The fifth in a series of spin room interviews following this weekend’s debates.
MANCHESTER, N.H., 3:01 a.m. — In his campaigning, Barack Obama worked hard to attract independent voters, hoping to charm them into coming out and supporting him at the caucuses. Then, last Thursday came, and the independents heeded Obama’s message. Voter turnout spiked, and Obama won in a landslide victory.
David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, looked brilliant. But will the same strategy work today in New Hampshire, where Senator John McCain has historically been the darling of many Granite State independents?
Axelrod thinks so.
“From what we seen, this is not like 2000,” he told reporters this weekend. “I don’t think that independents in New Hampshire are all that eager to vote in the Republican primary. I don’t think that’s how they think they’re going to get the biggest change here.” (more…)
HUDSON, N.H., 1:15 a.m. — One person who is not hopping on the “change” bandwagon is Rudy Giuliani.
“In four or five days, the word ‘change’ has been in the news more often than I’ve ever heard it used,” the former New York mayor said in a speech here Tuesday. “It’s like in the old days when somebody at the bank asked for change. Keep the change! Or, can you change a dollar bill? Change, change, change, change, change! Everybody’s talking about change!”
The crowd laughed, but Giuliani had a serious point to make.
“It’s got to go beyond change,” he said. “Change for what?”
In a town-hall meeting at a local grange hall, replete with ribbons from the state fair, the former New York City mayor answered exactly that — if he were to be elected president. (more…)
MUNCIE, Indiana, 7:45 p.m. — Today was exhausting (*wipes forehead*). Doing nothing is indeed hard work…and now I sound like a politician…but onward, ho…
Minutes ago, I decided to search for a summer job. (YIKES!) I opened up Firefox, and the main page of Berliner Morgenpost, a first-tier German newspaper, popped up. Yes, it’s my homepage. I like being different.
I intended to go straight on to Google, but I noticed a picture in the top left corner: a man in silhouette in front of an American flag. The name “Barack Obama” accompanied the photograph.
Being the curious young lad I am, I clicked on the photo. Seconds later, I was looking at Senator Obama giving a speech, or answering a question, or doing whatever else presidential candidates do.
That was one picture. There were 13 more.
The 14 photographs ranged across Obama’s life: the young Barack with his father; Obama’s parents, together (sidenote: Obama’s parents divorced in his youth); Obama’s high-school class in Hawaii; Obama’s senior-year high-school yearbook; Obama teaching law at the University of Chicago; and it goes on.
The captions for the pictures are equally interesting. The caption accompanying photograph 13 in the series, which shows Obama dancing with wife Michelle, tranlates to, “He is popular and has a good chance to become the Democratic presidential candidate…”
Obama is international news. Media outlets around the globe recognize Obama’s momentum and its implications for them come Jan. 20, 2009. Despite international discontent with U.S. foreign policy and leadership over the past several years, the president of the United States remains the most influential head of state in the modern world.
The next president’s policies will have international repercussions. People the world over are watching to see what those policies could mean for them.
News organizations in the People’s Republic of China are closely following developments in the U.S. presidential race. People’s Daily, based in Beijing, has scores of online articles devoted to the race. The most recent carries the title, “Obama, Clinton in dead heat.” It is dated today, Jan. 7.
People everywhere care who wins. Right now, they care about Barack.
NORMAN, Oklahoma, 5:25 p.m. — David Boren ’63 is no stranger to notable political figures. In the past year, the former Oklahoma senator and governor — an affable man popular in this state — has hosted Colin Powell, Al Gore, George H.W. Bush ’48 and Mitt Romney in his role as president of the University of Oklahoma.
But tomorrow Boren, also a former Yale Corporation trustee, will join nearly a dozen well known, like-minded moderates, including several of his former colleagues from the Senate, in a bipartisan political forum that has been billed as an attempt to encourage national political leaders to bring an end to partisanship and polarization.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presence has many political analysts speculating that the forum will be a further opportunity for Bloomberg to flirt with an independent presidential run. But Bloomberg has denied the rumor, saying the forum is strictly intended to find an independent alternative for government.
