You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 21, 2008.

“I’ve done nine presidential campaigns and this is the first time this has ever happened to me. I was even allowed — I won’t say welcomed — on the Clinton plane in the summer of 1996 after I was revealed as the author of Primary Colors.”

– Joe Klein, quoted by Politico, on being banned from Sen. John McCain’s campaign plane.

Source: Political Wire

“Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.”

– Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), quoted by Politico. When confronted, the congressman’s staff denied he said it, but the audio proves otherwise.

According to First Read, Hayes “won his seat in 2006 by only 369 votes, and the toss-up race is one of the more closely watched in the country.”

Source: Political Wire

A new Pew Research poll shows Sen. Barack Obama holds his widest national margin yet over Sen. John McCain, 53% to 39%, among likely voters.

Key findings: “Obama’s gains notwithstanding, a widespread loss of confidence in McCain appears to be the most significant factor in the race at this point. Many more voters express doubts about McCain’s judgment than about Obama’s: 41% see McCain as ‘having poor judgment,’ while just 29% say that this trait describes Obama. Fewer voters also view McCain as inspiring than did so in mid-September (37% now, 43% then). By contrast, 71% of voters continue to think of Obama as inspiring.”

“In addition, Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view.”

Pew interviewed 2,599 registered voters on both landline phones and cell phones.

Source: Political Wire

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Chris Shays of Connecticut, the last Republican in the House of Representatives from New England, is used to running against the partisan tide. But this year, the wave might be too high for the Republican congressman to overcome.

Recent polls show Republican Rep. Chris Shays tied with or trailing his Democratic opponent in Connecticut.

Shays is just one of many GOP candidates trying to win by outperforming Sen. John McCain’s underwhelming performance in congressional districts nationwide.

McCain, R-Arizona, trailed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama by 21 points in Connecticut’s 4th District, according to an October 13-14 SurveyUSA poll for Roll Call newspaper. A just-released University of Connecticut poll and a mid-September survey by the Democratic Feldman Group also had Obama winning by at least 20 points. By comparison, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry won the district by just 6 points four years ago.

Recent public and private polling shows Shays either tied with or trailing his Democratic opponent Jim Himes. In 2004, Shays got 6 more points than President Bush, but the congressman will need a significantly larger number of Obama voters to cross over this year.

McCain’s non-existent coattails run counter to the initial conventional wisdom that said his moderate style and crossover appeal would lift Republican candidates down ballot. That’s just not the case two weeks out from Election Day.

In North Carolina, Republican Rep. Robin Hayes is a perennial target. President Bush won his 8th District by 9 points over Kerry in 2004, but McCain is trailing Obama in the district by 9 points, according to an end of September Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hayes won with just 50.1 percent last cycle, and doesn’t have much room for error.

McCain’s struggles continue in other Republican-leaning districts like Pennsylvania’s 3rd. According to an October 6-8 Research 2000 poll for the liberal Daily Kos Web site, Republican Rep. Phil English trailed his Democratic opponent by 7 points while McCain was losing the district by 2 points. President Bush won it by 7 points in 2004.

The news doesn’t get better in more staunchly GOP areas.

President Bush won Ohio’s 2nd District by 28 points four years ago, but an early October Research 2000 poll showed McCain’s margin at just 11 points. Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt is in another competitive re-election race there.

Even in Wyoming, where Republicans are defending an open seat, McCain isn’t reaching Bush’s numbers. McCain was underperforming the President’s 2004 totals by 10 points, according to an October 14-16 Research 2000 survey. In the House race, Gary Trauner, the Democrats’ losing 2006 candidate, led former Republican state treasurer Cynthia Lummis, 44-43 percent.

Schmidt and Lummis are fortunate because McCain will carry their districts and they only need Republican voters to vote for them in order to get elected.

For Shays, Hayes, and English, the problem is more severe. A big wave for Obama might be too much of a burden for Republican congressional candidates to bear at a time when they are already saddled with an unpopular Republican president and an unpopular Republican brand.

Stuart Rothenberg, who has served as a political analyst for CNN and CBS News, is editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, a nonpartisan political newsletter. Nathan Gonzales is the publication’s political editor.

