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During the debate McCain had ample opportunity to tell the audience and America – exactly how Obama’s connection to Ayers – could mean he is a terrorist above and beyond all the students taught by Ayers’ who’s a professor, and the faculty that work with him on a daily basis.

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Blogger Interrupted catches the goings on at a Palin/McCain rally – exposing anger, hate and misinformation that the Republican campaign is using against Obama – to unscrupulously win the race to the White House.

Amazing because Ayers is a professor – which would make all the students he ever taught ‘pals’ of terrorists. A radical from the 60’s that if you didn’t live through or was not old enough to understand the time of free love – and popular opposition to the Vietnam War you probably would never understand. Ayers served his time and rightly so – we can’t go around placing bombs and attacking those because we disagree with them. His past aside – Ayers is making a useful contribution – a similar thing can be said of another former terrorist who is a regular contributor to Fox News – on the subject of Islamic Jihad. I wonder if that makes these guys – wait for it – pals of terrorists or – let’s go all the way – terrorist!

John McCain’s campaign released a new 90-second Web ad Thursday on Barack Obama’s relationship with 1960s radical William Ayers.

Ayers is referred to as a terrorist throughout the ad, as is his “friendship” with Obama.

“Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They’ve worked together for years. But Obama tries to hide it. Why?” the narrator says before running off a litany of Obama’s links to Ayers and the former member of the Weather Underground’s actions.

“Obama’s friendship with terrorist Ayers isn’t the issue,” the narrator then claims.

“The issue is Barack Obama’s judgment and candor. When Obama just says, ‘This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood.’ Americans say, ‘Where’s the truth, Barack?’ Barack Obama. Too risky for America.”

McCain surrogates have been linking Obama to Ayers in recent interviews, as has Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists” on Saturday. Ayers had been a consistent part of Palin’s stump speech, though she did not make mention of him Wednesday.

Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, called the attacks leveled by the McCain campaign “mildly dangerous” and dismissed them as “malarkey” on Wednesday.

“You know, the idea here that somehow these guys are, once again, injecting fear and loathing into this campaign, I think, is mildly dangerous,” Biden said. “Look, this really is a case where, when you don’t have anything to talk about, attack. And it gets really over the edge.”

 Source: Politico

Esquire Endorses Barack Obama for President

WASHINGTON (AP) — Esquire is backing Democrat Barack Obama for president — its first endorsement in the magazine’s 75-year history.

The Illinois senator is “the only possible choice to lead the country,” editors wrote in the November issue, on newsstands Oct. 14. They also encouraged people to vote for Obama because the next president will influence the direction of the Supreme Court.

“The best argument for the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States is written quite clearly in the peaks and squiggles of John Paul Stevens’ EKG,” they wrote of the 88-year-old justice.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has run a “cheap and dishonorable campaign,” they said. And his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is “stunningly unqualified.”

The editors wrote that McCain has not offered evidence of how things for Americans would change if he were to succeed President Bush.

“Bushism must be ripped out, root and branch, everywhere it has been established, or else the presidential election of 2008 is a worthless exercise in futility,” the editors said.

Source: AP

DALLAS (Reuters) – Republican evangelicals are not the only political base vice presidential pick Sarah Palin is energizing.

Democratic foot soldiers have sprung into action in response to John McCain’s running-mate’s personal attacks on their candidate, Barack Obama, her opposition to abortion rights and her endorsement from religious conservatives.

“When Palin’s radical and extremist views are combined with her inexperience and questionable record, it makes for an energizing brew more potent than Red Bull,” said Colorado Democratic leader Pat Waak, referring to the caffeinated energy drink.

Palin’s impact on the left was seen almost immediately after her rousing speech last month at the Republican National Convention, when Obama’s campaign reported the next day that over $8 million had poured into it from over 130,000 donors.

More recently, Palin drew the ire of Democrats when she accused Obama of “palling around” with terrorists because he served on a community board in Chicago with former 1960s radical William Ayers.

“Her attacks will make liberals see red,” added political scientist Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University.

The Alaska governor, skewered on late-night comedy shows and an object of liberal wrath on the blogosphere, has also proven an able fund-raiser for other secular and liberal causes before the November 4 presidential election.

