You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 7, 2008.

Dear Cindy,
Please calm down, understandably you must feel that the whole world is against your husband – and for the most part they are – and one of the reasons for this is that your husband – John McCain has waged one of the “dirtiest campaigns” in U.S. history.

Cindy McCain said today that she expects her husband to clear the record at tonight’s debate and let America know where he truly stands.

McCain, who stopped to visit a half-dozen children at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt today, said the presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has “waged the dirtiest campaign in American history,” and her husband Sen. John McCain will use tonight’s debate to correct the distortions.

Source: HP

Palin used to be clueless – now she’s cruel.

While the presidential campaign has taken a decidedly personal and vicious tilt these past few days, one individual who has generally been left out of the fray has been Sen. Joe Biden. That’s because the Delaware Democrat has been off the trail bereaving the loss of his mother-in-law to a heart attack.

As such an informal detente has been in place when it comes to attacking him. But on Tuesday, Sarah Palin broke the truce.

Speaking to a rabid crowd in Florida, the Alaska Governor was set to focus her ire primarily on Barack Obama. And, for the most part, she did, arguing that he was associated with domestic terrorists, tied to the heads of evil Fannie Mae and dangerously committed to hosting summits of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Then, however, she let loose. “Will [Obama] now claim that his ticket doesn’t define higher taxes as patriotic? Remember that’s what Joe Biden had said. Will he claim that he has just learned now that tax increases on small businesses kill jobs?”

Certainly the Biden dig was much softer than those aimed at the head of the ticket. But with the Senator having been off the trail for the past several days, Palin surely was aware of the elements behind his absence. Whether she slipped up or this was deliberate is another matter.

Source: HP

Does Sarah Palin believe in the Anti-Christ? Does she believe true Christians will be whisked up to heaven sometime in the near future? Does she expect Jesus to come back to earth in our lifetimes and battle the armies of Satan? Would biblical prophecies about Armageddon influence her foreign policy positions on Israel and Russia? These are urgent questions the media have failed to ask. According to Chip Berlet, a leading expert on the Christian right, mainstream reporters tend to view apocalyptic fundamentalists as a “silly little side show” in American political life, when, in fact, one of their own may soon be a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world.

Source: ANP

Bonny Jean Jacobs, 78, the mother-in-law of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice presidential nominee, died this afternoon after a long illness, according to a spokesman for the Biden campaign.

Mr. Biden has canceled all campaign appearances Monday and Tuesday to be with his wife, Jill Jacobs Biden, and their families.

Source: NYT

People all across the country are suffering the fallout from Wall Street’s financial H-Bomb. ANP producer David Murdock and McClatchy Newspaper journalist Tony Pugh have set out on a journey across America to see how economic shock waves from last week’s DC drama are being felt across the land. Their road trip begins in the well-heeled town of Greenwich, Connecticut, where mountains of Wall Street money have created a community seemingly isolated from the tribulations of the common man, but even here, some cracks are beginning to show and those who depend on the rich are beginning to feel the pain.

Source: ANP

At the vice presidential debate in St. Louis, the McCain campaign rented out a stadium to re-energize the conservative base in light of Sarah Palin’s recent gaffes. Despite the revival feel, zeal for Palin isn’t translating in the polls. While some would argue Palin exceeded expectations, unregistered voters seem unimpressed.

Source: ANP

Control your dog?

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog writes:

McCain was speaking today in New Mexico, doing his usual personal attack on Barack Obama, as the stock market plummeted (you can see the ticker next to McCain on the screen, an apt reminder of what McCain and his fellow Republicans represent), and McCain asked the crowd “who is Barack Obama?” Immediately you hear someone yell “terrorist.” McCain pauses, the audience laughs, and McCain continues on, not acknowledging, not chastising, not correcting. Oh, but McCain does say in the next sentence that he’s upset about all the “angry barrage of insults.”

