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If it was up to some of these Evangelicals in the past – we might not have television – can you image television without the tele-evangelist? Television as late as the late 1970’s was seen by many as being of the devil. We can go through a whole list of things which they have been fearful of and once these things have been introduced, have not come to past as they have predicted. So we can assume – that anything new or different – like a man who has brown skin and will likely be the next US president – naturally they will fall back on their fear mongering anti-Christ God versus the devil scenarios – for comfort.

Reading/skimming through their manifesto – see below – on one side when it comes to threats to homeschooling and what they can teach – it is like they feel that others are encroaching on their religious freedoms – but when it comes to issues like abortion – it seems that they believe that others should be subjected to their religious beliefs.

And on security Obama who talks more about peace at a time of war and not more war and less about peace as McCain has – leads them to conclude that Obama would be unwilling to defend the US security if it came under threat. But sometimes the best security is the promotion of peace – no one fires a shot and the country security is not breached.

Of course there’s the old he’s going to take away our guns – but then this was not meant to real – it was an exercise in predicting how an Obama presidency might turn out for the worst for Christian – could it be that they are saying that Obama isn’t one.

When you’ve lost your home – or feel that your livelihood is under threat – it is pretty difficult to think about what the other guy might be doing in the house over the way or down the street – as now don’t have a house.

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts. All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” produced by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.

The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists who are trying to paint Obama in the worst possible terms as the campaign heads into the final stretch and polls show the Democrat ahead.

Although hard-edge attacks are common late in campaigns, the tenor of the strikes against Obama illustrate just how worried conservative Christian activists are about what should happen to their causes and influence if Democrats seize control of both Congress and the White House.

“Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. “There’s a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom.”

“It looks like, walks like, talks like and smells like desperation to me,” said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston, an Obama supporter who backed President Bush in the past two elections. The Methodist pastor called the 2012 letter “false and ridiculous.” He said it showed that some Christian conservative leaders fear that Obama’s faith-based appeals to voters are working.

Like other political advocacy groups, Christian right groups often raise worries about an election’s consequences to mobilize voters. In the early 1980s, for example, direct mail from the Moral Majority warned that Congress would turn a blind eye to “smut peddlers” dangling pornography to children.

“Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. “There’s a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom.”

But the tone this election year is sharper than usual and the volume has turned up as Nov. 4 nears.

Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly e-mails to readers, “Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected.”

Strang said gay rights and abortion rights would be strengthened in an Obama administration, taxes would rise and “people who hate Christianity will be emboldened to attack our freedoms.”

But Margaret Feinberg, a Denver-area evangelical author, predicted failure,

Young evangelicals are tired and rhetoric which is fear-based, strong-arms the listener, and states opinion as fact will only polarize rather than further the informed, balanced discussion that younger voters are hungry for.” 

Separately, a group called the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has posted a series of videos on its site and on YouTube called “7 Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian.”

The commission accuses Obama of “subtle diabolical deceit” in saying he is Christian, while he believes that people can be saved through other faiths.

But among the strongest pieces this year is Focus on the Family Action’s letter which has been posted on the group’s Web site and making the e-mail rounds. Signed by “A Christian from 2012,” it claims a series of events could logically happen based on the group’s interpretation of Obama’s record, Democratic Party positions, recent court rulings and other trends.

Among the claims:

    _ A 6-3 liberal majority Supreme Court that results in rulings like one making gay marriage the law of the land and another forcing the Boy Scouts to “hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.” (In the imagined scenario, The Boy Scouts choose to disband rather than obey).
    _ A series of domestic and international disasters based on Obama’s “reluctance to send troops overseas.” That includes terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that kill hundreds, Russia occupying the Baltic states and Eastern European countries including Poland and the Czech Republic, and al-Qaida overwhelming Iraq.
    _ Nationalized health care with long lines for surgery and no access to hospitals for people over 80.

The goal was to “articulate the big picture,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy for Focus on the Family Action. “If it is a doomsday picture, then it’s a realistic picture,” she said.

One of the clear targets is younger evangelicals who might be considering Obama. The letter posits that young evangelicals provide the margin that let Obama defeat John McCain. But Margaret Feinberg, a Denver-area evangelical author, predicted failure.

“Young evangelicals are tired — like most people at this point in the election — and rhetoric which is fear-based, strong-arms the listener, and states opinion as fact will only polarize rather than further the informed, balanced discussion that younger voters are hungry for,” she said.

Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, said the dynamics were quite different in 2004, when conservative Christians spent some energy calling Democrat John Kerry a flip-flopper but were mostly motivated by enthusiasm for George W. Bush.

Now, there is less excitement about McCain than fear of an Obama presidency, Burress said.

In an interview, Strang said there are fewer state ballot measures to motivate conservative voters this election year and that the financial meltdown is distracting some voters from the abortion issue. But he said a last-minute push by conservative Christians in 2004 was key to Bush’s re-election and predicted they could play the same role in 2008.

Kim Conger, a political scientist at Iowa State University, said a late push for evangelical voters did help Bush in 2004, “but it is a very different thing than getting people excited about John McCain,” even with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick.

Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, said the dynamics were quite different in 2004, when conservative Christians spent some energy calling Democrat John Kerry a flip-flopper but were mostly motivated by enthusiasm for George W. Bush.

Now, there is less excitement about McCain than fear of an Obama presidency, Burress said.

“This reminds me of when I was a school kid, when I had to go out in the hall and bury my head in my hands because of the atom bomb,” he said.

There has been a lot of talk about Ashley Todd actions in lying to authorities and everyone else in the ‘B’ Hoax, but what we are not hearing as much about is her motives – what drove Ashley Todd. We find that Ashley was a telephone operator for the McCain/Palin campaign. When people think of telephones at the McCain camp lately – they think about robocalls – and the damaging hateful, and more to do with this case – deceptive calls.

Unfairly attacking Obama has been a normal part of the McCain campaign, blatantly misrepresenting the facts has been the norm in the McCain campaign, from the light – by saying Obama’s going to raise your tax – to the more extreme – saying Obama pals around with terrorists. Could this young woman have felt that she could possible take – this effort one step further – and concocted this whole mess in order to assist the McCain campaign which was clearly falling behind in the presidential race. And for a while it did help the McCain campaign – when they desperately leaped all over it without thoroughly checking.

Pro-McCain Supporters Inspirational pic.

Pro-McCain Supporters Inspirational pic.

Another area which could be looked at is some of the sites Todd might have visited. Take a look at the one below – the Sarah’s Army Blogspot – reading through this entry is depressing – but it is very much like the landscape at present on other pro-McCain/Palin sites. There are almost no real arguments on things like health care and taxes, just attack after attack on Obama – often veering off onto the irrational or insane.

Perhaps it is a sad indictment of the manner in which the McCain campaign has been conducted that a young woman could think that by saying that a black man had robbed, mutilated and then sexually assaulted her could be of assistance – in any way at all – to Mr. McCain’s run for the White House.


The big political story of the day revolves around what turned out to be a non-story. Several media outlets (the vast majority conservative) were left with egg on their faces after they trumpeted up the tale of a McCain volunteer who claimed to have been assaulted by a large black man because of a McCain bumper sticker on her car. On her face was carved a backwards ‘B’ (meant to represent Obama’s name). The Drudge Report called it “mutilation.”

It was a hoax. And now, some in the fourth estate are left to explain why they pushed this apparent political ploy. Those in the business who showed some prudence are calling out their competitors for taking the bait.

On CNN today, anchor Rick Sanchez did just that, naming the outlets that not only reported but actively pushed the story of Ashley Todd. In addition to explaining why his station didn’t report the story, Sanchez dug the knife in a bit deeper when it came to Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio talk show host who appeared on CNN Thursday and blamed “that side” (i.e. the Democrats) for engaging in “extraordinarily” disturbing acts.

“Part of the story is the fact that it was reported by the media,” said Sanchez. “We would not be telling the story now had it not been carried by so many outlets. As I mentioned before, it was mentioned on, as a matter of fact I have a list and not to mention names, but the initials of the news organizations are Fox News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Newsday. And also radio talk show hosts went on their radio stations and talked ad infinitum about the story yesterday, one of them even seemingly being a braggadocio about it when he was on the air with our own Wolf Blitzer yesterday.”

Source: HP

FOX Spreads The ‘B’ Mutilation Hoax

Sucking it up
Separately, the College Republicans — a group of which Todd is a member — sought to distance themselves from the whole affair, telling the Huffington Post: “When Ms. Todd initially contacted us claiming to have been attacked, our first reaction was obviously to be concerned for her safety … We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions.”

Keith Olbermann goes after Fox News ‘TALKING POINTS’ email – exposing the nasty measures that station is willing to use in this election.

So John McCain doesn’t want you to enjoy the same kind of health care plan he enjoys as a Federal employee ~ that ain’t right!!

As reports suggested – Michelle Bachmann wasn’t exactly going to apologize – and by the tone of her ad/ sorry, was that apology statement – she likely still feels that the press or SomeBody should sort through all the members of Congress to determine who is ‘pro-America’ and who is ‘anti-America’.

Frankly whatever that was an ad/apologetic attempt – Michelle Bachmann came across as desperate [Desperate scary].

As she should be – her Democrat opponent has received upwards of $1 million within days of her remarks on Hardball, and to make matters worst, the GOP candidate she beat in the primaries – has now stepped back into the race.

Full Bachmann-Hardball Interview here

This should be called trickle down voting – give more and more to the Dems – and the Republicans can wait for the trickle down effect to kick in !!

It would be just like the Republican’s plan for the country – give more and more and more to the wealthiest few – and the average Joe can then wait for the trickle down economic effect to bring benefits to their lives !!

[Fine print: At times those given more and more simply shift their funds overseas – which may mean that there could be less and less to trickle down to meet the everyday needs of the average Joe.]

You might want to view this next video – it shows Republicans openly joking about preventing new voters from getting to the polls


Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia was asked whether the Republican Party had any strategy for trying “to keep those new voters who might be voting for Obama from in fact continuing on down the ballot.”

Step 1: Bachmann goes on Hardball ~
Honestly believes lowlife strategy OK with American people

Step 2: Dismay and an honest to God feeling that this woman must be stopped!!

Opponent raises bucket load of money.

Step 3: Tinklenberg’s Second TV Ad

Step 4: After repeatedly denials and saying she was tricked and placed under various other spells – Michelle Bachmann finally concedes that she may have done something wrong

Bachmann tapes apology ad – today – kind of – we think!

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has taped an advertisement apologizing for her televised comments calling Barack Obama anti-American, according to a Republican source familiar with her campaign’s decision.

Bachmann campaign spokeswoman Michelle Marston said the campaign will be airing a new advertisement this afternoon, but declined to comment specifically on whether Bachmann would be apologizing in the spot.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Marston said.

The move comes as polling, both public and internal, shows Bachmann rapidly losing ground in her reelection bid. A University of Minnesota poll released today shows Bachmann trailing her Democratic opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, 45 percent to 43 percent. Those numbers are consistent with an automated SurveyUSA poll showing Bachmann trailing Tinklenberg 47 percent to 44 percent.

Tinklenberg has been referencing Bachmann’s comments in his own advertising this week. His latest ad, airing across the district, replays her controversial “Hardball” gaffe.

“Michele Bachmann represents the worst of Washington, even questioning the patriotism of others in Congress,” the ad says. “Gen. Colin Powell called her comments nonsense.”

Bachmann isn’t the only House Republican ensnared by controversy to make a televised apology. Politico

Update: Here’s Bachmann’s ‘Saying I Sorry’ Ad

It’s a big concede nothing ~ win all ~ from Michelle Bachmann !!


Over at MOMocrats their giving away one these little cutey outfits for baby free

if you can come up with a good line for:

“When Barack Obama is president…”

There is also a buy one get one free (or swing state) offer check it out >>

Gotcha !!

Now who’s the elitist !!

M.C. Cain: Palin Was The Choice That They Gave Me

* Some Language *

Brian Williams: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition?

Sarah Palin: (Exasperated sigh.) There’s no question that Bill Ayers by his own admittance was one who thought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There is no question there. Now others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to, I don’t know if you’re gonna use the word “terrorist” there.

Here’s what Brian Williams is refering to:

John McCain’s Domestic Terrorism Problem

Under the pre-Patriot Act definition of the law, William Ayers and many of his compatriots in the Weather Underground certainly qualify as terrorists. Unlike the abortion clinic bombers and assassins, however, subsequent to the townhouse explosion in which three Weathermen blew themselves up in March 1970, the Weathermen gave advance warnings of their attacks.

The anti-choice terrorists didn’t warn Dr. Barnett Slepian and Robert Sanderson (killed in 1998) or Dr. Jack Fainman and another unnamed physician (wounded in 1997) or Dr. Hugh Short (wounded in 1995) or Dr. John Bayard Britton, James H. Barrett, Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols (killed in 1994) or Dr. Garson Romalis and five others (wounded in 1994) or Dr. David Gunn (killed in 1993) or Dr. George Tiller (wounded in 1993).

Nor did they give warnings in most of the more than 200 clinic bombings and arsons since 1993, the most recent an unsolved case in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 2007.

During the interview, as you can see above, John McCain sits with his hands folded. So does he agree with Palin? Does he interrupt and say anti-choice assassins and bombers are definitely terrorists? No. Can he not use the word “terrorist” when it comes to these murderers? No. Which should come as no surprise, because, 15 years ago, when he was still supposedly a maverick, he twice voted against a law to prohibit blockades, bombings and arsons at abortion clinics.

Shortly after her glamorous debut at the Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin began proving herself to be John McCain’s sick joke on the nation. But she long ago substituted funny for disgraceful. And now she’s entered the realm of the despicable.

Many Americans oppose abortion and want Roe v. Wade overturned. They have pursued lawful means to obtain their ends. Extremists have pursued other means, willingly murdering and maiming in their crusade to crush women’s reproductive rights. Most law-abiding anti-choice Americans have condemned these extremists. But neither Sarah Palin nor John McCain will call them what they are. Palin is, in effect, giving these terrorists a wink and a nod. Pro-life, my ass.

Source: Daily Kos

Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption.

Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption.

Unclassified doc. detailing meeting took place here pdf.

John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile’s military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world’s most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.

The private meeting between McCain and dictator Pinochet has gone previously un-reported anywhere.

According to a declassified U.S. Embassy cable about the meeting secured by The Huffington Post, McCain described the meeting with Pinochet “as friendly and at times warm, but noted that Pinochet does seem obsessed with the threat of communism.” McCain, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, made no public or private statements critical of the dictatorship, nor did he meet with members of the democratic opposition, as far as could be determined from a thorough check of U.S. and Chilean newspaper records and interviews with top opposition leaders.

At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates for an act of terrorism in Washington DC, the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the US and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power.

McCain’s visit with Pinochet took place at a moment when the Chilean strongman held virtually unrestricted dictatorial power and those involved in public, democratic opposition were exposed to great risk.

