Friday, August 04, 2006

Run Senator Run

A couple clips from the morning Register.

The Register steals some of our snark. And mocks the US Senate Majority leaders speed in the Bix 7 race in Davenport. (Credit the picture to the DM Reg)

Pataki will headline a tribute to his favorite State Senator on Saturday. Former Majority Leader and Pataki enthusianst, Stuart Iverson.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cooler Mill Friday

We're going to start a new tradition at the Caucus Cooler- The Friday "Cooler Mill"

(Apologies to Krusty. We love Haiku Friday)

You've spent the entire week working the campaign trail. On Friday, we’re asking you to take a break and discuss the rumors you've heard around the office, the Capitol, or the coffee shop.

Each week we'll start with one or two:

The Cooler has heard that:

  • Former Gov. Terry Branstad will likely endorse George Allen if/when he enters the race.
  • Bill Frist is coming back for a 2nd visit in August.

Cooler Line Explained Part Deux

4. Rudy Giuliani (4-1)- Rudy has the name ID, the ability to raise money, the star power, and the national security credentials. He also supports gay marriage and abortion, has been seen dressed in drag, and has to have some skeletons in his closet (see: Bernard Kerik and an ex-wife that hates him). We're not sure what to think of Rudy. He is the X factor. Until he has Iowa staff and clear intentions that he's running he's going to stay in the middle of the line.

5. George Allen (6-1) You can see our profile of George Allen here. He's got the conservative credentials and a great team of consultants. He's also in the middle of a Senate race, is very similar to a not-so-popular resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and has a little abortion problem. Allen could pass Rudy and Pataki if he makes the right moves in November. We'll have to wait and see.

6. Mike Huckabee (8-1) Huckabee has the advantage of being Governor, a strong stake with the SoCo's and a good story to tell. He also will have fundraising problems and is weak on tax/spend. He's putting together an Iowa organization already which puts him miles ahead of Brownback in the SoCo camp. He has the potential to move up or down the line depending on what happens with the others.

7. Bill Frist (12-1) You heard it here first that Brian Kennedy was leading Team Frist. He has the fundraising capability and a lot of chits nation-wide. He's slowly building his rep in Iowa. As a Senate Majority leader, his performance has been widely disparaged. It's going to be a tough go for Frist but he's in the game.

The rest of the folks on the board are also-rans at this point. None have organizations in Iowa, none have been that active on the national fundraising scene. If Newt, Sam, or Chuck make an active move in the next few months, we'll reevaluate.

That's it. That's the list. Call us brilliant, Call us idiots, but that's how we see it in August of '06. Plenty of time for movement and we'll be the first to let you know who's gaining momentum and who's losing steam.

Cooler Line Explained

With the chatter being rather light around the Cooler for the past two days we thought we’d give you chance to comment on the “Cooler Line” and our reasoning for each placement. For those not familiar with odds and wagering, the line works like this. THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. SEE WE ARE STUPID : At 2-1 odds, Mitt Romney has a 25% chance of winning the caucus. (Example: If two people were running with an equal chance, they would both be 1-1 and thus have a 50% chance). Our math at the Cooler isn’t that great but we think the line adds up to somewhere in the low 90’s, leaving “None of the Above” with about a 10% chance to win the Caucus. Get it?

On to the top 3

1. Mitt Romney (2-1): Mitt clearly has the best organization in Iowa at this early stage. He has an advisory committee of 50 members, field staff, and higher level consultants with Iowa experience. He also has the conservative credentials needed to win in this state and has bought the most chits from county parties and state legislators/candidates. You also have to believe that he’ll be capable to bus a large number of LDS folks in for the straw poll and those won’t be usual straw poll attendees. Romney has shown he has the capability to raise the money needed as well (he’s raised a bushel of it already). He has the I was pro-life before I was pro-choice before I was pro-life again working against him, as well as the fact that he’ll spend a year explaining his religion. He is definitely not the favorite to win the nomination at this point- but we think he’s in the best shape to win the caucus. The #1 thing going for him- everyone else on the line has problems.

