John McCain’s last stand

Time has thinned the nimbus of white hair and leavened his irreverence; the maverick mischief-maker of 2000 is no more.

Yet, as Sen. John McCain tries one last time for the White House and the resurrection of a campaign that was consigned to history’s dustbin six months ago, the Arizona Republican’s moment may have finally arrived.

As the hours dwindled to Tuesday’s leadoff New Hampshire primary, polls show McCain is in a good position to win the contest and catapult to the top of the GOP presidential pack.

Ron Paul raises $20 million

Republican lawmaker Ron Paul has become a surprise fundraising star in the US presidential race, with a showing in the closing months of 2007 equaling that of political heavyweights Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Asked on CNN television to comment on reports that his campaign raised 20 million dollars in the final three months of 2007, the libertarian-leaning Paul credited his dedicated following of average Americans fed up with big-government and traditional politics.

Hillary tries to jump start losing effort

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-vaunted campaign continues to unravel as new polls show her falling farther and farther behind Barack Obama in New Hampshire and campaign contributors take a “wait and see” attitude.

Meanwhile, chaos escalates in the Republican camp where an Iowa win gives Mike Huckabee no help in New Hampshire and a resurgent John McCain becomes the new frontrunner.

A new USA Today poll shows Obama with a 13-point lead going into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and McCain with a four-point edge over former front runner Mitt Romney.

Playing a distinctive role

The Iowa caucuses are now firmly established as the first tangible hurdle in the American presidential marathon, where public sentiments measured by polls and parsed by pundits actually are translated into votes for nominees.

The large number of candidates seeking the presidency in 2008 has resulted in even greater focus on Iowa. Primaries have now been bunched closely together early in the year, promising vital momentum from an early win. Iowa victors Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama will receive nonstop coverage in the few days until the New Hampshire primary.

When given a choice, voters want hope

As has been said of second marriages, Iowa caucusgoers opted for hope over experience.

A voter turnout of approximately the population of Jersey City bypassed the candidates of inevitability, big money, big names, known quantities and long experience to favor the two youngest and perhaps least experienced candidates in the race, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee, both frankly something of blank slates on the national scene.

Lessons from Iowa

On a calm Friday morning, when much of Iowa still was sleeping off its caucus-night hangover, “Dr. Vote” hit the streets on an urgent mission.

John Olsen knew he didn’t have much time.

Besides his family minivan, among the few vehicles on the roads of downtown Des Moines were airport-bound taxicabs and rented moving vans.

Finally, the circus was leaving town.

Obama on the rise, Clinton on the decline

Rising Democratic star Barack Obama continues to move up in polls for Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary while one-time frontrunner Hillary Clinton is sliding downward and former second place holder John Edwards is sinking fast.

With two days to go Obama has erased Clinton’s one-time formidable lead and pulled into a statistical dead heat.

“We are seeing clear movement in Obama’s direction and away from Hillary Clinton,” pollster John Zogby told Reuters. “There isn’t much time for her to regroup here.”

Call the meat wagon: Fred is dead

Fred Dalton Thompson may be an actor (of sorts) but he is not a good enough actor to convince anyone with a functioning brain he still has a shot at the Republican Presidential nomination.

After the one-term former Senator and sometimes actor turned candidate eeked out a third place finish just barely ahead of John McCain in Iowa, Thompson headed home to McLean, Virginia and not directly to New Hampshire like the other candidates.

The importance of ‘Big Mo’

In politics, they call it “Big Mo,” the momentum that comes from a win and the opportunity to take that momentum into the next primary.

Both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee left Iowa with “Big Mo” driving their campaigns. Polls taken in New Hampshire right after the Iowa caucuses show both candidates gaining and the campaign fortunes of New Hampshire front runners Hillary Clinton and John McCain sliding.

Thompson, strapped for cash & votes, will stay in race

Republican Presidential candidate Fred Dalton Thompson, out of cash and lagging in the polls, will stay in the Presidential race through at least the New Hampshire primary even though some campaign aides say he should give up his faltering run for President.

Thompson returned home to McLean Thursday while other Presidential contenders headed direct to New Hampshire from Iowa. Aides say he will work the phone to try and raise much-needed campaign cash and try to also cash in on free media appearances.