Will stump for campaign donations
John Kerry's campaign may have been reinvigorated by his win in the Iowa caucuses, but now he's frantically raising money so he can compete after the New Hampshire primary. The Boston Globe reports that Kerry is now 10 points ahead of Howard Dean in New Hampshire, according to their new tracking poll, but he's trying to catch up with Dean's hefty war chest. Kerry burned up lots of money in Iowa and New Hampshire and is the only major candidate not airing TV ads in the seven states that hold primaries on Feb. 3, a week after New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, the Globe's pollster says Dean's now-notorious concession speech in Iowa seems to have hurt him in New Hampshire. The number of people who say they view Dean unfavorably is now 31 percent, up from 20 percent as recently as Sunday, while his favorability rating dropped to 49 percent. "He's in serious trouble," the pollster says.
Edwards crowds sure are purdy
Josh Marshall takes Talking Points Memo to New Hampshire and tries to cut through the buzz and hype of the daily campaign routine. Marshall sees two and a half dynamics at work in the final days before the primary -- Wesley Clark vs. Kerry, Dean vs. himself, and the wild card of John Edwards, who could benefit if the front of the pack starts a slugfest.
Marshall and his friend Alex take in an Edwards event to see if he's really, as everyone says, the next coming of Clinton when it comes to communicating with a crowd. His observation: "So far the one thing I can see is that at an Edwards event everyone is pretty like Edwards. Maybe it's all the Lands End, L.L. Bean clothes?"
The hunt for program activities
Vice President Dick Cheney won't give up. In an NPR interview, Cheney says the search for weapons of mass destruction -- oops, that's weapons of mass destruction-related program activities -- will go on. "I think the jury is still out...," Cheney says. "It's going to take some additional considerable period of time in order to look in all of the cubby holes and ammo dumps in Iraq where you might expect to find something like that."
Cheney also insists that there were ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
Iraq may be on path to civil war
You didn't hear about it during the State of the Union address, but CIA officers in Iraq are warning the Bush administration that the country may be on a path to civil war. The officers' bleak take on the stability of Iraq starkly contradicts the upbeat assessment President Bush gave in his speech to the country on Tuesday night, according to a Knight-Ridder story that ran in the Seattle Times today. "The warning echoed growing fears that Iraq's Shiite majority, which until now has accepted the U.S. occupation grudgingly, could turn to violence if its demands for direct elections are spurned," the piece says.
Concerns over a possible civil war are "broadly held within the government," including by regional experts at the State Department and National Security Council.
Conservatives complain about exploding Bush deficits
The Washington Times continues its criticism of the Bush administration's lack of fiscal discipline. Even before the State of the Union address, conservatives were griping about the free-spending ways of Bush and the Republican Congress. His speech Tuesday night seems to have made things worse. Bush "offered new spending and tax proposals, but no concrete plans to cut the deficit in half as he has promised to do, continuing the pattern that in recent years has led to exploding deficits," the Times writes. Citing Wall Street analysts, the paper says "the $500 billion budget deficits created by President Bush and the Republican-led Congress will be the top economic problem facing the president should he win a second term."