** EDWARDS TO NEVADA. As mentioned here last week, John Edwards will make his anticipated Hurricane Katrina-oriented New Orleans formal announcement of his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. He’ll follow that on his announcement tour with a town hall meeting in Iowa. As his tour continues, on Friday he will hold an event and a town hall meeting at 5:30 PM in Reno, Nevada, at the Grand Sierra Resort’s Silver State Pavilion. Edwards’ goal is to maintain and build his strength in the early states of the nomination contest while the Obama media wave crests.
** IDAHO NEWSPAPER EXPLAINS ARNOLD’S BROKEN LEG.
Schwarzenegger slips on Bald Mountain
By JODY ZARKOS
The Sun Valley ski patrol responded to six accident calls on Bald Mountain Saturday, including one for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Skiing with family members and friend Adi Erber of Ketchum, Schwarzenegger was standing next to the half-pipe on Lower Warm Springs when he slipped, according to Adi Erber.
“His pole got caught underneath his ski and he tripped over it,” Erber said. “He fell on his ski pole and the impact broke his femur.”
Erber, a fellow Austrian and ski buddy of Schwarzenegger’s for the last 18 years, said the accident occurred around 12:15 p.m. and the Governor fell on his right side.
Schwarzenegger was transported off the mountain by toboggan and taken to St. Luke’s Hospital by ambulance.
While Sun Valley patrollers would not comment about the accident itself, one did say, “I do know he was really tough about it. He was tough.”
According to reports by The Associated Press, the 59-year old Schwarzenegger has surgery to repair his fractured femur in California today. Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver own a home north of Ketchum.
** LOCKYER CLEARS UNITED FARM WORKERS. Outgoing California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who will be inaugurated next month as the new state treasurer, has cleared the United Farm Workers union of possible criminal wrongdoing in the wake of several highly critical articles about the UFW at the beginning of the year in the LA Times about the union’s non-profit organizations and problems organizing farm workers. In a statement, Lockyer said that “the organizations broke no nonprofit laws but need to strengthen their procedures governing transactions and solicitations to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
** TELLING POLLS IN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE. Last week’s poll in Iowa, already reported on here, and a new poll in New Hampshire sketch a very intriguing picture in this early stage of the 2008 presidential race. On the Republican side, John McCain is neck and neck with Rudy Giuliani in both states.
But the real intrigue is on the Democratic side. In Iowa, Barack Obama has climbed into a tie with John Edwards, while Hillary Clinton trails far behind with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. In New Hampshire, there is essentially a dead heat for first place between Clinton, who still has a slight edge, and Obama, with Edwards slightly behind. Of course, these polls were taken following an amazing wave of publicity for Obama, who has the best-selling book in the country, “The Audacity of Hope,” reviewed here in the New York Times by Gary Hart.
Hart, the former Colorado senator and one-time presidential frontrunner, after noting diplomatically that Obama’s book is mostly about himself and not so much about a coherent strategy for America, writes admiringly but tellingly: “In a very short time, Barack Obama has made himself into a figure of national interest, curiosity and some undefined hope. This book fully encourages those sentiments. His greatest test will be that of sensing the times, of matching his timing with the tides of the nation.”
Obama’s New Hampshire trip earlier this month saw him rapturously received with many days of wall-to-wall media coverage. This also reverberated in Iowa, which gives heavy play to coverage of presidential politics. Unlike the other prospective candidates, there have been no negatives on Obama. Yet.
11:30 AM UPDATE: ARNOLD SURGERY UPDATE. Here is the statement from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s surgeon, Dr. Kevin Ehrhart:
“At 9:45 this morning our surgical team, consisting of myself, two assistant surgeons, an anesthesiologist and two nurses, completed a successful open reduction internal fixation on the upper part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s thigh bone. The surgery involved using cables and screws to wire the two main fragments of the Governor’s broken femur bone back together. It lasted approximately an hour an a half, was without complication, and the post-operation x-rays look great.
“Following the surgery, the Governor was awake, alert and talking in the recovery room. He is now fully coherent and I have cleared him to resume his duties as Governor. The Governor will remain in the hospital for three days, as is standard for this type of operation. Recovery will take approximately eight weeks and I expect the Governor to fully recover. The Governor is not in a cast and will use crutches to walk while his leg heals.”
** ARNOLD UNDERGOES SURGERY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is back early from his traditional Sun Valley vacation, repairing from his Idaho mansion to an undisclosed LA area hospital where he is undergoing surgery this morning to repair his broken leg. The Governor’s Office put out this statement from orthopedic surgeon Kevin Ehrhart: “Our team will repair the Governor’s fractured right femur by performing an open reduction internal fixation on the upper part of the thigh bone. This relatively common surgery involves using orthopedic cables and screws to help the bone heal.
“Governor Schwarzenegger will be put under general anesthesia for no longer than two hours and the surgery should last less than two hours. As is standard for this type of surgery, the Governor will be kept for observation for three days. The Governor will use crutches following the surgery and recovery will take approximately eight weeks.”
Outoing Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante serves as acting governor while Schwarzenegger is under anesthesia. California’s strategic forces have been placed in stand-down mode.
While Schwarzenegger’s surgeon says he expects no complications while the former action superstar makes a full recovery, the mishap will undoubtedly put a crimp in his style at next week’s second inaugural festivities.
** Monitor computer memory prices on a daily basis. Prices are stable.
** 8 AM ENERGY UPDATE. After rising some on word of Iran’s intransigence on its nuclear program, crude oil prices have slipped on expectations of further milder than normal weather through much of the U.S.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices are around $63 per barrel and appear to be rising on word that Iran will defy UN Security Council sanctions on its nuclear program.