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ABC News reports:
- In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.”If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald explains why this argument is frighteningly wrong:
- If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.This isn’t only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice here to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it’s inherently unfair when they’re criticized. And now, apparently, it’s even unconstitutional.According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. The First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials would not be “attacked” in the papers. It is even possible to imagine more breathaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?
A few readers comments from the WSJ
The real question is – is Sarah Palin being dumb – or as with this socialist argument against Obama – simply trying to manipulate the audience?
If you notice Palin won’t actually say Obama is a socialist – just that Joe the plumber said that he thought it sounded like socialism – and then by the way – we find that Joe Plumber didn’t say anything about socialism to Obama’s face – that was said in an interview with Fox News Laura Ingraham.
If she repeats this 1st Amendment line – we will know that it is being exploited – if she never mentions it again this will confirm our suspicions that she is dumb-da-dumb-dumb dumb!!
- That is the dumbest statement I have ever heard a politician make about the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the right of private citizens — including the press — to speak freely, without government interference. That right is strongest when exercised in relation to public figures like Palin.
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If she is upset, she needs to win over supporters with the strength of her ideas. The fact that she can’t speaks volumes about her credibility and the validity of her ideas.
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The fact that she’s now twisting the First Amendment, which essentially protects a “free market for political ideas, shows just how poorly she understands the philosophy of her own party. It’s also just poor taste.
Comment by Falstaff
- Sounds like she can dish it out, but can’t take it. If she wants to express her opinion on the media, why shouldn’t the media be able to express their opinion of what she has said. Isn’t that what First Amendment rights are all about?
Comment by No Sympathy for Sarah
- The point is not Palin’s First Amendment rights; it’s the fact that a lot of what she and McCain have been saying is negative and often false. She can, and does, say whatever she wants about Obama. At the same time, her detractors have the right to call her on the negativity and falsity of her speech. The First Amendment has not been abridged by anyone here. She missed the point entirely.
Comment by Missed the Point
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/28-30. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)
McCain (R) 48
Obama (D) 47
Early voters (17 percent of sample)
McCain (R) 42
Obama (D) 54
I can’t believe we may actually win Arizona. And I have a bonus treat for you guys:
If the 2010 election for U.S. Senate were held today for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Janet Napolitano the Democrat and John McCain the Republican?
McCain (R) 45
Napolitano (D) 53
Obama Going Up On The Air In Georgia, North Dakota, And … Arizona!
On a conference call with reporters just now, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said that the campaign is going up on the air in the final stretch in three states: Georgia, North Dakota, and … McCain’s home state of Arizona.
Plouffe said that yesterday’s “rear view mirror” ad attacking McSame would go up in Georgia and North Dakota, and the positive closing spot, which features the endorsements of Warren Buffett and Colin Powell, would go up in Arizona.
The campaign had previously run ads in Georgia and North Dakota but had gone dark after McCain seemed to be holding on in those states.
The Arizona gambit, obviously, is an entirely new move.
View both ads here.
“Rearview Mirror” Ad
Late Update: Plouffe adds that one reason for entering Arizona is that the Obama camp thinks they’re doing very well with the state’s hispanic and suburban voters.
Late Late Update: Two other interesting points from Plouffe. First, he said that the campaign is very pleased with where they stand with independent voters in the West, predicting that they are key to the campaign’s chances in Colorado and could conceivably help tip Arizona Obama’s way.
Also, Plouffe pushed back hard on the notion — heavily promoted of late by the McCain team — that undecideds will break heavily to McCain. He said internal data belies this and has left the campaign happy with the way Obama is perceived by undecideds both personally and on the issues. He added that get out the vote efforts would make Obama very competitive with the last-minute deciders.
A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.
After nearly two years of campaigning, a pair of hotly contested nominating battles, a series of debates and an avalanche of advertisements, the nationwide poll found the contours of the race hardening in the last days before the election on Tuesday. Twelve percent of the voters surveyed said they had already voted. These were among the findings:
¶Mr. Obama is maintaining his lead, with 51 percent of likely voters supporting him and 40 percent supporting Mr. McCain in a head-to-head matchup.
¶Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today.
¶Mr. McCain’s focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to be having some effect, as a growing number of voters now say Mr. McCain would not raise their taxes.
¶Eighty-nine percent of people view the economy negatively, and 85 percent think the country is on the wrong track.
¶Mr. Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.
The survey found that opinions of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain had hardened considerably, as 9 out of 10 voters who said they had settled on a candidate said their minds were made up, and a growing number of them called it “extremely important” that their candidate win the election. Roughly half of each candidate’s supporters said they were “scared” of what the other candidate would do if elected. Just 4 percent of voters were undecided, and when they were pressed to say whom they leaned toward, the shape of the race remained essentially the same.
Bolstered by the fiscal crisis and deep concerns about the direction of the country, Mr. Obama has seemed to solidify the support he has gained in recent months. When likely voters were asked whom they would vote for in an expanded field that included several third-party candidates, Mr. Obama got the support of 52 percent of them, Mr. McCain 39 percent, Bob Barr 1 percent, and Ralph Nader 2 percent.
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Saturday through Wednesday with 1,439 adults nationwide, including 1,308 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
The poll was conducted as a wide range of state polls have shown Mr. Obama, of Illinois, ahead or tied in several crucial contested states, including some traditionally Republican states that Mr. McCain, of Arizona, must carry to win the election.
The survey suggested that Mr. Obama’s candidacy — if elected, he would be the first black president — has changed some perceptions of race in America. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said whites and blacks have an equal chance of getting ahead in today’s society, up from the half who said they thought so in July. And while 14 percent still said most people they knew would not vote for a black presidential candidate, the number has dropped considerably since the campaign began.
Mr. McCain’s heavy focus on taxes in the final weeks of the campaign seems to be having some effect, the poll found. Forty-seven percent of voters said Mr. McCain would not raise taxes on people like them, up from just 38 percent who said so two weeks ago. (And 50 percent said they thought Mr. Obama would raise taxes on people like them, while 44 percent said he would not; both numbers are similar to two weeks ago.)
With just days until Americans choose a new president, the survey found them deeply uneasy about the state of their country. Eight-five percent of respondents said the country was pretty seriously off on the wrong track, near the record high recorded earlier this month. A majority said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. And President Bush’s approval rating remains at 22 percent, tied for the lowest presidential approval rating on record (which was President Harry S. Truman’s rating, recorded by the Gallup Poll in 1952).
Mr. McCain’s renewed efforts to cast himself as the candidate of change have apparently faltered. Sixty-four percent of voters polled said Mr. Obama would bring about real change if elected, while only 39 percent said Mr. McCain would. And despite Mr. McCain’s increased efforts to distance himself from President Bush, a majority still said he would generally continue Mr. Bush’s policies.
Dixie Cromwell, a 36-year-old cosmetologist from Shelby, N.C., who is a Republican, said in a follow-up interview that she had already voted for Mr. Obama.
“I generally vote Republican, but this year I voted Democrat,” she said. “I just don’t feel we can go through any more of the same old thing that we’ve been going through with the Republican Party.”
Mr. Obama’s policies were seen as much more likely to improve the economy, provide health insurance to more people, and scale back military involvement in Iraq than Mr. McCain’s were. But Mr. McCain enjoyed an advantage when it came to questions about which candidate would make a better commander in chief: 47 percent of voters said Mr. McCain was very likely to be an effective commander in chief, compared with 33 percent who said Mr. Obama would be.
While a majority viewed Ms. Palin as unqualified for the vice presidency, roughly three-quarters of voters saw Mr. Obama’s running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, as qualified for the job. The increase in the number of voters who said Ms. Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents.
Over all, views of Ms. Palin were apparently shaped more by ideology and party than by gender. Ms. Palin was viewed as unprepared for the job by about 6 in 10 men and women alike. But 8 in 10 Democrats viewed her as unprepared, as well as more than 6 in 10 independents and 3 in 10 Republicans.
She’s not donin’ it for naught!!
Here a pro-future energy plan – quickly constructed.
In the future we are going to drive vehicles with mechanics which don’t use oil and gas.
Our factories will be powered by an energy source which cost little or nothing – lowering the cost of production.
The amount spent on energy could be shifted to research and development – we could create more if we don’t have to factor in the energy cost.
Once the cost of energy is out of the equation — as with most things there is an energy cost to manufacture it, and another energy cost to deliver it – to the wholesaler – then another energy cost to either deliver it to the consumer or the retail outlet, each time a product has to be moved or made or cooked, then the energy cost is added on to it like a tax.
Once you take that expense out of the system – then you are instantly looking a system where there is more money.
In your own home – if we don’t have to pay for electricity or heating, or gas to power our cars – or if we can significantly reduce these costs in the short term – and say wages stay the same – then you could instantly see how you could have more money in your own household. But if we could take the cost of energy out of the whole system, or significantly reduce it, then we could see how there would be more money for everyone – as sales or demand may go up and prices go down. We become the limiting factor and not energy availability or its cost. How we want to use and recycle materials for use again, becomes the limiting factors, on what we produce.
TOLEDO, Ohio – No blaring country songs. No pink handmade signs. No rousing chants of “Drill, baby, drill.”
Gov. Sarah Palin abandoned the usual flash of her campaign rallies on Wednesday to deliver her second policy speech as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, an address focused on energy security.
Standing on a riser above a concrete floor, under the glare of fluorescent lighting, Ms. Palin addressed fewer than 200 people, mostly employees of Xunlight Corporation, a spin-off from the University of Toledo that manufactures solar energy implements.
She called for greater energy independence, blaming decades of presidents and legislators for failing to achieve it.
“It’s been 30 years’ worth of failed energy policies in Washington, 30 years where we’ve had opportunities to become less reliant on foreign sources, and 30 years of failure in that area,” Ms. Palin said. “We must steer far clear of the errors and false assumptions that have marked the energy policies of nearly 20 Congresses and seven presidents.”
Ms. Palin also laid the blame at the feet of her Democratic counterpart, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has opposed offshore drilling. Mr. Biden was overheard telling a supporter on the campaign trail that he did not support clean-coal technology in the United States.
“He says that clean coal is O.K. for China, but sorry, Ohio, Joe Biden says it’s not for you,” she said. “And that is just nonsense.”
If Senator John McCain is elected, she added, $2 billion a year would be devoted to clean-coal research and development.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland released a response on behalf of the Obama campaign:
“In a bit of rare straight talk, Sarah Palin attacked her own running mate’s record today by blaming our oil addiction on ‘thirty years of failure’ in Washington,” said Governor Ted Strickland. “John McCain was there for twenty-six of those years, during which he voted against alternative sources of energy and stood with oil industry lobbyists instead. Now he wants to give those oil companies an additional $4 billion in tax breaks, even as he proposes pennies for the kind of renewable energy that can end our dependence on Mideast oil and create new jobs. After decades of John McCain’s failed leadership on energy, we can’t afford four more.”
As a vice-presidential candidate, Ms. Palin has leaned heavily on her record in Alaska challenging the power of oil companies, and as governor, she negotiated a $40 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska to the lower 48 states. But that project, which she described in her speech on Wednesday, is years away from federal approval and will not be built for at least a decade.
WASHINGTON, DC — Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin’s speech on energy today was riddled with distortions and stands in stark contrast to her reaction to the Obama’s energy plan before she became the GOP nominee.
“While the solar energy company was a nice backdrop, Palin’s speech, like the McCain energy policy, was almost entirely about oil, coal, and nuclear,” LCV President Gene Karpinksi said. “Look past the setting, look past the speaker, and the policies she advocated today are the same policies we’ve seen from the last eight years of the Bush administration – policies that hurt the Ohioans working at Xunlight and other clean energy companies.”
Palin’s speech cavalierly downplayed the risks of environmental degradation of continued dependence on fossil fuels and offered no new concrete proposals for developing clean, renewable energy sources. And what of the biggest environmental challenge of our generation? Palin did not mention the impact of our energy future on global warming or climate change — an issue she has refused to acknowledge as being caused by human activity.
After praising the workers of Xunlight, Palin then belittled their (solar) product: “We have many, many new energy sources like solar and wind and geothermal that have not become economic and reliable.”
The speech was delivered at Xunlight Energy, a company that produces photovoltaic solar energy cells in Toledo, OH. Instead of offering new ideas to develop clean energy sources like solar, Palin ironically reprised the same old energy proposals that McCain has supported for years, wrapped in new distortions of Senator Obama’s plans and couched in a false clean energy setting.
After praising the workers of Xunlight, Palin then belittled their product: “We have many, many new energy sources like solar and wind and geothermal that have not become economic and reliable.”
Senator McCain, Palin’s running mate, has routinely failed to support bills that would have created tax breaks and incentives for Xunlight Energy. McCain has stood in the way of measures that would have helped that Xunlight create jobs in Ohio and produce more reliable and economic clean energy.
On August 4, 2008, in a press release entitled “Palin Pleased With Obama’s Energy Plan,” the Alaska Governor praised Obama’s energy plan, acknowledging the Obama proposal to offer $1,000 rebates to those struggling with the high cost of energy. Contrary to her backwards statements today, Senator Obama’s energy plan is the most comprehensive plan to end this country’s addiction to oil ever put forward by a Presidential nominee.
“Overall, Governor Palin’s speech was light on specifics for clean energy, sour in its tone compared to earlier praise of the Obama energy plan and crude in its assessment of America’s energy future,” Karpinski concluded.
