Sneak Peek: Who's on First?

Tomorrow South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson travels to New Hampshire to announce the date of the South Carolina primary.

Yes you read that right – Dawson will be at the State House in Concord at 11:00 am ET to announce his primary date. This is essentially the first move on the political chess board that will affect the dates of the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

The Union Leader's John DiStaso reports this afternoon that South Carolina Republican Party officials have been telling presidential campaigns today that their primary will be Saturday, Jan. 19.

In order to preserve their status as "First in the Nation" and "First in the South," the South Carolina GOP and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner have gotten together and formed an alliance not unlike one on "Survivor."

It looks like the Iowa Democrats and Republicans will hold off on any announcement until New Hampshire sets its date.

And it looks like the New Hampshire primary will be somewhere between January 8 and January 12, so that leaves Iowa with three options:

Make the unprecedented move to a December caucus date -- not likely the most desirable option for either party. Select Monday Jan. 7, which doesn't leave much time after the holidays to pump up participation. Give up first-in-the-nation status and go second on Jan. 14 -- something Gov. Culver seemed to rule out today.

Gov. Culver told Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson, "Iowa will go first. That is the bottom line."

New Hampshire GOP chair Fergus Cullen tells ABC News that the coordination between the states shows respect for the traditional roles New Hampshire and South Carolina have played in the early primary season and provides an opportunity to keep the early states' primary dates in 2008 and avoid things being flipped back to 2007. (Signaling that option #1 is the least likely of the three?)

But hold off on booking that hotel room in New Hampshire. Secretary Gardner is not expected to make any announcements tomorrow about the date of his state's primary. "Punxsutawney Bill" will emerge sometime in the fall, look for his shadow and determine how long or short the time between New Hampshire and South Carolina will be.

On the Left Coast…

The '08 Democratic presidential field -- minus the always spicy Joe Biden -- participate in a two hour forum in Los Angeles sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, an organization committed to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The event will be televised at 9:00 pm ET on the gay television network Logo and the Logo website. The candidates will not appear on stage together at the same time.

As for other Thursday events, Hillary Clinton attends the National Association of Black Journalists Presidential Forum at 2:00 pm ET at Bally's Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. (Barack Obama speaks to NABJ on Friday) After that, she makes her way to a 4:00 pm ET culinary workers rally at Culinary Local 226 in Vegas followed by an organizing house meeting. Her husband Bill Clinton participates in the celebration of the Rocky Mountain Institute's 25th Anniversary.

NPR's Michel Martin hosts a session at the NABJ convention that will look at whether Obama is "black enough?"

Obama raises coin in Los Angeles, stopping at a West Hollywood club and restaurant. His wife, Michelle, hosts a meet and greet in Reno, Nev.

John Edwards gives a 2:00 pm ET speech to the Aspen Institute about his plans to restore fairness and responsibility to our economy. He then travels to California for a fundraiser in Los Angeles.

Joe Biden makes appearances on "Fox and Friends" at 7:00 am ET, and National Public radio's "On Point" at 10:00 am ET.

Dennis Kucinich attends a pre-forum watch party in Hollywood at 8:00 pm ET and a post forum party at 11:00 pm ET.

As for the Republicans…

One day after Rudy Giuliani came under attack from Mitt Romney on the "sanctuary city" illegal immigration charge, the former New York mayor is in Ohio for a meet and greet in Cincinnati at 5:15 pm ET and then the 7:00 pm ET Hannity Freedom Concert in Kings Island (Newt Gingrich will be on hand for the concert, too).

John McCain will be in New Hampshire with his wife Cindy for a 6:30 pm ET town hall meeting in Merrimack.

The rest of the '08 Republicans are in Iowa, gearing up for the Straw Poll.

Romney hosts six, "Ask Mitt Anything" events across the state. He'll be in Tama at 9:45 am ET, Grundy Center at 11:30 am ET, Iowa Falls at 1:15 pm ET, Hampton at 4:00 pm ET, Eagle Grove at 6:00 pm ET, and Fort Dodge at 7:30 pm ET.

His wife Ann joins food guru, Peter Harman, to teach a children's cooking class.

Sam Brownback signs copies of his book "From Power to Purpose" in Urbandale, West Des Moines, and Central City. The Kansas senator also holds GOTV rallies in Des Moines and Ames.

Mike Huckabee meets with locals in Indianola, Altoona and Windsor Heights.

Tom Tancredo attends a town hall meeting in Ottumwa followed by another one in Pella.

Ron Paul starts the day with a visit to the WHO radio booth at the Iowa State Fairgrounds followed by the grand opening of his Iowa state office building in Des Moines.

Tommy Thompson attends a medical round table luncheon in Des Moines followed by an appearance at the Iowa State Fair.

President Bush heads to Kennebunkport, Maine.


ABC News' Jake Tapper and Ron Claiborne Report: Romney: Giuliani's NYC 'Sanctuary' for Illegal Immigrants LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis "AFL-CIO Can't Agree on Single '08 Dem" LINK

ABC News' Christine Byun "F. Thompson Taps New Campaign Manager" LINK

ABC News' Rick Klein and Jennifer Duck "Polls Tread Carefully on Bonds" LINK

ABC News' Raelyn Johnson "Unofficial but on the Record -- Elizabeth Edwards Outspoken Again" LINK

ABC News' Jake Trapper "Edwards a Phony?" LINK

ABC News' Justin Rood "For Obama and Hillary, Billionaire's Sudan Ties Prove Knotty" LINK


Edwards Heats Up Debate Edwards blasts Clinton for recent appearance on the cover of Fortune(MSNBC). LINK

Candidates Spar over Obama Pakistan Plan Dodd, Obama and Clinton debate foreign relations policy(MSNBC). LINK

Clinton: "I Fought the Banks" Sen. Clinton on special interests to AFL-CIO(MSNBC). LINK

Highs and Lows of Democratic Debate Who's leading the pack after Tuesday night's debate at Soldier Field? LINK

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