- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2007

It’s all about Vegas this week

Democratic presidential hopefuls are flocking to Nevada, home of the party’s second caucus next year on Jan. 19.

U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is the special guest this evening at the Washoe County Democratic Party’s “Let’s Get Visible” fundraiser at the Garage at the Grand Sierra Resort.

The party noted that it is the first visit by Mr. Biden, Delaware Democrat, to Reno since announcing his candidacy last month on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

John Edwards, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina and 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president, yesterday brought his presidential campaign to Las Vegas, touting his universal health-care plan and visited offices of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

By Wednesday, the state will be teaming with Democratic presidential wannabes for a candidate forum in Carson City.

Slated for the forum are Mr. Biden, Mr. Edwards, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, couldn’t fit the forum into his busy campaign schedule, but he managed to make a stop yesterday in Las Vegas.

— S.A. Miller, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Tom Vilsack, funny man?

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, by most accounts a longshot for the 2008 nomination, got some comedic praise for his performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week.

Vilsack, who just completed his service as Iowa governor, polls in the single digits but made a point to note during his appearance he has always started behind but has never lost a race.

The show opened with a sketch showing an NBC security guard refusing to let Vilsack into the studio because he didn’t recognize him as a presidential contender.

The audience roared at Vilsack’s comeback after Leno compared him with Democratic superstars Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. Without missing a beat, he responded: “I’m not a rock star, I’m rock solid.”

Vilsack also scored some laughs when offering a vice presidential spot to fellow guest Jim Carrey or to Leno himself.

ABC’s political blog The Note noted: “Without a doubt, Vilsack was boffo on Leno.”

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

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