and will instead remain in Congress and seek reelection to his Senate seat next year, according to senior Democratic officials.

  13. #13

  14. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6 View Post
    HC and her well oiled machine will destroy Obama and edwards before they can tell what happens.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stern View Post
    I'm feeling juvenile today, but I have to say I found that funny.
    10-W-30 and a new filter.

    Hillary Clamps Down

    Right Out of Campaign Gate, Senator Clinton Tells Fund-Raisers There’s Only One Very Hungry Democratic Presidential Candidate! Lady Lynn de Rothschild E-Mails 50 of Her Dearest Friends

    By: Jason Horowitz
    Date: 1/29/2007

    Hassan Nemazee is a very powerful Democratic fund-raiser.

    As one of the premiere money people in a pivotal check-writing town, Mr. Nemazee’s apartment has been the site of visit after visit by prospective 2008 candidates hoping for a taste of his homemade Chinese food and considerable financial influence. Practically since the day the 2004 race ended, he has obliged, arranging small audiences of key donors on a regular basis.

    That’s all over now.

    Just three days after Hillary Clinton officially entered the race by announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, Mr. Nemazee winnowed his dinner list down to her alone.

    “You basically don’t want to deal with this stuff anymore, because you are taking too much time out of your day,” Mr. Nemazee told The Observer. “I mean, you’ve seen all these people. Just sit down in the last 24 hours and make your decision—and just go with it.”

    After months of speculation, Mrs. Clinton’s formal step into the 2008 Presidential race has drastically and immediately changed the political lives of all the candidates seeking to extract cash from New York and other donor-heavy locales. Her folksy and pillow-propped “Let the conversation begin” announcement in a Saturday-morning Web video finally set in motion a massive donor network-in-waiting, simultaneously ending the conversation that Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and the other members of an increasingly crowded field of candidates hoped to have with key fund-raisers.

    “It is absolutely time for people to make a choice,” said Fred P. Hochberg, dean of the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy at the New School and a major fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton.

    “The check-raisers will need to decide,” he added, “because they are not going to be credible with a donor if they are raising for different Presidential candidates.”

    The sheer scale of what Mrs. Clinton is trying to do, if she can do it, will leave little room for her rivals to profit from the traditional Democratic money network. As soon as she announced, Mrs. Clinton began collecting contributions outside the public financing program, allowing her to avoid the spending limits that go along with it. She was the first candidate to do so for both primary and general campaigns since the program began in 1976.

    Mrs. Clinton clearly thinks that her fund-raising network can do better than the $150 million made available through public funding, and an aide to Mrs. Clinton said that the campaign plans to raise $65 million this year alone.

    Her major backers have already hit the phones, trying to give her the insurmountable financial advantage that political analysts say has already chased away once-promising candidates Mark Warner and Evan Bayh.

    Alan J. Patricof, a prominent venture capitalist and Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaign chair, has been one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s most reliable and prodigious fund-raisers. By Monday afternoon, he said he had already reached out to 25 donors in New York.

    “Every person said they would support her financially to the maximum extent. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said Mr. Patricof. “There have got to be at least 20, 30, 40 people like me who are making calls. There are a lot of people making the calls.”

    The fund-raising operation—overseen by campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, who came on as Mrs. Clinton’s scheduler 15 years ago, and finance director Jonathan Mantz, who worked for New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine—moved quickly after this weekend’s announcement.

    Maureen White, the former national finance chair of the Democratic National Committee, told The Observer that she started reaching out to donors “bright and early” on Saturday morning, and as of Tuesday had made nearly 90 phone calls soliciting contributions, with an “overwhelmingly positive response.”

    Francis Greenburger, a prominent literary agent and Democratic donor who sits on Mrs. Clinton’s finance committee, said that he immediately got on the phone to pitch a half-dozen deep-pocketed friends.

    Lady Lynn de Rothschild, a diehard Clinton supporter with an extensive social network, said that a senior member of Mrs. Clinton’s staff sent her an e-mail about the announcement while she was in Delhi. Back at home in London on Monday, Lady de Rothschild said that before getting the official word, she felt “like a horse chomping at the bit” and had begun drafting an e-mail soliciting maximum financial support for Mrs. Clinton, which she expected to send out to about 50 friends on Wednesday.

    “Now is a time that we should really step up and support her. Those of us who have really waited a long time, we’re the ones who should be doing our all as early as we can,” said Lady de Rothschild. “We have to feel really energized. We can’t be complacent about this one. There are going to be enough people on the other side working against her.”

    “It is hard for other candidates,” added Mr. Nemazee, who was mentioned around the time of Mrs. Clinton’s announcement as one of a number of unattached bundlers being courted by Mr. Obama’s campaign. “There is just so much oxygen available. There are only so many people out there who know how to do this and are willing to do this.”

