Reporting for Duty: The Presidency of John Kerry and Beyond

Oooh, now this brings us some interesting points. Definitely intriguing to see that Lincoln Chafee decided to pull a Jim Jeffords and join the Democrats for the time being. The disaster of the Libertarian primary seems to be building up to some interesting stuff. Frankly I'd back Allen if I had to but who knows where this will take us.
Chapter XXXIX: January 2008.
Sorry for the ten day long delay, I've been a bit down lately and to make matters worse, I somehow lost a few chapters worth of content covering the spring of 2013. Fortunately I've got the time to rewrite (and probably improve) these chapters, but until then, here is the start of the 2008 primaries - this is this phase of the timeline's "home stretch." Part II, covering 2009-2021, will soon be in the Political Chat section.

Chapter Thirty Nine:

The New Years celebrations were followed by the first round of contests in Iowa; in a low turnout affair, John Kerry handily beat Kucinich 96%-4%, though Kucinich had long abandoned Iowa in favor of New Hampshire, where he was barely faring any better. On the Republican side, however, turnout was higher than usual in the Republican caucuses as Tea Party energized voters turned out in high numbers to support their preferred candidate to put up against President Kerry. In spite of poor weather conditions, voters turned out at caucus sites across the state in all of Iowa’s counties. Support among evangelicals and pro-war voters, particularly conservatives, rocketed Senator Brownback ahead of Governor Romney and Senator Allen, while Jeb Bush had largely ignored Iowa.


2008 Iowa Republican Caucus: 119,188 Votes, 34 Delegates.
Sam Brownback: 30.23% - 36,030 votes, 11 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 27.66% - 32,967 votes, 10 delegates.
George Allen: 13.37% - 15,935 votes, 6 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 10.15% - 12,097 votes, 4 delegates.
Ron Paul: 7.99% - 9,523 votes, 3 delegates.
Mike Huckabee: 4.57% -5,446 votes.
Rudy Giuliani: 3.33% - 3,968 votes.
Tom Tancredo: 1.25% - 1,489 votes.
George Pataki: 0.90% - 1,072 votes.
Duncan Hunter: 0.55% - 655 votes.


Senator Sam Brownback addresses supporters after winning the Iowa caucuses.

In his victory speech, Brownback vowed to defend American values and prioritize national security, while Governor Romney meanwhile optimistically planned for New Hampshire after a close and strong showing in the Hawkeye state. With less than five percent of the vote to his name, Governor Huckabee ended his campaign and announced his endorsement of Sam Brownback. Congressman Tancredo also withdrew from the race after a minuscule performance in the caucus, notably endorsing his colleague, Congressman Ron Paul. Meanwhile Jeb Bush left Iowa, where he never anticipated a strong showing, with a sense of accomplishment. He had placed fourth and had gained four delegates as a result, a respectable showing for a candidate basing his hopes primarily on New Hampshire and South Carolina.

New Hampshire saw a tight race, with Governor Bush barely behind Governor Romney in a series of squeaker polls. The ABC debate held in Manchester was particularly tense, with the two Governors turning their fire on one another. Governor Bush accuses Romney once more of being “the architect of the ACA” while Romney warns that many of Bush’s advisers have connections to his brother’s administration, whom he labels “toxic” and dismisses their “horrifically poor record.” Bush responded by claiming Romney was personally attacking his family, many conservatives still supportive of the former President. Jeb took advantage of his exchange with Governor Romney by deploying his parents and brother on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, which resulted in a great degree of public interest in the final days of the first primary as George W. Bush returned to the political spotlight for the first time since his 2004 reelection defeat. But the biggest shock was the decision by Rudy Giuliani to drop out just days before New Hampshire after much of his staff resigned in protest; the campaign had run out of money, and the decision by Governor Crist to stand behind Jeb Bush deflated the former Mayor's hopes of salvaging his candidacy. Giuliani endorsed Jeb Bush at a rally attended by his brother, which further boosted Bush's odds in the Granite state.

On the Democratic side, most polls had Congressman Kucinich with 15% tops in New Hampshire. With little support besides the endorsement of independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Kucinich failed to gain traction and was unable to debate President Kerry ahead of the contest. He’d ultimately gain 11% of the vote and would withdraw from the race after a poor primary showing. Though he was leaving the race, Kucinich refused to immediately endorse the President and encouraged progressives to continue speaking out in favor of healthcare reform and an end to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Out west, the quiet Wyoming Republican Convention resulted in Romney winning a clear plurality, though his 45% showing was short of the 50% benchmark necessary for a candidate to win all 14 delegates. As a result, Brownback, Allen, Bush, and Hunter also receive delegates in the wake of the Wyoming convention. But as New Hampshire dominated the news cycle, the Wyoming caucus was largely ignored by the media during a whirlwind of campaigning and coverage.


2008 New Hampshire Republican Primary: 234,851 Votes, 12 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 37.57% - 88,233 votes, 7 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 30.02% - 70,502 votes, 5 delegates.
George Allen: 14.92% - 35,309 votes.
Ron Paul: 10.21% - 23,978 votes.
Sam Brownback: 5.50% - 12,916 votes.
George Pataki: 1.20% - 2,818 votes.
Duncan Hunter: 0.58% - 1,362 votes.


Jeb Bush celebrates his New Hampshire victory.
The Giuliani withdrawal saw a last minute surge of support for Governor Bush, which propelled him to victory over Governor Romney in the Granite State. The defeat was a critical blow to the Romney campaign, but not necessarily a fatal one. Michigan and Nevada still offered friendly territory from which he could reset his campaign’s trajectory, while Bush would have to compete with Senator Allen in order to win South Carolina before the Florida primary rolled around. Following Giuliani’s lead, New York’s Governor Pataki dropped out as well, ending his longshot candidacy and endorsing Jeb Bush. Congressman Duncan Hunter on the other hand announced he would continue forward despite consistently polling at or near the bottom of the primary field. With no endorsements of prominence other than Ann Coulter, virtually zero funds, and a tiny but dedicated staff, the odds of Hunter gaining any more delegates beyond those elected by the Montana Republican Convention where slim to none.