When it comes to the environment, John McCain only has the interests of Big Oil at heart. That’s why he has over 22 Big Oil lobbyists advising him. That’s why he favored lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling — a move that prompted Big Oil to donate over $1 million to his campaign. And thanks to the League of Conservation Voters, we’ve got the proof!
In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has been attacking ACORN, a widely respected voter registration organization, claiming ACORN knowingly participated in “voter fraud.” In reality, this is just another calculated attempt by the McCain campaign and the RNC to suppress new and marginalized voters.
Help stop the lies: http://acorn.org/lies
The famous CSPAN video below captures Republicans joking about keep Obama voters from the polls.
Tom Davis on Voter Suppression: CSPAN 10/10/08
From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism. Tuesday’s probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign’s closing days.
Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain’s saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin’s never having attended a “Georgetown cocktail party” is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents “are in charge of the United States Senate”?
She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes. But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators’ weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana’s Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate’s autonomy?
Perhaps Palin’s confusion about the office for which she is auditioning comes from listening to its current occupant. Dick Cheney, the foremost practitioner of this administration’s constitutional carelessness in aggrandizing executive power, regularly attends the Senate Republicans’ Tuesday luncheons. He has said jocularly that he is “a product” of the Senate, which pays his salary, and that he has no “official duties” in the executive branch. His situational constitutionalism has, however, led him to assert, when claiming exemption from a particular executive order, that he is a member of the legislative branch and, when seeking to shield certain of his deliberations from legislative inquiry, to say that he is a member of the executive branch.
Palin may be an inveterate simplifier; McCain has a history of reducing controversies to cartoons. A Republican financial expert recalls attending a dinner with McCain for the purpose of discussing with him domestic and international financial complexities that clearly did not fascinate the senator. As the dinner ended, McCain’s question for his briefer was: “So, who is the villain?”
McCain revived a familiar villain — “huge amounts” of political money — when Barack Obama announced that he had received contributions of $150 million in September. “The dam is broken,” said McCain, whose constitutional carelessness involves wanting to multiply impediments to people who want to participate in politics by contributing to candidates — people such as the 632,000 first-time givers to Obama in September.
Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? “We’re now going to see,” McCain warned, “huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal.” The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans’ freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86.
One excellent result of this election cycle is that public financing of presidential campaigns now seems sillier than ever. The public has always disliked it: Voluntary and cost-free participation, using the check-off on the income tax form, peaked at 28.7 percent in 1980 and has sagged to 9.2 percent. The Post, which is melancholy about the system’s parlous condition, says there were three reasons for creating public financing: to free candidates from the demands of fundraising, to level the playing field and “to limit the amount of money pouring into presidential campaigns.” The first reason is decreasingly persuasive because fundraising is increasingly easy because of new technologies such as the Internet. The second reason is, the Supreme Court says, constitutionally impermissible. Government may not mandate equality of resources among political competitors who earn different levels of voluntary support. As for the third reason — “huge amounts” (McCain) of money “pouring into” (The Post) presidential politics — well:
The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that, by Election Day, $2.4 billion will have been spent on presidential campaigns in the two-year election cycle that began in January 2007, and an additional $2.9 billion will have been spent on 435 House and 35 Senate contests. This $5.3 billion is a billion less than Americans will spend this year on potato chips.
By George F. Will
The McCain campaign has been throwing around so much mud and smears in recent weeks that it’s easy to miss just how ugly and shameful their character assassination of Rashid Khalidi is. This is an entirely respectable, highly respected scholar. To go further into making a case for him would only be to enable and indulge McCain’s sordid appeal to racism. For McCain, personally, to compare Khalidi to a neo-nazi, it’s just an offense McCain should never be forgiven for. It’s right down in the gutter with Joe McCarthy and the worst of the worst. Khalidi is in this new McCain set piece for one reason — as a generic Arab, to spur the idea that Obama is foreign, friendly with terrorists and possibly Muslim.
Here’s a video John Judis did at The New Republic on McCain’s latest low …
I like the sharing your peanut butter sandwich idea – but here’s where I can see the McCain people picking a hole in it. Obama’s tax cuts are for the working people – but if he gave half of his sandwich to his favorite nursery school friend – or even two friends – the Republicans could argue that that kid’s mother didn’t make/work for the sandwich and therefore it was equivalent to a government give-away, sharing your sandwich in this light could even be considered welfare as the kids mom never worked for the sandwich. But then McCain’s argument could be turned here – that under communism everybody worked – therefore were deserving of the share of the sandwich. And likewise under Obama capitalist tax plan the working poor and middle class – will be given a helping hand. Whether they are deserving – could be argued – John McCain doesn’t think so – but I think Obama does.
If you think of John McCain’s idea about wealth sharing we have to look at the loaf of bread – McCain would take two slices out throw them out to 95% of working people and fight like the dickens to give the rest to the top 5% – who he feels are more deserving. What Obama would say that the 5% could keep most of their loaf but out of any new loaves baked in any year he is asking for an additional 3% to pay for services, the war, the debt, roads and bridges and teachers in schools, college tuition, health-care and tax cuts for the working middle class.
Here’s our daily composite of the six major national tracking polls. The recent tightening in the race appears to have stopped for today, with Obama’s lead expanding slightly:
• Gallup: Obama 51%, McCain 44%, with a ±2% margin of error, unchanged from yesterday.
• Rasmussen: Obama 51%, McCain 46%, with a ±2% margin of error, compared to a 50%-47% Obama lead from yesterday.
• ABC/Washington Post: Obama 52%, McCain 44%, with a ±2.5% margin of error, unchanged from yesterday.
• Hotline/Diageo: Obama 48%, McCain 42%, with a ±3.3% margin of error, compared to a 49%-42% Obama lead from yesterday.
• Research 2000: Obama 50%, McCain 45%, with a ±3% margin of error, compared to a 50%-44% Obama lead yesterday.
• Zogby: Obama 50%, McCain 43%, with a ±2.9% margin of error, compared to a 49%-44% Obama lead from yesterday.
Adding these polls together and weighting them by the square roots of their sample sizes, Obama is ahead 50.5%-44.2%, a lead of 6.3 points, compared to the 50.2%-44.4% Obama lead from yesterday.
Truth is the Republicans never got their smear message Wright – was Obama a Muslim – or is he a Communist/Marxist, but doesn’t the Marxist concept reject / suppress all religions? To put the GOP smear messages together you end up with a Marxist Muslim – with a Christian Preacher named Rev. Wright. Ok I got it – I think – no – I don’t think!! Because if you really think about it you can’t accept it.
And I forgot we were also meant to believe that Obama’s a terrorist – because he knew a man who committed terrorist acts when he was 8, and he sat on an education advisory board along with other Republicans and Professor Ayers – a committee which was started by a Republican. Was this Republican founder also a terrorist and a radical. This is creeping McCarthyism all over again, and likely this is the kind of administration they would run.
I predict these tactics which have already been in play – will have little effect this time – when people see these ads – like all McCain’s other ads that have backfired – people will run through this hail of arrows to get to the polls to vote for who they want.
Nasty dirty campaigning took down McCain back in 2000, now he wants to use nasty dirty methods to take down Obama – it a universe thing – its that whole – right – wrong thing.
Get ready for a deluge of Wright rantings.
The National Republican Trust PAC, which has been airing an ad attacking Barack Obama’s association with Reverend Wright in three battleground states, has now put down for a national buy on five networks that will last from now through election day, a consultant with the group confirms to me.
The ad will run nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days, the consultant, Rick Wilson, says — “all the way until election day.”
The ad, which you can watch here, features the now-infamous footage of Wright’s livelier sermons, and intones that Obama “never complained” about Wright “until he ran for President,” adding that Obama is “too radical, too risky.”
Previously, the ad was only running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, as Ben Smith reported the other day.
Now, however, the ad will run nationally, Wilson says, adding that the group just got through getting the spot vetted with network lawyers and is good to go.
Late Update: Wilson tells me that the PAC will have spent $2 million on this national buy by the end of tomorrow.
You may have seen an ex-Hillary Clinton supporter on Fox News named Rothschild who says she is a-votin’ for McCain/Palin – the economy, jobs, health-care would mean little to her – unless she was intentionally concerned about those less well off than herself – it’s logical to go with the one who is offering corporations and the wealthiest in society a tax cut. Saying to this person that John McCain is going to tax the health benefits paid by employers – is like asking her – how much milk cost, she’ll probably need to check with one of her advisers.
The CEO of a major marine technology company is alleging that he was pressured by a friend and associate of Norm Coleman to secretly funnel tens of thousands of dollars to the Senator’s family.
Paul McKim, the founder and CEO of Deep Marine Technology, alleges in a civil suit that Nasser Kazeminy — a longtime Republican donor, friend of Coleman, and DMT shareholder — directed the company to send $75,000 to the Senator and his wife.
The transaction, which occurred in 2007, allegedly went as follows: DMT would make payments for services to Hays Company, even though no services would be rendered. Since Norm Coleman’s wife Laurie worked at Hays, that money would be given to her in the form of ‘salary.’
According to the suit filed against Kazeminy and several other defendants:
In March 2007, Kazeminy began ordering the payments of corporate funds to companies and individuals who tendered no goods or services to DMT for the stated purpose of trying to financially assist United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. In March 2007, Kazeminy telephoned B.J. Thomas, then DMT’s Chief Financial Officer. In that conversation, Kazeminy told Mr. Thomas that “U.S. Senators don’t make [expletive deleted]” and that he was going to find a way to get money to United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota and wanted to utilize DMT in the process. Mr. Thomas later approached Mr. McKim, asking him whether this was appropriate and whether they should follow Kazeminy’s orders. Mr McKim told him that it was not appropriate and shortly thereafter he also spoke with Kazeminy.”
In this same conversation, Kazeminy told Mr. McKim that he [Kazeminy] would make sure there was paperwork to make it appear as though the payments were made in connection with legitimate transactions, explaining further that Senator Coleman’s wife, Laurie, worked for the Hays Companies, an insurance broker in Minneapolis, and that the payments could be made to Hays for insurance. When Mr. McKin made further objections, Kazeminy repeatedly threatened to fire Mr. McKim, telling him “this is my company” and that he and Mr. Thomas had better follow his orders in paying Hays.
All told, the court documents, which were filed on Monday in a Texas district court, allege that three payments of $25,000 were sent through Hays Company to the Colemans from May 2007 through September 2007. Two of those came without McKim’s approval because Kazeminy went around him. A fourth payment was “in the process of being made” before being stopped by McKim, the suit alleges.
Sen. Coleman was initially asked about these findings on Wednesday, when two investigative reporters from the Minneapolis Star Tribune cornered him at a campaign rally. He ducked their questions.
On Thursday, Coleman’s campaign manager Cullen Sheehan was asked about the issue during a press conference, He claimed that “the lawsuit was withdrawn,” and said he had no further details to offer. “I just know there was a lawsuit filed and it was withdrawn.”
Casey T. Wallace, the attorney representing McKim, confirmed the withdrawal and said he would have more comment later in the day. A person familiar with the case, however, emphasized that while the complaint may have been withdrawn, the charges contained within it were still valid.
“It doesn’t affect that,” said the official. “By withdrawing the complaint and withdrawing the petition, we are not saying now that our allegations are false.”
Requests for comment from McKim and the Coleman campaign went un-returned. But lawyers familiar with Senate ethics law say that if the complaint turns out to be true, Coleman could be in hot water, possibly facing a trial and potentially jail time.
“This is why [Sen]. Ted Stevens just got convicted,” said Brett Kappel of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. “If this is true and Kazeminy gave a gift — which includes money to a candidate’s family member — it doesn’t mean that you can’t take it, but you would have to report it on [your financial disclosure form]… If he knew about it, and of course, all of this has to be proven to be true, then yeah,” he could go to jail.
Kappel additionally noted that the firm representing McKim in this suit is Haynes and Boone, “a pretty serious law firm that is a major player in Houston. I can’t believe they would have agreed to file this if they didn’t have documentation to support this.”
Kazeminy, a reclusive businessman who serves as chairman of Minnesota-based NJK Holding Corporation, has significant ties to Coleman. The Kazeminy family has contributed more than $75,000 to the Senator directly and has paid for flights for him and (occasionally) his wife to the Bahamas, Paris and Jordan, often described as fact finding missions. Kazeminy is even alleged to have paid for Coleman’s suits, a charge that the Coleman campaign has never denied.
Thanks to LeeAnn for sending it in
One in five households watch Obama infomercial
Nielsen has released the ratings for the Obama infomercial in 56 local markets.
Overall, for the six networks that aired the program simultaneously, the spot had a household rating of 21.7% (meaning that 21.7 percent of all households watching television were tuned to the spot.)
In comparison, the final debate between the two presidential candidates received a 38.3 household rating in the top 56 local TV markets. The candidates’ first debate on September 26 received a 34.7 household rating in the top 55 markets; their second debate, on October 7, received a 42.0 household rating in those markets.
The last presidential candidate to air a paid simulcast was Ross Perot in 1996, which received a national household rating of 16.8.
Is it all Palin’s fault? Look back at the horrible things the McCain camp had Palin say ~ and like a soldier she followed their orders! John McCain has no one to blame but himself. His economic plan would give Exxon Mobil with it’s record profits more of the tax payers money, but he is appauled by a middle class tax cut – in these times. What he was hoping to do was to ride the security and war issue for a third Republican term, but once the economy failed – an economy – his policies helped to construct – never mind his erratic reaction – it simply wasn’t going to be easy to sell the very same economic plan to the American people and he is already tanking in the polls and likely he will tank on the election day.
