SNEAK PEEK: The Gifts That Keep on Giving


13 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

Seizing on the spirit of the season, the 2008 presidential candidates are taking some time off the trail early next week. But first they will squeeze in as many events as they can over the next 72 hours while they still have the attention of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

We have heard from several of the presidential candidates on what they are hoping to find under their tree this holiday season but what they have not revealed is what they are getting their Campaign Secret Santa. Yes, the 08ers crossed party lines and agreed to do an unprecedented gift swap.

Ron Paul decided that Barack Obama has enough "presents" already (nearly 130 of them) – so he didn't get him anything. LINK

Obama is giving the Texas Republican a boring sweater, because he figures Paul's Internet supporters already have given him everything he needs and if not they can quickly mobilize and raise enough cash to afford something from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book (do they sell blimps?)

Sportsfan Rudy Giuliani wanted to give Hillary Clinton a lump of coal but thought a better (and more snarky) gift would be Yankees, Mets and Cubs hats. Clinton is thinking along the same lines and is giving Rudy season tickets to the Red Sox (and a map to Fenway Park).

Mitt Romney and John Edwards went the easy route, giving each other gift certificates to Andre Chreky Salon for top-shelf hair products or a $400 haircut

Jinx! Fred Thompson and Chris Dodd gave each other the same thing – a gift card for a special rate on diaper service for AARP members. (Dodd also slipped Thompson a fundraising solicitation letter as Thompson gave him a signed copy of "The Hunt for Red October" DVD).

Mike Huckabee is riding high in the polls and loving life. He wanted to give Joe Biden some divine advice on how to successfully bust out of that second-tier in Iowa, something the Delaware Senator is definitely wishing for, but instead is going to give him a copy of the Bible, with a caution to not quote it too "liberally." Biden plans to return the favor with a copy of his book, "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics"

Kucinich is going to give McCain a copy of "The Little Engine That Could" and words of encouragement for the New Hampshire primary – and possibly some wheat grass. McCain thinks that Kucinich could improve his standing in the polls if he improved his image so he will give him a leather bomber jacket and a pair of aviator shades.

Duncan Hunter is giving Bill Richardson his business card to remind another person he is still in the race and no, he is not that guy who dropped out this afternoon, and Richardson is giving the California Congressman a Spanish-English dictionary.

As for what's happening on the trail, Romney won the backing of Tom Tancredo, who dropped out of the race on Thursday. Maybe Tancredo's support will provide Romney with a boost among the most hardline of the hardliners on immigration. Tancredo is the fourth GOPer to exit the race. He follows Sam Brownback, Tommy Thompson and Jim Gilmore.

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