Next stop on the primary cycle was Michigan, a state where Romney had deep ties and strong support. His father George Romney was the CEO of American Motors before serving two terms as Governor and later two years of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, having run for President himself in 1968. His mother Lenore ran for the United States Senate in 1970 unsuccessfully as well. Romney was mocked when he said he “loved the trees” when asked once what in particular attracted him to the state, but his polling remained steady and opposition remained scattered.


Michigan Republican Primary: 869,293 Votes, 30 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 46.16% - 10,465 votes, 18 delegates.
George Allen: 30.22% - 262,700 votes, 12 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 13.52% - 117,528 votes.
Sam Brownback: 4.86% - 42,247 votes.
Ron Paul: 3.45% - 29,990 votes.
Duncan Hunter: 1.79% - 15,560 votes.


Mitt Romney following his Michigan victory.
As South Carolina neared, Senator Allen got a boost when he won the endorsement of Senator Jim DeMint, who like Governor Sanford endorsed the Senator due to his conservative record in the Senate. That same week saw Fox News host a presidential forum in Columbia, South Carolina. Originally scheduled to be a full debate, it was modified to a more issue focused one-on-one type of interview on the orders of Fox News Roger Ailes. This was done primarily to involve all candidates, as Brownback, Paul, and Romney all had scheduling conflicts. The race in South Carolina remained close right up until the polls opened, with great public anticipation for the Palmetto State’s primary.

At an explosive primary debate in South Carolina, Allen turned his fire onto Governor Bush, arguing that the Governor’s positions on immigration were “code wards for amnesty.” The Governor also came under attack for campaigning in Spanish while trying to rally Hispanic Republicans, with Allen calling for an amendment to the constitution that would declare English the national language of the United States. Congressman Paul came under fire after a number of old newsletters published in the 1980s and 1990s resurfaced, with multiple columns including far right rhetoric and racist dog whistles. Paul denies writing many of them, with Lew Rockwell admitting responsibility for their existence. Rockwell had been a top aide and friend of the Texas Congressman.

Nevada Republican Caucus: 44,324 Votes, 31 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 56.33% - 24,967 votes, 17 delegates.
Ron Paul: 19.35% - 8,576 votes, 6 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 9.07% - 4,020 votes, 3 delegates.
George Allen: 8.26% - 3,661 votes, 3 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 5.91% - 2,619 votes, 2 delegates.
Duncan Hunter: 1.08% - 478 votes.

South Carolina Republican Primary: 445,677 Votes, 24 Delegates.
George Allen: 48.87% - 217,802 votes, 24 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 21.22% - 94,572 votes.
Mitt Romney: 14.08% - 62,751 votes.
Sam Brownback: 8.72% - 38,863 votes.
Ron Paul: 5.48% - 24,423 votes.
Duncan Hunter: 1.63% - 7,264 votes.


George Allen speaks to supporters after winning the South Carolina primary.
Senator Allen's victory in South Carolina was the first major win for the Tea Party wing of the party, which favored the conservative Virginian compared to his chief rivals, Senator Brownback and Governors Bush and Romney, all of whom had long political careers of their own. While Allen himself was a career politician, having served as a Congressman and Governor of Virginia before entering the Senate, his folksy style and strong conservative credentials endeared him to voters who were otherwise skeptical of the Republican field's ability to dislodge President Kerry from the White House. But Allen could not shake off concerns from wealthy conservative donors that he was a "regional candidate," one who could not excite conservatives outside of the southeast. His campaign was determined to break this perception on Super Tuesday, which was fast approaching. After South Carolina, Congressman Duncan Hunter departed the race and endorsed Senator Allen for the Republican nomination. As January continued, the final contest was the Florida primary, which was won by Governor Bush with a 55% margin over his scattered opponents. This majority allowed the former Governor to take all 57 delegates awarded. At the end of January, he led in both the polls and the delegate count.

Republican Delegate Count (January)
Jeb Bush: 67 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 55 delegates.
George Allen: 47 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 15 delegates.
Ron Paul: 9 delegates.
Duncan Hunter: 2 delegates.
No stress on the delay, it happens. Huckabee, Tancredo, Giuliani, Pataki and Hunter leaving seems predictable in terms of the actual race but I'm curious to see the four way that's brewing. Allen, Brownback, Bush, Paul and Romney seem to be the big five to watch at present. And indeed they are the only five remaining and it's fascinating to see how it plays out. Allen going up against Kerry would be a really fascinating race to me.
Chapter XXXX: February 2008.
Chapter Forty:
The month of February brought with it yet another round of primaries; the first contest was in Maine, where Governor Romney had crafted a staunchly enthusiastic ground game that ensured his supporters would dominate the caucuses. In fact, the only candidate who had any form of serious grassroots support strong enough to challenge Romney was Congressman Paul, whose independent streak and anti-war views endeared him to conservatives in the stake; ironically, Congressman Paul and Governor Romney had formed a personal friendship through the course of the campaign, which resulted in both refraining from attacking each other personally. Thus, the Maine caucuses were largely quiet, with only Romney, Bush, and Paul actively campaigning in the state.

2008 Maine Republican Caucus: 5,491 Votes, 21 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 45.29% - 2,486 votes, 21 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 30.67% - 1,684 votes.
Ron Paul: 14.90% - 818 votes.
George Allen: 6.15% - 357 votes.
Sam Brownback: 2.99% - 164 votes.