What’s irony of it all is that people may have voted for the old McCain – the McCain who was more concerned about the average Joe – then the interests of lobbyist and the narrowly focused issues of the far-right of his party.
John McCain’s campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.
And it has decided on Sarah Palin.
In recent days, a McCain “adviser” told Dana Bash of CNN: “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.”
Imagine not taking advice from the geniuses at the McCain campaign. What could Palin be thinking?
Also, a “top McCain adviser” told Mike Allen of Politico that Palin is “a whack job.”
Maybe she is. But who chose to put this “whack job” on the ticket? Wasn’t it John McCain? And wasn’t it his first presidential-level decision?
And if you are a 72-year-old presidential candidate, wouldn’t you expect that your running mate’s fitness for high office would come under a little extra scrutiny? And, therefore, wouldn’t you make your selection with care? (To say nothing about caring about the future of the nation?)
McCain didn’t seem to care that much. McCain admitted recently on national TV that he “didn’t know her well at all” before he chose Palin.
But why not? Why didn’t he get to know her better before he made his choice?
It’s not like he was rushed. McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination in early March. He didn’t announce his choice for a running mate until late August.
Wasn’t that enough time for McCain to get to know Palin? Wasn’t that enough time for his crackerjack “vetters” to investigate Palin’s strengths and weaknesses, check through records and published accounts, talk to a few people, and learn that she was not only a diva but a whack job diva?
But McCain picked her anyway. He wanted to close the “enthusiasm gap” between himself and Barack Obama. He wanted to inject a little adrenaline into the Republican National Convention. He wanted to goose up the Republican base.
And so he chose Palin. Is she really a diva and a whack job? Could be. There are quite a few in politics. (And a few in journalism, too, though in journalism they are called “columnists.”)
As proof that she is, McCain aides now say Palin is “going rogue” and straying from their script. Wow. What a condemnation. McCain sticks to the script. How well is he doing?
In truth, Palin’s real problem is not her personality or whether she takes orders well. Her real problem is that neither she nor McCain can make a credible case that Palin is ready to assume the presidency should she need to.
And that undercuts McCain’s entire campaign.
This was the deal McCain made with the devil. In exchange for energizing his base by picking Palin, he surrendered his chief selling point: that he was better prepared to run the nation in time of crisis, whether it be economic, an attack by terrorists or, as he has been talking about in recent days, fending off a nuclear war.
“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain told a crowd in Miami on Wednesday. “I’ve been tested, my friends, I’ve been tested.”
But has Sarah Palin?
I don’t believe running mates win or lose elections, though some believe they can be a drag on the ticket. Lee Atwater, who was George H.W. Bush’s campaign manager in 1988, told me that Dan Quayle cost the ticket 2 to 3 percentage points. But Bush won the election by 7.8 percentage points.
So, in Atwater’s opinion, Bush survived his bad choice by winning the election on his own.
McCain could do the same thing. But his campaign’s bad decisions have not stopped with Sarah Palin. It has made a series of questionable calls, including making Joe the Plumber the embodiment of the campaign.
Are voters really expected to warmly embrace an (unlicensed) plumber who owes back taxes and complains about the possibility of making a quarter million dollars a year?
And did McCain’s aides really believe so little in John McCain’s own likability that they thought Joe the Plumber would be more likable?
Apparently so. Which is sad.
We in the press make too much of running mates and staff and talking points and all the rest of the hubbub that accompanies a campaign.
In the end, it comes down to two candidates slugging it out.
Either McCain pulls off a victory in the last round or he doesn’t.
And if he doesn’t, he has nobody to blame but himself.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Exxon Mobil Corp. set a quarterly profit record for a U.S. company Thursday, surging past analyst estimates.
Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the leading U.S. oil company, said its third-quarter net profit was $14.83 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $9.41 billion, or $1.70, a year earlier. That profit included $1.45 billion in special items.
The company’s prior record was $11.68 billion in the second quarter of 2008.
The latest quarter’s net income equaled $1,865.69 per second, nearly $400 a second more than the prior mark.
The company said its revenue totaled $137.7 billion in the third quarter.
Analysts had expected Exxon to report a 40% jump in earnings to $2.38 per share, or net income of $12.2 billion, and a 28% surge in revenue to $131.13 billion, according to a consensus of estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Exxon’s stock price slipped by nearly 3% in afternoon trading.
The company’s earnings were buoyed by oil prices, which reached record highs in the quarter before declining. Oil prices were trading at $140.97 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and had fallen to $100.64 at the end.
Compare that to 2007, when prices traded at $71.09 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and rose to $81.66 by the end.
Exxon’s special charges include the gain of $1.62 billion from the sale of a German natural gas company. It also includes the $170 million charge in interest related to punitive damages from the Valdez oil spill off the Alaskan coast in 1989.
The Irving, Texas-based company said it lost $50 million, before taxes, in oil revenue because of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The company expects damages related to these hurricanes to reduce fourth-quarter earnings by $500 million.
Despite the surge in profit, Exxon said oil production was down 8% in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year.
The company also said it is spending more money to locate new sources of oil. Exxon said it spent $6.9 billion on oil exploration in the third quarter, a jump of 26% from the same period last year. The company said it began a new program to tap natural gas offshore from Nigeria.
Exxon also has an aggressive program for buying back stock with 109 million of its shares repurchased during the third quarter, at a cost of $8.7 billion.
In a conference call with analysts, David Rosenthal, vice president of investor relations for Exxon, said the company’s “first priority” is utilizing profits to continue investing in exploration programs for oil and other resources.
Joe, Joe, Jooe…
WASHINGTON – The government reported Thursday the economy shrank in the summer, the strongest signal yet that a recession may have already begun, a day after the Federal Reserve slashed a key interest rate to battle an economic downturn.
The Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, fell at an annual rate of 0.3 percent in the July-September period, a significant slowdown after growth of 2.8 percent in the prior quarter.
The spring activity had been boosted by the $168 billion economic stimulus program, but the economy ran into a wall in the summer as the mass mailings of stimulus checks ended and consumer confidence was shaken by the upheavals on global markets. Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, dropped by the largest amount in 28 years in the third quarter.
The classic definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. Many analysts believe the GDP will decline in the current October-December period by an even larger amount and they are forecasting a negative GDP figure in the first three months of next year.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, which is the official arbiter of recessions in this country, has not said when it will make its determination of whether the country has entered a recession.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits remained at an elevated level last week, another sign of the economy’s struggles. The number of laid-off workers filing new claims totaled 479,000, the same as the previous week, disappointing analysts who had expected a small drop. […]
A lot is going wrong in this election, from malfunctioning electronic voting machines to voters being purged mistakenly from the rolls. But one thing is going very right: early voting. In the more than 30 states that allow early or no-excuse absentee voting, voters have been casting ballots in record numbers. Early voting has many advantages. The main one is that it makes it likely that more eligible voters will participate in democracy.
Election Day has traditionally been held on a single day — a Tuesday. Congress scheduled federal elections on Tuesdays because they worked well for farmers and Sabbath observers. But in the 21st century, having one day to vote is an antiquated relic. Voters have to fit in a visit to the polls with their work, family and other responsibilities. Many cannot find the time, particularly when lines are as long as they have been in recent times.
The answer, as many states have discovered, is to move away from a single day of voting and allow voters to cast ballots over a period of days or weeks. Voters across the country have responded enthusiastically. In Florida, more than one million people have already cast ballots at early voting centers, some waiting on lines for hours to do so. In Georgia, too, more than one million people already have voted, a big jump from the less than 500,000 people who voted early four years ago.
Some people are wary of early voting. As Susan Saulny reported in The Times on Wednesday, there are rumors in the African-American community in Jacksonville, Fla., that early voting is a scam and that the votes cast early would be discarded. Given Florida’s history with electoral mischief, some skepticism about election procedures is not only understandable, but necessary.
But the truth is that early voting actually makes it harder for the forces of disenfranchisement to stop eligible voters from casting ballots. If election officials try to require voters to present ID when it is not required by law, early voting gives voters a chance to simply return the next day. Dirty tricks are also harder to pull off. If political operatives want to jam get-out-the-vote telephone lines, as they did on Election Day in New Hampshire in 2002, it would be harder to do if people voted over two weeks.
Early voting also reduces the burden on election systems that are often stretched near to the breaking point. In 2004, voters waited in lines as long as 10 hours. And there is every indication that lines on Tuesday, in some places and at some times, will again be extraordinarily long. The more people who vote early, the fewer who will be lined up at the polls on Election Day.
Now that it is clear how successful the early-voting process has been, the states that have not adopted it — including New York — should do so. Congress should also mandate early voting for federal elections — ideally as part of a larger federal bill that would fix the wide array of problems with the electoral system. Today, the idea that all voting must occur in a 15-hour window, or less, on a single day is as outdated as a punch-card voting machine.
Look in later today for our On the Road piece from Wilmington, North Carolina. We’re a bit ahead of our coverage, which occasionally happens out here with the long distances, input, output and timing demands. Tonight we’ll be at the Obama-Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida, and we’re breaking in from Miami, where John McCain just concluded his “Joe the Plumber” rally at Everglades Lumber.
After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that’s what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.
The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.
“People were screaming ‘Terrorist!’ ‘Communist!’ ‘Socialist!'” Sorando said when we caught up with him. “I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me.”
Asked what had precipitated the event, “We were just chanting ‘Obama!’ and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy.”
Garcia told us that the man who originally had warned the two it was his property when they had first tried to attend the rally with Obama T-shirts was one of the agitators. Coming up just before the scene started getting out of hand, the man whispered in Garcia’s ear, “I’m gonna beat you up the next time I see you.” Garcia described him for us: “a big stocky man wearing a tweed jacket.” He used hand motions to emphasize this was a large guy. We went back to look for the gentleman twenty minutes after the incident but didn’t find him.
The two Obama supporters had attempted to attend the event with tickets printed from the McCain website. Both were clad in Obama T-shirts, Sorando in a blue “Obama ’08” shirt, and Garcia in a white “Obama-Biden” shirt. They were told that the event was being held on private property and that wearing the shirts or carrying the signs they would be asked to either remove the shirts or not attend.
For an hour during the rally, the two had stood across the street from the lumberyard on public property holding yard signs. Some drivers honked in support, and others honked in disapproval. When the rally ended and the crowd spilled out, the disturbance began.
Garcia had a message for his stocky, tweed-clad threatener. “You tell that guy he can find Tony Garcia down at the West Dade library every day from 7 to 7 helping people early vote. I’ll be there from 1 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. You tell him if he wants to kick my ass that’s where he can find me. Come beat me up.”
Not thirty seconds later, John McCain drove by in his SUV and waved at Garcia on the sidewalk, who was happily waving his Obama sign.
Source: Five Thirty Eight
(CBS) Personal Internet pages and web postings provide a disturbing glimpse into the racist minds of the two self-described “skinheads” who were allegedly plotting to carry out a mass killing spree that included beheading African-Americans and assassinating presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Yesterday, federal investigators announced the arrests of 20-year-old Daniel Cowart of Bells, Tenn., and 18-year-old Paul Schlesselman of West Helena, Ark., who were driving around in a car painted with swastikas and other white supremacist slogans while in possession of five stolen guns. Authorities are skeptical the men were a threat. They say there is no evidence of them actually trying to carry out an assassination, but during questioning the men allegedly told investigators they were preparing to kill 88 people “targeting a predominately African-American school, going state to state while robbing individuals and continuing to kill people.” The men also allegedly said they wanted to “drive their vehicle as fast as they could towards Obama shooting him from the windows” while dressed in “all white tuxedos” and wearing “top hats.”
While the alleged plot may never have been carried out, both men have their own Myspace pages where they make a series of racist assertions and proudly tote their guns.
On his MySpace page, Schlesselman lists his occupation as “being racist” and writes “I’m white. I’m proud. I get angry. I like guns. I like weapons. I need money wiggers…be afraid.” “Wiggers” is a derogatory slang term used to describe a white person who emulates stereotypical mannerisms of African-Americans. He also posted a homemade video on MySpace in which he appears to be mocking “wiggers” and African-Americans.
He last logged onto his MySpace page on October 20 the same day, investigators say, Cowart traveled from Tennessee to Arkansas to meet with him and begin the alleged killing spree. On that day, Schlesselman listed his mood as “creative.”
Schlesselman also lists his cell phone number on his MySpace page. CBS News called the number. His voicemail first plays what sounds like a racist country song. Then, Schlesselman leaves a disturbing rant filled with profanities and racial slurs against African-Americans. He ends the message saying “white power.”
On Cowart’s MySpace page, there are a series of photos showing guns displayed in different positions titled “my guns.” In one photo, Cowart is holding a large rifle while wearing a sleeveless shirt. A swastika tattoo, typically associated with white supremacists, can be seen on his right arm. In another picture, he displays what appears to be an iron-cross symbol, often associated with racist skinheads, tattooed on his left chest. A message on his MySpace pages says: “Better to die quick fighting on your feet then to live forever begging on your knees.”
CBS News traced Cowart’s email and discovered that he is a forum member of the website StormFront.org, reportedly the nation’s largest website for white supremacists known as “white-power.” In January, Cowart posted a note on a message board titled “what to carry for protection in a car?” He wrote “I live in Tennessee and I carry a expandable/collapsible police baton with me nearly everywhere. It is 100% legal here but I doubt it is in Jew York City.” He continued, “I would carry a handgun, but as you know you must be 21 to do so. But I would go with the other suggestions of either a baseball bat, hammer, or some other tool.”
