Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vilsack on Daily Show and Poor Giuliani

Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, and one of the three officially announced Democratic nomination contenders was on The Daily Show on December 18 (yeah, I know, it's now January, but better late than never that I look at this).

The four plus minutes of time focused primarily on the War in Iraq, and Vilsack's tour of the country, which led him to his proposed policy that the United States needs to withdraw.

He described the relationship between Iraq and the United States as an addiction - that the Iraqis are addicted to a belief that the United States should save them. Vilsack said he believes the Iraqis need to save themselves.

Stewart used the "if you break it, you fix it" analogy that Colin Powell had offered some time ago as reason to stay in Iraq, and Vilsack responded with the proposal that the Europeans and others must step in and help stabilize as we step out.

He mentioned Bush at the beginning of the segment, noting that Bush is advocating a surge in troops in the months ahead. Vilsack then said that Bush now has McCain advocating this approach, and then Vilsack offered his plan for withdrawal, saying that a troop surge was a mistake. What's noteworthy is the explicit mention of McCain, which is a signal that that is who Vilsack thinks will be running on the Republican ticket in 2008.

There was, of course, at the end of the segment a plug for Vilsack's website - a now customary move for candidates to try to drive traffic to their website.

On a side note - I read in my local paper that the New York Daily News was reporting that Rudy Giuliani's entire campaign playbook was left (or stolen) from a hotel room (or airplane), and has been leaked. There's some speculation that the playbook was stolen by an aide to the new Florida Governor when Giuliani was campaigning for him last year, possibly someone who favored a different Republican candidate for the presidential nomination.

The playbook's details have not received much media coverage, except in the Daily News, which detailed the unvarnished assessment of Giuliani's weaknesses, which include his three marriages, his relationship to disgraced Bernard Kerik, and his private business dealings.

Such foibles are hard on a campaign, because they're distracting and cause candidates and their staffs to go off message. This will blow over, but I am curious whether or not this will be made more of when the campaign starts to heat up.

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