Normally I write these posts from the single-digit-weather confines of Hanover, New Hampshire, but for the next few weeks I'll be with family in North Idaho. I figure I'm not missing much, since the candidates will largely bypass New Hampshire until Jan. 4, in order to focus on Iowa.
The latest news from Iowa is, of course, yesterday's Des Moines Register debate. I have to admit I missed the debate, as George Mitchell's press conference was on at the same time, but I've watched the reruns and agree with the pundits' consensus - despite a nasty cold, Joe Biden won yet another debate. (I would like to tip my cap to the moderator for finally giving the candidates roughly equal time.) Biden's shining moment came when asked about race relations - not only did he show off his sterling record with powerful emotion, but the other Senators all shouted, "Here, here!" and Obama in particular gave Biden a stirring endorsement on the issue. Here are two videos - one of all his debate answers, and one of just the race question, as that also includes Obama's response.
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza listed Biden as the debate's top winner. "Biden was extraordinary today. Not only did he speak specifically and with authority on issues both foreign and domestic, he was able to tie all of his arguments together under the umbrella of taking action and setting priorities. Biden also beat back the toughest question of the day when moderator Carolyn Ashburn asked him whether his past verbal gaffes in relation to race reflected a level of discomfort with the issue... A complete performance by The Fix's Iowa darkhorse." The "dean of the Iowa press corps", the Des Moines Register's David Yepsen, agreed. "Biden's showing was the best of the day... How can you lose when everybody else on the stage is praising your record on civil rights, literally applauds you and the frontrunner offers testimony on your behalf? You can't. And unlike some of his past debate performances in which he seemed strident or comical, Biden was cool, commanding and presidential in this one." The Iowa blog iPol had similar thoughts.
This debate performance, the last one before the caucuses, comes at a great time for Biden, for at least three reasons. One is that Chris Matthews just put him at number three in the Hardball Power Rankings, meaning Tweety thinks Biden has a better chance at winning the nomination than John Edwards. "On the Democratic side I say, and this may surprise you, that Joe Biden is now the third best bet for the nomination. I'm hearing a lot of buzz about him from people who pay attention." Two is that today, Biden won the first endorsement from a Nevada union, specifically the 2200 members of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, and Refrigeration Workers UA Local 525. Three is that Biden just went back on the air in Iowa with a new TV ad, so all eyes are on him. It's a pretty good ad, too:
To support this ad and keep it on the air, the campaign is in the midst of its largest online fundraiser to date. Yes, I know it seems like I say that every other week about Biden's fundraisers, but that's because each time one ends, an even bigger one begins - there's a piece of your momentum! The current drive is pretty clever, asking supporters to "Adopt an Ad" at the following rates:
Click here to donate and adopt your own ad, or e-mail me at texas_musician at hotmail.com to help with Iowa phone banking efforts.
If you're thinking you'd like to post a comment saying you like Biden and think he'd make a great SecState, SecDef, or VP, I remind you of something Biden says: do you really want a President who isn't qualified to be Secretary of State? And I would add to that something Wesley Clark said in 2004 when asked about serving as Dean's VP: do we really need another 8 years of an inexperienced President with an experienced Veep? For further convincing that Biden is not only the best choice but also a viable one, be sure to read the recent articles "Biden Campaigning With Ease After Hardships" in the New York Times, "Candidate profiles: Joe Biden focusing on security issues" in the Quad City [Iowa] Times, and "For Biden, it's the résumé over the rallying cry" from the Boston Globe's front page.
I'll leave you tonight with yet another YouTube video, this one a rather moving ABC interview about the tragedy in Biden's life.