In another posting about slavery, he wrote: “Why buy a slave? Haven’t we learned our lesson already? If we didn’t bring slaves over here in the first place, would things be so bad now? I think not…”
Cowart and Schlesselman are being held without bond in Tennessee. They are scheduled to appear before a judge on Thursday.
Source: CBS News
Alaska Governor and Republican Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin may be facing another round of scrutiny, this time for charging the state for her children to travel with her while conducing official state business.
CBS News has obtained a copy of the complaint that Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman in Anchorage filed last Friday, with Alaska’s Attorney General, Talis Colber in Juneau. “Palin ran on the platform of ethics, transparency and anti-corruption. I’m tired of the hypocrisy that exists in Government and people need to know the truth,” said Gwartney.
The complaint against Governor Palin, alleges Misuse of Official Position: “Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters…” All the allegations contained in the complaint are related to state reimbursed travel.
In Alaska, ethics complaints filed against the Governor are confidential. “We can neither confirm nor refute that a complaint has been filed against Governor Sarah Palin. Any complaint remains confidential unless the person being charged waives confidentiality or if the complaint progresses to the state of probable cause,” Assistant District Attorney, Dave Jones told CBS News.
Bristol, Piper and Willow, Palin’s daughters, accrued $32,629 in travel expenses while Palin’s husband Todd raked up $22,174 – all billed to the state for a total of $54,803.00.
“The Governor’s office has expended $54,803.00 in Alaska state dollars for family travel since December 2006,” according to the Governor’s Administrative Services Director, Linda Perez. “The documentation related to family travel has changed and you have to keep in mind that the governor and her family are very popular,” added Perez. […]
In an October 27 article, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz reported that Fox News Channel “now expresses regret for booking [Andy] Martin” — who, as Media Matters for America has noted, has, among other things, referred to a judge as a “crooked, slimy Jew” and accused African-Americans of being “willing to corrupt and abuse their public offices” — on the October 5 edition of Fox News’ Hannity’s America.
As Media Matters documented, Sean Hannity hosted Martin — identified by Hannity as an “Internet journalist” — to make what Hannity called “the explosive claim that [Sen. Barack] Obama’s role as a community organizer was a political staging ground perpetuated by the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.”
Kurtz wrote: “[Fox News Senior Vice President Bill] Shine says Hannity disagrees with some of Martin’s past comments. ‘Having that guy on was a mistake,’ Shine says. ‘We obviously didn’t do enough research on who the guest was.’ ” But according to searches of the Nexis and Factiva databases, Hannity himself has not expressed regret or acknowledged having made a mistake regarding Martin on either Hannity’s America or Hannity & Colmes, both Fox News shows.
Why Are the Conservatives Quoting an Anti-Semite?
Robert Gibbs takes on Sean Hannity on Ayers, Racist Anti-Semitic Guest
A new poll from Arizona State University finds John McCain just two points ahead of Barack Obama in his home state.
The results would likely be dismissed if not for the reputation of Bruce Merrill, the poll director, whose work is considered a gold standard in Arizona polling.
Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The race in Arizona is very close. Supporters of both candidates are highly committed to their candidates, with 94 percent of Obama’s supporters and 93 percent of McCain’s supporters indicating that they are firmly committed and won’t change their mind before Election Day. In addition, the undecided vote is very low, which means that there are few people remaining to be persuaded during the last week of the campaign. Obama has been closing the gap by attracting independents and women to his campaign. McCain does well among conservative Democrats and evangelicals. Still, a week is a long time in a political campaign and anything can happen. Who wins will be determined by which candidate gets their supporters out to the polls on Election Day.”
The previous Arizona State University, taken last month, had McCain leading 45 percent to 38 percent
Obama’s largest US rally
The real question should be does Barack Obama – represent a new politics? No doubt one that is more inclusive and forward thinking. That that many people could hear his message and believe it enough to turn out in numbers upwards of 1/4 million (some were turned away), in a country such as Germany, with its history in the last century – which could be held up as a lesson for us all – that were eager for a new message of hope and away from the things that divide us – and to build the future that if we work for and we believe in – we can have – could not have been an accident – as this type of change is no extravagance – its human kind saying we want something different – and we like what he is offering us.
Barack Obama will go on national television tonight and air a 30-minute infomercial about himself and his presidential campaign.
Several political image makers, both Republicans and Democrats, say it’s a smart move. But is there a risk of excess in it, as well?
While Obama hasn’t made many strategic mistakes in his campaign against Republican John McCain, he has, on occasion, shown a weakness for extravagance.
In July, Obama’s visits to Afghanistan and Iraq generated comforting images of the senator with military leaders and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But his trip ended in Berlin with an image of 200,000 fans, mostly Europeans, chanting Obama’s name.
In August, his campaign navigated the minefield of the Democratic Party’s feuding families to pull off a convention that began healing the wounds between the Clinton and Obama camps. Then it came to its conclusion between two Greek columns where a triumphant Obama delivered an acceptance speech to a football stadium crowd of more than 80,000.
Today, Obama is dominating the television ad wars. As of Oct. 22, Obama placed 150% more ads than McCain in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the Nielsen Co.
Despite all that, and despite his lead in national and most battleground polls, the campaign decided to plunk down between $3 and $5 million to buy half-hour blocks of time at 8 p.m. tonight on NBC, CBS, FOX, Univision, BET, MSNBC and TV One for delivery of his final argument to the voters.
Could it seem to some voters like overkill?
Republican political strategist Alex Castellanos says that it might. But even his advice is to go for it.
“It’s like football,” says Castellanos. “People may complain that a team is running up the score, but that team is still the one that wins.”
The Obama campaign scoffs at the idea that the infomercial is more luxury than necessity. This is, after all, a campaign scarred by its surprise loss in the New Hampshire primary after polls had shown double-digit leads.
On the campaign trail, Obama’s warnings against complacency are taking on increasingly urgent tones. He has vowed to finish the race on offense and the infomercial is a part of that strategy, say advisers.
“With this historic election only a week away – and John McCain’s angry, desperate attacks mounting by the day – we want to make sure every voter heading into the voting booth knows exactly what Barack Obama would do to bring about fundamental change as president,” a campaign statement noted.
Jim Jordan, a Democratic strategist, says the broadcast is timed to sway late breaking, undecided voters who can often tighten or determine a close race in the final days.
“There is a discrete segment of the electorate, primarily female, who are late deciders. They care about policy and elections, but they are very, very busy. They actively tune it out until the last week or ten days. Then they go and seek and acquire information,” he says.
The trick, of course, is getting them to watch rather than click away to ABC, the lone major network that won’t air the infomercial, or to some other Obama-free cable TV station.
Politicians have had mixed success at that in the past.
Before this year’s Super Tuesday primary, Democrat Hillary Clinton broadcast a live town hall meeting on the Hallmark Channel. It was watched by 540,000 households or about 705,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings.
A better parallel to Obama’s strategy could be Independent candidate H. Ross Perot, who aired 15 infomercials in the 1992 presidential campaign.
Perot’s programs drew an average audience of 11.6 million viewers, or 4.6 percent of viewers nationwide, according to Nielsen. His one simulcast on ABC and CBS on Nov. 2, 1992 attracted 26 million viewers, Nielsen found.
Ken Goldstein, director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, said Obama may not draw as large an audience as Perot.
“Ross Perot was sort of new on the scene. People hadn’t heard of him,” said Goldstein. “I’d be surprised if there are a lot of undecided eyes or passive viewers watching the Obama video. It could be a lot of Obama house parties.”
But Goldstein and Evan Tracey, founder of Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising, said the real benefit to Obama could be simply the attention the infomercial draws from the mainstream press.
“It probably locks up 24 hours of the news cycle,” said Tracey. “It’s going to suck a lot of oxygen out of the room.”
Adds Goldstein: “John McCain’s only chance is to disqualify Barack Obama. He has seven days. Every day that people are talking about Barack Obama’s infomercial is a day that John McCain isn’t getting his message out.”
The biggest risk in airing the infomercials, according to the strategists, is that Obama could irritate people by interrupting their regular television viewing habits.
Joe Lockhart, a Democratic strategist, says that is less of a risk today given the hundreds of television shows to watch at any given hour.
“If this was 30 years ago, you’d be running a big risk that people who don’t want to watch it would be mad,” says Lockhart.
“The benefit is you get to make your closing argument in a dramatic way without the filter of the media. It gives you more context and texture than a 30-second or 60-second ad,” he adds.
Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who was once a McCain adviser, agrees. “I don’t see any risk at all,” he said in an e-mail. “I’ve been urging McCain high command to do a TV show too, but….”
McCain, of course, could air his own show. Under federal law, if he sought to buy equal time, the networks would be required to sell it to him.
His problem is money. Unlike Obama, who has collected more donations than any other general election presidential candidate, McCain would be forced to pull money from a battleground state in order to pay for the national infomercial.
It’s that imbalance in resources that might touch the overkill nerve in some viewers and voters.
But Goldstein can’t imagine such a worry is even a factor in the Obama camp.
“Campaigns tend not to worry about overkill,” he says. “Campaigns, by definition, are overkill.”
From the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll:
More than twelve million voters have already cast ballots in the presidential contest, according to one estimate, and new data from the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll shows these voters breaking Democratic by a wide margin.
Among those who said they have already voted at an early voting location or sent in an absentee ballot, Barack Obama picked up 60 percent of the vote in the new poll to John McCain’s 39 percent.
These voters make up 9 percent of “likely” voters in the track.
The senator from Illinois has a similar lead, 58 to 39 percent, among those who plan to vote early but have not yet. (Those who plan to vote on Election Day also go for Obama, but by a narrower, 51 to 45 percent.)
The voter preferences of the group of 1,430 individuals who have already voted and who were interviewed by Gallup between Oct. 17 and Oct. 27 show a 53% to 43% Obama over McCain tilt.
Among the group of those who say they have not yet voted, but will before Election Day, the skew towards Obama is more pronounced, at 54% to 40%. By comparison, those who are going to wait to vote on Nov. 4 manifest a narrower 50% to 44% Obama over McCain candidate preference. (Across all registered voters over this time period, Obama leads McCain by a 51% to 43% margin).
Some analysis of early trends from Nate Silver:
According to Michael McDonald’s terrific website, there are three states in which early voting has already exceeded its totals from 2004. These are Georgia, where early voting is already at 180 percent of its 2004 total, Louisiana (169 percent), and North Carolina (129 percent).
Hmm … can anybody think of something that those three states have in common?
The African-American population share is the key determinant of early voting behavior. In states where there are a lot of black voters, early voting is way, way up. In states with fewer African-Americans, the rates of early voting are relatively normal.
This works at the county level too. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland), which about 30 percent black, twice as many people have already voted early as in all of 2004. In Franklin County (Columbus), which is about 18 percent black and also has tons of students, early voting is already about 3x its 2004 total.
Early voting is currently at over 75% of 2004 levels with one week to go.
Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in early voting, albeit by a slim margin – 38.6% of all early voters, to 37.9% Republicans
“Across Dallas County and into the outer suburbs, thousands of people continue to stream into polling places, dwarfing early-voting records and raising questions about what the preliminary tallies mean for candidates and political parties.”
In this critical swing state, early voters already make up 27% of total 2004 numbers (in 2004, early voters constituted 36% of total votes).
Dems outnumber Republicans so far, 44.7% to 40%.
Early voting is already 33% higher than 2004 numbers, and is equivalent to 31% of all votes cast in Georgia in 2004.
Of early voters, 35% are African-American, compared to 25% of the total voting population in 2004.
Also, nearly 56% of early voters are women, another excellent sign for Democrats.
“Among those in Ohio who told WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA that they have already voted, Barack Obama leads by 13 points. When the two populations are combined, the data is as here reported: Obama 49%, McCain 45%. Compared to an identical WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA poll released two weeks ago, Obama is down 1 point; McCain is flat.”
60,000 votes have already been cast in the Tenth Congressional District.
Of those, 58% were cast by registered Democrats, compared to 25% for Republicans.
Obama should win the district and state in a landslide, but these numbers bode especially well for IL-10 Democratic candidate Dan Seals.
Registered Democrats have a 20-point advantage in early voting over Republicans in Iowa.
Early voting is near double 2004 levels. Of early voters, registered Democrats have a huge edge, 57.9% to 29.4%.
34% of early voters are African-American.
Democrats lead 54.4% to 29.1% among early voters. Early voters constituted 59.4% of all voters in 2004; this year, early voting to this point is equivalent to 44% of all 2004 numbers.
The proportion of black voters among all early voters has leveled off – they constitute 28% of all voters now – but still exceeds black registration in the state.
Early voting has far outstripped 2004 levels, and Democrats are turning out disproportionately.
It’s always nice to see Michelle Obama.
Obama’s Day In The Rain
Barack Obama spent part of Tuesday outside in the rain in Chester, PA, while John McCain postponed his outside rally in nearby Quakertown. Dressed in sneakers and jeans, the rain pouring down as he spoke, Obama addressed the 9,000 who turned out. “”Let me just begin by saying that a little bit of rain never hurt anybody.”
The all-out effort from John McCain’s presidential campaign to scare voters into backing the Republican candidate continued apace on Tuesday as McCain surrogate Joe the Plumber agreed that a Barack Obama presidency would mean the “death of Israel” and end democracy in America.
The Ohio plumber, who has no license and is actually named Samuel Wurzelbacher, spoke at a McCain campaign event in Columbus Monday. A McCain supporter asked if “a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel.” JTP hardly batted an eye.
