Who's stirring up the candidates more: MoveOn or Limbaugh?

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Oct. 5 2007 3:58 PM

All the Rage

Who's stirring up the candidates more: MoveOn or Limbaugh?

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All the Rage: Republicans and Democrats are in an umbrage war and the GOP is winning. When MoveOn.org questioned Gen. David Petraeus in an ad in the New York Times, Republican presidential candidates raced to show their outrage. Now some Democrats are trying to offer a similar response to Rush Limbaugh, who used the phrase "phony soldiers" during a call-in conversation about American soldiers who oppose the war. Rep. Mark Udall authored legislation condemning the remarks, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Limbaugh's boss  asking him to disavow them. (He didn't.) Limbaugh, for his part, fought back on his radio show—insisting that Democrats were trying to "smear" him and purposely taking his comments out of context. How did the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates respond? Only John Edwards showed the intensity that GOP candidates did over the MoveOn controversy. Here's a breakdown of how upset everyone is:

DEMOCRATS

Hillary Clinton
MoveOn: "I don't condone attacks on any American who has served our country honorably and with dedication the way General Petraeus has."
Limbaugh:  Did not comment, but signed Sen. Harry Reid's letter.

Barack Obama
MoveOn:
"General Petraeus has served this country honorably. And I think it probably was a distraction to try to attack him as opposed to George Bush's policies." Did not vote on Sept. 20 Senate measure to condemn MoveOn.org because "the focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements."
Limbaugh: Did not comment, but signed Sen. Harry Reid's letter.

John Edwards
MoveOn: Elizabeth Edwards: "Someone who's spent their life in the military doesn't deserve 'General Betray Us.' "
Limbaugh: Elizabeth Edwards called Limbaugh a draft dodger  and said: "Rush Limbaugh should be ashamed of himself for calling brave members of our military 'phony soldiers.' There's nothing phony about the sacrifices being made by any of our troops in Iraq."

Bill Richardson
MoveOn:
"They shouldn't have done it."
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Joe Biden
MoveOn:
"I think it was a mistake. But I don't think it's a capital offense."
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Chris Dodd
MoveOn:
"It is a sad day in the Senate when we spend hours debating an ad while our young people are dying in Iraq."
Limbaugh: Has not commented, but his spokesman said: "The comments impugn the patriotism and service of American troops simply because they have voiced their opposition to this failed policy. … [Limbaugh] has no idea what the brave men and women of our armed forces are ostensibly fighting for."

Dennis Kucinich
MoveOn:
Has not commented, but was one of 79 congressmen to vote against condemning the ad in a Sept. 26 vote.
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

REPUBLICANS

Rudy Giuliani
MoveOn:
Ran a newspaper ad challenging Hillary Clinton to denounce MoveOn and called the ad "character assassination of an American general in a time of war."
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Mitt Romney
MoveOn:
"The MoveOn.org attack on General Petraeus is, frankly, entirely unacceptable … for MoveOn.org to attack him as they did is simply unacceptable and reprehensible." Limbaugh: Romney spokesman: "Governor Romney would disagree with the negative characterization of those men and women who serve with honor and distinction in the United States Military. … Those members of the military who disagree with the war have earned the right to express that opinion."

Fred Thompson
MoveOn:
"I call upon the Democratic party and all those Democratic contenders for the White House to disavow this libel against this brave American."
Limbaugh: "[Limbaugh] is one of the strongest supporters of our troops, yet Democrats claim he is not being strong enough.  I wonder who General Petraeus and his troops think is most supportive."

John McCain
MoveOn:
"It's disgraceful, it's got to be retracted and condemned by the Democrats, and MoveOn.org ought to be thrown out of this country."
Limbaugh: "I can't tell you the number of times I have misspoken, and when I have, I've tried to correct it and tried to move on. I think Rush is saying he was only talking about one figure. To me, this issue is closed."

Mike Huckabee
MoveOn:
"The disgraceful act of the leftist organization, moveon.org, has marked a new low watermark in American discourse."
Limbaugh:  Has not commented.