As Super Tuesday loomed, the Republican establishment had more reason than ever to be confident; though the Tea Party grassroots wing of the party had defined the GOP's image in the Kerry era, it was the two moderate candidates left in the race who were dominating in the primaries. This was primarily due to the growing ideological divisions within the party's conservative majority. Allen supporters, by and large, were predominately southern populists who were skeptical of Brownback's neoconservative foreign policy and continued embrace of the policies (both foreign and domestic) of George W. Bush; Brownback supporters on the other hand were more likely to be evangelicals who strongly supported Israel, a strong national defense, and good 'ol fashioned Reaganomics. Then of course there were the Ron Paul supporters, arguably the most ideological of all, who were convinced that neither Senator Allen nor Brownback were committed enough to the principles of constitutional conservatism. As the Republican primaries appeared to be devolving into a Bush - Romney race, major conservative benefactors who had embraced the Republican Party's rightward drift saw cause for alarm. At the behest of the Koch Brothers, a secret meeting between Senators Allen and Brownback was held discretely within a private dining room of a restaurant in DC. The secretive summit, attended only by the two Senators and mediated by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who was a former candidate himself ), was supposed to unite the conservative wing of the party against Bush and Romney. Gingrich had hoped that one of the two candidates would step aside in favor of the other, in exchange for a position on the bottom of the ticket. But neither Allen nor Brownback were willing to do so, and the Koch's efforts were fruitless. Within hours, the story was leaked to CNN, resulting in the Brownback campaign accusing Senator Allen of intentionally leaking the information. The Allen campaign denied this, but a spokesperson for the Virginia Senator did confirm the two had met over a possible effort to unify the conservative wing of the GOP. This story would overshadow both candidates going into Super Tuesday.

2008 Alabama Republican Primary: 552,155 Votes, 45 Delegates.
George Allen: 43.75% - 241,567 votes, 26 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 33.29% - 183,812 votes, 19 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 10.34% - 57,092 votes.
Mitt Romney: 10.10% - 55,767 votes.
Ron Paul: 2.52% - 13,914 votes.

2008 Alaska Republican Caucuses: 13,703 Votes, 26 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 35.68% - 4,889 votes, 15 delegates.
George Allen: 20.19% - 2,776 votes, 4 delegates.
Ron Paul: 18.70% - 2,562 votes, 4 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 14.44% - 1,978 votes, 4 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 10.99% - 1,505 votes.

2008 Arizona Republican Primary: 541,035 Votes, 50 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 42.74% - 231,238 votes, 50 delegates.
George Allen: 35.20% - 190,444 votes.
Jeb Bush: 14.59% - 78,937 votes.
Sam Brownback: 6.19% - 33,490 votes.
Ron Paul: 1.28% - 6,925 votes.

2008 Arkansas Republican Primary: 229,153 Votes, 31 Delegates.
George Allen: 34.97% - 80,134 votes, 12 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 28.60% - 65,537 votes, 9 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 15.77% - 36,137 votes, 5 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 15.61% - 35,770 votes, 5 delegates.
Ron Paul: 5.05% - 11,572 votes.

2008 California Republican Primary: 2,932,811 Votes, 173 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 33.96% - 993,049 votes, 161 delegates.
George Allen: 24.19% - 709,446 votes, 12 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 20.87% - 612,077 votes.
Sam Brownback: 13.45% - 394,463 votes.
Ron Paul: 7.53% - 220,840 votes.

2008 Colorado Republican Primary: 70,229 Votes, 22 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 41.80% - 29,355 votes, 12 delegates.
George Allen: 38.77% - 27,227 votes, 10 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 12.30% - 8,638 votes.
Sam Brownback: 4.62% - 3,244 votes.
Ron Paul: 2.51% - 1,762 votes.

2008 Connecticut Republican Primary: 151,604 Votes, 27 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 37.90% - 57,457 votes, 27 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 37.75% - 57,230 votes.
George Allen: 12.04% - 18,253 votes.
Sam Brownback: 7.60% - 11,521 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.71% - 7,140 votes.

2008 Delaware Republican Primary: 50,237 Votes, 18 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 39.18% - 59,398 votes, 18 delegates.
George Allen: 31.06% - 47,088 votes.
Mitt Romney: 14.72% - 22,316 votes.
Ron Paul: 7.71% - 11,688 votes.
Sam Brownback: 7.33% - 11,112 votes.

2008 Georgia Republican Primary: 963,541 Votes, 48 Delegates.
George Allen: 27.45% - 264,492 votes, 14 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 25.95% - 250,038 votes, 13 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 20.50% - 245,702 votes, 11 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 19.22% - 185,192 votes, 10 delegates.
Ron Paul: 6.88% - 66,291 votes.

2008 Illinois Republican Primary: 899,422 Votes, 57 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 42.51% - 382,344 votes, 57 delegates.
George Allen: 29.08% - 261,551 votes.
Mitt Romney: 21.19% - 190,587 votes.
Sam Brownback: 6.22% - 55,944 votes.
Ron Paul: 1.00% - 55,944 votes.

2008 Massachusetts Republican Primary: 500,550 Votes, 40 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 58.77% - 294,173 votes, 40 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 22.91% - 114,676 votes.
Ron Paul: 7.77% - 38,892 votes.
George Allen: 6.46% - 32,335 votes.
Sam Brownback: 4.09% - 20,472 votes.

2008 Missouri Republican Caucus: 588,720 Votes, 58 Delegates.
Sam Brownback: 28.60% - 168,373 votes, 58 delegates.
George Allen: 26.12% - 153,773 votes.
Mitt Romney: 25.88% - 152,360 votes.
Jeb Bush: 15.95% - 93,900 votes.
Ron Paul: 3.45% - 20,310 votes.

2008 Montana Republican Caucus: 1,630 Votes, 25 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 32.80% - 534 votes, 25 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 26.05% - 424 votes.
George Allen: 19.96% - 325 votes.
Jeb Bush: 16.70% - 272 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.49% - 73 votes.

2008 New Jersey Republican Primary: 566,201 Votes, 52 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 37.17% - 210,456 votes.
George Allen: 24.51% - 138,775 votes.
Mitt Romney: 22.87% - 129,490 votes.
Sam Brownback: 9.90% - 56,053 votes.
Ron Paul: 5.55% - 31,424 votes.

2008 New York Republican Primary: 670,078 Votes, 101 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 44.43% - 297,715 votes, 101 delegates.
George Allen: 25.22% - 169,663 votes.
Mitt Romney: 23.44% - 157,066 votes.
Sam Brownback: 4.55% - 30,488 votes.
Ron Paul: 2.36% - 15,813 votes.