“I’ll go ahead and agree with you on that,” Wurzelbacher said.
The push-back against Wurzelbacher’s comments began, somewhat unexpectedly, at Fox News.
The network noted that the McCain campaign seemed hesitant to distance itself from Wurzelbacher. Correspondent Carl Cameron said that the McCain campaign was going to put out an ad today criticizing Obama policies on Israel.
“Just a coincidence?” he asked. “We report you decide.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Shepard Smith pressed Wurzelbacher on his comments, reminding the woefully misinformed McCain backer that Obama has consistently voiced support for Israel. Pressed several times to explain how he could agree with the conclusion that Obama would lead to the death of the Jewish state, Wurzelbacher was unable to come up with any good reasons aside from Obama’s position in favor of negotiating with rogue regimes such as Iran.
“You don’t want my opinion on foreign policy,” Wurzelbacher said. “I know just enough to kind of be dangerous.”
Smith seemed to agree with that assessment, implying that the only source for Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s concern was “hateful things spread on the Internet.” The host clearly worried that Wurzelbacher’s endorsement of such a view might inspire violence against the candidate.
Why, Smith asked, would Wurzelbacher believe Obama was lying when he spoke of the importance of Israel’s relationship with the United States.
Wurzelbacher was flummoxed. All he could offer was an appeal for people to “go out and find their own reasons … go out and get informed.”
If only the “plumber” had bothered to take his own advice before jumping onto the national stage. Smith, for his part, made sure to set his audience straight on the facts.
“I just want to make this 100 percent perfectly clear, Barack Obama has said repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel will always be a friend of the United States, no matter what happens once he becomes President of the United States, his words,” Smith said after the interview ended. “The rest of it, man, it just gets frightening sometimes.”
Unvetted Joe the Plumber: Vote for Obama ‘death to Israel’
In Ohio, Wurzelbacher went on to reiterate McCain’s attempts to paint Obama as a socialist, The Associated Press reports.
“I’m honestly scared for America,” Wurzelbacher said.
He later said Obama would end the democracy that the U.S. military had defended during wars.
“I love America. I hope it remains a democracy, not a socialist society. … If you look at spreading the wealth, that’s honestly right out of Karl Marx’s mouth,” Wurzelbacher said.
“No one can debate that. That’s not my opinion. That’s fact.”
McCain’s campaign has used the “spread the wealth” line to attack Obama ever since the Democratic candidate used it to inartfully describe his tax proposals.
The attempts to compare Obama’s relatively modest restructuring of the progressive tax system to Marxism strikes most reasonable observers as patently absurd, but the attack seems to be all the foundering McCain campaign has left. Obama’s proposal would raise the tax rate on income above $250,000 from 36 to 39 percent and lower taxes for middle-class Americans.
McCain’s campaign also has heavily courted Jewish voters, who will be a crucial voting bloc in Florida and other swing states.
Wurzelbacher’s agreement that Obama would portend the death of Israel, though, seems to go beyond rhetoric the McCain campaign has employed so far. Until Tuesday, that kind of fear-mongering was mostly limited to right-wing blogs.
The McCain campaign said Wurzelbacher and the supporter’s views were there own regarding Israel, but they did not forcefully repudiate the attack, Fox News’s Carl Cameron reported just after the rally.
A Republican National Committee spokesman later gave Fox a longer statement that largely skirted the issue.
“While he’s clearly his own man, so far Joe has offered some penetrating and clear analysis that cuts to the core of many of the concerns that people have with Barack Obama’s statements and policies,” RNC spokesman Jeff Sadosky said. “Whether it is Obama’s willingness to sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or his plans to redistribute the paychecks of hardworking Americans, there is good reason to question the judgment that Obama would bring to the Oval Office.”
Cameron noted the statement “doesn’t say whether or not McCain agrees” with Wurzelbacher and the supporter and said McCain “won’t go too far” to distance himself from the man who’s become a campaign centerpiece.
Source: Raw Story
The Republican National Committee has taken out a $5 million line of credit to help fund last minute efforts to keep Senate Democrats from winning a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority, according to an official with the committee.
Of the $5 million, $2 million is being directly transferred to the National Republican Senatorial Committee while $3 million is being devoted to coordinated expenditures that began over the last week.
“This effort not only helps fortify senators but it’s good for the whole Republican ticket,” said the RNC official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “This is an investment in the entire ticket in addition to an unprecedented get out the vote effort.”
With the White House apparently slipping away and House Republicans looking at losses of 20 or more seats, the Senate is being painted as the last, best chance for Republicans to hold some semblance of power within Congress.
Right now, three states are largely seen as near-certain Democratic pickups: Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado.
The RNC line of credit is almost certain to be spent on a handful of vulnerable Republican incumbents who face varying levels of peril. That list includes North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens among others.
The decision by the RNC to help fund a series of Senate contest shows that national GOP strategists see the Senate as their firewall in next week’s election.
Will it change things? It’s very hard to know with so much volatility in the environment. But, it does show the RNC is willing to do everything it can to hold strong against the onrushing Democratic wave.
Your Daily Politics Video Blog: Most of the attention is on the presidential race. But there’s also that question of whether the Democrats are going to put together that 60 vote majority in the senate. In today’s episode we look at the 12 top senate races that will determine whether the Democrats will go into 2009 with that filibuster-proof majority.
We can’t afford to slip up in the final days. Volunteer this weekend and into Election Day, November 4th, 2008. http://www.barackobama.com/
Before going to the polls, make sure to visit http://www.VoteForChange.com/ to get all the information you need to vote successfully on November 4th, 2008.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Afghan and Pakistani tribal leaders have agreed to seek talks with Taliban leaders and other militant groups, so long as they promise to abide by the laws of each country.
The two-day conference, or jirga, ended Tuesday concluding the best way to expedite the process of peace and reconciliation — and end violence — would be by establishing contact with the “opposition,” according to comments at a news conference.
The Afghan representative, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, said the “opposition” includes any group involved in the region’s surging violence. “The door is now wide open,” he said.
Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban if the Afghan government pursued talks to end the seven-year conflict in that country. White House spokesman Dana Perino said Tuesday talks with Taliban elements are currently being considered in Washington.
(CNN) – The Virginia State Board of Elections is putting the word out: November 4 is Election Day for everyone in the state, regardless of political party.
The state agency issued a “Rumor Buster” press release this week with the correct date for voting in next week’s election because a fake flyer has been circulating with false information.
The flier said incorrectly that Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters should vote November 4 and that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents should vote November 5. The flyer claims that the separate dates for voting by party were enacted by the Virginia legislature to ease the strain on the polls during high turnout that is expected.
One of John McCain’s advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a “diva” after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico’s Playbook, labeling Palin a “whack job.”
Meanwhile, Dana Milbank reports on more signs of division between McCain and his running mate on the stump:
“Sarah Oh-Twelve!” bellowed a man in field coat and jeans, one of several thousand at the Leesburg rally, when Palin spoke about her tax policies yesterday.
The oh-twelve message, if mathematically flawed, seemed to capture the crowd’s sentiment. There were “I [Heart] Palin” bumper stickers on cars, “Team Sarah” T-shirts in pink, “Sarah!” pins and countless signs: “You Go Girl.” “You’re in Palin Country.” “Maverick Barracuda.” One of the souvenir vendors said his most popular offering was a pin showing Palin next to a pit bull and the usual “McCain-Palin” logo reversed, with her name first and in larger letters.
The diva made sure to spend some time on her “own track record” in Alaska, particularly all the taxes she cut. “Sarah! Sarah!” the crowd chanted.
“So, Virginia, will you hire us?” she asked. “Will you send us to Washington?”
“Yes, we will! Yes, we will!”
In 2012, that is.
“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.” CNN
When asked Schumer said the Democrats wish to deal with the Lieberman issue after the election.
The accusation is that John McCain has had more negative press than Barack Obama – and rightly this has been put into the context that – by far Obama has run a more positive campaign. Some of the McCain attacks have been so over the top that even Karl Rove had to pull back from them. Undoubtedly McCain has brought much of his negative media coverage on himself. Not forgetting all the crazy behavior at the Palin/McCain rallies. With all the remarks about the liberal media (at the GOP Convention and on the stump) – there has been no one who has been more negatively focused – than the one man campaign run by Hannity of the right-wing press – on Barack Obama. And I believe Palin has done at least two interviews with Sean Hannity – a safe place as the rest of the press is seen as being ‘after her’. It is doubtful that a Romney VP pick would have resulted in talk of the press being after him – because he knows what he is doing. He’s informed and Palin isn’t.
[..] Reporters obsess about personalities and process, about whose staff are jerks or whether they seem like decent folks, about who has a great stump speech or is funnier in person than they come off in public, about whether Michigan is in play or off the table. This is the flip side of the fact of how much we care about the horse race — we don’t care that much about our own opinions of which candidate would do more for world peace or tax cuts.
If that causes skeptics to scoff, perhaps they would find it more satisfying to hear that the reason ideological bias matters so little is that other biases matter so much more.
This is true in any election year. But the 2008 election has had some unique — and personal — phenomena.
One is McCain backlash. The Republican once was the best evidence of how little ideology matters. Even during his “maverick” days, McCain was a consistent social conservative, with views on abortion and other cultural issues that would have been odds with those of most reporters we know. Yet he won swooning coverage for a decade from reporters who liked his accessibility and iconoclasm and supposed commitment to clean politics.
Now he is paying. McCain’s decision to limit media access and align himself with the GOP conservative base was an entirely routine, strategic move for a presidential candidate. But much of the coverage has portrayed this as though it were an unconscionable sellout.
Since then the media often presumes bad faith on McCain’s part. The best evidence of this has been the intense focus on the negative nature of his ads, when it is clear Obama has been similarly negative in spots he airs on radio and in swing states.
It is not our impression that many reporters are rooting for Obama personally. To the contrary, most colleagues on the trail we’ve spoken with seem to find him a distant and undefined figure. But he has benefited from the idea that negative attacks that in a normal campaign would be commonplace in this year would carry an out-of-bounds racial subtext. That’s why Obama’s long association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was basically a nonissue in the general election.
Journalists’ hair-trigger racial sensitivity may have been misplaced, but it was not driven by an ideological tilt.
In addition, Obama has benefited from his ability to minimize internal drama and maximize secrecy — and thus to starve feed the press’ bias for palace intrigue. In this sense, his campaign bears resemblance to the two run by George W. Bush.
Beyond the particular circumstances of McCain v. Obama, there are other factors in any race that almost always matter more than the personal views of reporters.
The strongest of these is the bias in favor of momentum. A candidate who is perceived to be doing well tends to get even more positive coverage (about his or her big crowds or the latest favorable polls or whatever). And a candidate who is perceived to be doing poorly tends to have all events viewed through this prism.
Not coincidentally, this is a bias shared by most of our sources. This is why the bulk of negative stories about McCain are not about his ideology or policy plans — they are about intrigue and turmoil. Think back to the past week of coverage on Politico and elsewhere: Coverage has been dominated by Sarah Palin’s $150,000 handbags and glad rags, by finger-pointing in the McCain camp, and by apparent tensions between the candidate and his running mate.
These stories are driven by the flood of Republicans inside and out of the campaign eager to make themselves look good or others look bad. This always happens when a campaign starts to tank. Indeed, there was a spate of such stories when Obama’s campaign hit turmoil after the GOP convention and the Palin surge.
For better or worse, the most common media instincts all have countervailing pressures. Countering the bias in favor of momentum is the bias against boredom. We’ve seen that several times this cycle — an outlying poll number being pumped to suggest big changes in a race that is basically unchanged. There’s a good chance you’ll see this phenomenon more in the next week.
Then there is the bend-over-backward bias. This is when journalists try so hard to avoid accusations of favoritism that it clouds critical judgment. A good example were stories suggesting Palin held her own or even won her debate against Joe Biden when it seemed obvious she was simply invoking whatever talking points she had at hand, hanging on for dear life.
Finally, one of the biases of journalists is the same one that is potent for almost all people: the one in favor of self-defensiveness. That’s why, even though we think ideological bias is pretty low on the list of journalistic maladies in this election, it is not viable for reporters to dismiss criticism out of hand.
One of the problems with Sarah Palin running in 2012 – is that she runs the risk of a very popular Obama presidency – if you read down – the Palin spokesperson/likely other Republicans are arrogant enough to assume that the Democratic economic policy will fail. But they have forgotten – that once they had finished attacking Clinton on the Lewinski affair – they were faced with the realization that they had no alternate agenda to attack Clinton on – as the economy had never grown as much in the whole of America’s history and the country’s debt was being systematically reduced. There is always going some variation in policy – and given the current economic climate – that the Republicans have left the country in – though on the whole Barack Obama intends adopt the Clinton type economic policies – which means taking things back to the basics.
One of the problems with these plans below – that it is based on the same arrogance and assumptions – that are causing the American people to overwhelmingly reject the Republican Party at this time. Under the Democrats we didn’t need a new debt clock – under both Bush’s the numbers on the debt clocks rise so fast – they have to be replaced each time. Saying that you are fiscally responsible and being fiscally responsible are two different things – over the last few elections the democrats have proven that they are better at this – and better at managing the economy than the Republicans.
So if Sarah Palin is going to run in 2012 against a wall of real change and economic growth, likely few will want to give Sarah Palin the US Presidency. Maybe she should wait until 2016; perhaps she’ll have a better chance, as well as she could show off her experience and knowledge – if she has the good sense to learn something in that time.