At the time of McCain’s meeting with Pinochet, Chile’s democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.

Senator Edward Kennedy arrived only 12 days after McCain in a highly public show of support for democracy. Demonstrators pelted his entourage with eggs and blocked the road from the airport, so that the Senator had to be transported by helicopter to the city, where he met with Catholic church and human rights leaders and large groups of opposition activists.

Mark Schneider, a foreign policy aide and former State Department human rights official who organized Kennedy’s trip, said he had no idea McCain had been there only days before. “It would be very surprising and disappointing if Senator McCain went to Chile to meet with a dictator and did not forcefully demand a return to democracy and then to publicly call for a return to democracy,” Schneider said.

Senator Edward Kennedy arrived only 12 days after McCain in a highly public show of support for democracy. Demonstrators pelted his entourage with eggs and blocked the road from the airport

McCain’s visit with Pinochet took place at a moment when the Chilean strongman held virtually unrestricted dictatorial power and those involved in public, democratic opposition were exposed to great risk.

McCain’s presence in Chile was apparently kept as quiet as possible. He and his wife Cindy arrived December 27 and traveled immediately to the scenic Puyehue area of southern Chile to spend several days as the guest of a prominent Pinochet backer, Marco Cariola, who later was elected senator for the conservative UDI party.

The trip was arranged by Chile’s ambassador to the United States, Hernan Felipe Errazuriz. According to a contemporary government document obtained from Chile, Errazuriz arranged for a special government liaison to help McCain while in Chile for the “strictly private” visit, and described him as “one of the conservative congressmen who is closest to our embassy.”

Errazuriz also arranged the invitation for the McCains to stay at the farm of his wealthy friend, Marco Cariola, according to Cariola, who did not know McCain previously. The McCains spent the three and a half days fishing for salmon and trout and riding horses. The area is one of Chile’s most beautiful tourist attractions, with dozens of crystal clear lakes and rivers surrounded by luxurious estates such as the Cariola farm where the McCains were staying.

On December 30, McCain traveled back to Santiago for a 5 pm meeting with dictator Pinochet, followed by a meeting with Admiral Jose Toribio Merino, a member of the country’s ruling military junta.

Read it all…

Source: HP

(CNN) – Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the lone conservative on the daytime talk-show “The View,” is set to campaign with Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin this weekend.

Hasselbeck, who often clashes with her co-hosts over the presidential election, said Thursday the Alaska governor had asked her to participate in a weekend rally in Florida.

“Governor Palin asked me to be with her this Sunday to introduce her at the rallies in Florida and I am more than honored to be there,” Hasselbeck said. “So I will be flying there to travel with her and meet some pretty interesting people, I have a feeling. So that’s an honor, I am excited to do it, and I’ll have some stories on Monday.”

Palin is set to campaign in Iowa, Indiana, and Florida this weekend.

Hasselbeck has engaged in repeated arguments with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Sherri Shepherd on-air over the presidential candidates, especially after the show’s unexpectedly hard-hitting interview with John McCain last month.

Source: CNNPoliticalTicker

To be fair Obama ~ likely as State Senator – wrote a letter warning about the mortgage crisis he saw looming. There was a vote to rein in Freddie and Fannie ~ but if Barack Obama wasn’t a US Senator at the time he could have nothing to do with it – besides express his concerns in a letter.

But the Republicans have been all for shipping jobs overseas – when John Kerry was talking about these things during the last election – remember – getting the workers to unbolt the factory which was then put on a ship to China – on Fox News – those weekend business programs – a couple of the panel were openly laughing at people losing their jobs to China – their argument was that if you want to make money – on the stock market – that that’s what needs to happen.

Isn’t understandable that if people don’t have a job – then they can’t pay their mortgages. Doh!

No one is laughing over there now – since the mortgage wave has started a tsunami which has hit their beloved Wall Street.

All in all what it does say is that no one can have it all – people are losing their homes in wealthy neighborhoods surely that had nothing to do with bad mortgages – sold to the poor.

By deregulating the market as John Mccain was proud espouse – until he woke up that one morning and found that the economy wasn’t fundamentally strong – was like giving the child all candy – because he likes it. But eating vegetables is important for growth. By placing Wall Street in a position to operate unregulated – so that they can act more freely to rake in more profits – they forget about the people on Main Street – the vegetables ~ were these people making money too? A corporation can try to make more and more profit ~ but are things like health care getting too expensive – causing people to go broke paying it. And with all the jobs over in China you increase profits – but Joe the plumber doesn’t have a job – as no one can afford his services.

That’s the Republican’s trickle down idea – but the Democrats idea is to build the economy from the bottom up and pay down the debt as you go – like Clinton did – when we witnessed the largest economy growth in US history ever.

Special Message from Eli

The biggest untold story in politics is the historic opportunity we have to make big progressive gains in Congress. Can you help by chipping in to support these candidates in tough races? Donations to Political Action are not tax-deductible. Please use the forms below to contribute to these candidates:

Go to MoveOn.Org

Kay Hagan for U.S. Senate (North Carolina)

As a state Senator in North Carolina, Kay Hagan has been an effective leader in the fight for better public schools and fiscal responsibility. Hagan is taking on incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole. If elected, Hagan will fight for sustainable energy, access to health care and more in the Senate. Hagan is in a tight race with an opponent who knows how to raise a lot of money. However, it’s one of the most competitive Senate races for a Democratic challenger. Can you pitch in to help flip this seat? (FEC ID: C00440859)   

Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate (Oregon)

Jeff Merkley is running for Senate against Gordon Smith. Merkley is the Democratic Speaker of the House in Oregon. The Oregonian called Jeff’s session as Speaker, “Oregon’s most productive in a generation.” Merkley is pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-worker and supports an exit from Iraq. His opponent, Gordon Smith, was once known as the Senator with the “golden putter.” (FEC ID: C00437277)   

Jim Martin for U.S. Senate (Georgia)

This is an exciting race that is tightening up as we speak. Martin is a Vietnam veteran running against conservative Republican, Saxby Chambliss. Chambliss won his seat by smearing another Vietnam veteran, Max Cleland in one of the ugliest races of the last eight years. Martin wants to cut taxes for the middle class, increase consumer protections and end corporate welfare. He also opposed the Wall Street bailout. Can you chip in to help him win? (FEC ID: C00447714)  

Betsy Markey for Congress (Colorado’s 4th District)

Betsy Markey is running against one of the most conservative members of the House–Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave is famous for leading the charge for a Constitutional amendment to bar any recognition of same-sex marriage or “legal incidents thereof.” Markey is unequivocal about the need to end the war in Iraq and wants to expand access to affordable healthcare for all Americans. Can you chip in to help her win? (FEC ID: C00436063)   

Everyone has told a porky or two to get out of a difficult situation – but Palin’s is a perpetual porky teller ~ an expert in porkies ~ it’s so bad that if Palin said the sky is blue – I’d get out there and double check.

On feminism Palin has not been too strong on women’s issues – charging women for rape kits, slashing funding for vulnerable teen mothers, and opposes choice even in extreme cases. John McCain record is worst – he’s against equal pay for equal work – and as Carly Fiorina says – voted for Viagra over bills that supported women’s rights.  

Palin told Katie Couric last month she considers herself a feminist.

BEAVER, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Does Sarah Palin consider herself a feminist? It depends on which network anchor is asking.

In an interview on NBC Nightly News that aired Thursday, host Brian Williams asked Palin: “Governor, are you a feminist?”

“I’m not gonna label myself anything, Brian,” she responded. “And I think that’s what annoys a lot of Americans, especially in a political campaign, is to start trying to label different parts of America different, different backgrounds, different … I’m not going to put a label on myself. ”

The vice presidential nominee said she believes in women’s rights and equal rights. Palin went on to say that when she was growing up in Alaska, she “was expected to do the same thing that the guys were doing.”

“I’m not going label myself feminist or not,” she concluded, “but I do believe that American women can recognize in me an advocate and a friend. And I want to be in the White House for them.”

But Palin gave a different answer in September when Katie Couric of CBS News asked her, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?”

“I do,” Palin answered. “I’m a feminist who believes in equal rights and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway.”

In that sit-down, Palin told Couric she defines a feminist as “someone who believes in equal rights. Someone who would not stand for oppression against women.”

Source: CNN Ticker

Something I found drifting around the web.

Can you hear McCain now ~ I know how to fix the web
I can fix the web. The web is broken.

Revived an old ad !!

This ad came out before the financial collapse ~ likely no one knew just how much of a bee sting the Bush/McCain policies would be!

Not only does Karl almost get arrested – by a concerned citizen – he gets slapped down by a fellow convention panelist when he tries to preach about acceptable behavior in a campaign.

I betcha he could tell he wasn’t on Fox News!!

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that Republican rival John McCain is “getting a little loose” at a time when the nation needs a steady hand.

Campaigning in NASCAR country, Biden employed car racing terminology for bumping to describe the contentious final days of the campaign. He told supporters in Charlotte that he’s worried about how the Republicans have been acting as the two campaigns have been “trading a little paint” recently.

“What worries me most is the McCain campaign seems to have gotten a little loose,” Biden said. “John’s getting a little loose. He doesn’t have much of a steady hand these days. Now’s the time we most need a steady hand.”

The Delaware senator told the crowd the nation needs to unite to address the challenges ahead. He called Republican robocalls “scurrilous” and said ads portraying Obama as an extremist hurt the American people.

“It is corrosive to American society,” Biden said. “It’s awfully hard to build anything with that kind of corrosion.”

Although warning of the dangers of political divisions, Biden took aim at McCain. Deriding McCain’s effort to dissociate himself from President Bush, Biden accused the Arizona senator of “quacking like George W. Bush.”

And after botching McCain’s name, Biden joked he no longer knew his longtime Senate colleague.

“John McClain. John McClain. Excuse me, John McCain. John McCain — I don’t recognize him anymore,” Biden said to laughter from several hundred supporters in attendance.

Source: AP

Here’s a man who cares about you !!

Seems a little bewildered that things haven’t gotten a little dirtier by now. Never mind the guy he used every dirty tactic to get in power – is leaving with the state of the Nation in shambles – and now it seems he wants to do the same again with McCain or is that McSame.


Obama’s plans are giving voters pause.

No campaign moves in a straight line. Every race experiences turns toward one side or the other, driven by events, the determined efforts of one candidate, or even a bored media hoping for a new story line.

This campaign’s most recent turn started Sept. 15 with the credit markets shutting down and the economy at the brink of disaster. Before then, John McCain was 2.1 points ahead in the RealClearPolitics average, his first lead since late March. Two weeks later, RealClearPolitics had Barack Obama ahead by 4.6 points, rising to an 8.2-point lead on Oct. 14.

Is there one more turn in the contest and, if so, will it be toward Mr. McCain?

The race has tightened slightly in recent days to an average Obama lead of 6.8 points yesterday. And there are a few things bending toward Mr. McCain. The emergence of “Joe the Plumber” and the likelihood of an agreement with Iraq on a continued U.S. troop presence are two of them. Both are opportunities for Mr. McCain to contrast himself against Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama’s troublesome friendships with Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and (especially) Rev. Jeremiah Wright are important. But only 12 days remain. These relationships should have been highlighted by the McCain campaign in the spring and summer.

But Mr. McCain complicated things by unilaterally declaring Rev. Wright off limits. Now, Mr. Obama will benefit from the noise the media will generate if Mr. McCain attempts to make Obama’s Four Amigos this election’s closing act.

On the other hand, Mr. McCain might gain by arguing that in this time of consequence for America’s economy and security he has been right and Mr. Obama demonstrably wrong on the biggest issues facing the country.

Mr. McCain’s economic argument is simple: Raising taxes on small businesses in the face of recession will deepen and prolong the downturn. Taxing Joe the Plumber and other entrepreneurs to pay for what the National Taxpayers Union says are Mr. Obama’s $293 billion-a-year new spending plans is an expense the nation cannot afford. Mr. Obama’s tax-and-spend prescription will cause the economic fever to spike, not recede.

On national security, America is close to a bilateral agreement with Iraq that will continue sending U.S. troops home based on success — the result of the surge that Mr. McCain strongly advocated and Mr. Obama fiercely opposed. Should we elect someone so wrong about a strategy vital for success in what Osama bin Laden calls the central front in the war on terror?

Beyond that, Mr. McCain should also use vivid imagery to highlight concerns about the freshman Illinois senator. There are plenty of warning signs about Mr. Obama we ignore at our peril. Mr. McCain needs to explain what they are.

America’s economy got into trouble when people didn’t heed warning signs. Three years ago, Mr. McCain called for stricter oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, warning their risky practices threatened our economy and could cost taxpayers billions. He tried to prevent or at least reduce the breadth of the crisis we’re in now. Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats ignored these signs and opposed reform.

There’s more. Wanting to raise taxes — anyone’s taxes — in a slowdown is a warning sign of a misguided economic philosophy. Mr. Obama’s proposal to redistribute wealth is a warning of indifference or hostility to enterprise. Mr. Obama’s health-care plan is a warning that government will have more, not less, to say about your health care if he has his way. Mr. Obama’s dismissal of offshore drilling and opposition to nuclear power are warning signs for an economy whose growth depends on affordable energy. Mr. Obama’s commitment to withdraw our troops from Iraq without regard to conditions on the ground is a warning sign that Mr. Obama is dangerously wrong-headed and ideological on national security.

There’s more: The absence of a single significant instance in which Mr. Obama cooperated in a bipartisan manner in the Senate is a warning sign. So is his failure to dirty his hands by working hard on any major legislative challenge since entering Congress. And so is his refusal to break with his party or its interest groups on any issue of substance.

Mr. McCain has only one hope: to drive home doubts about Mr. Obama based on his record, and share as much as he can about his own values and vision to reassure voters.

Even if he does, Mr. McCain’s task won’t be easy: Mr. Obama is using his considerable talents as a community organizer. Evidence from early voting in Florida, North Carolina, New Mexico and Nevada shows that Democrats are flocking to cast ballots. We don’t know yet whether they’re cannibalizing their Election Day turnout by getting reliable voters to cast ballots early, or creating an electoral tsunami by targeting people who wouldn’t otherwise bother to turn out. If it’s the former, Mr. McCain still has a (long) shot. If it’s the latter, he and other Republican candidates are about to be dealt a punishing electoral blow.

Mr. Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

Source: WSJ

Joe the plumber would be eligible for an Obama tax cut - never mind ‘spreading the wealth’ Joe simply won’t have to pay so much - in fact the tax cut he would receive under an Obama administration would equal or near of the back tax Joe now owes. I hope he is getting some payment for all the press he is doing - for a McCain campaign that doesn’t have his interest at heart - as this man in no way earns $250,000 which would make him eligible for a McCain tax cut for the wealthiest 5% - dreaming about being there is fine, for the moment Obama plan would cut him the slack, it appears he and his son need.

