- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nevada to Iowa

John Edwards‘ campaign staffers are assuring scribes on the trail that their boss is still competing in Nevada despite news yesterday that the campaign is pulling some bodies out of the early-voting state, reporter Christina Bellantoni writes at her “On the Democrats” blog at www.washingtontimes.com.

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the former North Carolina senator, wouldn’t give an exact figure, but said a “handful” of paid staffers will be moved from Nevada — which has a Jan. 19 caucus scheduled — and into Iowa and other early states.

“We have spent more time there than any of the other candidates and will continue to fight for every vote in Nevada,” he said. “From time to time, we’re going to move people around the map.”

Though the campaign played it like it was no big deal, the news inspired a “Know when to fold ‘em” headline on the Drudge Report Web site and was part of the other campaigns’ chatter yesterday morning.

Nevada has gotten much less attention from the candidates than Iowa and New Hampshire, in part because it has never had such an early caucus. Mr. Edwards has solid support in the Silver State, where union voters make up a sizable portion of the electorate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, will be in Nevada on tomorrow, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will also be campaigning for her there.

Both she and Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, were in Las Vegas last week for the National Association of Black Journalists convention, andNew Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has a major presence there.

Those four candidates, who lead most polls, will speak at a Brookings Institution forum Wednesday at the University of Nevada at Reno.

Varsity Mitt

Hundreds of supporters turned out to greet Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney yesterday when the former Massachusetts governor stopped by an Atlanta landmark for lunch — but didn’t eat.

The Romney campaign held a meet-and-greet event at the Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, located near the campus of Georgia Tech. “A ton of media” turned out for the event, reports Tech student (and Romney volunteer) Ruth Malhotra, but “the crowd was so big, he never did make it to the counter.”

Fresh off a straw-poll victory in Iowa, Mr. Romney demonstrated fluency in the distinctive local lingo used to describe Varsity menu items. He joked that it was nice to be in a place where “PC” doesn’t stand for political correctness. (Order a “PC” at the Varsity and you’ll get “plain chocolate” — chocolate milk, explains Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times, an Atlanta native who wrote about the Romney event at the Fishwrap blog at www.washingtontimes.com.)

While Mr. Romney didn’t get to enjoy the greasy splendor of the Varsity’s onion rings and fried peach pies during his Atlanta visit, he’s certainly been getting his share of Georgia green. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway reports that Mr. Romney leads all other 2008 presidential contenders (of both parties) in campaign contributions from Georgians, with $756,661 so far.

Tardy candidate

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