Garance Franke-Ruta

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor at the Prospect. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She was a 2006 recipient of a fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Recent Articles

LIGHTNING (ISH) ROUND.

Special Return of Obamamania edition: Yesterday's ABC News/Washington Post poll showed a slight shift up for Barack Obama in Iowa, and a slight downward shift for John Edwards . A key graph to think about: despite widespread impressions that Obama is banking on unreliable first-time voters, Clinton depends on them heavily as well: About half of her supporters said they have never attended a caucus. Forty-three percent of Obama's backers and 24 percent of Edwards's would be first-time caucus-goers. Previous attendance is one of the strongest indicators of who will vote. This has been widely intepreted as a sign of Clinton's weakness in the state, but worth recalling here is that in recent elections the Iowa caucuses have been 40 to 60 percent first-time caucusers, and that John Kerry 's success in the state in 2004 was predicated in part on the choices of these newbies. According to the ABC News entrance survey of caucus-goers (PDF): Kerry won the initial preference of first-time...

PLANTS FOR HILLARY UPROOTED.

Plants for Hillary , launched with much fanfare yesterday, has today been disappeared from the web. It was "just a fun one day thing to set up the debate," says John Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Schultz . Keeping it going "takes too much 'gardening and tending.'" --Garance Franke-Ruta

SOCIAL SECURITY, THE PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS, AND FEB. 5.

Hillary Clinton 's opposition, during last night's debate, to raising the Social Security payroll tax cap was taken to task by Iowa Independent 's Doug Burns as being a pander to people in the wrong state. Clinton said of the proposed tax increase on those who earn over $97,500: It is absolutely the case that there are people who would find that burdensome. I represent firefighters. I represent school supervisors. I'm not talking -- and, you know, it's different parts of the country. So you have to look at this across the board and the numbers are staggering. To which Burns replied : Is $97,000 a lot of money? In most of Obama's Illinois and just about all of Iowa, the answer to that is "yes," which makes Obama's position on the question of whether to raise or lift the cap on Social Security taxes more reasonable to Hawkeye State voters than the New York shape-shifting of Clinton. As it stands, the first $97,500 of a person's annual income is subject to the Social Security tax. Obama...

THE STATUS QUO.

One final thought on the debate: While it may have ended the " Clinton slipping" narrative, it won't have changed all that much on the ground in Iowa, the most-important narrative-shaping contest going forward. There, the race remains tied. The Des Moines Register 's political columnist David Yepsen , under the banner "That's Why the Lady is a Champ," writes : Give Thursday's debate to Hillary Clinton. After two bad weeks in the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, she recovered her footing and pushed back sharply at her opponents in a debate Thursday night. But he also had some sharp words for John Edwards , the candidate The Register endorsed last cycle, giving him a last-minute boost and helping to fuel his end-of-contest momentum. Wrote Yepsen: John Edwards should have stayed home. Clinton took the wind out of his sails early in the evening by implying he was "throwing mud." He never seemed to bounce back from that slap, and he also got hooted when he talked about her as a...

DIAMONDS OR PEARLS?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the hell? Can we please have a moratorium on clothing cracks and questions directed at Clinton? Even if we all like to chatter about this stuff behind the scenes. That said, I don't think Clinton gave the right answer. The right answer to "diamonds or pearls?", at least if you're running for president, is not that you want them both, it's: "I wear cubic zirconias." That's what most middle-class women buy these days, because it's what they can afford. --Garance Franke-Ruta

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