"Two weeks from the California vote, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is hanging on to a double-digit lead
in the Democratic presidential primary and benefiting from the added urgency of the economy as a campaign issue, according to the latest Field Poll," reports Andy Furillo in the Bee.
"The former first lady holds a 39 percent to 27 percent lead
over her rival from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama
, in the poll released Monday. Former Sen. John Edwards
of North Carolina has 10 percent support, while other candidates are drawing a combined 4 percent of the vote.
"Twenty percent remain undecided.
"In a primary season already marked by huge momentum swings, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo
said the outcome of the Saturday's South Carolina primary or unforeseen events still could change Democratic voter preferences before the Feb. 5 election."
Dan Walters walks through what the numbers might mean for the next two weeks
"With four major polls now showing Clinton with a substantial and steady lead in the state and just two weeks of campaigning remaining, it's becoming less likely that California will be the decisive battleground that many politicians envisioned
, at least publicly, when they pushed the primary from June to Feb. 5. Clinton is more likely to take the state for granted and Obama is more likely to concentrate on other states in which the outcome is less certain, including some of the 21 other states that will have contests on the same day as California's
"That's especially true since California is a very expensive and logistically difficult state in which to campaign, given its physical size, its abundance of distinct media markets and the diversity of its electorate -- the same factors that have always discouraged national politicians from launching major drives here.
"The Democratic race may not be over in California, but with Clinton continuing to hold strong leads in all polls, the state appears to be diminishing in critical importance."
The LAT's Phil Wilon takes a look at the race for the Latino vote
. "I think there will be a contest. There is no champion for the Latino community at this point in the political season. Nobody has separated out," said Antonio Gonzalez
, president of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in Los Angeles.
"They have to make their case now. And we are different," he said. "If Latinos ran America, we'd have no border wall, illegals would be legal, we wouldn't have invaded Iraq, and we'd have universal healthcare
"Today is the last day to register to vote
in California's Feb. 5 presidential primary," writes John Wildermuth in the Chron.
"Any new or revised registration cards have to be filled out, signed and postmarked by tonight, or would-be voters will find themselves sitting on the sidelines when the rest of the state picks candidates for president.
"The deadline is particularly important for decline-to-state voters who want to cast ballots in the Republican primary. Party leaders decided last year not to open their primary to independent voters, so only registered Republicans will be able to pick from among the GOP presidential hopefuls."
George Skelton says the governor should stop pointing fingers when it comes to the defecit
"Listening to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, you'd think the role of California's governor was strictly ceremonial, like being the British queen. Pageantry but no power, especially over the purse.
"That 'crazy deficit spending' -- as Schwarzenegger called it while running for office -- is always the fault of something or someone else: "the system" or those "spending-addicted" legislators.
California's governor -- like many state governors -- has more control over spending than does a president. Certainly a lot more than Schwarzenegger lets on. A governor's line-item veto -- the ability to pare spending projects without vetoing an entire budget -- long has been the envy of presidents.
"The governor does possess powerful carving tools. The fact is, no spending bill can be enacted without his signature.
The Chron's Matthew Yi writes the bio on Fabian Nunez
, whose legacy as speaker is on the February 5 ballot.
"[H]is personal tale - one of 12 children born to a gardener and a maid from Tijuana - is a remarkable story, and his quick rise to political power is even more surprising.
"And if voters side with him Feb. 5 by supporting Proposition 93, not only would Nunez be labeled the most powerful Assembly speaker in the era of term limits, he could be considered among the likes of Willie Brown
"Nunez, 41, is the mastermind behind Prop. 93, and he enlisted his top political consultant, Gale Kauffmann
, to lead the campaign for the measure. He would be able to serve six more years in the Assembly if the measure passes, rather than being termed out at the end of this year.
"Nunez says that for all his political victories, his greatest success was remarrying Robles in 2005, after many counseling sessions to work out their relationship.
"'Having your family united gives you a sense of purpose that you otherwise would not have
,' he said. 'It's a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, and solidifies you as a human being. You've got a family to come home to, kids to come home to, a wife to come home to.
Lite Gov Garamendi wants to lead the campaign against student fee increases
The U-T's Tanya Sierra reports: "As financial debt obliterates student pocketbooks, students are looking to Lt. Gov. John Garamendi
, who proposed freezing college fees at 2008-09 levels.
"Garamendi, a vocal ex-officio UC regent, is encouraging students to protest massive cuts from higher education funding -- a move that again will surely lead to a fee increase.
"Regents were supposed to decide whether to cap fees last week, but Garamendi, sensing he couldn't get enough votes for the freeze, held the issue until March, when regents will meet in San Francisco.
"'Fees are going to go up unless we can get the Legislature to give us more money,' Garamendi said. 'You've got to develop a political strategy about the cost for underfunding the education system. I frankly think students should march in Sacramento. You've got to protest. You've got to make your point known.'"
And for our embarrassing video of the day, we go to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who celebrated MLK Day by leading a chorus of Who Let The Dogs Out. Let's go to the tape
It still makes us cringe to watch it...