Fox Gives Mitt a Lift

The Fox web site reports Mitt Romney as leading the Republican money race with $23 mill and then gives ol' Mitt a subtle little boost by claiming that Mitt is running third to Giuliani and McCain.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, Mitt is tied for fifth with Sam Brownback behind Giuliani, McCain, Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson.

For some reason beyond my ability to discern, media outlets like Fox have decided that Mitt Romney is a "first tier" candidate. But the poll numbers have never backed it up and Romney is now stuck in third tier status.

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Edwards 26 Point Lead Over Top Primary Fundraiser

In the latest Rasmussen poll, Edwards' favorability has jumped.

57 Favorable/ 35 Unfavorable
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Politica l%20Tracking/Favorables/Favorables.htm

And he also has a 26 point lead over Romney 55% to 29% .

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Politica l%20Tracking/Presidential%20Match-Ups/20 08DemocraticPresidentialMatchups.htm

Who according to Hotline is the top Primary only fundraiser of Democrats and Republicans.  (beware >2million is a loan to himself)

http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/

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Biggest Fundraising Shocker

I'm going to say it now, when the numbers are released over the next week or two, the biggest shock (and awe?) is going to be Mitt Romney.

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What Really Makes A Democrat Electable in 2008: Total Withdrawal From Iraq

Taegan Goddard reminds us of this jewel from the managers of McCain, Romney, and Giuliani's campaigns:
The campaign advisers of three Republican presidential nominee hopefuls agreed yesterday at the Institute of Politics that the war in Iraq would be one of the defining issues of the presidential campaign.

The three men--senior campaign advisers for Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney--also discussed some of the issues surrounding their candidates in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

"The idea that somehow people can go out and win the Republican nomination by talking about other issues and... not making [the Iraq war] the central theme of this debate is naive," said Rick Davis, CEO and senior adviser for the McCain campaign.

"You're either there fighting to win or you get out, and you don't really try to have it both ways," he added.

Chris Henick, Giuliani's senior adviser, agreed that security and leadership were important factors in the race.

"America has got to remain a leader in the world, a force for peace and security," Henick said. "Who's going to lead a stronger country in the future?"

While the advisers agreed on Iraq, moderator Mark Halperin '87, the political director of ABC News, pushed them to discuss other issues.
That's cute that Halperin was the moderator of the forum. Goddard adds:
When the managers of the Republican presidential campaigns gathered at Harvard earlier this month, they agreed that the Iraq war would be the defining issue in 2008 -- see The Crimson's coverage -- and that the Republican party's base would not accept a candidate who did not at least agree with the administration's policy goals. A viable GOP candidate could criticize the management of the war, but not the need for the war.
Every leading contender for the 2008 Republican nomination intends to make supporting a continuing war in Iraq the centerpiece of their campaign. Strange that they somehow forgot running in favor of the war resulted in Republicans being crushed in 2006. I can only imagine how popular that position will be eighteen months from now. I'd say that this made me extremely confident about the 2008 elections, but we are dealing with a Democratic establishment that, in many cases, either does not believe Iraq will still be a central political issue in 2008, or that wants to continue the military mission in Iraq themselves. This means that while the 2008 presidential election should be an easy slam dunk for Democrats, we could yet blow it.

John McCain's once virtually spotless national image took a serious tumble last fall, when he vociferously argued in favor of escalation in Iraq. The same thing could easily happen to Rudy Giuliani, since he holds exactly the same positions as John McCain. And Mitt Romney? Good luck ever having a positive national image, if you come out hard in favor of endless war now. The fact is, that unless Democrats in Congress somehow manage to end the war before the 2008 election, Iraq will remain the central political issue in America. Further, the long it drags on, the less popular the war becomes. In order to win the 2008 election, every Democratic contender does not need to do much more than pledge to withdraw all troops--including "trainers"--from Iraq within six months of taking office. Who is willing to do that? Who has done that? The only candidates who can truly consider themselves "electable" are candidates who can answer "I have" to both of those questions.

The McCain Pander Ramps Up

While Mitt Romney might be getting all of the negative press for his botched pander attempt (this cover from today's Boston Herald is particularly brutal), the former Massachusetts governor is far from the only Republican in the field for 2008 whose blatant pandering has garnered notice in recent days. Take, for instance, Adam Nagourney's latest in The New York Times.

As he left Iowa, Mr. McCain said he was reconsidering his views on how the immigration law might be changed. He said he was open to legislation that would require people who came to the United States illegally to return home before applying for citizenship, a measure proposed by Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana. Mr. McCain has previously favored legislation that would allow most illegal immigrants to become citizens without leaving the country.

[...]

Mr. McCain, for example, appeared to distance himself from Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat with whom he formed an alliance last year on an immigration bill that stalled in Congress.

"What I've tried to point out is we couldn't pass the legislation," Mr. McCain said. "So we have to change the legislation so it can pass. And I've been working with Senator Kennedy, but we've also been working with additional senators, additional House members."

Mr. McCain focused instead on the proposal by Mr. Pence, a conservative. "Pence has this touchback proposal," Mr. McCain said at a news conference. "I said hey, let's consider that if that's a way we can get some stuff."

One might argue that this is an example of how politics should work: A candidate listening to actual voters on the stump and incorporating their concerns and beliefs into his own platform. After all, who needs expensive pollsters when you a candidate actually speaks with real voters, right?

But on the flip side of this coin, it becomes clear that not one of the three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination who are currently in the race has been able to refrain from pandering to ultra-conservatives in the worst kind of way, that not one has been willing to stick with his core beliefs even if they do not correspond with those of the far right. Romney's flip-floppery might be the most obvious and comical, but McCain has been no less of a blatant political opportunist and cynic. And with every one of these new tacks -- including leaving the cause of meaningful immigration reform in favor of bashing Hispanics -- McCain has proven himself to not be a man of integrity or genuineness but instead just another calculating politician willing to sell out his beliefs in the hopes of winning an election.

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