COMMENTS: Three Weeks Left in Iowa

NBC decided to skip campaign coverage on the last day of the week--offering only a promo of Sunday's Meet the Press, where Republican Mitt Romney will answer Tim Russert's questions. CBS had Jim Axelrod play catch up on Thursday's reporting by NBC's Andrea Mitchell and ABC's Kate Snow (no link) on the travails of Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, "reeling from its roughest month yet," as Axelrod put it, "trying to hit the reset button." Axelrod found her "softening her image with new ads featuring her mother and her daughter." As George Stephanopoulos (no link) pointed out on ABC, Iowa for Rodham Clinton "is all about women. She does not do as well with Iowa women as she does in the rest of the country."

ABC's Stephanopoulos anticipated negative attacks against Republican Mike Huckabee in Iowa: "Romney has invested too much time and too much money in Iowa to lose. " CBS also summarized the gathering negative attacks. Huckabee's "surprise rise has put a big bull's eye on his back," as Nancy Cordes put it. Cordes outlined a trio of Huckabee's perceived vulnerabilities. First is his record of raising taxes in Arkansas, where he has a reputation as a "pro-life, pro-gun liberal." Second is his switch from criticizing a punitive push against immigrants who are here illegally as "driven by racism or nativism" to his new denunciation of amnesty and support for a border fence. Third is the issue NBC's Lisa Myers so enjoyed exploring on Tuesday, namely Huckabee's receipt of "expensive gifts" while in the Governor's Mansion and his department store registries to acquire more as he left office. Cordes quoted Huckabee's response to those questions: "Again it is Arkansas politics. Welcome to my world."


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