Archive for the ‘John Edwards’ Category

The campaign fund-raising figures have been released, and there are a few early winners, and a few early losers.

The winners are quite obvious: Senator Hillary Clinton (D, New York) $26 million, Senator Barack Obama (D, Illinois) with $25 million, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) with $23 million.  The loser is also quite obvious as Senator John McCain (R, Arizona) raised “only” $12 million.

Senator McCain has long been known for his attempts to lessen money’s influence in politics; however, money still plays a major role, and he will need better fund-raising over the next several months if he wishes to stay in the race. His less-than-stellar fund-raising figures have been attributed to a disorganized fund-raising team, and a lackadaisical attitude among the fund-raising staff. Needless to say, the campaign announced a reorganization of their fundraising efforts would take place.

The most intriguing part of the figures lies with Senator Obama and former Governor Romney’s fund-raising totals. Romney, though trailing in most polls, took in a massive amount of money over the first phase of fund-raising. Many have attributed this to his ties in the corporate world, as well as to the Mormon church. His multi-million dollar lead on both former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who raised around $17 million) and Senator McCain shows that Romney is to be taken very seriously.

Senator Obama’s ability to raise money, as evidenced by his $25 million, must be making those in Senator Clinton’s campaign a little worried. Not only did Obama, who does have nearly as many fund-raising connections as Senator Clinton, raise nearly as much money as Clinton, but he did so with nearly twice as many contributors (100,000 for Obama as opposed to 50,000 for Clinton), showing his widespread appeal, and the ability to go back to some of those contributors for more donations.

It’s still very early, but with the number of highly recognizable candidates (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards) fund-raising has been outrageous so far. The previous highs for fund-raising at this point were nearly $15 million less than Clinton and Obama’s totals. Howard Dean in 2004, who started off in January with the largest campaign war-chest, had around $40 million. It looks at those some of this year’s candidates will reach those totals by this June.

While this year’s candidates’ ability to raise money is remarkable, it also serves as more evidence that more and more money is required for a presidential campaign, and that the campaign needs to  be shortened, and the amount of money spent on it lessened.


Read Full Post »

On April 15, the candidates running for President in 2008 will have to release their recent fund-raising figures to the public, but even before that date, there’s a good idea of how each candidate is doing.

The projected early leaders are John McCain and Hillary Clinton, who have well developed fund-raising options. Also, each of them has a federal account through their Senate campaigns which they can funnel into their quest for the presidency.

Giuliani and Romney are receiving money from their respective states, New York and Massachusetts. Romney also has the fund-raising from Mormons and his contacts from the corporate world. Both of these men have the disadvantage of having to start from scratch, as they cannot transfer any federal dollars into their accounts from Senate or House fund-raising.

While Edwards will again rely on his trial lawyer network, Obama has perhaps the most different approach of all of the candidates. He has still received many donations from larger groups – notably Hollywood – Obama has also taken a different tack to his large scale fund-raising, taking somewhat of a Howard Dean approach by holding events with very cheap entry fees to attract large audiences. He already has a strong “grass roots” appeal, and by hosting these events and using the Internet he’s utilizing a different approach then you typically see.

In the end most of this isn’t really new. The front runners will continue to build money and endorsements and take small jabs at each other, and the big hitting will come this fall and winter. The reality of it is, if the candidates don’t raise enough to be able to pay the $1 million a week that they’ll need during the primary, their candidacy is in trouble.

Read Full Post »

The New York Times wrote today about Barack Obama’s consistent stance opposing the Iraq War. Some consider it to be a boost for his campaign, as he doesn’t have to worry about defending or explaining previous votes on the war (a la John Kerry in 2004). Others criticize Obama, saying that he didn’t begin speaking up about the war or offering any solutions until after he announced his presidential campaign. Obama has defended himself by stating that he wished to “lay low” in the first year of his freshman term as a U.S. Senator.

Obama’s plan for Iraq rests mainly on hitting different “benchmarks” for progress. He also calls for a phased withdrawal, and would like to see U.S. troops gone by March 2008. In addition, his plan does not eliminate a potential continued military presence in the region and does not eliminate the potential for further economic aid. A basic overview of John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama’s Iraq plans can be viewed here.

It seems that the Democrats’ are trying their very best not to alienate the anti-war vote that gave them control of Congress for the first time in over a decade. However, it appears to me that, in doing so, they are ignoring some of the long-term problems that could arise.

The entire purpose of the Iraq enterprise was 1) remove Saddam and 2) establish a stable democracy in the geographic center of the Middle East. Well, we accomplished #1, and its quite obvious to everyone that #2 still eludes us. Indeed, I never thought that forcing democracy upon Iraq was a good idea. Democracy does not have a strong history of success when it has been shoved down someone’s throat. However, I’m not sure that pulling out is the best answer.

President Bush’s troop surge, while somewhat controversial, should not be dismissed. Securing Baghdad is an important step toward stabilizing Iraq. If the capitol is not secure, than how can the country operate? It can’t. However, we won’t know if the President’s surge will work for a few months (the best estimate is about three to six). I hate to say that we need to “wait and see,” but that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to have multiple plans in place, including one if the surge succeeds and we stabilize Baghdad, and one if the surge fails, and if it fails, then a phased withdrawal would likely be the best (and only) option. I hope it does not come to that because that scenario has intense ramifications.

By pulling out, Iraq could very well break out into full-on civil war. The power vacuum involved with the lack of the U.S. presence would leave the door open for Iran (with its billions in oil money) to come in. Not to mention we would’ve blown hundreds of billions of dollars on a failed project in a region that’s disposition toward the U.S. is glacially-cold, at best.

I’m not a military or political expert, so I’m in no position to create a new plan for Iraq, but I do not think that simply pulling out is the answer.

Read Full Post »