Sarah Palin may soon be free. Soon, she may not have the millstone of John McCain around her neck. And she can begin her race for president in 2012.
Some are already talking about it. In careful terms. If John McCain loses next week, Sarah Palin “has absolutely earned a right to run in 2012,” says Greg Mueller, who was a senior aide in the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes. Mueller says Palin has given conservatives “hope” and “something to believe in.”
And even if the McCain-Palin ticket does win on Nov. 4 — and Mueller says it could — “if McCain decides to serve for just one term, Sarah Palin as the economic populist and traditional American values candidates will be very appealing by the time we get to 2012.”
It is clear that while trying to bond with voters, John McCain and Sarah Palin have not managed to bond with each other. Perhaps we should not be surprised. They barely know one another.
When McCain appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Oct. 16, McCain praised Palin but went out of his way to point out how little he knew about her before he chose her as his running mate. “I didn’t know her real well,” McCain said. “I knew her reputation. I didn’t know her well at all. I didn’t know her well at all.”
The discomfort between the two can be palpable. Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director, was in the room when Brian Williams interviewed Palin and McCain recently. “There was a tenseness,” Todd said later. “When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?”
I am guessing one and three. John McCain is blaming Palin for demonstrating her inexperience and lack of knowledge. And Palin is blaming McCain for running what she views as a bad campaign — a campaign that did not go after Barack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and did not exploit Obama’s statement about how small-town people “cling” to guns and religion — and for never picking a clear message that had any traction with voters.
But here’s the difference: If McCain loses, he doesn’t get to run again, and Palin does.
All that negative stuff about her? Charging Alaska taxpayers a per diem allowance for 300 nights she spent at home, flying her kids at state expense to events they were not invited to, accepting wildly expensive clothes from the Republican National Committee and, according to one ethics panel, having abused her office as governor?
Not only will all that have faded by the 2012 campaign, Palin already has her defense ready: Some of these accusations are part of a double standard that is applied to women and not to men.
She says Hillary Clinton ran into the same problem.
“I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race,” Palin told Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune recently. “Do you remember the conversations that took place about her — say, superficial things that they don’t talk about with men, like her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that, that’s a bit of that double standard. Certainly there’s a double standard.”
Palin went on: “But I’m not going to complain about it, I’m not going to whine about it, I’m going to plow through that because we are embarking on something greater than that, than allowing that double standard to adversely affect us.”
If she runs in 2012, Palin will run to shatter the glass ceiling. By then, Americans may have shown they are willing to vote for an African-American for president, but how about a woman?
Mueller thinks Palin would make a strong candidate. There certainly will be others jockeying for the job. And Mueller named Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
But Mueller thinks that, while some conservative intellectuals have deserted and derided Sarah Palin, the Republican base likes her and could stick with her.
“She would run in 2012 as the populist, conservative reformer that she was originally introduced to the country as,” Mueller said. “If Obama wins, you will see him moving the country to a sort of Euro-socialism. That will fail, and she can target an economic-populist message to the country.”
Mueller also argues that Palin could run a more convincing campaign on traditional conservative issues in 2012 than McCain has in 2008
“One weakness in McCain’s campaign is not campaigning on strong, pro-life, traditional values issues,” Mueller said. “There has been a certain level of discomfort over the years by McCain over guns, God and life issues.”
Mueller says McCain and Palin could still win next week. But if that happens, Mueller thinks Palin should get a lot of the credit. “A lot of conservatives are not excited by John McCain, even though I think he has been saying some good things,” Mueller said. “If they vote, they will vote for Sarah.”
And if not in 2008, maybe in 2012.
Someone else said that with the money we are spending in Iraq – we could put solar panels on every roof that feed into the grid (those who have had panels hooked up in this way report bills as low as $5/month). It would take a lot of convincing to tell people that the war in Iraq is not for oil – one, there’s a horrible human tragedy just down the road in Darfur – and no one is rushing to restore order in that region. So what we are doing / allowing the few to decide that we are going to go to war for oil (read democracy), so that a few oil companies can continue to make money from a global economy that runs on oil – something that we no longer need to do.
I was very interested in what Barack Obama said about, the inventions sitting in people garages. People are driving around now with prototype magnetic/electric hybrid motors. (If we are not careful Japan is going to so whop our asses on this one!) But we also have these inventors who have working magnetic motors in the States. We now have electric cars which are more powerful than gas guzzlers – accelerating from 0 -112 mph in 11 secs, beating out any Porsche. These ‘top guys’ have made their money of the war and the oil, but let them have it – because the real currency – the currency of the future is in technological advancements – and this is where we are just beginning. Imaging 100 years from now still driving around in one of these inefficient gas guzzling cars – because some one in the oil industry ‘needed’ to continue to make money – their profits would have ‘gone down’ if we were to change technology. It’s the case for the oil lamp vs. the light bulb.
See magnetic and electric cars and bikes here.
McCain and Palin are motioning for a war in Georgia (near Russia ~ that one!), but that’s all about a oil/ gas pipeline. Palin has stated that if they are elected McCain would place her in charge of energy, and she has stated that ‘we can drill our way out of our difficulties’. This is like the brain dead plan for the future – a future without vision. And what’s worst the experts are saying that they have sunk test wells around ANWR – and through technology they are able to check the area within its perimeter – and the findings are not all that were hoped. The oil leaving Alaska through the pipeline has halved in so many years. If elected it is likely that Palin would create an energy policy based on unsubstantiated facts. She would lead us on a wild moose chase.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When the Sunday morning political pundits began talking last year about the tab for the war in Iraq hitting $1 trillion, Rob Simpson sprang from his sofa in indignation.
“Why aren’t people outraged about this? Why aren’t we hearing about it?” Simpson said. And then it came to him: “Nobody knows what a trillion dollars is.”
The amount _ $1,000,000,000,000 _ was just too big to comprehend.
So Simpson, 51, decided to embark “on an unusual but intriguing research project” to put the dollars and cents of the war into perspective. He hired some assistants and spent 12 months immersed in economic data and crunching numbers.
The result: a slim but heavily annotated paperback released, “What We Could Have Done With the Money: 50 Ways to Spend the Trillion Dollars We’ve Spent on Iraq.”
Simpson is no geopolitical, macro-economic, inside-the-Beltway expert. He’s an armchair analyst and creative director for an advertising agency, a former radio announcer and music critic in Ontario and a one-time voiceover actor.
His alternative spending choices reflect his curiosity and wit.
He calculates $1 trillion could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with gold _ 23.5-karat gold leaf. It could buy every person on the planet an iPod. It could give every high school student in the United States a free college education. It could pay off every American’s credit card. It could buy a Buick for every senior citizen still driving in the United States.
“As I started exploring, I was really taken aback by some of the things that can be done, both the absurd and the practical,” Simpson said.
America could the double the 663,000 cops on the beat for 32 years. It could buy 16.6 million Habitat for Humanity houses, enough for 43 million Americans.
Now imagine investing that $1 trillion in the stock market _ perhaps a riskier proposition today than when Simpson finished the book _ to make it grow and last longer. He used an accepted long-term return on investment of 9 percent annually, with compounding interest.
The investment approach could pay for 1.9 million additional teachers for America’s classrooms, retrain 4 million workers a year or lay a foundation for paying Social Security benefits in 65 years to every child born in the United States, beginning today.
It’s too recent to make Simpson’s list, but that $1 trillion could also have paid for the Bush administration’s financial bailout plan, with $300 billion to spare. It might not be enough, however, to pay for the war in Iraq. Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has recently upped his estimate of the war’s cost to $3 trillion.
Simpson created a Web site companion to his book that lets you go virtual shopping with a $1 trillion credit card. Choices range from buying sports franchises to theme parks, from helping disabled veterans to polar bears.
Click on Air Force One, the president’s $325 million airplane. The program asks: “Quantity?”
“At one point we couldn’t find anybody who actually stuck with it long enough to spend $1 trillion,” Simpson said. “It will wear you out.”
WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska’s dominant political figure for more than four decades, was found guilty on Monday by a jury of violating federal ethics laws for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and services he had received from friends.
The jury of District of Columbia residents convicted Mr. Stevens, 84, on all seven felony counts he faced in connection with charges that he knowingly failed to list on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of some $250,000 in gifts and services used to renovate his home in Girdwood, Alaska.
Mr. Stevens, a consistently grim-faced figure, frowned more deeply as the verdict was delivered by the jury foreman, a worker at a drug counseling center. Mr. Stevens’s wife and one of his daughters sat glumly behind him in the courtroom.
In a statement issued after he had left the courthouse, Mr. Stevens was defiant, urging Alaskans to re-elect him to a seventh full term next week.
He blamed what he called repeated misconduct by federal prosecutors for the verdict. “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have,” he said.
“I am innocent. This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial,” he said. “I ask that Alaskans and my Senate colleagues stand with me as I pursue my rights. I remain a candidate for the United States Senate.”
Nonetheless, the verdict is widely expected to write an end to Mr. Stevens’s long political career, which has moved in tandem with his state’s rough-and-tumble journey from a remote territory to an economic powerhouse.
Mr. Stevens was instrumental in promoting statehood for Alaska when he was a young Interior Department official in the Eisenhower administration and then went on to represent the state in the Senate for 40 years. Over that time, he used his steadily accumulated influence over federal spending, notably using his membership on the Appropriations Committee, to steer millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in federal money to his home state.
The verdict comes a week before a second jury of sorts, the voters of Alaska, will decide whether to return him to the Senate or elect his Democratic opponent, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage. After Mr. Stevens’s indictment in July, he asked for a quick trial so he might clear his name before Election Day.
If Mr. Stevens loses his seat, the trial’s implications could be felt on a broad political scale, helping Democrats in their drive to win enough seats in the Senate to give them a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 votes. Within an hour of the verdict’s becoming public, Democrats in Senate races around the country immediately sought to make the conviction an issue for their opponents, demanding that those who had received money from Mr. Stevens, who was generous with contributions to his colleagues, return it.
If Mr. Stevens wins and insists on keeping his seat, his fate will be in the hands of his Senate colleagues. A senator can be expelled only by a two-thirds vote of the entire Senate, so a conviction does not automatically cost a lawmaker his seat. Since 1789, only 15 senators have been expelled, most for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Senate Web site states.
In 1982, the Senate Ethics Committee recommended that Senator Harrison A. Williams, Democrat of New Jersey, be expelled because of his conviction on bribery, conspiracy and conflict of interest charges in the Abscam scandal, and in 1995 the committee recommended the expulsion of Senator Robert W. Packwood, Republican of Oregon, for sexual misconduct. Both men resigned before the full Senate could vote.
Should Mr. Stevens be expelled or resign on his own, the Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, would most likely have to call a special election to fill the vacancy, according to state legal officials.
Ms. Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, issued a statement late Monday, saying she was “confident that Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.”
Fox lifts a radio clip of an academic argument on school funding and the civil rights movement from seven years ago as evidence that Obama’s tax cuts for the working middle class and poor are socialist.
In an initial Obama camp statement – they say their crowd sizes haven’t diminished and neither has John McCain seized on the matter. That it really is of interest to few outside of Fox News ~ here Megyn Kelly protests.
WASHINGTON — Two young men who are believers in “white power” have been arrested and charged in Tennessee in what federal officials described as a plan to assassinate Senator Barack Obama and kill black children at a school.
Federal officials said they regarded the scheme as “serious.” It does not appear to have moved to an advanced stage, according to court documents unsealed Monday, but officials said the two men did acquire several rifles and cased a home and a gun store to rob as part of the plan.
Federal officials said that both of the men who were arrested — Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., and Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn. — told interrogators that they had talked of assassinating Mr. Obama. Lawyers for the men could not be reached.
The two men “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,” according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Jackson, Tenn., by an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama has no plans to be in Tennessee, and the affidavit does not make clear whether the men had picked a location for an attack.
The assassination was to be the culmination of a “killing spree” that would also single out children at an unnamed, predominately black school, federal officials said. The men talked of “killing 88 people and beheading 14 African-Americans,” according to the affidavit.
The two men each had “very strong views” about Aryan white power and “skinhead” ideology, the federal officials said, and the numbers 88 and 14 have special significance in the white power movement. The number 88 is shorthand for “Heil Hitler” — H is the eighth letter in the alphabet —and 14 signifies a 14-word mantra among white supremacists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Officials said the two men met via the Internet through a mutual friend.
Concerns about possible plots against Mr. Obama have been acute because of his status as the first black presidential nominee from a major party. He has had Secret Service protection since May 2007, the earliest a candidate was ever assigned protection.
Mr. Cowart and Mr. Schlesselman were each charged with illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a firearms dealer and making threats against a presidential candidate. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Memphis.
“We honestly don’t know if they had the capability or the wherewithal to carry out the kind of plan that they talked about,” Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, said in an interview. “But we take any threat seriously not matter how big or how small it is.”
Damon is participating in the Florida VoteFest ’08 Sunday and Monday, a statewide initiative to encourage people to vote early.
“I took time off from acting until the end of the year to be with my family and enjoy our new daughter,” Damon told PEOPLE at a jam-packed Barack Obama rally Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla. “But it is very important for me to do what I can to help the Obama campaign so people will go out and vote. We need change in this country and now is the time to be sure that happens.”
What are the Russians learning from US elections?
Hmm…good question ~ Republicans.
Americans seem to have a very short memory for politics but I implore you to not forget the face of Republicanism today–not to forget the Bush/Cheney years.
