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Unlikely to make or break a candidate

04/26/07 02:22PM

(By Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian)With so many candidates participating, it is unlikely that these early debates will make or break a candidacy unless, of course, one of them makes an unfortunate slip of the tongue as Sen. Kerry and Gov. Allen did in recent months. And since everyone is aware of the dangers of this, they are all likely to be so careful, so girdled, that they will seem even more programmed than usual. Nor is anyone likely to take on someone else in a hard-hitting way since all are aware of the polls suggesting people are sick of attack politics. read more

Who is Mike Gravel Anyway?

04/26/07 01:46PM

I am looking for a few simple things in the debate tonight.  Which candidate is giving us more than sound bites and rhetoric?  Which candidate isn’t answering the questions soooo carefully that by the end of their answer we forgot the question? read more

Matthews: What I'll be looking for at the debates

04/24/07 07:11PM

This Thursday, my colleague Brian Williams moderates the first Democratic presidential debate for 2008 at South Carolina State University.I’m looking forward to the event because it will be the first opportunity for everyone, including me, to see a number of things:How will Hillary Clinton, the only woman on stage, look in this line-up of men?  Will she radiate with charisma?   Will she debate with strength and modulation?  Will she be cool, persuasive and appealing?  Will she clearly stake out her position on the war in Iraq and on Mideast policy generally?  Will she stick her neck out in thi read more

Hard to declare a winner in first debate...but I'll do it anyway

04/24/07 06:59PM

All the Democrats are showing up in South Carolina Thursday night.  Will Barack Obama, who gave the first of a series of major policy speeches yesterday—that one on National Security—put substance under the sizzle?  Will John Edwards focus on trying to own health care, perhaps the domestic issue most important to democratic primary voters where he has a specific plan; Hillary Clinton’s is still uncertain and Obama promises to unveil his proposal soon.  Maybe he’ll jump the gun in the debate.  Speaking of guns, will Clinton, arguably positioned now as the establishment candidate in a year of ch read more

Tour length isn't the problem

04/12/07 02:00PM

extending the combat tour length for active duty U.S. Army soldiers from the standard 12 months to 15 months, with the commitment that the period between combat rotations will be 12 months.  This announcement does not affect the reserve components of the Army – the Reserves and National Guard – nor does it affect the length of deployment for the U.S. read more

Questions abound after British sailors released

04/04/07 05:18PM

The Iranians have decided to release the 15 British sailors and Marines they have held hostage for over 12 days.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that he had “pardoned” the British during the celebration of the birth of the prophet, which this year almost coincides with Easter.  To the world, he appears to have made a magnanimous gesture.  Good news, of course, but now comes the post mortem.  There are many questions to be answered, not the least of which are what did the British give to secure the release of their service members, and will Iran pay a price for their action?Mos read more

Memo to Tehran: Give it up

03/30/07 03:54PM

letters written by the sole woman among the detainees, as well as her appearances in a chador.  Again, do you really think that anyone believes this charade is how members of the Royal Navy would comport themselves in captivity?Of course, one only needs to look back on the glorious history of the Islamic Republic to answer that question. read more

You never know who you'll meet at the Correspondents Dinner

03/28/07 07:29PM

Kathleen and I are bringing as our guest tonight Darrell Hammond of Saturday Night Live.   Darrell is an uncanny mimic.  He can do the very soul of Bill Clinton.  He brings Cheney onto the stage better than Cheney does.  And he does me.  If he’s as good at doing me as he is at doing those other guys, then he’s great!!!  I can’t tell because I can’t imagine what I’m like.  Can you imagine what you’re like? read more

Withdrawal date for Iraq aids the enemy

03/23/07 06:37PM

requiring that all American forces be withdrawn from Iraq by a specified date.  This plays right into not only Shia militia leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr, but the Sunni insurgents as well, be they Iraqi Baathists, Islamists or the al-Qaeda in Iraq group.  Once they know when American forces will be gone, they will use that as a planning date for their operations.  Their goal will be to survive until that date, knowing that afterwards they will only be confronting Iraqi forces.  When the Americans mount offensives between now and then, the insurgents will melt away, waiting out the mandated and read more

Senator Pryor: Gonzales lied to me

03/20/07 09:14PM

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation would be "the best thing for the Justice Department and the best thing for the administration."Pryor's said Gonzales lied to him during a telphone conversation."There's no real polite way to say it other than he lied to me." WATCH VIDEO:Pryor also said that Karl Rove should testify under oath, and that the 3,00 e-mails released by the White House wasn't enough.  To read some of those emails, click here.   read more

The Iraq War: It was all predictable

03/19/07 08:06PM

The lazy story of the Iraq War is that nobody expected it.Nobody thought it would be so unpopular.  Nobody thought it would cause so much division in this country.  Nobody thought it would cause so much of the world to condemn us. But leaders are not supposed to be nobodies.  They’re supposed to know things. read more