2008 North Dakota Republican Caucus: 9,743 Votes, 23 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 30.95 - 3,015 votes, 7 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 26.90% -2,620 votes, 6 delegates.
George Allen: 21.12% - 2,057 votes, 5 delegates.
Ron Paul: 10.90% - 1,061 votes, 3 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 10.05% - 979 votes, 2 delegates.

2008 Oklahoma Republican Primary: 335,054 Votes, 38 Delegates.
Sam Brownback: 36.71% - 122,998 votes, 38 delegates.
George Allen: 25.78% - 86,376 votes.
Mitt Romney: 20.11% - 67,379 votes.
Jeb Bush: 12.96% - 43,422 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.44% - 14,876 votes.

2008 Tennessee Republican Primary: 553,005 Votes, 52 Delegates.
George Allen: 43.48% - 240,446 votes, 22 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 34.85% - 192,722 votes, 18 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 10.70% - 59,171 votes, 12 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 8.42% - 46,563 votes.
Ron Paul: 2.55% - 14,101 votes.

2008 Utah Republican Primary: 296,061 Votes, 36 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 70.38% - 208,367 votes, 36 delegates.
George Allen: 18.99% - 56,221 votes.
Ron Paul: 5.31% - 15,720 votes.
Jeb Bush: 4.09% - 12,108 votes.
Sam Brownback: 1.23% - 3,641 votes.

2008 West Virginia Republican Primary: 117,945 Votes, 27 Delegates.
George Allen: 33.88% - 39,959 votes, 11 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 24.60% - 24,296 votes, 9 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 20.17% - 23,789 votes, 7 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 15.51% - 18,293 votes.
Ron Paul: 5.84% - 6,887 votes.

After Super Tuesday, it became increasingly clear that the race was starting to fragment along regional lines, leading to concerns over a possible contested convention. Though polling showed Governor Bush maintaining his lead overall, Romney and Allen remained a strong threat to his campaign, and Brownback still carried a lot of regional power as well. With another set of primaries approaching, the Bush campaign was boosted by the endorsement of Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana ahead of the state primary, while Senator Brownback was back in his native Kansas, where he held an overpowering lead over the other candidates, who did not even bother to campaign in the state.

2008 Louisiana Republican Primary: 156,101 Votes, 46 Delegates.
George Allen: 35.66% - 55,665 votes, 19 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 24.80% - 38,713 votes, 14 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 23.44% - 36,590 votes, 13 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 12.65% - 19,746 votes.
Ron Paul: 3.45% - 5,385 votes.

While Brownback carried his home state with ease, sweeping 78% of the vote and taking all 36 delegates, it was Allen’s victory over Jeb Bush despite the Jindal endorsement that was most notable. The Bush campaign dismissed the defeat in Louisiana as merely a symptom of Allen's regional support, and continued to insist that the Virginia Senator would make a disastrous general election candidate against President Kerry. The next round of primaries was set to take place in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Virginia is certain to be a lock for Senator Allen, who ultimately prevailed with 70% of the vote in his native state when all was said and done. The real battle was in neighboring Maryland, traditionally a friendly state for moderate Republicans. Senator Michael Steele (R-MD), who was by far the most influential Republican in the state, announced he’d endorse Governor Bush for the Republican nomination in the days leading up to the vote. Bush's aides hoped that Steele's endorsement wouldn't be a repeat of the Jindal fiasco. On primary day, when the returns from Maryland began trickling in, their hopes would be quickly dashed.

2008 Maryland Republican Primary: 320,989 Votes, 37 Delegates.
George Allen: 40.44% - 129,807 votes, 37 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 23.77% - 76,299 votes.
Mitt Romney: 20.00% - 64,197 votes.
Sam Brownback: 9.05% - 29,049 votes.
Ron Paul: 6.74% - 21,665 votes.

2008 Washington DC Republican Primary: 6,211 Votes, 16 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 55.55% - 3,450 votes, 16 people.
Mitt Romney: 31.03% - 1,927 votes.
George Allen: 4.80% - 298 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.61% - 286 votes.
Sam Brownback: 4.01% - 249 votes.

After the Potomac primaries was "mini-Tuesday", in which delegate heavy states like Ohio and Texas were up for grabs. The campaign also saw a brief shift of focus towards foreign policy affairs after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia; while all Republicans spare Congressman Paul echoed the President in supporting Kosovo’s separation, the decision of the United States to recognize Kosovo was not quite so simple. In endorsing the Kosovan decision to declare independence from Serbia, Washington was also emboldening other separatist movements in Europe, including movements in NATO countries like Spain and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Serbia's chief ally and benefactor, the Russian Federation, saw America's involvement in Kosovo as an indication that the United States was aiming to cushion and expand NATO's presence in once Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. When Secretary of State Holbrooke announced that America would indeed recognize Kosovo's independence, Serbian nationalists in Belgrade rioted outside the American embassy, eventually ransacking the building and burning it to the ground after Serbian police were able to evacuate the terrified American personnel inside. President Kerry's Director of National Intelligence, former Florida Senator Bob Graham, claimed that Russian intelligence officials used propaganda on social media platforms like Myspace and Facebook to fuel anti-NATO sentiments in Serbia in the leadup to the riot. The Republican candidates used the situation in the Balkans to flex their foreign policy muscle, with Allen, Brownback, Bush, and Romney all vowing to take a stronger stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin than President Kerry and Secretary Holbrooke have. Washington and Wisconsin were next on the primary calendar. Wisconsin was handily won by Jeb Bush, who was the only candidate to really contest it. while Washington was closer. Ultimately, it was Romney’s superior ground game that ensured his victory in the Evergreen state's caucuses.


2008 Washington Republican Caucuses: 529,932 Votes, 40 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 31.71% - 168,041 votes, 12 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 29.03% - 153,839 votes, 12 delegates.
George Allen: 18.88% - 100,051 votes, 8 delegates.
Ron Paul: 10.63% - 56,331 votes, 4 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 9.75% - 51,668 votes, 4 delegates.

