For some inexplicable reason, Dennis Kucinich did NOT meet the Des Moines Register's qualifications for inclusion in today's debate but Alan Keyes did. Go figure. Here's the Kucinich explanation.
Speaking in New Jersey last night, Bill Clinton once again continuously repeated his argument that his wife is the true "agent of change" in the Democratic presidential field, NBC's Andy Merten notes. But Clinton also provided a more candid glimpse of her campaign by detailing some of the challenges the organization has faced in Iowa. "Of all the states in the country, Iowa's the most challenging one for her to start," he said during an appearance with singer Tony Bennett and Gov. Jon Corzine in New Brunswick. "Senator Edwards has worked hard there for seven years -- he did very well there four years ago, and has been to all the counties once." He added, Senator Obama is from a neighboring state, has had television exposure there for years, and there are thousands of Illinois students who go to school there."
Speaking of the Hawkeye State, the Washington Post delves into the Clinton camp's worries about Iowa. "When senior advisers to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton awakened to the fact that they faced a serious problem in Iowa, they knew they needed a summit. For the divided staff, the question was where. It made sense to fly to Iowa, where support for Clinton (N.Y.) was flagging and her aides were scrambling to make up ground. But a key member of her inner circle, Harold Ickes, warned that a crowd of Arlington-based operatives descending on the Plains en masse might set off alarm bells, triggering 'campaign in panic mode' stories, according to two people with inside knowledge of the Clinton operation."
"In a symbolic twist, they met halfway -- in Chicago, the back yard of Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). The irony was not lost on increasingly worried members of the Clinton team, and it was in many ways emblematic of the challenges in turning around a lumbering national organization as events unfolded to the benefit of their less experienced, and nimbler, rival."
The Post also gets James Carville on the record about something being afoot inside the campaign: "'I don't really think there's going to be any kind of, quote, shake-up or anything like that,' Carville said. 'But will there be some moving around? Sure.'"
More: "The chief concern, one person with immediate knowledge of the campaign said, was that Clinton simply did not visit Iowa enough over the summer and early fall -- a common complaint in national campaigns, but one that the Clinton team was unaccustomed to. No one on her senior staff has ever been through the grueling caucus process, which emphasizes direct contact with voters and is difficult to measure through traditional polls."