Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sioux City Journal Endorses Romney

Not sure how much of a dent this will make in NW Iowa, which is the heart of Huckabee country. But any slice into that advantage will benefit Mitt.

Read the full endorsement here.

Romney combines an outsider’s new face with a proven track record of success in both the private and public sectors

As a businessman, the president and chief executive officer of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and governor of Massachusetts, he has demonstrated an ability to bring people together and bridge partisan divides, organize, mobilize and motivate in order to solve problems. In short, he combines an engaging personality with the leadership qualities necessary to inspire others to follow him.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Governor Graft- Update

You can view the Governor's personal financial documents here.

COOLER EXCLUSIVE- "Governor Graft"

The Cooler has obtained documents that show Mike Huckabee received $378,000 in consulting fees during 2006, while he was still governor of Arkansas.
Most noteworthy, $35,000 came from Novo Nordisk, one of the world's largest embryonic stem cell researchers. It seems that when money is at stake Huckabee may be able to look past his supposedly fervent opposition to this procedure

He also received speaking fees and honoraria from churches while Governor.

It is certainly calls into question whether or not it is appropriate for a Governor to be taking a consulting fee from interest groups, as Huckabee did, when issues surrounding that interest group could come across his desk.

The consulting money was funneled through an organization called 12 stops, a group created in 2004 to handle Gov. Huckabee's book deals. With all the attention Senator Obama received for running a separate PAC and potentially funnelling money from maxed out donors through that PAC, it calls into question whether Huckabee may have done the same.

You can view a full list of Huckabee "donors" here.

Update- We never claimed to be math majors. Huck took 2 payments of 17,500 from Novo bringing the year-end total to 35K. Nearly half his governor's salary...

Romney's drunk dialing us

Thank goodness we don't have a landline.

Martin on the incessant Romney phone calls in the Hawkeye...

Logan IA's "Herald Observer" endorses Mccain

Link to the website here

"As our country faces critical accountability questions when it comes to treatment of prisoners during this war time, we must trust that we will elect a commander in chief who will not treat the Geneva Convention agreement as simply a nuisance. McCain has been tortured and he’ll be the first one to stand up and say it’s wrong – including the practice of ‘waterboarding.’

Of course, torture and is not the issue in which we will elect a president.

McCain has stood firm on his views of fair trade, free trade, NAFTA and the economy....While he did support an unpopular troop surge, U.S. casualties have reduced in recent months. We again defer to McCain’s knowledge on this front and hope he continues to show good sense as we try to find a reasonable conclusion to this war."


Forgive our brief foray into national politics...
Condi on Huckabee's criticism of the Bush foreign policy.
"The idea that somehow this is a go-it-alone policy is just simply ludicrous," she said at a State Department news conference. "One would only have to be not observing the facts, let me say that, to say that this is now a go-it-alone foreign policy."

Serious question for the Coolerites. Does anybody have any idea what Mike Huckabee's foreign policy would look like? In the NYT mag interview when asked who would influence his foreign policy he cited Thomas Friedman and Frank Gaffney! WTF?

Friedman you might recall said the 9/11 era of politics is OVER. And Gaffney is a avowed neo-con. Does Huckabee even know what they stand for? Who knows?

If you do have a sense for what Mike Huckabee's foreign policy would look like, please enlighten us in the comments section.

Housekeeping items

  • The Cooler will make an official endorsement in the Iowa Caucuses next Wednesday. So make sure to check back for that over your Christmas holiday.
  • If you receive mail, a flyer on your windshield, or a nasty phone call over the next two weeks- scan it/record it and send it on over. We'll put it up no matter who the candidate is.
  • We were going to do the "paths to victory" post, until Ambers did it so much better this morning. So just read his. BTW- Is it just us or is Rudy's path the hardest to envision?? Who would've thunk it 3 weeks ago?
  • The Gazette mentions the Cooler.

WHO v. Mitt Part 2

Read Part 1 below...

Onto the merits of the arguments.

Deace- Its been our position at the Cooler for a long time that this guy does more damage to the GOP than almost any other Iowa figure. His hateful so-called "Christian" behavior is completely reprehensible. And if he's reading this and would like to discuss on-air how his bigoted, hypocritical rhetoric both undermines Christians and Republicans, email us at We'd be happy to discuss it with you this afternoon from 4-7. But unfortunately Steve has a platform, and an audience, of "Chrisitans" who believe that ostracizing minority groups and institutionalizing faith in government is the right solution. And this is not a small chunk of the Iowa GOP electorate. This is an influential, vocal minority, many of whom are lining up behind Governor Huckabee.