2008 Wisconsin Republican Primary: 402,699 Votes, 43 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 54.20% - 218,262 votes, 43 delegates.
George Allen: 22.33% - 89,992 votes.
Mitt Romney: 13.09% - 52,713 votes.
Sam Brownback: 6.22% - 25,047 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.16% - 16,752 votes.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro emerged from two years of isolation (it was rumored that the ailing revolutionary was seriously ill) to announce his resignation as President of Cuba, though he’d remain (for now) the titular leader of the ruling Communist Party. His brother Raul, who had been acting in his stead for some time, succeeded him as the new Cuban head of state and soon began to make the rounds on the world stage, though their was little doubt in Washington or anywhere else about who truly remained in charge of Cuba. Castro’s decision to step down brought about little to no immediate change in Cuba, and the new President vowed to uphold the values of the Cuban revolution in his first address to the nation.

Republican Delegate Count (February)
Jeb Bush: 603 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 267 delegates.
George Allen: 171 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 166 delegates.
Ron Paul: 16 delegates.
Duncan Hunter: 2 delegates.


Oh dang did no one else comment?

I'm really enjoying these updates despite my distaste for Romney and Bush as the leading candidates, it's very plausible for late 00's republicans to seize defeat from the jaws of victory like this!
If this were real life I'd be chomping at the bit to vote for Romney (all Mississippi voters are independents and can request either party's ballot when they arrive at the polling place).

Since it's a timeline, part of me is rooting for ¡JEB! for maximum trainwreck value.
If this were real life I'd be chomping at the bit to vote for Romney (all Mississippi voters are independents and can request either party's ballot when they arrive at the polling place).

Since it's a timeline, part of me is rooting for ¡JEB! for maximum trainwreck value.
That reminds me of OTL 2008 when Rush Limbaugh was encouraging Republicans to vote in open primaries for Hillary to create the maximum amount of chaos.
Chapter XXXXI: March 2008.
Chapter Forty One:

Senator Allen campaigns in Texas ahead of the primary.
The Ides of March neared, with Ohio and Texas (two major delegate hauls) set to hold their primaries. As the nomination contest wore on, Allen, Bush, Brownback, and Romney all lagged the Florida Governor’s numbers in the delegate count, and their efforts to coalesce around a single "anti-Bush" candidate remained stymied by their respective egos and ambitions. Two camps emerged by the spring of 2008 within the Republican Party's orbit. There were of course members of the party establishment who were longtime allies of the Bush dynasty, with many members of the Republican National Committee and an assortment of business, military, and media associates thoroughly pitching the message that only Jeb Bush could upstage President Kerry in November, often citing his strong polling among Latino voters as proof that he could expand the party. But others, primarily Fox New's Roger Ailes, were more skeptical. For starters, Ailes, as the CEO of Fox News and the most preeminent media mind amongst the Republican establishment, had his finger on the pulse of the electorate. Though Bush could attract new votes for the Republican Party, he also risked hemorrhaging conservative and Tea Party voters who might be more inclined to stay home in a Bush-Kerry matchup. Secondly, Ailes knew that many of the independent voters turned off by the Kerry administration would not be any more enthused by Jeb's candidacy, in part due to the legacy of his father and brother.

Ailes attempted to remedy the gridlock by finding an outsider, someone who could potentially parachute into the race. A secret meeting, organized quietly in Palm Beach by radio host Rush Limbaugh, brought Senators Allen, Brownback, and Governor Romney to Donald Trump's iconic Mar-a-Lago club, where the three ostensibly were present for a fundraiser for congressional candidate Allen West (who was running to succeed E. Clay Shaw in FL-22). Senator Allen refused to stand aside period, firmly resolving to stay in the race regardless of what his opponents would do. Brownback and Romney meanwhile agreed that they would be interested in uniting forces at a potential contested convention, but Ailes was less interested in this alliance as it would not appeal strongly enough to Tea Party voters. The meeting being a total failure, Ailes turned elsewhere. A series of polls were privately commissioned, and focus groups were brought together by media consultants to gauge voters interest in potential alternatives. While most self-identified Tea Party/conservative Republicans were less than enthused by Bush or Romney, they were not eager for a new candidate to enter the race at a convention, citing a fear that a disunited party could not properly challenge the President in November. Ailes listed a number of potential "anti-Bush" alternatives, but very few were actually interested. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declined Ailes entreaties, citing a desire to seek reelection in 2009. Businessman Fred Smith, the CEO of FexEx, was also named as an interesting outsider, but his history of DUIs as well as his business commitments ensured that this idea never got off the ground either. Newt Gingrich, having failed to win the nomination or even earn his consolation prize (a job at Fox News) also reportedly lobbied behind the scenes for a second act as a potential "unity candidate," but nobody really took him seriously. General David Petraeus was also approached, but refused to entertain the idea, as did Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Ohio Governor Ken Blackwell, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.


Chris Christie was touted as a potential last-minute hurdle to Jeb's nomination, but he declined to enter the race.

While Bush's opposition squabbled behind the scenes, the scion of the Republican Party's most iconic political dynasties continued to ride a growing tidal wave of momentum. Having taken advantage of a friendly primary schedule to build a strong delegate lead early on, Bush was able to wage a campaign of psychological demoralization against his rivals. From the start of his campaign, Bush's critics insisted that the former Florida Governor was expecting a "coronation" rather than a nomination, and by the time of the March primaries, Bush had at last decided to own this. It was risky, but it worked. Calling in the cavalry, Bush deployed his family and a range of political allies to Ohio and Texas, where they aggressively campaigned on his behalf. With conservative and Tea Party voters continued to splinter among Allen, Brownback, and to a lesser extent, Romney, there was an increased sense of inevitability that resulted in slightly depressed conservative turnout in the two states. Bush would carry Ohio and Texas by comfortable margins, dramatically widening his lead in the delegate count. In fact, these victories in the “Ides of March” primaries placed Bush’s nearest rival nearly 500 delegates behind him.

2008 Ohio Republican Primary: 1,095,917 Votes, 85 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 50.63% - 554,862 votes, 85 delegates.
George Allen: 20.66% - 226,416 votes.
Mitt Romney: 20.42% - 223,786 votes.
Ron Paul: 5.80% - 63,563 votes.
Sam Brownback: 2.49% - 27,288 votes.