Source: CNN

Colin Powell served as secretary of State under George W. Bush, but recently endorsed Barack Obama. Photo: AP

The scene is “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Tom Brokaw has just asked Colin Powell if he is prepared to say whether he is supporting John McCain, to whom he has contributed money, or Barack Obama, whom Powell has told he will not support “just because you’re black.”

Colin Powell is, indeed, prepared to say whom he is supporting. And he does so for the next seven minutes and eight seconds, a lifetime on television, which Brokaw has the wisdom not to interrupt.

Speaking with neither anger nor malice, Powell’s words nonetheless fall like hammer blows on McCain.

“I found that he was a little unsure as to [how to] deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem,” Powell says of McCain.

And that is a concern, Powell says, because McCain doesn’t seem to have a “complete grasp” of our economic difficulties.

Sarah Palin?

“I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president,” Powell says. “And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made.”

“I found that he was a little unsure as to [how to] deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem,” Powell says of McCain.

You keeping score? McCain doesn’t understand the economic crisis, is erratic, is trying to foist an unqualified vice president on the nation and has shown questionable judgment.

Can it get worse? It gets worse.

Powell, who is of the same generation as McCain (Powell is a year younger), of the same party and of the same military background, criticizes McCain for his negative campaigning, for being “narrow,” and for aiding and abetting the “rightward shift” in Republican politics.

And then there is the Supreme Court. “I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration,” Powell says.

Powell is a Republican, but a Republican who is troubled when he hears “senior members of my own party” suggest that Obama is “a Muslim and he might be associated [with] terrorists.”

“This is not the way we should be doing it in America,” Powell says, and then continues with a poignant defense of American Muslims and points out that some are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, having given their lives for their country.

Powell concludes by saying that he is voting for Obama not just because of Obama’s “ability to inspire” but because “he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure.”

That Powell would endorse Obama was not entirely shocking — their politics are not far apart — but the breadth and depth of Powell’s criticism of McCain was a surprise. Perhaps it should not have been.

Read more….

The first Republican woman State Senator in Wisconsin history announced on Tuesday that she would be supporting Barack Obama, in part because of the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign and, specifically, the use of “dishonorable” anti-Obama robocalls.

“All of us should be extremely wary of the half truths and outright untruths that have been spread by the recent negative campaigning and shameful automated phone calls,” said Barbara Lorman of Fort Atkinson. “While my admiration for Senator Obama has grown with his positive approach to addressing the challenges facing our nation, my disappointment with the McCain campaigned has deepened. The negative tactics are inappropriate, downright dishonorable and have no place in the State of Wisconsin.”

“While my admiration for Senator Obama has grown with his positive approach to addressing the challenges facing our nation, my disappointment with the McCain campaigned has deepened. The negative tactics are inappropriate, downright dishonorable and have no place in the State of Wisconsin,” said Barbara Lorman

In issuing her statement, Lorman became the latest in a growing line of GOP officials who have publicly denounced the recent tone and tactics of the McCain camp. In recent days, Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Norm Coleman, as well as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, have all been highly critical of the Arizona Republican’s efforts to tie Barack Obama to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. Lorman is not, obviously, of the same national stature as these other officials. But her place in Wisconsin politics makes her an influential voice in an important swing state.

The fact that she is a lifelong Republican — she left the Senate in 1994 and, until recently, was the longest woman serving senator in Wisconsin history — now crossing party lines is also of interest.

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but Senator Obama is the right leader for our country and will deliver the change we need,” Lorman said in a statement released by the state’s Democratic Party. “After taking a careful look at the qualities of both McCain and Obama and who would be best for our country, I found that Senator Obama’s ability to bridge the partisan divide to work toward solid solutions that will get our nation back on the right track meant he is the right choice this November.”

Source: HP

You could add – that 4 years ago stations like Fox News had significantly more power to influence the way not only voters thought but also what other news agencies eventually reported. It is actually a natural progression for Karl Rove to move over to Fox News as he has done. Because that was a tried and tested talking piece for the campaign(s) he ran. But this campaign is different – in 2000 the few sites promoting Gore – and the Democrats – has exploded – into a landscape of support for Obama and against the Rovian/Swift boat type tactics. So influential – the blogosphere has become – that Fox News was putting the idea out that Obama should try and control the Leftwing/or more supporting blogs – and in true Fox style they went even further to suggest – that if Obama couldn’t control the blogs – then how could he control the country. I think that was then being kind – as they had organized – through negotiation – the O’Reilly interview. And of their promise to offer more inclusive (and dear say somewhat fairer) coverage of his campaign. The blogosphere seems disparate – there is one site and one over there – but together it is having an effect – on any media outlet. Four years ago maybe the Sean Hannitys would have gotten their own way – but not this year – it’s the information age ~ baby! We drill for facts! 