Mickelson- He has in the past always been a fair arbitor in our view. But the anger he is pointing at Governor Romney is unfounded. For those who haven't heard, Mitt sparked this anger when he told Katie Couric that the last time he lost his temper was when Mickelson challenged him about Mormonism, while there was a "hidden" camera in the booth. Now whether or not Mitt knew the camera was there it obviously wasn't hidden. But I'd think that Mitt's camp rightly expected that Mickelson wouldn't put video of a heated off-air argument on the internet. In the fall-out from this, Mickelson gained nationwide attention, his ratings soared and his national persona was cemented. Now he's taking the perceived slight of Romney's comments on CBS News to an absurd level for the purposes of ratings and entertainment. He's even brought friend to the Cooler, Tim Albrecht into the middle of the fracas, ludicrously criticizing him on-air. The end result? Mitt is dealing with what amounts to free negative advertising against him on Iowa's most influential show. And that doesn't bode well for him.

And before the comments explode, we'll post the first couple on your behalf. "The Cooler are shills for Mitt! You guys are on the payroll! Bias!!"


We're calling it as we see it. In the same way that Jan and Steve are calling it as they see it. We just disagree... Strongly.

Update- For the out-of-staters. You can listen to Mickelson's show from the past 2 days here.

Update 2- Unfortunately we won't be able to debate Deace today as he is off for the rest of the year. See you in 2008 big guy.

Update 3- GraniteGrok has a different take.

WHO vs. Mitt Romney- What it means

We've been holding this post for a couple days while we got our thoughts in order on it. One of the biggest buzz items around Iowa the past few days has been Jan Mickelson absolutely eviscerating Mitt Romney on the radio for the past 2 days. We've received more emails about this than every other issue combined. On top of that, Steve Deace has made obliterating Romney (and Rudy and McCain) his personal mission for the past umpteen weeks. In this post we'll discuss what does this mean as it relates to the Iowa caucuses? In the next one, we'll look at whether or not it is fair.

The fact is this hurts Mitt in a major way. Jan Mickelson has the biggest microphone in the state. His show can be heard in most of Iowa's 99 counties and the listeners in large part are the same people who attend the caucuses. So 2 weeks from caucus night for him to use that platform to take on Romney has major implications. Unlike Deace (who is a Huckabeeite), Mickelson hasn't endorsed a Romney opponent. At times he's been critical of all the major contenders for the nomination. That is about the only positive spin Camp Romney can put on this situation. Looking back at 2006, you can see the damage Steve Deace did in splintering the GOP base, with his attacks on Jim Nussle. Mickelsons audience is exponentially larger than Deace's, so you cannot understate the impact it will have on the Romney campaign.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tancredo Endorses Romney; Rudy is sick

Sorry for the light blogging today Coolerites.

“He will secure our borders…. He’ll require those who are presently here illegally to return home… He can go the distance.”

New IA/NH Polls


Huckabee up 8 in Iowa over... JOHN MCCAIN. Romney lags 3 points behind the Arizona Senator.

In New Hampshire McCain is tied with Romney with Giuliani lagging 10 points behind.

As for trends. Since the last ARG poll Huckabee is static, Romney down 11, McCain up 11. In New Hampshire Romney down 10, McCain up 15.

In spite of Matt Drudge's best efforts, McCain is surging.

Huckabee at Jordan Creek

Defends his Christmas ad, takes aim at Romney. Kay Henderson has the audio, it is worth a listen..

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another new Iowa poll

We're drowning in data.

This one from the Washington Post has Huck up 8 on Romney and doesn't show the McCain surge...

Comparitively Huck is up and Romney static from the last poll which was taken a month ago.

If you are keeping score, the 3 IA polls today show Huck up 2, 1, and 8 respectively.

Thompson announces statewide leadership team

Heavy blogging today...

Isn't it a little late for this?? Whatever.

Here it is.

U.S. Congressman Steve King, State Chair
State Representative Kraig Paulsen, Co-Chair
State Representative Sandy Greiner, Co-Chair
State Representative Clel Baudler
Former State Senator Bob Brunkhorst
State Representative Royd Chambers
State Representative Jeff Kaufmann
State Representative Jamie Van Fossen

The most noteworthy thing about this list is that it seems like Thompson has made the sale with the NRA folks in the state. Baudler is a big endorsement.. If he can get the sportsmen motivated in the state on his behalf, that would be a coup on caucus night. But does he have the organization/resources to get the email/mail going to this group in the next 15 days???