Joe the plumber would be eligible for an Obama tax cut - never mind ‘spreading the wealth’ Joe simply won’t have to pay so much - in fact the tax cut he would receive under an Obama administration would equal or near of the back tax Joe now owes. I hope he is getting some payment for all the press he is doing - for a McCain campaign that doesn’t have his interest at heart - as this man in no way earns $250,000 which would make him eligible for a McCain tax cut for the wealthiest 5% - dreaming about being there is fine, for the moment Obama plan would cut him the slack, it appears he and his son need.

Under Obama Joe would get a tax cut – under McCain Joe would have to first have to earn $250,000 plus in profit on his business, so that he can then get a McCain tax cut. If like Joe has stated wants to go into a partnership – that profits will be split – leaving Joe again with less than $250,000 in profits and still eligible for the Obama tax cut for families earning less than $250,000.

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — The presidential campaign yesterday came down to a contest of “Joe the Plumber” versus “Joe the Hedge-Fund Manager.”

Republican John McCain continued to invoke the Ohio man, known now as Joe the Plumber, to charge that Democrat Barack Obama would raise taxes on American workers. Obama countered that his plan would cut taxes for the Toledo-area plumber while McCain’s proposals favor the wealthiest Americans.

“Thanks to him, we’ve finally learned what Senator Obama’s economic goal is. As he told Joe, Barack Obama wants to, quote, `spread the wealth around,”’ McCain said in New Hampshire, referring to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, who questioned Obama about his tax plan while the candidate was touring his neighborhood.

At a rally in Richmond, Virginia, Obama responded by saying, McCain “isn’t fighting for Joe the Plumber; he’s fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund Manager.”

As stocks slump worldwide and a credit crunch burdens businesses and consumers, both candidates are focusing on the economy with the race in its final 12 days. Early voting already has begun in more than two dozen states, including the battlegrounds of Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina.

National Polls

Obama has an average national lead of 7 percentage points, according to data compiled by That includes several polls that illustrate the volatility of the electorate. An Associated Press-GfK survey taken Oct. 16-20 showed Obama with 44 percent support to McCain’s 43 percent, well within the margin of error, while a Pew Research Center poll conducted Oct. 16-19 showed Obama with a 14-point lead. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll put Obama’s margin at 10 points.

Obama, who spent yesterday in Virginia, is taking a break from the campaign after an event this morning in Indiana to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. McCain is heading to Florida, where polls show the two candidates in a close race.

McCain has been hammering Obama on taxes using the example of Joe the plumber, who told the Democratic nominee that he wanted to buy the two-person business where he works and was concerned that Obama’s plan would raise his taxes.

McCain, an Arizona senator, advocates extending the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. Obama, a senator from Illinois, says he would reduce taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year. Rates for households with taxable incomes of more than $250,000 would return to levels in the 1990s, going to 36 percent and 39.6 percent from the current 33 percent.

Tax Money

McCain accused Obama of seeking “redistribution of wealth.” His running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has said the Democrat’s plan “sounds more like socialism.”

Obama noted that McCain opposed Bush’s tax cut plan when he was seeking the Republican nomination in 2000 and voted against them in the Senate.

“Was John McCain a socialist back in 2000?” Obama asked at a news conference.

Keeping with his theme, McCain’s campaign released a new television advertisement featuring Obama’s driveway encounter with Wurzelbacher, in which Obama tells him, “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” The ad then shows a series of men and women saying “I am Joe the Plumber.” At the end, an announcer intones, “Barack Obama. Higher Taxes. More Spending. Not Ready.” The campaign says it will run in “key states” that it didn’t identify.

National Security

Obama also sought to confront McCain on national security, tying it to economic concerns.

“Our economy supports our military power; it increases our diplomatic leverage, and it is a foundation of America’s leadership in the world,” Obama said in Richmond.

On both security and the economy, Obama sought to tie McCain to Bush, whose approval ratings are at all-time lows.

McCain “would continue the policies that have put our economy into crisis and endangered our national security,” Obama, 47, said.

McCain repeated a line he used in their final debate: “I am not George Bush. If Senator Obama wants to run against George Bush, he should have run for president four years ago.”

Both candidates also addressed a controversy over remarks last weekend by Obama’s running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who said that if the Democrat is elected an international crisis will “test the mettle of this guy.”

McCain cited the statement for the third straight day to make his case that he is better prepared to take office.

`Cannot Invite Testing’

“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain, 72, said. “He cannot invite testing from the world.”

Obama said Biden was trying to say that the transition to a new leader always brings the risk that U.S. adversaries will try to gain an advantage. He rejected the idea that his election is more likely to provoke an incident.

“We have to be mindful that as we pass the baton in this democracy that others don’t take advantage of it,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, in an interview Oct. 21, said there is a risk that terrorists may view the transition as an opportunity to strike, no matter whether it is Obama or McCain who wins on Nov. 4.

Source: Bloomberg

As Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., prepares for an Indiana rally this morning, one of the state’s favorite sons hits the radio airwaves.

(Cue guitar strumming)

JOHN MELLENCAMP: “Hi. This is John Mellencamp; And I’ve seen a lot of small towns, but now I’m seein’ small towns across America dying.

“Folks losing their jobs and their homes. Eight years of George Bush” — pronounced BOOSH — “have really hurt. And – John McCain is just more of the same. Over the last eight years, thousands of Hoosier workers have seen their jobs sent out of this country.

“John McCain will keep givin’ tax breaks to companies shippin’ American jobs overseas.

“Barack Obama gets it, he sees the value in American made products and a strong American labor force; He’ll end tax breaks for companies shipping our jobs overseas and give a hard working family a break.

“This is John Mellencamp, and I’m proud to support Barack Obama, because whether you live in a small town or a big city, it’s time for a change.”

Listen to it HERE.

Source: ABCNewsBlog

For decades, the success of NASCAR’s brand of high-octane, fender-banging stock-car racing has been intertwined with the fortunes of the U.S. automotive industry. NASCAR victories represented a nod to Detroit’s ingenuity. And showroom sales, in turn, were credited to the exploits on race day. As the marketing adage went: “What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday!”

But with the Big Three U.S. automakers struggling to survive, they have begun to dramatically scale back their financial involvement in NASCAR, threatening the economic model that has driven the sport’s popularity. Other corporate sponsors that helped transform stock-car racing from a workingman’s pastime into the country’s dominant form of auto racing also are scaling back their investment as a result of the sagging economy. Some companies may not renew their commitments — many of which run more than $10 million — when current contracts expire.

Source: HP

WASHINGTON — The number of homeowners ensnared in the foreclosure crisis grew by more than 70 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Thursday.

Nationwide, nearly 766,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September, up 71 percent from a year earlier, said foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.

By the end of the year, RealtyTrac expects more than a million bank-owned properties to have piled up on the market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the U.S.

That’s bad news for anyone who lives nearby and wants to sell their home. While foreclosure sales are booming in many areas, those properties are commanding deep discounts and pulling down neighboring property values. “It has a pretty significant impact in terms of pricing,” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s vice president for marketing.

RealtyTrac monitors default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. More than 250,000 properties were repossessed by lenders nationwide in the third quarter, 81,000 of which were taken back last month.

Six states _ California, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan and Nevada _ accounted for more than 60 percent of all foreclosure activity in the quarter, with California alone making up more than a quarter of all U.S. foreclosure filings.

Detroit and Atlanta were the only cities outside California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona to make RealtyTrac’s list of the 20 hardest-hit metropolitan areas.

The combination of sinking home values, tighter mortgage lending criteria and an economy that many economists think has already slipped into recession has left hundreds of thousands of homeowners with few options. Many can’t find buyers or owe more than their home is worth and can’t refinance into an affordable loan, with the global credit crisis making loans far less available.

Source: AP

Five days after Rep. Michele Bachmann went on a McCarthy-esque rant suggesting Barack Obama was unpatriotic and urging the major newspapers of the country to investigate anti-American sentiment in Congress, the national Republican political parties are running for cover.

Two sources aware of ad buys in Minnesota say that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling its media purchases from Bachmann’s race. If true, it is a remarkable fall for a congresswoman who, until recently, seemed relatively safe in her predominantly conservative district. The race had become closer in recent days — the NRCC had transferred funds from Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) to Bachmann a little over a week ago.

In the days following her appearance on Hardball, however, Bachmann has watched as her challenger, El Tinklenberg raised more than a million dollars off her incendiary remarks. That surge in fundraising put Bachmann’s re-election in a far less certain position. Bachmann tried to stem the bleeding by telling the press she was sorry for her remarks. But with the national party now apparently pulling the plug, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

Source: HP

Unbelievable ~ incredible ~ that McCain is so hard up for cash that has to go and ask for money from a country – he has practically declared the enemy –

McCain has gotten himself caught in his own net ~ through his deregulation tinkering ~ in an area he doesn’t understand – the economy ~ he has left his Wall Street buddies who would have helped him out hard up for cash ~ in addition he has pissed half of them off with his angry rant at the start of the financial crisis. So that many would not support him on princple.

On Russia ~ between himself and Palin – have gone out of their way to demonize that country ~ so much so that when a Russian diplomat receives a confidential letter – signed by John McCain requesting funds for his haranguing campaign – it’s not in Russia’s interest to keep the matter confidential.

So much for Georgia !!

Question is how many other foreign diplomats and embassies has the McCain camp solicited funds from?

And what is more ~ is although Russia is developing a market economy – it is still very much a Socialist run state.

This is beyond desperate!!

Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally October 21, 2008 in Miami, Florida.

Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally October 21, 2008 in Miami, Florida.

Huge war chest enables Democrat to eye Ariz., Ga., S.C., and N.D.

CHICAGO – What do states like Georgia, South Carolina, North Dakota and even Arizona have in common?

They’re all reach states that the Obama campaign now believes could be in play.

Thanks in part to an astonishing $150 million take in September, the Democrat has his eyes on some unlikely prizes, including McCain’s own home turf.

“Our strategy all along has been to expand the playing field,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s meticulous and cautious campaign manager. “People thought we were crazy, but it is paying off.”

Granted, he was listing these off the top of his head, and didn’t reveal the campaign’s actual state-by-state committments, but still — it’s news nonetheless.

“We’re in a pretty good position right now,” concedes Plouffe. “We’re competing in and for states no one thought would be in play.”

It appears to be part of a larger campaign strategy to win big with the Electoral College — and not settle for a narrow November victory.

Spread the wealth?
What else will come of this major moolah? Well, we know one thing, it’s not going to the other Democrats eager to maximize the party’s majorities in Congress.

On a visit to Obama headquarters here in Chicago, I asked Plouffe about the “spread the wealth” idea.

The Obama campaign has “all we can handle,” he said.

Rather than funnel cash directly to Senate and House candidates — which Plouffe said would be legal — the campaign argues that its ground-level organizing work in the states on behalf of all Democrats is worth millions, and more than makes up for any cash donations the campaign might make.

Plouffe cited North Carolina as an example.

“We have done extensive registration and turn out work, and that is paying off for everyone,” he said. In the Tar Heel state, he said, the grassroots work has helped Democrat Kay Hagan pull ahead of Sen. Liddy Dole.

“That wouldn’t be happened without our effort there,” Plouffe said.

Less than giddy at Obama HQ
Given the state of the race, might think that the atmosphere would be giddy in Obama headquarters on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago.

Not exactly.

When I walked in for my first visit in months the atmosphere was the same as it was then: quiet, purposeful, and no-nonsense.

On what looked like a vast open trading floor, the twenty- and thirty-somethings went about their business, none of them in coats and ties, many of them looking like graduate students, would-be lawyers, and MBAs crashing a collaborative research project.

Lessons from New Hampshire
On an easel outside the entrance, the first person to work that morning — a retired school administrator named Mary Shepard Hughes — had written an inspiration and an a warning: “TWO SHORT WEEKS. TWO LITTLE WORDS: NEW HAMPSHIRE.”

In a campaign that has, from the start, functioned with incredible smoothness overall, the unexpected primary loss of New Hampshire to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton still rankles — and serves as a cautionary tale.

But the campaign took away lessons from that setback. “Hillary was attacking us pretty hard and we didn’t respond enough, or quickly enough,” Plouffe told me. “We learned that you’ve got to deal with everything.”

Keeping all the cash on hand is one way to make sure they can respond to anything McCain might throw out in the last two weeks.

The Obama campaign has returned fire — hard — on everything from Bill Ayers to taxes.

“They remember how John Kerry was ‘swift-boated’ and they want the cash on hand to prevent that this time,” said a top Obama fundraiser here. “They’re not going to make the Kerry mistake.”

Source: MSNBC

It was all the liberal media ~ you know!
They made me do it !!

Never mind that Bachmann summed it up in a suggestion all on her own that press do an expose to examine whether or not US Congress men and women were anti-American or pro-American.

What was clear that she was not satisfied with painting Barack Obama – as un-American she wanted to extend that and go after the whole of the US Congress – focusing on those with ‘liberal’ views.

Bachmann in her own defence says ‘a trap was laid’ – but what is more accurate is that Hardball’s Chris Matthews just provided her with a way that she wanted to go in – with her McCarthy witch hunt intent.

Palin's Fashion statement

One for Palin ~ she should keep the clothes ~ if she has to pay taxes on them fine ~ if she can’t afford it ~ one of those donors should folk it up for her!

The Republican National Committee’s $150,000 investment in Sarah Palin’s wardrobe has prompted some teeth gnashing among the party’s big donors about its political sensibility and a feisty debate among campaign finance specialists about its legality.

“As a Republican Eagle and a maxed-out contributor to McCain’s general campaign, I’d like my money back – he can still have my vote,” complained one irate donor on Tuesday.

“I’m not one who says a candidate shouldn’t wear fine clothes,” he added. “I’d just like to think they were successful enough in the private sector to have afforded their wardrobe with their own money, not the party’s or the campaign’s, which is really our money as contributors.”

Another big donor was sympathetic to the effort, but critical of the execution.

The Alaska governor was tapped by Arizona Sen. John McCain to become his vice presidential running mate just days before the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, the donor noted.

Given the short notice and the Palins’ relatively modest means, “she could probably not go into her closet at home in Alaska to come up with a wardrobe appropriate for her status as a vice presidential candidate,” he said.

“Having said that, $150K is big money,” he added. “It kind of makes it worth running. Even if you lose, you’ve got a whole new closet.”

Other donors, in other e-mails and interviews, said the costs were worth the investment.

Palin has proven to be a major draw at campaign rallies, and her strong performances and appearance provides a polished and professional image on television, one donor noted.

In addition, he suggested, the bad press only means the GOP base will unite even further behind the McCain-Palin ticket.

As Republican donors absorbed the news, the consensus among several prominent Washington-based attorneys was that the purchases were legal, albeit in a fuzzy area of the law.

Campaign finance laws prohibit candidates from spending donor cash to their authorized personal campaign committee on costs “that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign,” including clothing, vacations and gym memberships.

But the law does not prohibit such expenditures by party committees, and Congress has killed legislation to expand the personal use ban to those and other types of political committees.

