Tom Tancredo is out of the race for the Republican nomination. And he's decided to back Romney. Now why couldn't Tommy Thompson and Sam Brownback have held on long enough to make powerful, last minute endorsements prior to Iowa? And who are they endorsing again (I had to look it up: Thompson backs Guiliani and Brownback's for McCain.)?
So the question(s) of the night: 1) What impact does this have and 2) Does it matter anyway?
With Iowa now only two weeks away (Yes, only two weeks left. It's a mad rush and I'm already trying to fend off the primary season withdrawals I expect to have on February 6.), this is a well-timed exit/endorsement. And it looks even better that Tancredo, despite being the longest of long shots, was the one real issue candidate in the race. His position as the "immigration guy" now gives Romney a little something to hang his hat on concerning the issue. And he needs any extra push he can get now in Iowa to keep the Huckabee momentum at bay. How does that play in the general election though should Romney get the nod on the GOP side? Immigration is clearly an important issue for Republicans, but the position(s) posited thus far by the candidates seems to put any of them on the wrong side of the issue among the entire electorate.
Obama is facing yet another sticky issue. The latest question has arisen over the number of "present" votes he made while in the Illinois State Senate. There's yes. There's no. And then there's present. Were they votes made on principle as a sign of protest? "I'm here but I'm not going to vote for/against this piece of legislation until it is in its final form." Or were they votes intended to avoid taking a stance on some important issue. "I'm here, but I'm not touching that bill with a ten foot poll." The former is one thing, but the latter is obviously potentially more damaging. Ah, the pitfalls of being a legislator: actually having to vote on issues that may come back to haunt you later.
One other thing that I have wanted to bring up the last couple of weeks in the "live" discussion that may be better dealt with in this forum is the issue that IHOP is raising over so many states holding primaries and caucuses on February 5. That day happens to be National Pancake Day and the company has gone as far as writing the governors of fifteen states asking them to move their states primaries to different dates. Sadly, someone over in the research department didn't do their homework on this: North Carolina got a letter and the primary there is not until May 6, a day far removed from National Pancake Day.