I Can’t Quit You, Campaign 08

But after Tuesday, I’ll have to.

I spent some nostalgia time going back through my archives to find 2008 presidential campaign nuggets I squirreled away. Much of it was pre-caucus, of course, but I had a good time rummaging around.

Here’s some of what I found.

They said it.

“There are different types of charisma,” Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack told the Chicago Sun-Times on Dec. 5, 2006, when asked about rock star Barack Obama’s potential entry into the Democratic race. Vilsack was the very first candidate to announce on Nov. 30.  “There is a quiet charisma, that people look at and say, `this guy is genuine, he is authentic, he is real.” 

But if quiet charisma happens in a forest, and people are asleep, does it fail to raise money? Yep. Vilsack’s run flickered out on Feb. 23.

“I think the press is a group of professionals,” John McCain told me during an interview in April 2007. “I think it’s very overblown to say the press likes or dislikes somebody.”

Those were the days.

“It’s a ridiculous amount of money for a haircut. I’m actually embarrassed by it,” John Edwards told The Gazette’s Des Moines reporter Rod Boshart and me after a campaign stop on Adel’s town square on April 20, 2007. Somehow, we were the first to get direct quotes from him on hairgate.
“This guy had to come to where I was to get a haircut. I knew it’d be expensive. I didn’t know it would be that expensive. Hopefully I’ll have enough sense not to do that again,” Edwards said.

Or to cheat on your sick wife. Guess not. What a fraud.

“One of the things that is frustrating is there’s more attention on Britney Spears getting out of a car without underwear than who’s going to be the next president,” Mike Huckabee told reporters in Ames in June 2007, lamenting his failure to draw media attention.

 Or, you can beat the pants off Mitt Romney on caucus night. Speaking of Mitt…

“Sometimes when the stories come out in the media they don’t quite get it accurate,” Romney said in a June 2007 Des Moines press gaggle. He was being asked about a story circulating that he forced his family’s dog ride in a kennel on top of the car at highway speeds. Who’s a bad boy? 

 “The kennel that my family pet used to ride in is enclosed. It’s not an open air kennel. It’s enclosed and there are air vents, of course, at the back and my family pet used to climb up there and lie down on his own and we love our family pets, have always loved our family pets and have nothing but honor and pride in taking care of great dogs. We’ve had quite a few.”

 What? It was a critical character issue.

“I think the silver lining in the fact that we have debated this bill and the fact that he has pushed it so hard is that it probably means there will never be a president John McCain,” U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado said on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. He was referring to the failure of an immigration reform bill in June 2007 that McCain co-sponsored.

“I think that this is sort of the death knell for John McCain’s campaign,” Tancredo said.

Tancredo also ran for president. Did you know that? Of course you didn’t.

The Two Faces of Todd.

“The man who came into the campaign as a Bush-hugging, big-spending establishment lackey is now a battle-scarred, under-funded, straight-talking underdog with nothing to lose. He’s endured a long campaign and a hard fall, but he’s still out there swinging,” I wrote last fall.

“The GOP’s best hope may be McCain. He’s a likeable, solid candidate who could have general election appeal, especially among independents. His strength, experience, could be contrasted with Obama’s weakness,” I wrote in another column last year.

 

But then, a few days after the historic caucuses…

 

“Obama appears at this point to be the only candidate with the kind of message and skills capable of building a broad coalition of voters that would yield a mandate victory, the kind of victory that gives you enough political capital to get something done.”

 

Mmm. That was good Kool Aid. I actually called his Iowa victory speech “goosebumps stuff.” Which Todd will be right on Tuesday? I can’t wait to find out.

 

Other thoughts.

 

Worst overused term of the campaign — “Game-changer.” I love sports metaphors as much as any other oafish male with limited communications skills. But that’s gotta go.

 

Innovation that should be outlawed — The CNN approval tracker thing, the mesmerizing screen box that tracked the second-by-second preferences of undecided voters during debates. I still see those undulating lines when I close my eyes.

 

Worst Addiction — Real Clear Politics poll averages. I can’t look away from the horse race. I need help.

 

Feel free to make your own best and worst nominations.

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “I Can’t Quit You, Campaign 08

  1. Concerned Citizen

    Todd,

    I may not always agree with what you have to say, but at least you can point out your contradictions. How refreshing. Any chance you can get the rest of your peers, at least at the Gazette, to do the same?

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