Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards, Giuliani, Debates and Super Tuesday

I hope everyone is looking on today as practice for next Tuesday because there is a lot going on in the race today.

The big news that starting coming out around 9am this morning (At least that's when a student, looking up from his laptop during the beginning moments of class told me.) was that John Edwards was going to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination. We are taught to never say never in politics (and John McCain's wild ride on the Republican side is proof of that), but I took Edwards and his campaign at their word when they said that they were in the race for the long haul (even when that message turned to being a kingmaker at the convention). Edwards' reluctance to cede the race to John Kerry in 2004 seemed to back that up. So, color me surprised to see Edwards bow out now. There is no endorsement planned, but if you believe what some of the pundits are writing (that Edwards takes away from Obama's ability to win), then Edwards dropping out now makes a tiny bit more sense.

Drop outs abound! On the GOP side, Giuliani's failed Florida strategy (skipping races rarely works) seems to have him not only on the cusp of getting out of the race but also of endorsing John McCain. Nothing is official yet, but with a debate tonight at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, Giuliani's absence would go a long way toward confirming the speculation. The two (Giuliani and McCain) have essentially switched places in this race. Giuliani has gone from national frontrunner over the summer to being out of the race before it even got to what were perceived as his strongest areas; the delegate-rich states of Super Tuesday. McCain however has gone from bottoming out over the summer to a Lazarus-style return in capturing New Hampshire, South Carolina and now Florida to become the party's frontrunner.
Now the drop out and endorsement are official.

Also, I caught this on NPR today. You'd expect this kind of "using his words against him" comparison on the Daily Show. Giuliani's book comes back to haunt him. "Giuliani Failed to Heed His Own Leadership Advice"

Incidentally, that debate will be on CNN and tonight starting at 8pm (which is interesting considering that that is during rush hour for California voters). The Democrats (sans Edwards) will debate from California the following night as well. That one also starts at 8pm(ET).

What does all this mean heading into next week's extravaganza? McCain looks to be in good shape, but you can't discount the impact of Romney's warchest. As we've moved to a national focus, this thing has moved on to the air war and that is where Romney could have a potential advantage. In the Democratic race, the constant flip flopping of victories between Obama and Clinton means that the race is in a basic dead heat moving into Super Tuesday. So which one has an advantage? Well, the release of the numbers from the FEC reports that are due tomorrow (Jan. 31) may give us an eye into who has more cash on hand and who has the advantage.


Robert said...

Rich and Josh,

Have you seen today's California and Massachusetts polls on Either there are some serious abberations going on in today's polls OR there are some major shifts going on. Did Kennedy's endorsement make that much difference? This morning on the way in I heard about the Georgia poll you mentioned in the discussion group testerday, Rich, with Hillary and Obama even ion Georgia but it doesn't show up on the list in

Bill Schneider of CNN gave last night's debate to Huckabee. Supporters of the other three were incensed. Supporters of Paul and Huckabee were upset about the lack of equal time. I thought they alloted time on the basis of results in the contests so far. I think Huckabee looked good because he responded selectively to what the two leaders (or managers if you prefer)said, but he didn't get any tough questions. What did you think about the debate?

Josh Putnam said...

Do you have a link? My glance at RCP shows no polls any more recent than Tuesday (and I'm assuming those were completed before the results were fully in in Florida). Other than that, Clinton seems to have some healthy leads across the board.

I didn't catch the debate, but the write ups that I read seemed to indicate that Huckabee was on his game. There were some good one liners. Huckabee is the new Edwards.

Robert said...

The link is

You may have to cut and paste as I had to divide it to keep it in the box.

When I looked earlier this morning, it had Clinton up by 6 in Massachusetts and 3 in California which was very different from the last one. There is another one posted since then that has her up by 28 in Mass., but that may have been done earlier. McCain also seems to be loing some advantage over Romney, too, but Huckabee is falling like a rock. Again these are single datapoints which may mean nothing, but there appear to be some trends.

Josh Putnam said...

Thanks Rob. I always look at the averages and they are slow to update those apparently.

Those are definitely some rapid switches. The one-on-one debate tonight will be big. I'm excited to see it. It may be too late to have a one-on-one on the GOP side. Then again, I suppose Romney has the money to stay in this thing for the long haul if he so desires. It'll be hard if McCain becomes the de facto nominee after Super Tuesday as one of his internal campaign memos suggests.

Robert said...


Good stuff! I agree that McCain is looking very strong, but he did not look good in the debate last night. The debates have not been as decisive on the Republican side as they have been for the Democrats. Romney has enough money to make a difference between now and then, but he has not been effective in spending it wisely to this point. Aren't we supposed to get the financial reports today?

Josh Putnam said...

All too true about Romney. I was going to say something similar to what Obama said about Romney last night in the debate, but he said it better. He just hasn't gotten a good return on his investment thus far. And that's a problem. You can spend all the money in the world but if you've had difficulty getting through to people with that money already, then chances are it won't happen. Though it could be argued that that type of spending has a better chance of success on the national level than on a state by state basis. The opposite could be argued also though.