The fuzzy part in the Palin case is that the RNC used money from an account designated for “coordinated,” or shared, expenditures with the McCain-Palin candidate account.

The Federal Election Commission, which interprets federal campaign finance laws, has never been asked to address this issue. And legal experts say the key question is: From which side of the joint account was the money drawn?

Noting that the expenses were reported by the RNC and not the McCain-Obama campaign, Ken Gross, a law partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom who advises corporations on campaign finance laws, concluded: “The bottom line is that this is party committee money. These are not campaign funds.”

Wiley Rein lawyer Jan Baran, an adviser to several Republican candidates and committees, agreed with Gross, but added that the Palins may still be forced to comply with tax laws.

“The receipt of goods and services by the taxpayer usually constitutes reportable ‘income’,” Baran said. Consequently, Palin may have to declare the value of the fashion gifts as income and pay taxes on it.

“She might be able to offset some of the taxes by donating the items to charity after the campaign, Baran said, “although she will only be able to deduct the fair market value at that time.”

The campaign said Monday that Palin intends to donate the clothes to charity after the election.

Source: Politico

Hands cover Barack Obama as he shakes hands at a rally in Orlando on Monday.

Hands cover Barack Obama as he shakes hands at a rally in Orlando on Monday.

This is an evil article – though it sums up the feel perfectly!!

Democrats have seen Gore and Kerry lose ~ as there are two weeks left ~ this is not the time to boast.

Though fighting words like when Obama said – ‘that’s why we are going to BEAT you come Nov,’ — sounds good to me!

The Democrats are poised on the brink of victory. And they cannot stand it. The news is too good. Something has to go wrong.

On Saturday, Charlie Cook, an independent analyst and author of the Cook Report, wrote: “This election isn’t over, but it is looking very bad for Republicans — and seems to be getting worse.”

This plunged the Democrats into a deep gloom. Good news is always bad news for them.

On Monday, CNN’s John King announced: “Most top [people] in the McCain campaign now believe New Mexico and Iowa are gone, that Barack Obama will win New Mexico and Iowa. They are now off the dream list of the McCain campaign. More interestingly, most top people inside the McCain campaign think Colorado is gone.”

Democratic pessimism deepened when, that same day, Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray wrote in The Washington Post: “In the 13 battleground states that require voters to register by party, there are nearly 1.5 million more Democrats than at this time in 2004. The comparable Republican numbers, by contrast, have fallen by 61,000 during that time. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 3.3 million in these same 13 battleground states, roughly double the edge — 1.8 million — they enjoyed over the GOP four years ago.”

“We have been on the precipice of victory before,” Dan Pfeiffer, an Obama spokesman, told me. “You have never seen a more superstitious campaign than ours. We do not talk about victory.”

Talk about it, no. Plan for it, yes.

Can it get worse for the Democrats? Yes! On Tuesday, The Associated Press wrote: “Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent $87.5 million last month and began October with nearly $134 million in the bank. The numbers illustrate his vast financial advantage over John McCain, his Republican rival, in the final stretch of the contest. McCain ended September with $47 million in the bank.”

The story went on to note that Obama “spent $65 million in advertising in September to McCain’s $22 million. In October, he has outspent McCain 4-to-1 in advertising.”

Awful news. Obama has a money problem. And you know what it is? He might run out of time to spend all the money he has! Election Day might come and go before Obama can spend the $5 million a day he is now raising. (If this does happen, I suggest he borrow a page from Oprah and buy everyone in America a Pontiac. Just as a gesture.)

Obama himself has reacted to the dismal drumbeat of good news. At a fundraising concert in Manhattan last Thursday featuring Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, Obama got up and said: “Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”

Which is the prevailing mood in the top echelons of the Democratic Party right now. The McCain campaign cannot possibly be as hapless as it looks, party leaders feel. It is lulling the Democrats into complacency. The Republicans have to have an October surprise, because the Republicans always have an October surprise.

Besides, the robocalls could work. Never underestimate the power of the robocalls. Because people really like getting robocalls, right?

And rumors are now flying that McCain has proof that when Obama was in the second grade he once ate paste.

You are at home, it is dinnertime (which is when they call you because they figure you are at home then), and you are either trying to relax or get the kids fed, and the phone rings and it is this recorded voice saying: “I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.”

And does that make you feel more or less positive about John McCain? Does it persuade you that McCain has a plan to save the economy? Or to help you pay your mortgage? Or that he has a steady hand on the tiller?

For the robocalls to be effective, the Republicans would need Bill Ayers to plant bombs today and not when Barack Obama was 8 years old. They need Ayers to plant bombs in key states right now with stickers on them that say: “I am Barack Obama, and I endorse this bomb.”

But McCain may have found his October surprise after all. In Bensalem, Pa., on Tuesday, McCain said: “Now, I’m not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states. But I think I may have detected a little pattern with Sen. Obama. It’s pretty simple, really. When he’s campaigning in Philadelphia, he roots for the Phillies, and when he’s campaigning in Tampa Bay, he ‘shows love’ to the Rays.”

And rumors are now flying that McCain has proof that when Obama was in the second grade he once ate paste.

The Democrats are fearful of all this. The Democrats are always fearful.

“We have been on the precipice of victory before,” Dan Pfeiffer, an Obama spokesman, told me. “You have never seen a more superstitious campaign than ours. We do not talk about victory.”

Talk about it, no. Plan for it, yes.

Source: Politico

Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Sue Shellenbarger quotes Doug Wead, author of two books on presidential families, noting that both Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., fit a certain presidential pattern of “Mama’s boys with absent fathers who were perceived by the sons as high achievers.”

Obama’s tale is more complicated, because in addition to being abandoned by his father, Barack Obama Sr., at the age of two, his mother also left Obama Jr. in the care of her parents while she went off gallivanting around the world.

Indeed, on the stump Obama seems to mention his ailing grandmother, 85-year-old Madelyn Dunham, whom he will be visiting in Hawaii Friday, far more often than he references his mother and father combined.

McCain’s pop, Admiral John Sidney McCain Jr., was largely absent as his wife raised (now Sen.) John Sidney McCain III.

But the Obama memoir is titled “Dreams From My Father,” and McCain’s is “Faith of My Fathers.”

Daddy issues, anyone?

McCain wrote of his father as “a distant, inscrutable patriarch” who suffered from alcoholism.

Do you need to have grown up in a dysfunctional home, without the love of two parents, in order to become a successful presidential candidate?

Wead set out to find if the parents of presidents had some special secret when he began “The Raising of a President.” Instead, he tells Shellenbarger, he discovered the moms and dads of POTUSes past “were as neurotic and possessive and awful as anybody’s.”

In fact, Wead found most interesting “how these presidents were able to transcend these experiences or re-invent them as inspirational.”

Or as a family therapist tells Shellenbarger, “When you don’t have two nice parents who are very supportive…you seek out and find sources of resilience and transcendence — and you become amazing.”

So go ahead, ignore your kids, marry the alcoholic, leave your kid in the care of his grandparents for years — you might be setting them on a path to the White House.

— jpt

Source: ABC


John McCain called out fellow Republicans who have questioned running mate Sarah Palin’s credentials. Photo: AP

John McCain called out fellow Republicans who have questioned running mate Sarah Palin’s credentials Tuesday.

“What’s their problem?” McCain asked during an interview with radio host Don Imus.

“She is a governor, the most popular governor in America,” McCain said. “I think she is the most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president.”

“I’m amazed. I’m amazed. Which is better? Serve 35 years in the United States Senate and say you’ve got to divide Iraq into three different countries, or be governor of a state and a reformer and give people their tax dollars back and bring about reform in the way that your state does business? Which is better?”

Several leading conservatives, including columnists Kathleen Parker of National Review and David Brooks of the New York Times, have questioned McCain’s judgment in selecting Palin.

Parker called Palin “out of her league” in a September column urging the Alaska governor to drop out of the race. Brooks, meanwhile, called Palin “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party” during a forum hosted by The Atlantic magazine earlier this month.

McCain dismissed their criticisms and credited Palin for energizing the conservative base in a year in which the GOP faces “a stiff headwind.”

“She has ignited our crowds,” McCain said. “She has a wonderful family, a great husband, great values and she shares my worldview.”

“I’m entertained at the elitist attitude towards a person who is proven leader.”

Looking back on Palin’s early interviews with ABC’s Charles Gibson and CBS’s Katie Couric, McCain said Palin did well and derided the press for asking “gotcha” questions.

“She did a great job in those interviews. If you want to go with the gotcha questions that’s fine, that’s fine, I understand that. I get them all the time,” the Arizona senator said. “It’s easy to make fun of people and ask them gotcha questions. That’s fine. I understand how the game is played. But don’t think the American people buy that baloney.”

McCain also mocked suggestions that Palin has to face tough interviews on the Sunday shows in order to prove herself to voters.

“That’s hilarious. With thousands of people showing up at town hall meetings, I’ve never had a person show up and ask when she is going on ‘Meet the Press.’ Not one.”

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the Republican conceded that he is trailing Barack Obama but seemed optimistic about his chances.

“We’re doing fine. We have a lot of enthusiasm out there. We’re working hard and enjoying the rallies and having fun. I’m very confident,” he said. “I think we’re behind, but it’s within the margin of error and we’re coming up. All the indicators are that we’re coming up.”

Source: Politico

WASHINGTON – Asked by a third-grader what a vice president does, Republican candidate Sarah Palin responded that the vice president is the president’s “team mate” but also “runs the Senate” and “can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes.”

While aimed at a typical 8-year-old, Palin’s explanations oversimplify the Constitution’s definition of the duties of the vice president and don’t match the office’s traditional role in Senate activities.

The vice president’s main duty is to replace the president if the president dies, resigns, is removed from office or can no longer carry out his or her duties for other reasons. The Constitution names the vice president as the president of the Senate but allows the vice president to cast a vote only to break a tie.

The vice president, as a member of the executive branch of the government, has no official role in developing legislation or determining how it is presented to or debated by the Senate, which is part of the legislative branch. In all meaningful ways, the leader of the majority party runs the Senate.

Traditionally, the vice president appears in the Senate for ceremonial events and in case of a tie vote. Although the vice president can preside over the Senate, vice presidents have left that day-to-day chore to senators themselves. In the past, each president has determined the role of the vice president in an administration.

The subject of the vice president’s duties came up as Palin sat for an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver, which has a feature called “Question from the Third Grade.” The interviewer asked, “Brandon Garcia wants to know, ‘What does the vice president do?'”

“That’s a great question, Brandon, and a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re like the team member, the team mate to that president,” Palin said.

“But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job,” she said.

Sarah Palin still doesn’t know what a Vice President (VP) does:

Source: AP

While McCain wants to make war – and get bogged down attempting to extract oil out of some remote/hostile corner of the earth – the future is in technology.

It would be a bad dream if we looked out at our future 50 -100 years from now and see ourselves still using oil in the same way – we have already got working models of new propulsion systems that could be used to drive a car – such as the magnetic rotary motor / and electric battery drive vehicles. And once we start to look into the problem of energy creation – it is no telling what we will come up with.

On the campaign trail Obama often says ‘Those who out teach us, will out compete us.’ I don’t think McCain really grasps that – he has surrounded himself with lobbyist – but what he don’t understand is that we can’t afford to play those same old games.

Nothing would make McCain happier than to see the KGB return in Russia – he might be happy to know that some Russian from the Old Guard still see America – as he sees Russia – as Cold War enemy – the perfect storm for another – Cold War – or the going back in time.

Double standards – no tax cuts for the poor and middle class workers – no that’s ‘socialist’ – but Palin paid for flights and luxury hotel stays for her children all at tax payers expense.

In this Feb. 11, 2007 file photo, Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice president candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, holds their daughter Piper, as the Gov. Palin talks, left, before the start of the Iron Dog snowmachine race in Big Lake, Alaska. Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports that justified their presence as official business. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters’ 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor’s children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters _ Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 _ by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor’s schedule.

But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.


The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughters Willow and Bristol as well.

The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.

The luncheon took place before Palin’s husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.

When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.

“When it’s the governor, you just make it happen,” she said.

The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.

Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children’s commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

“There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business,” said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. “I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business.”

Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn’t charge the state for their trip.

In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to “open the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls’ business as “First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.

Palin put the jet up for sale on eBay, a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss.

That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use _ a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor.

Source: AP

The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.

“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent,” she said.

The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.

Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.

A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.

But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines.

What hasn’t been apparent is where the clothes came from – her closet back in Wasilla or from the campaign coffers in Washington.

The answer can be found inside the RNC’s September monthly financial disclosure report under “itemized coordinated expenditures.”

It’s a report that typically records expenses for direct mail, telephone calls and advertising. Those expenses do show up, but the report also has a new category of spending: “campaign accessories.”

September payments were also made to Barney’s New York ($789.72) and Bloomingdale’s New York ($5,102.71).

Macy’s in Minneapolis, another store fortunate enough to be situated in the Twin Cities that hosted last summer’s Republican National Convention, received three separate payments totaling $9,447.71.

The entries also show a few purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., suggesting $295 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

An additional $4,902.45 was spent at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.

Source: Politico

Sarah Palin lies again…after listening to her for a while your mind drifts (same with W)……as it all begins to sound like verbiage. Awaken only by the you betcha parts!!

Didn’t Barack Obama work in the State Senate for 7 – 8 years before becoming a US Senator?

Never mind – truth is something Palin takes no notice of – it’s probably too distracting!

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

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

Source: Political Wire

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

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

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

Source: Political Wire

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

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

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

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

Source: Political Wire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Palin?

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

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

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

Can it get worse? It gets worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

Beluga whales endangered, government declares, contradicting Palin

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

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

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

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

Source: Chicago Tribune

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Chicago Tribune

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Daily Kos

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HP

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

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

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

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

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

`Tactical Flexibility’

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on Economy

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

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

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

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

Source: Bloomberg

See much more about voting machine problems here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democrats’ Accusations

Democrats accused Republicans of trying to improperly disqualify voters.

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

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

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

2002 Law

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

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

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

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

Source: Bloomberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I would say it again,” she said.

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

Source: AP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play the McCain Lobbyist game ~ simply click on the icons to see how they are connected ~ above is Oh Ricky’s Lobbyist connexions. Below is McCain’s Corporate Lobbyist connexions

It’s how he plans to ‘work for you!’

John McCain’s campaign manager says he is reconsidering using Barack Obama’s relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue during the election’s closing weeks.

In an appearance on conservative Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Davis said that circumstances had changed since John McCain initially and unilaterally took Obama’s former pastor off the table. The Arizona Republican, Davis argued, had been jilted by the remarks of Rep. John Lewis, who compared recent GOP crowds to segregationist George Wallace’s rallies. And, as such, the campaign was going to “rethink” what was in and out of political bounds.

“Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign,” he said late last week. “Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we’re all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you’ve got to rethink all these things. And so I think we’re in the process of looking at how we’re going to close this campaign. We’ve got 19 days, and we’re taking serious all these issues.”