Marc Ambinder notes that the shouter advances McCain’s Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright attacks, while Jonathan Martin suggested the campaign would need a third party to do it:

Judging by McCain’s slightly startled reaction, he clearly didn’t anticipate that reaction, and McCain’s in no way responsible for the utterances of anybody in his audience. But he must have some idea of how deeply this fear/outsider/other meme has spread. A tripartite strategy isn’t needed.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports on a similar moment at a Palin rally today:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,’” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

And Dana Milbank highlights another incident from Tuesday:

Worse, Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

Source: HP

Obama health care plan has one up it’s sleeve that has not been put forward in the McCain plan and that is – mass screenings for illnesses before they arise – by checking the population for illnesses – and providing treatment at the early stages – or encouraging people to alter their lifestyles – could mean a massive reduction in the overall cost of healthcare.

In addition McCain’s plan makes no mention of dealing with the insurance industry on non-payment or refusing to insure those with pre-existing conditions.

Under Obama’s plan there will be a kind of insurance pool – where individuals and business owners could buy into – which together would lower the rate people pay.

McCain's Healthcare Plan - Cut Medicaid/Medicare, introduce a health benefit tax on employers contributions, then offer tax credit to buy insurance - could be described as juggling and it does not cover as many people as Obama's plan.

McCain's Healthcare Plan - Cut Medicaid/Medicare, introduce a health benefit tax on employers contributions, then offer tax credit to buy insurance - could be described as juggling and it does not cover as many people as Obama's plan.

John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.

The Republican presidential nominee has said little about the proposed cuts, but they are needed to keep his health-care plan “budget neutral,” as he has promised. The McCain campaign hasn’t given a specific figure for the cuts, but didn’t dispute the analysts’ estimate.

In the months since Sen. McCain introduced his health plan, statements made by his campaign have implied that the new tax credits he is proposing to help Americans buy health insurance would be paid for with other tax increases.

But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain’s senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign has always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid. Those government health-care programs serve seniors, poor families and the disabled. Medicare spending for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 is estimated at $457.5 billion.

Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the Medicare and Medicaid changes would improve the programs and eliminate fraud, but he didn’t detail where the cuts would come from. “It’s about giving them the benefit package that has been promised to them by law at lower cost,” he said.

Both Sen. McCain and his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, have recently sought to refocus on health care. The issue once ranked at the top of voters’ domestic concerns, but has in recent months been eclipsed by energy and the economy.

Sen. McCain charges that the Obama plan, which would create a government-run marketplace in which people could buy coverage, would lead to government-run health care. Sen. Obama charges that Sen. McCain’s plan would leave many people unable to get insurance.

Sen. Obama’s campaign turned up the volume in a major push on health care over the weekend with two days of attacks from the stump, four new television advertisements, a series of health-care events across the country and fliers to voters’ homes in swing states.

Sen. Obama is focused on Sen. McCain’s plan to offer a new tax credit of $2,500 per person and $5,000 per family toward insurance premiums. This would allow people to buy health coverage on the open market, where they may have more choices and might look for a better bargain.

In exchange, the government would begin taxing the value of health benefits people get through work. If an employer spends $10,000 to buy a worker health insurance, the worker would pay taxes on that money.

“It’s a shell game,” Sen. Obama told an outdoor rally of 28,000 people Sunday in Asheville, N.C. “Sen. McCain gives you a tax credit with one hand — but raises your taxes with the other.”

….

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, estimates that the McCain plan would cost the government $1.3 trillion over 10 years. The plan would allow as many as five million more people to have insurance, it estimates.

….

Sen. Obama also would rely on some Medicare savings to pay for his health-care plan, which would offer subsidies to help consumers pay for premiums. The Tax Policy Center estimates that his plan would cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years and cover 34 million more people.

Source: WSJ

In Asheville, NC, this afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., made a statement about today’s bleak economic news, hammered Sen. John McCain’s campaign tactics, and refused to answer questions about McCain’s role in the Keating 5 scandal — which his campaign is discussing quite a bit — before getting into his car and speeding off to get some barbecue at 12 Bones Smokehouse.

