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Oh-eight (R): Ames, here we come


Between now and August 11 (the day of the straw poll), we'll be focusing a bit more energy on the under-the-radar campaigns going on among the various second- and third-tier GOP candidates. Politico's Simon helps set the cheeky CW for the second-tier candidates.


John Harwood of CNBC and the Wall Street Journal curtain-raises Giuliani's health-care speech today. Giuliani, "bidding for the allegiance of economic conservatives, is set to outline a health-care policy that he says would improve coverage access and affordability at little cost to the government." In an interview, Giuliani "described development of the anemic market for individually purchased health-insurance policies as the centerpiece of his plan. He said that, if elected, he would introduce a tax deduction of as much as $15,000 a family for the purchase of such policies. He predicted that with such a tax break, the number of Americans buying coverage on their own would go to 30 million or more from the current 17 million. Such an increase in subscribers would let insurance companies cut the prices of policies markedly and allow "millions" of Americans to afford coverage, Mr. Giuliani said."

In a conference call yesterday, the campaign unveiled its health-care team, which includes Dr. Mark McClellan, former director of Medicaid services; Dr. Daniel P. Kessler of the Hoover Institution; Sally Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute; Dr. Scott Atlas, chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School and a fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Dr. David Gratzer of the Manhattan Institute.

While in New Hampshire yesterday, Giuliani took shots at Democrats, saying they want to create a "nanny state." And in an effort to appear the economic conservative, he warned that Democrats would raise taxes by at least 20 to 30 percent.

The former New York mayor campaigned VERY close to Romney's summer vacation place yesterday.

Giuliani also did New York Republicans a favor by criticizing Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) for the role his office played allegedly using state police to "improperly scrutinize" state Senate GOP leader Joseph Bruno.

It's been a while since we've heard anything from or about Judith Giuliani. But Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach weighs in with her own profile of the former Judith Nathan.


The Washington Post's Richard Cohen weighs in with his second anti-Thompson column in as many weeks. Many news organizations are following up on NBC's Kelly O'Donnell's reporting from last week that Thompson will report today that he's raised about $3 million in June for his "testing the waters" committee. The New York Times: "The amount, to be reported as required to the Internal Revenue Service today, was less than the $5 million that Mr. Thompson's supporters had hoped for and has met with some disappointment inside his camp, which has also been buffeted in recent days by staff defections and high-level disagreements. A spokeswoman for Mr. Thompson, Linda Rozett, said the sum should be put in the proper context, noting that he was not yet a declared candidate and that those who were had already had many months to establish their organizations."

The campaign's internet outreach adviser, Jon Henke, released a memo defending the campaign's fundraising and noted that the campaign had a burn rate below 20%.

Noting a burn rate is all well and good, but should a "testing the waters" committee be worried about burn rate? Aren't they not yet a campaign? Look for Thompson rivals to start pushing this issue harder today about whether Thompson is truly "testing the waters" or running a campaign via 527.

By the way, keep a close eye on the Thompson campaign this next month. How successful will they be wooing supporters from other camps (particularly McCain's)? Will they roll out endorsements or draft committees in an orderly fashion? Will it be similar to what Bush did in '99? One assumes they are up to something… If they don't woo a solid slate of folks early, is that a bigger deal than their lower-than-expected fundraising?