No matter what happens at this meeting of centrists in the geographic center of the nation, the Yale Daily News will be there. Look forward to an exclusive online update tomorrow afternoon.
BOSTON, Mass., 4:05 a.m. — 1) Maybe it’s time to stop trying to make these debates hip and tech-savvy. What did Facebook’s “sponsorship” add to the debate other than some pretty lame polls? Couldn’t they have at least done something fun to add the “Facebook touch” on the dry proceedings? Maybe they could have let each candidate write in a status? (“Bill Richardson is wondering what he is doing here.”)
2) I really liked the banter between Hil and Obama throughout the night. Except when Obama said “You are likable enough” to Hilary, I was confused. Was this earnest? Was it an underhanded insult? Was it one of those things you say without really knowing what it means but just because it sort of sounds like the right thing to say in the moment? Was I thinking about the whole thing too much?
3) I don’t think I will be forgetting anytime soon how many years of experience Hillary Clinton has since she managed to mention her THIRTY-FIVE years of experience about thirty-five times.
4) My favorite question was, “What is something you said in a previous debate that you wish you hadn’t said?” Seriously?! Did he expect anyone to actually answer that?! These are politicians! It’s like asking someone on a first date, “So, how did you mess up your past relationships?”
5) There was this wonderful moment when they all started talking at once in response to one of the five thousand questions about “change” when Edwards cracked a smile and – just for a second – I felt like maybe, just maybe, he was realizing just how strange and ridiculous these debates are. Or maybe he was just smiling. It was hard to tell.
MANCHESTER, N.H., 11:35 p.m. — Democratic advisers are out in force in the spin room right now. Reporters are beginning to decamp from Saint Anselm, and the News will leave soon, too.
But check back — among the spinners we caught up with are Elizabeth Edwards; David Axelrod, the chief Obama stategist; Mark Penn, the chief Clinton strategist; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Gov. Deval Patrick, Mitt Romney’s successor in Massachusetts; and Mark McKinnon, the McCain media consultant and the architect of President Bush’s media blitzes.
Oh, and we saved the best for last —now that the debate is over, the Internet in the spin room is working flawlessly.
NORMAN, Oklahoma, 6:20 p.m. — For assistant professor in Political Science Ange-Marie Hancock, Barack Obama’s resounding win over third-place Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 in Iowa last night is big news — it is a historical moment, she says — but it hasn’t made her decision as a voter any easier.
“Honestly, right now I am square in the middle between Obama and Clinton,” she says with a laugh during a phone interview.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, 7:27 p.m. — The library at Hillside Elementary School in West Des Moines was packed. Outside the door, bright-eyed women wore bandoliers of Hillary stickers and handed out cookies to caucus-goers.
“Are you supporting Hillary? Supporting Hillary? That corner in the back, that’s where we are.”
The Iowa caucuses began at 7:00 o’clock tonight across the Hawkeye state, ending months of media and inside-the-Beltway speculation about which Democratic and Republican candidates would win the first voting of the year. In West Des Moines, however, Iowans acted as though they had simply gathered to chat about the neighborhood.
INDIANOLA, Iowa, 11:30 p.m. — The scene this morning in Indianola’s First Methodist Church resembled a pep rally more than a town hall meeting as Yale’s sole representative in the race, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73, stopped here on her trek across the state.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — During a break from Route 80 adventures earlier this evening, Ryan and I ate dinner at Cracker Barrel with Ally Fields ‘11, a resident of Rock Island, Ill., and a supporter of Barack Obama.
Fields has been keeping busy during the winter break: She crosses the Mississippi River almost daily to volunteer for Obama’s Davenport office.
Ally Fields ’11 has spent her winter break campaigning for Barack Obama.