“Before we go get some barbecue I want to make a statement on the economy,” Obama said.

“Obviously, we woke up this morning and saw that the markets are still in turmoil. Not only are we seeing the stock market go down, but there is still great danger of the credit markets locking up and we have seen the contagion is spreading to all parts of the globe. Europe is having some of the problems that we are having here in the states. Asia is being affected

“It is a reminder that the rescue package that was passed last week is not the end of our efforts to deal with the economy. It is just the beginning.

“I think it is very important for Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Bernanke to move swiftly and try to restore confidence as quickly as possible to effectuate the plans, based on the authority given to them by Congress. I think it is still critical for us to move forward on an economic stimulus package that can provide people some relief from high gas prices. Food prices. Help states and local governments maintain their payrolls. I think we have to extend unemployment insurance after the statistics showing that 159,000 additional jobs were lost just last month.

“And we are going to have to then move on an aggressive plan to deal with some of the underlying structural problems in the economy, including the continuing decline in the housing market.

“Now, Sen. McCain and I have a debate tomorrow. And obviously, the American people are going to be anxious to hear from one of the two people who is going to be the next president and responsible for dealing with this economic mess and what their plans are. I was a little surprised over the last couple of days to hear Sen. McCain say — or Sen. McCain’s campaign say — that we want to turn the page on discussions about the economy and campaign, a member of Sen. McCain’s campaign saying today that if we talk about the economic crisis, we lose.

“I have got news for the McCain campaign: the American people are losing right now. They are losing their jobs. They are losing their health care. They are losing their homes and their savings. I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis, and the notion that we would want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and smear tactics that have come to characterize too many campaigns, I think, is not what the American people are looking for. So, I am going to keep on talking about the economy. I am going to keep on talking about what we need to do to strengthen the middle class and get our credit markets settled down. I have confidence we are going to solve this problem, but we are not going to solve it with business as usual. And we need fundamental change, and that is why I am running as president. Alright. “

Obama was twice asked by the press pool, “Why did you bring up the Keating Five?” but Obama ignored the questions and got in his car.

**

He wasn’t so reticent on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” when the host asked about the McCain-Palin campaign’s attack on him for “palling around with terrorists,” namely former Weather Underground member William Ayers, currently an education professor in Chicago.

“First of all, just the facts,” Obama told Joyner. “Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago, he is a professor at the University of Chicago — University of Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him, and so now, they are trying to use this as guilt by association. And as you’ve said, they explicitly stated what they want to do is to change the topic, because they don’t want to talk about the economy and the failed policies of the last eight years. So, I think the American people deserve better. I think they deserve a last four weeks that talks about the economic crisis, about the 159 jobs that were lost –- 159,000 jobs that were lost just last week — last month.

“But if John McCain wants to have a character debate, then I am happy to have that debate, because Mr. McCain’s record, despite him calling himself a maverick, actually shows that he is continually somebody who relies on lobbyists for big oil, big corporations, and that he makes decisions oftentimes based on what these lobbyists tell him to do. And that, I think, is going to be a lot more relevant to the American people than what somebody — who is tangentially related to me — did when I was 8 years old.”

Joyner noted that the Obama campaign launched a Web site, keatingeconomics.com, going after McCain for his role in the S&L crisis of the late 1980s/early 1990s, and his role in the Keating Five scandal. “Of course, Charles Keating was a savings and loan guy out of Arizona,” Joyner said. “Doesn’t this put you in the position of going negative, taking away your message of running a different kind of campaign?”

Said Obama:

“One of the things we’ve done during this campaign: we don’t throw the first punch, but we’ll throw the last. Because if the American people don’t get the information that is relevant about these candidates and, instead, in the last four weeks, all they are hearing about are smears and Swift Boat tactics, that can have an impact on the election. We have seen it before, and this election is too important to be sitting on the sidelines. If Sen. McCain wants to focus on the issues, then that is what we focus on. But if Sen. McCain wants to have a character debate, that is one that we’re willing to have.”