Ron Paul
MoveOn:
Has not commented, but voted in favor of a resolution condemning the ad.
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Sam Brownback
MoveOn:
"It's despicable and wrong."
Limbaugh:  Has not commented.

Duncan Hunter
MoveOn:
"I call on the leadership of the Democrat Party to denounce this advertisement and disassociate themselves from it."
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Tom Tancredo
MoveOn: "What was perhaps most disturbing throughout this entire ordeal has been the overt desire by the left and groups like MoveOn.org to do all that they can to assure the failure of the U.S. mission abroad."
Limbaugh: Has not commented.

Posted by Brad Flora and John Dickerson, Oct. 5, 2:5x p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Dead Horse: You may have heard by now that Barack Obama opposed the Iraq war five years ago.

If not, turn on your TV: Obama caps his four-day "Judgment and Experience" tour with a new ad featuring a retired four-star general testifying to Obama's—you guessed it—judgment and experience. "Barack Obama opposed this war from the start, showing insight and courage others did not," says Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, who commanded the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm.

Obama has been harping on his initial opposition to the war for some time now. He mentioned it in his campaign announcement speech. He brings it up at every debate. And he just spent a week patting himself on the back for a decision that, while prescient, many people don't see as a massive gamble. The real gamble, it turns out, is basing so much of his campaign on that one stance he took five years ago.

The problem is, his attack on Hillary for voting to authorize the war—if you can call vague allusions to "judgment" and "Washington insiders" an attack—doesn't seem to be working. Hillary is popular among the anti-war left and has pushed for withdrawal at least as vigorously as Obama has. Plus, her initial support of the war means she doesn't have to strike poses to prove her toughness—see Obama's remarks about bombing Pakistan and Iran. Most Democratic voters don't see Hillary's vote for the war as a deal breaker. Obama should probably stop pretending that it is.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 5, 12:30 a.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Oct. 4, 2007

Tax Attacks: The GOP debate in Michigan on the economy doesn't happen till next week, but Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are already circling the ring. The two candidates seem determined to show who can send out the most press releases boasting the biggest tax cuts using the biggest fonts.

Yesterday, Giuliani kicked off "Rudy Makes Cents" week (my calendar was marked) by listing his "23 tax cuts" as mayor of New York City. Today he highlighted his cuts to the city work force and the privatization of city-owned businesses. He's stacking up his own record against Romney's in Massachusetts. He even trotted out another former GOP Bay State governor, Paul Cellucci, to show that for many Republicans, ideology trumps geographical loyalty.

Romney, meanwhile, announced the endorsement of New Hampshire anti-tax advocate Tom Thompson and released "A Conservative Blueprint to Lower Taxes." The plan makes all the necessary overtures to renewing Bush's tax cuts, eliminating the "death tax" and cutting taxes for corporations. But at next week's debate, it's not what he will do but what he has done that Romney will have to address. Romney had a $3 billion deficit to balance when he took office in 2003, and he didn't fix it by cutting spending alone. He'll tell you he didn't raise taxes but merely "closed" "loopholes"—a distinction that isn't likely to find a lot of sympathy next Tuesday.

Giuliani has garbled the subject of taxes, too. He says he believes slashing taxes always raises revenue—a notion that, while popular among some crowds, has been all but debunked. This idea led to his bizarre statement that he would pay for tax cuts with more tax cuts. (And for those? More tax cuts!) So far, the other candidates haven't called him out on it. In fact, McCain pretty much agreed.

But who knows, if the two campaigns keep sparring at this level, maybe they won't even need to have the debate.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 4, 6:47 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Green party: Is Al Gore listening?

Today Sen. Hillary Clinton marked the 50th anniversary of Sputnik 1 by decrying the Bush administration's "war on science" and calling for a new era of scientific innovation to match the one inspired by Sputnik. In other words, global warming is the new space race. It's time to "think outside the box," she said. "And the tank." The only thing missing was a swirling atmospheric projection screen behind her.

Gore hasn't endorsed any of the Democratic candidates yet, but he has indicated that he will before the primaries. If today's speech doesn't convince him to go with Hillary, I'm not sure what will. Her plan massaged all the greenie erogenous zones: offering tax breaks for businesses that use renewable energies, ending political tinkering with the government's scientific reports, and the return of "evidence-based" environmental policy.

