A "zen-like" Hillary Clinton wakes up this morning just one day away from the big 6-0 and tells the New York Daily News that winning an election won't come from wishing on birthday candles.
Red Sox Nation wakes up with a 1-0 lead over the Colorado Rockies in the World Series – and new fan Rudy Giuliani wakes up to second day of headlines and articles (even DiStaso!) questioning his newfound support for the boys from Fenway Park.
And Barack Obama wakes up to a prominent columnist pondering the "trying times" for his campaign's faithful and more backlash against Donnie McClurkin's role in the "Embrace the Change" gospel tour.
The Washington Post's David Broder takes the temperature of the Obama campaign and writes that some wonder if they can pull off the upset over Clinton.
"But the steady drumbeat of polls showing Clinton with more support than all the other Democrats combined -- and twice as much as Obama -- is taking a toll. In their private moments, they wonder whether even Obama, gifted as he is, can pull off this feat."
Broder looks at Oct. 2 as the most painful and typical example of how Team Obama feels they have been "outmaneuvered and outsmarted by Clinton's timing and tactics."
With Obama set to deliver a significant foreign policy speech highlighting his initial opposition to the Iraq war, the Clinton campaign released their boffo third quarter fundraising numbers and completely drowned out Obama's "dumb war" remarks.
The speech "got next to no national press coverage. It was briefly summarized on Page A8 of The Post, Page 11 of the Boston Globe and Page 20 of the New York Times," Broder notes. And what was on page 1? "Clinton, leading all the polls, now leads in campaign finances as well."
ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that the Obama campaign has added an openly gay minister to the lineup at the gospel tour, in response to criticism from the gay community about McClurkin's inclusion.
Rev. Andy Sidden will make an appearance on Sunday in South Carolina, but that may not be enough for gay rights groups.
"The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay-rights organization in the country, says it appreciates the gesture but is still 'disappointed' that the Obama campaign is giving a platform to someone it considers homophobic," the New York Times Katharine Seelye reports.
Joe Solmonese told the New York Times he "appreciated the campaign's invitation to Mr. Sidden," but McClurkin's message "certainly doesn't belong on any presidential candidate's stage."
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times considers Obama's balancing act with McClurkin and the HRC and also notes that his campaign is on the defensive because a Nevada African Americans for Obama event included boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, who has domestic-violence convictions on his record.
Clinton celebrates her birthday tonight with a sold out event at the Beacon Theater in New York City that will raise more than $1 million. Tickets for the event, emceed by Billy Crystal, ranged from $100 (in the nosebleeds) to $2300 for "rock star" seats in the orchestra section.
Partygoers will hear from both Clintons as well as Terry McAuliffe, Patti Solis Doyle, Charlie Rangel, Elliot Spitzer and Chuck Schumer. Dress is casual and so is the fare – hot dogs and beer at the concession stands.
The New York Daily News has an exclusive with the birthday gal, who says she has everything she could hope for (including a Chanel watch) and won't reveal what she will wish for when she blows out the candles.
"Obviously I hope and expect that I will win. But I know it doesn't come from wishing, it comes from hard work. And I am going to do everything between now and then to make that happen,"
Sam Brownback may have dropped out of the presidential race last week but he's keeping his name in the headlines by coyly hinting at an endorsement of Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani is not the most obvious choice to win the support of Brownback, a staunch social conservative. But in an interview with The Hill, the Kansas Senator said he would consider getting behind Giuliani because he believed the New York Mayor had changed his position on abortion issues.
The endorsement could be a significant boost for Giuliani, who has struggled to win over the conservative wing of the Republican Party and was trounced at the Values Voters straw poll in Washington last week.
While he may not see eye-to-eye with conservatives on social issues, Giuliani may be shoring up his national security credentials on the right by consulting a "particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers" that he may not even agree with on foreign policy.