**

At 12 Bones Smokehouse, he ordered takeout for his campaign staff: Brisket, 2 racks of ribs, pulled pork, a barbecue platter, a veggie platter, six sweet teas, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, and a double order of collards.

Source: ABC News

God’s on our side says Lieberman ~ not on theirs!
If he wants a Jihad ~ struggle — bring it on!

You can take so many things away from a person – but I’m not sure God (the Great All) is one.

Via CNN streaming video, I watched Sarah Palin’s event in Clearwater, Florida, this morning. She was heartily introduced there by John McCain’s pal Joe Lieberman. The former Democrat is a very strange figure these days, far from his moorings in the Democratic Party. But you can see how his personal friendship with McCain, and his genuine support for the Iraq war, might cause him to help out his buddy on the stump.

It was jarring, however, to hear Lieberman’s full-throated endorsement of Sarah Palin, a woman with whom he has no prior relationship, and whose policy credentials you have to think the wonky 20-year Senator would find suspect in any other context.

“She’s so strong, she’s so capable, she’s so competent,” Lieberman told the cheering crowd. Emphasizing her “faith,” he added that she is someone who “with your help–and God’s help–will be the next vice president of the United States.” More big cheers.

The religiousity continued when Palin bounded onstage. She commented right away on the number of American flags in the crowd, declaring: “God bless America–you guys get it!”

And then it was on with the attacks on Obama: “There are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are some candidates, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change,” Palin said. She went on to reiterate charges that Obama is friendly with terrorists (Bill Ayers), wants America to lose in Iraq, and smears US troops in Afghanistan.

More: For this heavily churchgoing GOP crowd, Palin is showing a side we haven’t seen in her TV interviews and at the debate. Mentioning the potential for wind and solar power in Florida she exclaims: “God has so richly blessed you here!” Between her and Lieberman, that makes four references to faith and God in about five minutes.

Source: NR

Men in Tokyo look at an electronic board displaying share price movements on Oct. 6, the day that Japan's Nikkei share average sank to a four-and-a-half-year closing low

Men in Tokyo look at an electronic board displaying share price movements on Oct. 6, the day that Japan's Nikkei share average sank to a four-and-a-half-year closing low

For the most part, Asian banks have remained unscathed and economies relatively robust compared with other parts of the world. But tumbling Asian stock markets, marked on Monday by near-panic selling, is signaling just how little confidence there is among bankers and investors that the $700 billion bailout of U.S. banks will end the financial crisis.

Instead, worries are growing that a severe economic downturn in the U.S. and Europe could hurt export-driven Asian economies more than originally thought. Turmoil in Europe as governments scramble to cobble together their own bailout packages has convinced Asia that the contagion will spread far from Wall Street. “We felt pretty good that our economies are stronger,” says Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB-GK Research in Singapore. “Problems seemed to be other people’s problems.” But recent events “have made us realize that we aren’t entirely safe. It looks like the problem might be closer to home.”

That’s because credit markets, which affect the ability of businesses and governments to borrow to fund day-to-day operations, continue to tighten in Asia as banks become more nervous about lending. In Hong Kong, the one-month interbank lending rate has doubled in the past month to 4%. Central banks are trying to pump liquidity into financial markets to avert a credit crunch. India on Monday cut the amount of cash that banks must deposit with the central bank in an attempt to loosen credit. “Credit markets are quite global,” says Kirby Daley, senior strategist at financial services firm Newedge Group in Hong Kong. “It is inescapable, if the credit crisis continues to worsen, that Asia must be affected.”

Source: TIME

On the eve of the penultimate presidential debate, a new TIME/CNN poll shows John McCain still struggling in states won by George W. Bush in 2004, a sign that last week’s vice presidential debate had little effect on voter opinion.

In North Carolina, which Bush won by more than 12 percentage points in both 2000 and 2004, McCain and Obama are locked in a dead heat, with each candidate garnering the support of 49% of likely voters. In Indiana, which Bush won by 21 points in 2004 and 16 points in 2000, McCain maintains a slight 5 point lead over Obama, with 51% of likely voters, compared to Obama’s 46%.

