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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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December 31, 2007 1:52 PM

Iowa Watch

Posted by David Postman

Sen. Maria Cantwell endorsed Hillary Clinton for president today. I doubt that does much for Clinton in Iowa where residents caucus Thursday in the first official votes of the 2008 presidential campaign. But in this state, Cantwell broke a log jam of sorts among the state’s top three Democrats. Gov. Chris Gregoire and senior Sen. Patty Murray remain neutral and could stay that way until past when an endorsement would matter at all.

Cantwell was waiting, she said in November, to see which candidate was most aligned with state interests on social and environmental issues. A statement from Cantwell issued by the Clinton campaign singles out Clinton’s energy policies.

“Hillary is ready to address our energy challenges on day one with a bold, comprehensive plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and move America toward a renewable energy future."
Cantwell has a lot of friends in the race. Clinton helped raise money to pay off her debt after the 2000 election and a Clinton PAC gave Cantwell money for her re-election. Alicia Mundy wrote last month:
"All these people came and campaigned for me," she said. "I don't think it should be your first instinct after you got re-elected to say 'Thank you' and then endorse one of them over the others."

Sen. Barack Obama came to Washington state twice on Cantwell's behalf. Sen. Chris Dodd raised money for her from his Wall Street contributors. And Sen. Joseph Biden has been Cantwell's mentor and adviser on the war in Iraq.

And then there is Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

"He drove over the Cascades for an event I didn't get to," Cantwell said. "My God, he drove to Yakima."

In other its-almost-caucus-time news, Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic does a reality-check on the claim that Sen. John Edwards is a campaign finance hypocrite. That claim was made by Obama’s campaign because of help Edwards is getting from the union-backed 527, Alliance for a New America. There are too many unnamed sources in Ambinder’s piece and that doesn’t help the effort to demystify the interplay between the Edwards campaign and the independent expenditure group. But he has done more work than most on this story and makes the case that at the least the Obama campaign over-reached on its rhetoric.

At The Slog, Eli Sanders continues to closely cover Iowa, where he’ll be based this week. He is taking predictions on what will happen Thursday. Sandeep Kaushik got the ball rolling with his guesses, including a comfortable win for Edwards. He also posted more than 700 words of explanation. It’s almost as if he’s worried about losing a reputation as a political genius or something. Of course, I don't make public predictions in order to prevent being seen as the really bad prognosticator I am.

Sanders already made a bet on the outcome. He figures he’ll lose the bet, which may cost him in the short-run but will likely get him plenty of invitations to play poker.

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