Friday, February 02, 2007

Line Change!

The much anticipated line change is finally upon us. Regular readers of the Cooler know that we like to keep our posts short. Given the time we've allowed to elapse between line changes that will not be possible today. So refill your cup of coffee, make sure your boss isn't looking over your shoulder and dig in.

MITT ROMNEY is where we start, he's held strong at the top of the Cooler line. Those of us in the blogosphere have been complimenting his Iowa organization for sometime and last week he finally had the chance to show it off. Big crowds followed him in Eastern Iowa, 12 months from the caucus, on a weekday. Don't believe Romney can turn people out to a straw poll? Guess again. He also added Brian Kennedy and former house speaker Brent Siegrist to his team. Romney solidifies himself as a top tier condenter. The Cooler's known that for a while though and the line has reflected it, so we'll keep him right where he is. Romney stays at 3-1.

JOHN MCCAIN also has a budding Iowa organization, though they haven't had a chance to show it off just yet, as it's been a couple months since we've seen McCain in the Hawkeye State. Nonetheless they have added just about every relevant part of the BC04 Iowa organization to their team and have made some inroads with social conservatives as well. Marlys Popma and Maxine Sieleman were already on board and this morning the Note noted that northern Iowa soco De Byerly would be with McCain as well. McCain and Giuliani both showed the strength they have in numbers as well. A recent three way Time magazine poll with McCain, Rudy, and Romney showed the Massachusettes Governor far behind. That led us at the Cooler to believe that maybe the anti-Rudy/McCain vote isn't as big of constituency as we might have originally believed. For all those reasons, McCain moves back to 3-1 and rejoins Romney at the top of the line.

RUDY GIULIANI... He brought on the dynamic duo of Jim Nussle and Steve Greiner to oversee the Iowa operation. But other than that the Iowa additions have been minimal. We've heard rumblings that the Giuliani camp has reached out to Iowa operatives but nothing yet has come of it. That being said, Rudy did hire a reputable polling firm yesterday further signaling his intentions. We've all seen his poll numbers that are through the roof, including leading the pack in a recent Iowa poll. The Big 3 has solidified itself and its time for Rudy's spot on the line to reflect that, Rudy moves to 5-1.
SAM BROWNBACK- Still the Cooler's CCA thanks to his great inroads with the pro-life community in Iowa. But Huckabee is fast on his heels and eating into his constituency. Brownback drops to 14-1.

FIELD BET- The Field seems pretty set to us at the Cooler. There isn't much to make us think that Jeb Bush or Condi or Tommy Franks or Mark Sanford are getting in. So the field bet drops from 20-1 to 40-1.

MIKE HUCKABEE- Hopefully for all the Hucksters out in Cooler Country it wasn't too late. But Mike Huckabee finally started making some moves. He had a successful 2 day trip through the Hawkeye State and gave good interviews to Mike Glover, Kay Henderson, and Jan Mickelson. At the moment he seems to have some of the juice that Brownback had last month. Huckabee also added Bob Vander Plaats and his statewide grassroots organization. So Huckabee's shooting back up the line from 23-1 to 16-1. He stands alone with Brownback on the 2nd tier when it comes to Iowa. If one of the Big 3 stumble look to Huckabee to try and take advantage.

NEWT- Frankly we just don't think Newt is going to run. It's almost comical to think you can enter this Presidential race in September 2007. While Newt will tell you that John Kennedy entered the race in January 1960, the Cooler reminds you what happened to Wesley Clark in 2004- which is a much more apt comparison. Is it remotely possible that Iowa caucus goers are so disenchanted with the Big 3 by September that Newt could jump in and save the day?? Maybe... But given the organization you have to put in place to turn out people to a caucus...Not likely. At all. Frankly it's just as possible that Jeb Bush gets in the race in September. So Newt is joining the field bet at 40-1.

JIM GILMORE- WTF??? He comes to the state 3 times in a month, puts together some staff and then vanishes into the air. Our first instinct was right about Jim. Non factor. Gilmore drops to 60-1.

GEORGE PATAKI- He's not running. We promise. 99-1

TOM TANCREDO- He's visiting the state. He's got Bill Salier on board. He has an issue constituency. His moves are making sense. So, Tancredo's moving up the line, 45-1.