She had a few new ideas, too—a renewable energy research organization modeled on DARPA, incentives for green technology exports, and a "health information technology" database to make it easier to share medical data. (She also called for more TV shows about scientists to do for that profession what CSI did for forensics.)

Gore must like what he's hearing. And signs indicate that the frosty Clinton-Gore relationship is thawing, at least on the surface, as he and Bill appeared together at the Clinton Global Initiative in September. If he wins the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 12, whoever he endorses will probably want to ride that wave of publicity. So, given the Clinton campaign's gift for timing—she recently eclipsed Obama's "I was right about Iraq" speech with her third-quarter fund-raising totals—we can probably expect to hear something soon after.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 4, 1:56 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Hillary's Forgery? Sen. Hillary Clinton posted a handwritten note on her Web site Tuesday thanking her supporters for her best-in-show fund-raising haul. So naturally, I asked a handwriting analyst to tell me what Hillary's scrawl said about her personality.

But first, I wanted to confirm the note was actually written by Hillary. I called her press office—message taken. An hour and a half later, I called back to check in—another message taken. Clearly this was not at the top of their to-do pile, but I just needed a yes or a no.

When I tried calling the Web team, a woman picked up the phone. I asked if she knew whether Clinton had written the note herself. Silence. I started to say, "I'm not sure you know the answer …," but she cut me off: "I do … but I don't know if … hold on." When she came back on the line, she told me I'd have to wait for the press office to call me back. I'm still waiting, 44-plus hours and a half-dozen calls and e-mails later.

I'll take that as a "no comment." But seriously, what is there to hide? Did somebody forge Hillary's note? If not, then why is it a state secret? If so, does the senator know about it? The campaign introduces the note by saying they're going to let her "speak for herself." Did they mean to say they'd let her dictate to someone with good penmanship? Has Hillary Clinton been hanging out with Ghostwriter? America deserves an answer.

Oh, by the way, the handwriting analyst, Bart Baggett, said the note's writing implied the author was sarcastic, a good debater, and sensitive to criticism. Maybe it's hers after all.

Posted by Chadwick Matlin, Oct. 4, 12:40 p.m. ET (link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Oct. 3, 2007

Rudy on the Radio: Rudy Giuliani's out with a new radio spot in New Hampshire. It's called "Tested," and it adds another brush stroke to the image of the Man Who Might As Well Already Be President.

The message: Rudy's been to hell and back (not to mention Britain), and he's ready to do it again to keep America safe. People who look at him are "not going to find perfection, but they're gonna find somebody who's dealt with crisis almost on a regular basis and has had results." He doesn't mention 9/11 explicitly, but he does drop his line about going "on offense against terrorism." Bottom line: Rudy is "the Republican that Democrats just don't want to run against." This last part echoes another Rudy ad, which said he's MoveOn.org's "worst nightmare." In other words, there are two cohorts that should be afraid of a Giuliani presidency: terrorists and Democrats.

Rudy also rejects Democratic overtures to consensus and unity. He plans to go it alone if that's what it takes: "We laid out a very, very specific set of goals that we want to achieve because I want people to look at those and say if I agree with most of them, then this is a person who can bring them about. And if they disagree with it, they should vote against me, because I am going to bring it about." Got a problem with that?

It's a blustery tactic, but one that seems to be working. (The latest poll shows him with twice the support of Fred Thompson, his closest rival.) He doesn't need to convince you he's right—there's no time for that. Instead, he'll do what's right, and you'll find out only years later, once he's already saved you from getting nuked five times over. That's when you'll thank him, and you'll thank yourself for voting for him.

Unlike Mitt Romney, who has jumped on board the Democrats' "change" theme, Giuliani is sticking with what he does best: strength, efficiency, and haunting the nightmares of liberals.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 3, 5:25 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Paul's Pot:Over the last three months, Ron Paul convinced the American people to give him $5 million. That's more than Mike Huckabee, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden raised, combined. Against all conventional wisdom, the formerly libertarian, now anti-war, Republican may be less of a long shot than people thought, thanks to his hefty bank account.

