Politics

Clinton, Obama back off in race war

Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama stepped back from a controversy over race Monday night, agreeing that a prolonged clash over civil rights could harm their party's overall drive to win the White House.

The two leading Democratic contenders shifted course as Republicans pointed toward Tuesday's pivotal primary in Michigan, where Mitt Romney and John McCain both pledged to lead a revival for a state and an auto industry ravaged by recession.

Giving credit where it’s due

It probably was inevitable that sometime during the increasingly acrimonious campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination a line in a speech or an answer to a question would provide an opening for those supporting the first viable black candidate to play the race card. It was as much a certainty as the fact that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's gender is an underlying issue with some voters.

The Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde primaries

Presidential primaries have evolved measurably, with specific components and histories that can be analyzed objectively. In felicitous manner, Dr. Jekyll has provided fact-filled dispassionate discussion of Iowa and New Hampshire separately in various publications.

Public political competition also unleashes primal tribal emotions, intense personal passions and great group drives. Mr. Hyde now seizes control to highlight this dementia, excuse me, dimension.

Let’s try an election without pollsters

The young prince of Democratic politics glided into New Hampshire on a magic carpet of soaring poll numbers, great expectations, adoring crowds and a swooning press corps. The town halls and college auditoriums couldn't accommodate the thousands who turned out to hear his message of hope and change.

Hillary & Obama play the race card

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have become embroiled in racially tinged disputes as large numbers of black voters prepare to get their first say in the Democratic presidential campaign.

The candidates and their surrogates are heating up their rhetoric, and it could prove to be combustible beyond South Carolina's Jan. 26 primary.

Republicans can still control their destiny

The opportunity for Republicans to hold onto the presidency in 2008 is far better than what conventional punditry would have us believe. But for Republicans to capture this opportunity, they are going to have to stop the destructiveness that has been fomenting inside the party and the mudslinging against their own.

As I wrote in a recent column, year-end highlights from the Pew Research Center show the Republican Party in a state that can be seen as either a glass half empty or half full.

Become a Capitol Hill Blue blogger

Starting today, any registered reader of Capitol Hill Blue can start and maintain a blog on our web site.

That's right. Blue's readers are now our bloggers. We want to widen the debate on politics in this country and feel that opening up our site to bloggers from all political persuasions and beliefs is a way to do so.

Minority voters take center stage

With nomination contests in lily-white Iowa and New Hampshire settled, minority voting power now moves into the spotlight.

Historical realities suggest that blacks and Hispanics won’t play much of a role in determining the Republican Party presidential nominee. But this year’s Democratic primary and caucus schedule was designed specifically to give increased influence to minorities, particularly Latinos.

Economy, war top campaign issues

The faltering economy has caught the Iraq war as people's top worry, a national poll suggests, with the rapid turnabout already showing up on the presidential campaign trail and in maneuvering between President Bush and Congress.

Twenty percent named the economy as the foremost problem in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Friday, virtually tying the 21 percent who cited the war. In October, the last time the survey posed the open-ended question about the country's top issue, the war came out on top by a 2-1 majority.

Fred & Mike get down and dirty

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee went from Mr. Nice to Mr. Nasty when rival Fred Thompson started calling him what he considered a bad name — a liberal.

The Southerners are fighting on warmer, more familiar turf in South Carolina, which holds a Republican primary four days after Michigan votes on Tuesday. Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, wants to build on his victory in the Iowa caucuses, while Thompson, once a Tennessee senator, needs a victory to keep his campaign afloat.