Huckabee was beginning to show voters that he’s the class candidate of the second tier, but Thompson’s entry will end any chances of moving up. Unless he’s the star Tuesday night, his candidacy, sadly, isn’t going anywhere.
He was finished even before a Thompson entry.
The wrong Thompson.
Another one who was finished before Thompson’s entry, even though he’s been okay in debates.
Immigration was supposed to be his issue. It isn’t.
The other candidates want him in the debates for the softballs he throws, which they can hit out of the park.
Obama needs to do well in Sunday’s debate, because his campaign is floundering slightly. When you’re a rookie, you make mistakes, and in this year’s intensely covered race, everyone hears about them instantly. Over the past few weeks, Obama has given the partial impression that he’s not up to speed on the role of commander in chief, offering a halting answer in the last debate about how he’d respond to a terrorist attack and then misspelling “flak” jacket in a release attacking John McCain. He’s hardly Mike Dukakis riding around in a tank yet, but a few more mistakes of that ilk and he could be headed in that direction.
The Clinton machine isn’t flashy, and the candidate’s negatives are sky high in the polls — including in Iowa. But she’s made fewer mistakes than her rivals have so far. Her main goal Sunday (which will be easier said than done) will be to make sure Obama and Edwards don’t do as well as she does. A little warmth and humor wouldn’t hurt. She faces a rough summer with the publication of two new biographies that, according to early press reports, will remind voters of all the baggage a Clinton II administration would bring to the White House.
Edwards, too, needs a strong debate showing Sunday; his campaign has been struggling in the wake of the $400 haircut, the $50,000 speaking fee for a talk on poverty, and the fact that he’s no longer the Dems’ only anti-war choice now that Clinton and Obama recently voted against war funding. He still leads in Iowa, however, and one new poll shows him up in Florida. So if he can get his campaign back on track, he has a chance to move up again. It will be interesting to see how Edwards will position himself to the left of the others on the war and other issues on Sunday, which is essential to his campaign.
Richardson is a candidate with momentum, as he hovers between the first and second tier. His first debate showing was a bit of a disaster, so if in the next one he can challenge the front-runners directly on some issues and show the humor he’s displayed in his ads, he’ll be fine. The immigration issue should help Richardson and could give him a way to mobilize support in the Hispanic community.
Biden isn’t going to win the nomination, but his performance Sunday night will be worth watching. Alone among the Democrats, he supported the congressional war-funding bill, so he has a chance, if nothing else, to distinguish himself from the field.
A good, articulate guy, but it’s not going to happen.
Odds: one million to 1.
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