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Yepsen isn’t Buying Barack or Clinton

Yepsen isn’t Buying Barack or Clinton updated

This is a remarkable op-ed making the case for Edwards. That it comes from
David Yepsen out of Iowa makes it even more powerful.

To some in American politics, John Edwards is toast.

They believe the former North Carolina senator – who ran for president in
2004, was his party’s vice-presidential nominee that year and is running again
this time – has simply had his turn.

He’s not raising the money other candidates are collecting and he’s been
caught in some hypocritical, unpopulist acts – like trying to be a candidate
of the poor while getting $400 haircuts or building a big mansion for himself.

Edwards doesn’t get the cheering 20-somethings Barack Obama attracts to his
huge events. Nor does he attract the hundreds of women who show up for Hillary
Clinton’s. And he doesn’t have a bubble of security officers or self-important
staffers ushering him around and keeping reporters away.

But watching him work in the sweaty auditorium of a Waukee elementary school
Tuesday night, one gets a different feeling: Iowa Democrats may still give
this guy a new lease on political life.

Why? John Edwards is tenacious and still in the hunt for first place. While
the latest Iowa Poll shows Clinton at 29 percent, Edwards slipping to 23 percent
and Obama at 22 percent, it’s also important to remember that both Clinton
and Obama have dropped millions on television commercials in the state. Edwards
has yet to make his big media buy. … ..

Don’t make mistake of writing off Edwards just yet

As an aside, Edwards is doing a live chat today and taking your questions.

As a Kerry supporter in ’04, even when his numbers didn’t merit it, I think
Yepsen is targeting a real issue that’s permeating the campaign. There’s no
doubt that unlike Kerry, Edwards has caused himself some pr difficulty and hesitancy
with his move to matching funds, though his supporters aren’t budging. One really
has to ask, however, if the national numbers can be moved if Edwards moves
Iowa. Perception right now is that he’s a loser nationally, coming in third
to both Clinton and Obama. However, once again go back to Kerry. So was he about
this time long ago before the Iowa primary.

Talking to Chase Martyn yesterday, Obama knows the hurdle he has to climb,
because of all his youth voters, as well as first time voters. Chase mentioned
that Obama has begun to put together college captains to make sure if students
can’t vote at school they vote in their hometowns. Starting now, team Obama
is already trying to overcome that post holiday downer, by making sure college
students have a lifeline to vote no matter where they are. Obama also had a great line last night on Jay Leno, saying like other Washington politicians Clinton declared mission accomplished a litte too early in Iowa. He went on to mention Iowa by name, so it’s obvious that state’s primary is as important as ever, though I did find his “hayseed” and “overalls” comment a bit weird.

As for Clinton, she’s got women and the older Iowa vote and is ahead in a state
she was never supposed to win. She’s not giving ground there yet either. However, as Chase Martyn said yesterday, Iowans are getting the feeling she’s not answering questions in enough small groups, which could hurt her in the long run. Of course, stepping into the general election mode at this point, time constraints are real.

Edwards has a perception problem or maybe a better word is challenge. I’ve got ahold of a pdf on Edwards electability, with a whole range of numbers. The media should have it by now, as I’ve been a bit hamstrung today because my web connection went kablooey for quite a while. Team Edwards is working hard to reverse the perception he can’t win with a powerful set of electability numbers, which I’ll be talking about with Mike Lux from on my radio show today.

But make no mistake about it, Edwards finally got a break today, because David Yepsen just stepped in to help.

UPDATE: For a contrary view, see Mike Lux’s “Iowa Caucus Report: Is Hillary Pulling Away in Iowa?” It hits exactly what Chase and I have been talking about.

… ..Having said that, I am getting the sense that, as close as this race continues to be, Hillary’s Iowa campaign has turned a corner to some extent. As I’ve written about before, the Iowa campaign is firing on all cylinders. Her field operations are being executed very well. The Vilsacks, who are highly regarded in the state, are working their asses off for her. People are finding her more likable personally than they expected they would.

Most importantly in terms of her gaining in the polls, she is starting to solidify an advantage with older women, which has been the campaign’s most highly targeted demographic group from the beginning. Historically, women have been over 60% of caucusgoers, and over-50-year-olds have also been over 60% of caucusgoers, so obviously older women are a huge percentage of caucus attendees. And for a woman candidate, the older half of the baby boomer women, the ones who lived through the dawning of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 170s, and can remember when abortion was still illegal, the appeal of a woman candidate is very big. Hillary has targeted that cohort from the beginning, and I think it is paying off. … ..

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