A Mason-Dixon survey of likely participants, released Sunday, showed Huckabee and Romney were locked in a statistical dead heat on the Republican side. An American Research Group poll released Saturday gave Romney an edge over Huckabee for the first time in over a month, while the last CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll, conducted December 14-18, put Huckabee over Romney by an eight-percentage-point margin. The remaining GOP candidates -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and commentator and former State Department official Alan Keyes -- trail behind Romney and Huckabee in Iowa polls.
But Thompson, a former U.S. senator and actor in the television drama "Law And Order," told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that he had "a decent chance" of pulling a second-place showing out of the caucuses.
"While all this hullabaloo is going on around me and everybody's attacking each other and everybody's talking about process and who's got the most political ambition to drive them, I'm just going to stay steady up the middle with the same conservative, common-sense message that I've had and what I've always been in my political life from day one," he said.
My 2 cents: It won’t surprise me when the Republican race's 'rabbits' — Huckabee and Romney — get themselves so far off course that Thompson — arguably the 'turtle' in the race — sneaks up from behind. Meanwhile, Giuliani's race is over while McCain's never started. Finally, Paul will manage to ruin most everyone's day. OK, read on ...
Among Democrats, Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois had virtually identical levels of support in Sunday's Mason-Dixon poll. Saturday's ARG survey gave Clinton a narrow lead over Obama and Edwards, while the CNN poll found a four-point spread among the top contenders, led by Clinton.
Again, IMO, Hillary is unelectable. Obama is slightly more electable, but highly unlikely. Edwards wins the primary by default. Meanwhile, Biden pleads, "Hello?!?! What the f&ck, people?!?!?"
Edwards, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2004, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Democrats would face "an epic fight" in pushing for reforms such as universal health care if they reclaim the White House, and argued that he, as a longtime plaintiff's lawyer, was best suited to wage those battles. He said Obama "has this philosophical view that you can sit at a table with drug companies, oil companies and insurance companies and negotiate with them, and somehow they'll just voluntarily give their power away -- and I think that's a complete fantasy. It will never happen."
Meanwhile, he said, Clinton "defends the system in Washington" that Edwards blasts as "rigged" by corporate interests.
"I don't think you can take these people's money, the lobbyists, the PACs, et cetera, and sit at a table and make a deal with them," he said. "I think if that worked, it would have worked a long time ago."
Edwards also used the term "fantasy" to describe Clinton's statement that if she became president, her husband -- former President Bill Clinton -- would have no official role in her administration. Edwards said he would put the former president to work if he were elected, "providing help around the world and with leaders around the world."
I saw the show this morning. Edwards is working his audience ... and it's working. It also doesn't hurt that it's an ideal time to be a white male Democratic populist.
On the flip side and speaking of the populist approach, Huckabee can't compete with Edwards' populist appeal while running as a Republican. Further, his 'pastor-in-chief' approach is running out of steam (which is no surprise since it's nothing but smoke and mirrors anyway). And I truly doubt that Republican primary voters can find it in their hearts to choose a non-Christian for their candidate, no matter how little religion matters in the presidency. (And there goes Romney.)
So — my prediction for the primaries? Watch for surprising numbers from both Thompson and Paul, with Thompson pulling out ahead in the end (which makes good sense, since the majority of Americans don't really want change anyway). Huckabee will stay alive, and so will Romney, but each with be a disappointment. Then a Democrat will beat any of the three ... but it won't be Hillary or Obama, as neither will ever even have the chance; Democratic primary voters are 'in it to win it,' and that's it.
Then it's likely that, in the end, we'll all watch the election go down like a final episode of an American Idol season, thinking, 'What?'
But of course, I'm only guessing.