Age has finally become an issue for John McCain. But the problem isn’t the candidate’s 72 years; it’s the antediluvian approach of his campaign.

McCain is running a textbook Rovian race: fear-based, smear-based, anything goes. But it isn’t working. The glitch in the well-oiled machine? The Internet.

“We are witnessing the end of Rovian politics,” Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google told me. And YouTube, which Google bought in 2006 for $1.65 billion, is one of the causes of its demise.

Thanks to YouTube — and blogging and instant fact-checking and viral emails — it is getting harder and harder to get away with repeating brazen lies without paying a price, or to run under-the-radar smear campaigns without being exposed.

But the McCain campaign hasn’t gotten the message, hence the blizzard of racist, alarmist, xenophobic, innuendo-laden accusations being splattered at Obama.

McCain is running a textbook Rovian race: fear-based, smear-based, anything goes. But it isn’t working. The glitch in the well-oiled machine? The Internet.

And it seems that the worse McCain is doing in the polls, the more his team is relying on the same gutter tactics. So over the next 15 days, look for the McCain campaign to become even uglier. That’s what happens when following Rovian politics is your only strategy — and Rovian politics isn’t working.

McCain has stockpiled his campaign with Rove henchmen, including not one but three of the people responsible for the political mugging inflicted on him in 2000.

Just last week he brought on Warren Tompkins in an “unofficial” capacity to see how receptive North Carolina would be to some Rovian slime. After all, it’s right next door to South Carolina, where in 2000 Tomkins and his buddies in the Bush campaign spread race-baiting rumors about McCain having an illegitimate black daughter (referring to McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter Bridget).

And those disgraceful robo-calls that McCain is running? They were done with the help of Jeff Larson and his firm FLS-Connect — the same firm that created the robo-calls smearing McCain in 2000.

At the time, McCain’s reaction to the attacks on him was: “I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like these.”

His reaction now? I have a special place in my campaign for people like these!

So the Karl Rove specials keep coming. Obama and Ayers. Obama the Socialist. Obama and ACORN “destroying the fabric of democracy.” Palin (herself the manifestation of Rovian decision-making) delineating which parts of “this great nation of ours” are “pro-American.” (Interestingly, the sites of the 9/11 attacks didn’t make the list.)

And, did you hear, Obama is also… black! And he wants to give your money to all the poor black people! McCain didn’t come right out and say that, but it’s surely what he insinuated in his radio address this weekend: “Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency.” Somewhere, Karl Rove is smiling, Richard Nixon’s southern strategy is waxing nostalgic, and John McCain’s missing moral compass is getting steamed about John Lewis’ evocation of the civil rights struggle.

The Internet may make it easier to disseminate character smears, but it also makes it much less likely that these smears will stick.

But there is a diamond amidst all this dung: the lack of traction this Rovian politics is getting. It’s as if Rove and his political arsonists keep lighting fires, only to see them doused by the powerful information spray the Internet has made possible.

The Internet has enabled the public to get to know candidates in a much fuller and more intimate way than in the old days (i.e. four years ago), when voters got to know them largely through 30-second campaign ads and quick sound bites chosen by TV news producers.

Compare that to the way over 6 million viewers (on YouTube alone) were able to watch the entirety of Obama’s 37-minute speech on race — or the thousands of other videos posted by the campaign and its supporters.

Back in the Dark Ages of 2004, when YouTube (and HuffPost, for that matter) didn’t exist, a campaign could tell a brazen lie, and the media might call them on it. But if they kept repeating the lie again and again and again, the media would eventually let it go (see the Swiftboating of John Kerry). Traditional media like moving on to the next shiny thing. But bloggers love revisiting a story. So when Palin kept repeating her bridge to nowhere lie, bloggers kept calling her on it. Andrew Sullivan, for one, has made a cottage industry of calling Palin on her lies. And eventually, the truth filtered up and cost McCain credibility with his true base: journalists.