CHUCK HAGEL- He's got center stage on this war thing. Getting a lot of press. If the war becomes a complete mess, maybe, possibly, he's a factor. We're putting Hagel at 98-1.

The one big change to note with the new Cooler line is that as of right now there are only 5 candidates that matter. That can all change if Newt were to get in early enough or if Tommy Thompson keeps doing the right things...But at this stage in the game it's a 5 way race for the top prize in the Hawkeye State. Let's get it on.
Whew, if you made it through all of that you've really got some endurance. Check back over the weekend for some more Cooler content and enjoy those Super Bowl parties.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

We've Got Questions; You've Got Answers

Here are some more of the Cooler's curious queries about 2008...

Did Biden plagiarize his BARACK comment?
Maybe from George Allen?
Could you imagine how strong George Allen would’ve been in this field if he didn’t get caught being racist?
Does Brownback’s hybrid take E85?
Will Curt Schilling wear a Diamondbacks, Phillies, Red Sox, or McCain cap to his Hall of Fame ceremony?
Where in the hell did Romney find 300 people to come to an 11AM event on a Friday in Waterloo?
Did Huckabee and Brownback get 300 people combined if you add up the attendance at all their events this week?
Do you think Vander Plaats will mention Huckabee’s leadership qualities when stumping for him?
Following Huckabee's announcement this week, do you think the possibility that he could win the nomination even crossed Nelson, Duhaime, or Myers’ minds?
Are the 08ers anon flame throwers in the Krusty comment section going to burn out before the straw poll?
Does Cancerman smoke in real life?
Is Rudy going to actually hire any staff or will he just throw his name on the ballot and see how it turns out?
Is it possible that Newt could wait until after the South Carolina Primary to get in?
So wait, doesn’t Hillary! need to know what the definition of is is before she calls Bill a “bad man?”
Do you think she was in the choir at Wellesley?
Will the Cooler ever just change the freaking line?

Your guesses are as good as ours. Let us know what you think...

Huckabee Addtions

As was reported by KTIV in Sioux City and picked up over at Krusty Konservative, 2006 Lt. Gov nominee Bob Vander Plaats signed on as chairman of Mike Huckabee's Iowa organization. Vander Plaats was a failed gubernatorial candidate in 2002, he was rumored to be interested in the state chairmanship but never pulled the trigger. He also is rumored to be a candidate against Tom Harkin in 2008. Vander Plaats is a significant addition for Huckabee as he has a wide network of loyalists in Western Iowa, dutch enclaves throughout the state (like Pella), and elsewhere. Vander Plaats is entrenched in the far right of the party and this gives Huckabee a big boost in his quest to be the CCA.

Danny Carroll, former House Speaker Pro Tempore, who lost his re-election bid to Eric Palmer this fall, also joined Huckabee's Iowa organization.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback, two presidential contenders vying for the same slice of the caucus constituency pie, were both in Iowa yesterday on the campaign trail. You can read the MSM's coverage of Brownback here and here, and Huckabee here and here. Huckabee won the "Glover Primary", (probably because Mike didn't want to drive to Cedar Rapids) but still it is worth noting that the dean of the press corps chose the Arkansan. We would be remiss to not mention that Radio Iowa extraordinaire Kay Henderson chose to cover Brownback.

The most interesting thing about the coverage is that both candidates portrayed themselves as mainstream, neither seems satisfied to pander to the Keyes/Bauer wing of the party alone. BOTH the Cedar Rapids Gazette's article and the Des Moines Register's article about Brownback had the word "consensus" in the headline. I think that nugget speaks for itself. And I bet you didn't know he drives a hybrid.

The Huckabee Register headline included the words "Health, Music, and art in schools." Not exactly God, gays, and guns.

Both of these gentleman are selling themselves as compassionate conservatives without using that term. They are both campaigning in the "Purpose Driven Life" mold of being Christian means more than being pro-life (but don't forget we're pro-life!!!) One of the most fascinating aspects of this caucus season will be watching how these two campaigns develop and how much one can keep the upper hand over the other.

We promise to have the much anticipated line-change very soon. Life is getting in the way...
Update: Looks like Kay interviewed Huckabee today.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Romney Additions

Romney announced today that former Iowa House Speaker Brent Siegrist (R-Council Bluffs) and former First Congressional District candidate Brian Kennedy (R-Bettendorf) will serve as advisers to his Presidential Exploratory Committee. They join Doug Gross and House Speaker Christopher Rants on Team Romney. Romney also made official his campaign staff today, and it's the same folks that have been discussed around here and Krusty for sometime.

