Rich Galen

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tx) has spent lavishly in New Hampshire. He came in fifth in Iowa which did not produce the kind of surprise many (including me) suspected he might have, we should not discount him out of hand in a state where Independents, who can vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primary, may be attracted to his anti-tax, anti-war, Libertarian message which many traditional Republicans find a bit peculiar.

Now the Democrats:

The political geniuses running the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton thought that Senator Barack Obama was a flash in the pan last January. Then they thought he would be unable to compete against Clinton on the money front in the first quarter. Then they were certain she would out raise Obama in the second quarter, then the third.

They believed she would be the natural heir to the Liberal mantle of Democrats in Iowa last week. She came in third behind Senator John Edwards.

The Clinton campaign geniuses have underestimated Barack Obama for a year and Clinton has paid the price.

If Hillary Clinton loses to Obama here on Tuesday it will go a long way to making the Clinton campaign's worst nightmare come true: She is unelectable.

Even if Clinton were to beat Obama here, her troubles are far from over because about half voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary (which is on January 26) are Black and Obama will have demonstrated (A) he belongs in the uppermost tier in of candidates in the Democratic Party and therefore (B) a vote for Obama is anything but a wasted vote.

John Edwards came in second in Iowa but did not get the kind of "bump" his campaign was expecting, thus he is struggling for money and for attention which is a deadly combination at this point in the Presidential campaign cycle.

As I said to a reporter at the debate on Saturday night: I have to write MULLINGS three days a week. Chaos is my friend.

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