Howard Fineman

Running Hard By Staying Out

If you want to send a message in Washington, issue a press release—or go to the Palm. It's a restaurant where the jocular masks the manipulative: a stock exchange of politics, with bigger portions.

Jerry Falwell, 1933-2007

Jerry Falwell loved his jet. in 1980, it was no small thing for a preacher to have one, even if he was a preacher with a TV show, "The Old Time Gospel Hour." The plane was a Lear, he told me as we climbed aboard on a September day in that crucial year, "specially reconfigured by an Israeli company." He saw this as providential—as if the jet had been anointed by the engine oil of the Holy Land.

Fineman: Leveling the Media Playing Field

As the 10 Republican presidential candidates debate this week on their favorite cable network—Fox News—Capitol Hill Democrats are planning a new drive for access elsewhere, on talk radio and local broadcast TV.The goal?

Fineman: The Megastates Gamble

The New Yorkers in the presidential race are placing their bets on California, Florida—and their home state. But there's a danger in writing off the grass roots.

Both Parties Struggle With War Message

It is absurdly early in the '08 campaign for pivotal moments, but Sen. Hillary Clinton's handlers were convinced they spotted one at the Democrats' first presidential debate, in South Carolina.

Fineman: Obama's Secret Service Protection

I got word of Sen. Barack Obama's new Secret Service protection in an appropriate spot: the Reagan Library, on a stage beneath a gleaming Air Force One. The retired plane, polished to a mighty shine, is a symbol of the presidency's role as the most crucial job on the planet.

Fineman: The Power of GOP 2nd-Tier Candidates

They don't grab the headlines, but the second- and third-tier candidates are worth watching in tonight's GOP presidential debate. They help set the conservative benchmarks the front runners will have to meet.

Fineman: Obama's Talking Points

Here's the private advice Sen. Barack Obama's staff gave him the other day as he prepared to make a series of phone calls in search of support:Democratic Rep.

Fineman: Previewing the Democrats' Debate

Tonight's Democratic debate, the first of the '08 campaign, will showcase the battle for black votes—a bloc as vital to the party's fortunes next year as evangelicals have been to the rise of the GOP.

Fineman: The Return of Pragmatism?

As he prepared for the Democrats' first presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama sought advice from a wide circle, including, I am told, Gen. Colin Powell, who now deeply regrets his role in making the case for war in Iraq.On the Republican side, Gov.

Starr: Don Imus Is Us

There's another hot story in morning radio: African-American comedian Steve Harvey. In 17 months, his show has rocketed to prominence in top-50 markets. He's based on urban stations, but exhibits strong crossover appeal.

Fineman: The Return of Tom Daschle

Endorsements. Key staffers. Fundraising lists. Brotherly advice. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle is making his presence felt behind the scenes in Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Fineman: Cancer and the Campaign

Is this a great Democratic presidential campaign, or what? The number of candidate "firsts" keeps growing: first spouse of a former president, first African-American with Ivy League credentials, first  Hispanic-American.

Fineman: GOP Candidates as Mr. Fix-its

At Harvard Business School, George W. Bush was what they called a "skydecker"—a guy who sat in the top back row of the lecture hall to minimize the risk of being called on.

Conservatism's Fresh Face

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, activists were down—but a long way from out. Meet one of the reasons why.

The Couples Campaign

In January 1992, as Bill Clinton's candidacy was foundering amid allegations of infidelity, his wife joined him at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire. They were on a rescue mission. "We love each other," Hillary Rodham Clinton told the crowd. "We support each other." As for Bill, he sold himself to the onlookers as one half of a political team; Hillary was the reason that he had run. "She woke up one morning and said, 'Bill, we have to do this'." He touted her résumé: Yale Law, successful...

Preacher Primary

The Republicans' first primary contest is next week, and it's not in New Hampshire. It is in Orlando, at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters.

He's Ready to Rumble

John Edwards played defensive back in high school, and waiting offstage to speak, he looked eager to get onto the field and hit someone. That is what he did (rhetorically) in the first scrimmage of the 2008 presidential campaign last Friday.

A Man Apart

George W. Bush wanted to be Harry Truman (patron saint of embattled presidents) in his State of the Union speech, but he may have reminded voters of Slim Pickens in "Dr.