2. John McCain (5-2)- McCain is widely regarded as the favorite to win the nomination. He’s lining up Bush Pioneers left and right, he’s already brought on McKinnon and Nelson and there are sure to be more where that came from. He’s not viewed that favorably amongst the SoCo’s but the fact is; he is pro-life and anti-gay marriage, which is more than most of the contenders can say. He also is putting together an Iowa organization (a little slower than Romney) and spending money earning chits. We hear the next disbursements report for Straight Talk America will have a lot of Iowa zip codes on it. You have to believe that Larson and Nelson will bring a lot of Iowa establishment folks with them, the question is which ones. There is a vocal anti-McCain minority out there, but once you separate the forest from the trees it always tends to be the same folks trashing him. There are two things keeping McCain from the top spot: He skipped Iowa last time and the fact that he was at one point anti-ethanol.

3. George Pataki (7-2)- This is the placement we’ve got the most criticism for, but the fact is that August of 2006 Pataki is in the 3rd best position to win. That might not be the case in January of 08 but we’ll judge that then. Pataki is so high mostly because of his team. Loras Schulte and Ed Failor Jr. and Iowans for Tax Relief know what they are doing. Just ask Reps. Wilderdyke, Hutter and Senator Tinsman. They have a huge membership, a great list and a terrific turnout machine. Pataki has working against him the fact that he’s pro-choice and his 29% approval rating in New York- but he’s a big state Governor and he has the resources to get the job done. At this stage, Pataki looks like the sleeper.

Back with the rest of the list later.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

At least he isn't having a hotbox

The cooler is dry this morning boys and girls. But here's some Dr. Frist chatter to hold you over.

Coming off an impressive weekend in Iowa, where he ran the Bix 7 (footrace) in Davenport, had over 100 people come to an event for the Cooler's favorite son Matt Reisetter in Cedar Falls and had events with Whalen, Nussle and Upmeyer. Looks like the next stop is New Hampshire where he's going to have a clambake...

More from CNN here.

The story also mentions the Barbour to Iowa news that broke in the Cooler. Thanks to the anonymous tipster who wrote the Tip Jar with that nugget.


The cooler chatter is pretty dry this morning. Here's a bit from the Hotline to keep you satiated until something arises.

Tarrance Joins Team McCain
Respected Republican strategist Lance Tarrance Jr. has signed on with Sen. John McCain's Straight Talk America PAC as senior strategist. McCain: “I am delighted Lance will be lending his considerable talents to Straight Talk America. He has been a longstanding central player in electing Republicans to office, and I am grateful Straight Talk will benefit from the strategic experience of such a distinguished professional.” Tarrance: "I appreciate Senator McCain’s commitment to maintaining a Republican majority through the 2006 election cycle, and I am glad to be a part of his effort."
Tarrance is one half of RT Strategies, with Dem Thomas Riehle. The two produce the Cook Report/RT Strategies poll. The firm has no campaign clients this cycle.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hurricane Haley

The Cooler has learned the Haley Barbour will be in Iowa on August 16th to fundraise for State House candidates in Des Moines and Rep. Danny Carroll in Grinnell. (edit: see below) Danny visited the Gulf in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and is in a hotly contested general election race.

As you can see from the Cooler line, we don't believe Haley is a Presidential candidate persay, but he would make a nice VP choice for any of the major candidates besides Allen or Huckabee.

Another connection to Iowa for Barbour, a former aide of his Ward Baker is advising the LMF for the upcoming election.

Update: RPI issued a release shortly following this post. (The LMF/RPI press people do great work!). It appears that both the press conference and the fundraiser will be in Des Moines.

Barbour will hold a press conference with Reps. Danny Carroll, R-Grinnell, Mike May, R-Spirit Lake. Both legislators assisted in the Mississippi rebuilding efforts during the storm’s aftermath.

The press conference will be held at the Des Moines airport on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Details will be forthcoming. Following the press conference, Barbour will keynote a luncheon to benefit House Republican campaign efforts.

“Haley Barbour was a strong leader in the aftermath of Katrina’s fury,” said Carroll. “I will proudly stand beside him as he recounts the efforts of the thousands of Iowans who unflinchingly donated their time and resources to help those in need.”

Coach McCain

Senator John McCain gave a pep talk to the United States Basketball team on Monday. And if there was ever a group of athletes that needed motivation its these guys. Hopefully the Senator lit a fire.

