Rich Galen

Prior to this was the ugly story of a west-coast crook who had bundled some $800,000 worth of donations for the Clinton campaign only to have it come to light he had been on the lam from a felony rap and the campaign had to give back the money.

Nationally, Hillary still holds a lead averaging over 20 percentage points over Barack Obama. But "Nationally" ain't votin' on January third. And if Clinton does not win on January 3rd then the next round - New Hampshire on … who knows … is up for grabs.

Believe it or not, the New Hampshire Secretary of State in whom the power to decide the date of the 2008 Presidential primary has yet to make up his mind, although the heavy betting is on January 8 - five days after the Iowa Caucuses.

The reason this is important is because under New Hampshire law, voters who are registered as Independents can vote in either the GOP or the Democratic primary.

In 2000, a huge percentage of Independents voted in the Republican primary and a huge percentage of those who did voted for John McCain.

A favorite parlor game in Washington, DC these days is trying to sound smart while explaining why Independents will (or will not) gravitate to one primary or the other.

It is safe to assume, however, that if Obama or Edwards (or Obama AND Edwards) upset Clinton in Iowa there will be an avalanche of Independent voters in New Hampshire participating in the Democratic primary - whenever it is held.

As Bette Davis once famously observed: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at