Some of us have known since the coupe of the 2000 election by anti American Republican party operatives, what many are just now beginning to realize.
Republican fiscal, social and foreign policies are failures and the Republican base is an embarrassment to America… and to humanity.
For Republicans to win in the public sphere they must propagandize, cheat, steal and promote fear and racism. The McCain campaign of 2008 has been a dismal failure. They will soon begin their full court press to commit election fraud. They must, they are an unmitigated failure.
Get ready for the long fight ahead.
With just over a week before Election Day, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on Monday is making his final pitch to voters in an effort to solidify the leads he has built in the polls.
“In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope,” Obama will say, according to prepared remarks released by the Illinois senator’s campaign. “In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”
The Democrat, who will speak in Canton, Ohio, is continuing to tie his Republican rival Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to President Bush, arguing that the country cannot afford four more years of policies that, Obama argues, have hurt the country.
Obama, who is enjoying wide leads in several key states, also plans to give a nod toward McCain, saying that he “has served this country honorably” and noting that he “deserves credit” for the few times he has broken with Bush. However, the Democrat plans to make the case that on the key issue of the economy, McCain is pursuing the same policies as Bush.
“We don’t need bigger government or smaller government,” Obama said. “We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans.”
“After twenty-one months and three debates, Sen. McCain still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he’d do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy,” Obama plans to say.
The Democrat intends to make the pitch that the country has to “get beyond the old ideological debates and divides between left and right” in order to fix the economy.
“We don’t need bigger government or smaller government,” he plans to say. “We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans.”
Source: The Hill
John McCain on Sunday warned Americans against the increasingly likely prospect of a Democratic takeover of Washington’s two main branches of government next week, but insisted that opinion polls indicating a strong victory for Barack Obama were misleading.
Mr McCain – who is trailing his rival by an average of seven to eight percentage points with eight days to go – would pull off the biggest electoral upset since 1948, when Harry S Truman beat Thomas Dewey, were he to win next week.
The Republican nominee, whose campaign has been increasingly beset by finger-pointing, internal leaks and reported rifts with Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential running mate, on Sunday said he trusted his senses, which told him the opinion polls were wrong.
“Those polls have consistently shown me much farther behind than we actually are,” Mr McCain said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “We’re doing fine. We have closed [the gap] in the last week. We continue to close this next week. You’re going to be up very, very late on election night.”
However, Mr Obama’s average lead in the national polls has appeared steady in recent days, in spite of individual surveys giving him an advantage of as much as 13 points nationally or as little as three.
But in an analysis of the state of the race on Fox News, Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s election victories, said Mr Obama now had his biggest lead of the campaign, and was ahead in states with 317 electoral votes, compared with 157 votes for Mr McCain and 270 needed to win the presidency.
According to Mr Rove, Mr Obama was set to capture Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia. “In order for McCain to win, he’s got a very steep hill to climb,” he said indicating it would be extremely difficult for the Republican to turn round a national deficit of more than six points.
Commenting on reports of tensions between Mr McCain’s advisers and Sarah Palin, Mr Rove added: “This is… not the kind of thing you like to have happening in your campaign. And it’s generally a sign that people are throwing in the towel and thinking that they’re going to lose.”
Mr McCain on Sunday again distanced himself from Mr Bush. Last week Mr McCain attacked the president in his strongest terms so far, citing the doubling of US national debt to $10,000bn since 2001 and the mismanagement of the war in Iraq.
US FEMINIST KATHA POLLITT ON SARAH PALIN
‘Gender Alone Is Not Enough’
Activist and poet Katha Pollitt talks to SPIEGEL about the American women’s movement, her support for Barack Obama and the politics of the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
SPIEGEL: Ms. Pollitt, there used to be a joke in the women’s movement that equality would be achieved if a mediocre woman could have the same kind of career as a mediocre man. That’s the case now with Sarah Palin. Are you satisfied?
Pollitt: No! Sarah Palin wasn’t just picked because she is a woman, or because of her mediocrity. She is a fanatical opponent of abortion, and picking her is an attempt to get the evangelical Christian voters — who they have been tepid about McCain — into his camp. They might have voted for him anyway, but they might not have volunteered and donated and energized their friends and neighbors. That is different now because of Palin.
SPIEGEL: What excites people about Sarah Palin?
Pollitt: They feel that she is likeable. They can relate to her because she seems ordinary, warm, enthusiastic. If Sarah Palin was my neighbor, I might like her too — but as a potential President? It’s shocking to me that people would vote for someone because they think he or she is “like me.” Oh, Sarah Palin is a mom, I am a mom, so I will vote for her. That is irresponsible.
SPIEGEL: But with George W. Bush, Americans also voted for the guy that a lot of people would like to have a beer with.
Pollitt: Yes, and one would think that the past eight years have taught people that maybe it’s not a very good idea.
SPIEGEL: For the first time in American history, both parties have had viable female contenders in their Presidential campaigns — Hillary Clinton ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Sarah Palin is now running for Vice President. Does that represent progress for women?
Pollitt: I can answer that in two very different ways. In some long-view world historical sense, I could say: We might look back in 500 years and realize that 2008 was the year that women began to come into their own in American politics. But right now I see it a little differently. Hillary Clinton was a candidate who represented a certain liberal feminism. If she had become president, our abortion rights would have been safe. Clinton would have made sure that the anti-discrimination laws were enforced, and she would have financed a lot of programs that are good for women.
SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?
Pollitt: With her, we would get the opposite. Other than in terms of her “girls can do anything” image, I don’t see that her political goals will do female voters any good.
SPIEGEL: Sometimes even female politicians who don’t consider themselves feminists can provide a positive influence: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a role model for many younger women who showed that women can wield power successfully.
Pollitt: Margaret Thatcher never said, “Vote for me because I am a wife and mother.” On the contrary, she didn’t present herself as relatable at all: She was the iron lady. Thatcher never made anything of her looks, she made very few concessions to conventional notions of femininity. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is all about those notions. She represents a very old image for America, the tough but beautiful frontier woman with a gun in one and and a baby in the other.
SPIEGEL: Still, Republicans are hoping to use Sarah Palin to attract female voters who were carrying Hillary Clinton’s torch …
Pollitt: I don’t think there are so many of these women, and I have looked pretty hard for them. You have a small group of Hillary fans who are extremely vocal. They really believe that Hillary Clinton was robbed of a nomination that was rightfully hers. These women have a whole narrative that puts the blame for Hillary’s loss on some combination of party skullduggery and media sexism. But most female Palin voters will be conservative white women who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the race so far, and who identify with Palin. But they would have voted Republican anyway, if they had voted at all.
SPIEGEL: Well, did Hillary Clinton lose because of media sexism?
Pollitt: No, she made crucial mistakes in her campaign, and she bears responsibility for that. Still, one has to acknowledge that she had to face incredible sexism in public discourse. Jokes were made about her voice, and about her laugh, which was described as a “cackle.” There was a nutcracker in the shape of Hillary that crushed walnuts between its steely thighs, which was good for many a laugh. And when her eyes misted up for a moment on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, there were comments about whether she was fit to be commander in chief. They would never ask that about a man! You have to say that male fear of female power was very much on view with Hillary.
SPIEGEL: What about Sarah Palin?
Pollitt: There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in the Republican party right now as far as their relationship to women is concerned. They complain constantly about the sexism that they had claimed didn’t exist where Hillary was concerned. Before John McCain chose Sarah Palin, a journalist friend of mine said he would never choose a woman — sexism is too deep in the Republican Party DNA. But he did pick her, so now we have seen that even the Republicans who are quite anti-feminist, can encompass having a woman in quite a powerful political position. But it was a strategic nomination which passed over many more qualified women, like the Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who happen to be pro-choice.
SPIEGEL: Hillary Clinton is two years your senior, and you both belong to the first generation of American women who were raised with feminist ideas. How has the women’s movement shaped American society?
Pollitt: It has changed the country very profoundly. When I went to Harvard in 1967, there was a five-percent quota on women in medical and law schools, there were ads in the newspapers, “jobs for men” and “jobs for women,” a married woman couldn’t get a credit card in her own name, there were states where a woman had to take her husband’s name, and for an unmarried woman it was very difficult to get birth control. Abortion was illegal — hundreds of women were killed or injured every year in back-alley or self-induced procedures. In just a few years, the women’s movement dismantled a whole legal structure of inequality, and, equally important, challenged the social practices and cultural assumptions behind those laws. It was an amazing historical moment.
SPIEGEL: How did you profit from it?
Pollitt: When I was a freshman, I saw the seniors get ready for their weddings. They would graduate, and then their weddings would be the next week. They had no moment to enjoy their freedom, to find out who they really were, to travel, and to learn to manage their own affairs. It was a lockstep life: college, marriage, kids …
SPIEGEL: … depression, divorce.
Pollitt: Exactly! All that had changed by the time I graduated four years later. Only a few of my classmates got married right away — instead, they went to medical school or law school or graduate school, they became activists or writers, like me. The lesbians came out of the closet. The women’s movement gave a lot of women — and men, too — the freedom to lead a different kind of life from their parents, to ask themselves, “What do I want to do with my life?” Feminism created a new normal.
French Authorities had to issue a ban on fishing and water sports
During a rally in Northern Iowa University this morning, John McCain made a strange remark that only serves to cement the notion that he does not respect Barack Obama:
- When I’m elected president We’re going to stop spending $700 billion to buy oil from countries that don’t like us very much,” John McCain said at Northern Iowa University this morning.“You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words.
We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling.
We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah.”
While McCain is targeting Obama’s eloquence as empty words with his “blah, blah, blah” comment, it’s curious why he would use safeguards for nuclear power as the vehicle for this attack. The line makes McCain seem not only callous but also dismissive of a very real concern regarding nuclear power.
US presidential elections involve a fabulous expense of time, effort and money. Doubtless it is all too much – but, by the end, nobody can complain that the candidates have been too little scrutinised. We have learnt a lot about Barack Obama and John McCain during this campaign. In our view, it is enough to be confident that Mr Obama is the right choice.
At the outset, we were not so confident. Mr Obama is inexperienced. His policies are a blend of good, not so good and downright bad. Since the election will strengthen Democratic control of Congress, a case can be made for returning a Republican to the White House: divided government has a better record in the United States than government united under either party.
So this ought to have been a close call. With a week remaining before the election, we cannot feel that it is.
Mr Obama fought a much better campaign. Campaigning is not the same as governing, and the presidency should not be a prize for giving the best speeches, devising the best television advertisements, shaking the most hands and kissing the most babies.
Nonetheless, a campaign is a test of leadership. Mr Obama ran his superbly; Mr McCain’s has often looked a shambles. After eight years of George W. Bush, the steady competence of the Obama operation commands respect.
Nor should one disdain Mr Obama’s way with a crowd. Good presidents engage the country’s attention; great ones inspire. Mr McCain, on form, is an adequate speaker but no more. Mr Obama, on form, is as fine a political orator as the country has heard in decades. Put to the right purposes, this is no mere decoration but a priceless asset.
Mr Obama’s purposes do seem mostly right, though in saying this we give him the benefit of the doubt. Above all, he prizes consensus and genuinely seeks to unite the country, something it wants. His call for change struck a mighty chord in a tired and demoralised nation – and who could promise real change more credibly than Mr Obama, a black man, whose very nomination was a historic advance in US politics?
We applaud his main domestic proposal: comprehensive health-care reform. This plan would achieve nearly universal insurance without the mandates of rival schemes: characteristically, it combines a far-sighted goal with moderation in the method. Mr McCain’s plan, based on extending tax relief beyond employer-provided insurance, also has merit – it would contain costs better – but is too timid and would widen coverage much less.
Mr Obama is most disappointing on trade. He pandered to protectionists during the primaries, and has not rowed back. He may be sincere, which is troubling. Should he win the election, a Democratic Congress will expect him to keep those trade-thumping promises. Mr McCain has been bravely and consistently pro-trade, much to his credit.
In responding to the economic emergency, Mr Obama has again impressed – not by advancing solutions of his own, but in displaying a calm and methodical disposition, and in seeking the best advice. Mr McCain’s hasty half-baked interventions were unnerving when they were not beside the point.
On foreign policy, where the candidates have often conspired to exaggerate their differences, this contrast in temperaments seems crucial. For all his experience, Mr McCain has seemed too much guided by an instinct for peremptory action, an exaggerated sense of certainty, and a reluctance to see shades of grey.
He has offered risk-taking almost as his chief qualification, but gambles do not always pay off. His choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, widely acknowledged to have been a mistake, is an obtrusive case in point. Rashness is not a virtue in a president. The cautious and deliberate Mr Obama is altogether a less alarming prospect.
Rest assured that, should he win, Mr Obama is bound to disappoint. How could he not? He is expected to heal the country’s racial divisions, reverse the trend of rising inequality, improve middle-class living standards, cut almost everybody’s taxes, transform the image of the United States abroad, end the losses in Iraq, deal with the mess in Afghanistan and much more besides.
Succeeding in those endeavours would require more than uplifting oratory and presidential deportment even if the economy were growing rapidly, which it will not be.
The challenges facing the next president will be extraordinary. We hesitate to wish it on anyone, but we hope that Mr Obama gets the job.
It is deeply ironic that Republican operatives are working so hard to tarnish the most dynamic voter participation in our country in decades—apparently to justify and camouflage their most organized attempt yet to deny Americans the right to vote. The right wing in our country is responding to the massive registration of new voters with a despicable, massive assault on voter participation.