To Ruin or Not To Completely Ruin, McCain’s Reputation

McCain has reportedly avoided discussion of Wright because of its racial implications. Apparently, since he already stands accused of stoking crowd anger akin to the South in the 1960s, his campaign just might be willing to walk down that slippery slope and risk justifying Lewis’ proclamation.

Even before Davis took to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it was clear that members of McCain’s inner circle were pining for him to use some of Wright’s more inflammatory quotes to hammer away at Obama. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told New York Times columnist Bill Kristol that she didn’t know “why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said.”

Certainly there are Democrats operatives who have long anticipated the Wright card being played and are shocked, to a certain extent, that McCain has avoided the topic. One high-ranking strategist told the Huffington Post that he thought the Republican ticket could have gained far more traction by going after Obama’s pastor “as opposed to some neighborhood association” — referencing former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. McCain, he added, didn’t have to even do it himself. He could pass the task over to a 527 organization or outside group. But with the money woes facing the Republican Party, the fundraising and infrastructure for such an effort has not been built. The decision to bring up Wright is left firmly in McCain’s hands.

Source: HP

WASHINGTON – With or without a formal title, Colin Powell will have Barack Obama’s ear if the Democratic presidential candidate wins the White House in the Nov. 4 election, the candidate said Monday.

“He will have a role as one of my advisers,” Barack Obama said on NBC’s “Today” in an interview aired Monday, a day after Powell, a four-star general and President Bush’s former secretary of state, endorsed him.

“Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that’s a good fit for him, is something we’d have to discuss,” Obama said.

Being a top presidential adviser, especially on foreign policy, would be familiar ground to Powell on a subject that’s relatively new to the freshman Illinois senator. Obama has struggled to establish his foreign policy credentials against GOP candidate John McCain, a decorated military veteran, Vietnam prisoner of war and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In the NBC interview, Obama said Powell did not give him a heads-up before he crossed party lines and endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate on the network’s “Meet the Press” a day earlier.

In that interview, Powell called Obama a “transformational figure” in the nation’s history and expressed disappointment in some of McCain’s campaign tactics. But, Powell said, he didn’t plan to hit the campaign trail with Obama before Election Day.

“I won’t lie to you, I would love to have him at any stop,” Obama said with a grin Monday. “Obviously, if he wants to show up, he’s got an open invitation.”

Powell’s endorsement came just hours after Obama’s campaign disclosed that it raised $150 million in September — obliterating the old record of $66 million it had set only one month earlier.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said she had not spoken to Bush about his reaction to Powell’s endorsement but added that Bush and Powell have a good relationship.

“The president greatly respects Gen. Powell as we all do,” Perino told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to an event in Louisiana.

Powell expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain’s campaign, his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate and their decision to focus in the closing weeks of the contest on Obama’s ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers, saying “it goes too far.”

McCain, meanwhile, seemed dismissive of Powell’s endorsement, saying it wasn’t a surprise, that the two share mutual respect and are longtime friends.

The Republican from Arizona pointed out on Sunday that he had support from four other former secretaries of state, all veterans of Republican administrations: Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander Haig.

At a boisterous rally Sunday, Obama said McCain was “out of ideas and almost out of time.”

He and his aides appear so confident of his prospects that apart from a brief stop in Madison, Wis., next Thursday, Obama currently has no plans during the next 10 days to return to Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire or any other state that voted for John Kerry in 2004.

Instead, he intends to spend two days this week in Florida, where early voting begins on Monday, and travel to Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and possibly Nevada and Indiana. Those states hold 97 electoral votes combined, and Bush won all in 2004.

Obama also may stop in West Virginia, where his campaign recently bought statewide television advertising in a late attempt to put the state’s five electoral votes into serious contention.

Source: AP

Fifteen days before the election, serious gaps remain in the public’s knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees. The limited information provided by the candidates is a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming.

In past elections, the decisions of some candidates for the nation’s top elected offices to withhold health information turned out to have a significant impact after the information came to light. This year, the health issue carries extraordinary significance because two of the four nominees have survived potentially fatal medical problems that could recur.

If elected, Senator John McCain of Arizona, 72, the Republican nominee, would be the oldest man to be sworn in to a first term as president and the first cancer survivor to win the office. The scars on his puffy left cheek are cosmetic reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a malignant melanoma.

Last May, his campaign and his doctors released nearly 1,200 pages of medical information, far more than the three other nominees. But the documents were released in a restricted way that leaves questions, even confusion, about his cancer.

A critical question concerns inconsistencies in medical opinions about the severity of his melanoma; if the classification of his melanoma is more severe, it would increase the statistical likelihood of death from a recurrence of the cancer.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, 65, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, had emergency surgery in 1988 for an aneurysm in an artery in his brain and elective surgery for a second one. His campaign released 49 pages of medical records to The New York Times late last week showing that he was healthy, but the documents did not indicate whether he had had a test in recent years to detect any new aneurysm.

The two other nominees are younger and apparently in good health, but less is known about their medical history. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, 47, the Democratic presidential nominee, released a one-page, undated letter from his personal physician in May stating that he was in “excellent” health. Late last week, his campaign released the results of standard laboratory tests and electrocardiograms from his checkups in June 2001, November 2004 and January 2007. The findings were normal.

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, 44, Mr. McCain’s running mate, has released no medical information.

There may be no serious problems with the health of any of the nominees. But absent fuller disclosure, there is no way for the electorate to know.

The health of the four nominees is a matter of concern because in the past a number of candidates, and in some cases their doctors and aides, have distorted, kept secret or spoken about the facts only at the last minute when medical events forced the issue. Examples include Senator Thomas F. Eagleton (depression), Senator Paul E. Tsongas (cancer), Senator Bill Bradley (heart rhythm abnormality) and, as a vice-presidential nominee, Dick Cheney (heart disease).

I am a physician who has covered the health of presidential candidates for 36 years. Since 1980, The Times has made it a practice to question nominees for president and other high political offices and, with their permission, their doctors about their health.

The Times has requested such interviews with Mr. Obama since last spring and with Mr. McCain and his doctors since March 2007. None were granted. More recently, The Times sent letters to all four nominees requesting interviews about their health with them and their doctors. None agreed.

The candidates’ health has drawn little attention for most of this long campaign season despite the importance of the issue. But since Mr. McCain selected Ms. Palin as his running mate in August, questions about his health have intensified. In recent weeks, more than 2,700 physicians have signed a petition that ran as an advertisement demanding that Mr. McCain fully release his health records; the petition is sponsored by Brave New Films, the company led by Robert Greenwald, a Hollywood filmmaker who has contributed $2,250 to Democratic candidates and has made a number of anti-McCain videos. Beyond the advertisement, Mr. McCain’s health has become the subject of both speculation and distortion on the Internet and other media.

The following is a summary of the publicly known medical information about all four nominees and the outstanding questions about each.

John McCain

The scars on John McCain’s puffy left cheek are reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a mmelanoma.

The scars on John McCain’s puffy left cheek are reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a malignant melanoma.

Mr. McCain’s difficulty raising his arms and his sometimes awkward gait are remnants of severe, untreated injuries he suffered in Vietnam. Mr. McCain, a Navy pilot, broke both arms and his right knee when his jet was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He experienced additional wounds while being tortured during his five and a half years as a prisoner of war. Mr. McCain may eventually need joint replacements, according to his doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mr. McCain has released more details about his health than the other three nominees, though he has done so in a phased way and has apparently not agreed to any extensive interviews about his health. A handful of reporters were allowed to view his records during his bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Another group of reporters were permitted to see newer records last May. By not allowing reporters to interview him or his doctors extensively about his entire medical history, he has made it impossible to get a complete picture of his diagnoses and treatment.

In 1999, early in his first run for the presidency, Mr. McCain allowed a small number of reporters, including me, to review an estimated 1,500 pages of his medical records without photocopying or recording the information.

In doing so, Mr. McCain gave the public its broadest look at the psychological profile of a presidential candidate. He released psychological records about him that were amassed as part of a Navy project to gauge the health of former prisoners of war. Assessments were based on standard psychological tests and what Mr. McCain told his doctors after his release. The records mentioned that in 1968, about eight months after his capture and after some particularly brutal beatings from his North Vietnamese captors, Mr. McCain attempted suicide, trying to hang himself with his shirt.

The records and his doctors, whom I interviewed with the senator’s permission in 1999, said he had never been given a diagnosis of a mental health disorder or treated at the project’s center for a mental health disorder.

The records also showed that a surgeon removed a melanoma from Mr. McCain’s left shoulder in 1993. Melanomas can be a far more deadly form of skin cancer than the more common basal cell and other types.

In early August 2000, just as Mr. McCain’s rival George W. Bush was about to receive the Republican presidential nomination, Dr. John F. Eisold, the attending physician at the United States Capitol, detected two more melanomas, Mr. McCain’s second and third.

One on Mr. McCain’s left arm was determined to be the least risky type, in situ. But the one on his left temple was dangerous.

A few days after detection of the melanomas, Mr. McCain sought care for them at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Mr. McCain’s campaign said this year that the left-temple melanoma was 2.2 millimeters at its thickest part and graded as Stage IIA on a scale in which Stage IV is the worst. Stage II meant that the melanoma had not spread into the lymph nodes. The number of melanomas is less significant than the thickness measured in the pathology assessment of any one of them.

Mr. McCain underwent extensive surgery on his face and neck for the melanoma on Aug. 19, 2000. Surgeons removed more than 30 lymph nodes, and pathologists then determined that all of them were cancer free.

In March 2007, as Mr. McCain was making his second bid for the Republican nomination, The Times began asking his campaign for permission to speak with the senator and his doctors, citing the history of such interviews.

On May 6, 2008, Jill Hazelbaker, a McCain spokeswoman, denied the requests, writing in an e-mail message that The Times was “not at the top of the list” and including a link to a Times editorial that had criticized Mr. McCain for not disclosing health information and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for not disclosing financial records.

On May 23, Mr. McCain allowed a small pool of journalists, including three doctor-reporters, though none from The Times, to spend three hours reviewing a newer set of his Mayo Clinic records. That set, 1,173 pages, included records from 2000 to 2008 but none of the records made available in 1999. Again, the campaign did not allow the journalists to photocopy any documents.

Mr. McCain’s Mayo Clinic doctors answered selected reporters’ questions by telephone, but only for 45 minutes instead of the scheduled two hours. The McCain campaign did not allow New York Times reporters to ask questions in the teleconference.

The clinic doctors said that Mr. McCain was in good health and that no medical reason precluded him from fulfilling all the duties of president.

The doctors said that a fourth melanoma they detected on the left side of his nose in 2002 was also in situ, the least dangerous type. All four melanomas that Mr. McCain experienced were primary, or new, and there was no evidence that any of them had spread, the doctors said.

However, the reporters’ summary cited a report dated Aug. 9, 2000, from two pathologists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington who examined a biopsy of the melanoma taken from Mr. McCain’s left temple a few days earlier.

The Armed Forces pathologists suggested that the left-temple melanoma had spread from another melanoma, known as a metastasis or satellite lesion. “The vertical orientation of this lesion,” the report said, “with only focal epidermal involvement above it is highly suggestive of a metastasis of malignant melanoma and may represent a satellite metastasis of S00-9572-A,” which is the “skin, left temple, lateral” biopsy.

The pool report was by nature unable to provide a complete portrait of Mr. McCain’s recent medical history. It left several questions, including about the number of biopsies and when they were done. On Aug. 18, 2000, Dr. John D. Eckstein, Mr. McCain’s personal physician at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, noted in Mr. McCain’s records that there were two biopsies of the left temple. Dr. Eckstein’s note did not say where and when the biopsies were performed. The Armed Forces report cited one biopsy, so presumably a second was performed in Scottsdale. The Armed Forces pathologists said a melanoma had developed over a skin scar whose origin was unclear.

A skin lesion, not one of the four melanomas, had been removed from Mr. McCain’s left temple in 1996 and interpreted as being benign; some experts have speculated that it might have been misdiagnosed, and thus the origin of the 2000 melanoma.

The Armed Forces pathologists did not speak in the teleconference in May 2008, and questions raised by their report have remained unanswered. The selected reporters did not ask about that report, and the Mayo Clinic doctors did not discuss it. A complete Mayo pathology report was apparently not included in the pool summary.

In interviews, several melanoma experts questioned why the Mayo Clinic doctors had performed such extensive surgery, because the operation was usually reserved for treatment of Stage III melanoma, not Stage IIA.

On Aug. 18, 2000, the day before Mr. McCain’s operation, his surgeon, Dr. Michael L. Hinni, wrote in the records that he planned to do the extensive operation because of the size and location of Mr. McCain’s melanoma. In the teleconference in May 2008, Dr. Hinni explained that because the melanoma was two centimeters across he had to make “a 6-by-6-centimeter island of skin, a fairly sizable wound” to remove it.

If Mr. McCain’s 2000 left-temple melanoma was a metastasis, as the Armed Forces pathologists’ report suggested, it would be classified as Stage III. The reclassification would change his statistical odds for survival at 10 years from about 60 percent to 36 percent, according to a published study.

The greatest risk of recurrence of melanoma is in the first few years after detection. His age, his sex and the presence of the melanoma on his face increase the risk.

The fact that Mr. McCain has had no recurrence for eight years is in his favor. But cancer experts see the 10th anniversary as an important statistical benchmark, and that would not occur until 2010.

In May, his dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Suzanne M. Connolly, said in the teleconference that though there was no way to predict with certainty Mr. McCain’s chance of a recurrence, she judged it to be less than 10 percent. But melanoma is known to be quirkier than most cancers; doctors cite occasional cases in which melanomas come back after 15 or 20 years.

Melanomas can spread to various areas in the body, including the skin and any internal organ. In general, such spreading means the melanoma would not be curable. Treatment would depend in part on what organ or tissues are involved and could include additional surgery, chemotherapy, biologics, vaccines and radiation.

Many such treatments can be debilitating and impair an individual’s physical and mental stamina. If the patient was the president, the location of a recurrence and its treatment could raise the need to invoke the 25th Amendment, elevating the vice president to president, at least temporarily.

On the trail, Mr. McCain has played down concerns about his age by pointing to the vigor of his mother and her twin sister at age 96. Mr. McCain’s father died in 1981 at age 70 after a heart attack.

In the May teleconference, Dr. Eckstein said that he had not detected any memory deficits in Mr. McCain and that the senator had not reported any. Dr. Eckstein did not report whether Mr. McCain had taken any baseline cognitive tests.

Mr. McCain has kidney stones and takes a statin for high cholesterol but has no evidence of significant heart disease, his doctors said.

In making his medical information public, Mr. McCain released his confidentiality in the traditional patient-doctor relationship.

For its part, the Mayo Clinic says it agreed to yield control over all of Mr. McCain’s medical information to his campaign and to refer all questions to the campaign. Pool reporters inspected the records at a hotel near the clinic, which sent the records there under security. In the teleconference, the doctors answered questions by telephone at the clinic with no reporters present.