There are many other anti-Rove Republicans abandoning their party. …because they can’t stand what Bush, Rove and now McCain and Palin have done to their party.

The Internet may make it easier to disseminate character smears, but it also makes it much less likely that these smears will stick.

As a result, the McCain campaign’s insinuation-laden “Who is Barack Obama?” was rendered more comical than spooky. Who is Barack Obama? The guy we’ve been watching over and over and over during the last two years. We’ve seen him. We know him. And we can remind ourselves about him with a quick Google search and a mouse click.

Obama “has shown the same untroubled self-confidence day after day,” and “over the past two years, Obama has clearly worn well with voters.” Those are the words of David Brooks, who has gotten to know Obama just like the rest of us.

Four years ago, McCain’s Rovian race-based appeals to our darker demons might have worked. This year, they are blowing up in McCain’s face. And in the face of the entire GOP.

Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama as “a transformational figure” was powerful. But even more powerful was his withering indictment of the state of the Republican Party and the cancer of Rovian politics.

It was similar to the diagnosis of Christopher Buckley following his endorsement of Obama: “To paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan, I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.”

There are many other anti-Rove Republicans abandoning their party. I’ve had several Republican friends tell me privately what Powell and Buckley told the world publicly: that they’re voting for Obama. Most of them not because they like Obama, but because they can’t stand what Bush, Rove and now McCain and Palin have done to their party.

Rovian politics may or may not end up destroying the GOP. But, thanks to the Internet, with a bit of luck it will no longer have the power to befoul our democracy.

Source: HP



IN PHOTO: Qannik, a 6-year-old beluga whale, swims in a tank at his new home at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, June 11, 2007. AP Photo by Ted Warren.

Beluga whales endangered, government declares, contradicting Palin

The beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet are endangered and require additional protection to survive, the government declared Friday, contradicting Gov. Sarah Palin who has questioned whether the distinctive white whales are actually declining.

It was the Republican vice presidential candidate’s second environmental slap from Washington this year. She has asked federal courts to overturn an Interior Department decision declaring polar bears threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The government on Friday put a portion of the whales on the endangered list, rejecting Palin’s argument that it lacked scientific evidence to do so. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that a decade-long recovery program had failed to ensure the whales’ survival.

“In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering,” said James Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator.*

Source: Chicago Tribune

These are hard times to be a socialist in America. And not just because there’s a bourgeois-bloated Starbucks on every other corner, thumbing its capitalist nose at the proletariat.

No, it’s tough these days because you’ve got politicians on the right, the same guys who just helped nationalize the banking system, derisively and inaccurately calling the presidential candidate on the left a socialist. That’s enough to make Karl Marx harumph in his grave.

Local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, say Sen. Barack Obama and his policies stand far afield from any form of socialism they know.

John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain’s campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven’t forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.

“Red baiting is really the last refuge of scoundrels,” Bachtell said. “It has nothing to do with the issues that are confronting the American people right now. It’s just a big diversion.”

Sociology professor at Northwestern U: “Obama is like a center-liberal Democrat, and he is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism.

Of course that’s just one man’s opinion. (And everyone knows you can’t trust a communist.)

The “s-word” bubbled up from the McCain campaign after Obama said, in his chat with Joe the Plumber, that he thinks “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Well, that certainly sounds like the words of a Red Menace. But is it socialist?

There are about as many definitions for socialism as comedian Jeff Foxworthy has for the term “redneck.”

So, how do you know if you’re a socailist?

Generally, it involves espousing government control over a country’s basic industries, like transportation, communication and energy, while also allowing some government regulation of private industries.

“Obama is about as far from being a socialist as Joe The Plumber is from being a rocket scientist,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “I think it’s hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when George Bush is nationalizing banks.”

And this from Bruce Carruthers, a sociology professor at Northwestern University: “Obama is like a center-liberal Democrat, and he is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism. My goodness, he wouldn’t have the support of someone like The Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffet, if he truly was going to overthrow capitalism.”

Bottom line: pure capitalism and socialism can be a difficult mix.

Which hits at the heart of the problem. Right now, with the economy in the tank, the idea of a little wealth sharing doesn’t sound so bad to people whose 401k plans are worth less than the contents of their coin jars.

“Obama is about as far from being a socialist as Joe The Plumber is from being a rocket scientist,” said Darrell West at the Brookings Institution. “I think it’s hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when George Bush is nationalizing banks.”

