Roundup: style and substance

Walter Shapiro caught Iowa stump speeches from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards last weekend and concludes: "Edwards and Clinton are both playing traditional roles in the never-ending political drama of the outsider versus the insider. Obama is the wild card, as the 21st-century candidate trying to rewrite the equations that govern political math. Voters may claim that they crave issues, but in the closing weeks in Iowa -- with the Oval Office quite possibly at stake -- style and substance have become entwined like no campaign in memory."

Also in Iowa, David Yepsen says don't count out Edwards -- or Fred Thompson. And Jonathan Martin catches a glimpse of "Fredmentum" rollin' by.

In the categories of subtext and satire, TPM conjures up an ad from Citizens to get Barack to Quit While He's Ahead.

The Wall Street Journal isn't surprised to find John McCain staging a resurgence in New Hampshire: "In his Friday visit with us, the Senator spoke with authority on all manner of foreign policy. He is a hawk in the Reagan mold on Iran, the larger Middle East and overall defense spending. Our guess is that this national security record is the main reason for his own political surge. With the success of General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, even some conservatives have taken to arguing that foreign and military policy will become less important in 2008. We doubt it. This is still a post-9/11 country, and voters know they will be electing a Commander in Chief in a world that is as dangerous as it was during the height of the Cold War. In an election against any Democrat next year, Mr. McCain would have little trouble winning the security debate."

Captain Ed isn't crowning him just yet: "McCain has been magnificent on the war and on spending. He has bucked his own party on what turned out to be a poor strategy in post-war Iraq and fought hard for the White House when they finally took his advice. For porkbusting, one could not find a better candidate, one who has already fought in the trenches against the thinly-veiled bribery system that has gripped Congress. Those qualities have rightly kept him in contention -- but will they be enough for him to prevail? Only if Republican voters decide that the other top-tier candidates have more negatives than McCain. If GOP voters perceive him as the most reliable conservative, one who can hold the Republican big tent together, he has a fighting chance. Unfortunately, McCain's record as a "maverick" will make that conclusion very difficult to reach."

Meanwhile, Drew Cline works overtime to defend the Union Leader endorsement of McCain against critics at The Corner.

Rudy Giuliani makes his case to the Foster's Daily Democrat editorial board. And his TV ad about the Iranian hostages, criticized by a Monitor editorial here and defended here, rates a "barely true" from the Truth-O-Meter (which updates automatically in our blogroll on the right).

UPDATE: Ron Paul got a full hour of TV time (minus commercials) on the Glenn Beck show tonight. The video segments are here. The bottom line: "The Constitution was written to restrain the government and not restrain the people."