Songwriter Gretchen Peters is donating the royalties from her song “Independence Day” during this election cycle to Planned Parenthood — and asks that donations be made in honor of Palin. Planned Parenthood provides women’s health-care services, including abortion clinics, and is frequently a target of social conservatives.

Peters was angered by the McCain/Palin campaign’s use of the song, which is about domestic abuse.

“The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their vice presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony,” Peters says on her website.

“They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women’s rights back decades,” she says.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Tait Sye said a separate online campaign to raise money on its behalf “in honor of Sarah Palin” has netted more than $1 million from over 38,000 donors in all 50 states and two-thirds of the donations are from new donors who have not contributed to it before.

Organizations and activists who support abortion rights are a base for the Democratic Party. Abortion is a sharply divisive and highly partisan issue in the United States.

Palin, who bills herself as a moose-hunting mother of five, gave birth last spring to a Down syndrome baby and strongly opposes abortion rights.

COUNTERPUNCH

“Sarah Palin has energized the Republican base in unexpected ways and there is always countermobilization to a successful mobilization,” said Jillson.

In the battleground state of Colorado, Democratic Party officials said they were getting a boost from Palin’s presence on the ticket.

“I am meeting women who have never been involved before, and they are really energized to work on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket,” said party leader Waak.

The factors that make Palin such a target for liberals of course are the same that have enabled McCain to solidify his support among the Republican Party’s evangelical base.

President George W. Bush, a Republican, got almost 80 percent of the votes cast by white evangelical Protestants in the 2004 election and analysts have said McCain, who had failed to really excite this group before he picked Palin, cannot win without them.

Evangelicals account for about 25 percent of the U.S. adult population, giving them clout in a country where faith and politics often mix.

Source: Reuters

While McCain Backs Petraeus, General Sounds Notes That Harmonize With Democratic Nominee.

Gen. David Petraeus (WDCpix)

Throughout Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, the Republican nominee has wrapped himself in the mantle of U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, proclaiming himself the leading advocate of the former commanding general in Iraq who devised last year’s controversial troop surge. Yet during a talk Wednesday about Iraq at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington policy organization, Petraeus repeatedly made statements that bolstered the foreign-policy proposals of Sen. Barack Obama, McCain’s Democratic rival, or cut against McCain’s own lines.

Petraeus relinquished command in Iraq last month. He assumes responsibility for U.S. Central Command later this month, putting him in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia.

As a serving military officer, Petraeus attempted to avoid any explicit political discussion. “I’m not walking into minefields now,” Petraeus said, to laughter, when asked a question that referred to Tuesday night’s presidential debate. In fact, the general averred that he didn’t watch the debate.

Yet Petraeus, whether intentionally or not, often waded into areas of dispute between Obama and McCain involving Afghanistan, negotiating with adversaries and other recent campaign controversies. Each time, the general either lent tacit support to Obama or denied tacit support to McCain.

Unbidden, Petraeus discussed whether his strategy in Iraq — protecting the population while cleaving apart the insurgency through reconciliation efforts to crush the remaining hard-core enemies — could also work in Afghanistan. The question has particular salience as Petraeus takes over U.S. Central Command, which will put him at the helm of all U.S. troops in the Middle East and South Asia, thereby giving him a large role in the Afghanistan war.

“Some of the concepts used in Iraq are transplantable [to Afghanistan] while others perhaps are not,” he said. “Every situation is unique.”

Petraeus pointed to efforts by Hamid Karzai’s government to negotiate a deal with the Taliban that would potentially bring some Taliban members back to power, saying that if they are “willing to reconcile,” it would be “a positive step.”

In saying that, Petraeus implicitly allied with U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Last week, McKiernan rejected the idea of replicating the blend of counterinsurgency strategy employed in Iraq. “The word that I don’t use in Afghanistan is the word ’surge,’” McKiernan said, opting against recruiting Pashtun tribal fighters to supplement Afghan security forces against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. “There are countless other differences between Iraq and Afghanistan,” he added.