"Before heading to the arena, the players were first treated to a speech at their hotel from Sen. John McCain, giving the team an emotional boost before they took the floor.
"It was amazing. It was tremendous what Sen. McCain did," Krzyzewski said. "He talked about his service to our country, which I don't think we'll be able to replicate. He's supporting us, and he knew every guy's name. And our guys really appreciated that."

Sticky Fingers

As we told you last week. Mike Huckabee pardoned Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

An interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle, reviews the criticisms Huckabee has received and his less than stellar response.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Odds and Ends

A couple quick items

All for now.

Please don't throw me in dat Briar Patch

Update from the comments below regarding Romney's "tar baby" statement at the Ames event this weekend.. Romney apologizes for the comment and is ripped for it in Boston... No mention about his comment regarding Asians as "hard workers" which is only significant given the racial tone of the coverage.

As we said it the comments below. This is a nice opportunity for Mitt to work out the kinks, one of the advantages of starting a run so early.

You do have to appreciate the irony that Romney's use of the term "tar baby" got him into a "tar baby of his own"

Update: Boston Herald points out the differences between Mitt's unintentional remarks and Mel's blatant racism here

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Big R

A friend to the Cooler sent us an email on Saturday offering to be a Cooler Columnist at the Commonwealth PAC event in Ames. We're happy to give you his/her/its report below:

Caucus Cooler,

I arrived in Ames shortly before the event began and was suprised to see that what was billed as a "picnic" was actually happening in a conference room at a hotel. Given the temperature outside though it worked out just fine. There ended up being about 150 people in attendance. Notably, Congressman Latham, Doug Gross, about 10 legislators and candidates from the area- George Barber made the trip, some Polk County party activists (no Sporers), and the usual Romeny suspects, Dave Kochel, Gentry Collins, Chad Airhart, Jeff Fuller etc.. Only press there was Yepsen and an AP photographer to the best of my knowledge. For a second it seemed like they weren't going to let Yepsen in which was funny, but they relented. Tom Beaumont wrote the article this morning, maybe I just don't know what he looks like. After we lined up for food (the brats were very good) Doug Gross gave a 137 minute introduction. The vast majority of which was a story from his childhood on the farm in which he needed his Dad to bring him the "Big O" (I hope he was talking about and not something else), so he could get a cow out of the lake. He somehow parlayed this into Iowa needing the "Big R" (Romney) and then continued to refer to the "Big O" and "Big R" throughout his opening and closing.

Romney gave a terrific stump speech. Started off by talking about the Olympics and then his recent trip to Iraq. He said he spent Memorial Day weekend talking with 90 soldiers family members and not one of them complained because they know their brother/son/father/wife is fighting for a good cause. He also told a goosebumpy story about a flag that had survived one of the two space shuttle explosions (he didn't specify) and went on to talk about what that flag stands for and what the country is about. Overall it was a very positive, moving stump speech that left everybody I spoke with impressed. He then took 5 questions, some of which seemed extremely staged, and he wasn't as impressive. He fumbled the immigration question a bit- not in that he gave the wrong answer, just that the answers didn't seem very polished especially given the fact that those are 2 questions you should be expecting.

Doug Gross gave a 72 minute closing and he only said the phrase "Big R" twelve times. Overall it was a good event, not a huge crowd, but given the summertime and Romney being in Iowa a lot and how far we are away from 08, not too shabby.

We hope to hear about the Chairman's Dinner soon enough, if anything noteworthy happened, we'll update this post. If you would like to be a Cooler Columnist for a future Presidential visit, email us at Jeff and Burton we know you are out there, feel free to add anything our columnist missed in the comments section.

  • Caucus Coolerisms
  • The Cooler Line

    Mike Huckabee 10-9
    Mitt Romney 3-1
    Fred Thompson 9-1
    John McCain 9-1
    Rudy Giuliani 12-1
    Ron Paul 12-1
    Duncan Hunter 98-1
    The Cooler line is an exclusive creation of Caucus Cooler and will be updated as the political environment changes.
    It is an unscientific assessment of the Iowa Caucus (not the Presidential race as a whole) from an insiders view at the given time. The line IS NOW mathematically accurate but is NOT intended for gambling purposes. Information may only be reproduced with credit to the Caucus Cooler.