The Chicago Tribune's editorial board sides with the Des Moines Register , asserting that Iowa is as essential to the presidential nominating contest as New Hampshire, and blowing it off just won't work. LINK
New Hampshire: Clark may have a case, but Lieberman's I don't think we're in Iowa anymore, Dorothy strategy is far from McCain-esque, says John DiStaso at the Union Leader. It just took Joe a little bit longer to get the joke.
DiStaso also has a memo for The General: fourth place is not good enough. Fourth place in New Hampshire is where candidates go to die. LINK
District of Columbia: The Washington Post 's Hanna Rosin writes about the difficulties candidates face with sorta campaigning in the District. (And there's a pretty punchy headline too.) LINK
Rosin writes that "a candidate must master a new skill: the art of campaigning without really campaigning. The rules only add to the confusion. The District will still hold its usual Feb. 10 caucus, in which delegates will be chosen. The Jan. 13 event is a publicity stunt to get attention for home rule, what's known as a nonbinding "beauty contest." Democratic National Committee rules don't forbid such events but frown upon them and discourage candidates from participating. So ultimately it's up to them."
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: President Bush is in Hawaii today for a BC04 fund-raiser and a smaller private party for the Hawaii GOP. "About 600 guests at the Hilton Hawaiian Village are expected raise $600,000 plus for the president's reelection campaign," KITV reports. On the Big Island for the first time since he took office, President Bush will visit Pearl Harbor and lay a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial.
Local coverage of the president's visit: LINK; and LINK
The Wall Street Journal 's Al Hunt heads to battleground state Pennsylvania to sit in on a focus group and find out what voters there are saying about President Bush and the field of Democrats.
(Note to Al Hunt on your Note to Karl Rove about the notion that Rove will "note" Howard Dean's position on civil unions — again, check out the Cheney position.)
Despite questions about his policies, confidence in President Bush's personal qualities could propel voters to send him back to the White House in 2004, according to a focus group conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and GOP pollster Robert Teeter.
"'On personal stature, President Bush is in relatively good shape with this group,' notes Mr. Hart. The difficulty, he adds, is that many of these same voters 'turn around and say I have real policy problems with him.'"
The survey of voters in a critical congressional district outside Philadelphia found that "though Bush hasn't closed the sale for a second term, his Democratic rivals have barely mustered a decent pitch of their own." LINK
Robert Novak looks at the significance of California and Governor Schwarzenegger for the Bush re-election campaign:
"The original White House strategy imagined a Golden State campaign where Bush would be running against the backdrop of failed Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. What Bush's planners cannot tolerate now is a failed Republican governor in Sacramento."
Novak breaks down the battleground states of the Electoral College for the Bush-Cheney team — blue states Michigan and Pennsylvania are "not at all promising" while red states like Florida, Ohio and West Virginia are "most vulnerable to going the other way next year. LINK