Monday, January 19, 2004

Kerry-Clark '04? Why not? It makes sense, so it probably won't happen. But here's why it should. Although it may still turn out that Howard Dean's and Dick Gephardt's field organizations are too much to overcome, there is a pretty good chance that the story coming out of Iowa tonight will be John Kerry. The final Zogby Iowa tracking poll: Kerry, 25 percent; Dean, 22 percent; John Edwards, 21 percent; Gephardt, 18 percent.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Kerry's campaign - dead as recently as a week ago - has sprung to life; he's essentially tied for second with Wesley Clark (Clark, 20 percent; Kerry, 19 percent) in the American Research Group daily tracking polls. Dean still holds the lead with 28 percent. (The Boston Globe/WBZ-TV tracking poll isn't quite as good for Kerry: he's lagging with 14 percent, behind Dean's 30 percent and Clark's 23 percent).

To finish setting the table: on Sunday, the Concord Monitor endorsed Kerry, writing, "Only Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has well-reasoned and rock-solid answers to every question, foreign or domestic. Kerry is prepared to take office tomorrow." So did the Nashua Telegraph. The Boston Globe and possibly the Boston Herald (even though it will be with George W. Bush in November) can be expected to follow suit in the next few days.

Now, then. I can't dig up the citation, but I know I saw a comment from Clark recently saying that he wouldn't have jumped into the race if Kerry had caught fire. And Kerry, after being all but written off, is finally on the move. But if Kerry and Clark split the anti-Dean vote in New Hampshire next Tuesday, then Dean could win, regain the momentum, and roll to the nomination.

Clark has run an interesting campaign, and he's a very smart guy, but huge questions remain about his lack of experience in anything other than the military. If he were to drop out, and Kerry were to take the unprecedented step of naming his fellow war hero as his running mate, the combination might be too much for Dean to overcome. And if Dean can't win in New Hampshire, he likely can't win anywhere.

Little People news. Yesterday's Providence Journal reviewed Little People. Reviewer Jeanne Nicholson writes:

He weighs the risks and rewards of bone-stretching surgery; he seeks out and interviews adult dwarfs on their home turf for insights into how Becky might attain a life of quality in spite of her difference; he attends and writes about the meetings of Little People of America, knowing his daughter will have to build a life for herself in a world with people of average height.

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