March 31, 2007: First fund-raising deadline passes. Barack Obama looks like a serious threat.
July 10, 2007: John McCain’s top advisers quit, campaign left for dead.
MARC AMBINDER: As long as a candidate has a national platform and a state, he’s not dead. Reporters came to Concord today to cover a funeral, and what we found instead was a juiced-up candidate who doesn’t really need journalists to give him a second life. (July 13, 2007)
July 23, 2007: In the Democratic YouTube debate, Obama says he would meet controversial foreign leaders “without precondition.”
ANDREW SULLIVAN: You know how much I hate to say this, but [Clinton] destroyed the opposition tonight: out-classing it, out-debating it, and avoiding the usual pitfalls. I wish it weren’t so, but it’s what I saw. If she keeps this up, it’s hers.
August 11, 2007: Mitt Romney wins, Mike Huckabee comes in second in Iowa straw poll.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: Ultimately, this is a very good result for one person, and one person only: Mike Huckabee. He may not be my favorite candidate (I totally disagree with him on social issues, and he is more big-government than me), but he deserves kudos for pulling off what he did today.
October 30, 2007: At a debate in Philadelphia, Clinton gives a confusing answer on whether she supports granting driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Her opponents pick up the scent.
MARC AMBINDER: For a solid hour, the Democratic presidential candidates ganged up on Clinton, and her vote in favor of the Lieberman-Kyl resolution served as their
November 5, 2007: Ron Paul raises more than $4.2 million in a single day, largely through online donations.
ROSS DOUTHAT: Ron Paul actually is an extremist, insofar as he holds positions that are way, way outside the Beltway mainstream. And his (admittedly limited) successes hint at an Internet-enabled future in which, for good or ill, a hundred ideologically diverse flowers can bloom—or at least run ads in New Hampshire. (November 6, 2007)
ANDREW SULLIVAN: Whatever happens in this race, Paul’s candidacy has already provided a focus for all of those conservatives who despise the big-spending, unchecked-executive, busybody, Christianist wing of the GOP. And all those liberals who know that a new politics—centered around individual freedom and global peace—needs to be born. (November 6, 2007)
December 6, 2007: With anti-Mormon tracts proliferating on the campaign trail, Romney speaks on his religion.
ROSS DOUTHAT: The [upcoming] speech should have been given at the very beginning of the primary season, or after Romney won the nomination; it doesn’t make sense to give it in response to Mike Huckabee’s rise in the polls. (December 3, 2007)
MATTHEW YGLESIAS: All of this meshes with Romney’s disgusting efforts to unite all people of faith under the banner of excluding atheists entirely from his account of virtue. (December 7, 2007)
January 3, 2008: The Iowa caucuses—Obama, Huckabee triumph, and Clinton, Romney are in danger.
James Fallows: To watch [Obama’s] statement live was to realize, even as it was happening, that you were seeing a moment of history people were likely to remember and discuss for a very long time. (January 4, 2008)
ANDREW SULLIVAN: This black man won an overwhelmingly white vote in Iowa. Whatever else happens, he has made history tonight. And he deserved every single vote.
January 8, 2008: New Hampshire primary—Clinton survives, somehow, declares she has found her voice; McCain wins and begins comeback.
MARC AMBINDER: CLINTON CAME BACK!!
MATTHEW YGLESIAS: The temptation to massively overreact to the last thing that happened is something I warned about during the Iowa-N.H. interregnum, and the same is true today.
February 29, 2008: Hillary Clinton airs “3 a.m.” ad.
MARC AMBINDER: Perhaps the most provocative ad Hillary Clinton has run this cycle … Arguably, this is her best … argument … against Barack Obama, and yet it’s taken her 13 months to make it so explicitly.
MATTHEW YGLESIAS: The question becomes, who do I want picking up the phone—the candidate who voted for invading Iraq, or the other one? … While I’d like to have experienced hands at the levers of power, what I’d really like is a president who has good ideas and the courage to stand up for them.
March 4, 2008: Clinton survives in Ohio and Texas; McCain clinches as Huckabee withdraws.
MATTHEW YGLESIAS: It looks pretty clear that the NAFTA/Goolsbee/Canada imbroglio wound up hurting Barack Obama quite badly. And in many ways, deservedly so; it was an embarrassing and amateurish way for a campaign to behave. (March 5, 2008)
March 18, 2008: With the media obsessing over his pastor’s provocative comments, Obama delivers a speech on race in America.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: This searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for, for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was unique in recent American history.
June 3, 2008: Final primaries—Obama clinches the nomination, and the three candidates speak in turn on TV. Clinton drops out on June 7.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: If the contrast tonight between McCain and Obama holds for the rest of the campaign, McCain is facing a defeat of historic proportions.
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