The Need for a CCA

Without exactly using our terminology, Politico cites the need for a CCA in the GOP nomination battle. Using quotes from Rush Limbaugh, Erick Erickson of RedState, and Reagan author Craig Shirley, Politico shines a light on this glaring hole in the race.

"The party is headed for the wilderness," complained conservative publicist Craig Shirley. "I really feel strongly that if the slate is what we have now, then we're not going to win in 2008," added Erick Erickson.

"To be honest with you, there's nobody out there that revs me up," Rush confessed to his audience of several million conservative sympathizers on his radio show last week, "so why should I pretend there is?"

Politico mentions the Coolers favorite CCA, Sam Brownback. But the problem with Brownback is that he’s gone left on the War and already held the pro-“amnesty” position on immigration. There is no Gary Bauer or Alan Keyes in this race so the question is, where will all their voters go? This is especially relevant here in Iowa where candidates of that mold make up a significant portion of the electorate. Will they be sold by Romney’s conversion story? Swallow McCain because of his pro-life creds? Vote Tancredo? Ignore Huckabee and Brownback's immigration issues?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Caucus Calendar

Here’s who’s coming to Iowa this week.

Sam Brownback- Tuesday he will hold a fundraiser for the Linn County Auditor Candidate in Cedar Rapids

Mike Huckabee- Tuesday, Town Hall Meeting in Urbandale. Wednesday, Campaigning in Tipton and Davenport

If you know of any other contenders coming to town this week that we’ve missed, let us know and we'll add them to the list.

And if you are only a weekday viewer of the Cooler, make sure to scroll down and check out all of our weekend content.

McCain Movement

We wanted to draw your attention to two interesting McCain links from the past couple of days. First, this morning has an exclusive interview with McCain's Iowa Coalitions Director Marlys Popma. The interview is quite revealing and if you are interested in how McCain plans on bringing social conservatives into the fold this is a must-read. She addresses the "agents of intolerance" and Dobson issues and explains why she chose McCain in great detail. Go over to Race42008 for the whole thing.

Also, last week we pointed you to a Des Moines Register op-ed on Iraq by Tommy Thompson. Over the weekend, Iowa veteran David Elwell expressed his support for John McCain's stance on Iraq. You can check that out here. Elwell had some strong words for our elected officials and made the pitch for the surge strategy. It will be interesting to see how much the surge defines the GOP's nominating process with Brownback, Pataki, and Hagel all opposed. Will Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee be forced to be more vocal on the war by editorials like these? Or, does it play to their advantage to sit on the sidelines and watch McCain be the sole advocate for an Iraq strategy that even its most vocal supporters have called challenging and uncertain to succeed?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Flight of the Huckabee

Welcome to the Dance Mr. Huckabee. With all the certainty and precision of Sally Albright ordering her lunch, Mike Huckabee told Tim Russert this morning:

"Tomorrow I'll be filing papers to launch an exploratory committee and yes I'll be out there,"

While "I'll be out there" might not be the perfect 4 words for launching a Presidential campaign, the deed was done and Huckabee is in. (Unlike Hillary he did not make it explicitly clear whether or not he was "in to win" or just in for the fun of it.) Russert focused much of the interview on the challenges Huckabee faced and while not answering all of Russert's questions as directly as we would have liked (do you believe people are born gay or choose to be gay shouldn't be answered with "both" for example) he did fend off Russert's aggresive questions with relative ease. Huckabee took a veiled shot at Romney in the interview saying he's been pro-life since he was a teenager and "hasn't been all over the place on the issue." And he took on McCain by name, criticizing campaign finance reform. Now Huckabee comes to Iowa this week, in an attempt to become the credible social conservative alternative in the race for the Republican nomination. We'll be keeping an eye on his visits this week.

In addition, we've heard rumblings that the Huckabee folks are nosing around Iowa GOP circles for available talent and have been for a couple of weeks. But at this stage it is only the folks at Eric Woolsen's "The Concept Works" that are aiding his efforts here in the Hawkeye state.

  • 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.