The top Democratic presidential candidates brought out some of their more powerful symbolic stumpers this weekend. To counter Barack Obama’s breathlessly awaited Oprah event in Iowa, Hillary Clinton campaigned with both her generally press-shy daughter Chelsea and her mother, Dorothy Rodham.
Clinton also sent her husband, who arguably has as much star power as Oprah, to South Carolina. In New Hampshire, the Clinton team dispatched the former secretary of the Navy to deliver a speech in Portsmouth.
The New York Times Magazine published a long profile exploring Hillary’s sometimes opaque emotional landscape, while the Washington Post considered her early life.
In a column this morning, Dan Balz wrote of the Clinton candidacy, “all talk of inevitability is gone,” and added that no one knows this better than the candidate herself.
Hillary is still swinging this weekend, with a positive message about fresh starts. She was quoted in the Des Moines Register saying she thinks “Clinton II will be better than Clinton I.”
The campaign also launched a new ad, “New Beginning,” which argues against the idea that a second Clinton presidency would be dynastic.
In a pretty successful weekend for the Obama campaign, Oprah predictably went over well with audiences. Obama also took the cover of the Weekly Standard, penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, and struck back at Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who had criticized the candidates’ health care plan.
An unexpected critique of Obama came from Civil Rights Movement icon Andrew Young, who said he’d like to see Obama be president, but not until 2016. He also added that Bill Clinton is “every bit as black as Barack.” (Nothing on how black Hillary is, though).
On language, John Edwards became the third member of a Democratic campaign to use some variant of the word “silly” to describe an element of the race.
The news for the Republican candidates was focused on Mike Huckabee, who Frank Rich thinks is the Republicans’ Obama. Today, the Washington Post notes what is now fairly evident: that Huckabee is under attack after a meteoric rise to the top of the polls.
The most shattering story for the former Arkansas governor is an AP report about Huckabee’s record on A.I.D.S., which says he once promoted isolating patients from the public, opposed federal funding for research and said homosexuality is a health risk. This report may truly hurt his candidacy, not because it is necessarily any more controversial than releasing a convicted rapist, but because it runs contrary to his message of tolerance. Before this, Huckabee has managed to seem conservative, but kind.
In other Republican news, Curt Schilling appeared in an ad for John McCain.
And Salena Zito says, “Campaign strategists for four candidates–Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and John McCain–can sit down straight-faced, without spin, and outline a plausible scenario for how their guy can win the nomination.”
The Daily News reports that Rudy Giuliani was asked if the N.Y.P.D. had provided security to his mistress before their affair was public, and replied, “Thank you.”
On what many pundits considered to be a seminal appearance on Meet the Press, Giuliani said of Giuliani Partners that he would disclose only what is “absolutely required.” He also said of homosexuality that, “It’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation that they have.” (End of article).
Despite Giuliani being pressed on nearly every issue sensitive to his campaign, Jonathan Martin’s verdict is that he passed Tim Russert’s test
In New York state, some of Eliot Spitzer’s recent policy proposals got a closer look in the weekend press.
Liz reports three appointments Spitzer made late Friday, two of which will require confirmation from the Senate. Peter Donahue relays that Sheldon Silver spoke relatively kindly of the governor when addressing the U.F.T. about postponing fare hikes.
Phil Anderson starts to go through the documents on Spitzer’s universal broadband internet plan. The Post reports the governor has ordered an investigation of the Waterfront Commission.
They also run the numbers, and discover that his administration is paroling at twice the rate of the last year George Pataki was governor.
A Georgia gun dealer is counter-suing Michael Bloomberg for what the seller deems was an unfair sting.
The second-largest landowner in Coney Island is considering selling property to contribute to realizing the mayor’s plan for the area.
Two Republicans dropped out from considering a New Jersey congressional run for Jim Saxton’s seat, putting their support behind Lockheed Martin vice president Chris Myers.
David Seifman reported that the outspoken anti-congestion-pricing lobbyist Richard Lipsky was caught parked illegally near City Hall with a placard on his car that read “Active Firefighter.”
And pictured above are Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Dorothy Rodham breakfasting at Palmer’s Deli and Market in Des Moines, Iowa.