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Barack Obama's final IA appeal: One Voice

The final final appeal from Barack Obama is coming tonight. However, Obama has an ad up in Iowa that touches upon a theme he has used often on the stump: the idea that one voice can make a difference. One thing's for sure: Obama's voice seems to have made a difference with Dennis Kucinich, who encouraged his supporters to make Obama their second choice in his final pitch to Iowans. (Kucinich is focusing his message on residents of the Granite State.)

The campaign has also put out a longer web video with the same title that serves as a compilation of his campaign. Obama also has a radio ad running, which you can hear courtesy of Greg Sargent over at TPM.

UPDATE: Obama's final final appeal is below: 

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

John Edwards' final IA appeal: Bishop

John Edwards, who is pulling an all-nighter for his "Marathon for the Middle Class" bus tour, let Doug Bishop, a former Maytag employee, make his closing argument for him in this emotional ad:

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Hillary Clinton's final IA appeal: Crossroads

Over the course of the day, I'll be posting the closing ads of the Presidential campaigns. Let us know what you think of them (whether or not they're effective, etc.) and feel free to comment on your thoughts on the state of the race as we prepare for tomorrow's Iowa caucus. (If you're interested in what the candidates are saying in their ads, check out this neat analysis from the New York Times. It plots the words most often used in advertisements through December 23.)

Starting it off, here's Hillary Clinton with "Crossroads:"

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

GOP candidate runs on immigration, fails in GOP stronghold in Texas

Dan Barrett, District 97, Texas House of RepresentativesThe results of a runoff election for a vacant seat in the Texas House of Representatives is getting a lot of attention. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out, District 97, went to Democratic candidate Dan Barrett (at right) after being represented by Republicans for thirty years. The candidates had different views of why the race went the way it did:

"I'm in a district of independent-minded voters who were smart enough and cared enough to vote for change," Barrett told more than 50 screaming supporters at the Fox & Hound restaurant in southwest Fort Worth.

Shelton said the dynamics of a runoff affected the results. He said the district still leans Republican. "We knew that Dan Barrett was working hard and with the low voter turnout, it was going to be close," Shelton said.

Turnout in the runoff was 11 percent, down from 19 percent in the November special election.

While Barrett focused his campaign on Shelton's support of the controversial House Speaker, Tom Craddick. What did Shelton focus on? Illegal immigration.

Once again, the immigration issue didn't play out the way the GOP wanted it to.

Quick '08 Update

- First off, our thoughts and prayers are with Dennis Kucinich and his family during what is sure to be a difficult time, particularly during the Holiday season.

- The Hill analyzes the weeks ahead for the GOP candidates, arguing that the field is so up in the air that the weeks ahead will not be easy. The new Reuters/Zogby poll adds fuel to that argument, showing Mike Huckabee within one point of Rudy Giuliani nationally.

- For those of you who are looking to get a better understanding of the fight Chris Dodd has been waging with respect to retroactive immunity, check out Dodd's blog. See Dodd's reaction on the vote on YouTube.

- Howard Fineman used Allen Iverson's nickname to give Barack Obama some advice: in order to be the Democrats' "Answer" (aka, counteract the Republican attack machine) Obama needs to take his game to another level. (Editorial note: Fineman gets major points for weaving Iverson and his nickname into his piece.)

- During his bus trip across Iowa, Fred Thompson's message seems to be that he's not giving up. In fact, he's working hard to regain his place in the top-tier.

- Two things you should know about Joe Biden: 1) He's on a first-name basis with dignitaries around the world; and 2) Biden had the 6th most memorable quote of 2007 according to the Yale book of Quotations.

- John McCain, whose endorsement from Joe Lieberman made me wonder if I should buy a holiday sweater, criticized Barack Obama over his plan to shift the focus of combat brigades from Iraq to Afghanistan. (Not that it matters, but I'm not the only one who noticed the love of the holiday sweater!) Related aside: Henry Kissinger's endorsement of McCain did not make me want to buy a holiday sweater.

- The Edwards campaign is the focus of some interesting analysis: Chris Cillizza takes a look at the Edwards electability argument, while Marc Ambinder wonders whether the buzz around Edwards' campaign is real.

- Ron Paul continues to rake in the cash, despite his low position in the polls.

- The idea of Clintonism, an underlying topic at many debates, and the impact it is having on Hillary Clinton's campaign is the topic of Matt Bai's upcoming piece in the New York Times magazine.

- In a nod to the new tools, Susan Davis from the WSJ blog analyzes the comparative impact of Rudy Giuliani's recent speech and Mitt Romney's speech on faith in terms of how many people watched it online. Hint: Romney won the contest.

- On a related new tools note, YouTube is teaming up with the Des Moines Register to collect videos from Iowans around the caucuses. Steve Grove from YouTube has more.

- There are a few new ads worth checking out: "Tested" from Hillary Clinton, "Searched" from Mitt Romney, "All Out" from Bill Richardson, "Not Easy" from John McCain, and of course the holiday ads like the one below from Barack Obama, entitled "Friendship":

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Blog Update: Registration and Service links

Hey everyone, I just wanted to make you aware of a few things going on with the blog. In the past, we've been having issues with people registering and commenting. That is now fixed, so your registration and commenting should be hassle free! Just please don't make fun of my '08 updates too much :)

Also, we have added links that allow our posts to be shared on Facebook, etc. Those can be found at the bottom of each post within the inidividual post's permanent link. You can find that by logging in and clicking the title of the post.

More updates to come...

