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   So what exactly went wrong with all the polls that smugly predicted Barack Obama would cruise to victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary?   According to Lee Miringoff and Barbara Carvalho, two of the nation's top pollsters who run the Marist College poll, few considered the human factor of Hillary Clinton's mini-meltdown in a Portsmouth cafe. …

   DES MOINES, Iowa … Standing at the counter at a Kum and Go convenience store off I-80 in the supposedly conservative rural part of the state to the west of here earlier this week, I heard an old guy in a baseball cap and worn brown coat say everything I needed to know about the upcoming Iowa Democratic caucuses.    The guy, who had the worn look of …

DES MOINES, Iowa — Caucus rhymes with raucous, and it turns out that it could not be any more fitting. For proof, witness what happened Thursday at McCombs Middle School on the outskirts of Des Moines. About 160 people crammed into the school cafeteria and went to the area designated for the candidate they were supporting, except for the handful that looked like they were…

   MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa - The old champ, thinner and grayer than we remember him, was back in the ring here Monday, and it's clear he hasn't lost his knockout punch.    Bill Clinton can really give a speech. The trouble is, as he campaigns for his wife's presidential bid, some of the thoughts he's conjuring up might not necessarily be the ones he inte…

   PELLA, Iowa -- For 11 months now, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has stood in front of various blue signs where her first name stood out more than anything else, with the words "for president" in much smaller script.    But on Wednesday, eight days before the Iowa caucuses, she stood before an American flag here and in Cumming, Iowa, deliveri…

       Washington popularized the word "spin" decades ago to account for the way political consultants tilted or shaped campaign talk. Here comes another: "Air Drop."         An "air drop" is a semi-secret appropriation to help members of the Democratic majority whose re-election in 2008 is menaced…

It's become quite clear over the past year that Gov. Eliot Spitzer is no fan of the Capitol press corps -- AKA the Legislative Correspondents' Association. Still, his aides brought a large, framed photograph of the governor up the one flight of stairs to the LCA, where the black and white image was put in place this morning -- on Day 355 of his admininistration -- along a…

   Ah, yes. It's Christmas, and politics takes a breather for a few days.   But only on the surface.   Instead, politics shifts to the party scene this week, including Sen. Bill Stachowski's traditonal get-together in his storefront office on Clinton Street. That gathering includes lots of old friends like former Mayor Tony Masiello, and the finest…

A clerk in a large retail chain store in Washington says tentatively, "Happy holidays" in reply to a customer's greeting of "Merry Christmas." The checkout man looks around and says, sheepishly, "I am told to say 'Happy holidays.' "  Downtown, the few store windows with holiday displays all say "Happy holidays" if they say any…

Isn't technology great? The state Republican Party wasted little time spreading the word about a Brooklyn Democrat's angry speech on the state Senate floor Thursday evening demanding a pay increase for legislators. "Show me the money,'" Sen. Eric Adams exclaimed in a speech reported this morning in The Buffalo News. Also this morning, a simple message from the …

     Some see the rise of Communist China at the expense of the U.S. played out every day. University of Maryland economist Peter Morici doesn't put it quite that way, but on Wednesday he reported that this country's overall trade deficit reached $57.8 billion in October. That's equivalent to one-twentieth of all the goods and services produced in this count…

3:26 p.m. Well, it's over. And amazingly, there appears to be an audience in the studio clapping. It was...every bit as dull, from start to finish, as yesterday's GOP debate -- and sans Alan Keyes, maybe even more so. So who won? What do you think? 3:23 p.m. Well, we're nearing the end, and you can tell because moderator Carolyn Washburn just asked the candidates fo…

  JOHNSTON, Iowa … The pressure she faces today couldn't be any greater.   Critics on both the left and right savaged her last debate performance. On the left, Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo called her the event's "clear loser."   On the right, Michelle Malkin dubbed her "schoolmarm," and Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standar…

3:30 Well, it seems as if those 30-second answers must have been getting boring, because the moderator just gave each of the candidates 15 seconds to suggest New Year's resolutions for one of their opponents.    Say what?    And now it's over.    It sure wasn't anything like the YouTube debate; that much is certain. Not once in the last 90…

  JOHNSTON, Iowa - Two weeks after YouTube's Republican debate devolved into a dogfight between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, the GOP hopefuls will take the stage again today in a debate where the man in the middle of the scrum will be a candidate who was virtually unknown two months ago: Mike Huckabee.    To the amazement of the pundits who thought can…