Just spent two days on assignment with Pajamas Media in New Hampshire, where Roger Simon and I rented a 4-wheel drive and sped past the snowbanks (turned out the roads were fine; it’s New Hampshire, they know snowplows) to catch up with Rudy Giuliani and John McCain for the next two installments of the Pajamas in-depth “War on Terror Conversations” with the candidates. Videos coming Monday.
Surrounding the interviews were a number of unusual vehicular encounters, including a chance to ride a Segway (addictive!) at the factory where we met with Rudy, and an interlude waiting for McCain at offices that featured in one corner what I guess is the once-again trendy bicycle-built-for-two. We wrapped up the evening by dropping by Hillary’s campaign headquarters in Manchester, arriving just in time to join the volunteers watching the Clinton pileup in Iowa — and if you haven’t already read Roger’s exquisite take on the experience, you can find it on his blog under the headline, “Tales of Hillary: Seeing A Ghost in New Hampshire.”
Who will win? Who knows? This race is just beginning to pick up speed, and the finish line lies many Segway rides, bicycle rides, handshakes and shakeups down the road. But this much I think is a sure bet: The winner can expect a nasty test early in the next administration from the inquiring minds of jihadis and affiliates, who will want to know just how much they can get away with. And watching Washington right now, one thing I am increasingly convinced of is that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein will stand in the end as a major success of the Bush administration, while the worst failures are right now stacking up in the form of diplomatic denial and appeasement in dealing with places such as Iran and North Korea. More in my column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on the axis of wishful thinking.