2008 Texas Republican Primary: 2,191,834 Votes, 140 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 35.12% - 769,772 votes, 61 delegates.
George Allen: 23.60% - 517,272 votes, 36 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 16.23% - 355,734 votes, 25 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 13.34% - 2,292,390 votes.
Ron Paul: 11.71% - 2,191,834 votes.

2008 Rhode Island Primary: 26,996 Votes, 17 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 51.76% - 13,973 votes, 17 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 29.16% - 7,872 votes.
George Allen: 12.88% - 3,477 votes.
Ron Paul: 4.30% - 1,160 votes.
Sam Brownback: 1.90% - 512 votes.

2008 Vermont Primary: 39,843 Votes, 17 Delegates.
Mitt Romney: 60.54% - 24,120 votes, 17 delegates.
Jeb Bush: 25.48% - 10,151 votes.
Ron Paul: 7.76% - 3,091 votes.
George Allen: 4.37% - 1,741 votes.
Sam Brownback: 1.85% - 737 votes.

Internationally, leftism was seeing a comeback. Castro’s resignation after nearly half a century in power was followed by a wave of action across the Americas; as a new generation of leaders emerged in Latin America, anti-American sentiments were running at an all time high. Political scientists labeled the rise of social democratic and post-Cold War leftism on the continent "the pink tide," with the ailing Castro writing frequently in his regularly published newspaper column in praise of fellow leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, Nestor Kirchner, Lula de Silva, and Evo Morales among others. While Washington was certainly alarmed by the rise of these regimes, the President was not particularly concerned as much as he was annoyed. The Castro brothers and their continental allies were nothing more than loudmouthed nuisances - tin pot tyrants who used the United Nations as a sounding board for their fiery, anti-colonialist rhetoric and invective. But this began to change in March of 2008 as tensions rose in South America.

On March 1st, Colombian forces killed Raul Reyes (the second in command of FARC) in a raid across the Ecuadorian border. President Rafael Correa bitterly protested the violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez mobilized the military in response. Colombia used evidence gathered in the raid that killed Reyes to highlight support for FARC by the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes, which was followed with President Kerry condemning Chavez for ratcheting up tensions in the region. UN Ambassador Richard Morningstar argued on behalf of Colombia before the UN as the Cuban, Brazilian, Ecuadorian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan delegates staged a walkout. A Rio Group Summit held in the Dominican Republic saw failed negotiations between Colombian President Uribe and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, which ended when the typically intemperate Chavez and his sworn enemy Uribe quickly found themselves in a heated shouting match that almost devolved into an outright physical confrontation before the world media. After the summit, Chavez very publicly flew directly to Havana, where he was photographed meeting with an aged and visibly infirm Fidel Castro in another display of defiance directed against the Kerry administration.

As the war on terror continued to rage, President Kerry authorized the use of unmanned aerial drones to both gather intelligence and eliminate militant and terrorist activity within Afghanistan and Pakistan. The use of the drone program to assassinate high value targets within Al Qaeda and the Taliban is quickly found to be an extremely successful approach, though the governments in Kabul and Islamabad both express displeasure with the frequent civilian casualties caused by the initial drone strikes. While the use of drone warfare is hailed in Washington's top defense and security circles as well as in the press, it is more controversial worldwide. The Pakistani People's Party, led by Benazir Bhutto (who continued to campaign aggressively against the Musharraf regime), exploited the nationalistic, anti-American grievances generated by the strikes, which propelled her party to a surprisingly large victory in that month's parliamentary elections. With Benazir Bhutto ascending to the position of Prime Minister once again, demands for President Musharraf’s resignation grow as the parliament begins to ponder impeachment. Secretary of State Holbrooke continues to increase pressure on the Pakistani President to peacefully allow the transfer of power, but Musharraf and his allies in the military are still reluctant to relinquish power to Bhutto.

In Washington, Speaker Dreier, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and President Kerry agree to what Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) calls “a micro-stimulus” program. The largely bipartisan backed plan would give every American taxpayer a one time rebate of $1,500 in order to keep the economy on the move as concerns about a looming market crash grow. Introduced as the Emergency Economic Aid Act (EEAA) to the House of Representatives by Congressman Ryan, an increasingly influential fiscal hawk from Wisconsin, the bill enjoyed broad support. While most Tea Party backed Republicans balked at the plan, with some even expressing disbelief that Ryan (the most prominent deficit hawk in the House) would push such a massive spending package, the concern about the faltering economy and bursting housing bubble were enough for the House to pass the EEAA by a vote of 330-105. The stimulus came at a badly needed time; Wall Street institution Bear-Stearns began to buckle, offering stocks as low as two dollars per share in a desperate effort to avoid total collapse. J.P. Morgan Chase purchased the fumbling financial firm, which was cushioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with an emergency cash infusion. But this was not enough to stop the concerns from ripping through Wall Street as chatter about recessions sends stocks plummeting.

Republican Delegate Count (March, 2008)
Jeb Bush: 834 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 301 delegates.
George Allen: 243 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 191 delegates.
Ron Paul: 16 delegates.
Duncan Hunter: 2 delegates.


Yeb! is really going to lose the 2008 election against an unpopular incumbent in the middle of the greatest recession since the great depression. There's going to be such a reckoning at that in 2012 LOL.

Loving these updates :)
Yeb! is really going to lose the 2008 election against an unpopular incumbent in the middle of the greatest recession since the great depression. There's going to be such a reckoning at that in 2012 LOL.