Dr. Eckstein, Mr. McCain’s doctor, said he understood that the campaign had released all the McCain records to the pool reporters. But a spokeswoman at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, asked if the institution could verify that the campaign had released all the records to the reporters, said she did not know whether the doctors had checked to be sure.

Last week, The Times contacted the McCain campaign to fill in gaps in the medical records. Ms. Hazelbaker, the McCain spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail message: “As you know, we disclosed over 1,200 pages of Senator McCain’s medical history to Dr. Altman’s colleagues in the press earlier this year. We also arranged a Mayo Clinic briefing with three of Senator McCain’s physicians that Dr. Altman listened to by phone. Additionally, we released a detailed document outlining his most recent physical and lab test results. It was an unprecedented level of disclosure, and Dr. Altman can look at the public document on our Web site if he wishes to do so. It was certainly more significant than the one-page doctor’s note Obama released, though I have little hope The Times will report it that way.”

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, who started smoking at least two decades ago, has had trouble quitting. Mr. Obama says he quit last year but has “bummed” cigarettes.

Barack Obama, who started smoking at least two decades ago, has had trouble quitting. Mr. Obama says he quit last year but has “bummed” cigarettes.

On May 29, six days after the McCain campaign’s disclosures about his recent health, Mr. Obama’s campaign released an undated, single-page letter from his doctor in Chicago attesting to Mr. Obama’s “excellent health.”

The six-paragraph letter from Dr. David L. Scheiner said Mr. Obama had no known medical problems that would affect his ability to serve as president. Until the release of test results last week, the letter was the only information that Mr. Obama had made public about his health.

Dr. Scheiner’s assessment was based on regularly examining Mr. Obama since March 23, 1987. Mr. Obama’s last checkup was on Jan. 15, 2007, a day before he created a presidential exploratory committee and more than a year before his campaign released the letter from Dr. Scheiner, a general internist who practices at the University of Chicago Hospitals and the Rush University Medical Center.

The letter was short, the Obama campaign said, because Mr. Obama had not had any serious health problems. The campaign declined to make Dr. Scheiner available for an interview.

Mr. Obama has had a notable medical problem: a difficulty in stopping smoking. It is not known how heavily he smoked. Dr. Scheiner wrote that Mr. Obama began smoking at least two decades ago and had made several efforts to stop. Mr. Obama has used Nicorette gum “with success,” Dr. Scheiner wrote, without defining success.

Nicorette, which contains smaller amounts of nicotine than cigarettes do, is a replacement therapy intended to ease the craving for nicotine and other withdrawal effects of cigarette smoking.

Dr. Scheiner did not say when Mr. Obama had started using Nicorette, how much he had used or for how long he had used it. Reporters have often observed him chewing it.

Mr. Obama said he quit smoking in 2007 when he began his presidential campaign. But he has “bummed” cigarettes since then, he has said.

Also, Dr. Scheiner did not provide a standard measure of smoking risk. It is known as pack years — the number of packs smoked a day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked. The pack-year number is used to help determine a patient’s risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease and other tobacco-related ailments.

Information about Mr. Obama’s smoking is relevant because studies show that the risk of cancer and other tobacco-related serious diseases declines after an individual stops smoking, but not until then.

According to the newly released documents, in January 2007 Mr. Obama had a total cholesterol level of 173 (HDL 68 and LDL 96) and triglycerides of 44. Those levels were normal.

Sarah Palin

Nothing is known publicly about Sarah Palin’s medical history, aside from the birth of her child last April.

Nothing is known publicly about Sarah Palin’s medical history, aside from the birth of her child last April.

Nothing is known publicly about Ms. Palin’s medical history, aside from the much-discussed circumstances surrounding the birth of her fifth child last April. Ms. Palin has said that her water broke while she was at a conference in Dallas and that she flew to Anchorage, where she gave birth to her son Trig hours after landing.

Last week Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Ms. Palin, said the governor declined to be interviewed or provide any health records.

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 1988, after he had emergency surgery for an aneurysm in an artery in his brain.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 1988, after he had emergency surgery for an aneurysm in an artery in his brain.

In 1988, Mr. Biden was working out on a shoulder press weight machine in the Senate gym when a pain shot through his neck. On the train home to Wilmington, Del., the neck pain returned more severely. His head ached. The right side of his body went numb. A doctor later diagnosed a pinched nerve, and a pain clinic prescribed a neck brace.

Shortly thereafter, on a trip to Rochester, Mr. Biden was alone in his hotel room when he felt a sharp stab in the back of his neck and a lightning flash in his head. The rip of pain was like none he had ever experienced. Nothing Mr. Biden did, including curling up in the fetal position, relieved the pain. He lay unconscious on the floor for five hours, he wrote in his autobiography, “Promises to Keep” (Random House, 2007).

The next morning, he felt somewhat better and flew home. His wife, Jill, summoned from the school where she taught, immediately took him to a hospital. Doctors determined he had a berry-shaped bulge in an artery that was leaking blood into his brain. Such bulges, or aneurysms, can tear at any time. Ruptured aneurysms are fatal in about 50 percent of cases. Up to 20 percent of survivors remain severely disabled. A Roman Catholic priest gave Mr. Biden last rites.

After a harrowing ambulance trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, a team of neurosurgeons put a clip on the artery to stop the bleeding. While recuperating, he suffered a major complication: a blood clot lodged in his lung.

A few weeks later, surgeons operated on a second aneurysm on the opposite side of his brain. Though it had caused no symptoms, it still could have burst as the first one did.

Mr. Biden returned to the Senate after a seven-month absence.

Now, a question arises: Has Mr. Biden developed a new aneurysm over the last two decades that could burst?

Doctors, who long thought that berry aneurysms were a once-in-a-lifetime event, now generally believe that they can recur. About 5 percent or less of patients who have had a berry aneurysm develop new ones at the original site or elsewhere in the brain.

“Over the last two decades,” said Dr. Robert F. Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, “we have learned much more about aneurysms, and the fact is that when you have had one aneurysm, you are more likely to develop another one. Although the likelihood is very low, it does exist.”

Doctors’ views vary widely on what types of brain imaging tests to recommend to patients who have had a berry aneurysm and when to do them. Some conduct no tests. Others periodically conduct tests like magnetic resonance angiograms.

Mr. Biden has “recovered fully without continued effects” from the aneurysm, Dr. Eisold, the Capitol physician, said in a letter released by the campaign. Dr. Eisold, a specialist in internal medicine, has a longstanding policy not to talk to reporters about his patients, even with their permission.

The Obama-Biden campaign referred me to Dr. Matthew A. Parker, an internist in Washington, who reviewed Mr. Biden’s records and also spoke with Dr. Eisold about them. Dr. Parker said that Dr. Eisold told him that brain imaging tests were not needed now because Mr. Biden had done well for the 20 years after the aneurysm. “It is a nonissue,” Dr. Parker said Dr. Eisold told him.

Dr. Parker, who is associated with George Washington University Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital, said he had not treated or met with Mr. Biden and did not have a direct connection to the campaign. Federal Election Commission records show that Dr. Parker contributed the maximum, $2,300, to Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign on March 13, 2008.

The medical records released by the campaign contain a summary of Mr. Biden’s operation and hospital stay in 1988 but no notes from a neurologist or neurosurgeon since then. So it is not known whether Mr. Biden has had recent brain imaging scans or has been evaluated by a neurologist or neurosurgeon recently. Dr. Parker said he did not ask Dr. Eisold when a neurologist or neurosurgeon last examined Mr. Biden.

Four leading neurosurgeons interviewed separately in this country and Europe said that as a vice-presidential nominee, Mr. Biden should have had recent brain imaging studies to detect any new aneurysm, because if one is found he might face more neurosurgery and be out of work for weeks or longer.

“What would I do in this situation?” said Dr. Eugene S. Flamm, the chairman of the department of neurological surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. “I would say, get an M.R.A. and check. You can’t just play the statistics.”

Doctors caring for political leaders and other prominent people often face difficulty in ordering tests that might clarify a situation for such patients but that are not recommended for all patients.

Dr. Parker said, “Some people will say, well, given the high-profile nature of the situation, we should do the test to be sure.” But, he added, “that is not necessarily wise.”

Among the reasons is a desire to avoid anxiety among patients and because doctors may not know what to do about an equivocal finding.

Dr. Parker said that even when he “pressed Dr. Eisold on the very same thing, given the circumstances” with Mr. Biden, Dr. Eisold “was very definitive about” not doing brain scan tests now.

The question of an aneurysm aside, the documents show Mr. Biden to have relatively minor health problems, including chronic sinusitis and allergies. He has an enlarged prostate, but a biopsy showed no evidence of cancer. With the help of a statin, he has normal cholesterol levels: 173 (HDL 47 and LDL 98) and triglycerides of 133.

In Summary

All in all, the gaps and paucity of information leave the electorate with insufficient information to fully judge the health of the nominees. The information that has been released is a retreat from the approach that most campaigns took over the last 10 elections.

In an earlier time, there was a kind of gentlemen’s agreement between officials and the news media that permitted serious health conditions to be played down or kept secret.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was crippled by polio more than a decade before he became president and, by his fourth term, he had developed serious heart disease, but the public was largely shielded from the profound effects. And while much was made of John F. Kennedy’s bad back and the rocking chair that gave him relief, it was only in the years after his assassination that his case of Addison’s disease, a hormonal disorder, became widely known.

What might be called the modern era of disclosure arguably began in 1972, when Mr. Eagleton had to step down as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee because he had not informed his running mate, Senator George McGovern, of his history of depression.

In 1992, Mr. Tsongas, who was seeking the Democratic nomination for president, spoke to me to assure the public that he was free of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, after a bone marrow transplant in 1986. In interviews, his doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute backed his assertion that he was cancer free. But in fact the cancer had recurred, and Mr. Tsongas eventually withdrew from the race. He died two days before his first term would have ended.

Other candidates who made themselves and their doctors available include the elder George Bush, Bob Dole, Al Gore and John Kerry. A leading example of openness was Ronald Reagan, whose age, 69, had become an issue in the 1980 election. Mr. Reagan authorized his doctors to be interviewed. He also agreed to an interview himself, against the wishes of his aides, answering all my questions, including what would he do if he became senile as president.

“Resign,” he said.

Still more ugliness and hostility on the campaign trail, courtesy of North Carolina’s Fayetville Observer:

    Someone slashed the tires of at least 30 vehicles parked outside the Crown Coliseum on Sunday during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, authorities said.
    Sheriff’s deputies are investigating. The tires were cut while people were inside the Crown Coliseum listening to speeches, said Maj. E. Wright of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office…

    Sarah Revis, who lives on Wilkes Road, said the slashed tires left several women, including a single mother and a toddler, stranded and upset. At least four tow trucks were sent to move the vehicles from the Crown, Revis said.

    “This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen,” Revis said. “I’ve seen women out here crying and men cussing. This is a crying shame.”

It would require a pretty extensive effort to slash the tires of more than 30 vehicles.

Source: TPM

Big family values campaigners from the GOP – have been blanket calling voters with disturbing messages – that are causing youngsters who answer the phone to become upset by them.


One of the more noteworthy responses to John McCain’s massive robocall campaign tying Barack Obama to Bill Ayers has been from parents whose children have been on the receiving end of the incendiary calls.

Many have contacted the Huffngton Post detailing concerns that their kids were being told, in essence, that the possible next president of the United States associates with terrorist figures.

“My daughter answered the phone today and began listening to the most disturbing call regarding bombing and terrorists. She ran with the phone to get me, I heard just the end snippet of the call and immediately called the number cited as responsible,” wrote a reader from North Carolina. “I was so angry and let them have it. I had to explain to my 7-year-old daughter that no one was bombing anyone else. This was a horrific experience.”

So it was more than just a bit ironic to be reminded that during the Republican South Carolina primary in 2000 it was a distraught mother who thrust the issue of the anti-McCain robocall campaign into the national spotlight.

A reader sends over a clip from the film company “Journeyman Pictures,” that replays some notable news footage from those heady political days. In it is a shot of a woman, addressing McCain at a South Carolina rally, with word of the behind-the-scenes effort to paint him as “a cheat and a liar and a fraud.”

“He was so upset,” she said of her 14-year-old son who had received the call. “He was almost in tears. I was so mad. I was so livid last night I couldn’t sleep.”

McCain, visibly shaken by the woman’s testimony, denounced the tactic entirely and would later unilaterally pull all of his negative advertising.

“I really hope that people that are doing these things could have heard and seen your statement because we don’t need to do this to young people,” said the Senator. Outside the hall, he was even more direct: “I’m calling on my good friend George Bush to stop this now, to stop this now. I can’t believe that a person from a good family such as George Bush wouldn’t stop this. But if he doesn’t then I will call him or I will write him or I will do whatever I can.”

Eight years later, the role, in many ways, is reversed (though, to be fair, the Obama campaign has not denied that it is running negative robocalls itself). Only this time, it seems, there is a stark difference: the robocalls don’t seem to be working. On Sunday, McCain’s own running mate said the tactic had “irritated” people who were “just being inundated.”

“If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand,” said Gov. Sarah Palin, “I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robocalls and includes spending so much money on the television ads that, I think, is kind of draining out there in terms of Americans’ attention span.”

Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that sixty percent of voters thought Obama’s relationship with Ayers was “not a legitimate issue in the presidential campaign.” Thirty-seven percent said it was.

And yet, despite the criticism and evidence, McCain has stuck by the strategy that once undermined his presidential ambitions.

“These are legitimate and truthful and they are far different than the phone calls that were made about my family and about certain aspects that — things that this is — this is dramatically different and either you haven’t — didn’t see those things in 2000,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Source: HP

WINFIELD, W.Va. — Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for “Barack Obama” kept flipping to “John McCain”.

In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.

They also blamed voters for not being more careful.

“People make mistakes more than machines,” said Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright.

Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.

“I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican,” she said. “I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.

“I asked them for a printout of my votes,” Ketchum said. “But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way.

“I heard from some other people they also had trouble. But no one in there knew how to fix it,” said Ketchum, who is not related to Menis Ketchum, a Democratic Supreme Court candidate.

Ketchum’s son, Chris, said he had the same problem. And Bobbi Oates of Scott Depot said her vote for incumbent Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller was switched to GOP opponent Jay Wolfe.

“I touched the one I wanted, Rockefeller, and the machine put a checkmark on the Republican instead,” Oates said of her experience Thursday.

Homer Simpson goes to vote for Obama

Retired factory worker Calvin Thomas of Ripley said he experienced the same problem.

“When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor’s office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude.

“After I finished, my daughter voted. When she pushed Obama, it went to McCain. It happened to her the same way it happened to me,” Thomas said.

Read more…

GOP Congressman Jokes About Pro-Obama Vote Suppression

Tax cuts for the middle class to McCain is socialism?