“The idea of closing that wealth gap, I think, is a concern for many, many Americans,” said Teresa Albano, editor of the Chicago-based People’s Weekly World, a communist newspaper. “I don’t think people are going to respond negatively to the idea of spreading around the wealth.”

Which is not to say that, by electing Obama, the country will gamely head down the path of socialism.

“The whole point of his policies don’t really represent the political economy of the working class,” said Robert Roman, who edits the newsletter of the roughly 250-member Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. “Obama’s going to be a person who represents all of us, he’s going to be representing the interest of the capitalists as well as the working people. He’s not really talking about transforming society beyond capitalism.”

But don’t worry, Sen. Obama. You’re still likely to win the vote of avowed socialists.

“Having Obama as president would be greatly superior, from our point of view, than having McCain as president,” Roman said.

And you can expect to see that quote in a McCain ad in 5, 4, 3, 2….

Source: Chicago Tribune

CNN does at times come across as brainless – how can Obama’s restoring the tax rate under the Clinton presidency – and giving a tax cut to the middle class be classed socialism?

Especially now in such hard and uncertain economic times ~ Cindy McCain had earnings of $4.2 million last year ~ what Obama wants to do is to tax this group 3% more – in order to give a tax break to the middle class. Is it any surprise McCain – is having difficulty in understanding how a tax cut for the middle class might help the largest group in society.

For some additional context, here’s the stats on the number of mentions of “socialism” or “socialist” in the same context as “Obama” during first-run broadcasts on the cable networks since Friday as of 11:00 AM Pacific time on Monday:

    All: 251
    CNN: 101
    FOX: 81
    MSNBC: 69

Seems that instead of being “fair and balanced” (i.e., giving the right-wing free rein to lie), CNN perhaps ought to be pursuing “truthful and accurate” reporting.

Source: Daily Kos

Here’s some good news for Republican voters in Minnesota’s Sixth District. There is absolutely no need for any of you to cast your vote for incumbent Representative Michelle Bachmann, who is an embarrassment to herself and the people of Minnesota, with her awfulness.

Bachmann’s recent remarks, that the media should perform a witch hunt to determine which members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America,” have so incensed her primary opponent, Aubrey Immelman, that he has decided to jump into the race as a write in candidate.

Immelman’s decision comes on the heels of the news that Bachmann’s idiocy led to a gigantic fundraising boost for her Democratic opponent, El Tinklenberg, who raised $438,000 in twenty-four hours.

Declaring himself to be an “alternative for disillusioned Republicans,” he writes on his website:

    Thank you for your support in helping me lead the charge in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District against the destructive neocon ideology that has mired the United States in an unnecessary war in Iraq at a cost of thousands of American lives, hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, and untold damage to the international stature of the United States of America.And, as if incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann’s enthusiastic support for these policies is not damaging enough, she now appears to be calling for a witch hunt to “find out [which members of Congress] are pro-America or anti-America.” We cannot tolerate this festering brand of neo-McCarthyism in our midst.

Immelman’s decision comes on the heels of the news that Bachmann’s idiocy led to a gigantic fundraising boost for her Democratic opponent, El Tinklenberg, who raised $438,000 in twenty-four hours. Hopefully, one of these gentlemen shall succeed in removing this Hydatid cyst from the American Legislature.

Source: HP

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama’s record-breaking September fundraising puts him on pace to spend as much as a half-billion dollars for the general election, almost double the resources of Republican opponent John McCain.

Obama, the first major-party nominee to shun public funding for the general election since the system was put in place, reported taking in $150 million in September, the most ever raised by a presidential candidate in one month and more than twice as much as his previous record of $66 million in August.

He entered September with $95 million in the bank. Along with the money he raised last month, the Democratic National Committee took in $50 million, which can be spent on his behalf. Analysts say Obama and the party likely will at least match those figures in October, giving the Democrat about $500 million for the two-month campaign ending with the Nov. 4 election.

Obama’s decision to opt out of public financing “means that he has tactical flexibility as we move into the final couple of weeks of the campaign,” said Arthur Sanders. “McCain cannot answer in kind.”