Loving these updates :)

Nah, ¡JEB! will win, then start a war and tank the economy in keeping with the family tradition. (Especially since W's first term wasn't as bad, so the voters might have buyers remorse about Kerry.)
Chapter XXXXII: April 2008.
Chapter Forty Two:

The month begins with continued tensions in South America, with President Chavez calling Colombian President Uribe “a fascist lacky of the Yankees” and even making an obscene remark questioning President Kerry’s sexuality much to the displeasure of LGBT rights activists in the “Bolivarian Republic.” Secretary of State Holbrooke calls for the negotiated settlement of the dispute between the two nations, though he does reassert American support for Colombia should conflict break out - Chavez notes the irony of this on his daily television show, where he very publicly breaks a piñata designed to represent President Kerry in one of his increasingly dramatic and erratic demonstrations of defiance against Washington. With concerns about a potential war in South America spreading, President Kerry insisted firmly that American ground troops would not be deployed into a potential Latin American conflict. Yet he also did not rule out aerial and naval support for the Colombians should they fall under attack, and sent a clear message to the Castro regime in Havana that Cuban involvement in any continental wars was undisputedly unwelcomed.


In Kansas City, Missouri, the Constitution Party National Convention resulted in Jerome Corsi being easily nominated for President over former Ambassador Alan Keyes and 2004 Vice Presidential nominee, the Reverend Chuck Baldwin. Corsi, best known for his “Swift Boat” conspiracy theory relating to Kerry’s conduct during the Vietnam War, had flirted with a presidential run as a Republican in 2007, and while he had announced an exploratory committee, he had never actually gone about doing the paperwork necessary to actually establish one. Thus, he was denied the chance to participate in the Republican primary debates, and he quietly resumed his career as a writer and proliferator of conspiracy theories. By early 2008, however, he found himself once again bitten by the presidential bug. He announced he would run for President as an independent and told radio host Sean Hannity that he had asked anti-illegal immigration activist Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, as his running mate. But this too fell apart when Gilchrist resigned from the ticket a few weeks later, citing a concern that an independent campaign would only contribute to the reelection of President Kerry. Corsi struggled to raise money, failed to gain ballot access or recognized write-in status, and faced a virtual media blackout during this period. Without a running mate and with little prospect of gaining any traction as an independent, Corsi accepted an invitation from Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips to seek their presidential nomination as an effort to stop Alan Keyes.

Keyes, like Corsi, had been a minor candidate for the Republican nomination at one point in time. A former State Department official in the Reagan era, Keyes had run for the Republican nomination for President in 1996 and 2000, and had also been the Republican nominee for Senate in 2004 in Illinois, a race he was parachuted into as a last minute candidate fielded as part of a desperate effort to stop Barack Obama. In 2007, he announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, but failed to poll high enough in order to be invited to the debates. Keyes abandoned his Republican candidacy in early 2008 after failing to even get on the Iowa or New Hampshire primary ballots, and announced he would instead run as a Constitution Party candidate. But Keyes neo-conservative, Christian Zionist foreign policy outlook clashed with the paleoconservative party elders who had once founded the party as a vehicle for a potential Pat Buchanan third party candidacy in the 1990s. Howard Phillips, who had been their candidate for President in 1996 and 2000, was strongly opposed to Keyes campaign for the nomination and complained that the former Ambassador was hijacking the party throughout the leadup to the convention. Phillip's criticism of Keyes stemmed the tide, and resulted in the lionshare of the delegates present throwing their weight behind the lesser known Corsi. The paleoconservative third party nominated attorney Darrell Castle for Vice President.

There is also drama within the Libertarian Party as their own national convention neared in May. Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr - a former Republican Representative from northern Georgia best known for his sex-scandal scarred career and later second act as a lobbyist for notable luminaries such as former Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier - entered the race after having previously endorsed Speaker Gingrich's candidacy for the Republican nomination. Earlier in the year, former Governor Weld had privately asked him to join him on a potential Libertarian ticket, but when word of this arrangement leaked (most likely by Barr himself), the party's most radical members revolted in disgust. Weld, both irritated by Barr's alleged actions and concerned about the viability of his candidacy, distanced himself from the Georgia Congressman in the days that followed. Angered by this, Barr publicly denied the rumored ticket with Weld and then announced that he himself was receiving entreaties from Libertarian Party figures about a potential campaign. Within a matter of days, Barr had already filed the paperwork needed to seek the presidency, and soon began a last minute effort to wrangle the support of party delegates and bigwigs.

The Emergency Economic Aid Act (EEAA) was passed by the Senate by a 67-33 margin, resulting in the massive tax rebate scheme going into action. The program was relatively popular despite the Tea Party caucus warning of an expanded welfare state resulting from such legislation. The program does manage to boost consumer spending in an otherwise slow month, but Republicans are skeptical of any further programs, and the initial results of the rebate are less than uplifting. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates and approved loans to major banks, including JP Morgan Chase, which was weakened after absorbing the failing Bear Stearns. Concerned about a bank rush, President Kerry sought to reassure Americans not to fear a recession, saying that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." The Pennsylvania primary was the only major primary of April, and there was considerable buzz around Senator Rick Santorum’s role in the process. Courted by all candidates besides Ron Paul, the incumbent conservative Senator was a rising star in the GOP caucus and was once thought of as a potential contender himself. Santorum ultimately endorsed Bush with days to go, realizing that the pragmatic and technocratic frontrunner was best fit to unite the party.

2008 Pennsylvania Republican Primary: 815,364 Votes, 74 Delegates.
Jeb Bush: 53.23% - 434,018 votes, 74 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 27.51% - 224,306 votes.
George Allen: 12.25% - 99,822 votes.
Sam Brownback: 7.56% - 61,641 votes.
Ron Paul: 2.45% - 19,976 votes.

