Vilsack’s decision is a huge blow to the campaign of Sen. John Kerry. “We had targeted Vilsack as the guy who could get us perhaps to No. 2 in the caucus voting if we got his backing,” says a Kerry insider. “We put a lot on the table to get him, but frankly, when you’re not the frontrunner it’s hard to make promises that appear keep-able, particularly when you’re asking them to go out on a limb.”
Rumors on the ground in Cedar Rapids had Vilsack being offered everything from Secretary of Agriculture to placement on the short list for the vice presidency and a leading role at the convention. Whatever was actually offered apparently wasn’t enough — or appeared uncertain enough given Kerry’s position in the polls — to sway Vilsack from putting his own political reputation on the line.
“I suspect that Senator Harkin is being offered similar inducements,” says a Howie Dean for president staffer on the campaign trail.
Harkin, according to one of his staffers in Washington, has been speaking frequently with Senate colleagues Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, as well as longtime acquaintance Rep. Dick Gephardt. Harkin’s backing is seen by those chasing Dean as critical to achieving a legitimate shot at either making a last minute play for the top slot in the caucuses or grabbing the second-place position. While Dean has reached out to Harkin, he has been using supporters in-state and out — read Al Gore and Bill Bradley — to press his case.
Harkin hasn’t tipped his hand beyond saying he will make a decision next week. By that time, his staffer says, it should be clearer whether any other candidate in the race has any momentum to bypass Dean. “If I had to make a guess right now,” says the Harkin staffer, “I’d say he remains neutral absent a big push by another candidate.”p> LONG JOHN
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?