Tag Archive: Yale on the Trail: Mike Huckabee

  1. For some McCain supporters, students included, ‘the happiest moment’ ever

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    NASHUA, N.H., 1:45 p.m. — Indeed, Arizona Senator John McCain’s campaign still has the Vietnam War feel.

    Middle-aged men in trenchcoats and sneakers cruise the peripheries. Old CIA types and red-tie, blue-suit Republicans squeeze through the crowd. Even the Crowne Plaza hotel, where his victory rally was held last night, seemed to cling to the retro aesthetic.

    But despite such relics, the atmosphere felt more like a Saturday night at Toad’s Place when “Don’t Stop Believing” blared out across the crowd: dancing, drinking beer, chanting. Some of the young girls even had something of the Q-Pac facial aesthetic, although they were rather more soberly dressed. Alcohol was carted in by the crate-load.

    The press looked more than flummoxed.

    Sitting in the hotel café at half-past-eight, waiting for McCain to appear, most reporters seemed depressed that they could not join the party. Instead, they were resolved to sit in place, fiddling with their high-tech cameras, frowning.

    John McCain had won. Even before it was announced, they all new it. People jumped and danced to the White Stripes in the ballroom. Vietnam veterans congratulated one another over the cubicles in the bathroom. Young couples held hands — all an hour before McCain even appeared.

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  2. Game theorist Fox: Voting is irrational

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    NORMAN, Okla., 5:50 p.m. — Considering what many voters perceive as the often disingenuous, self-interested and intricate nature of modern political campaigns, it is no surprise that game theorists — those who study strategic interactions between agents — have turned to American politics as a field ripe with opportunities for analysis.

    Yale’s own Justin Fox, a professor in the Political Science Department, applies microeconomics to his study of the interactions between politicians and voter behavior. In a phone interview with the News on Monday, he illuminated some of the more interesting applications of game theory in the current campaign season.

    Fox started by explaining the role of fundraising and interest groups in politicians’ stands on major issues. A typical academic paper may explain how politicians find it in their interest to alter their positions in order to attract more money, he said.

    “There may not be any explicit corruption going on, but … the fundraising is distorting how politicians behave,” Fox said.

    So, according to game theory, it is demonstrably rational to alter one’s behavior in order to bring in more money. But what role does public opinion play? What about politicians like Mitt Romney, who has been accused of changing his positions to make himself more palatable to the Republican electorate?

    “I think people see through it, right? I think that’s why he has trouble getting traction —it’s too obvious,” Fox said. “Giuliani’s sort of doing the same thing, but I think it looks less artificial. I don’t think there’s any good data on whether public opinion is a stronger determinant of a candidate’s position than the ability to raise campaign funds. Candidates are going to face tradeoffs when balancing these two goals.”

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  3. CNN: Obama leads by 10 points in New Hampshire

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    WASHINGTON, 8:35 p.m. — A new CNN-WMUR poll released this evening shows Senator Barack Obama with a commanding 10-point lead over Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 among likely Democratic primary voters two days before Granite State voters cast their ballots.

    The poll, conducted Saturday and today, suggests Obama may be capitalizing on the momentum from his victory in Thursday’s Iowa caucus, in which he defeated the third-place Clinton by eight points. A similar CNN-WMUR tracking poll released yesterday showed Obama and Clinton knotted at 33 percent a piece, with former Senator John Edwards in third, at 20 percent. Today’s poll places Obama at 39 percent, Clinton at 29 percent and Edwards at 16 percent.

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  4. New poll: Clinton and Obama tied in New Hampshire

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    MANCHESTER, N.H., 6:23 p.m. — As if it weren’t obvious already, the New Hampshire primary is going to come down to the wire.

    A new poll released minutes ago by CNN and WMUR, a Manchester television station, places Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton LAW’73 in a statistical tie among likely voters in this state, with each garnering 33 percent of the vote.

    The poll was conducted Friday and today following Obama’s decisive win Thursday in the Iowa caucus. On the Republican side, the poll found Senator John McCain leading the pack with 33 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 27 percent, Rudy Giuliani at 14 percent and Mike Huckabee at 11 percent.

    — Thomas Kaplan

  5. Chuck Laudner, the morning after, on 2008: ‘Year of the new voter’

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    DES MOINES, Iowa, 2:45 p.m. – “It’s like the morning after a party,” Iowa State Republican Party Exectuive Director Chuck Laudner says, surveying the phone banking room that looks like a fraternity ripped through it. “Everyone just picks up and goes home, and we’ve got to clean up.”

    And that’s just what it is: the morning after the biggest party in Iowa caucus history. Laudner – a lifelong Iowan – has been watching and participating in caucuses for decades, and he says he’s never seen anything like this.

    “When the history of this Iowa caucus is written, it will be remembered as the year of the new voter,” Laudner predicts. “You saw 25 to 30 percent of caucus-goers self-identifiying as first-time caucusgoers. It’s all these people who had never voted before so their names weren’t on voter registration lists, or young people who were going to their first caucus.”

