Monday, May 09, 2005

2008 Gossip Roundup

John Kerry: The '04 Democratic nominee is making candidate noises again, says the Boston Globe, but now with a new (and improved?) message: "Get angry at Washington." At a speech in Baton Rouge, Kerry told the crowd "Washington seems more and more out of touch with the difficulties the average family is facing. Go out of here, take some anger and a little bit of outrage at the fact that Washington is not dealing with the real concerns of our country." The Massachusetts senator has been actively traveling the country in recent weeks, having visited not only Louisiana, but also Georgia, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and Washington (with more cross-country swings planned). Kerry is widely believed to be planning another run for the White House, but he's getting some conflicting advice from potential rival John McCain.

In an interview with Men's Journal [via the Boston Herald], McCain said of Kerry "It's pretty obvious, the way he's acting, he'd like to try it again. I'd advise him to be the best senator he could be and put those ambitions aside for a while." And of McCain's own ambitions? The Arizona straight-talker pulled a Hagel with Men's Journal, saying that while he "absolutely" wants to be president, he'll "wait a couple years" and then decide whether to run.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Sylvia Smith wrote yesterday that Indiana's junior senator Evan Bayh has been taking "prudent, campaign-building steps" in preparation for a campaign in 2008 or 2012, noting "Someone who is not contemplating [a ...] presidential race might do some of these things, but not all."

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may opt out of seeking reelection in 2006 (a la Bill Frist) in order to focus on the '08 Republican presidential nomination, Bob Novak wrote last week in the Chicago Sun-Times. Romney held what Novak calls a "secret Washington meeting with national political operatives" recently, and while he did not announce his decision, Novak's sources say Romney "did say a presidential race would be difficult if he were concentrating on a 2006 campaign for governor and were still in that office in 2007-08."

As I noted previously, Nebraska's Senator Chuck Hagel was in New Hampshire last week on a three-day swing, and the Washington Post reports that he "paid the requisite homage," saying "I often say Nebraska is the center of the universe. It's not true. New Hampshire is the center of the universe," and quipping (presumably tongue-in-cheek) that he had gotten McCain's permission before visiting the Granite State.

Also in New Hampshire last week was Virginia's George Allen, who has been big on the talk-show rounds lately and gave the commencement address Saturday at Pat Robertson's Regent University. He was also touted by Mary Matalin on "Meet the Press" this Sunday as a contender who "the country doesn't know yet," and Allen came out on top in a recent National Journal 2008 poll of Republican strategists.

Newsweek reports that former senator and '04 Democratic veep nominee John Edwards will host a "retreat" in Washington sometime this week, "where close advisers and big donors will discuss plans for the poverty center he founded at the University of North Carolina and how his One America PAC can help Dems in state races nationwide." How to keep a public profile until 2008 will also come up for discussion, a source tells Newsweek.

A national Marist College poll released on Friday puts Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani at the top of their respective packs for the 2008 race, says the Associated Press. On the Democratic side, Clinton garnered 40% support to Kerry's 18% and Edwards' 14%, while Giuliani picked up 25% on the Republican side. McCain came in next with 20%, and Florida's Jeb Bush placed with 10% (other contenders on both sides failed to break single digits). Interestingly, the poll found that Clinton and Giuliani are seen as "polarizing" figures: McCain and Edwards both fared better in head-to-head matchups with the "top opposition."

Also going to New Hampshire soon: New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on June 7, and retired general Wesley Clark on June 12, according to the Washington Post.

I'm sure I've forgotten someone in here - drop me a note and let me know who.

[Update: Via National Journal's Wake-Up Call this morning, a new (very informal) straw poll of attendees at the Wisconsin Republican convention gave Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice the nod: she got 110 votes, or 35% of the 322-person sample. Giuliani took second with 74 votes (23.5%), followed by Jeb Bush with 49 votes (16%). -- 9:13 a.m.]


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