    Mrs. Clinton’s rivals seem to be braced for the onslaught, and some are sounding defiant tones about their ability to make headway in the shadow of the Clinton machine.

    “I raised $2 million last year in New York in the midst of Hillary’s run,” said Senator Joe Biden, who is hoping to raise $20 million by the end of the year. “Will I raise the most money? I don’t know. But I will raise enough money.”

    Mr. Obama has already lined up some major donors like billionaire George Soros, and has demonstrated a willingness—if not an actual ability—to compete with Mrs. Clinton for donors on her home turf.

    Mr. Edwards is counting on the ability to tap into his base of trial lawyers and old hedge-fund associates for money, although he has consciously decided to spend most of his time over the last few months looking for support among voters in the early primary states.

    “He won’t raise as much as Hillary, but he certainly will raise money in New York,” said Richard Thaler, vice chairman of Deutsche Bank Securities and a major donor to Mr. Edwards. “I think Edwards is going to be able to raise the money nationally—No. 1, because a lot of people like him and see that he can win in places like Iowa and Nevada and South Carolina, and that he is highly competitive in New Hampshire. And people want to win this election.”

    And some of the other contenders, such as Senator Chris Dodd and Mr. Biden, now lead powerful committees that will inevitably make them attractive to certain strategic-minded contributors.

    “They all have instant bases,” said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 Presidential campaign. “They can draw their own internal sources from their respective home sources and states. And there are new donors that have come into the fold since the Clinton Presidency that they can perhaps tap into. Some need $100 million to be credible, others probably need 10 to 15 million. As long as they get their message out, they can succeed.”

    How effectively they can get the message out, though, is an open question.

    On Sunday, when Mrs. Clinton made her first flesh-and-blood public appearance after declaring the formation of her exploratory committee over the weekend, there were a dozen rows of seats filled with reporters pecking at laptops, surrounded by babies bouncing on their mothers’ knees and supporters hoisting their camera phones in the air. Behind the plastic seats, reporters crouched on the cold floor between the tripod legs of television cameras. With the microphone dead onstage, the room resounded mostly with the machine-gun blasts of camera shutters each time one of the children interacted with the candidate.

    When Mrs. Clinton spoke, she projected her voice to the back of the room, especially when asked about the battle ahead.

    “I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It’ll be a great contest with a lot of talented people, and I’m very confident. I’m in, I’m in to win, and that’s what I intend to do.’’

    The same can be said of her donors.

    “We’re all staffers for Hillary,” said Lady de Rothschild, who added: “My apartment is good for 30, 40 people. Things are going to scale up a lot.”

    copyright © 2006 the new york observer, llc

  15. #15


    January 29, 2007

    Ex-Arkansas Governor Joins Race for G.O.P. Nomination


    WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 — Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas announced Sunday that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, mounting an underdog campaign for the Republican nomination with “a message of hope and optimism for restoring America.”

    Mr. Huckabee, 51, is a Baptist minister who served more than 10 years as governor of Arkansas and has close ties with many Christian conservatives. He enters a race largely dominated, so far, by heavyweights like Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York. Also, Mr. Huckabee faces stiff competition for the social conservative vote, his natural base, from Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.

    Still, in an interview, Mr. Huckabee was bullish.

    “It’s about getting the message to connect with Republican activists and voters, who may not see their guy on the field yet,” Mr. Huckabee said. He also criticized the emphasis on fund-raising prowess as a measure of political viability. “It makes me wonder if we should just put the presidency up on eBay,” he said.

    On Sunday, Mr. Huckabee affirmed his support for President Bush’s call for an increase in American troops in Iraq. “He’s got to be given the opportunity to do his job,” Mr. Huckabee said.

    In an interview on the NBC news program “Meet the Press,” where Mr. Huckabee announced his candidacy, he said that “to oppose a sitting commander in chief while we’ve got people being shot at on the ground” could be “a very risky thing to our troops.”

    He also spoke about his staunch opposition to abortion rights, saying, “I always am going to err on the side of life.” But the anti-abortion movement, he said, has to do “some growing and expanding.”

    “We have to remind people that life, where we believe it begins at conception, it doesn’t end at birth,” Mr. Huckabee added. “And if we’re really pro-life, we have to be concerned about more than the gestation period.”

    When asked during the television program if he had “a problem with gay people,” Mr. Huckabee replied, “No, I have a problem with changing institutions that have served us,” notably marriage. “Before we change the definition of marriage to mean something different, I think our real focus ought to be on strengthening heterosexual marriages because half of them are ending in divorce,” he said.

    Asked about a recent Democratic entrant to the 2008 field, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Huckabee said that she would “absolutely” be a formidable candidate, and added, “I think people underestimate her at their own peril.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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