— From NBC's Chuck Todd
In one of his first appearances on the wire since re-joining AP, Ron Fournier and Beth Fouhy co-report on a leaked memo the AP obtained from Hillary Clinton's campaign which apparently argues for skipping the Iowa caucuses. We know it's not easy being the national frontrunner, but can any frontrunner skip an early state? As I detailed in a column a few weeks ago, skipping Iowa has proven to be a bad strategy. The last candidate to successfully do it was Bill Clinton and that's because EVERY one of his primary foes skipped Iowa due to the presence of Tom Harkin in the race. Oh, and by the way, Iowa is a swing state in the general election and voters will take skipping the caucuses personally and could punish that candidate should they happen to actually get the nomination.
From the AP report, which is not yet on line: "The memo is a sign of division among the New York senator's strategic advisers. The memo by [dep. manager] Mike Henry was described generally by two senior Clinton advisers who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was little chance the senator would take his advice. Harold Ickes, a top Clinton strategist, said the campaign is studying various options for dealing with the rush of nomination contests in early 2008, including bypassing Iowa, but he said the senator was determined to continue her Iowa campaign. "Every campaign games out different scenarios and this is one scenario," he said. "The campaign is moving in Iowa, is going to stay in Iowa and Mrs. Clinton is very dedicated to winning the state."