From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** Obama's Blueprint? So are we to assume Obama's interview in today's Washington Post -- in which he says he can bring the country together while Clinton cannot -- is a blueprint of his fall campaign? While not billed as that, it certainly reads that way. The Clinton camp took Obama's words as an attack, and it depends on one's perspective if saying that Clinton is less of a unifying force is actually direct shot or not. That said, when will Obama put that message in a TV ad? Is this what we should expect in September? Obama seems both comfortable and uncomfortable contrasting himself with Clinton, as the piece suggests.
*** Turning Off The Lights: Karl Rove leaves at the end of the month. Denny Hastert, as expected, isn't seeking another term. Tom DeLay has already left the building. So has Bill Frist. And Bush and Cheney will join them in 17 months. The GOP team that led the Republican Party to victories in '00, '02 and '04 -- but also to its defeat last year and the party's current poor brand -- is essentially out the door. That's probably a plus for the GOP: It creates an opportunity for new leaders to take charge and redefine the party. (Check out Romney's new TV ad in Iowa, in which he talks about change.) It will also make it somewhat harder for the Democrats, especially Clinton, to continue railing against the Bush White House; at some point, after all, Bush won't be there anymore. But, as GOP analyst Jennifer Rubin writes, there's a problem still hanging over the Republicans trying to succeed Bush: Iraq.
*** Courting The Media Isn't Enough To Win: So how is Huckabee taking advantage of his surprising second-place straw poll finish today? Raising money in Texas? New York City? Stumping across New Hampshire or South Carolina? No, he's holding a media roundtable in a restaurant in Washington, D.C. And as we noted earlier in the week, the Huckabee campaign sent out a release on Monday touting the former governor's upcoming media appearances and his earlier media hits that day. Despite his straw poll finish and his fine performances at the debates, can Huckabee dispel the notion held by many that he doesn't want to be president -- but is instead running for a cable TV time slot?
*** Yet ANOTHER Democratic Forum: Dodd, Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Clinton and Obama today speak at the Iowa Federation of Labor presidential forum. Each candidate will appear separately (in the order above) and receive 30 minutes to answer questions. These candidates spend the rest of their day campaigning in Iowa. Biden, in fact, makes a stop at the soap box session at the state fair.
*** On The Trail: Elsewhere, Giuliani is also in Iowa; McCain speaks at the Aspen Institute in Colorado; and Romney campaigns in Michigan, Georgia, and Florida.
Countdown to MA-05 Special Election: 19 days
Countdown to LA GOV election: 66 days
Countdown to Election Day 2007: 83 days
Countdown to LA GOV run-off (if necessary): 94 days
Countdown to Iowa: 151 days
Countdown to Tsunami Tuesday: 173 days
Countdown to Election Day 2008: 447 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 524 days