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January 15th, 2004 - Stop Dean — LiveJournal

About January 15th, 2004

09:52 am
“Look Back, Dean, They're Gaining On You” Commentary by David Yepsen, Des Moines Register, 1/15/04

When the last stories of the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses are written, the decisions by Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt to be absent from the state for part of this final week of the campaign may loom large. The latest tracking poll of the race shows John Kerry has caught up with them - with John Edwards in hot pursuit.

So, as Dean slips, Kerry benefits. As Gephardt slips, Edwards profits.

Also this week, Dean started ads attacking his three leading opponents for voting for the Iraq war. That tells you Dean's own internal tracking poll shows this race has tightened, so he's going back to the issue that made him the early front-runner - the Iraq war. Trouble is, polls also tell us that Iraq isn't the most important issue on the minds of most caucus-goers. Issues such as jobs, trade, health care and education are more important, and the other candidates have plenty of credibility on those questions. Finally, despite all the talk about how liberal caucus-goers are, it's also true that the winners generally come from the center of that cycle's political spectrum. For example, in 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated people on his left. In 1984, Walter Mondale beat candidates more liberal than he.

The only upside to Dean's and Gephardt's journeys outside Iowa is that it gave their organizations in the state time to harvest votes rather than advancing events and moving a candidate around. Since Gephardt's organization is the best while Dean's is the largest, each man probably figured he could play hookey from Iowa for a day or two.

But given how tight this is, Dean and Gephardt may someday wish they'd have spent more time in places like Burlington, Ia., instead of Burlington, Vt., this week. That will become clear to them on caucus night, when only a few thousand votes are likely to separate the first-, second- and third-place finishers.

It's one of those things a loser can kick himself over for the rest of his life.

10:00 am
“Question for Dean: How Solid a Base?” Dan Balz, Washington Post, 1/15/04

For most of 2003, Howard Dean's campaign showed some of the qualities of a Silicon Valley enterprise in the boom days of the 1990s -- an innovative political machine that was all about the promise of something new -- new voters, new money and a new politics for a demoralized Democratic Party.

But on the eve of the first critical votes of 2004, Dean's campaign is showing obvious signs of nervousness. His campaign is now less about cyber-innovation and more about delivering support from Democratic voters, and the question that will be answered in the days ahead is whether Dean has built his campaign on a solid foundation or one that will fracture if there is a setback or defeat.
Those shifts in sentiment are not unexpected, but some past front-runners -- George W. Bush in 2000, for example -- have braced themselves with establishment political support to sustain them through the rapids of the early contests on the nomination calendar. Dean, for all his endorsements from powerful unions and prominent Democrats such as former vice president Al Gore and Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa), remains a candidate dependent on a grass-roots army that is untested in the rigors of primaries and caucuses and unpredictable if things go badly.
Dean advisers dismiss talk that Dean has stalled or is in any real trouble, while acknowledging that they have lost ground in New Hampshire and are fighting for a victory in Iowa. "We've got a tough fight in Iowa and New Hampshire, and it's going to be a tough fight beyond that," said Dean pollster Paul Maslin. "What's going to sustain us beyond that is what Howard Dean has built. That is going to be our shield."
Dean's closing argument heading toward the first contests is that he alone has built a campaign that can beat Bush and the Republicans, one that can attract new voters and enough money to run competitively against the best-funded incumbent in history.
His rivals point not to his campaign -- they have obvious respect for what he has built -- but to the candidate himself, and they question whether he has the personal qualities, temperament and vision to lead the party in November. His performance in the days ahead, and the intensity of those who have powered his rise in the Democratic race, will answer the questions his rivals are posing.

Dean losing Iowa 06:16 pm
Dean In 1st By One Percentage Point

POSTED: 4:37 PM CST January 15, 2004
UPDATED: 5:01 PM CST January 15, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It looks like the Iowa caucuses are too close to call.

Results of an exclusive NewsChannel 8 poll released Thursday show Howard Dean is leading among Iowa Democrats, but only by one percentage point. And his competitors have gained ground.

Out of 607 Iowans surveyed this week, the former Vermont governor has support from 22 percent of Democratic caucus voters – that is down 7 percent from a KCCI poll taken just one week ago.

Sen. John Kerry is right behind Dean at 21 percent, and Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt and John Edwards are tied at 18 percent.

[b]In one week, Dean lost his cushion for a win, and Edwards support jumped 10 percent. With a 4 percent margin of error, the Iowa caucus has become a four-way race.[/b]

“We may see some buyer's remorse at the moment in Dean supporters, concerned about whether he has the temperament to be a good president,” said KCCI political analyst Dennis Goldford.

Edwards said he isn’t surprised by the jump in his support.

"I don't know how much faith to put in [the poll numbers], but they seem to be consistent with what I'm seeing on the ground and consistent with all these calls we're getting into our office every day," Edwards told NewsChannel 8.

With the exception of Bill Clinton in 1992 – when he ran against Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin -- no candidate has ever finished below third in the Iowa caucus and gone on to win their party’s nomination.
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