The New York Times' Michael Cooper and Marc Santora look at Giuliani's consultations with Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes and Michael Rubin and note that as a former mayor, Giuliani had "little direct exposure" to the foreign policy issues that the next president will face and is still developing "detailed positions on particular subjects."
One of those subjects may be the issue of torture, as Giuliani seemed to be more candid than even President Bush on the issue of waterboarding.
When asked whether he agreed with U.S. Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey on the subject of waterboarding, Giuliani did not rule out the technique as a form of "aggressive questioning" of terror suspects but said he was not sure if the practice was torture, ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports.
"It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it," he said.
Simmonds notes that Giuliani was clear to point out that the United States should not be involved in torture, but did say "aggressive questioning" should be used.
USA Today's Susan Page looks at Giuliani's national strategy and strengths as a "coast to coast" candidate and writes that analysis of USA Today/Gallup polls show his strongest appeal is in geographic areas and among some of the people with whom Clinton also shows strength.
Page notes that Giuliani has led the GOP field in each of the 18 USA Today polls taken this year, defying the conventional wisdom that his liberal social views and "messy personal life" would sink his campaign.
"Giuliani's resilience tests an emerging thesis advanced by his strategists and some other analysts that combating Islamic extremism is an issue that could trump social conservatism, a fundamental tenet in Republican politics for a generation. It also underscores the weaknesses in the rest of the GOP field and the alarm some Republicans feel toward the prospect of another Clinton in the White House."
Giuliani's declaration of support for the Red Sox still has legs on Day Two. The former mayor was skewered on the front pages of his hometown papers ("TRAITOR!" declared the Daily News and "Red Coat" shouted the New York Post) and on sports talk radio and today the New York Times recaps the Bronx cheers for the ardent Yankees fans.
The Union Leader's John DiStaso puts on his Red Sox cap and says it's "unclear how 'big'" it is for Giuliani to jump on the Boston bandwagon and whether it is an issue of character and integrity.
But from a purely sports perspective, DiStaso is unambigious: "Unless he makes a Red Sox exception to his "root for the American League team" rule, he doesn't get it. He doesn't get at all…It's simple. Yankees or Red Sox. Live Free or Die. No gray area. No exceptions."
Politicians betting on professional and college sports teams has become so commonplace and predictable (Philly cheesesteaks, Maryland crabs, New England clam chowder) that the tradition may have jumped the shark.
But leave it to Tom Tancredo to put a little spark back into the ritual by tying his presidential candidacy to the fate of the Colorado Rockies.
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports that Tancredo has offered a "friendly little high stakes wager" to his Republican rival Mitt Romney. "If the Rockies lose, Tancredo will drop out of the Presidential race," said spokesman Alan Moore. But if. . . IF the Red Sox lose, Moore went on, "Romney would have to agree that he'd drop out."
Maybe Tancredo should raise the stakes, swing for the fences and try on the uniform of giant slayer by inviting Rudy Giuliani to take part in the bet and put his Red Sox fandom on the line.
Also in the news: David Yepsen considers the biases that Iowa voters may be dealing with as they consider voting for the first woman/black/Latino/Mormon for president and how that may play in setting the 2012 primary calendar.
"Depending on the outcome, Iowa's image could be enhanced - or trashed. If Clinton, Obama, Richardson or Romney are seen as winning or doing well in Iowa, some will see that as evidence of our virtue, tolerance and progressivity."
"But if they are seen as 'losing' in Iowa, you can bet there will be a lot of talk about how they never had a chance with this sexist, white, fundamentalist audience. You can bet all that will be used against Iowa when it comes time to decide which state goes first in the 2012 campaign."
Is Iran the new Iraq in the Democratic presidential race? Dan Balz thinks so and looks at how the debate is nearly identical to the one over Clinton's 2002 Iraq war authorization vote. Except now – Clinton is on the opposite side of the argument from her leading rivals.
"The focus on Iran highlights the extent to which national security remains the key fault line in the Democratic race as Clinton's opponents seek to slow her momentum."
