Mike Huckabee, who strums a bass guitar and cracks jokes at campaign stops, is quietly establishing himself with Iowa voters as a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
"I think he's the sleeper candidate this year," said Steve Roberts, a Des Moines lawyer who sits on the Republican National Committee. "He makes a very positive impression in his public appearances and in the debates."
Democratic 2008 White House frontrunner Hillary Clinton says she is happy she stuck out it out with her husband, the 42nd president, through "challenges" in their marriage.
Clinton said in an interview with the November issue of Essence magazine, that Bill Clinton is "so romantic" and recently brought her home a wooden giraffe from a trip to Africa.
"I know the truth of my life and of my marriage, my relationship and partnership, my deep abiding friendship with my husband," Clinton said, according to excerpts of the interview on the magazine's website.
You may think that this is the election when you're finally going to be a gung-ho political activist. A stir-'em-up conservative. A shake-'em-up liberal. A straight-ahead independent. Ready to volunteer to work the phones or the blogs. Whatever it takes to help your presidential candidate carry your state.
But you are so gung-ho that you don't realize that you've just been gung-had.
Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has a million ideas, and the dreadful, terrible shame is that one of them isn't to do anything about Social Security except dance away and invent fabrications.
Jim Neal, the Democratic dark horse challenging North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, has disclosed he is gay -- making him one of the nation's few openly homosexual candidates for a statewide office.
Neal, 50, a Chapel Hill investment banker, discussed his sexual orientation during an online interview with a liberal blog, NCBlue over the weekend. He said his family, friends and business associates already know.
"It's no secret," Neal said in an interview Monday. "Why would you not talk about the color of your eyes?"
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was midway through his speech inside a crowded firehouse here last week when audience member Eunice McCarty nudged the man sitting next to her.
He was a Republican, and McCarty wanted him to know he had just been caught at a Democratic presidential candidate's event.
The man didn't applaud much, but at least he paid attention, she said.
"After all the things, they may be willing to listen at least," she figured.
In this far-flung, northwestern corner of Iowa, it's "almost kind of scary" to be anything but a Republican, she said.
After a weekend of auditioning would-be presidents, Christian conservatives are still seeking consensus on who should get the part.
"A lot of people feel less than satisfied; there's no news in that," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said midway through the weekend gathering of the Family Research Council. "Of the major candidates, the big four, I don't know if anyone has hit the mark yet."
Democrats and unions may go together like politics and corruption, sin and scandal, baseball and hot dogs but many union power players are taking a wait and see attitude towards the crowded field of Democratic candidates for President.
The Democratic wannabes have done everything but genuflect in front of big labor bosses in the pre-primary season but few endorsements have come out of their begging, whining and pleading.
So far the response from most unions has been the old version of "don't call us, we'll call you."
Internet gossip monger Matt Drudge may have little use or regard for the truth but he remains a power player in political circles -- so much in fact that even the campaign of Hillary Clinton may be using his web site to leak stories and gain an edge on the competition.
This comes as a surprise to some observers who remember the large role Drudge played in outing the Monica Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton's scandal-scarred Presidency.
Like him or not, Drudge is a player in a political world where the Internet's influence grows with each election cycle.
Sunday's GOP Presidential candidate debate was more of a free-for-all than a discussion of the issues as participants attacked each other, Hillary Clinton, and anything Democratic.
Then they argued among themselves over who is, or is not, a real conservative.
With the rabid right wing of the Republican Party threatening to bolt and back an as-yet unnamed third party candidate, the GOP Presidential wannabes behaved like a group of schoolyard bullies, each trying to claim they were tougher than the others.
It came off as childish, immature, and foolish.