McCain accepted $84.1 million in federal money, barring him from directly raising private funds except to cover certain legal and accounting costs. Combined with the $103 million in the bank he had at the start of September, plus $66 million the Republican National Committee raised in September, and another $50 million advisers said the party will raise this month, McCain will have about $300 million for the general election.

`Tactical Flexibility’

Obama’s decision to opt out of public financing “means that he has tactical flexibility as we move into the final couple of weeks of the campaign,” said Arthur Sanders, chairman of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. “McCain cannot answer in kind.”

The money advantage allows Obama to continue expanding the electoral playing field, setting up offices and airing ads in states such as West Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana that President George W. Bush won in 2004.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said yesterday the money would also help in North Dakota, which has awarded its electoral votes to a Democratic presidential candidate only once since 1940.

“In framing candidates, advertising money is the name of the game,” said Julian Zelizer. “Democrats can use this money in the next few weeks to keep public attention focused on the economy, which hurts McCain, and telling the public what Obama is about rather than having the GOP do that for them.”

McCain drew down his reserves in September, ending the month with $46.9 million in cash, according to a filing his campaign made last night with the Federal Election Commission. The party committees and the Obama campaign are set to file their September reports to the FEC by the end of the day.

Focus on Economy

Obama’s bank account also allows him to emphasize issues such as the economy, which favors Democrats, and drown out Republican attacks on his qualifications and positions.

“In framing candidates, advertising money is the name of the game,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. “Democrats can use this money in the next few weeks to keep public attention focused on the economy, which hurts McCain, and telling the public what Obama is about rather than having the GOP do that for them.”

McCain, 72, yesterday renewed his criticism of Obama for breaking a promise to accept public financing if he won the Democratic nomination.

“We’re now going to see huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Source: Bloomberg

See much more about voting machine problems here

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama and John McCain have a litigation game plan to accompany their election strategy.

Both candidates have armies of volunteers to ring doorbells and get voters to the polls. They are also forming squadrons of lawyers who are filing challenges and preparing in case Election Day doesn’t settle the contest for the White House.

Legal battles unfolding in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin provide fresh evidence of the potential fights to come over ballot access in an election marked by unprecedented spending to increase the number of voters in strategically important states.

The millions of dollars that have been poured into registration drives have yielded millions of new voters across the country. Those same efforts have now generated heated battles in both parties with cries of voter fraud and intimidation that may threaten the integrity of the election.

Election officials, meanwhile, are braced for huge turnout and the problems that could create with long lines, malfunctioning machines and challenges to voters.

Already, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed Ohio Democrats a victory, dissolving a court order obtained by Republicans to force state officials to release the list of 200,000 new voters whose names or addresses don’t match government databases.

Democrats’ Accusations

Democrats accused Republicans of trying to improperly disqualify voters.

In Florida, Democratic lawyer Charles H. Lichtman has assembled almost 5,000 lawyers to monitor precincts, assist voters turned away at the polls and litigate any disputes that can’t be resolved out of court.

“On Election Day, I will be managing the largest law firm in the country, albeit for one day,” said Lichtman, 53, a Fort Lauderdale corporate lawyer and veteran of the five-week recount after the 2000 election when Florida eventually delivered the presidency to George W. Bush.

Obama’s lawyers also have pressed allegations that Michigan Republicans planned to use mortgage-foreclosure lists to challenge voters. Indiana labor unions allied with Democratic presidential nominee Obama, an Illinois senator, are battling a Republican chairman over early voting in the state’s second- largest county.

2002 Law

Much of the partisan disagreement is over enforcing a 2002 law enacted by Congress to help states prevent a Florida-type recount by requiring election officials to set up database checks to purge voters.

Ohio’s Republican Party obtained a court order directing Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s secretary of state, to give county election officials the lists of new voters whose names didn’t match drivers’ licenses or Social Security records.

In her successful Supreme Court petition, Brunner called the order a recipe for “disruption” and “chaos” as the state prepares for a presidential vote that polls of Ohio voters predict will produce another razor-thin margin. Database checks are not “a litmus test” for the right to vote, she said in a statement announcing the appeal.

Republicans contend the federal law requires record checks to counter fraudulent voter registration, which they say has been perpetrated by a nationwide network of community activists known as ACORN. The party’s presidential nominee, Arizona Senator McCain, has cried foul over the drive by ACORN — an acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — to register 1.3 million voters this year.