Paul upped his fund-raising haul by 114 percent from the second quarter, according to his campaign. Most impressively, Paul managed to increase his total as the rest of the field's coffers took a nosedive (with the exception of fund-raising neophyte Fred Thompson). McCain is rumored to be down at least 50 percent from his second-quarter total and $2 million in debt, Giuliani's amount remains a mystery, and Romney has pumped his own money into his campaign again.

If Paul's raking in all of this money (his campaign says he's got $5.3 million on hand), does that mean he's ready to emerge from the second tier? Well, there's that pesky issue of public opinion that's standing in the way. One poll has him at 3 percent nationally, while another shows him hovering between 2 percent and 3 percent in the early primary states. So, where's all that cash going to go? Like any good libertarian, Paul's spending it on himself. His campaign plans to buy more ad time in Iowa and New Hampshire and expand its national staff to start the long climb to the front of the pack.

Meanwhile, Paul's second-tier colleague Mike Huckabee posted a lackluster million-dollar quarter, despite heavy post-straw poll national press coverage. Looks like he was right when he said this would be his campaign's best quarter yet, but a $234,000 increase isn't exactly progress.

Posted by Chadwick Matlin, Oct. 3, 4:50 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

¿Dónde Están?: Only four of the eight major Democratic presidential candidates showed up to today's event hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. There weren't any empty lecterns this time, but the absences of Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama were conspicuous, given Richardson's ethnicity, Dodd's Spanish skills, and Obama's reggaeton theme song.

The price for snubbing Latino voters could be high. With a large and growing presence in states like Florida, California, New York, and Arizona, Hispanics are expected to play a bigger role than ever in 2008. And after President Bush's failed immigration bill alienated segments of the Latino population, Democrats have been pushing hard to get their votes. Republicans haven't exactly been pushing back—instead they've been declining invitations left and right, first to the Univision debate, now to this event. Bill Richardson also cited a scheduling conflict, but will be attending tonight's reception, according to his spokesman.

The ones who did show seemed to get the message. Joe Biden was his usual enthusiastic self: "I no longer consider the Hispanic community a minority community," he said to applause. "I consider it a mainstream community." Dennis Kucinich slammed GOP attempts to use immigration "to divide us" and promised all immigrants a "path to citizenship." (He also weighed in on In the Valley of Elah: "worth seeing.") Mike Gravel seemed unhindered by notes of any kind, and by the end of his speech a lot of the audience was chatting loudly. Clinton, on task as usual, touched on education, health care, and immigration, and appeared to have the most support. (Although that could have been her vocal entourage.)

As for the no-shows, at least they have Romney/McCain/Giuliani to make them look good.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 3, 2:41 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007

Rudy Giuliani. Click image to expand.
Rudy Giuliani

The Google primary: What do people think about when they think about the 2008 presidential candidates? To find out, I spent a few hours with Google. Back in August, Slate's Josh Levin revealed the glories of Google Suggest, which lets you see instantly which search queries are the most popular: Paul Potts is searched for more often than Paul McCartney, and more people want to know about "tom cruise height" than "tom cruise and katie holmes."

Google Suggest reveals that most people are looking for the obvious candidate-related material: Wikipedia pages, campaign sites, biographies. But it's the anomalies that provide a glimpse into our collective thinking. A few distinct patterns emerge:

Wives matter: People want to get to know Elizabeth Kucinich. When you type "dennis kucinich" into Google Suggest, you learn that more people are searching for "dennis kucinich wife" than "dennis kucinich for president." What do they want to know about her? According to the suggestion results for her name, people are looking for "pictures," "photos," "age," "hot," and "tongue." (It's pierced.) The Republican field has a woman of choice, too: Three of the top 10 search queries after "fred thompson" are wife-related. The query "joe biden wife," however, doesn't appear until the candidate's 10th result. Ouch.

