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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.