Fred Thompson sat down with ABC News' Jake Tapper for an interview airing on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35pm ET.
Tapper spent two days with Thompson as he traveled through Florida ,a key state in his campaign strategy. Thompson openly discussed his faith and how his personal life affected his decision to leave and re-enter politics: "A person has to realize at some point in his life it's not about him. It's about higher things, and the need to be right with God. And to be right with those who love you. And if you've got that, none of the rest of it matters."
The Politico has a report on Thompson's Tennessee finance chair Beth Harwell and how when she was chair of the state's Republican Party, the FEC slapped down a $30,000 fine for failure to correctly process donations (resulting in more than $335,000 in illegal contributions)
The New York Times' Michael Luo takes a look at Thompson's "harrumph," – "a tic that everyone from television producers fretting about their audio to members of the audience at his speeches have noticed since he declared his candidacy for the presidency back in early September." http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/the-thompson-sound-effects/
Thompson said it was just "a bug" he picked up from his young children. "'When you got a four-year-old and a one-year-old at home, there's almost always something going around (harumph),' he said, drawing appreciative laughter from the audience. "It's on its way here right now, I think (harumph).'"
His second-place finish in the Values Voters straw poll last week has earned Mike Huckabee plenty of "Can he be the Republican sleeper candidate" headlines and analysis pieces. But so did his second-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll in August and that did not turn into any tangible advantage for Huckabee over the last two months.
The AP's Mike Glover looks at Huckabee's lack of cold hard cash and sees that as his greatest obstacle to vaulting into the top-tier or pulling off a surprise win in Iowa. Glover notes that Huckabee has only eight paid staffers in Iowa, which is about half the size of Romney's campaign, and he does not have the money for TV ads like Romney.
"Given the front-loaded election schedule, in which Iowa and New Hampshire will be followed by an explosion of primaries, many wonder if a candidate without a pile of money can afford to build the organizations needed to compete throughout the nation," Glover writes.
(And of course Huckabee cannot add his own personal wealth to that "pile of money" like Romney can.)
Gail Collins does not Heart Huckabee and thinks that the reason leaders on the right aren't embracing his candidacy is because they are holding out hope that one of the top-tier candidates will change, much like a woman trying to change a bad boyfriend. "They pace around muttering that maybe Fred Thompson will start acting more ... alive, or that Mitt Romney will stop being a Mormon."
An evangelical backer of Mitt Rommey gives Huckabee credit as the best orator in the Republican field but says that isn't what counts in a presidential race. "We're not electing a champion orator. It would be difficult to run a country if you cannot run a major league campaign," said Mark DeMoss, whose clients include clients include Franklin Graham, and Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship.
Does Joe Biden really think that Washington DC schools are failing because of the high minority population? In an interview with the Washington Post ed board, Biden explained why some schools outperform others:
"There's less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with."
His campaign quickly spun into damage control and said the Delaware Senator was not discussing race, but rather economic disadvantages that some kids face entering school.
She may downplay her role in her husband's campaign but it's no secret that Elizabeth Edwards is a powerful force behind her husband's push for the White House. The New York Times' Christine Hauser looks at her influence and finds that rival campaigns see her as a weapon because people are reluctant to challenge her.
If Giuliani wanted to burnish his tough guy credentials, being the target of a mob assassination plot surely will help. ABC News' Marcus Baram reports that according to testimony given in the murder trial of retired FBI agent Lindley DeVechio, Giuliani was targeted by the bosses of New York's five mob families who considered killing him in 1986.
The kicker: "I played basketball and I'm skinny but the people I play with will tell you I don't mind going down low and throwing elbows." – Barack Obama, Dover NH
"They should burn his seat that he sat in at Yankee Stadium — how's that?" -- George Patsin, a Brooklyn restaurateur on Rudy Giuliani's new support for the Boston Red Sox.
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