Dirty minds: Among Hillary Clinton's most popular searches is "hillary clinton cleavage"—no doubt fueled by all the hard-hitting reporting on the subject. Of course, that's innocent compared with Rudy's most popular associations: Search for "Rudy Giuliani" and three of the top 10 suggested queries are related to cross-dressing. Other results provide a glimpse into America's fantasies: If you type in "obama", three of the top 10 results are some variation on "obama girl." And why else would "mitt romney larry craig" be such a popular search?

God is great: Everyone knows Mitt Romney's religion: As expected, people are searching for "mitt romney mormon." But they're also curious—and mistaken, it seems—about Obama's beliefs. Type his name, and you see that "barack obama muslim" and "barack obama religion" are the second and fourth most-popular queries, respectively. Enter "barack hussein" into the search field and up pops "barack hussein obama a muslim wants to be our president."

Soft spots: Some search suggestions point out a candidate's weaknesses. "John McCain age" is up there, as is "john edwards house" and "john edwards suv." Joe Biden's search slate is pretty clean, save for the seventh suggestion, "joe biden plagiarism." It's a sad commentary on Chris Dodd's campaign that one of the most common Dodd queries is "chris dodd fly," which takes you to a video of the senator debating with a bug on his head.

Name game: A handful of candidates are the most popular people to bear their first names. Fred Thompson is the most popular Fred on the Web, beating out Freddies Mercury and Mac. Dennis Kucinich bests Miller, Rodman, and Hopper. Mike Huckabee thumps Mike Gravel handily (but Vick and Tyson top them both). Clinton is the most popular Hillary on the Internet, beating out Duff and Swank. And Mitt Romney, thankfully, is more popular than mittelschmerz.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 2, 2:17 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Monday, Oct. 1, 2007

Match Point: The third quarter fund-raising numbers are trickling in: Obama raised $19 million, Hillary is reportedly in the same ballpark, Thompson raked in more than $8 million, and McCain's and Richardson's coffers each totaled over $5 million. But the numbers getting the most attention are John Edwards', thanks to his not desperate at all decision last week to accept public matching funds.

Edwards finished the quarter with $7 million in new donations and $12 million in the bank, according to his campaign. If you count the public funds, they say, he'll have $22 million cash on hand. But unlike his opponents, he'll now have to observe spending limits state by state. Here's a quick breakdown of how much he can spend on each of the first primary states:

Iowa: $1.5 million
New Hampshire: $817,000
Nevada: $1.2 million
Michigan: $5 million
South Carolina: $2.1 million
Florida: $9.2 million
(Source: Federal Elections Commission)

These limits needn't be crippling. Iowa and NH have tougher spending caps than the other states, but even there, the rules for how you allocate spending are flexible. For example, you can mark half of your spending for any state as fund-raising money, which is then exempt from state limits, up to a total of $8 million. You also get some wiggle room, since the limits don't include TV-advertising expenditures in nearby markets. For instance, you can advertise on Boston stations that broadcast in New Hampshire without that counting toward your spending cap. Staff salaries aren't included either—just advertising, polling, phone banks, and other nonhuman expenditures.

So, with a little creativity, the Edwards team might still have a chance (despite previous statements to the contrary). Unclear, though, is whether anyone will buy his attempt to paint the public funding decision as a "challenge" to Hillary and Obama to do the same. Maybe if those candidates see their coffers dry up soon, they'll find themselves experiencing a similar ethical epiphany.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 1, 6:59 p.m. ET ( link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Commander in Chef: Not content with the Romney family's already-massive digital footprint, the Romney campaign has launched AnnRomney.com. The campaign says Ann's site offers an "insider's perspective" into the Romney family, which we guess wasn't covered by Mitt's own site, MittTV, or the Five Brothers blog.

The most intriguing section of the site is " Ann's Recipes," where Ann shares her favorite delicacies with Romney supporters. This week, she's decided to help all of us make that old family classic, Welsh Skillet Cakes. In true Romney fashion, the site leaves a space to enter your own recipe for the chance to have it published on Five Brothers. Mr. Reed, the floor is open for the " Way! Soufflé." 