In the crucial swing state of Ohio, which Bush won by slight margins in both 2000 and 2004, McCain trails Obama by 3 points, with the support of 47% of voters, compared to Obama’s 50%. Obama also holds a statistically significant 8 point lead over McCain in New Hampshire and a 5 point lead in Wisconsin, two states that Democrat John Kerry was able to win in 2004.

As a result of the new survey, CNN now considers New Hampshire and Wisconsin to be Obama-leaning states, after previously being considered tossups. North Carolina is now considered a tossup, after previously being categorized as a McCain-leaning state.

The polls were conducted between October 3 and 6, after last Thursday’s debate. They have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 to 4 percentage points.

Last week, the McCain campaign reacted to a polling downturn by shuttering its operation in the state of Michigan and redistributing staff to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Maine, where electoral votes are distributed by congressional district. In a conference call last week, Mike DuHaime, the McCain campaign’s political director, acknowledged that the national mood and Obama’s deep pockets had put previously solid Republican states like Indiana in play.

“I do think just the overall environment right now that we face is one of the worst environments for any Republican in probably 35 years,” DuHaime said. “Any time you have that, you have states move within that margin.”

After two grueling years, only two major events remain in the 2008 presidential campaign, a candidate town hall forum Tuesday in Tennessee, and a debate on October 15 in New York. In a nod to the dwindling window of opportunity, McCain again sharpened his attacks on Obama during a stump speech Monday in New Mexico, charging that Obama harbors a “back story” on every issue that needs to be explored.

“All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America?” McCain said. “In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? But ask such questions and all you get in response is another barrage of angry insults.”

Campaigning in North Carolina, Obama countered by charging that McCain and his aides were “gambling that they can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance.”

Source: TIME

I’m of two minds about how to deal with the McCain campaign’s further descent into ugliness. Their strategy is simple: you throw crap against a wall and then giggle as the media try to analyze the putresence in a way that conveys a sense of balance: “Well, it is bull-pucky, but the splatter pattern is interesting…” which, of course, only serves to get your perverse message out. I really don’t want to be a part of that. But…every so often, we journalists have a duty to remind readers just how dingy the McCain campaign, and its right-wing acolytes in the media (I’m looking at you, Sean Hannity) have become–especially in their efforts to divert public attention from the economic crisis we’re facing. And so inept at it: other campaigns have decided that their only shot is going negative, but usually they don’t announce it, as several McCain aides have in recent days–there’s no way we can win on the economy, so we’re going to go sludge-diving.

But since we are dealing with manure here, I’ll put the rest of this post below the fold.

It is appropriate that the prime vessel for this assault is Sarah Palin, whose very presence on a national ticket is an insult to your intelligence. She now has “credibility,” we are told, because she managed to read talking points off notecards in the debate last week with unwitting enthusiasm.

Over the weekend, she picked up on an article in The New York Times, which essentially says that Barack Obama and the former terrorist Bill Ayers have crossed paths in Chicago, served on a couple of charitable boards together, but aren’t particularly close. To Palin–or her scriptwriters–this means that Obama has been “palling around” with terrorists. Now, I wish Ayers had done some serious jail time; he certainly needed to pay some penance for his youthful criminality–even if most people in Chicago, including the mayor, have decided that he has something of value to say about education. But I can also understand how Obama, who was a child when Ayers was cutting his idiot swath, would not quite understand the enormity of the professor’s background. (I got to know Alger Hiss twenty years after the fact–he was a printing salesman then, a friend of my father’s–and thought of him as a sweet old man, if a good deal more liberal than dad’s other friends.)

In any case, this is rather rich coming from Palin, who is married to a man who belonged to a political party–the Alaskan Independence Party–that wanted to secede from the union. (I should add here that the Times may have been overreacting to the McCain campaign’s attack on its fairness here: the Ayers story was a nothingburger, but it was placed prominently in the top left hand corner of page one–a position that would seem to indicate that it contained important news, which it didn’t.)