End the Tougher than Thou Approach

The escalated back and forth between GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee has prompted members of the clergy to intervene on how the candidates approach immigration. As Ariel Alexovich notes on The Caucus Blog, several clergy and religious activists have taken note of the current positions of the GOP candidates on immigration:

"Unfortunately, our presidential candidates are allowing themselves to be co-opted into the divisiveness of the debate," said Bishop Thomas Wenski, adding that he doesn’t yet see a leader emerging from the pack.

"Mr. Romney has bet his presidential run on the issue," said Rev. Luis Cortes Jr., president of Latino poverty relief organization Esperanza. That’s led Mr. Huckabee to take "a step to the right."

Rev. Cortes also worried that the country’s rising anti-immigrant sentiment, fueled in part by talk radio, is creating an increase in hate crimes against Hispanics.

"This issue isn’t going away, and it won’t go away with a few ‘Let’s just make the border stronger’ comments," said Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of the Northland parish in Longwood, Fla.

And in the spirit of Christmas, Bishop Wenski pointed out that after the baby Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took him and fled the oppressive reign of King Herod:

"Certainly, they didn’t have visas to cross into Egypt."

The Catholic Church, which has long been a staunch advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, also weighed in. Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to each candidate encouraging them to "show leadership on the issue of immigration" and to "work with your fellow candidates and the American people to find a humane and comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system." A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said, "The Cardinal understands that some of the candidates have addressed the issue responsibly and courageously, while others have used attacks against immigrants as a campaign tactic,” said Tamberg. “The latter group knows who they are." I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they're referring to candidates like this:

Senators Reid and Menendez: Reengaging Latin America is a U.S. National Imperative

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Bob Menendez wrote an excellent editorial on the need to reengage Latin America. They make the argument that doing so is in our national interest - it is not only the moral thing to do, but also the right thing to do. As the Senators write:

The funds that President Bush sought to cut support basic programs to reduce poverty and provide healthcare, housing, and education. Just one example is funding that helps mothers and their children. These funds are particularly important for starving children in Guatemala where nearly fifty percent of children suffer from malnutrition. If President Bush had gotten his way, that program would be cut.

We are not satisfied with our country spending more every year on a foreign civil war and less on core development. We propose a meaningful increase in our financial commitment to reduce poverty in Latin America.

But we do not propose this change only because it is the morally correct thing to do. It is in our national interest to forge stronger partnerships in the region so we can tackle our common problems, such as cross-border crime, drug-trafficking and illegal migration. And at a time when some in our region are promoting anti-Americanism and providing false promises of hope, it is time for the United States to be a beacon of regional leadership once again.

Read the rest of the editorial on our blog...

Also, you can read the Spanish-language version on-line from MetroLatinoUSA

How do the rest of the Minutemen feel about Huckabee?

According to The Hill, not everyone is following the lead of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, who endorsed Mike Huckabee for President. From the article:

Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist created a stir in the anti-illegal immigration community on Tuesday by endorsing Huckabee, who has surged to the lead in the polls in Iowa but has concerned some illegal immigration hard-liners with his past stances on the issue.

Chris Simcox, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps head who originally founded the Minuteman Project with Gilchrist, said in a release Friday that Gilchrist does not speak for the Minutemen.

Simcox and Gilchrist split in 2005 and now run different organizations, both of which use the Minuteman name.

“As Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee was openly tolerant of illegal aliens, supported giving them government benefits including in-state tuition, and ridiculed the religious faith of those who questioned his pro-illegal alien policies," Simcox said. "His record stinks."

How has the Huckabee campaign responded?

“Gov. Huckabee is more concerned with fixing the problem of illegal immigration than he is in appeasing particular interest groups," said Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman. "His Secure America plan will solve the problem, which is why it is being embraced by movement leaders like Jim Gilchrist."

Let me repeat: His Secure America plan will solve the problem, which is why it is being embraced by movement leaders like Jim Gilchrist. I don't know what's worse about that statement. Is it the fact that Huckabee thinks that asking 11-12 million immigrants to leave the country in 120 days is fixing the problem, or the part where his campaign refers to Jim Gilchrist as a movement leader? Your comments please! And, as food for thought, the few week old video below:

Quick '08 Update

(I know it's been a while since I posted one of these. Not that you missed them, but I'll be posting them more often again.)

Cookie monster shows how tightly kept the Iowa Public Television stations have been to prepare for the debate- Yesterday was the last debate between the GOP candidates before the Iowa caucus. The Democratic candidates just finished their debate an hour or so ago. Both were sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television. (To the right, Cookie monster shows how tightly kept the Iowa Public Television stations have been to prepare for the debate.)

- Speaking of the Register, Chris Cillizza wonders which candidate it will endorse.

- The WSJ blog weighs the difference between electable and likable which made its way into a new UNH poll among likely Democratic voters.

- Rudy Giuliani has a new ad entitled "Will" that focuses on immigration, saying that every piece is in place to pass immigration reform except for political leadership. Clearly that void exists in the Republican Party, but I digress.

- The back and forth between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee continues to play out. However, the real story is this: Bob Vila is campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

- John McCain, whose latest ad "Trust" touts his record of fiscal Conservatism, the latest candidate to be profiled in the Washington Post series, "The Front-Runners."

- The question over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg entering the race continues to be considered.

- As we look ahead towards the Holidays, Ron Paul has a message for you. And the always creative Dodd campaign presents "'Twas the Night Before Caucus."

- In the video below, Bill Richardson does his best to set himself apart from the other candidates in the Democratic field:

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

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