Why Candidates Should Give Thanks

Even in a presidential race as supercharged and unpredictable as this one, Thanksgiving is a day of rest.

“We’re leaving you all alone on Thanksgiving, so that should be one of the blessings,” Hillary Rodham Clinton told a crowd in Creston, Iowa, on Tuesday. “I hope everybody in Iowa says, ‘Well, we’re thankful for one day without all the hot air.’”

But as avid readers of Politico.com already know, Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin never rest. So, to get you through the Turkey Day weekend, they offer a sampling of what key Republicans and Democrats are really thankful for this year.

From Martin, from the GOP side:

* The Republicans have two major things to be thankful for on this, Thanksgiving 2007. First, this will be the last Turkey Day they’ll have to worry about President Bush’s unpopularity hanging over their electoral prospects. But it almost certainly won’t be the last Thanksgiving that they will have stock villains Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and an unpopular, Democratic-led Congress helping their election prospects.

* Fred Thompson is thankful that voters in “real America” aren’t as poll- and process-obsessed as those front-running Beltway types he can barely stand to live among. Or at least he’s averting his gaze from his sagging state poll numbers and hoping they aren’t.

* Mitt Romney is thankful for capitalism and compound interest. Both have helped him become a very wealthy man and will help him stay up on TV and pay many staffers and “volunteers” for as long as he’s in the race. Mitt is also saying a special word of thanks to the bureaucrats at the Federal Election Commission. They’ve scheduled the fourth-quarter financial disclosure deadline for Jan. 31 — after each of the four key contests that month — which means that nobody will know until it’s too late just how much of his own lucre he’s put in the campaign kitty.

* John McCain is thankful that New Hampshire voters are stubborn and loyal. They’re giving him a ray of hope right now. For very different reasons, McCain is also thankful to the folks at the FEC. It is they who offer the prospect of matching funds that will keep his ads on TV from here until that New Hampshire primary, assuming he doesn’t just rely on a line of credit or a loan. In which case, he would most certainly not be thankful for the notion of interest.

* Rudy Giuliani is thankful to George W. Bush and Clinton. The two have made GOP voters so desperate to find a winner who can "beat her" that they don't seem to care (yet) about all his baggage. Rudy is also thankful Roger Ailes decided to leave politics for the media those many years ago. With his buddy at the helm of Fox News and allies like Sean Hannity and Dick Morris singing his praises, Rudy’s message gets to the many Republican primary voters who get their TV news exclusively through Fox without any inconvenient filters.

* Mike Huckabee is thankful that Thanksgiving comes only once a year. Otherwise, the temptation to gorge would be too great.

For the Democrats, Smith notes that Chris Dodd and Joe Biden actually planned to spend the day in Iowa, and the rest of the field will be in the state in time for turkey sandwiches:

Several Democratic campaigns, being notoriously gabby, actually suggested some reasons to be thankful. In some cases, Politico offered some helpful additional thoughts.

* John Edwards: "We're thankful for the fact that, in just a short six weeks, actual voters will start to decide this nomination, and not the MSM," said spokesman Mark Kornblau.

Politico adds: Edwards should be thankful he's still in the race’s top tier and currently occupying a sweet spot that allows him to attack while rarely facing attacks on his own record.

* Dodd: His communications director, Hari Sevugan, was all bsiness when asked by Politico what the campaign is thankful for.

"In addition to having the opportunity to talk to the American people about the future of our country, the Dodd campaign is thankful that it has such a brilliant communications director," he said.

* Barack Obama: Spokesman Bill Burton feigned normalcy in echoing a slogan of Clinton's.

"Obama is thankful that soon, the heat is going to be turning up ... on a big turkey," he said.

Politico adds: Obama should be grateful that his rivals and — equally important — the press have bought into his gamble of betting his campaign on Iowa. He should also be thankful that Iowa college kids are noted teetotalers, particularly on Christmas vacation.

* Clinton: The senator from New York should be thankful that the test for the presidency this year doesn't seem to be "who do you want to get a beer with?"

The rest: Biden, Dodd and Bill Richardson should all be thankful that they have pretty cool day jobs.

And Dennis J. Kucinich, as he often reminds us, will doubtless be thankful for his statuesque young wife.
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