The Daily Five: Negative Wind Chill Edition

1. ABC News and Fox News may leave candidates Biden, Dodd, Kucnich, Hunter and Paul out of their debates next week.

2. Anti-war activists are arrested outside Huckabee's headquarters......Bay Buchanan endorses Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.....Romney responds to Huckabee's non-negative ad/negative ad by pointing out the weird press conference and offering reporters a slice of pizza......

3. Dave Contarino, the campaign manager for Bill Richardson, sent this message to senior staff today:

* Momentum! Every crowd down the stretch has been overflow and standing room only. In the last 24 hours, over 350 in Ames, 500 in Des Moines with voters lined up outside waiting for a chance to come inside to meet the Governor or have their pictures taken with him as he departs. In some cases, we are getting triple (Onawa and Carroll) the size being expected by local organizers. The Governor's Des Moines speech was interrupted by raucous applause at least a dozen times, and I don't know if I've seen a more excited crowd. When he finished his speech, the Governor walked into the crowd and was immediately swarmed by supporters. It took him more than twenty minutes to leave the event because there were so many people who wanted to talk to the Governor.
* We have over 2,000 organizers, staffers and volunteers across the state.
* On caucus night we'll have over 1,500 precinct captains with over 90% of the state's delegates covered.
* We have made well over half a million phone calls and knocked on more than 200,000 doors.
* We have already confirmed over 18,000 caucus supporters through pledge cards, phone confirmations and home door signups. We expect to reach 22,000 by caucus night. That number alone without any additional unidentified support will get us nearly 20% on caucus night based on previous turnout numbers.
* And we're the confirmed second choice of at least 25% of the caucus goers.
* Our nightly calling is showing a surge. In some precincts, we see 25% of the undecideds breaking our way. We have been moving significant numbers of leaners from the Biden, Obama, Edwards and Clinton columns into our own. Our internal data shows that the Iraq message has been particularly successful in bringing voters to our side. So push it on caucus night! 2013 is far too long to wait for our troops to come home!

4. Joe Biden's communications director, Larry Rasky, sends along some thoughts about electability:

In the closing days of this race for the Democratic nomination for President, voters and reporters alike have heard former Sen. John Edwards make the same electability case over and over again. Edwards argues that with his southern roots he can compete in more states than any other Democratic candidate in the general election.

Last week in New Hampshire, Edwards said: “I think people want someone they know can win in the general election. I think the evidence is overwhelming that I’m very strong, the strongest general election data. . . . I’m the one Democrat who has won in a Red State, who can go into any place in America and be successful.”

However, the evidence that Edwards is more electable is at best thin and is probably misleading.

The first question mark is that Edwards was unlikely to hold onto to his North Carolina Senate seat in 2003 when he decided not to run for re-election. In short, if John Edwards is so electable, why couldn’t he be re-elected in his home state?

Indeed, Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report noted at the time, “Edwards is not that strong.” [The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), 2/16/03] Research 2000’s poll for the Raleigh News and Observer taken from July 13-16, 2003 showed that Edwards’s re-election number stood at 34 percent. In that same poll, only 45 percent of North Carolinians approved of Edwards’s job as their junior Senator.

Edwards fared no better as the Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2004. After being selected as John Kerry’s running mate, Edwards said, “I think we will be very competitive in the South, particularly in those states in which national Democrats need to be competitive to be successful.” [Associated Press, 7/10/04] Unfortunately, Edwards failed to carry his home state. Edwards lost his home county—Moore County—by more than eleven thousand votes, 24,714 to 13,555. He also lost his hometown by more than 300 votes, 506 to 191.

At the end of the day, despite repeated assurances, Kerry-Edwards also failed to win a single southern state. So it’s understandable that this time around, even John Edwards’s own people are acknowledging his vulnerability: Rob Tully, a former state party chairman and Edwards backer, said “if he doesn't win Iowa or come very close this time, ‘we're done.’” [USA TODAY, 12/12/07]

In addition, there are serious doubts about Edwards’ message. A recent Edwards ad asserts, “It’s time to tell the truth. These big corporations and their greed, they are stealing your children’s future. We will never change this country unless we are willing to take those people on.” Some are arguing that this will not go over well with general election voters. In a column, respected political analyst Stuart Rothenberg wrote, "Edwards certainly would dispute that there is an inherent contradiction between his populist rhetoric and his alleged middle class appeal. But his approach to problems is likely to frighten many voters, including most middle class Americans and virtually all Republicans." [The Rothenberg Political Report, 12/31/07]

So who has what it takes to carry the southern vote? Well, with so much riding on his southern electability argument, “native son” John Edwards actually fares only 4 points ahead of Joe Biden in the most recent Insider Advantage poll out of South Carolina. And if one thing is certain in the 2008 race, it’s that no Democrat will win using the same 20-plus-five strategy that has failed in the last two elections. In this general election, Joe Biden has set a 15-18 red state strategy, which not only sets him apart from the top tier, but gives him the most realistic shot at victory next November.

Furthermore, Joe Biden has historically and consistently won by large margins. In 1972, Joe Biden staged a huge upset, unseating two-term Sen. Caleb Boggs, a popular former congressman and governor. Since then, Joe Biden has consistently won re-election by over 15 percentage points, and always garnering more than 57 percent of the vote.

Sen. Biden’s victories have also come during times of strong Republican presence in the Delaware, in the form of both a Republican Senator (William Roth) and Republican Governors (du Pont, Castle and Wolf). Rep. Mike Castle consistently wins statewide, earning 57 percent in the last election. The Delaware State House has split leadership, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans controlling the House.

These are the facts.

Wishing you all a happy and thoughtful New Year. Larry

4. The Des Moines International Airport sent a press release to Iowa newsrooms that contains this kicker line:

Many national and international media personnel will be attempting to leave Central Iowa. It will take the cooperation of everyone to ensure this happens efficiently and that the nation gets a good picture of the capability of Central Iowans.

5. Here's an AtlantiCam interview with Mike DuHaime, Rudy Giuliani's campaign manager. In it, I almost get run over my a car. Enjoy.