I suppose when $4-$6 million rolls in every year from your wife’s income and other investments – giving the guy making $30 – $50K a little something extra – would seem socialist and communist or even pure and utter Marxism!!

When your wife could spend an average person’s yearly salary on a single outfit (Cindy spent $300,000 on her clothes for 1st of RNC), Mr. McCain would want to save every red cent – he can!

Mr. Miserly McCain is begrudging the fact that he has to pay a measly 3% extra on earnings over $250,000 (the same tax rate as in Clinton times) – so the average American ~ 95% of them can have a small tax cut ~ ouch!!

This message was approved by ~ Miserly McCain

    It’s a government hand out I tell you – a give-a-way. Tax cuts for the middle class and poor amount to welfare – that’s giving a man a fish – I know how to teach him to fish.

    I want the American people to know – giving those working poor and impoverish a tax break is nothing short of socialism!!!

    Cindy – stroking his fiery little bald patch on his head – we’ll go right out and buy you a pair of those $520 Italian leather Ferragamo loafers you like – cause – you’re a fighter!

    Cindy, I just don’t think you have to pay so much tax on your money that’s all. And it makes me so – mad – when we have to pay that extra money in taxes.

    I know dear.

    McCain’s fingers tighten around the few coins in his pocket.

Obama takes the ups with the downs.

Obama takes the up with the downs.

It’s amazing how Obama could be called a socialist – when during the Clinton years the same additional 3% tax on higher earnings was in place – and the US economy never grew more than in anytime in history.

The Republican argument is shot – to get a poor working woman to call Obama a ‘socialist’ when she would benefit by seeing her taxes decrease under Obama’s plan. And McCain only wants to lower them for the richest 5%. 

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken Restaurant. Some powerful and at times ugly interaction today.

12:33 p.m. Sen. Barack Obama entered the barbecue joint where an older and majority white clientele of dozens was eating lunch after church services. At the other end of the restaurant, Diane Fanning, 54, who works at a discount club, began yelling: “Socialist, socialist, socialist -– get out of here!”

There was a lot of noise and excitement and positive reception as well and it was unclear whether Obama heard her.

The gentleman next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, flashed an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her. Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning (per Reuters), “At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Mr. Bramble told Reuters’ pool reporter that he wasn’t voting for Obama because he didn’t think he had enough experience. Bramble’s wife, Kit, 75, said after meeting Obama, “He was very nice” but added she’d been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s era and she wouldn’t vote for Obama.

“Socialist, socialist, socialist -– get out of here. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her–Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back–“At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Fanning said (after considerable public Colin Powell discussion) that she’d heard Powell had endorsed Obama but…

that “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only. This is my one day off,” she muttered.

Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her to shake it and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake.

He spoke at length with many of the other parishioners at the long banquet table, however, and got a much friendlier reception as he spoke about healthcare, taxes and Social Security. Fanning told the pool reporter, “Some of them are just nicer than I am. I know how some of them think.”

But several of her fellow churchgoers said their support was genuine. Betty Waylett, 76, told him, “You’re doing a great job.” She told the pool reporter she is a Republican but will vote for Obama because she likes the way he speaks and his manner.

Waylett, who is white, said Obama’s race was not a factor. “I never thought about it one way or the other.”

He held out his hand to her to shake it and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake.

Pastor Randal Bremer, also at the table, said Obama told him, “Whether you vote for me or not I’ll need your prayers.” Bremer told the pool reporter, “I’m very impressed by his ability to meet people on a down-to-earth level” and that he would pray for him but that he planned to vote for John McCain, mostly because he prefers smaller government and McCain’s position on the Iraq war.

He thinks there have been important gains in Iraq and “I don’t want to see that damaged by a premature pullout.”

Bloomberg news quotes Mike Long, 33, a furniture salesman who is a first-time voter, said (per Bloomberg) that after talking with Obama about healthcare, he’d gone from less than 50% likely to vote for him to “98%” likely.

Sheila Evans, 39, who is biracial, told Obama, “I’m so proud of you.” She said Obama had chosen a restaurant frequented more by whites, while one a couple of doors down had predominantly African American diners on Sundays.

But some of the other older white diners looked surprised and slightly uncomfortable as Obama stopped at their tables to shake hands. “I’m surprised, but I’m not going to say anything else,” said diner Pat Smith who was joined by her husband.

A group of six retired women said they were mostly Democrats -– but mostly undecided about how to vote. “I have to pray about it, think about what’s best for our country,” said Dorothy Buie, one of the women.

Obama ordered some food to go for himself and aides. They ordered chicken, collard greens, baked beans, cole slaw and wings. The tab was $13.91. The visit lasted about a half hour.

Source: LA Times


John McCain and his wife – are in a unique group in America – their wealth means that they fall into the top 1% – 2% income gap. His big idea – is that the wealthiest should have more – in order – to in a father-like fashion – have some of their wealth trickle down – to all the social classes below.

It is with this thought that – John McCain believes that the 3% tax increase that Obama intends to put on earnings/profits over $250,000 – that existed during the Clinton era – the same era that saw the biggest economic expansion in US history – that is tax code is equivalent to socialism, welfare and a government hand out.

Even today as the U.S. Treasury is being pillaged by corporate America, there has been an absence of any significant economic middle class(*) backlash here in America. As the wealth gap between the middle class and upper class has increased more than any time in our history, Americans seem to be mostly helpless in stemming this trend toward inequality.

Will the tide finally turn during an Obama Presidency? After analyzing Obama’s economic positions (including health care, tax policies and budgeting), most economists say “yes!”

After eight years of the Bush Presidency, McCain style deregulation and tax policy that favors the rich, the American middle class has been taken hostage and told they will lose everything (trickle down financial ruin) if they do not bailout the big banks, investment firms and insurance companies. Bush & Cheney have perfected the panic mode wealth transfer that Naomi Klein describes so well in “The Shock Doctrine.” This multi-trillion-dollar parting gift is their payback to the upper class that helped orchestrate their election.

the wealth gap between the middle class and upper class has increased more than any time in our history

The U.S. Treasury gained support for the bailouts by promising stricter rules on grossly excessive executive compensation. But now we find out that financial workers at Wall Street’s top banks — the greedy ones that got us into this mess in the first place — are going to receive payouts worth more than $70 billion and, according to the Guardian, “… a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year – despite plunging the financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash.”

Last year, for instance, Merrill Lynch’s chairman Stan O’Neal took a golden parachute deal worth over $160 million, after announcing losses of nearly $8 billion at his firm. Did Mr. O’neal’s labor bankrupting Merrill Lynch really justify $159,935,000 more dollars from society than a teacher or fireman?

The politics of capitalism attempts to fool us into believing in extreme individualism –e.g., that every man is an island. But, the truth (starkly exposed by Mainstreet needing to bailout Wallstreet) is that we are closely interconnected even if worlds apart in wealth and influence. Mr. O’Neal taking $160 million out of the money system to spend on extravagances, does effect the teacher and fireman via the national debt they will incur to bailout Mr. O’Neal / Merrill Lynch.

we find out that financial workers at Wall Street’s top banks — the greedy ones that got us into this mess in the first place — are going to receive payouts worth more than $70 billion

Where did the billions of dollars lost by the banks go? Did the money just evaporate? No. Most of it went to these huge CEO and executive payouts to expand the obscene wealth of the upper class. Someone has to pay for the mega-yachts, extravagant parties, multiple mansions and other extravagances of the rich. If you want to see where your money is going, just tune into “Lifestyles of the Super Rich.”

Once again, responsible hard-working citizens are paying for the lavish lifestyles and reckless financial abandon of the upper class. How ironic that the same institutions that have been feeding off the middle class like leeches for decades (via unreasonable fees, large interest rate spreads, insurance rate hikes, hyped-up investment schemes, etc.), are now begging for more blood money.

The middle class and poor get crumbs from measly “bailouts” such as the lackluster sub-prime mortgage assistance program and a tax rebate check for $600; while the rich get more tangible bailouts to the tune of billions. Capitalism for the middle class, socialism for the rich, indeed! This is what you get when corrupt Republicans and the Corporate sociopathic personality rule the economy. One of the ways to change this dynamic is to remove corporation’s status as a separate entity unbound by individual consequences and place more responsibility on the executives that direct corporate actions.

though the “upper middle class,” “lower middle class,” “working class,” and “lower class,” combine to make up 99% of the United States population, the remaining 1% owns about one third of private wealth.

We need to end the the welfare era for the rich via tax cuts, Halliburton / war “no bid” handouts, oil company gouging and corporate bailouts. Instead, the American government needs to lift the middle class with investments in education, job training, energy independence (from domestic oil companies too!), health care and economic programs such as small business development and tangible mortgage assistance.

The only choice for fiscal conservatives in this election is Obama. By electing Obama POTUS and other fiscally sympathetic representatives, the middle class can then exercise its newfound power over insurance companies, corporations and bankers. You want us to bail you out? Here are some of our demands:

1) Corporations and the rich need to pay higher taxes, period. We are tired of hearing that higher corporate and upper class taxes will increase the jobless rate and slow the economy.

Even Warren Buffet (an Obama supporter) says that our current tax system unfairly puts more of the tax burden on the working class than the rich. The rich pay more taxes as a total collected, but much less of a percentage as the middle class.

Mr. Buffet goes on to say, “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

2) We want tougher consumer regulations on the insurance, credit card and banking industries along with fair mortgage lending practices. It’s time for Wallstreet, insurance company’s and banks to forgo some of the excessive profits we have seen in the past and pass savings along to their clients.

3) Middle class and small business tax cuts. It’s time for some “trickle up” economics.

When Obama becomes President of the United States with a Democratic Congress, the middle class will once again have a strong voice in national politics. If you were advising Obama as he begins his Presidency in 2009, what policies would you suggest he initiate to stimulate and strengthen the economy and middle class (instead of corporate bailouts)?

(*For this (HP) blog’s purpose I’m referring to the “middle class” as everyone who is not in the “upper class.” Even though the “upper middle class,” “lower middle class,” “working class,” and “lower class,” combine to make up 99% of the United States population, the remaining 1% owns about one third of private wealth.)

Source: HP

How to rack up debt seems to be the first lesson many American college kids learn these days. In Bloomington, the staff at the famed Mother Bear Pizzeria consists of mostly Indiana University students working their way through school. Catching the rare free moment between orders, workers explained the stress they are feeling in these rocky economic times. The recent credit crunch at the banks and the chaos on Wall Street has already added to their worries – undercutting family credit records, draining stock funds, and causing some students to question what their future will hold.


Colin Powell: New president facing a daunting picture

Joe doesn’t make $250,000 so he can’t get McCain’s tax cut for earnings over this amount – however much he likes McCain’s war record and POW story – though he will automatically get Obama’s middle class tax cut for families earning below $250,000. Joe’s question is will he do it – with a Democrat House and Senate – Obama’s tax proposal – may quickly become a reality.

Don’t forget a lot of wealth has just been spread around on Wall Street in the form of a bailout – and these CEO’s are not complaining – why not offer the middle class – by comparison – a miniature share – in the form of a tax cut directed at them. Even if Joe were to make – one day – say $300,000 a year – he would only be taxed 3% more on the $50,000 – above the threshold figure of $250,000. Anything below this will be subject to a tax cut. The changes in tax – under Obama are hardly enough to put Joe out of business. By one account the figure he would be taxed – might increase from anywhere from $0-$900/year. This is not breaking the bank – especially when we consider earnings for the small business equal profits – or what’s left after expenses – that is why 98% of small businesses owners would be eligible for the Obama middle class tax cut. 

Barack Obama’s campaign is trotting out its own “Joe the Plumber” to counteract efforts by John McCain to make inroads on the white working class vote.

A reader in Colorado sends over word that the state Democratic Party and the Obama camp are blasting out robocalls from “Joe Martinez,” a plumber in Colorado who vouches for the Illinois Democrat’s tax plan.

A spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party confirmed the robocall and said he would try to track down audio. The rough script goes like this:

    “…During this week’s debate, Barack Obama talked about cutting taxes for middle class families like mine, lowering health care costs for everyone and bringing the change we need in Washington. John McCain ignored the issues and used the debate to launch false attacks against Barack Obama. In fact, McCain – for the third debate in a row – didn’t even say the words ‘middle class’. So, take it from Joe the plumber, if you want a president who will put middle class families first – join me in voting for Barack Obama. Paid for by the Colorado Democratic Party….”

The calls are noticeably positive in message compared to those currently being made by the RNC and McCain camp tying Obama to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. They also reflect the Obama campaign ethos, which dictates that they compete with their opposition on every political front: even if it means matching an opposition plumber with a plumber of your own.

Source: HP

Obama spoke to a crowd estimated at 100,000 in St. Louis.

CONCORD, N.C.—Sen. John McCain opened a new attack on rival Barack Obama’s tax plan Saturday, suggesting it amounts to socialism.

He also accused Sen. Obama of wanting to turn the Internal Revenue Service into a welfare agency because his tax plan would give a tax credit to people who earn too little to owe federal income taxes.

“At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,” the Republican presidential nominee said in a radio address. “Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut. It’s just another government giveaway.”

Sen. Obama would give a $500 tax refund to middle-class workers, even if they earn too little to owe federal income taxes. The Obama campaign says the money is meant to offset the payroll taxes that these workers pay.

At an afternoon McCain rally in Woodbridge, Va., a woman yelled out about Obama, “He’s a socialist!”

From St. Louis, Sen. Obama replied that both candidates want to cut taxes. But he said he would cut taxes for working Americans where Sen. McCain would favor corporations and wealthy taxpayers.

“John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,'” he said.

The McCain attack came as he campaigned in a pair of Republican-leaning states: North Carolina, when polls show Sen. McCain in a tight race, and later in Virginia, where he is trailing. A sign at the Virginia rally expressed hope for a reversal. It showed a map of Virginia and said: “Red since 1964,” the last time a Democrat took this state.

“John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,'” he said.

Underscoring Sen. Obama’s frontrunner status, the Illinois senator attracted a U.S. record crowd of 100,000 beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Sen. McCain turned out a few thousand people at a community center in Concord, N.C. and about the same in Virginia.

The McCain campaign is tying the new attack to “Joe the Plumber,” a Holland, Ohio, man named Joe Wurzelbacher who met and told Sen. Obama that he fears his taxes could go up under his plan. At the North Carolina McCain rally on Saturday, handmade signs read “Let Joe Keep his Dough,” and “Fight for Joe the Plumber.”

The campaign’s Southeast regional campaign manager, Buzz Jacobs, said the campaign has launched “Joe the Plumber” coalitions of small business people worried about tax increases. The campaign already had small business coalitions in place, but the new ones are meant to emphasize the new theme.

And in a phone call Friday, Sen. McCain invited Mr. Wurzelbacher to campaign with him, possibly as soon as Sunday when he visits nearby Toledo.

“It’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitress working double shifts, the nurses in the ER,” he said. “And yes, the plumbers, fighting for the American dream.”