    Huckabee works the crowd

    Mike Huckabee works the crowd last night. (YDN)

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  6. Iowa may be misplaced as early indicator

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    DES MOINES, Iowa, 4 a.m. – Iowa holds a special place in American political life. It is routinely the first state in which presidential candidates are tested and chosen, and has been since 1972.

    Iowans seem to regard their civic responsibility with utmost seriousness. They are aware that the eyes of the world are keenly watching them to see who they choose as their candidates for the White House. Many Americans turn to Iowa for guidance in who should be the 44th President of the United States, but perhaps Iowa does not give resonating advice.

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  7. Marmor: Obama, Edwards, Clinton can all reform healthcare system

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    NORMAN, Oklahoma, 10:45 a.m. — I didn’t think I would have a reading assignment while on winter break. Then again, I also hadn’t planned on interviewing Ted Marmor.

    I wanted the School of Management and political science professor’s opinion on the presidential candidates’ positions on healthcare. Marmor, after all, has testified before Congress on healthcare reform, served on President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on the National Agenda and published reams of articles and books on the subject. If anyone is an expert, he is. But first I had to acquaint myself.

    In ‘The Politics of U.S. Health System Reform,’ Marmor traces the history of the impact of politics on healthcare reform, calling it a story of “long-term aspiration and deep frustration.” The main obstacle to reform Marmor emphasizes is the limit of political feasibility: the harsh resistance of Republicans and the lack of commitment of Democrats.

    Having earned my phone interview, Marmor and I spoke early on the Friday morning following the Iowa caucus elections. Are any of the three leading Democratic candidates capable of causing the necessary ideological shift in Washington to substantially reform the U.S. health system?

    “All three of them — Obama and Edwards even more than Clinton,” Marmor says. “Obama and Edwards have a more powerful rhetorical voice on behalf of those people in trouble in America. [Hillary] is a more manipulative, less appealing moral leader.”

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  8. Emphasizing change, Obama, Huckabee capture Iowa victories

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    WASHINGTON, 9:50 p.m. — Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will both leave Iowa and head to New Hampshire tomorrow with the wind at their backs but facing vastly different political terrain as the Granite State’s Jan. 8 primary approaches.

    Obama, riding a wave of support among first-time and college-age caucus-goers that put him over the top Thursday, will hit the stump well positioned to grab a second victory five days from now. Recent polls in the state have shown the senator in the lead or in a statistical tie with New York Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, whose aura of inevitability may erode further if she fails to come out on top.

    By contrast, Huckabee has much ground to make up in New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s second-place finish tonight leaves him and Arizona Senator John McCain in a horse race. More libertarian and socially liberal than Iowa and less populated by evangelical Christians — who make up Huckabee’s base — New Hampshire may prove difficult for the former Baptist minister.

    Obama Wins

    Huckabee Wins

    Eric Thayer/Getty Images

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  9. The Coffee Caucus

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    The Coffee Caucus at Zanzibar’s Coffee AdventureDES MOINES, Iowa, 5:22 PM – Would you like some creamer with that Richardson? How about a little sugar in your Huckabee? You say you want a half-caff skim peppermint Hillary latte?

    Such is the scene at Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure in Des Moines, on Ingersall Avenue, where the owners have set up a “Coffee Caucus” to gauge customers’ political leanings tomorrow. Customers asking for a cup of coffee will be asked to pick from any of fourteen pots of coffee labeled “Obama,” “Dodd,” “Romney,” (etc.) representing each of the presidential candidates. In 2004, the system accurately predicted the outcome of the Democratic primary.

    Of course, there wasn’t any Republican primary back then, so there was just one big pot of coffee for George W. Bush. It was decaf.

    Check back tomorrow for “exit polling” from Zanzibar’s.

    -Zack Abrahamson

  10. College Republicans president predicts youth vote will be decisive

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    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, 9:56 a.m. — “These teams in the WAC conference, you get one team like Boise beating Utah and all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Let us play for a national championship.’ Then you put a team like Hawaii up against Georgia, you say, ‘Here you go, try playing a BCS against an SEC team and watch what happens.’”

    Believe it or not, we’re talking politics with University of Iowa College Republicans President Greg Baker. Greg is a junior at the U — a polisci/history double major and one of the nicest guys we’ve met on the campaign trail. It doesn’t take much to change gears from Mitt Romney’s suburban support into a a full-fledged debate about the merits of Iowa football.

    As much as he loves football, the game of politics is really Baker’s first love. He’s lived in Earlham (pronounced earl-um), Iowa, his whole life, but he’ll go back to Iowa City on Thursday night to make his voice heard in his first-ever Republican caucus.

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  11. In West Des Moines, Huckabee offers up faith, classic rock

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    Mike Huckabee (1)WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, 9:08 p.m. — Underneath a deck of gaudy turquoise and hot-pink stage lights at the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Mike Huckabee seems strangely out of place. His is a candidacy that never should have made it this far. As the adage goes, politics does not favor the decent. Journalists in front of the twin banks of TV cameras jostle uneasily with exuberant supporters as if they are not quite sure whether to take the short man standing next to Chuck Norris seriously.

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