We couldn't help but make our own recipe suggestion:

Spaghetti and Mittballs: Mix pasta with two parts pro-life and one-part expired pro-choice. For the Mittballs, mash together a hunk of shoe polish, a pile of money, and a glob of hair gel, and let sit until January 2008. Marinate in America's moral cesspool before roasting over the Salt Lake Olympic torch. Serve with Caffeine-Free Diet Coke.  

Don't worry if it looks unappetizing at first, polls suggest tastemakers find it palatable.

Posted by Chadwick Matlin, Oct. 1, 4:44 p.m. ET (link) ( discuss) ( tips)

Dems and Mormons: Another curious detail from the latest Newsweek poll: In response to the question, "Do you think America is ready to elect a Mormon president, or not?", 45 percent of registered Republicans responded yes, while only 35 percent said no. But among Democrats, the numbers were practically flipped: Only 33 percent said America was ready for a Mormon president, while 51 percent said it was not. What happened to Democrats being the party of tolerance and inclusion?

"The problem with generic questions like that is that when people think about them, they think about candidates out there now," says Larry Hugick of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which conducted the study. In other words, when you say "Mormon," they hear "Romney."

But with liberals grilling John McCain for telling Beliefnet he wouldn't want a Muslim in the Oval Office, you'd think some folks on the right would point to Newsweek's findings as evidence that Democrats are no more tolerant than McCain. At the very least, that logic could surface during the general election if Romney gets the nomination. Would a Mormon GOP nominee make Democrats the agents of intolerance?

Update: A reader points out that some of the Democrats polled probably weren't expressing their own intolerance, but rather their lack of faith in Republicans' ability to elect a Mormon. Agreed! But I also think that if Romney got the nomination, the right rhetoric could cast Democrats' anti-Romneyism as anti-Mormonism. 

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 1, 2:33 p.m. ET (link) (discuss) (tips)

Poll Dance: A Newsweek poll released over the weekend has survey wonks chattering over who's beating whom in Iowa. The big (supposed) news: It gives Hillary a six-point lead among Democratic voters, but has Obama leading by four points among "likely caucus-goers." Some bloggers have expressed doubts about the poll given its gaping margins of error (+/- 7 percent for likely Democratic caucus-goers; +/- 9 percent for their GOP counterparts). But it also raises the perennial question: How do you define a "likely caucus-goer"?

Depends who you ask—there are virtually as many definitions as there are pollsters. In the Newsweek poll, they asked each subject to rate themselves on a four-grade scale of definitely attending, probably attending, probably NOT attending, and definitely not attending. They then define a "likely caucus-goer" as someone who said they are either "definitely" or "probably" attending.

Some polls will also factor in whether a respondent attended previous caucuses. For example, a poll conducted by Time/SRBI last August defined a "likely voter" as someone who said they were either, "100% certain that they would attend the Iowa caucuses" or were "probably going to attend and reported that they had attended a previous Iowa caucus." The Newsweek poll reports that among likely Democratic caucus-goers, 64 percent attended a previous caucus, but it doesn't factor this into its "likely caucus-goer" definition.

So, why can't they just standardize the definition? Because no one's sure which methodology best reflects reality. Iowa polling is already a crapshoot since the caucus process is so complicated. For example, there's no way to simulate the rule that caucus-goers whose candidates get less than 15 percent support in a given precinct have to throw their weight behind a more popular candidate. Results also vary depending on whom pollsters talk to. Newsweek used a random digit dial sample; other surveys draw from lists of registered voters. Plus, turnout depends largely on each candidate's ground organization—if Obama gets students to turn out in record numbers in Iowa, that could throw off polling accuracy. Of course, you can't even begin to gauge organization levels until closer to the primaries, and even then it's hard to measure.

The good news is, help is on the way. Pollster.com has kicked off what it calls The Disclosure Project, a campaign to make polling firms release more info about their methodology. In particular, they're pushing for transparency as to what defines a likely caucus-goer. Mark Blumenthal, the site's editor and publisher, says he plans to release the first batch of results later this week.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 1, 1:30 p.m. ET (link) (discuss) (tips)

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

Brad Flora is the CEO of Perfect Audience and a former Slate intern.