I picked up a quick mention in a recent article while reading last night that stated Fred Thompson had moved into Iowa full-time in preparation for the January 3rd caucus. The following ABC News article also states the reason he's now making his move is that Huckabee is showing weakness and Mitt "Flipper" Romney is attacking Huckabee. Fat-head Fred's people see this as an opportunity:
The ABC article quotes Des Moines Register newspaper columnist/blogger and political pundit David Yepsen. More about Yepsen after the jump -- first, here's his assessment of Thompson's current position and direction in Iowa.
[...] Romney has slipped, and Huckabee has surged in Iowa and nationally. Other candidates such as Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, who never seemed to figure out just how they want to play Iowa, have effectively bypassed the state in favor of contests elsewhere. That seemed a wise strategy because it would help Huckabee defeat Romney here, thereby derailing his New Hampshire momentum and making that state easier for Giuliani and McCain.
But after a sluggish start, Thompson has sensed an opening in Iowa, and he's moving decisively to exploit it. The opening arises from a combination of Romney's changes of position on social issues and Huckabee's stumbles on foreign-policy questions and immigration.
At least he's finally gotten off of his lazy ass.
After his winning performance in the Des Moines Register's debate, Thompson has embarked on a lengthy bus tour of the state. During these final days, his campaign says he'll hold events in 50 communities and will visit 54 of the 99 counties.
On Monday, he picked up the surprise endorsement of Congressman Steve King. Of all the endorsements flying around these days, that one could move the most numbers. It sends a powerful signal from one of Iowa's most conservative leaders to others on the right around the state: We've now got a horse we can ride.
More like a horse's ass to ride on, but now we may finally get to see what Fat-head Fred is made of after all these months and months of preparation on his part for "opening night" in Iowa.
So who is the Des Moines, Iowa Register's journalist and blogger turned pundit, David Yepsen?
Back in May, when speculation burbled up that Hillary Clinton might bypass Iowa, David Yepsen dashed off a blog entry comparing the New York senator's campaign to previous clunkers, including the early days of Reagan 1980, Gore 2000 and Kerry 2004. "Just as those candidates realized their campaigns were top heavy and sluggish -- and that they personally needed to reach down inside themselves to be sharper and better candidates -- so, too, does Senator Clinton now," wrote Yepsen, the Des Moines Register's veteran political columnist.
A little while later, the phone rang. "Senator, why are you calling me?" he asked, startled to hear Clinton's voice. "Well, I read your blog," she replied, and she wanted more details about what he thought was wrong with her campaign. Several days ago, with her status in the Hawkeye State looking wobbly as the Jan. 3 caucuses loom, Clinton had dinner with Yepsen, huddling in a private room at a restaurant here with her Iowa campaign director, Teresa Vilmain.
At 57, having covered every campaign here since 1976, Yepsen is the old-journalism king of the Iowa caucuses. He is also the new-journalism king of the Iowa caucuses. Heck, if the Iowa caucuses had their own currency, the bills just might have David Yepsen's face on them.
With his matter-of-fact newspaper assessments of candidates and their campaigns and his popular Register blog, launched for the 2008 cycle, he makes 'em and he breaks 'em. A positive Yepsen column is tantamount to an A-list endorsement, generating its own cycle of campaign press releases and news coverage. And if Yepsen goes negative, it can force a campaign to make changes real quick.
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