Romney blasts Huckabee through the mail

Hitting IA mailboxes....
You knew the immigration attack was coming. Does the "messenger" soften the attack a little bit? We think so..

Look who's 3rd...

To all of you who said the Register's endorsement doesn't matter in the GOP primary...

PPppsssssshhhhhh. We told you so. The newest Rasmussen IA numbers are out.

Huckabee and Romney are in a dead heat (Maybe those negative ads are working after-all) with John Sidney McCain in 3rd place.

The figures: Huckabee 28, Romney 27, McCain 14, Giuliani 8, Thompson 8, Paul 6, Tancredo 2, Hunter 1.

Compared to two weeks ago: Huckabee 39, Romney 23, Giulaini 8, Thompson 8, McCain 6.

The only two movers are McCain on the rise, and Huckabee on the decline.

This shit is fun isn't it?

We know this is an Iowa blog but

WTF is going on with Rudy??

New poll has him getting doubled up by Mitten in New Hampshire. 6 points behind McCain.

Update: And a new national poll has him in a tie with the guy we've been telling you is the front-runner for the past week, Mike Huckabee.

New Iowa Poll

A new insider advantage poll shows Huckabee's lead at only 2.

These guys haven't been in the field since early October so it is impossible to gauge any sort of trend data without other numbers...

Craig Robinson's Huckabee Yard Sign

Craig Robinson, the Political Director for the Iowa Republican Party is sporting a Mike Huckabee sign in his snowfilled Poweshiek County front lawn.
The presumably neutral state party has made some not so neutral overtures during the Laudner/Robinson tenure. Recall in the late spring a press release blasting John McCain for his position on immigration, a position that was shared at the time by RNC Chair Mel Martinez and the President of the United States.
More recently a press release was sent out blaming Mitt Romney for pulling out of the Fox News debate, when in fact a number of other candidates had also not committed to participating. It is rumored that this release was the final straw that brought about the party's reorganization, with a reduced role for Chairman Hoffman and a greater role for Ted Sporer.
Robinson sent out an email on the subject you can read here.
Robinson's response when questioned about the sign, was to claim it is his wifes. But he couldn't resist taking another shot at Team Romney.
"I surely hope a certain campaign has better things to do then complain..."
Were Mitt Romney to be the party's nominee hopefully they would have the class not to punish the IowaGOP in any way for perceived slights. But who could blame them if they did? And why would the party put itself in this position?

NB- For the inevitable commenters who will trash us for this post, how would you respond if RNC Political Director Rich Beeson had a Mitt Romney sticker on his car as he pulled into "The Building?"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Line Change!

You guys know the drill. We'll start at the top.

Mike Huckabee- He stays static at 2-1. Two new polls have come out showing him up 9 and 13 respectively since our last line change. His new ad is freaking brilliant. Floating cross and all. He's your favorite.

Mitt Romney- Drops from 5-2 to 3-1. Embarrassing day with the King endorsement gaffe. His attack ads on Huckabee are pedestrian at best. No new poll data has been encouraging. He's clearly in the number 2 slot right now.

Rudy Giuliani- Drops from 6-1 to 7-1. Good weeks from Thompson and McCain make his 3rd place status a little less secure. His organization and general appeal should still keep him ahead of the next two.
Fred Thompson- Endorsed by Steve King. Starting a statewide barnstorming tour. Need we say more. He goes from 15-1 to 12-1
John McCain- Endorsed by the Register. Seems to be gaining momentum nationally. Could an Iowa surprise be in the works? Up from 17-1 to 15-1.

The rest of the field- Who cares.

Huckabee religious imagery

Take a look at the below ad one more time. Is it just us or do the bookshelves behind Huckabee make a cross? Just over his right shoulder for the first 20 seconds of the ad. It even appears to be lit in a different way. Brighter than the rest.

Very interesting. Very stealth. Borderline inappropriate (but who cares since it's getting his message across).'

Update: Drudge notices the same thing. Says the Huckabee ad contains a "floating cross"

Update 2: We've meant to bring this up before, but it is worth noting also that Huckabee's Iowa radio ad still includes the "Christian leader" intro that was cut from his TV spot...

New IA ads

Mike Huckabee sure knows his base.

And Mitt Romney stays on the attack.

This is the 2nd straight Romney attack ad that we aren't particularly impressed with...

What does it all mean?

A couple of random thoughts/rumors/musings for a Monday afternoon.

