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Preview: Ben Smith's Blog

Ben Smith's Blog

Ben Smith's Blog

Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 22:03:32 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2011 POLITICO

Remainders: Onward

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 16:59:32 EST

Remainders: Onward

The latest from Newtland

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 16:07:08 EST

The latest email from pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future: 

Sunni leader denies NY Times byline

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 15:53:49 EST

Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi is denying his participation in a New York Times op-ed bearing his byline, Agence-France Press reports. 


Fri, 30 Dec 2011 10:48:40 EST

I thought for a time I'd never write this item: That I'd literally keel over in front of my keyboard in a couple of decades, and leave behind a post with even more typos than usual.

Fox bites man

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 10:48:00 EST


Paul Farhi has the latest in a series of stories reflecting Fox's course correction since the glory days of the Beck era:


But just days before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus takes place, there’s not much evidence to suggest that Fox News has crowned any one candidate as the eventual nominee.

There’s little question that Fox is an important news and opinion source for conservative voters, despite the relatively small audiences that cable news attracts (Fox News, the ratings leader, rarely reaches more than 2 million people at a time). Among Republican voters in Iowa, 37 percent said they got most of their news from Fox, making it the leading TV source, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found. By contrast, a mere 2 percent said they relied on MSNBC, which has forged a more liberal identity.

But campaign watchers are hard-pressed to detect a tilt by the network toward one candidate. Even the two candidates who have worked for Fox News as on-air contributors, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, don’t appear to have had any special access or advantage during the campaign.

Fox doesn't like these stories, because they imply that it's something other than an ordinary news organization; but it's certainly more ordinary than it has been at times in the past. 



MSNBC explains Bain Capital disclosure

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 10:36:58 EST

Jeremy Gaines, vice president of communications at MSNBC, writes in to explain why his network's anchors are only now disclosing NBC's business ties to Bain Capital, the buyout firm co-founded by Mitt Romney:

Dept. of unnecessary evasion

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 09:46:17 EST

My colleague Keach Hagey notes Fox News' odd reluctance to comment on a story that (mostly) portrays it as a fair and balanced news organization, which is its slogan.

Landing Romney

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 09:30:58 EST

The Huffington Post landed an exclusive interview with Mitt Romney yesterday, its first-ever with the Republican presidential candidate and a significant step in its move away from the liberal political identity it had during its first presidential cycle four years ago.

The textbook late surge

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 09:19:02 EST


Former Edwards aide Jonathan Prince noted recently that Rick Santorum's path this year seems a lot like John Edwards's near-miss 2004 bid, in which he worked Iowa for months with no evident results, then surged into second place at the last moment, propelling him onto the ticket if not into the top slot.

And a reader points out this 2004 AP article on the state of the race, printed the day before the caucuses:

John Kerry and John Edwards are surging close to Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt to create an electoral free-for-all going in to the state's Democratic presidential caucuses on Monday.

Polls in the state suggest all four are competing for the lead within the margins of error. A Research 2000 poll released Thursday showed Dean at 22%, Kerry at 21%, Gephardt at 18% and Edwards at 18%. The undecided vote was at 13% and other candidates were in single digits.

"Any one of those four could win," said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000, who conducted the poll for KCCI-TV of Des Moines. "The biggest surge without question is Edwards. Both Kerry and Edwards have momentum."

A Research 2000 poll released a week ago found Dean (29 percent) and Gephardt (25 percent) battling for the lead with Kerry in third place at 18% and Edwards at 8%.

After losing ground in polls in New Hampshire, Kerry has been campaigning hard in Iowa to create a spark for his struggling campaign. Edwards has been lagging in polls throughout the year, but has been energized by the recent Iowa campaigning, especially after being endorsed by The Des Moines Register.

Edwards had positioned himself like Santorum: He had the discipline to stay out of the fray, and as voters turned away from wounded front-runners, he was a known, reliable quantity.   Edwards also had in the Register endorsement the kind of moment Santorum has lacked so far, outside validation to affirm and accelerate the trend. The rough equivalent would be a late endorsement from Steve King.



Remainders: Dawning

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 16:59:28 EST

Remainders: Dawning