NEW HAMPSHIRE UPDATE….Some Wesley Clark campaign news:
Wesley Clark, seeking a bipartisan flavor for his presidential campaign, has hired a former adviser to Republican Sen. John McCain to be his senior strategist.
….[John] Weaver was one of a handful of aides who helped McCain upset Bush in the 2000 New Hampshire primary on the strength of broad support among independent voters, who are allowed to cast ballots in Republican and Democratic primaries.
This is good news for Clark on a couple of levels. First, as the article points out, McCain’s surprise New Hampshire victory in 2000 was largely due to turnout among independents, a group that I think Clark can appeal to. Weaver’s experience should be a big help here. (Mark Schmitt has some additional observations about Clark and New Hampshire’s independents here.) Downside: this gives Dean another chance to make cracks about how Clark is really a Republican. He’s hiring a Republican and appealing to non-Democrats!
Second, I continue to think that “bipartisan flavor” is important for victory in November. Bush bashing is emotionally satisfying, but it can take you only so far and Clark is smart not to play the game too strongly. Clark definitely has his work cut out for him now that Iowa is nearly over and the entire field is about to descend on New Hampshire, which he’s had almost to himself for the past couple of weeks. Weaver’s hiring could provide the kind of boost he needs.
UPDATE: It looks like AP jumped the gun here. Apparently Clark and Weaver are “in negotiations” but nothing has been finalized yet.