  • Word from the McCain Iowa headquarters is that there has been an influx of phone calls and drop-ins as a result of the Register endorsement. While a lot of folks poo-poo how much that endorsement means to Republicans, you can't underestimate the value of it. McCain was the subject of positive conversations at Sunday afternoon basketball games, church functions, and brunches. Just because the MOST active Republicans loathe the Register doesn't mean everyone does, and McCain sure could use the couple extra boots on the ground that it sounds like he's getting in the wake of this endorsement
  • What is the real effect of the King endorsement going to be? There are clear negatives for Huckabee, Romney, and Thompson. Consider:
    • Huckabee- Certainly not nearly as back-breaking as it would've been had it been a Romney endorsement but it will hurt nonetheless. Thompson has had essentially an inverse relationship with Huckabee in Iowa polls. Huckabee's support has come directly from many folks that were with Thompson in August and September. Can the King endorsement, plus the negative mail/ads being aimed at Huckabee swing the pendulum back towards Thompson for some of these voters? Huckabee also has a stronghold in northwest Iowa. Might some people who feel strongly about the immigration issue in Sioux County switch their allegiance to Thompson?
    • Romney- Clearly the Romney folks expected this endorsement, or at least thought there was a good chance they'd receive it based on King's comments last week. King certainly didn't repudiate Romney's record in his comments in the same way he did Rudy, Huck, and McCain's. Nonetheless for a guy looking to get the momentum back, this would have gone a long way...
    • Giuliani- In the muddle for 3rd place, Thompson now looks significantly stronger. Can Giuliani really survive a 4th place finish in Iowa? That has to put a tarnish on his national stature right.
  • How strong is Mike Huckabee? Word from multiple sources polling the state show him with a substantial lead in Polk County. If he's strong near Des Moines, he's got to be SUPER strong in rural Iowa. One source said that their internal "Hard ID's" show Huckabee with a substantial lead in the state's largest county.
Chew on that for a while Coolerites, we'll be back.

It's Fred!

Steve King will endorse Mitt Romney any moment.

Stay tuned to Kay's Radio Iowa blog for the blowbyblow.

Update: Seems like early indications were wrong. Congressman King in fact endorsed Fred Thompson. Kay has the details.

Update 2: Thompson's out with a statement.

"Congressman King's leadership in support of the sanctity of life and his efforts in the fight against illegal immigration have made him one of Iowa's great Republican leaders. He's a tireless fighter for the 5th district of Iowa and I'm honored by his support. I look forward to working with Congressman King over the next three weeks and into 2008 in support of the traditional conservative values he and I share."

Ambers interviews Branstad

Atlantic blogger extraordinaire Marc Ambinder has 3 minutes with Terry Branstad. Make sure to watch the whole thing. Branstad is not endorsing, but his feelings on the 2008 candidates can be encapsulated at about the 50 second Marc. When asked whether he thinks Republicans are unhappy with the field, this is his response verbatim.

"I think uh Iowans are uh are uh yeah. I think Iowans, uh you know, not everybody, I don't know, there's a lot of candidates..And I think there's a lot of good choices to be made and uh you know, uh..."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the field Governor...

Monday Morning Linkage (Basically just read 'The Page' edition)

While we await the King announcement...

Dave Roederer sums up our take on the endorsement nicely. “There are those that when they don’t get the Register’s endorsement always say that they are glad not get it, But the fact of the matter is that you like as many endorsements as you can possibly get. If every campaign were truthful about it, they would love to have the Register’s endorsement.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Steve King endorsement coming tomorrow

Just a friendly reminder from your pals at the Cooler.

Kay has an email from King where he indicates that his wife and kids don't even know who he's going to endorse.

She speculates, as we did yesterday, that it is likely to be Romney or Thompson.

It will not be Rudy or Tancredo.

Mitt on Meet

Can't help but comment on this morning's "Meet the Press."

On display was the liberal east coast elite's view of the Republican Party. Russert spent the first SEVENTEEN MINUTES talking about the Mormon faith. Then proceeded to rattle off abortion, stem cells, guns, and gays.

Mitt Romney was not asked a single question about Iran, Iraq, or the War on Terror. He was asked ONE question about foreign policy- about Mike Huckabee calling the President's policies arrogant.

We get that Mitt has to be asked about his Mitt-flops. If anyone gets that, it's us. We've harped on them time and again. But to have 1 hour with a man that could be the next President of the United States and not ask about energy or terrorism or the war in Iraq is beyond the pale.

Update: Apparently Romney did not actually get the endorsement of the NRA in 2002 as he claimed he did on MTP. A rather blatant mischaracterization on the Governor's part. And it's hard to imagine he would forget something that significant...

  • 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.