The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the coordinated national effort by the Republican Party and allied political operatives to suppress voter turnout and deny ballots to newly registered voters, particularly young people, the poor and people of color.
The assault is taking many forms. By smearing voter registration groups such as ACORN with false charges of voter fraud, the Republican Party hopes to discourage new voters and divert attention from the issues that are motivating so many—the disastrous economic policies of the past eight years.
In state after state, Republican tactics are designed to create confusion and long lines at the polls to discourage and unnecessarily alarm voters.
In Ohio, where 800,000 new voters have registered this year, the Republican Party is filing lawsuit after lawsuit to purge from the rolls people whose information doesn’t match other public records—records that are widely acknowledged to be flawed.
In September, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State told election officials to reject registrations that do not pass a computer match process that is foiled by typos and other minor errors. In just three weeks, 75 percent of matching problems were found to be the result of administrative errors; others are still being checked.
Also in September, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, who co-chairs the state McCain campaign, filed suit against the state election board, seeking to challenge the registration, by his count, of tens of thousands of voters.
Just last week, the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a lawsuit to force newly registered voters in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas to vote under challenge and cast provisional ballots that would not be counted Election Day.
Registrars in several states have been denying registration to students who give dorm room addresses. In Maryland, a registrar circulated a memo saying students registering to vote could lose financial aid and tax dependent status.
And in at least one state, the GOP stated it would challenge mortgage foreclosure victims’ right to vote when they appeared at the polls on Election Day.
What we are seeing now is just the first wave of voter suppression. We expect it will grow to include false information distributed in communities where Republican support is weak, intimidation and challenges of voters at the polls, lawsuits seeking to throw out voting results and a longer term escalation of the campaign for more voter suppression laws.
It is up to all of us to speak out and soundly reject this travesty. The AFL-CIO and other groups, including the NAACP, ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the League of Women Voters, are responding with our biggest voter protection program ever. Some 1,400 lawyers have joined the AFL-CIO network of labor lawyers to travel into battleground states at their own expense to staff legal command centers and support the thousands of poll monitors who will assist people who have problems voting. In nine states, the AFL-CIO is educating voters about their rights, working with election officials about election administration and recruiting and training volunteer poll monitors and workers. We are referring voters to the toll-free voting rights hotline operated by the Election Protection coalition, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to check their registration and report problems. The AFL-CIO also is airing radio ads in targeted communities giving voters tips on how to protect their vote.
With vigilance and a major effort by a broad array of organizations, we are determined to make it easy, not hard, for every citizen to vote. We call on the McCain-Palin campaign to do more to stop the suppression of votes by any means, as well as stopping hateful smears and disinformation. And we urge the media to join the effort to make this a free and fair election by increasing careful reporting and editorial comment on voter suppression before, during and after the elections—and to help give voters confidence that their rights will be protected.
Source: The Hill
By AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
Could we see people going to prison for voter fraud in this election?
If the question is – will this election be stolen – by you know who ?? Then I predict not this time – there would be too much voter fraud to undertake – and secondly there will be a team of lawyers around the polling places – to make sure people have any questions answered, but more to make sure that their right to vote is upheld.
That still doesn’t protect against the dirty tricks that are now coming to light – like the purging of voter registrations, one can only hope that they don’t mistakenly purge the wrong list – say full of Republican voters!
Trust the Republicans to cook up something – but with all the dirty tricks they have played in this election and nothing has worked – shouldn’t there be alarm bells telling them – to stay away from this one – the negative and dishonest tactics are not going to work – this time – better to play it straight!
Former White House adviser Karl Rove, credited with winning two elections for President Bush, on Sunday said GOP nominee John McCain has a “very steep hill to climb” in his quest for the presidency.
Rove, who often puts a positive spin on things for the GOP, on “Fox News Sunday” offered a bleaker assessment of the state of the race from a Republican point of view. In his own electoral map, Rove has Democratic nominee Barack Obama ahead with 317 electoral votes after moving Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia to the Illinois senator’s column.
The GOP analyst noted that McCain would have to turn things around in all four states and sweep the remaining toss-up states in order to win the necessary electoral votes to prevail.
“It’s a steep uphill climb,” he said.
Rove added that McCain could turn the race if he is only down up to six points in national points. However, with the RealClearPolitics average of national polls putting Obama ahead by eight points, Rove said it would be “difficult” to make up that ground.
“What he’s got to do is pound home on two big messages. One message is, ‘I’m right on the issues and he’s wrong when it comes to taxes and the war on terror, and I’m experienced and ready to be president, and whatever his strengths and skills are, he, Sen. Obama, is not ready to be president’,” Rove said. “And you’ve got to make that message in a handful of states and repeat it constantly and hope that your ground game on Election Day is able to give you a point or two more beyond what the polls show you having.”
The GOP strategist also commented on signs that there is dissension within the ranks of the McCain campaign, including stress between vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her handlers.
“It is a sign of undisciplined people who do not have the loyalty that they ought to have to the candidate whom they’re serving,” he said. “And it’s a sad sight to see. Nobody makes themselves look good by this process.”
Rove also acknowledged that this kind of infighting generally happens “in campaigns that are behind, and people want to make certain they escape with the best reputation they can.”
An interesting pattern now seems to be coming from Joe Lieberman: He is now reminding us all how much he respects Barack Obama, even if he’s for John McCain this time around.
In a conference call with Connecticut reporters on Friday, Lieberman bristled at the media’s coverage of the McCain campaign’s negativity. “You guys are going down a road, you have contributed to the demeaning of our politics by this kind of focus,” Lieberman said. “I mean, give me a break. Have any of you been out listening to me?”
“When I go out, I say, ‘I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He’s bright. He’s eloquent.’ Someday, I might even support him for president,” Lieberman told a conference call of Connecticut reporters. “But now in the midst of this series of crises, John McCain is simply so much better prepared that that’s who I am proud to support.”
Lieberman also said that if McCain doesn’t, “I’m going to do everything I can to be bringing people … together across party lines to support the new president so he can succeed.”
This seems like a serious change of pace, to say the least, for Lieberman to be talking about how much he likes Obama and how he could potentially support him for president down the road. Indeed, it invites questions about what might have prompted Lieberman’s change of tone.
For context, it’s worth looking at some other things Joe has said this campaign season:
• In an interview with the right-wing site NewsMax a little over two weeks ago, Lieberman endorsed GOP attacks against Obama over Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright: “And one of the things you want to know is who have they associated with, because it may help you know who they’ll listen to when they get into office.”
• In the same interview, he left the door open on switching parties: “Well, I’ve thought about it. But this term is about over, so i’ll take up this question again.”
• During his speech at the Republican Convention, Lieberman repeated the smear that Obama “was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground.”
• While campaigning for McCain back in August, Lieberman said that Obama does not “put the country first.”
So the big question here, really, is what happened in the last few weeks that turned Obama from someone who doesn’t put the country first, might listen to anti-American characters when he’s in office, and wants to cut off resources for American troops, into someone who Lieberman respects and could support for president down the road?
Like the number of houses – John McCain has trouble remembering one of the many Secretary of State endorsements that he received. While explaining how Powell’s endorsement of Obama was a disappointment – McCain forgets to name one of the many SOS endorsements he has received.
McCain’s coming across as the man with the most. Heaven’s knows if Powell would have given McCain his endorsement – he likely would have forgotten Powell’s name.
Here Karl Rove was left defending his own ethics ~ possibly evidence of a conscience?
Here’s when someone thought they would go up and arrest Rove – all on the same day!
Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.
Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.
“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.
“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.
The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.
“These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves,” a McCain insider said, referring to McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin’s campaign. Palin’s partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin’s avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News’ Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.
“A number of Gov. Palin’s staff have not had her best interests at heart, and they have not had the campaign’s best interests at heart,” the McCain insider fumed, noting that Wallace left an executive job at CBS to join the campaign.
Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.
“I am in awe of [Palin’s] strength under constant fire by the media,” she said in an e-mail. “If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there.”
But other McCain aides, defending Wallace, dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled. The Alaska governor was, they argue, simply unready — “green,” sloppy and incomprehensibly willing to criticize McCain for, for instance, not attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Palin has in fact performed fairly well in the moments thought to be key for a vice presidential nominee: She made a good impression in her surprise rollout in Ohio and her speech to the Republican National Convention went better than the campaign could have imagined. She turned in an adequate performance at a debate against the Democratic Party’s foremost debater.
But other elements of her image-making went catastrophically awry. Her dodging of the press and her nervous reliance on tight scripts in her first interview, with ABC News, became a national joke — driven home to devastating effect by “Saturday Night Live” comic Tina Fey. The Couric interview — her only unstaged appearance for a week — was “water torture,” as one internal ally put it.
Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn’t ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn’t forcefully object. Moments that Palin’s allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign’s pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin’s “slips and miscommunications,” that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.
But Palin partisans say she chafed at the handling.
“The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she’s completely inexperienced,” said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate.
“Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised,” the person said. “Recently, she’s gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts.”
Palin’s loyalists say she’s grown particularly disenchanted with the veterans of the Bush reelection campaign, including Schmidt and Wallace, and that despite her anti-intellectual rhetoric, her closest ally among her new traveling aides is a policy adviser, former National Security Council official Steve Biegun. She’s also said to be close with McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who prepared her for the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.
When a McCain aide, speaking anonymously Friday to The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, suggested that Palin’s charge that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” had “escaped HQ’s vetting,” it was Scheunemann who fired off an angry response that the speech was “fully vetted” and that to attack Palin for it was “bullshit.”
Palin’s “instincts,” on display in recent days, have had her opening up to the media, including a round of interviews on talk radio, cable and broadcast outlets, as well as chats with her traveling press and local reporters.
Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.
“Get Tracey,” a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly “tried several times to cut it off with a terse ‘Thank you!’ in between questions, to no avail.” The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin’s admirers in Washington cheered.
Palin had also sought to give meatier policy speeches, in particular on energy policy and on policy for children with disabilities; she finally gave the latter speech Friday, but had wanted to deliver it much earlier.
She’s also begun to make her own ad hoc calls about the campaign’s direction and the ticket’s policy. McCain, for instance, has remained silent on Democrats’ calls for a stimulus package of new spending, a move many conservatives oppose but that could be broadly popular. But in an interview with the conservative radio host Glenn Beck earlier this week, Palin went “off the reservation” to make the campaign policy, one aide said.
“I say, you know, when is enough enough of taxpayer dollars being thrown into this bill out there?” she asked. “This next one of the Democrats being proposed should be very, very concerning to all Americans because to me it sends a message that $700 billion bailout, maybe that was just the tip of the iceberg. No, you know, we were told when we’ve got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, ‘No, OK, that’s enough.'”
(A McCain spokeswoman said Palin’s statement was “a good sentiment.”)
But few imagine that Palin will be able to repair her image — and bad poll numbers — in the eleven days before the campaign ends. And the final straw for Palin and her allies was the news that the campaign had reported spending $150,000 on her clothes, turning her, again, into the butt of late-night humor.
“She never even set foot in these stores,” the senior Republican said, noting Palin hadn’t realized the cost when the clothes were brought to her in her Minnesota hotel room.
“It’s completely out-of-control operatives,” said the close ally outside the campaign. “She has no responsibility for that. It’s incredibly frustrating for us and for her.”
Between Palin’s internal detractors and her allies, there’s a middle ground: Some aides say that she’s a flawed candidate whose handling exaggerated her weak spots.
“She was completely mishandled in the beginning. No one took the time to look at what her personal strengths and weaknesses are and developed a plan that made sense based on who she is as a candidate,” the aide said. “Any concerns she or those close to her have about that are totally valid.”
But the aide said that Palin’s inexperience led her to her own mistakes:
“How she was handled allowed her weaknesses to hang out in full display.”
If McCain loses, Palin’s allies say that the national Republican Party hasn’t seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor’s mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America’s most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party’s insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.
“There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job,” said the McCain insider. “She has a real future in this party.”
A little like a swarm of bees ~ trying to sting Biden!!
Nothing else has worked, Ayers failed, and the host of other trash talk the McCain camp has put out as fact – has ended up on it’s ear with voters – so now the far-right of the Republican party are pushing the ‘new’ Marxist and Communism smear ~ as their final solution.
Though many moderates in the party wish to distance themselves from these scurrilous tactics ~ that fall way over the line of normal political banter.
That interview was almost as good as something you would see on Fox News – but sadly that reporter would have likely never got a job there – she’s just not pretty enough!
Palin follows in goose step with Evangelical far-right talking points – in suggesting that by restoring the same levels of tax most Americans paid under Reagan would somehow lead to a fully operational communist state.
Sarah Palin had a few memorable moments during her campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. But the most eye-opening of them all came, it would appear, when the Alaska Governor somehow drew a connection between Barack Obama’s tax policy and an encroaching, nightmarish, communist government. The Illinois Democrat, she hysterically suggested, would, through his proposals, create a country “where the people are not free.”
That yarn goes well beyond what Palin and McCain have, to this point, been comfortable asserting: mainly that Obama is proposing economic socialism. But there are a few things to keep in mind here: the McCain-Palin ticket does not oppose a progressive tax system. In fact, back in 2000, the Arizona Republican said rich people paid more in taxes because they could afford to do so:
Here’s what McCain would have said
“I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children,” he said, “and they’re the ones that I would support tax cuts for first.”
More importantly, Obama’s tax plans are less progressive than those in place during the Clinton years. In fact, the rates that people making over $250,000 would have to pay would be the same as during the 1990s — a time definitely not marked by the absence of freedoms.