Happy with our 49 percent

So the Democrats continue to pull out of television debates that would be shown on Fox News. So much for bringing the country together. So much for broadening the appeal of the party's message by reaching out to new or lapsed Democratic voters.

A longer version of the Associated Press story linked to above quotes a spokesman for Barack Obama saying: "CNN seemed like a more appropriate host." So Obama doesn't want to be president of the whole country, just the portion that watches CNN?

John Edwards was the first to say no to a Fox News debate. Obama and Hillary Clinton have followed suit. They take a measure of cover in the fact that the Democratic National Committee sanctioned six debates, none of them on Fox News, letting the candidates say they're going to all the DNC debates.

Good grief. It's unfortunate enough that plenty of Americans choose to get their news from only one source or read the commentary of people with whom they already agree. But that is their choice as consumers. The candidates are not consumers. They're applicants for a job. If they're unwilling to make their case to some of their would-be constituents/employers, they don't deserve the job.

Memo to the Democratic field: Read this story from just after the 2004 election. It's called "The Red Sea." David von Drehle, writing for the Washington Post Sunday magazine, interviewed voters in the stretch of counties from Nebraska to Texas that almost universally voted for President Bush over John Kerry. At the end of the trip, von Drehle stands in the middle of nowhere, looking all around him:

"For a moment it felt like we were in a world apart, so distinct and separate did this lonely sheet of earth appear. But I knew that if we set off and kept going, we'd meet up eventually with Blue America. In a tangible sense, even after this bitter election, something connected this land to that one, something more durable than fear and loathing, though it was beyond my view. An industry has been set up to convince us otherwise, but I'm here to tell you that a person can get from there to here, and here to there. Maybe next time, the Democrats might give it a try."

Or not.

UPDATE: E.J. Dionne disagrees. He writes: "I am an avid reader of conservative magazines such as National Review and the Weekly Standard. But if these two publications teamed up to sponsor a Democratic debate, would anyone accuse Edwards, Obama and Clinton of 'blacklisting' if the candidates said, 'no, thanks'?"

Me: Actually, I'd love to hear the Democratic candidates field questions from the editors of those magazines, just as I'd like to hear the Republican candidates pressed by The American Prospect and The New Republic. Sounds to me like a good way to find out who really knows what he or she is talking about -- as well as a way for the eventual president to build a broader mandate.


Hot topic

The League of Conservation Voters is collecting video clips of the presidential candidates discussing issues related to global warming here. In the latest batch, Rudy Giuliani makes the case that it's good economics for the United States to get ahead of the curve in developing alternative energy sources so that we can sell the technology to other countries. Also, Bill Richardson, at New England College last week, calls for big ideas, not just little bills in Congress.


2008 in 2007: Senate version

From the YouTube files: Like New Hampshire's Sen. John Sununu, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is up for re-election next year and is on the receiving end of attack ads from Americans United for Change. Collins, for her part, has decided to fight back.


Romney: 'I like vetoes'

Watch out, Congress. He's got a pen and he knows how to use it. A 30-second commercial.

UPDATE: The folks behind this YouTube clip (see here, here and here) are focused on one thing Romney didn't veto


Rudy: I can keep you busy

Rudy Giuliani on media scrutiny of his wife: "Some scrutiny should take place. But you've got so much to go after me on. I mean, you can do it every day."

That's the soundbite. Here it is in fuller form, from Hannity & Colmes, via Hotline: "I think some of the scrutiny of her is -- come on, I'm the candidate. She's a civilian, to use the old mafia distinction, I guess. Some scrutiny should take place. But you've got so much to go after me on. I mean, you can do it every day, and I'm willing to respond every day."


Rudy's house party

Doug Lambert posted some video of Rudy Giuliani at a house party in Hampton Falls yesterday. Rich Lowry, having attended the same event, quips: "Judging by this event, what Obama is to college-age Democrats, Rudy is to middle-age Republicans. They eat him up."

Lowry also discusses some ambiguous comments from Giuliani regarding funding for Iraq and concludes: "It wasn't quite clear what he meant, and his statements could be seized on by his critics to argue that he has a dangerously out-sized view of presidential powers."


In Fred we trust

Slate volunteers a television ad for Fred Thompson here. And here Bill Kristol casts Thompson alongside Barack Obama in 2008's made-for-TV event of the year: Reagan vs. RFK, the debate we never got to have


Five years of McCain-Feingold

One take on the consequences of campaign finance reform, five years into McCain-Feingold: We still have corruption, we still lack confidence in government ... and the Democrats cost themselves 10 to 20 House seats in the 2006 election.


McCain v. Obama

Shorter tit-for-tat on Iraq:

Obama -- "There's no end in sight." McCain -- "Let's not lose our nerve."

The CNN video was put on YouTube by Team McCain.


Bipartisan envy

Remember when the Democrats were the only ones breathing down New Hampshire's neck over the first-in-the-nation presidential primary? Here and here and here come the Republicans!


Capital Beat extra: Steppin' out

John McCain apparently touts New Hampshire even when he’s in Iowa. Before the New Hampshire Political Library’s primary awards dinner this week, Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman recalled a recent ride on the Straight Talk Express in Iowa. “He spent most of his time talking about New Hampshire,” said Zuckman, who recalled McCain’s stories about Dunkin’ Donuts and the proper pronunciation of Berlin. “I got the feeling that Sen. McCain felt like maybe he was cheating on New Hampshire a bit by being out in Iowa.”

Also at the event, former senator Gary Hart recalled the benefits he reaped from New Hampshire’s focus on retail politics, which Hart said allowed him to win the 1984 Democratic presidential primary here. But his New Hampshire win also changed the way the media viewed him, he said: “I also somehow managed overnight to go from 'cool and aloof' (which was the typewriter key - Gary Hart, cool and aloof) to 'Gary Hart, media-surfing maniac.' "

- Sarah Liebowitz


'Either you push forward . . . or you start dying.'

You can read the transcript of Katie Couric's interview with John and Elizabeth Edwards here. You can watch it and read comments here. Some excerpts:

Elizabeth Edwards: "You know, you really have two choices here. I mean, either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying. That seems to be your only two choices. If I had given up everything that my life was about – first of all, I'd let cancer win before it needed to. You know, maybe eventually it will win. But I'd let it win before I needed to. And I'd just basically start dying. I don't want to do that. I want to live. . . ."

Couric: "Some people watching this would say, 'I would put my family first always, and my job second.' And you're doing the exact opposite. You're putting your work first, and your family second."

John Edwards: "But this is not work. Work is what I did as a lawyer. This is service. This is - this is a country that I love – both of us love, as much as we love our lives."


'The campaign goes on strongly'

Elizabeth Edwards's cancer has returned, but John Edwards will continue his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Details to be updated here.


1984 explained

The creator comes clean:

"Let me be clear: I am a proud Democrat, and I always have been. I support Senator Obama. I hope he wins the primary. (I recognize that this ad is not his style of politics.) I also believe that Senator Clinton is a great public servant, and if she should win the nomination, I would support her and wish her all the best.

"I've resigned from my employer, Blue State Digital, an internet company that provides technology to several presidential campaigns, including Richardson's, Vilsack's, and -- full disclosure -- Obama's. The company had no idea that I'd created the ad, and neither did any of our clients. But I've decided to resign anyway so as not to harm them, even by implication.

"This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last. The game has changed."

More here.


Props for Edwards

The Valley News applauds John Edwards's focus on poverty.


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