Subsequent reporting has concluded that Mr. Wurzelbacher would likely see a tax cut, not an increase, under the Obama plan. But the McCain campaign has seized on part of Sen. Obama’s lengthy answer to him when they met last Sunday: “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” the Illinois senator said.

That encounter has been the centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s campaign ever since.

“We learned that Sen. Obama’s economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote `spread the wealth around.’ Spread the wealth around!” he told the North Carolina crowd, which replied with a chorus of boos. “We’ve seen that movie before in other countries and [in] attempts by the liberal left in this country before. Sen. Obama believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans.”

“We learned that Sen. Obama’s economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote `spread the wealth around.’ Spread the wealth around!” he told the North Carolina crowd, which replied with a chorus of boos.

Sen. Obama replied that it’s a matter of values. His plan values work, not just wealth, he said. And after largely dodging Joe the Plumber, Sen. Obama referred to him on Saturday as one of the working people who would receive a tax cut under his plan.

“It’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitress working double shifts, the nurses in the ER,” he said. “And yes, the plumbers, fighting for the American dream.”

Underscoring Sen. Obama’s frontrunner status, the Illinois senator attracted a U.S. record crowd of 100,000 beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Sen. McCain turned out a few thousand people at a community center in Concord, N.C.

Sen. John McCain speaks to supporters Saturday during a campaign rally in Concord, N.C.

Sen. Obama would give a $500 tax refund to middle-class workers, even if they earn too little to owe federal income taxes. The Obama campaign says the money is meant to offset the payroll taxes that these workers pay. Several other tax credits would also be refundable and therefore available even to those who do not pay income taxes. He plans to raise taxes on individuals earning over $200,000 and families who make more than $250,000. Most others, he said, would see a tax cut.

Sen. McCain rejected the notion of giving tax breaks to people who don’t pay income taxes. “Since you can’t reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe. In other words, Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others it isn’t a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.”

He did not mention that his health care plan also uses refundable tax credits—$2,500 per person or $5,000 per family toward the purchase of health insurance. It, too, would be available to people who don’t owe income taxes.

A bumper sticker and a T-shirt made up by one of this supporters, read: “Support Joe the Plumber. Vote McCain Palin. Obama’s friends are terrorists & communists.”

The rhetoric in Sen. McCain’s radio address was even sharper than his words on the stump. He invoked the notion of socialism, a economic theory that typically refers to government ownership of what is now private enterprise.

“You see, [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it,” Sen. McCain said. “Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.” He added: “In other words, Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington.”

Some of his supporters are picking up the attacks, and taking them even further. A bumper sticker and a T-shirt made up by one of this supporters, who declined to give his name, read: “Support Joe the Plumber. Vote McCain Palin. Obama’s friends are terrorists & communists.” The terrorist reference is likely a nod to the McCain campaign’s charge that Sen. Obama was closer than he has said to a 1960s era radical who is now a college professor.

They discovered that he (Joe) would probably qualify for a tax cut under the Obama plan, that he may not be properly registered to vote and is not a licensed plumber.

Sen. McCain also painted Mr. Wurzelbacher as a victim of attacks from the Obama campaign. “Joes didn’t ask Sen. Obama to come to his house, and Joe didn’t ask to be famous,” Sen. McCain said at his rallies. “He certainly … didn’t ask for the political attacks on him from the Obama campaign.”

The national media descended on Mr. Wurzelbacher after Sen. McCain repeatedly mentioned him in Wednesday’s debate. They discovered that he would probably qualify for a tax cut under the Obama plan, that he may not be properly registered to vote and is not a licensed plumber.

Asked for examples of attacks from the Obama campaign, a McCain spokesman offered several quotes from Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, where he said that he doesn’t know any plumbers who make more than $250,000 a yearand therefore would face higher taxes under Sen. Obama’s plan. He also said on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that he was worried about “Joe the real plumber with a license.”

Source: WSJ

There is definitely a theme running through the McCain camp – here’s Pfotenhauer talking about “Real Virginia” – Palin the other day was talking about those parts of the country which are “pro-American” and on Hardball in a true and utter space cadet moment – Rep. Michelle Bachmann – was trying to convince host Chris Matthews that reporters need to go after and investigate ‘liberal’ ‘leftist’ Members of Congress as they are anti-American or have anti-American-leaning ~ can you hear the Twilight Zone theme song music playing in the background here……

Maybe he was born in a manger!

Maybe he was born in a manger!


Barack Obama drew a crowd of 100,000 at a rally near the Gateway Arch in St. Louis on Saturday, the AP reports. McCain spent the day campaigning in North Carolina.

The focus on the stump Saturday for both Obama and McCain continued to be taxes, and the candidates traded sharp criticisms of each other’s plans.

More from the AP:

    McCain, trailing in the polls, fired the first volley, likening his rival to the socialist leaders of Europe and saying he wanted to “convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington.”McCain added, “Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.”

    Obama responded a few hours later in appearance before an enormous crowd, saying his Republican rival “wants to cut taxes for the same people who have already been making out like bandits, in some cases literally.”

    “John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,'” Obama said.

Source: HP

McCain calls the Obama tax cut for the middle class and lower income earners – a government handout – as his wife Cindy McCain made an incredible $4.2 million last year – and over paid her taxes by $900,000 without realizing it. This for most of us is like going into your pockets and realizing – you left some money in there – which is always a surprise – but finding anything like $900,000 – for most would be extraordinary.

As the economy tanks and 760,000 job losses this year alone (this figure only counts those actively seeking work and not the long term unemployed who have given up looking) – McCain adopts a risky strategy – by calling the Obama tax cuts – a government handout, welfare and even socialism.

McCain risks isolating even Joe the Plumber – his new ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and ‘Plane on eBay’ – as Obama’s plan – offers a better deal for all the Joe Plumbers out there. Joe the Plumber realizes as much – he has told reporters he would not benefit from McCain’s plan because he makes less (far less) than $250,000 a year. His point is he is not sure Obama will lower taxes as promised (but with a Democratic House and Senate – this might be very likely) and he admires the fact that John McCain fought in the war and was a POW. Nothing to do with taxes.

While people face uncertainty or hardship – if they have already lost their jobs – or can’t afford health insurance – and have become unwell or are afraid of falling ill – as 1 million have lost their homes and up to 12 million are living in homes which are not worth as much as they paid for them – McCain has a choice between at least 7 homes – one a ranch and his wife earned a terrific $4.2 million in 2007, McCain still feels that to offer tax relief to the middle class – is wrong.

Conservatives have described Obama as being Robin Hood – but is a 3% tax increase – stealing from the rich – it’s no wonder people of the time liked Robin Hood and why he is still remembered today – he gave people relief when they needed it most.

To make a comparison – Cindy McCain spent $300,000 on a single outfit to attend the first day of the GOP Convention. A person making $30,000/yr would need to work for 10 long years to buy that dress and earrings. If you were making $50,000 it would take you 6 years – for what Cindy McCain spent for use on a single day. Most people wouldn’t buy a dress with $300,000 – they would buy a house or put it towards a dream home – or pay off their mortgage and invest the rest. Put it in a college fund so their kids can go to university or save it for their retirement.

McCain talks about spreading opportunity ‘around’ – but look at the opportunity he and his wife have – Cindy McCain had the opportunity to pay $300,000 for a single outfit – which because Hurricane Ike was only able to wear for a few minutes. With all this privilege and wealth why then would McCain – not wish to help the very poor with an opportunity to buy a needed new coat – or help a young person to have the opportunity to go to college (considered special needs area of low priority) – or help a family to gat adequate health care – not by giving them a credit with one hand and taking or increasing taxes on health benefits – with the other – while deregulating or placing no controls on insurance companies – as he did with the banking industry.

Why is McCain only focused on what the rich have and want to use his Presidency to unsure the rich have even more – and for the poor – fine words – and smoke and mirrors – and more war – for Big Oil.

Conservatives have described Obama as being Robin Hood – but is a 3% tax increase – stealing from the rich – it’s no wonder people of the time liked Robin Hood and why he is still remembered today – he gave people relief when they needed it most.

An impressive crowd of 100,000 showed up to an Obama Rally in St. Louis, MO today.

Obama saying that he would give tax cuts to working people and that McCain – is one of the only politicians in history who would say that a tax cut for the working middle class amounts to welfare and a government give-away. [Especially after the $700bn Wall Street bailout.]

Obama argued that all workers are subject to payroll tax – and that by giving those at the lower end – who don’t pay income tax – a tax cut is in no way welfare – as these are working people.   

Where John McCain wants to give tax cuts and really what most consider corporate welfare – to companies like – Exxon Mobile – and to CEO’s on Wall Street over – relieving some of the pressure those in the middle class are feeling.

Both John McCain as well as Barack Obama (through successful book sales) are in the upper 5% income bracket. Obama wishes to use the 3% tax cut that the Bush administration introduced – for the wealthiest 5% – to give it to the middle class and poor – in a form of a tax cut for 95% of working people and small business owners. Something which Republican commentators have called ‘Robin Hood’ type policy and even ‘Marxist’. McCain agrees and wishes to keep the Bush tax cut for the wealthiest Americans – in place – the idea being that this money can trickle down to those on lower wages.

During the Clinton eight years – the tax cut for the wealth did not exist – yet the US economy grew more than at any time in history. The idea of giving a tax cut to the richest – in order that it trickles down to those less well off – falls apart – when the Bush (both Bush) economics are compared to the strongest and more prosperous Clintonian one. McCain is largely promising to continue Bush economics – with only a couple of alterations.

In 2000 Clinton requested that taxes not be reduced – in order to pay down the debt within eight years.

Plumbers were raised, along with teachers and police officers – to say that if you don’t make $250,000 then you will receive a tax cut. And taxes will only increase on the amount of earnings above this – by 3%. Obama has said in the past that he will work with small businesses to lower the amount they pay toward employee health-care.

Obama reminded voters not to be complacent – that they should keep making their case for change – that they should keep working hard – as a Democrat win is not guaranteed.

Go to Obama Optimization
Freedom is the greatest God’s gift to mankind.


    We are an eight-member group; stepping towards finding justice and liberty and look for alterations.

    We all believe if America changes and persuades universal thoughts, the world will also change and turn to a better place to live. Exactly like all the other unique services such as television, internet and hygiene that Americans have presented to improve general conditions.

    And today this is Obama who speaks about these reformations.

    We found our passions for freedom of thinking in Obama and attempt and pray for him to reach his targets.

    Hope to see a day in which all human beings can feel sweet sensation of liberty all over the world.


    Effective guidance of thoughts matching with Obama’s thoughts toward decisive victory of alterations system in America election in the remained golden opportunity.

If you want to be the best, so change!

Voters in at least 10 swing states are receiving hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls — uniformly negative and sometimes misleading — that the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are financing this week as they struggle to keep more states from drifting into the Democratic column.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, has denounced such phone calls in the past: In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush. This January, too, in South Carolina, Mr. McCain described the calls against him as “scurrilous stuff,” and his campaign set up a “truth squad” to debunk them.

On Friday, a Democratic official in Minnesota said he had received one of these so-called robocalls and had tracked it to a company owned by a prominent Republican consultant, Jeff Larson. According to published news reports, Mr. Larson and his previous firm helped develop the phone calls in 2000 that took aim at Mr. McCain.

In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign could not say Friday night whether it had contracted with Mr. Larson’s current company, FLS Connect. Phone messages left for Mr. Larson were not answered Friday, nor were messages left at a subcontractor, King TeleServices, which is making the actual calls to voters in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Democrat, Christopher Shoff, a commissioner in Freeborn County, said the automated call described Mr. Obama as putting “Hollywood above America” because he attended a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills hours after the federal government seized control of the insurance giant American International Group. The call was first reported by The Huffington Post.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the “Hollywood” robocall was based in fact. “I would argue that much of these calls are based on hardened facts that American voters should consider,” Mr. Bounds said.

Another McCain spokesman, Brian Rogers, said the automated calls placed this year were different from those used against Mr. McCain in 2000 because they were “100 percent true.” Mr. Rogers added that it was “crazy” to compare these calls to the calls in 2000, which sought to hurt Mr. McCain by describing his “interracial child” — a reference to the McCains’ adopted daughter from Bangladesh.

On Friday, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, urged Mr. McCain to stop placing automated calls in her state, The Associated Press reported.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.” In response to the calls, the Obama campaign on Friday added a link on its Web site to, asking supporters to report robocalls.

Mr. LaBolt said the Obama campaign was currently making robocalls, but he added: “The focus of all of our communications is on the direction Senator Obama will take the country and on policy differences between the candidates on issues like health care.” Republican National Committee officials said they were not aware of any Obama robocalls.

Such calls are a relatively cheap way to reach large numbers of voters in a short time. A review shows that the current calls on Mr. McCain’s behalf are uniformly negative and at times misleading.

The phone campaign hammers familiar themes that have been playing out for months in the campaign, focusing on Mr. Obama’s past associations and trying to portray him as a friend of radicals and liberal Hollywood celebrities.

Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.”

In one widely reported call, Mr. McCain raises Mr. Obama’s links to William Ayers, a founder of the 1960s-era radical Weather Underground. “You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” a recorded voice says.

Mr. Obama, 47, and Mr. Ayers, now a 63-year-old education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, served together on two of that city’s philanthropic boards as well as on the board of an education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The two men have been described as friendly, but are not known to be close.

In an Oct. 10 letter to The New York Times, William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, expressed outrage that Mr. Obama was being tarred with the association, adding that he was pleased to learn that Mr. Ayers had “become a responsible citizen.”

The “Hollywood” robocall, meanwhile, asserts that “on the very day our elected leaders gathered in Washington to deal with the financial crisis, Barack Obama spent just 20 minutes with economic advisers, but hours at a celebrity Hollywood fund-raiser.”

The information is based on a newspaper report from Sept. 16, when the government took control of the American International Group in an $85 billion bailout. Mr. Obama attended a cocktail reception that night in Beverly Hills that featured celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Leonardo DiCaprio, after a 20-minute briefing by economic advisers.

But Mr. LaBolt said Mr. Obama’s schedule that day also showed that he was briefed by staff members twice more and spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

Mr. McCain was not in Washington, either, on the day Mr. Obama was in Beverly Hills; he was campaigning in Ohio. The Obama campaign noted that Mr. McCain had also raised money from Hollywood.

Voters in North Carolina have received calls accusing Mr. Obama of opposing legislation aimed at protecting aborted fetuses that show signs of life, a position the call states is “at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.”

“Please vote,” the call continues, “vote for candidates that share our values.”

The 2003 measure in Illinois that Mr. Obama opposed was virtually identical to federal legislation that Mr. Bush signed into law in 2002 after it was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. But Mr. Obama and other opponents of the Illinois bill have said that the state already had a law protecting aborted fetuses born alive. The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the legislation, said the bill would increase civil liability for doctors and interfere with their patient relationships.

Source: NYT


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