Then we have the ever-reliable Bill Kristol, in today’s New York Times, advising Palin to bring up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Palin, of course, believes that’s a darn good idea:

“To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that — with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave — to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.”

So then, I’d guess, it would be appropriate to bring up some of the nuttiness that passes for godliness in Palin’s religious life. Leave aside the fact that The Embarracuda allowed herself to participate in a cermony that protected her from witchcraft, how about her presence–she didn’t “get up and leave”– at a sermon by the founder of Jews for Jesus, who argued that the Palestinian terrorist acts against Israel were God’s “judgment” on the Jews because they hadn’t accepted Jesus.

Speaking of Jews, the ever-execrable Sean Hannity has been having intercourse with a known Jew-hater named Andy Martin, who now wants to expose Barack Obama as a Muslim. According to the Washington Times:

In 1986, when Mr. Martin ran as a Democrat for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District seat under the name “Anthony R. Martin-Trigona,” his campaign committee filed papers saying its purpose was to “exterminate Jew power in America and impeach U.S. District Court of Appeals judges in New York City.”

Calling all Podhoretzs! Where’s the outrage? I mean, don’t the hateful doings at Palin’s church and Hannity’s perfidy deserve a lengthy exegesis from Pete Wehner or Jennifer Rubin or one of the other empretzled ideologues over at Commentary?

As I said, I’m of two minds about this. I don’t want to give currency to this sewage, so it will remain below the fold. And I’ll try to devote the lion’s share of my time to the issues–the war, the economic crisis, the fraying health insurance system, the environment–that should define this campaign. But what a desperate empty embarrassment the McCain campaign has become.

Soure: TIME

More at KeatingEconomics.com


Tasked with defending John McCain’s past involvement in the “Keating Five” scandal, the Senator’s legal representative tried to dismiss the entire significance of what occurred some two decades ago.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, John Dowd, a partner at the powerhouse lobbying/consulting firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, painted the Keating investigation as a “political smear job” led by Democrats who needed to make the issue a bipartisan embarrassment rather than own it themselves.

“He was the only Republican in that hearing and so it had some political overtones given that Democrats were in deep trouble,” said Dowd. “John was the only senator who essentially threw Charles Keating out of his office and he did that before there were any allegations of impropriety.”

As John Aravosis and Ben Smith both noted, in making such an assertion, Dowd is contradicting none other than McCain himself. The Senator has previously called the Keating scandal “the worst moment in my life,” implicitly acknowledging that while his activities may not have been criminal, they were unacceptable.

“The appearance of it was wrong,” McCain declared in retrospect. “It’s a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence. And it was the wrong thing to do.”

Dowd, by contrast, suggested on Monday that McCain’s role in the affair was entirely innocent. He said McCain was not only within bounds for reimbursing Keating for airplane rides that went unreported, but that the Senator took an unprecedented step towards ethical purity in making those payments. As for his relationship with Keating, Dowd insisted that McCain knew him as a constituent primarily, and ended their connection when it became clear that political favors were being sought.

“I thought his conduct was perfectly appropriate,” he even declared at one point.

Dowd is, it should be noted, an interesting voice for the McCain camp to turn to. He was McCain’s lawyer during the Keating scandal, and he supported the Arizona Republican when he ran for president in 2000. But earlier this cycle, the longtime defense attorney expressed disappointment with the Senator, saying he couldn’t even recognize his longtime friend.

“I am very sorry to see what’s happened to John,” Dowd said. “I don’t think his campaign is being well run. It’s been over-managed. He blew through $8 1/2 million. It’s a difficult thing to leave a friend and go to another friend. But we lost the John McCain I knew.”

As Dowd played the good soldier on Monday, the Obama campaign put out a 13-minute documentary detailing the history of McCain’s involvement in the affair. The film details how, at Keating’s request, McCain wrote several letters and supported a bill to push back a direct investment bill. Dowd painted his as a regrettable mistake done on behalf of a constituent. But the Obama campaign argues that it provides a direct window into how McCain would handle the current economic crisis.

