May 24, 2007


Clinton Camp Resists Aide’s Advice to Skip Iowa (ADAM NAGOURNEY, 5/24/07, NY Times)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign has considered — and rejected — a plan to stop competing in Iowa, the traditional kickoff state in the nominating process, and to concentrate instead on later states, including the 20 or so that are slated to vote on a single day in early February.

The recommendation to pull out of Iowa was in a memorandum written by Mike Henry, Mrs. Clinton’s deputy campaign manager. He made a case that Iowa would consume too much time and money that could be better invested elsewhere.

Mr. Henry’s memorandum, dated May 21, said Mrs. Clinton would have to spend $15 million and 70 days in the state to be competitive there, and suggested that if she did not pull out she might not have the money she would need for the rapid-fire series of contests that follow. The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 14, with the New Hampshire primary eight days later, Florida a week after that and about 20 other states on Feb. 5.

The Clinton campaign said Mr. Henry’s advice had been rejected. Soon after learning that the memorandum would become public, the campaign announced that Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, would be campaigning in Iowa this weekend.

Will Tsunami Tuesday be an afterthought?: Iowa and New Hampshire are still the 'big' states to watch (Chuck Todd, 5/22/07, NBC News)
February 5, a.k.a. "Tsunami Tuesday," is not just going to be anchored by California’s primary. Other big states, like New York, New Jersey, Illinois and possibly Texas, are going to be on the same day.

This guarantees that California will get no more attention than it gets in any other cycle. In fact, arguably because of the cost of talking to California voters, it may get even less since there are so many other states one can concentrate on.

From my perspective, all this frontloading has done only one thing: make Iowa even more important.

As the very first test, the "winner(s)" of the Iowa Caucuses is (are) going to take on greater significance than ever before – particularly since there is no break between Iowa and everything else. Momentum will be the driving force for these candidates post-Iowa, not money or message.

The only chance Iowa and (to a lesser extent) New Hampshire have in becoming less relevant to the process this year is if the two states move up so early that there are a few weeks, rather than just a few days, between them and every other state.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2007 7:19 AM
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