McCain, however, has argued that the Afghanistan war is ripe for a direct replication of Petraeus’ Iraq strategy of population-centric counterinsurgency. “Sen. Obama calls for more troops,” McCain said in the Sept. 26 debate, “but what he doesn’t understand, it’s got to be a new strategy, the same strategy that he condemned in Iraq. It’s going to have to be employed in Afghanistan.”

McCain qualified that statement in Tuesday’s debate, but clung to it while discussing Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Gen. Petraeus had a strategy,” McCain said, “the same strategy — very, very different, because of the conditions and the situation — but the same fundamental strategy that succeeded in Iraq. And that is to get the support of the people.”

Petraeus also came out unambiguously in his talk at Heritage for opening communications with America’s adversaries, a position McCain is attacking Obama for endorsing. Citing his Iraq experience, Petraeus said, “You have to talk to enemies.” He added that it was necessary to have a particular goal for discussion and to perform advance work to understand the motivations of his interlocutors.

All that was the subject of one of the most contentious tussles between McCain and Obama in the first presidential debate, with Obama contending that his intent to negotiate with foreign adversaries without “precondition” did not mean that he would neglect diplomatic “preparation.”

McCain, apparently perceiving an opportunity for attack, Tuesday again used Obama’s comments to attack his judgment. “Sen. Obama, without precondition, wants to sit down and negotiate with them, without preconditions,” McCain said, referring to Iran.

Yet Petraeus emphasized throughout his lecture that reaching out to insurgent groups — some “with our blood on their hands,” he said — was necessary to the ultimate goal of turning them against irreconcilable enemies like Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Petraeus favorably cited the example of one of his British deputies, who in a previous assignment had to negotiate with Martin McGuiness of the Irish Republican Army, responsible for killing some of the British commander’s troops. The British officer, Petraeus said, occasionally wanted to “reach across the table” and choke his former adversary but understood that such negotiations were key to ending a war.

Petraeus reflected at length on the need to “take away and hold the strongholds and safe havens” possessed by Al Qaeda in Iraq during 2007 and 2008, saying that without doing so, the rest of the counterinsurgency strategy “won’t work.” While he did not initially make reference to Al Qaeda’s much greater presence in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, it was hard not to hear the overtones of the current argument over Pakistan policy between Obama and McCain.

McCain has attacked Obama for explicitly stating conditions under which he would order U.S. military action against the senior leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, deriding that by saying Obama is “going to attack Pakistan,” while advocating that the Pakistanis perform the task instead of U.S. troops.

[..]

Source: Washington Independent

PRINCETON, NJ — The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report shows Barack Obama with a 52% to 41% lead over John McCain.

These results, based on Oct. 5-7 polling, are the best for Obama during the campaign, both in terms of his share of the vote and the size of his lead over McCain. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

Nearly all interviews in today’s report were conducted before Tuesday night’s town hall style debate in Nashville. Any movement in voter preferences as a result of this debate will be apparent in coming days.

Voter preferences seem to have stabilized for the moment, as Obama has held a double-digit lead over McCain in each of the last three individual nights of polling.

Concern about the economy seems to be playing to Obama’s advantage; he overtook McCain when the financial crisis worsened in the middle of September, and his strong showing today coincides with the worst rating of the economy this year (59% of Americans describe current economic conditions as “poor”). — Jeff Jones


(Click here to see how the race currently breaks down by demographic subgroup.)

Survey Methods

For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008.

The general-election results are based on combined data from Oct. 5-7, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,747 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Source: Gallup

After referring to the various proposals that comprise his domestic policy agenda, John McCain offered an absolute head-scratcher of a line during a campaign speech on Wednesday.

“Across this country this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners,” he declared. In the prepared remarks he was supposed to say “fellow citizens.”

McCain didn’t skip a beat, lambasting Obama for, of all things, being “less clear” about his vision for the country. “The same standards of clarity and candor must now be applied to my opponent,” he declared.

The remark came during the Senator’s campaign stop in Pennsylvania in what was already a controversial appearance. An hour before McCain took the stage, an introductory speaker revved up the crowd by referring to Barack “Hussein” Obama twice. McCain’s campaign has distanced themselves from the remark.

Source: HP