“The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today’s credit crisis,” read the campaign’s new website, KeatingEconomics.com, “where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain’s judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.”

Source: HP

Dow slids below 10,000, watched by trader Arthur Cashin wearing a 'Dow 10,000' hat that was given out when the index first hit 10,000 on March 29, 1999

Dow slids below 10,000, watched by trader Arthur Cashin wearing a 'Dow 10,000' hat that was given out when the index first hit 10,000 on March 29, 1999

US stock markets slumped sharply with the Dow Jones falling through the psychologically important 10,000 mark for the first time since October 2004 amid fears that the fallout from the credit crisis will push the country deep into recession.

The Dow Jones fell 569.8 to 9755.5, with the S&P 500 off 64.2 at 1035.0 despite moves by the Federal Reserve to instill confidence in the financial system through capital injections.

Nearly a quarter of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange hit new lows within an hour of the opening of the markets, with every stock in the Dow Jones index down on the day.

The S&P 500 was flat to its trading level 10 years’ ago, leading US commentators to speak of a “lost decade” in equity markets.

The stock market slumps followed similar moves in Europe where the FTSE 100 was on course for its biggest one-day fall in more than 20 years.

The index of leading shares was down almost 9pc at one stage – the biggest decline since the aftermath of Black Monday in October 1987.

A host of the UK’s biggest banks were rocked by turmoil across the European banking sector, with Royal Bank of Scotland falling 22pc at one stage. Mining stocks were also hit, dragged down by fears of falling demand in the face of a growing global slowdown.

Germany’s Dax was off 7.4pc while the Cac-40 in France fell 8.2pc and Italy’s benchmark S&P/Mib fell 9.17pc – its lowest level since the index was established in September 2004.

Traders in the US said the only way to halt the decline, even temporarily, was for central banks around the globe to push through co-ordinated interest rate cuts.

“There is no support to halt share declines. No one is buying,” said one trader at a big US bank. “We were told to reduce our risk and to stay out of the markets. There is too much irrational behaviour out there.”

The stock market declines will heighten fears over the US government’s power to prop up markets despite its success in pushing through a $700bn (£403bn) bailout of the banking system on Friday.

The Federal Reserve acted to shore up confidence in the banking sector today and free up the credit markets by doubling the amount of money it makes available under its Term Auction Facility to $900bn.

Banks will be able to draw down funds from the facility and maintain liquidity in the face of an interbank lending market that has all but ceased to function.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei index lost 4.2pc, South Korea’s Kospi slipped 4.3pc and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 5pc. China’s CSI 300 Index fell 5.1pc, as trading resumed after a one-week holiday.

Source: Telegraph

NEW YORK – Wall Street suffered through another traumatic session Monday, with the Dow Jones industrials plunging as much as 800 points and setting a new record for a one-day point drop as investors despaired that the credit crisis would take a heavy toll around the world. The Dow also fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2004, and all the major indexes fell about 5 percent.

The catalyst for the selling was the growing realization that the Bush administration’s $700 billion rescue plan and steps taken by other governments won’t work quickly to unfreeze the credit markets. Moreover, investors are increasingly unnerved by the paralysis in the credit markets that has started to affect companies trying to borrow for acquisitions or just to conduct their daily operations.

That sent stocks spiraling downward in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and drove investors to sink money into the relative safety of U.S. government debt. Fears about a global recession also caused oil to drop below $90 a barrel.

“The fact is, people are scared and the only thing they’re doing is selling,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Investors are cleaning out portfolios and getting rid of everything because nothing seems to be working.”

The selling was so extreme that only 107 stocks rose on the NYSE — and 3,121 dropped. That’s a telling sign considering the stock market is considered a leading economic indicator, with investors tending to buy and sell based on where they believe the economy will be in six to nine months.

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