Source: Bloomberg

NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is. In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.

“I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that’s where we would go. I don’t support gay marriage,” Palin said. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families.

As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Joe Biden, Palin said she was “tolerant” of gays.

McCain, an Arizona senator, is supporting a ballot initiative in his state this year that would ban gay marriage. But he has consistently and forcefully opposed a federal marriage amendment, saying it would usurp states’ authority on such matters.

As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, Palin said she was “tolerant” of gays and said she supported certain legal protections for same-sex couples, like hospital visitation rights.

In the CBN interview, Palin also said she would speak out if she heard a supporter at a rally yell violent or threatening comments about Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.

“What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like ‘kill him,'” Palin said, referring to a Washington Post story two weeks ago about angry supporters at a Palin rally in Florida. “If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that’s unacceptable.”

CBN released excerpts of the interview Monday and planned to broadcast it in its entirety Tuesday.

Palin also claimed religion and God had been “mocked” during the campaign, although she offered no evidence to support that.

“What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like ‘kill him,'” Palin said. “If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that’s unacceptable.”

“Faith in God in general has been mocked through this campaign, and that breaks my heart and that is unfair for others who share a faith in God and choose to worship our Lord in whatever private manner that they deem fit,” she said.

Palin is a conservative Christian who was baptized and grew up attending Pentecostal churches. In September, Obama defended Palin’s religious beliefs and said it would be “offensive” to portray her faith as strange or wrong.

Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been “palling around with terrorists” because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.

“I would say it again,” she said.

Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.

Source: AP

As voters have gotten to know Senator Barack Obama, they have warmed up to him, with more than half, 53 percent, now saying they have a favorable impression of him and 33 percent saying they have an unfavorable view. But as voters have gotten to know Senator John McCain, they have not warmed, with only 36 percent of voters saying they view him favorably while 45 percent view him unfavorably.

Even voters who are planning to vote for Mr. McCain say their enthusiasm has waned. In New York Times and CBS News polls conducted with the same respondents before the first presidential debate and again after the last debate, Mr. McCain made no progress in appealing to voters on a personal level, and he and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, had alienated some voters.

Mr. Obama’s favorability is the highest for a presidential candidate running for a first term in the last 28 years of Times/CBS polls.

Personal appeal is an intangible element in voters’ decisions. Each voter has a personal reason for connecting with a candidate or not. But the percentage of those who hold a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama is up 10 points since last month. Opinion of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Obama’s running mate, is also up, to 50 percent last weekend from 36 percent in September.

In contrast, favorable opinion of Mr. McCain remained stable, and unfavorable opinion rose to 45 percent now from 35 percent in September. Mrs. Palin’s negatives are up, to 41 percent now from 29 percent in September.

Mr. McCain made no progress in appealing to voters on a personal level, and he and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, had alienated some voters.

Mr. Obama’s favorability is the highest for a presidential candidate running for a first term in the last 28 years of Times/CBS polls. Mrs. Palin’s negative rating is the highest for a vice-presidential candidate as measured by The Times and CBS News. Even Dan Quayle, with whom Mrs. Palin is often compared because of her age and inexperience on the national scene, was not viewed as negatively in the 1988 campaign.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Sept. 21-24, with re-interviews completed Friday through Sunday of 518 adults, 476 of whom are registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points for all adults and voters.

Of those who said their opinion of Mr. McCain had been tarnished, many cited his attacks on his opponent, the choice of Ms. Palin as his running mate and his debate performance.

Among the voters who said their opinion of Mr. Obama had improved, many cited his debate performance, saying they liked his calm demeanor and the way he had handled the attacks on him from the McCain campaign.

Of those who said their opinion of Mr. McCain had been tarnished, many cited his attacks on his opponent, the choice of Ms. Palin as his running mate and his debate performance.

“Even though I am a Democrat, there was a strong possibility I would have voted for McCain,” said Yolanda Grande, 77, a Democrat from Blairstown, N.J. “What pushed me over the line was McCain’s choice of vice president. I just don’t think she is qualified to step in if anything happened to him.”

Best Wishes to Obama and Family ~ And to Grandma ~ We Hope Will Get Well Soon!!

Barack spoke to an audience of 100,000 in St. Louis, MO on October 18, 2008.
Visit Vote For Change to get all the info you need to vote on November 4.

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