Republican Delegate Count (April)
Jeb Bush: 908 delegates.
Mitt Romney: 301 delegates.
George Allen: 243 delegates.
Sam Brownback: 191 delegates.
Ron Paul: 16 delegates.
Duncan Hunter: 2 delegates.
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Chapter XXXXIII: May 2008.
Chapter Forty Three:
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" was more than just a motif for the Libertarian Party's more pragmatic members - it was a desperate mantra. The convention opened with a great degree of promise, with public interest in the party soaring in part due to Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican nomination, and the presence of Governor Weld in the race offered voters an experienced, seasoned alternative to the Bush - Kerry dynamic. But Weld of course was not alone in the race; the ideological faithful who dominated the party preferred the candidacy of longtime activist and party functionary Mary Ruwart, while Tea Party oriented Libertarians were more inclined to support the likes of businessman Wayne Root or former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who had made a last minute entry into the race after his planned Vice Presidential candidacy with Weld fell apart. With the delegates thoroughly divided, and with no candidates actually able to unite the warring factions and sub-factions of the party, it was clear that the 2008 LNC would be one of the most raucous in the history of the party.
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The first three ballots result in a four way race emerging, though Barr's record as a former Republican congressman comes under fire as his socially conservative views draw the scrutiny of the party's most militant activists. With George Phillies, a radical activist with a long history within the party, certain to be eliminated after the fourth ballot, it became apparent to Bob Barr that his candidacy was doomed. He continued to insist that he would stay in the race, and deployed his campaign manager - former Reform Party chairman Russ Verney - to shore up the support of his wavering delegates in order to position himself as a viable Vice Presidential candidate, but even this prospect remained very unlikely. Barr was simply too toxic; between his personal scandals, political record, his prior support for Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich, and the very public breakdown of his brief alliance with Bill Weld, there was just no real hope for him. The fourth ballot was conducted, and seeing the writing on the wall, Barr announced that he would drop out of the race and would consider running for President as an independent instead. Ultimately, Barr never filed any paperwork to run, reportedly after former Ambassador Alan Keyes and others rejected his offer to launch a new party. He would fade back into obscurity afterwards.

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With Barr out of the race, it was now Root's turn to reckon with the prospect of being eliminated. Dozens of votes behind Weld and Ruwart, and not keen on being humiliated on the fifth ballot, Root announced that he too would drop out. This ensured that the fifth ballot would be the final ballot, and Root was careful not only to decline to endorse either remaining candidate, but also to effusively praise both of them as well. This was part of a transparently calculated effort to wiggle his way onto the ticket regardless of who came out on top, and like Bob Barr, he wasn't really fooling anyone. The bulk of his delegates threw their weight behind Bill Weld, sensing that the former Governor had enough of a national profile to boost the party's prospects and generate an enthusiastic new base of support for the small but growing party. Weld would be nominated on the fifth ballot, and would nominate California Judge Jim Gray as his running mate, who would be nominated on the first ballot over a smattering of other lesser known rivals.

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On May 1st, Mitt Romney released a video on his campaign website and YouTube in which he announced he would be withdrawing from the Republican primary, confirming that he would instead choose to endorse Governor Bush. Romney’s decision to throw his support behind Bush resulted in the media crowning the former Florida Governor as the presumptive Republican nominee, and a number of top Bush surrogates who had spent months on the campaign trail maligning the Massachusetts Governor suddenly began to hail him as the leading choice for the position of Treasury Secretary in a third Bush administration. Soon after, Senators Brownback and Allen also ended their respective campaigns in the weeks following Romney’s withdrawal, knowing that any further effort to win the Republican nomination was futile in the face of the frontrunner's sustained lead in the delegate count. Similarly, Congressman Paul also ended active campaigning before Pennsylvania’s primary, focusing instead to throw his energy into his reelection campaign in Texas’s 22nd congressional district instead. Yet he did not officially withdraw from the race, and insisted that he intended to send his marginal grouping of delegates to the upcoming Republican Convention.

In California, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, making it the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. The ruling enraged social conservatives across the state, who began organizing a ballot drive with the aim of amending the state constitution to prohibit same sex marriage. Senators Allen and Brownback, freshly out of the presidential contest, quickly went west to rally conservative evangelicals in opposition to “San Francisco values,” as part of an effort to flex their political muscles. It was clearly a running mates for Governor Bush.

The Democratic campaign apparatus went into high gear as the general election stage of the campaign approached, with Vice President John Edwards and his popular wife Elizabeth traveling the country on behalf of the President’s reelection effort. What was not publicly known was the fact that the Edwards's marriage was disintegrating behind the scenes; the Vice President was engaged in an on again/off again sexual relationship with campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, whom he quietly and regularly met for romantic rendezvous at hotels across the country when he was away from Washington. The Second Lady, who was battling cancer, was aware of the rumors and had angrily confronted her husband about his indiscretions in dramatic and explosive fashion while onboard Air Force Two, resulting in a heated exchange that was overheard by reporters and eventually made its way to the tabloid headlines. The Vice President denied the rumors to both his wife and the President when confronted by them, and they both made the mistake of taking him for his word.

The economy slowed steadily, but the rebates provided by the EEAA did offset foreclosures and evictions to some degree in the immediate aftermath of its passage. While many Tea Party backed members of Congress, such as Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), were willing to pass the EEAA with the understanding that it was Washington returning money directly to the taxpayers, there was greater backlash towards other expensive programs. Speaker Dreier and President Kerry had quietly worked together to get a non-controversial compromise Farm Bill, which Dreier assured the President could and would pass. Then it didn't. In a vote of 202 in favor to 227 against, the Farm Bill failed after conservative Republicans revolted and called for cuts to the food stamp program. Warning that the consequences of cutting off food stamps in such an economic climate would be dire, the President refused to budge and warned that he’d veto any bill that sought to separate food stamps from the Farm Bill.

The crisis in Latin America worsened after Interpol verified that computers seized by Colombian forces during the cross border raid to kill FARC militant Raul Reyes were not tampered with, effectively confirming Colombia's allegations that the documents proved Venezuelan and Ecuadorian support for the leftist guerrillas. The Colombian army was mobilized while Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke made an emergency trip to Bogota in order to calm tensions, where President Uribe insists that the army must be prepared for a potential attack from both the south and the east. A senior FARC militant known as "Karina" was captured by Colombian forces in the last week of May. President Uribe does not disclose whether she was taken into custody within Colombian borders, leading Hugo Chavez to claim the raid was a "kidnapping" that violated international law.

In Iraq, the first deployment of the Arab Stabilization Force hits the ground. Consisting of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Moroccan troops, the international force in Iraq will begin undergoing rigorous training to supplement Iraqi security forces as American troops slowly withdraw from the conflict. Though Sunni/Shia sectarian violence continues, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq are divided and directionless as their leadership had been picked off throughout the duration of the conflict.